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Sunday, September 24, 2006

stone reader

Listen to this:

In 1972, 18-year-old Mark Moskowitz buys a novel called The Stones of Summer by first-time author Dow Mossman, because an enthusiastic New York Times Review persuades him it is the book of a generation. Despite being an avid reader, Moskowitz can't get past the first 20 pages.

Twenty-five years later, Mark re-discovers the book, and this time he can't put it down. Enthralled with its story and wonderful originality, Mark tries to buy copies for his friends and to look for other works by the author. He can't find the book. He can't find a record of the author. He can't find anyone who has heard his name, let alone read the book.

The film chronicles filmmaker Mark Moskowitz's year-long search for Dow Mossman. Pursuing answers to the literary mystery, he crisscrossed the country, meeting, among others, Robert Gottlieb, editor of Catch-22, Frank Conroy, head of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and critic Leslie Fiedler. Cinematic, humorous and obsessive, the journey is a wistful, powerful affirmation of reading and what it means to us.

That is the description provided on the back of this two-disc DVD which was nominated for a Truer Than Fiction Award at the 2003 Independent Spirit Awards, and won a Special Grand Jury Honor Audience Award at the 2002 Slamdance Film Festival.

Roger Ebert loved it, and David Ansen of Newsweek said,
"It's rare enough when a documentary achieves cult status. Rarer still when it actually changes lives. Stone Reader, a movie about the love of reading, manages to do both."

Sounds great, doesn't it? Although to be honest I'd never heard of this movie until two weeks ago, and only came across the title through a mention in Utne.

So, did I like it? I DON'T KNOW! Got it from the library, took it home, and found out that I can no longer use my VCR or DVD player as there's something wrong with my cable cord. I haven't had cable all summer, but was still able to use the cord to get some reception on my three remaining TV channels, and use both the DVD player and VCR. Oh well. Back to the library it went, unwatched, but one day!

Has anyone else by chance seen this? If so, what did you think?


Blogger Pieces said...

I'm sorry that you couldn't get the film to play. Frustrating.

I haven't seen it or heard of it. The netflix reviews are extreme--it is either loved or hated. I hope you get to see it soon!

September 28, 2006 12:09 p.m.

Blogger KJ's muse said...

Thanks, pieces. I do too!

September 30, 2006 5:40 p.m.

Anonymous RayPod said...

I rented this last night and thought a lot of it was really interesting, esp. the interviews. The "extra" material, where the various critics etc. list their favorite "lost books" and the website for lost books, which is now featuring Janet Hobhouse, was great too.

My only problem with the movie was that I couldn't get over how much I disliked the narrator. He really irritated me for some reason. And Dow himself made me a little squirrely.

But the idea about whether fame, or neglect, is good for writers, and some other topics, made it worth ignoring those two. MOL

October 01, 2006 2:58 p.m.

Blogger KJ's muse said...

hi raypod,

I often find the special features to be as fascinating, if not more so, than the film itself, so now I'm really looking forward to it! The good news is that I managed to fix my system (one cable cord lets me use my VCR and DVD player, and another lets me watch four TV channels), so I've put the library DVD on hold again—woohoo!

Hey, thanks for stopping by!

October 03, 2006 3:58 p.m.


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