Wednesday, February 15, 2006

About the blogger

Marshal Zeringue is a writer-producer at Darkbloomz Productions.

He is the author of Running Down A Dream, The Last Mardi Gras, Hadji Murat, and other screenplays.

His stage-plays include George and Charlotte and The Single Guy.

He considers it beyond serious dispute that Anna Karenina is the best novel ever written (while of course allowing for the slim possibility that some novel he has never read might be better). War and Peace is the second best.

His favorite 19th-century American novel is Moby-Dick. It’s heavier lifting (metaphorically speaking) than those Tolstoy novels, but worth the attention it begs.

He is fairly confident of being the only person who believes the two best novels published in 1995 were The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald and American Tabloid by James Ellroy.

He doesn't read very much poetry yet likes some poems by Billy Collins (especially "Picnic/Lightning") and Donald Hall. And Emily Dickinson.

Elmore Leonard is the master.

Kate Atkinson’s Case Histories was his favorite novel of 2004. Jared Diamond’s Collapse is his favorite nonfiction of the last couple of years.

Ian Rankin’s “John Rebus” series is good but John Harvey’s “Charlie Resnick” series is better.

Nabokov wrote some great novels, and he said that you shouldn't read a novel but re-read and even re-re-read it. Even that may not be enough for his books: if you really want to enjoy them, Marshal recommends also dipping into Brian Boyd’s two-volume intellectual biography of this great Russian-American writer.

Ian McEwan’s Atonement may be the best novel of the last quarter-century.

To the probable chagrin of fans of Shakespeare in Love and Saving Private Ryan, Marshal claims that Out of Sight, based the Elmore Leonard novel, was the best picture of 1998 and should have won the Academy Award. Out of Sight wasn’t even nominated for best picture but its adapted screenplay, by Scott Frank, was. Scott lost out to the guy who wrote Gods and Monsters, a fine film but not as good as Out of Sight.

Many classic films don’t hold up — technology improves, tastes change — but The Apartment does. Every writer and filmmaker should watch it.

Marshal was born in the same city as Elmore Leonard and went to high school with Wynton Marsalis. He graduated from the same university as Jerry Springer and Yahoo co-founder David Filo, and he happily attended (but did not receive a degree from) the university founded by Thomas Jefferson.

He taught a seminar on “Film, Fiction, and Politics” and other politics courses at the university that graduated Tom Wolfe, Pat Robertson, and Theodore DeLaney. DeLaney is a really good guy.