Sony’s new Reader packs a small library

WENT TO Sony last week when the big chief, Sir Howard Stringer, invited a few to come see his company’s new “Reader,” which is set to revolutionize travel for those who are often burdened down by heavy books. The Reader is a 9-ounce gizmo with software that lets you select books, enter them and then carry up to 80 books with you, even more if you add a memory stick. The crowd viewing The Reader was eclectic — Tina Brown and Harry Evans, in from the country where both are flailing away to finish books themselves, columnist Richard Cohen, writer Avery Corman, Charles Osgood of CBS, Quills guy Gerry Byrne and many publishing professionals. … The Reader’s “page” is easy to see and you can “turn” 7,500 pages with one charge. It’ll be in stores in a few weeks at around $350.

“EVERY JACKASS thinks he knows what war is about. Especially the ones who’ve never been to war.” That is the opening line of Clint Eastwood’s film, “Flags of Our Fathers,” uttered by actor George Grizzard. Eastwood, who also composed the haunting soundtrack, offers a film that walks a delicate tightrope. The best war films are essentially anti-war films, because, well — everybody who isn’t a jackass knows war is hell on earth. … The Cinema Society screening of the movie on Monday night included Reese Witherspoon, Barry Diller, Lauren Bacall, Sarah Jessica Parker, Johnny Galecki, Aidan Quinn, Olivia Wilde. The audience was urged to stay seated during the credits. They did. And the credits are as powerful as the film itself. As Eastwood’s melancholy music plays, the screen offers actual Army photos, and it shows the stunning accuracy with which Eastwood replicated the battle ground, the weapons, the bodies, the great ships approaching Iwo Jima. These final moments stop the heart and break it.

KATE WINSLET will receive The Independent Feature Projects Gotham award at a special “Career Tribute” on Nov. 29 at the Chelsea Piers. In Todd Fields’ “Little Children” Kate generates plenty of heat with her equally beautiful co-star Patrick Wilson. Celebrity watchers will have a ball when Kate begins living in NYC with her husband Sam Mendes. The couple and their children will be here while he directs “The Vertical Hour” for Broadway.

I SPENT five years of my youth as a society columnist and at the time, I dropped into the famous El Morocco almost every night of my professional life. I don’t recall ever seeing a band there fronted by a singer. But the new film “Infamous,” all about Truman Capote, has a moment up front with Gwyneth Paltrow as a chanteuse singing for the crowd. This doesn’t make historical sense. Chauncey Gray played swing dance music and alternated with Freddie Alonso and his mad Latins. El Morocco was about rich showbiz and cafe society people who came to dance, drink and show off. None would have had the patience to listen to a singer because “they” were the show. … Onetime Elmo’s press agent Jim Mitchell says he recalls only one instance when anyone ever sang there. Ethel Merman got up in a hat with gloves on and started a number. Nobody paid her any mind and she sat down. … Other than this and the fact that the screenplay of “Infamous” takes lots of liberties with Capote’s relationship to killer Perry (Daniel Craig) Smith when he is on Death Row, it’s a terrific film.

(Email Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com)

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