Sergio Leone Web Board

Other/Miscellaneous => Off-Topic Discussion => Topic started by: Arizona Colt on December 31, 2006, 02:31:04 PM



Title: Last Book You Read
Post by: Arizona Colt on December 31, 2006, 02:31:04 PM
Started reading THE VALACHI PAPERS after finishing BRONSON'S LOOSE! THE MAKING OF THE DEATH WISH FILMS.

Also re-reading SPAGHETTI NIGHTMARES: ITALIAN FANTASY HORRORS AS SEEN THROUGH THE EYES OF THEIR PROTAGONISTS by Luca M. Palmerini and Gaetano Mistretta. Great interviews in this one.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Amaze on December 31, 2006, 08:10:01 PM
how is the valachi papers? it sounds vaguely familiar. i think it may have been on my to-read list at one time then I forgot about it


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Arizona Colt on January 01, 2007, 12:30:55 PM
It's the first inside story on the Mafia and served as the basis for the Bronson movie THE VALACHI PAPERS. It details all the inner workings of the Mob and the rituals they endure to join.

I've only just begun to read it. Also finished Iris Chang's bestseller, THE RAPE OF NANKING: THE FORGOTTEN HOLOCAUST.

Wow, what the Japanese did to the Chinese was far worse than what Hitler did to the Jews.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: The Peacemaker on January 01, 2007, 12:31:59 PM

Wow, what the Japanese did to the Chinese was far worse than what Hitler did to the Jews.

That must've been pretty goddamn grusome.   :o


What did they do?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Arizona Colt on January 01, 2007, 12:59:59 PM
I don't know if I can post these things or not. There were two movies that were incredibly accurate but besides being possibly even more disturbing than CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and SALO, they didn't even scratch the surface.

Some of the things they did were to take the children and bury them waist deep and sic dogs on them even commanding them to tear sat their genitals.

The Japanese practiced cannibalism on there Chinese, British, American and Australian prisoners. Supposedly feasting on the male phallus increased there sexual potency.

They formed rape squads and those who resisted were found with their eyes, noses, breasts, etc...torn off.

They put on decapitation contests (which were featured in Japanese newspapers at the time) to see who could take off the most heads in a certain amount of time.

People were stripped naked, forced into frozen ponds where they froze to death than used as target practice.

Also, the chinese were used as live targets in bayonet practice.

They would force hundreds of men women and children into a square then douse them with gasoline then set fire to them.

People nailed to boards, run over with tanks, buried up to their necks and hacked with swords.

Children were experimented on while they were still alive, mass shootings, people dug graves then killed while another row dug further then they themselves were killed,

Unborn babies were torn from their mothers and hung in the streets, and on and on....

Much of this was done for the hell of it with no reason at all. Much as been made of why the Japanese who had for the longest time been friends with there neighbors, why they suddenly turned so savage.

In Japan there is no mention of the massacres in the schoolbooks save for maybe one or two sentences. Recently, the chinese government has tried to get Japan to apologize but they do not acknowledge that anything happened.

I have a dvd called HORROR IN THE EAST that was shown in abridged form on the history channel that has some startling information about this. There are even accounts by Kamikazes that survived! One says that many Japanese did not want to participate and die in this way but they would be killed if they refused.

It's mentioned in the book that one of the reasons the Asian Holocaust is largely forgotten outside Asia is that for years Germany has countless times assumed shame and blame for their war crimes while the Japanese Government has not.

In  strange and ghastly occurence, the author, Iris Chang, was found dead on a lonely road with a bullet in her head. It was called a suicide.

It's a fascinating book that details the dark side of human nature and the savage and animalistic forces that surface in the face of war. Hopefully, to never be repeated.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: The Peacemaker on January 01, 2007, 02:03:10 PM
Those things are so incredibly cruel and evil.

I never understood how people could be so inhumane.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Arizona Colt on January 01, 2007, 02:20:58 PM
Maybe I should have PM'ed you those details as they are quite disturbing. Those things happened years ago and do not speak for the Japanese people of today but of the government and those that were in power then and are still in power now.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on January 01, 2007, 02:57:29 PM
The James Dean Story. When finished, I'll move onto One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: RallyMonkey on January 01, 2007, 07:51:39 PM
Just finished The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. Just bought The Prestige and Little Children today.

Little Children is so far one of the worst books I have ever read. With such poorly worded sentences such as

Quote
Why was it that other mothers could never remember the titles of anything, not even movies they'd actually seen, while she herself retained lots of useless information about movies she wouldn't even dream of watching while imprisoned on an airplane, not that she ever got to fly anywhere?

That's basically how the whole book is.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 02, 2007, 04:07:51 PM
I've read quite a bit over my period of being banned from this board, but right now I'm working on "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" by T.E. Lawrence.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on January 02, 2007, 05:23:24 PM
Jack Sullivan's Hitchcock's Music. The chapter on Rear Window is worth the price of the book alone.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Silenzio on January 02, 2007, 07:09:48 PM
I've read quite a bit over my period of being banned from this board, but right now I'm working on "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" by T.E. Lawrence.

Read that over the summer.... i like the "old chap" 20s-style English it's written it (even if it's difficult to understand at times)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: BeauButabi on January 02, 2007, 11:42:51 PM
Right now I'm in between Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and The Honourable Scoolboy by John le Carre. I watched the BBC produced mini-series of Tinker, Tailor after finishing the book. le Carre writes really good stuff, definately worth checking out if you're into espionage fiction.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Juan Miranda on January 03, 2007, 02:55:22 PM
I was up 'till half four this morning as I just had to find out what happened at the end of Haruki Murakami's incredible, unclassifiable novel, KAFKA ON THE SHORE. Yesterday afternoon I completed a Christmas treat, Sheldon Hall's fascinating book on the making of ZULU: WITH SOME GUTS BEHIND IT. Lots of fabby details about that mighty movie.

I'm re-reading and playing through Micheal Stean's SIMPLE CHESS at the moment, as my game's shocking these days.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on January 03, 2007, 03:02:17 PM
I'm reading three books at the moment, changing them according to my mood... Life of Pi by Yann Martel and two Czech books, one is a serie of sermons about Abraham (from a pastor I've met personally and with whom we talked a bit on the internet, so it's interesting for me also from this point) and the other is an adventurous book by Jaroslav Foglar, one of the most famous Czech (in Czech Republic) children writers. Because I'm gradually writing a story inspired by it, so I wanted to refresh my knowledge of the original.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Beebs on January 03, 2007, 04:59:06 PM
I've read quite a bit over my period of being banned from this board, but right now I'm working on "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" by T.E. Lawrence.

