Zohan Bad, But Good Too?

Was Adam Sandler’s You Don’t Mess with the Zohan the worst movie ever, or better than Munich? That’s the question Jeffrey Goldberg asks today. And for his answer, he is turning to Michael Chabon.

Was it the worst movie ever? “Certainly in the last two weeks,” Chabon says. “No, wait, I forgot about Get Smart.”

But there were redeeming qualities. “I mean, hummus toothpaste, that had me laughing,” he says. “My wife (born in Israel), and me. Nobody else in the theater (Emeryville, matinee) was really laughing about the hummus toothpaste.”

And perhaps the movie means something more than just crude humor but is part of a greater trend. “What I see is an increased degree of comfort with Jewishness,” Chabon says. “That’s probably not a bad thing.”

Categories: Movies | 1 Comment

Cody’s Books Closes; Fave of Chabon’s

Cody’s Books, a Berkeley-based bookstore that sold novels nationally and that Michael Chabon encouraged fans to buy from, closed for good Friday because of lagging sales.

“I think it’s a terrible shame,” Chabon told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It was a wonderful bookstore. It’s painful, sort of like watching someone suffering from a chronic illness painfully and slowly die. (Cody’s was) part of the fabric of Berkeley, the social fabric and commercial fabric.”

The store in recent years closed several branches until only one remained in Berkeley. But after rent nearly tripled a few months ago, the store’s owners decided they couldn’t keep it in business any longer.

Before Chabon stripped apart his Web site in 2006, he regularly linked to Cody’s site when encouraging visitors to buy his books. He also regularly had readings there for his new books, such as for The Final Solution and The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.

Five Years Online!

Hard to believe, but this site today marks its fifth year anniversary. It opened on June 19, 2003 with a promise to become a “source of information and celebration” for what had become my favorite novel, Kavalier & Clay. A lot has changed for me since then. When I first opened the site, I had just finished high school. I am now one year out of college and working full-time.

As frequent visitors will notice, I’ve revamped my site to mark the anniversary. I’ll admit that there are still some kinks to work out here and there, so feel free to e-mail me if you encounter any broken images, links, or screwy coding. I am also still working on transferring over parts of the old site, such has all the news from 2003 to 2005. (I clearly should have done this years ago…) But now that my site is taking advantage of a blogging platform, you will finally be able to subscribe to it as an RSS feed and get your updates that way. Yippee!

Anyhow, for those of you who have for whatever reason kept visiting this site year after year, thank you. I’m shocked it’s been this long, honestly, since I figured I would have torn the page down after a few months. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the future holds.

Chabon Joins Progressive Book Club Panel

A newly formed Progressive Book Club includes Michael Chabon as one of six panelists reviewing the monthly slate of books.

The International Herald Tribune reports that the club, which began this week, is inviting readers to buy three books for $1 each. Members are then required to buy other four books over two years. “The right has always understood the power of ideas, the power of books as legitimizers of ideas,” said club founder Elizabeth Wagley. “I see the opportunity with the book club structure to create a powerful tool to showcase the ideas of the left.”

Other panelists include novelists Erica Jong and Barbara Kingsolver; John Podesta, president of the Center for American Progress; Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation; and Todd Gitlin, a journalism and sociology professor at Columbia University.

Ayelet Reflects on Hillary Loss

After months of campaigning for Barack Obama, Ayelet Waldman says while she and Michael Chabon supported him, her mother ain’t so happy, according to the Huffington Post.

“My mother raised me to believe that I was capable of being whatever I wanted to be, but when it turned out that what I wanted to be, at one point, was a stay-at-home mom, she was horrified. I tried to explain that my decision was not a betrayal of everything she’d worked for, but rather an affirmation of it. It was a choice, and wasn’t that what she’d been fighting for? My right to choose?

“Now, though, as I watch Hillary Clinton’s struggle reach its disappointing end, I understand why my mother took my decision so personally. She had struggled to remake the world, had partially succeeded, and now here I was, refusing to finish the job.”