A few recent entertainment tidbits:

1. Empire Falls was certainly one of the better books I have read this year. I managed to get through quite a few more books this year than usual, too. Anyway, Empire Falls is simply great reading for anyone, young or old. Featuring a dizzying array of storylines and characters, and an author who seems to be able to paint a picture with words, the story jumps from storyline to storyline by chapter, but manages to nicely tie most of it together and not confuse the reader. Just a great story about life in a blue-collar Maine town. I found myself trying to cast the movie while I was reading it.

2. I am in the process, however, of reading what might be my favorite and the most interesting book I have ever read, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. Written in what I assume was painstaking detail, Edmund Morris’s 800 page masterpiece is actually just the first of THREE volumes on this absolutly incredible man. This particular volume covers his biography up until he became President. Roosevelt seemed to have the drive of 10 men and was able to defy any and all odds no matter what he encountered, from his time spent as a ranchman in the Dakotas to his various positions in the New York governing body to his many trips overseas, and oh yeah, to the 38 books he authored! It is so captivating that I read 275 pages this weekend alone. Just reading his exploits makes me feel like such a do-nothing (and I’m not). Anyway, the second volume is now out (called “Theodore Rex”) and covers the Roosevelt presidency. I can’t wait to finish this first one so I can jump headlong right into the next volume. A very powerful, moving, epic biography, and incredibly educational.

Last weekend we saw the movie Igby Goes Down, which is going to be my favorite film of the year, hands down. When I heard that Kieran Culkin was the lead in this, I was naturally skeptical, but damn this kid can kick his brother’s ass easily. What a film. Essentially it’s about a spoiled 16 year old who has nowhere to turn when his mother (whom he detests anyway) falls ill with cancer. A story told with much sadness and a lot of humor ensues, and includes a steller cast consisting of Claire Danes (I love her), Jeff Goldblum, Susan Sarandon, Ryan Phillippe and Amanda Peet. Do not miss it.