How is that? and how long? I asked for it for my birthday.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Silenzio on January 03, 2007, 05:05:10 PM
How is that? and how long? I asked for it for my birthday.

It's darn good, and, if I remember correctly, about 700 pages long (give or take fifty pages)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Beebs on January 03, 2007, 05:37:56 PM
It's darn good, and, if I remember correctly, about 700 pages long (give or take fifty pages)

How's the read, is it similar to Lawrence of Arabia?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Silenzio on January 03, 2007, 09:46:33 PM
How's the read, is it similar to Lawrence of Arabia?

It's a very personal account. It's not like "Skeletons on the Zahara" which, because it was written long after the incident, is written in very cinematic terms. This book doesn't necessarily strike cinematic images to you, but it is extremely interesting as it shows T.E. Lawrence's personal reactions, feelings, to the incidents that took place in that time in his life (some of which you'll recognize the from the movie) he talks about day-to-day incidents quite often as I'll remember, just grasping the different personality and culture of the people around him. The first 70 pages of the book or so (as i remember) is just about the situation and what was going on in Arabia, and backround information of the Arab people.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on January 04, 2007, 05:53:21 AM
I liked Life of Pi

I like it, too. Though I haven't made it far into the ocean part yet.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jon1 on January 04, 2007, 08:13:11 AM
I like it, too. Though I haven't made it far into the ocean part yet.
Watch out for Richard Parker.

You reading it in English?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on January 04, 2007, 08:26:40 AM
Watch out for Richard Parker.

You reading it in English?

No, Czech. Richard Parker already appeared, but disappeared again, and now I'm curious where is he...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on January 05, 2007, 05:24:20 PM
Am in the midst of this, just now. Hilarious!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Man-Who-Saved-Britain/dp/0330439545/sr=1-2/qid=1168038825/ref=sr_1_2/203-8599662-0047958?ie=UTF8&s=books


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Banjo on January 08, 2007, 07:00:49 AM
http://www.amazon.co.uk/English-Gothic-Century-Horror-Cinema/dp/190311179X/sr=1-2/qid=1168264350/ref=sr_1_2/026-3667700-8386051?ie=UTF8&s=books

Just ordered this with a gift book voucher i received-any horror fans here read this? ::)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on January 16, 2007, 10:57:18 PM
I'm waiting for Marmota-B to go to Prague and pick up Sidhartha.

I already did and I'm taking it to school today, to start reading. ;)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Leone Admirer on January 17, 2007, 07:17:35 AM
Picked up Nightmare Town and Other Stories by Dashiell Hammet in New York. Great collection, about half way through and you really get sucked deep into the incredible Noir world that he paints. These stories, taken from the crime magazines he wrote for such as the Black Mask, are a run up to the great books that were to follow like The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man.

Also picked up Deadwood: Stories Of The Black Hills by David Milch and Mickey Mantle: Stories & Memorabilia from a lifetime with the Mick by Mickey Herskowitz with Danny and David Mantle.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 17, 2007, 04:42:26 PM
"The English Patient" - I liked the movie, so why not?  :-\


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on January 17, 2007, 05:02:41 PM
Groggy, Groggy, Groggy...... Is it my imagination, or did you have greater critical acumen before you got a girlfriend?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 17, 2007, 05:12:47 PM
Since when do I have a girlfriend?  ;D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on January 17, 2007, 05:20:53 PM
Just guessing. Got to find some way to account for your recent decent into sentimentality ::) Ryan's Daughter, The English Patient . . . next you'll be gushing about Cinema Paradiso! Pod-Groggy, begone! Bring back the original guy.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 17, 2007, 05:24:48 PM
Careful Jon, or DJ will accuse you having. . .  :o . . . a girlfriend!  ;D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 17, 2007, 07:48:43 PM
Watch out for those cooties Groggy.  I hear only a Circle Circle Dot Shot will protect you from the hyper-contagious illness.

 ;)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on January 17, 2007, 08:16:10 PM
I've read both the book & seen Kubrick. ;)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: T.H. on January 25, 2007, 10:10:53 PM
'Something To Do With Death'

'Bob Dylan: The Essential Interviews'


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on January 26, 2007, 10:04:32 PM
I'm reading 5 books right now at the same time, Sibley's New Mexico Campaign, Paddy Graydon the "Desert Tiger", Bloody Valverde (The Battle of Valverde Ford), The Battle of Glorietta Pass, and the Civil War in The West.

Pretty much immersing my self in 1860's SW, interesting for sure.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Tuco the ugly on January 27, 2007, 09:26:06 AM
nothing


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on January 27, 2007, 12:14:25 PM
Quote
It's sole real interest to me was as a historical document of the Beat generation.

I came away with the same opinion, I just read it the first time last year. One thing that was interesting was at how cheap you could get around back then.

If you want a much better symopsis of the whole experience just listen to Tom Waits' "California Here I Come" off the Foreign Affairs album.



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on January 27, 2007, 03:36:58 PM
I was very disapointed with this book. "On The Road" is often listed as one of the "Great American Novels"...along with the likes of "Moby Dick", "The Great Gatsby", etc.

Turkeys all. The problem with filling The Great American Novels category is that the task is usually handed to critics who wouldn't know greatness if it were thrust up them and also there aren't any great American novels to begin with. Take it from someone who has an M.A. in Literature and has spent a lot of time reading the "greats." In case anyone wants to save some time, skip everything in the 19th Century except for selections from Poe, Hawthorne, Twain and Henry James (I'm only speaking of American writers now). In the 20th Century, you can forget everything before WWII (not counting poetry) except for James and Faulkner (and you have to be careful here: a very hit-or-miss author and his misses are wretched), and Hemingway's short stories (run, run from his novels). After the war there is a lot of good fiction, but it's mostly short form (stories of Cheever, O'Connor, Welty, others). The only great American novelist to emerge in the post-war period is Nabokov. You're really better off reading British novelists, of which there are many, many excellent ones. American novels tend to be, IMHO, in the same league with Canadian and Australian novels.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on January 27, 2007, 03:45:13 PM
thems are fightin' words pard  8)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on January 27, 2007, 04:15:14 PM
A case can be made for All The Kings Men being great or near-great. I had to read this in high school, was later assigned it in college also. I was impressed with it both times, but I have not felt the need to return to it since. It is certainly a novel well-read people should know, but should it be allowed to divert attention from worthier works by Joyce, Faulkner, Proust, to say nothing of Austen, Thackeray, Trollope, James, or Hardy? It's a difficult question, given our short life spans.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Juan Miranda on January 27, 2007, 05:34:23 PM
The only great American novelist to emerge in the post-war period is Nabokov.

