Saturday, January 9, 2010

Chess Anyone?

So I stayed up until around 1 AM reading. I woke about 7:30 this morning, made a big cup of hot chocolate and climbed back into bed to read some more. Around 10:30 I fell asleep for an hour. (I can't read all day like I used to because my eyes give out much faster now).

When I woke again before noon I got up and dressed feeling a bit guilty because Jim was doing dishes. I'm making a quick trip to Blogburg right now but guess what? I plan on curling up again in a little while and reading some more. What am I reading?

The Eight by Katherine Neville This is the 6th time I've read this adventure, thriller, historical quest. Each time I find something I missed before. The first time I was a bit intimidated. I'm not a chess player but I thought I knew the game. Ha! Chess, Marcie, chess!

Well... now at least, I understand the game much more. I'm also definitely not a math whiz and I was afraid much of it would be over my head. But I decided to tackle it as I had Umberto Eco, read, think, read some more, and say ahhh... got it! ( I honestly think Eco tests his readers; if you can make it past the first three chapters without getting lost, you'll love his books.) I'd heard that Neville was considered the female Eco- okay-I was ready.

I am fascinated by the fact that the entire work is full of puzzles and codes, many of which are left to the reader to discover, hopefully before the characters do. There seems to be another layer each time I revisit The Eight. Katherine Neville does not write down to her readers, she expects you to think and figure out the clues and myriad red herrings. She lays it all out there and lets us have those aha moments. Imagine my surprise when I realized I actually knew what the Fibonacci Numbers were! (College wasn't a total loss, Dad.)

I first read the book in about 1990. I remember I was busy with my annual bout of bronchitis and stuck in bed with my pot of hot tea and case of Kleenex. (Happily I haven't suffered from bronchitis since I quit smoking eleven years ago.) When I finally emerged from my room I insisted that Jim and the boys all read the book so I'd have someone to talk to about it. Not all of them did -then. Each time I've read it, I have convinced someone else to pick it up and they always love it too.

Always a very visual reader and writer, I tend to pick actors to fill the roles in books I love. This book would be a movie I'd see dozens of times but I really hope it never becomes a movie. I'd much rather see it as a mini-series as the scope is way too much for for an ordinary film. There is nothing that should be left out and no characters that should become a composite. I wonder what M. Knight Shyamalan could do with this tale?

Since I tend to read it about every 4 years or so, my cast has changed dramatically (no pun intended) over the years. The work is ripe for big name cameos in it's many small but vital roles. I originally envisioned Ava Gardner in one important role (Katherine will know which one I mean should she ever happen on this blog)sadly, Ava has left us. Now, I think of Elizabeth Taylor, Shirley Maclaine, Lola Fallana, Queen Latifah, or even Cher in that part. Given the budget this film deserves, I'd also cast Omar Shariff, Judy Dench, Anthony Hopkins, Tyne Daily, Naveen Andrews, Robert Picardo, Antonio Banderas, Jeremy Irons, Josh Holloway and Ed Harris. But the pivotal roles should be given to Sofia Vassilieva as Mirielle and Pauley Perrette as Cat.

Okay Hollywood, if you use my suggestions I, at least, expect an invitation to the premiere plus a makeover and a killer dress. Mostly, I'd just like to meet Katherine Neville.

So why am I raving about The Eight and reading it again? Because last year the sequel came out! After 20 years of waiting, we fans have been rewarded with The Fire, which continues the epic tale of the Montglane Service. I was heartbroken when it was released last August because at the time I couldn't read due to my eye problems. Books on tape or CD don't give me the same satisfaction so I had to wait several months before I could see well enough to tackle such long novels. Jim gave me a copy of The Fire for Christmas so I'm going to be reading it by next week. But before beginning, I wanted to make sure I had everything fresh in my mind. So I'm off again to finish reading The Eight, the BEST book I've been reading for 20 years!

See ya down the road,

1 comment:

Geezerguy said...

I'll have to re-read it too, but not till I finish "From the Corner of His Eye" for the second time. Koontz' best for my money. Maybe I'll steal "The Fire" too, when you're done.
Word of the day: slygi...the opposite of a dumbgi.