What are you reading?

Films, TV shows, and books of the 'modern' era
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laffite
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by laffite »

EP Millstone wrote: December 23rd, 2022, 7:19 pm A friend introduced me to the Icelandic Christmas tradition known as Jolabokaflod (pronunciation: yo-la-bok-a-flot; translation: Christmas Book Flood). My friend is one of those compulsive folks who L-O-V-E-S lists. Reading them. Making them. Having other people make them. Me: Not at all.

She is currently editing an article titled Books of My Life for a European publication. Famous writers were asked to respond to the following list of topics (my responses are in blue):

  • The Writer Who Changed My Mind
    None
  • The Book That Made Me Want to Be a Writer (I'd change this topic to The Book That Made Me the Person I Am)
    Vinegar Puss by S.J. Perelman

If you're so inclined, share your responses.

Image
I admire Pura Belpre for her life and her devotion to children. She seems more inclined to folklore than fable which is no surprise, the latter a more classical form that may have overshot her particular "children" but she must have read Aesop and Jean de la Fontaine. ( I never oe'r look the opportunity to mention the latter's name even if it is only marginally germane to context) I wonder if she made her own puppets. Her first story is a love story between a cockroach and a mouse. Two creatures that are generally maligned though the mouse is more friendly to a child's mind. As an adult, my stomach churns in contemplating the chemistry of such a pair. But that's not what children have "learned" yet and Signora Belpre surely knew what she was doing.

A brief review of S.J. Perelman's life suggests that he cared more for his automobile and pet bird than his only child who in his twenties committed robberies. But wait, the rearing of the child might have might have been positively influenced my the mother? Poor Laura West, sister of Nathaniel West, was besieged by a husband who chronically cheated, there goes the mother. S.J. considered children as a "nuisance." Thank Heaven he and wife didn't have another. I am taking a few facts of the life of ... and gleaning more elaborate ramifications. Even without that, Groucho thought little of him, calling him, "A son of a bit*ch." I wouldn't be surprised.

No book that ever changed your mind? About anything? If that were me I wouldn't bother to read at all. Such rigidness would infect any book I would ever attempt. The most usual question and certainly the more difficult is the formidable, "What book changed your life?" Heaven forbid that!

The book you are reading and the book you will never come back to are one and the same. Do you detect a contradiction? I hope that book is not affecting your appetite for food.

The teenager book and the later-than-life book bear a certain similarity. Am I finally come round to an element of humor in all this? And your comfort book too? Attempt at humor?

True story, I remember looking at bookcases at home at probably four years old lamenting that I could not read. It was really a problem. You'd think that I might be the type that would be reading War and Peace at 10. (My growing up books were Freddie the Pig.) One day I picked up a comic book and to my amazement I could read what the characters were saying. My first conscious realization that I could actually read. And that is still vivid today. So there you have it, Freddie the Pig and comic books. And, of course, Peter Wheat. I always like it when that truck rolled around.
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EP Millstone
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Re: What are you reading?

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laffite wrote: December 25th, 2022, 3:30 pm I admire Pura Belpre for her life and her devotion to children . . .
As I recall, the main reason that Perez and Martina was a book in the family "library" was because Pura Belpré was somehow associated with my family -- either a friend of relatives or very distantly by blood. The edition that I read was beautifully illustrated by Carlos Sánchez. The horrifying end of Perez deeply disturbed me.
laffite wrote: December 25th, 2022, 3:30 pm A brief review of S.J. Perelman's life suggests that he cared more for his automobile and pet bird than his only child who in his twenties committed robberies. But wait, the rearing of the child might have might have been positively influenced my the mother? Poor Laura West, sister of Nathaniel West, was besieged by a husband who chronically cheated, there goes the mother. S.J. considered children as a "nuisance." Thank Heaven he and wife didn't have another. I am taking a few facts of the life of ... and gleaning more elaborate ramifications. Even without that, Groucho thought little of him, calling him, "A son of a bit*ch." . . .
The feeling was mutual.

I discovered the humor of S.J. Perelman while I was in college. His phenomenal vocabulary and command of language astounded, entertained, seduced, delighted, and inspired me. Perelman inspired many humorists, among them Woody Allen. I'm currently reading Mere Anarchy, a 2007 collection of Allen's literary humor, and disappointed to find that Allen shamefully aped Perelman's style to a degree just shy of plagiarism.
laffite wrote: December 25th, 2022, 3:30 pm No book that ever changed your mind? About anything?
Shhhh! Not so loud! The neighbors might hear! O, the shame! O, the disgrace! Is there ... is there balm in Gilead?
laffite wrote: December 25th, 2022, 3:30 pm The book you are reading and the book you will never come back to are one and the same. Do you detect a contradiction? . . .

The teenager book and the later-than-life book bear a certain similarity. Am I finally come round to an element of humor in all this? And your comfort book too? Attempt at humor?
Now you're catching on!
"Start every day off with a smile and get it over with." -- W.C. Fields
skimpole
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by skimpole »

Queens of the Wild: Pagan Goddesses in Christian Europe: An Investigation by Ronald Hutton
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LawrenceA
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Re: What are you reading?

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skimpole wrote: December 26th, 2022, 2:36 am Queens of the Wild: Pagan Goddesses in Christian Europe: An Investigation by Ronald Hutton
That sounds interesting. How is it?
Watching until the end.
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ElCid
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by ElCid »

The Big Book of Female Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler. He has a lot of similar collections, but picked this one up a couple of months ago.
It covers 150 years or so of short stories about female detectives. Goes all the way back to British stories in 1864. I skipped to the Pulp Era (1920's-30's) and read a few of those and now reading Modern era.
There is also a section on female criminals and "Bad Girls." The book is 1,111 pages long.
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laffite
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by laffite »

Now you're catching on!
[/quote]

Really? What a relief! I'm glad I am finally catching on. Whenever someone tells me that I have to pinch myself. After reading your post I did it again and sure enough I didn't feel anything. These moments are great wake up calls.

Pet theory : Despite your knowledge and eloquence, there was a fancy with me that there was a tell-tale steadfastness thread of officiousness and boundless conceit that placed you under the banner of the following credo : THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MILLSTONE---AND NOTHING ELSE. I am disabused of that notion.

It is lamentable that Woody Allen would stoop to this. Surely he did this to some extent with Bergman in the movies. I have a copy of Side Effects on the shelf.

Poor Perez, I dread to know. Don't say anything, I want to get to that some day and try to imagine myself a child. And this little bookstore around the corner had only two Perelman titles, one of which was Vinegar Puss. I thought the coincidence was remarkable as P has a number of titles and VP to be found in this small store. So I bought it, a hardback in great shape for $8.35 after tax. It has a nice cover under seal of plastic, Simon and Schuster. If there is a flaw, it tends to open un-naturally to "Mad About The Girl." That sounds auspicious.
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EP Millstone
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by EP Millstone »

laffite wrote: December 26th, 2022, 8:44 pm . . . THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MILLSTONE---AND NOTHING ELSE . . .
Just the mere thought makes me wonderfully tingle all over with ebullient delight!
"Start every day off with a smile and get it over with." -- W.C. Fields
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laffite
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by laffite »

EP Millstone wrote: December 26th, 2022, 9:05 pm
laffite wrote: December 26th, 2022, 8:44 pm . . . THE WORLD ACCORDING TO MILLSTONE---AND NOTHING ELSE . . .
Just the mere thought makes me wonderfully tingle all over with ebullient delight!
Uh-oh.
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I know there are people in the world who DO NOT LOVE their fellow human beings and I HATE people like that." --Tom Lehrer
skimpole
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by skimpole »

LawrenceA wrote: December 26th, 2022, 1:47 pm
skimpole wrote: December 26th, 2022, 2:36 am Queens of the Wild: Pagan Goddesses in Christian Europe: An Investigation by Ronald Hutton
That sounds interesting. How is it?
Quite good. The actual thesis is that figures like Mother Earth/The Fairy Queen/The Lady of the Night/The Cailleach/The Green Man are best interpreted as not examples of pagan deities.
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norfious
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Re: What are you reading?

