Search This Blog

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Movie for Book Lovers

The bell jar effect continues. That is to say, the cold drags on. Sniffle, sniffle, sneeze, sneeze, cough-cough-cough. Among but not quite with people, I apologize for not shaking hands, figuring they'd rather not get this bug if they can help it. Reading is an escape from my state of mind and body, as well as an escape from news political, financial and meteorological.

Have you ever read an author's first book and hungered impatiently for the next? Have you ever made repeated stabs at getting into a book, not succeeding until years after the original purchase and then falling completely in love with the book, wanting all your friends to read it, too? "Stone Reader" is a nonfiction film, if you will, documenting the filmmaker's search for an author whose first and only published book he loved when he finally managed, after many years, to read it in its entirety. The book was called The Stones of Summer, and its author, Dow Mossman, came out of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, wrote and published his novel, got a great New York Times review, only to fall off the face of the earth, or so it seemed. What happened to him? Did he never write a second book? Was he still alive? These were questions that drove Mark Moskovitz, the appreciative reader, to launch a nationwide, filmed search. I don't want to give away the ending so will only say that the search is one every book-lover will understand. Throughout the film, in conversation after conversation, the subject of one-book authors comes up. Another recurrent topic is the stress of success.

Sometime during the same decade that first gave birth to The Stones of Summer (since reissued), I read a first novel called The Trapper's Last Shot. It was by John Yount, but over the years I forgot the author's name, only remembering the title of the book and wondering if its author had written more. The answer in this case was a happy affirmative. Reading another new novel many years later (what was the title???) and finding there the same magic I'd found in The Trapper's Last Shot, I was excited and gratified to find they were by the same man, John Yount. The film on Mossman reminds me to look up Yount again, and I see another couple of titles by him. So what's the connection? He was not at all a one-book author. The tie here is subjective only, my excitement, like that of Moskovitz, at discovering an author's first book.

No comments: