What're you reading?

Rupert Everett was the first to wish me a happy birthday last week. Unfortunately, it was not in bed as he rolled over and sighed, "You know, it turns it was just that I hadn't met the right woman!" Or over tea and scones at some English tea room as he shared witty tales of life in the theatah and I imagined skiing down the slopes of his finely chiseled cheekbones. No, I didn't even get to lay eyes on him at all. Rather, he wrote me what I'm sure was a very sincere wish for a happy birthday on the inside of his new book, "Red Carpets & Other Banana Skins." It was a lovely and thoughtful gift from my friend Jennifer Brooks, who got to see him read in Glasgow last week.

I'm only a few chapters into it thus far, as distracted as I've been by polishing some shaky fiction for my MFA application, a process that has me feeling more terrified and insecure about writing than I have in years. In addition, I've been picking my way through "A Drinking Companion," which you'll be glad to know isn't a guide book. It is, as its subtitle explains, a look at "Alcohol & the Lives of Writers," which interests me. For no reason whatsoever.

The book is by Kelly Boler who, I discovered in the author's notes, is a journalist in Asheville, NC. Since I happened to do a great deal of drinking in Asheville, I thought that a good omen. Boler examines how alcoholism affected the writing careers and lives of such notable authors as Kingsley Amis, John Cheever, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Anne Sexton, Tennesse Williams and Carson McCullers. While I think it's a terrific topic for a book, it seems to rush through each writer's story and doesn't feel quite...full, I suppose. Plus, when you're talking about the destructive qualities of alcohol, I have to question the judgment of starting each tale off with a description of and recipe for each author's favorite drink.

I'm also starting to read the screenplay for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, by Charlie Kaufman, as we start studying that next week in screenwriting class. Screenwriting class which is, by the way, kicking my ass. The more I learn, the less competent I feel, the less equal to producing this strange and unfamiliar type of product. The fact that the majority of the rewrite is due Monday and I currently have no idea where the story is going, is not a good sign.

The only book I've read in its entirety lately is People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive issue, (the answer - Clooney) which my sweet husband purchased for me as bathtub reading. Wait...what? That doesn't count as a book? Then I'm really screwed. Which I may have been anyway, since I'm apparently no good judge of what sexy is, disagreeing with a good 99% of their picks. (I mean, really, Diddy? Vulgar, yes. Sexy? Nope. Matt Damon? I'd like to give him a pat on the head, but that's about it...)

How about you? What're you reading? Register to comment below and let me know and I'll add your picks to my long, long list of actual books I may someday get around to reading.