Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Watching and Reading: The Last Stand and The Italian Secretary

Besides DVC, I also saw X-Men 3: The Last Stand. I liked it, but there was a noticeable difference in style with the new director. A few holes: new characters introduced, with little to no development. A striking contrast from the second film. Especially disappointing was the "Angel" character, which seemed wasted. Besides setting up a couple of plot lines, there was no indication as to what he was about. So, too much time spent on action, not enough on character. I give it a B-.

Needing to break into a novel after end of semester, I've broke open The Italian Secretary by Caleb Carr. It's a new Sherlock Holmes mystery, and I'm quite enjoying it, at about 2/3 through. Carr is a good writer, and wrote one of my all-time favorites, The Alienist, and its sequel, The Angel of Darkness. I recommend all three. I'd give his sci-fi novel, Killing Time, a pass though. Some interesting things there, but ultimately a disappointment. Carr is a historian, so if you like books with careful attention to history, like I do, you'll enjoy his books. I even used The Alienist for my Philosophical Anthropology class a couple of years ago. The students really enjoyed it!


Blogger angelmeg said...

I got The Alienist a long time ago for my birthday and never read it. If you recommend it I will dig it back out and read it this summer on my vacation after my summer classes are over.


2:22 PM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...

Do it!

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Natalia said...

hahaha...mark, i read The Alienist in college when I was contemplating becoming a psych major. A month ago I went to an old bookstore in Harvard Square and bought it for $2. Now that everyone is reading it, I guess it's time I sit back and start flipping through the pages again. How is the sequel?

8:47 PM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...

The sequel is good, but doesn't quite measure up to the first.

10:32 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

While Carr's Sherlock Holmes is enjoyable on its own...how would you compare it to the SCD stuff?



1:57 AM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...


Do you mean Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?

Carr is a fine writer, and it's a good book, but I wouldn't expect it to measure up to the original.

However, there's a very interesting afterword by the US agent of the Conan Doyle estate which suggests the interesting possibility of a future novel which might include a meeting of minds between Holmes and Carr's own protagonist, Dr. Kriezler. That would be something!

11:51 AM  

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