Sunday, October 19, 2003


On a bright and sunny Sunday, I sweet-talked my family into going to the movies. Several months ago I marked my calendar with the arrival date of "The Stone Reader;" it was worth the wait. I don't see enough movies to properly review one, but I will share a few thoughts. In 1972 Mark Moskowitz bought a book called The Stones of Summer because of a rave review in the NY Times that called it something like the voice of a new generation. He couldn't get into it then, so he put it away and came across it a few years ago. He read it, and fell in love with it.  

Now this is not a book that I would probably read, but any bibliophile/bookbitch can certainly identify with the idea of falling in love with a book, of wanting to read all the author's books. But when Moskowitz went looking for more books by Dow Mossman, he hit a different kind of stone; a stone wall. He couldn't find a thing and not only that, he discovered that this book which he thought brilliant, was out of print. Moskowitz has a film production company that does political commercials and he decided to film his journey to find out what happened to Mossman.  

To be perfectly honest, there were slightly less than a dozen people in the theater during the showing I saw, and at one point I was the only one awake. There are probably too many artsy-fartsy shots of butterflies and moons, although I did love the shots of forsythia, a bush I have missed for my many years of Florida living. Yet the DVD comes out in November, and I find myself longing to order it online from The Stone Reader website because it comes not only with the obligatory additional footage but an entire third disk that won't be available for purchase elsewhere - 4 more hours of a 2 hour movie that put a lot of people to sleep. But it's about books, and one man's passion for books, and his joy and frustration shines through every minute of this film. I've never met Mr. Moskowitz, yet he feels like a friend.  

Barnes & Noble started publishing books, and won the rights to reprint The Stones of Summer at auction. So far it is available only through the B&N website and (pre-order, publication has been pushed back to October.) Borders, Books-a-Million, and the American Booksellers Association group of independent booksellers say they won't be carrying it, and they are not happy that B&N is the publisher, because it is exactly the sort of book indies generally embrace.

"The Stone Reader" is the sort of film that memories are made of.

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