Among the many things I've too long neglected is reading anything by Michael Chabon. While I was at the beach, I read The Yiddish Policeman's Union -- Chabon's latest -- and I thought it was fantastic. Briefly, the novel's premise is an alternate history, based on an idea actually floated at some point in the 40s to make Alaska a Jewish homeland. It's a contemporary, noir-ish detective story based on an imagined history of the Jews in Alaska.
While I was checking out Chabon's Wikipedia entry this afternoon, I saw that the Coen brothers are adapting it for the screen. Being that I also love the Coens, this seems like a perfect coupling (or would that be tripling?). It's still pre-production, so there's no cast as of now. I can't help but wonder who they might get for the principles. I can see Frances McDormand as Bina, but I wonder if they'll make the characters a bit younger than in the book, which might work against that choice (plus, she's already played the police woman of the frozen tundra). I thought of Adrien Brody as the strung-out Messiah, but Landsman and his partner are tougher. Rob Morrow seems like a natural choice (he's already played a Jew in Alaska...and a cop!), but he lacks the sense of dissipation and desperation. Still...who knows...maybe he's already lobbying for the part.
While on the topic of things too long neglected, I finally watched "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" over the weekend. Nicholson was certainly compelling, and I had no idea that the very young Danny DeVito was in it. And Louise Fletcher was scary. I think she deserved that one-hit-wonder Oscar. Whatever happened to her? But on to other classics -- shockingly, my hubby has never seen "Flashdance." Strange, the gaps we have in our cultural upbringing. The legwarmers! The Shower Dance! Oh, the Humanity!
As I'm just prattling on from one thing to another, I'll take the opportunity to champion Washington Post book critic and raconteur Michael Dirda and his weekly book chat (Wednesdays at 2:00, usually, on the WP site). They are delightful -- neither too highbrow or lowbrow -- with lots of great suggestions and insight into all sorts of literature (including "genre"). Some of the regular chatters are almost as fun to read and wide-ranging in their book knowledge (but not quite).
I read another thing that was actually fairly uplifting, as not much is in the world of conservation. Scott Weidensaul reports in his wonderful blog, Of a Feather, that the province of Ontario is making a truly meaningful and inspiring (I hope) contribution to the welfare of our migratory birds. Read all about it here.