Ermmm. Nabokov was Russian, and most of his novels were his own translations of books written origionally in Russian (though admittedly LOLITA was written in English). As for MOBY DICK, I belive he was a whale, and not a turkey.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Juan Miranda on January 27, 2007, 05:46:47 PM
That's why I've never picked up "Ullyses".

My fave book ever written, and the novel I've probaly read more times than any other (possibly exepting THE LONG GOODBYE). You have to work up to it gradually though. Do a bit of mind training down the mental gym. At least try DUBLINERS and PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST (where Jim really begins turning his language to the hard stuff, the toffee of the Universe) first.

Life too short? I've yet to read a book that better contains the world than ULYSSES and the 24 hours of Bloomsday. Life's to short not have read it.

FINNEGAN'S WAKE though? Still not got there, and I'm still trying on and off for a couple of decades now.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on January 27, 2007, 05:55:23 PM
Ermmm. Nabokov was Russian, and most of his novels were his own translations of books written origionally in Russian (though admittedly LOLITA was written in English). As for MOBY DICK, I belive he was a whale, and not a turkey.
The operative word here is "was." Nabokov started out a Russian, ended up a U.S. citizen. The novels Nabokov wrote in America in English (Lolita, Pale Fire, Ada, et. al.) are considered American literature. Hence the inclusion of those works in the prestigious Library of America series.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Juan Miranda on January 27, 2007, 06:05:01 PM
I've heard this argument made about Hitchcock and his pictures after he became an American citizen. Hate to say it, but just because he had a different stamp on his passport, he remained a greengrocer's son from from North East London and boy did he sound it. More importantly his art always betrayed his European roots as much (or some would argue as badly) as his accent.

In Nabokov's case the same could be argued, though the Russkie aristocracy where he came from always affected French manners to such an extent he is a more complex case. A book like LOLITA reads as much like a French set novel as MARY with it's outsider POV. For me his best book was INVITATION TO A BEHEADING, which could have only been written in Europe by a European.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on January 27, 2007, 06:13:06 PM
Or what about comedic classics written by Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut, John Kennedy Toole?  Seems like you're selling us Yanks short a bit.

You say that Nabokov is the only "great" author to emerge in the post war period.  I'd take "Slaugther-House Five" or "Catch 22" over "Lolita" any day.

As for short life spans....I'm in complete agreement.  That's why I've never picked up "Ullyses".
Perhaps it will occur to you that Lolita is not Nabokov's best novel (although it is very good). Slaughter-House 5 is not a very good novel, but it did provide the basis for a good film by George Roy Hill. Catch-22 is not a very good novel but it did provide the basis for an equally bad film which provided the opportunity for a very good audio commentary by Nichols and Soderberg on DVD.

I don't doubt that Heller and Vonnegut and Toole seem very fine to you now, but I'd be interested in hearing your opinion of them in about 20 years.

And if one were to read Joyce I would not recommend beginning with Ulysses. Better to start with Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on January 27, 2007, 06:20:26 PM
I've heard this argument made about Hitchcock and his pictures after he became an American citizen. Hate to say it, but just because he had a different stamp on his passport, he remained a greengrocer's son from from North East London and boy did he sound it. More importantly his art always betrayed his European roots as much (or some would argue as badly) as his accent.

In Nabokov's case the same could be argued, though the Russkie aristocracy where he came from always affected French manners to such an extent he is a more complex case. A book like LOLITA reads as much like a French set novel as MARY with it's outsider POV. For me his best book was INVITATION TO A BEHEADING, which could have only been written in Europe by a European.
Filmmakers and novelists don't really compare well in this case, as the first works primarily with images and the second is concerned with language. Novelists can actually change their orientation, perhaps their very identities, by moving among different tongues. A bit of reflection should make you see your position is untenable (and it is obvious to me that you have not read any of Nabokov's novels post-Lolita). Are you seriously going to argue that Conrad remained to his dying day a Polish novelist?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Juan Miranda on January 27, 2007, 06:23:10 PM
I re-read CATCH 22 about 4 or 5 years ago and found that I still loved it (though I knew most of the best routines by now, it wasn't as funny). I still rate it a modern American classic, though Heller never wrote anything as great ever again. When asked in an interview why this was a few years before his death, he rather wryly replied, "Has anybody?"

It's certainly a book that can knock you out as a teenager: difficult enough structurally to seem a challenge, but vivid, comic and character driven enough to remain compellingly entertaining. As such I'm surprised that Pynchon's GRAVITY'S RAINBOW hasn't come up yet, a novel which has a lot in common with Heller's book.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Juan Miranda on January 27, 2007, 06:27:09 PM
A bit of reflection should make you see your position is untenable (and it is obvious to me that you have not read any of Nabokov's novels post-Lolita).

