Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How to Succeed

Day 351 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and Mary-of-the-Book-Club is actually reading American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, a book her son gave her, before she starts American Years, by Harold Sinclair, her new book club selection.  And they had just read Founding Mothers, by Cokie Roberts, and loved it.

This all somehow fits together so well I am afraid to mention that last night I (semi-) watched How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, in which the main character walks around holding a book with that title, by Shepherd Mead, which satirizes the striving and gamesmanship of the business world and works as sort of a cautionary tale, once you add the music and romance.

The random coincidii just continue. American Gods is also about the business-as-usual world of power and money, except that it exposes the "new gods" of money, technology, celebrity, etc. as having displaced the old gods of various mythologies that immigrants brought to the United States in a kind of mythic journey to...what? restore them?  (I know some of you have read this, and also I suspect the novel ends in some suspended way that probably suggests a sequel? Or more to come? Or interpretation?) And Shepherd Mead also wrote some fantasy/scifi/America thing, where animalistic ETs impregnate the women of the world.  I hope nobody makes a musical of that.

American Gods seems to be re-seeing and developing the idea, explored by others, that certain creatures--fairies, gods, elves--exist only as long as people believe in them.  Then other versions of reality or, in this case, "gods" take their place.  I remember this as an aspect of The Mists of Avalon, for instance.  So, all you Gaiman readers and fantasy readers can set me straight and/or recommend other books.  Feel free.

But, wait, wasn't I talking about a musical earlier? Fun and corporate games?  (And Cokie Roberts?)

1) Founding Mothers, by Cokie Roberts, is full of "tough women," says Mary, connected to those founding fathers of the USA.

2) Mary says that the Gaiman book is "very strange."

3) How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying has had various revivals since its first Broadway run and since the film, which features teased hair and blue eyeshadow.  The 1995 revival had Matthew Broderick in it, and Wikipedia tells me Harry Potter, er, Daniel Radcliffe, will star in a 2011 revival, coming right up in February.  (Julie, of A Follow Spot, is this true?!)


Sandy Longhorn said...

Read American Gods ages ago and loved it, but can't remember how it ends. Ah...too much on the brain these days...need to re-read. I do love Gaiman's imagination.

JulieK said...

It's totally true! H2$ was the logo of the last Broadway revival, the 1995 one with Matthew Broderick, which I saw. Megan Mullally was Rosemary in that one, although Sarah Jessica Parker had replaced her by the time I saw it. So, anyway, the Harry Potter H2$ is scheduled to start previews on February 26th and open on March 27th at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre. I don't know how well Daniel Radcliffe sings, but the Brits seem to always have singing voices hiding somewhere on their resumes.

In other H2$ news, ISU will perform the show starting February 10th.

And my favorite TV show, MAD MEN, features the original Ponty, Robert Morse, as it navigates that same gray flannel territory.

It's everywhere!