Tuesday, October 04, 2022


WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

1. What are you currently reading? The Rooster Bar by John Grisham. Four law school friends -- Todd, Gordon, Mark and Zola -- are feeling ripped off. It's dawning on them that the school they have gone deeply into hock to attend is at best mediocre, at worst a fraud, and that big Washington DC firms will not be eager to hire them after all. With this deficient but insanely expensive education, they may not even pass the bar.

Gordon is sure he's uncovered that their school is one of many, and they may be victimes of a conspiracy. Can the friends expose it? Will they be able to use whatever meager law skills they have gleaned to file a class action suit? Or have they taken on something darker and more sinister than mere white collar crime?

I'd never heard of this Grisham book (published in 2017) and so far I'm enjoying it. The master not only spins an interesting tale, he creates characters I already feel invested in.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Orson Welles: A Biography by Barbara Leaming. This is an ambitious look at an ambitious genius. After enduring a truly bizarre childhood, Orson Welles mastered radio, television, theater and motion pictures before he was 30. He was also considered an unemployable has been by 35. He had three daughters by three very different women -- a socialite, a movie star and an Italian countess. He created very great art but was always broke. He lived long enough to receive lifetime achievement awards from the very industry that denounced him.

Like Welles himself, this book is a big, charismatic mess. 600+ pages that take us from Woodstock, IL, to Barcelona to Cap d'Antibes to Las Vegas, with stops in Senegal and Casablanca in between. I often had no idea what continent we were on or why.

Barbara Leaming interviewed Welles extensively for this book, and I don't think it benefited from his participation. It's as undisciplined,  audacious and unfocused as Welles' most confusing works. So while I'm not sorry I read this book, I don't recommend it. After I was done with this heavy tome, I realize I still don't know much about my two favorite Welles movies: Citizen Kane and The Third Man. I do, however, know much more than I ever cared to about his pre-teen sexual awakening. I think at times Leaming was telling us not what we wanted to know, but what Orson thought we should know.

By the way, I've read other Leaming biographies and this isn't reflective of her work. I still consider her an author I enjoy.

3. What will read next? I don't know.