Well, you have forced me into a Nabokovian check mate here. I'll admit that PALE FIRE is every bit as unbearable and awful a read (though I have read it) as anything by campus darling and Great American Novelist, John (why does anybody think his books are any good!?!) Updike.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on January 27, 2007, 06:36:28 PM
Pale Fire is a great minor novel. Again, your lack of a sense of humor has betrayed you.  ;D Anyway,Ada is Nabokov's best.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Juan Miranda on January 27, 2007, 06:44:19 PM
Jings, you can dismiss CATCH 22 and claim PALE FIRE as a minor "great"? Each to thier own I guess. Planning on reading Pynchon's latest?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 28, 2007, 03:10:22 PM
I bought "The Book of Assassins" by George Fetherling at the mall today.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on January 29, 2007, 04:13:10 PM
But did you obey the title?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sanjuro on January 29, 2007, 04:33:16 PM
Some people did in Japan ;D.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on January 30, 2007, 04:17:18 PM
Here's a transcription of an article Ron Rosenbaum did for the New York Observer back in late '99. His thesis is that Pale Fire is the greatest novel of the 20th Century. Okay, even I wouldn't go that far (PF isn't even Nabokov's greatest novel), but at least here is an example of someone who sees virtue in the work. Then of course there is Brian Boyd's critical study, on which Rosenbaum bases his reasoning. Anyway, if you can stand the formatting, some might find this interesting: http://listserv.ucsb.edu/lsv-cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind9912&L=nabokv-l&T=0&P=495


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Juan Miranda on January 30, 2007, 04:35:37 PM
Damn you Jenkins. I feel I have to re-read PALE FIRE NOW (I last gave it a go back in '87). (Tuco voiced delivery!) "It's in a big queue though". So howsabout GRAVITY'S RAINBOW?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sanjuro on January 30, 2007, 10:42:43 PM
Did Laurie Anderson get an inspiration for her phrase "gravity's angel" from Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow"?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on February 02, 2007, 09:01:30 AM
Damn you Jenkins. I feel I have to re-read PALE FIRE NOW (I last gave it a go back in '87). (Tuco voiced delivery!) "It's in a big queue though". So howsabout GRAVITY'S RAINBOW?
I read it when I was on a Pynchon jag in the 80s but it didn't do much for me. I always preferred "V." for some reason.... anyway, a lot of my interest in Pynchon has since evaporated (no, I don't imagine I'll be reading the new one anytime soon). He has his strengths, to be sure, but there are so many others I find more diverting.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 02, 2007, 04:08:56 PM
The Illustrated Man - Ray Bradbury.  One of my favorites.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on February 03, 2007, 08:34:51 AM
Anybody else psyched?

Not at all, I stopped in first chapters of book 5... but my sister is curious. She actually read the last two in Latvian, if I'm not mistaken. ;D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Poggle on February 03, 2007, 03:38:13 PM
Crime & Punishment and The Karamazov Brothers(as it is called on Oxford Classics) by Dostoyevsky.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on February 03, 2007, 03:59:46 PM
I have to poop, and I don't know what book to read. Reccomend me a good biography on an actor/boxer/classic rock musician!


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sanjuro on February 03, 2007, 04:04:32 PM
How about "My Last Sigh", an autobiography of late don Luis Bunuel? It's quite fascinating.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on March 16, 2007, 12:00:15 PM
A poem by Czech poet Frantisek Hrubin, Romance pro kridlovku = Romance for Flugelhorn.
I would recommend it to everyone, if it's translated to your languages... I'm afraid it's not. :( But if...
I'm not much into poetry (though I admit, my biggest reading achievment so far, which I'm very proud about, is having read the looong poem Pan Tadeusz by Polish romantic poet Adam Mickiewicz.) But this one somehow got me. It's quite complicated, especially because there are many time levels and many leitmotives.
One can feel from it the author was old and wise when he wrote it - though it's a story of first love, it's actually much more than that. At first it seems like confusing stream of memories, but when I finished it, I realised it had a strong idea hidden somewhere, and in every next reading I get more and more from it.

(My sister recommended it to me and I'm glad she did. Because when our teacher was talking about it... it seemed... well, like something totally different. I don't like literature being restricted to such terms like "flashbacks". It says only a little about this. I would actually say it's flashaheads.)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on March 16, 2007, 12:37:46 PM
I'm reading "Catch Me If You Can"...it was recently made into a hollywood movie with Tom Hanks and Dicaprio, but don't hold that against it.  Good stuff.

I have general feeling films made after books usually aren't what one should connect to the book... there's a big deal about the new Czech film, I Served the King of England. From what I've heard so far, it's not as good as the book, and since we have to read the book for school, I don't want to see it...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sanjuro on March 16, 2007, 02:26:42 PM
I'm reading owner's manual of new Honda Civic LX for my wife. So much to learn.  ;D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 16, 2007, 04:22:19 PM
"Theodore Rex" by Edmund Morris - I'm really excited because I get to play TR for the school talent show (assuming things work out)!  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on March 16, 2007, 04:32:40 PM
I'm reading owner's manual of new Honda Civic LX for my wife. So much to learn.  ;D

 ;D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Leone Admirer on March 16, 2007, 07:15:12 PM
Currently reading Mickey Mantle: Stories & Memorabilia from a lifetime with the Mick by Mickey Herskowitz with Danny and David Mantle which I am very much enjoying.

Gonna get stuck in to some Mike Hammer stories next.  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Eric on March 16, 2007, 07:29:13 PM
I'm currently reading Ball Four by Jim Bouton in preparation for the baseball season, and The Bathhouse by Farnoosh Moshiri in preparation for my Gender Studies in Literature class and her coming to my school's lit festival next week.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on April 10, 2007, 12:15:34 PM
I finished Cutting It Short by Bohumil Hrabal. Actually, I have to read I Served the English King for school, but with the new film it's impossible to get it... so, Cutting it Short: great fun. If it is translated to your language, don't miss it! It is both funny and serious. It's story of a young woman in the years after WW1, with all the changes, in a small Czech town (near my home, BTW.) But when I write it this way, you don't get the idea at all...
It's a short book, I read it in one afternoon, so I think it's perfect for relaxing.

There's also a film, considered very good, but I unfortunately haven't seen it yet (which I really regret. :P)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on July 04, 2007, 08:18:46 AM
Terry Pratchett's Guards! Guards! I'm waiting for a reminder from library. I'm not a slow reader but I'm just lazy to pick the book in my hand. I've had the book almost a month and I'm on the page 161.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 04, 2007, 08:47:45 AM
"Public Enemies" by Bryan Burrough - book about the exploits of Depression-era bank robbers like Bonnie & Clyde, John Dillinger, the Barkers, Pretty Boy Floyd, Baby Face Nelson, etc., and how their activities led to the formation of the modern FBI. I'm up to about p. 280, pretty good so far.

