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What are you reading?

Films, TV shows, and books of the 'modern' era

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Postby SSO Admins » May 11th, 2007, 10:33 pm

klondike wrote:This week I started "Lavondyss", the sequel to Robert Holdstock's glowing pearl: "Mythago Wood".[/i]


I have not read Mythago Wood, but I enjoyed the Merlin books quite a bit.

Another month, and James Lee Burke's annual Robicheaux mystery should be out.


You have impeccable taste, sir.

I'm saving King's seventh (& final) Dark Tower novel for late June; Summer's the best time for the adventures of Roland, the Last Gunslinger since the World Moved On, and after this one, there's no more.


Ok, I take that back. King has done some lame stuff in his career, but this is truly a magnum opus of suckitude. I held out some hope through the first three books, the fourth (which is outside the continuity) was actually pretty good, but the last two were just awful. I was reluctant to give up after having invested that much time in the series, but man, they were bad. I kept wanting to throw the books across the room.

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dfordoom
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Postby dfordoom » May 14th, 2007, 3:10 am

ken123 wrote:Dangerous Men by Nick LaSalle. :P


Was it any good?

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Postby ken123 » May 14th, 2007, 3:40 am

dfordoom wrote:
ken123 wrote:Dangerous Men by Nick LaSalle. :P


Was it any good?



Only fair. :cry:

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Re: What are you reading?

Postby dfordoom » May 14th, 2007, 4:02 am

moirafinnie wrote:So, what's on your bedtable?


I recently read this one:

Most accounts of Hollywood in the 30s give the impression that up until 1934 movies were more or less uncensored, and that from 1934 onwards the industry’s self-regulatory body, The Production Code Administration, was able to enforce a rigid censorship on movies through its power to withhold its seal of approval (without that seal a film would be effectively cut off from any hope of wide distribution). In The Wages of Sin Lea Jacobs points out that the real situation was somewhat different. Prior to 1934 self-censorship was already a reality. What changed was the way that self-censorship worked. In the early 30s it was mostly done at the level of detail – particular lines of dialogue were excised, particular events could not be directly shown – and by adding a moralising ending. This meant that film-makers could stay within the letter of the Code while flaunting its spirit. By using indirect methods and by using suggestion they could include elements that in theory were forbidden, and they could get away with forbidden material by including an ending which appeared to restore the moral status quo but which quite often was made so deliberately artificial that it was unlikely to be taken seriously. The ending of Baby Face (1933) is a case in point. It is so obviously out of place in the film that it looks like exactly what it is – a mere device to satisfy the censors. After 1934 the Production Code Administration was able to insist that the entire film should convey the moral message.

Jacobs uses as examples half a dozen movies that deal with a popular theme of the day – the fallen woman. More specifically, the movies she discusses show women who have used their sexuality to gain money and status from men. It’s a fascinating account and I highly recommend it.

klondike

Postby klondike » May 14th, 2007, 5:27 am

jondaris wrote:
klondike wrote:This week I started "Lavondyss", the sequel to Robert Holdstock's glowing pearl: "Mythago Wood".[/i]


I have not read Mythago Wood, but I enjoyed the Merlin books quite a bit.

Another month, and James Lee Burke's annual Robicheaux mystery should be out.


You have impeccable taste, sir.

I'm saving King's seventh (& final) Dark Tower novel for late June; Summer's the best time for the adventures of Roland, the Last Gunslinger since the World Moved On, and after this one, there's no more.


Ok, I take that back. King has done some lame stuff in his career, but this is truly a magnum opus of suckitude. I held out some hope through the first three books, the fourth (which is outside the continuity) was actually pretty good, but the last two were just awful. I was reluctant to give up after having invested that much time in the series, but man, they were bad. I kept wanting to throw the books across the room.


Not that I agree with you, but haven't you just made one of the best possible arguments (at least, economically) for reading the final volume of the series, even if it might still disappointment you?
Consider it cinemeatically: if you attended a movie that entertained you, to various, pleasant degrees, for its first eighty minutes, and then really stunk for the next 22, wouldn't you want to hang-in for the last 14 minutes, give or take, just to see if it couldn't redeem itself?
Or are you one of those who'd exit the theatre (or switch channels, or eject the disc) no matter how late, just on principle?
Or measure it quantitatively: you've already slogged through over 5,000 pages of the Dark Tower story arc . . what's another 1200 pages?

Klondike

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Postby SSO Admins » May 14th, 2007, 6:45 am

klondike wrote:Or measure it quantitatively: you've already slogged through over 5,000 pages of the Dark Tower story arc . . what's another 1200 pages?

Klondike


I should have been clearer. I did finish the series, for precisely the reasons you outlined. But I resented it. I was really hoping for some kind of a payoff in terms of learning something useful about the characters, the King universe, or something. It just wasn't there.

I wonder to what extent he's suffering from Eric Clapton syndrome, in that most of his good stuff was written while he was battling substance abuse problems.

klondike

Postby klondike » May 14th, 2007, 7:55 am

Oh. :shock:

Well, in the words of the late, cherished Gilda Radner: "Never mind."

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Bill Bryson Books

Postby moira finnie » May 15th, 2007, 6:32 am

I've just started to read "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid" by Bill Bryson. Bryson is one of the funniest and perceptive travel writers out there. Perhaps some folks know him from his amusing and ultimately touching chronicle of a hike along the Appalachian Trail that he took with an out-of-shape childhood friend, Stephen Katz. That book was called A "Walk in the Woods".

