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Stone Reader

Book Obsessed

In 1972, an eighteen year old kid named Mark Moskowitz started reading a book called The Stones of Summer after a New York Times review pointed him in its direction. Young Mark had a hard time getting into the novel, and he put it down. Years later, he picks the book up once again, this time finding himself completely taken by the book's originality.

Moskowitz looks around on the Internet for other titles by the book's author, Dow Mossman. Nothing. He continues to check the Internet for accounts of others who've read the book. Moskowitz uses Yahoo until the cows come home but can't find a clue. So what does he do? He decides to make a documentary about his search for Dow Mossman.

The premise is interesting enough, I suppose, but the film gets bogged down from the beginning. He uses re-enactments to explain the origins of the idea. And he visits his mom, who shows us baby pictures. Yawn.

Moskowitz is a man obsessed. By books. And he's not afraid to burden his audience with what he thinks about books. There's a lengthy scene in which the camera slowly pans through book cases upon book cases. We're supposed to be impressed by his collection and by his love of tracking down rare books. Yawn.


Okay, back to it. Moskowitz begins visiting people all over the country, trying to find the elusive Dow Mossman. The problem is that wherever he travels, Moskowitz brings his own literary clown car - boxes of books he's decided will add something to his various interviews. One poor guy is given a book of literary theory that Moskowitz has deemed appropriate. Thankfully, most of his interviewees deserve to be tortured; many of them are "literaries" themselves who talk in snobbishly affected speech. Some of this is actually very funny, unplanned by the director, of course.

There's nothing worse, really, than having someone impose their literary views upon you. Moskowitz has no qualms against this sort of invasive behavior, though, and he uses the forum of his documentary to impress us with his vast literary knowledge. All he really does is talk about books. Books, books, books. And talk about buying books. Moskowitz, over the course of the film, must buy a thousand books off of the Internet. Including all known copies of The Stones of Summer by Dow Mossman. If this film inspires you to read The Stones of Summer, you won't be able to, because Moskowitz owns them all. Sorry!


Also, Moskowitz has an incredibly annoying voice, which is a definite minus given the fact that he talks incessantly about books.

In case you didn't catch it, I didn't like this movie. I don't like Moskowitz, I don't like his mom, and I don't like his interviews.


Stone Reader
Not Rated
2 hours 25 minutes

Carl Brandt
Frank Conroy
Robert C S Downs
Leslie Fiedler
Robert Gottlieb