I might try to read Sir Thomas More's "Utopia" after I'm done with that - I bought it about a month ago but haven't gotten around to it.  :-\


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on July 04, 2007, 11:53:15 AM
"Notes on the Cinematographer," by Robert Bresson.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on July 06, 2007, 06:33:58 PM
I've just finished "The Cat That Covered the World" by Christopher S. Wren. It was fun. For everyone who owns a cat. But also for those who don't, because there were all the observations about the countries he worked in (for The New York Times) and the languages.
(It's about how he lived in different countries of the world and was taking his family and their cat with him. I borrowed it from the bookshelf in the house where I'm staying right now.)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on July 06, 2007, 09:52:26 PM
You might enjoy I Am Cat, by Natsume Soseki, a three volume novel. Basically, its the musings of a creature who thinks it's the center of the universe. Don't know if there's a Czech translation.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on July 07, 2007, 06:27:56 PM
You might enjoy I Am Cat, by Natsume Soseki, a three volume novel. Basically, its the musings of a creature who thinks it's the center of the universe. Don't know if there's a Czech translation.

I'll try to find it. :) Thanks for recommendation!


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on July 08, 2007, 06:00:52 AM
The Half-Blood Prince again, before DH comes out...

Well... what about HP in SW-style?

- Harry is the mysterious, black-haired, green-eyed stranger, who wishes revenge...
- The Dark Lord is the bad guy - massacres the whole Weasley family (they are red like McBains  ;D)
- Sirius Black, if he lived, is the bandit...
- Fleur Delacour is the beautiful widow (of Bill)
- Cornelius Fudge is the railroad baron  ;D

Beginning:
Three Death Eaters waitin' in Hogsmeade. The Hogwarts Express comes, and Harry arrives...
- And Voldemort?
- The Dark Lord sent us.
- Did you bring a broom for me?
- Well... looks like we're... [snickers] ...looks like we're shy one broom.
- You brought two too many...
(And 3 Avada Kedavras...  >:D)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on July 08, 2007, 08:37:02 AM
The Half-Blood Prince again, before DH comes out...

Well... what about HP in SW-style?

- Harry is the mysterious, black-haired, green-eyed stranger, who wishes revenge...
- The Dark Lord is the bad guy - massacres the whole Weasley family (they are red like McBains  ;D)
- Sirius Black, if he lived, is the bandit...
- Fleur Delacour is the beautiful widow (of Bill)
- Cornelius Fudge is the railroad baron  ;D

Beginning:
Three Death Eaters waitin' in Hogsmeade. The Hogwarts Express comes, and Harry arrives...
- And Voldemort?
- The Dark Lord sent us.
- Did you bring a broom for me?
- Well... looks like we're... [snickers] ...looks like we're shy one broom.
- You brought two too many...
(And 3 Avada Kedavras...  >:D)
;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D  ;D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Silenzio on July 12, 2007, 09:49:34 AM
The last two books I read were The Pearl (great) and One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (aaaaamazing, blows the movie out of the water... kind of like The Grapes of Wrath.)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: tucumcari bound on July 12, 2007, 09:56:01 AM
Alec Guiness Biography. Great read!


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on July 12, 2007, 09:57:46 AM
Being the toilet reader I am, I've been consistently reading 'Four-Star Movies: The 101 Greatest Films of All Time'. My friend's dad bought it for me on Christmas.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sonny on July 12, 2007, 10:19:30 AM

I've been reading Asimov for months now, i think he's a brilliant sci-fi author because he doesn't only base his stories on blind fiction, they stem from factual sources, mainly because he was also a scientist. 

I've also been reading short stories in French, because i don't know much of the language and i'm  dying to earn more.

There's a book i started about a year ago but never got to finishing... it's a nonfiction "biography" of the history of intellectual achievements, called The Modern Mind, highly recommendable to anyone who likes History and science.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sonny on July 12, 2007, 10:38:39 AM
oh, i forgot to mention...

i'm also reading The Brother's Grimm short stories...

I've also been reading short ghost stories.  I bought a very good book containing only ghost stories, which i love.  Most of it is English literature, but there are authors from all over the world, mainly from the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 
I had to sleep with the light on reading one of the stories by a French writer whose name i don't recall at the moment.

And some months ago i got into Russian poetry, with authors like Pushkin.  Although the transfer to the english lanuguage has proven to be very bad (mainly because the French were the first to translate the Russian poems and works into a European language and altered the text so much that Russian scholars struggled to decipher the translation back into the orginal text), there are some translations that come closer to the originals..

But works of Tolstoy (such as War and Peace) are said to be decently translated, so no worries on that matter.  Dostoiewsky's stuff, however, is just as poorly translated as Pushkin's.  Either way, Russian literature's quite inetersting because of its historical content, also recommendable..



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: KevinJCBJK on July 12, 2007, 10:43:34 AM
The Half-Blood Prince again, before DH comes out...

Well... what about HP in SW-style?

- Harry is the mysterious, black-haired, green-eyed stranger, who wishes revenge...
- The Dark Lord is the bad guy - massacres the whole Weasley family (they are red like McBains  ;D)
- Sirius Black, if he lived, is the bandit...
- Fleur Delacour is the beautiful widow (of Bill)
- Cornelius Fudge is the railroad baron  ;D

Beginning:
Three Death Eaters waitin' in Hogsmeade. The Hogwarts Express comes, and Harry arrives...
- And Voldemort?
- The Dark Lord sent us.
- Did you bring a broom for me?
- Well... looks like we're... [snickers] ...looks like we're shy one broom.
- You brought two too many...
(And 3 Avada Kedavras...  >:D)

Brilliant!  ;D I've been rereading Harry Potter too. You should type of a Leone style fan fiction ;)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: noodles_leone on July 12, 2007, 10:43:45 AM


I've also been reading short stories in French



Which ones? who's the writer(s)?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sonny on July 12, 2007, 10:53:32 AM
Which ones? who's the writer(s)?

well most are from Victor Hugo, i loved Les Miserables and i always wanted to read the French version but i think i should practice a bit more with some of his short stories before i get into reading Les Miserables in the original text.

The book on European ghost stories i mentioned earlier also has some French stories and authors but i don't recall their names.  My mother borrowed the book and i have no idea where it is... but i'll get back to you on the names.  I don't think they're very well-known.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: noodles_leone on July 12, 2007, 10:55:10 AM
The book on European ghost stories i mentioned earlier also has some French stories and authors but i don't recall their names.  My mother borrowed the book and i have no idea where it is... but i'll get back to you on the names.  I don't think they're very well-known.