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Ok, so I know you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but that's exactly what I did when in the vintage books section of my favorite thrift store a few weeks back. What else could I do when the book had no complete dust jacket with the synopsis? I picked up a copy (which turned out to be a first edition(!)) of Rex Stout's "The Rubber Band" because I liked the cover art and was curious. I browsed Wikipedia on my phone ever so briefly in the store to know it was a 1936 detective novel, and that was enough to get me to buy it. Surprisingly, I had never heard of the Nero Wolfe series previously.

Well, I finished reading the story in late December and I absolutely loved it! So my next trip to the thrift store, I picked up five more of the Nero Wolfe books in paperback. Sadly, I found no other beautiful vintage first editions, but that's ok. I am fine with the 1970s Bantam reprintings. I just finished "Three Men Out" yesterday and am starting "And Four To Go."

Has anyone else read any of this series? I saw that a few movie adaptations have been made of them, but I have not yet watched them because I find the casting of Lionel Stander as Archie Goodwin to be horrendous in the 1930s films. It makes me wonder if the casting department ever read the books at all.
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Swithin
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Swithin »

skimpole wrote: December 27th, 2022, 3:00 am
LawrenceA wrote: December 26th, 2022, 1:47 pm
skimpole wrote: December 26th, 2022, 2:36 am Queens of the Wild: Pagan Goddesses in Christian Europe: An Investigation by Ronald Hutton
That sounds interesting. How is it?
Quite good. The actual thesis is that figures like Mother Earth/The Fairy Queen/The Lady of the Night/The Cailleach/The Green Man are best interpreted as not examples of pagan deities.
Speaking of pagan goddesses, I have many lovely books, partly from college days: The Great Mother (Neumann) and The Goddesses of Chaldea, Syria and Egypt (Durdin-Robertson), among them. I guess the question is what is "pagan." I heard a lecture by Ronald Hutton a while back, online. He was born in Snooty Ooty!

A few weeks ago, I went to the New York Historical Society's exhibition on the Salem witch trials. It was disappointing and tried to equate the "witches" of Salem with contemporary new-agey witches and paganism.
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LawrenceA
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by LawrenceA »

Cuthbert wrote: January 9th, 2023, 7:05 pm
He was born in Snooty Ooty!
Favorite sentence of the week contender.
Watching until the end.
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Swithin
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Swithin »

LawrenceA wrote: January 9th, 2023, 7:07 pm
Cuthbert wrote: January 9th, 2023, 7:05 pm
He was born in Snooty Ooty!
Favorite sentence of the week contender.
Nickname for the posh hill station of Ootacamund, India, popular with Brits during hot summer days of the Raj. It was also known as "The Queen of Hill Stations."
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laffite
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by laffite »

Cuthbert wrote: January 9th, 2023, 7:18 pm
LawrenceA wrote: January 9th, 2023, 7:07 pm
Cuthbert wrote: January 9th, 2023, 7:05 pm
He was born in Snooty Ooty!
Favorite sentence of the week contender.
Nickname for the posh hill station of Ootacamund, India, popular with Brits during hot summer days of the Raj. It was also known as "The Queen of Hill Stations."
Even better than Pankot?
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I know there are people in the world who DO NOT LOVE their fellow human beings and I HATE people like that." --Tom Lehrer
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Swithin
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Re: What are you reading?

Post by Swithin »

laffite wrote: January 9th, 2023, 10:03 pm
Cuthbert wrote: January 9th, 2023, 7:18 pm
LawrenceA wrote: January 9th, 2023, 7:07 pm

Favorite sentence of the week contender.
Nickname for the posh hill station of Ootacamund, India, popular with Brits during hot summer days of the Raj. It was also known as "The Queen of Hill Stations."
Even better than Pankot?
I think the bacon sandwiches and cold chicken and salad may have been better at Pankot.
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