Looking Closer’s Christmas Gift Recommendations: A Kingdom Far and Clear

Looking for a great fantasy book to give for Christmas?Here's an idea: Mark Helprin's glorious "Swan Lake" trilogy is being republished in one volume - A Kingdom Far and Clear - with beautiful illustrations by Chris Van Allsburg. … [Read more...]

“Hamlet, Threepio, and Us”

Anyone who can write an inspiring piece linking Rosencrantz and Guldenstern, The Hidden Fortress, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and R2D2, has my full attention.Ladies and gentlemen, Mark Shea! … [Read more...]

Norton the Hulk

A high-five to Peter Chattaway for catching the latest Edward Norton casting news.And... uh... wow. Not what I would have expected from a fellow quickly becoming one of America's most distinguished actors. Maybe he's hoping for a blockbuster so that he can fund a produciton of Mark Helprin's A Soldier of the Great War, a film he's reportedly been interested in for a while. That's one of my favorite novels. I'd be much more excited about that news than this. And I thought Eric Bana made a … [Read more...]

Specials: Helprin’s caution. "Serenity 2"? How "Hoodwinked" Happened. "The White Countess." SNL.

Sunday's specials:What a friendly neighborhood I live in! This morning, I'm walking around the streets of Shoreline, Washington, and as I'm waiting at a crosswalk, I see in the window of the house next to me......a wooden cross...... a Bush/Cheney poster...... a digital-readout message panel that is flashing these words to all who pass by: "Liberals - THE ENEMIES WITHIN"...... and a security camera, pointing right at me and anyone who happens to walk by and notice the sign. … [Read more...]

Specials: Amy Wellborn – Vigilant. Adam Walter – literate. Chewbacca – full of Christmas spirit. Teachout – thirsty for music.

Open Book, Amy Wellborn's blog, continues to be an essential stop on my daily tour, for her relentless vigilance. Here's one of the recent highlights, regarding mainstream media and faith.Other blog entries worth noting:Adam Walter discovers the new Mark Helprin Web site. I visited Adam last night at the fine bookseller where he works and packaged up a couple of gifts for my wife while we chatted. In spite of my love for the movie world, I greatly envy anyone who gets to spend all day in … [Read more...]

Specials: Steve Martin’s Next Good Movie; Mark Helprin; Cowboy Junkies Sing U2; Steyn on Spielberg

Today's specials:THE REAL STEVE MARTIN ... THE ONE WORTH SEEING... IS BACK Steve Martin's upcoming romantic comedy Shopgirl wasn't very high on my must-see list. Until now.BEHIND THE SCENES OF MARK HELPRIN'S STORYTELLING Harvard Magazine investigates the house of Helprin, my favorite novelist."WE'RE JUNKIES, BUT WE'RE NOT THE SAME..." Cowboy Junkies have a new covers album called Early 21st Century Blues, and it features a rendition of U2's "One." More information and streaming … [Read more...]

Today’s specials: Bono corrects Chicago reporter. Summertime fiction. And the man playing Orbison.

Today's specials:Greg Kot gets a memorable interview with Bono. Jonathan Rice gets cast as Roy Orbison in I Walk the Line.On my radar for summertime fiction:Freddy and Fredericka, a new novel by Mark Helprin described as a satire about a future king and queen of England slumming in the States. Od Magic, the latest from Patricia McKillip, my favorite living fantasy writer. And she's got another one coming too--Harrowing the Dragon. A Feast for Crows, by George R. R. Martin, … [Read more...]