Maupassant wrote a few interesting ones...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sonny on July 12, 2007, 11:02:47 AM
Maupassant wrote a few interesting ones...

i read him in school.  I had to read the Awakening, in English of course.  It wasn't bad at all, give me the title of a good short story of his, or one that you like best.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: noodles_leone on July 12, 2007, 11:09:50 AM
i read him in school.  I had to read the Awakening, in English of course.  It wasn't bad at all, give me the title of a good short story of his, or one that you like best.

I'll have to think a little about it (and look for the English titles)... I read them a few times but years ago! My father does actually LOVE Maupassant, and he is even doing a website about him, where one can listen to his short stories (my voice is recorded in one of them :) ) but it's in french, of course.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on August 29, 2007, 08:11:29 AM
Terry Pratchett's Guards! Guards! I'm waiting for a reminder from library. I'm not a slow reader but I'm just lazy to pick the book in my hand. I've had the book almost a month and I'm on the page 161.
So, I had the book for two more months and didn't read a page further of it...

I got Scorsese on Scorsese for birthday present and finished it a few days ago. A lot of things I didn't know before. I had to skip some parts to avoid spoilers.

Recently I'm reading an essay collection called Elokuvateorian historia which could be translated as: History of Film Theory. There are summaries about all the most important film theories, written by Finnish film experts. I just finished an article about Eisenstein. Some of his ideas are rather crazy but there are many viable ones too. I should be reading Kalevala right now for my school but somehow I just don't feel like it  :P


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on August 29, 2007, 08:28:36 AM
I should be reading Kalevala right now for my school but somehow I just don't feel like it  :P

I know that feeling. ;D I actually went through Kalevala, but not exactly read it, because it's loooong and the Czech translation is ooooold... but I'm still fascinated by that thing called sampo... ::)

I bought Wyrd Sisters in English in the US. And I read it, of course. My sister wanted to read it as well (before I went to the US we both saw it in theatre), but in the begining she came to the sentence "The night was dark as the inside of a cat" and seemed disturbed by that... and didn't read it in the end. I tried to explain to her that the cat had to be all right, because otherwise the inside wouldn't be dark, but it didn't help. (She likes cats, especially the one we have at home. That one is dark even from outside.)

Yesterday I quickly went through Seven Years in Tibet again. I already read it once, now I didn't feel like reading the whole thing again, so I just read some parts and looked at the photos again.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on August 29, 2007, 09:01:02 AM
Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian or The Evening Redness in the West"

I'm about two thirds of the way through this and its a Western, but WOW, not your traditional Western, its one of the bloodiest and brutal books I've read. The brutality is interspaced with some strikingly beautiful descriptions of the deserts & mountians Southwest Texas, Northern Mexico, and Arizona.

If you are at all squeamish about barbaric brutalities stay far far away from this book this should be labeled "for adults only".

This is a chapter of the the winning of the West & Manifest Destiny you ain't gonna get in your History Books. You are totaly immersed in a crude way of life and a time period thats as alien as some SiFi or Horror novel but its cica 1850's .

Get a dictionary and it will help to know some Spanish when reading this its full of arcane period language, but its very good.

Its about this 14 year castoff old boy who in Texas gets mixed up with a bunch of filibusters that get bruttaly massacred in vivid detail on the Bolson de Mapini desert in Chihuahua Mexico by Comanches.

He survives and ends up joining a band of cutthroat scalphunters lead by a guy named Glanton and a huge, bald  headed, intellectual nut case named "The Judge". They in turn massacre all the Apaches and other bands of Native Americans of all ages they encounter for their scalps on contract to the Governor's of Chihuahua & Sonora, and occasionally wreak havoc in the Mexican towns the pass through.

This so far has no heros, I'll report back


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on August 29, 2007, 10:10:16 AM
I know that feeling. ;D I actually went through Kalevala, but not exactly read it, because it's loooong and the Czech translation is ooooold... but I'm still fascinated by that thing called sampo... ::)
I actually started reading it once voluntarily(!) but I got only about half way through it. But I think I pretty much know the main details since we read parts of some pretty broad summary in the school a few years back. I planned to read just some summary this time too, but then I realised it's part of my culture history so I should really read it. I have time till 19.9. Sounds like a lot of time but considering what kind of language that is I should start reading soon :-X You said the Czech translation is old but think about how old the Finnish version is. When you've studied Finnish enough, you should try reading Kalevala. If you can understand it throughout, that's more than most of us native speakers can say ;D 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on August 29, 2007, 11:15:14 AM
You said the Czech translation is old but think about how old the Finnish version is. When you've studied Finnish enough, you should try reading Kalevala. If you can understand it throughout, that's more than most of us native speakers can say ;D 

I know that, I think the biggest problem with the Czech translation was the fact, that the translator was making up words when he was missing some...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sonny on August 29, 2007, 12:40:18 PM

Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein"

I love reading science fiction novels because I find them very creative and fun to follow.  This one in particular, however, is very philosophical and symbolic.  I've also read about Mary Shelley's life and how brilliant she was.  It's no wonder she wrote such a great book.

If I were to rate it... a 10/10 would be accurate.  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: mal247 on August 29, 2007, 01:16:52 PM
Do you need to ask?

Tough Jews: Father, Sons and Gangster Dreams - Rich Cohen

The Rise and Fall of the Jewish Gangster in America - Albert Fried

But: He Was Good to His Mother - Lives and Crimes of Jewish Gangsters - Robert A. Rockaway

Bullets Over Hollywood: The Screen Gangster from the Silents to "The Sopranos" and Beyond"
John McCarty

Only just started first book.  It's a bit heavy going - looking forward to last book for a bit of light relief. 

Still amazed at the number of gangsters living in such a small area on the East Side in the 1920's & 1930's.  Before OUATIA I always associated Jews with a group of people wrongly persecuted and slaughtered or successful heads of businesses. 
???




Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on August 29, 2007, 01:17:38 PM
The Metamorphosis.

I'm almost done, but I only read on the pooper.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on August 29, 2007, 01:27:13 PM
The Metamorphosis.