The Thunderbolt Kid again incorporates Bryson's old buddy Katz in a semi-autobiographical stroll down Baby Boomer lane, often to laugh out loud results. Growing up in Iowa, Bryson manages to find the humor in, among other things, family, friends, the scratchiness of sweaters, pathetic '50s childhood toys, and nuclear bombs. It's been compared to the acerbic sentimentality of Jean Shepard's ramblings, (that provided the basis for the movie Christmas Story). Btw, in other books, such as "A Short History of Just About Everything" and his equally amusing takes on the British, Bryson also writes clearly and interestingly about science, politics and national customs. Great reading & I wish that it wasn't relatively brief!

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Postby Shonna » May 17th, 2007, 6:47 am

I agree Ken, to me it was somewhat of a "slow" read.

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Postby traceyk » June 1st, 2007, 1:33 pm

A friend recommended the Dark Tower books to me and I finished the first one and tossed it aside. I had the same problem with it that I always have with Stephen King--gratuitous nastiness. For example--the kid that the gunslinger meets. Who saves his life. I liked the relationship they have. It made the gunslinger seem more human--let him show some sort of emotion besides obssession. Then he goes and lets the kid fall to his death because saving the kid might make him miss the bad guy. And I don't know why King did that. It was like hitting us over the head with a hammer--this guy is OBSSESSED. Geez. We get it already.
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. "~~Wilde

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traceyk
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Postby traceyk » June 1st, 2007, 1:38 pm

My most recent reads have been :
Bette Davis Speaks by Boze Hadleigh
The Last Tycoon by F Scott Fitzgerald
For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison
Books 5 & 6 of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series
Joan Crawford, Hollywood Martyr
From Reverence to Rape by Molly Haskell
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown (wanted to see what all the fuss was about--not a bad read, if taken solely as a thriller)

Struggling to get through [/u]Mrs Dalloway[u] by Virginia Wolfe.

Tracey
"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. "~~Wilde

klondike

Postby klondike » June 7th, 2007, 11:31 am

traceyk wrote:A friend recommended the Dark Tower books to me and I finished the first one and tossed it aside. I had the same problem with it that I always have with Stephen King--gratuitous nastiness. For example--the kid that the gunslinger meets. Who saves his life. I liked the relationship they have. It made the gunslinger seem more human--let him show some sort of emotion besides obssession. Then he goes and lets the kid fall to his death because saving the kid might make him miss the bad guy. And I don't know why King did that. It was like hitting us over the head with a hammer--this guy is OBSSESSED. Geez. We get it already.


Ah, but you see, Tracy, the Kid ("Jack") didn't die; he re-enters King's Dark Tower story-arc in the third Tower novel: The Waste Lands, and stays on as a pivotal character right through to the finale.
I think it really helps to bear in mind that King never intended Dark Tower1: The Gunslinger to be a stand-alone novel, but rather designed it from the get-go to be an introduction to the evolving saga of his Dark Tower mythos.
But, far be it from me to hawk Stephen King like some train-depot snake oil drummer; if his overall style & plotting doesn't work for you, then he's probably the last writer you should waste your time on.
I feel much the same way about John Grisham - I'm attracted to the subject matter and plot scenarios of a great deal of his work, but his page-by-page authorship just leaves me annoyed & frustrated. :?
Different strokes, huh?

Klondike

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Postby bradtexasranger » June 11th, 2007, 1:52 pm

I'm in the process of reading the "Alphabet Series" by Sue Grafton(a mystery series featuring the hard boiled private investigator Kinsey Milhone, each title starting with each letter of the alphabet ; I've made it through I so far) But right now, I'm taking a break from that with a biography of Judy Garland that's pretty interesting.

feaito

Postby feaito » June 11th, 2007, 2:05 pm

I'm reading "Pin-Up the Tragedy of Betty Grable". A so-so read; although it has some amusing and interesting facts, I feel the author did not make a thorough research and did not cover well all the aspects of the diva's life; it's quite an episodic book. Nothing remotely comparable to the wonderfully written "Being & Becoming" (Myrna Loy's semi-autobiography) which I read some time ago.

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Postby Rusty » June 22nd, 2007, 11:58 am

Hello,

After watching the recent TCM broadcast of Quartet and Trio, my wife purchased the Somerset Maugham novel "The Razor's Edge" at a local junk shop. I'm only fifty pages into the thing...too early to tell if the book is good, or no good. Well, at least I know how the story plays out. That is, if the movie is an accurate representation of the novel.

A couple of weeks ago, while visiting family in Klamath Falls...we spent several hours in a downtown Klamath junk shop. I purchased a book made from the movie "The Little Red Schoolhouse". One of the "Big Little" series of books aimed at children way back when. I bought the thing for no other reason than the cover illustrates "Schoolhouse" star Dickie Moore and a little dog. And, they are just the cutest couple I've seen in a long time and the book was falling apart and I bought the thing for a few bucks. I bet the dog was named "Rags", or "Pup", or "Little Dickie". Anyway, I thought the book was worth a purchase and is another thing to put on a shelf to collect dust.

By the way, the Klamath Falls junk shop had for sale several autographed pictures of classic stars. For instance, Humphrey Bogart and one of the Bennett sisters (not Constance...probably Barbara Bennett) and a very fetching signed photo of Loretta Young. In the photo, Ms. Young is wearing a sarong, her hair is blowing in the wind and she is posed in the same sort of way as Garbo at the end of Queen Christina. Wow...Loretta Young looks great in her publicity still. I know nothing about autographs, so I did not ask the owner of the store her asking price for the photos. If you know something about classic star autographs and you are in the Klamath Falls, Oregon area...you might want to check out the pictures. I have a feeling Humphrey, Loretta, etcetera are probably still for sale.

Rusty


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