Now Reading: Mike Woodson, Skyfall, Philip Roth

‘Now Reading’ is a collection and sharing of online stories and is meant for minimal consumption by the few readers of this blog. Topics will include books, food, matters of culture, photography, media and technology … there are no rules. Have a story to add? Share it in the comments.

Mike Woodson: The Anti-D’Antoni

Will Leitch makes the case in New York Magazine why Mike Woodson is the perfect coach for the New York Knicks. It’s a good profile of Woodson that illustrates the differences between his personality and the city in which he works. Woodson is understated and simple – he coaches basketball and then wants to go home. He does not milk New York City’s culture and nightlife for even a dime of what it’s worth (he lives outside of Manhattan and commutes in to Madison Square Garden), and Leitch argues that is a major reason, perhaps even the principal factor, why he’s had some success since taking over for Mike D’Antoni. Because of Woodson’s nature and personality, he doesn’t draw attention – i.e the spoils of media – to himself, but perhaps we should watch and listen a little more closely.

 The first semi-critical words for ‘Skyfall’

Richard Brody, the movies editor for The New Yorker, writes the first review that I’ve read that could be called even a little critical of the new 007 film, “Skyfall.” I saw the film and thoroughly enjoyed it – I thought it was Daniel Craig’s best performance yet, perhaps elevating him above Sean Connery as the best James Bond ever, and I thought it exceeded expectations that will continue to soar until a future film inevitably falls a bit short. Craig perfectly walks the line of grizzly justice enforcer and sleek womanizer that is required of the Bond character, and he’s at an age and stage of his career where there is no reason to believe he will concede the role to another actor at any time in the foreseeable future. But I suppose it is possible to be unsatisfied with this edition, and maybe it takes a more sophisticated moviegoer than I to reach such a conclusion. Give Brody a read, see the film and decide for yourself.

Philip Roth announces his “retirement”

Acclaimed novelist Philip Roth announced that he is retiring from writing, drawing raised eyebrows and smirks from around the literary world. There is every reason to believe that Roth is finished – he’s 78, has cranked out an impossible number of words and pages and books in his career, and there are probably better things to do with his remaining years than spend long, quiet days eyeing a pesky Word document. But, of course, there is a very good reason to not believe Roth, too – how can someone who has produced written work at the rate he has, somebody who has made writing words the singular purpose of his life, simple decide to step away? Is that even possible? At what point does writing become something he does not for a living, but because his days would lose the bulk of their worth without it? Didn’t he reach that stage, oh, 20 years ago? Whatever the case, I find the conundrum fascinating about Roth. I’d be shocked if he never publishes anything again – maybe he will not. But that doesn’t mean he will stop the act, hobby, addiction of writing. Bet there will be a couple unfinished manuscripts lying around when he passes on.

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