You mean Kafka? We had to read that one for school...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on August 29, 2007, 01:30:07 PM
Yup, that's the one. I like it quite a bit so far.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sonny on August 29, 2007, 01:45:26 PM
You mean Kafka? We had to read that one for school...

I was required to read it in school too.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: BeauButabi on August 29, 2007, 11:39:41 PM
Minus 148 Degrees by Art Davidson. It's a true account of the first acent of Mt. McKinley attempted during the winter. Really amazing stuff, both of what really happened and also of the author's take on mountain climbing in general. Much better writting than Krakauer.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on August 29, 2007, 11:40:12 PM
I like the metamorphisis very very much (wasn't forced to read it though)

I have to finish some books for my summer english assignment

The Catcher in the Rye: finished, id give it a 6 or 7 outa ten
Angela's Ashes: Im not too far into it but so far its alright
The Apology by Plato: havent started this but i might aswell before i get into Ashes

after im done with these im either going to read a tale of two cities, an elmore leonard novel, or keep reading somemore franz kafka (im really beggining to acquire a taste for this guys stuff)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on August 30, 2007, 12:47:14 AM
Yup, that's the one. I like it quite a bit so far.

I quite liked it, too, but I'm afraid Kafka in general isn't exactly my cup of tea. VERY good writer, of course, but just not something I would read by myself, if you know what I mean. From the famous Czech writers I prefer Čapek... both of them.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on August 30, 2007, 03:54:01 AM
Günter Grass: The Tin Drum

Very good.  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: geoman-1 on August 30, 2007, 05:44:00 AM
Günter Grass: The Tin Drum

Very good.  O0
Was the movie "The Tin Drum" based on this book, Jill??  I really enjoyed the movie, although
some moments were quite disturbing.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on August 30, 2007, 06:03:54 AM
yea it was based on the book, I've read the book & watched the film also.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Mw/NNrules on August 30, 2007, 10:55:06 AM
I'm currently reading American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Two reasons: the Neil Gaiman topic, and the fact that S. King said it was good on the back. I don't see why some ppl don't like King, just 'cause his books are turned into bad movies. Or they just don't like his books (an opinion I respect). A lot of his adaptations are good: The Green Mile, Shawshank, The Shining. I've read two of his novels: It, and Needful Things. All that being said, I don't think he's the scariest writer ever. He's overrated in that sense. Ppl shouldn't limit themselves by saying that he's the best. Ppl should read the work of every horror writer before that.
It: 5/5. Best story I've read by him. The story arc is pretty complex, and it's got a ton of characters.
Needful Things: 4/5. Good read. It's black comedy. It's not all that funny, just kind of ridiculous. Set in Castle Rock.
American Gods (what I've read): 4/5. I'm not sure I can explain what I like about it, while I'm still so little into the book.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on August 30, 2007, 12:00:38 PM
Who's dissing King? ??? I enjoy his books a lot. I've read only five or so of his novels, though. But I think his shortstories are overall better. Pet Cemetery I like a lot.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Mw/NNrules on August 30, 2007, 12:06:35 PM
Who's dissing King? ??? I enjoy his books a lot. I've read only five or so of his novels, though. But I think his shortstories are overall better. Pet Cemetery I like a lot.
There'll always be someone who hasn't given him a shot, but thinks he's bad anyways. I'm just a little weirded out that no one else considers any other horror writer who's still alive as good. Or so it seems to me, that he's the most popular nowadays. A lot of his short stories are great. 1408 and Riding The Bullet were good.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on August 30, 2007, 12:19:21 PM
There'll always be someone who hasn't given him a shot, but thinks he's bad anyways. I'm just a little weirded out that no one else considers any other horror writer who's still alive as good. Or so it seems to me, that he's the most popular nowadays. A lot of his short stories are great. 1408 and Riding The Bullet were good.
Yeah, some people just think that anything popular must be bad :P (which often is the case, though ::)). I don't know many other modern horror writers. Come to think of it, I can name only Barker and Koontz, and from them I've read only one of Barker's shortstories. :-[


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Mw/NNrules on August 30, 2007, 12:25:07 PM
Yeah, some people just think that anything popular must be bad :P (which often is the case, though ::)).
;D.
I don't know many other modern horror writers. Come to think of it, I can name only Barker and Koontz, and from them I've read only one of Barker's shortstories. :-[
Never heard of Barker, but I'll add another name to the list: Peter Straub. Haven't read any of his stuff though. What King books have you read, and which do you like the most?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on August 30, 2007, 03:07:21 PM
I've completed Pet Cemetery, The Shining, Carrie, the first two parts of the Dark Tower series, Thinner (under pseudonym Richard Bachman), shortstory collections Everything's Eventual, Nightmares & Dreamscapes and Night Shift. I've also started reading several books but never finished them. I really prefer the shortstory collections over his novels. Even with that few novels read I can see some similarties (in the bad meaning of the word) in them. In his shortstories he dares to try more new things, IMO. If I had to pick up my favorite, I'd say either Pet Cemetery or some of the collections.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Silenzio on August 30, 2007, 03:10:43 PM
The Doors of Perception

Pretty fascinating so far.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Mw/NNrules on August 30, 2007, 03:21:24 PM
I've completed Pet Cemetery, The Shining, Carrie, the first two parts of the Dark Tower series, Thinner (under pseudonym Richard Bachman), shortstory collections Everything's Eventual, Nightmares & Dreamscapes and Night Shift. I've also started reading several books but never finished them. I really prefer the shortstory collections over his novels. Even with that few novels read I can see some similarties (in the bad meaning of the word) in them. In his shortstories he dares to try more new things, IMO. If I had to pick up my favorite, I'd say either Pet Cemetery or some of the collections.
I've got a huge collection of King's work, but I sadly haven't read much of it. :-X.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Mw/NNrules on September 29, 2007, 07:06:13 AM
Started reading At the Mountains of Madness. I'm going to finish this one. Lovecraft's work might seem cliche now, but this is great for the time, and it kicks the asses of some of the movies they were making in his time.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on September 29, 2007, 07:41:34 AM


Skull Comix did come great Lovecraft stories in the 1970's O0

(http://img519.imageshack.us/img519/9758/skull4jz0.jpg)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Mw/NNrules on September 29, 2007, 08:15:36 AM
They used to make little comic book/pamphlet things which came with two or three stories. I wonder what it would've been like if Lovecraft was famous during his life time. Would he have made more, or less?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on September 29, 2007, 11:24:47 AM
I'm reading "Grant Takes Command"


