When it gets cold like this, especially if it’s accompanied by snow, I’m reminded of when I lived in the dorms at school. Sitting with my feet up on the radiator, reading. While through my window I had a view of the dorm complex courtyard coated with a layer of snow that twinkled in the bright, even harsh at times, sunlight. I read a lot. The book I read more than any other was Jay McInerney’s novel, Bright Lights, Big City. (Less than Zero by Brett Easton Ellis was a close second) And today I’m compelled to read it again, as I have been doing almost every years since I first discovered, not when it was first published in 1984 but in 1988 after seeing the movie, staring Michael J. Fox, Kiefer Sutherland and Phebe Cates.
I know that BLBC, like it’s author, has something of checkered past, and that even McInerney himself refers to it at times as a kind of albatross around his neck. The books was and still is sometimes mocked. Sometimes I wonder when a Best of Bad McInerney contest is going to be created, if it doesn’t exist already. The second person narrative technique employed is often dismissed as nothing more than a clever device. Perhaps. But no book before it nor since has continued to resonate with me, has regulaly lured me back to read it again, has made me want to write. For me, it was my persmisson book – it gave me permission to write about what I really wanted to write about because I didn’t know you could write about such things; I wasn’t very well read at the time, so sue me. Before I’d read BLBC it was J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, of course, that held that distinction but it was quickly replaced.
I’m trying to resist the impulse to set aside what I’m reading now to read BLBC because I’m perpetually backed up on my reading and never seem able to make a dent in the stack of books that I want to read, it just keeps growing, but forces seems to be conspiring against me.
This morning the movie was on cable. Of course, it is not a very good movie but even so I’ve watched it many times. Less Than Zero is a better movie. But a remake of BLBC: the movie is in the works, due to be released in 2010. I’m curious to see what comes of it this time around. I’ve often wondered what it would been like if Woody Allen had directed it or perhaps Ed Burns. My person preference would be for Stephen Sodeberg to do it. But I think the guy who produced and directed Gossip Girls for TV is doing it.
No doubt, in the end I’ll succumb to t his impulse to read BLBC yet again.And maybe this year of all years I shouldn’t even attempt to resist since 2009 marked the 25the aniversery of it’s publication. And as such maybe this year more than most it deserves a re-read.
I wonder if McInerney, because he seems to want to be remembered for his more sophisticated novels, is balking at a 25th aniversary edtion of BLBC. Or maybe they’re simply waiting until the movies comes out, releasing them together.