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on September 30, 2007, 09:05:59 AM
Hamlet. In English.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on September 30, 2007, 12:21:04 PM
Crime and Punishment


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sonny on September 30, 2007, 01:10:05 PM

Has anyone read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on September 30, 2007, 02:16:55 PM
Stephen King -  Different Seasons
Released here in two parts; haven't read the other part. I'm reading the story that the movie Stand by Me is based on.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Mw/NNrules on September 30, 2007, 02:35:24 PM
Stephen King -  Different Seasons
Release here in two parts; haven't read the other part. I'm reading the story that the movie Stand by Me is based on.
Holy! I started reading some of those stories a few days ago... I finished Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, and The Breathing Method. I was going to read the whole thing for a proect, but the story Apt Pupil, which I started, disturbed me. I started The Body, too, but couldn't get into it. Changed to At the Mountains of Madness for the project.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on September 30, 2007, 02:37:01 PM
Hamlet. In English.
Wow. Maybe you can explain it to the rest of us.

I've been reading some short stories by Henry James, most recently "The Figure in the Carpet" and "The Altar of the Dead" (which was the basis for Truffaut's The Green Room).


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Ben Tyreen on September 30, 2007, 05:49:02 PM
  The Hot Rock by Donald Westlake:  A team of crooks steals a rare African diamond from a museum in New York City but for one reason or another, they have to keep stealing it and just can't seem to get their hands on it.  It's a good heist movie with Robert Redford and George Segal if anyone wants to seek it out.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 30, 2007, 06:32:00 PM
I've been reading a lot of plays to find scenes for Drama, among them:

- Tonight at 8:30 - Noel Coward (including "Still Life", on which "Brief Encounter" was based)
- Cyrano de Bergerac - Edmon Roston
- Pygmalion - George Bernard Shaw
- Becket - Jean Anouilh (UGH at this HORRIBLE translation!!!)
- Ross - Terrence Rattigan (OMG T.E. Lawrence is a FAG!)

As well as a couple of books (whose titles/authors escape me) about American filibustering in Mexico and a book about political dirty tricks by Joseph Cummins.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on October 01, 2007, 05:49:35 AM
Wow. Maybe you can explain it to the rest of us.

The edition I am reading has a lot of explanations and we will be discussing it in the lessons, so maybe I can explain at least a bit... but not now, not yet. ;D

Apart from that, I am also reading "Longman English Grammar" and such things, but that isn´t so interesting... Yesterday, out of boredom, I took a book by Karl May and finished it today, but it is only the first volume and we dont have the sequel! >:( So, concerning dramatic stories, I have to rely on Hamlet now. I dont understand the words in half of it, so it is really dificult... and I somehow managed to skip all Shakespeare´s tragedies, including Hamlet (of course), when I was reading some of his plays in Czech... :P


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Tuco the ugly on October 01, 2007, 07:02:46 AM
H. P. Lovecraft's "Dagon and other stories"


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on October 01, 2007, 12:27:22 PM
The edition I am reading has a lot of explanations and we will be discussing it in the lessons, so maybe I can explain at least a bit... but not now, not yet. ;D

Apart from that, I am also reading "Longman English Grammar" and such things, but that isn´t so interesting... Yesterday, out of boredom, I took a book by Karl May and finished it today, but it is only the first volume and we dont have the sequel! >:( So, concerning dramatic stories, I have to rely on Hamlet now. I dont understand the words in half of it, so it is really dificult... and I somehow managed to skip all Shakespeare´s tragedies, including Hamlet (of course), when I was reading some of his plays in Czech... :P
Just to make things more complicated, let me "help" you with Hamlet by bringing up one of the (many) controversies surrounding the play, namely, Is the ghost reliable? Because that is one of the things Shakespeare scholars argue about. Yes, the ghost gives Hamlet some info that turns out to be true, but that is no guarantee that all that he says is true (In Macbeth, Act I, Scene 3, Banquo tells Macbeth: "And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,/The instruments of darkness tell us truths,/Win us with honest trifles, to betray's/In deepest consequence.")So the ghost may be mis-representing himself, or, at least, he may have a hidden agenda. It all has bearing on what Shakespeare's attitude towards revenge was. Anyway, see what you can make of the matter . . .


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sonny on October 01, 2007, 12:42:05 PM
Has anyone read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad?

Guess not...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Mw/NNrules on October 01, 2007, 01:36:31 PM
H. P. Lovecraft's "Dagon and other stories"
I own that one. S.T. Joshi offers very good insight.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on October 02, 2007, 11:41:59 AM
Just to make things more complicated, let me "help" you with Hamlet by bringing up one of the (many) controversies surrounding the play, namely, Is the ghost reliable? Because that is one of the things Shakespeare scholars argue about. Yes, the ghost gives Hamlet some info that turns out to be true, but that is no guarantee that all that he says is true (In Macbeth, Act I, Scene 3, Banquo tells Macbeth: "And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,/The instruments of darkness tell us truths,/Win us with honest trifles, to betray's/In deepest consequence.")So the ghost may be mis-representing himself, or, at least, he may have a hidden agenda. It all has bearing on what Shakespeare's attitude towards revenge was. Anyway, see what you can make of the matter . . .

I was wondering about this myself. It´s almost the only thing we are given "for sure", and since the whole play is full of doubts and different points of view, this is rather strange.
I just feel I don´t know how to write about it now... the whole thing is very complex and it´s my first, quick reading.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Ben Tyreen on October 02, 2007, 12:43:51 PM
Quote
Has anyone read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad?


Guess not...

  I had to read it in high school for my English class four or five years ago.  It's a difficult book to read, you can't just breeze through it.  To be honest, I don't remember much because I was confused much of the time. :)  Reading it for enjoyment or cause you have to, sonny?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sonny on October 02, 2007, 08:18:23 PM
  I had to read it in high school for my English class four or five years ago.  It's a difficult book to read, you can't just breeze through it.  To be honest, I don't remember much because I was confused much of the time. :)  Reading it for enjoyment or cause you have to, sonny?

i'm just curious about it.  :)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Kurug3n on October 02, 2007, 10:05:47 PM
Has anyone read Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad?

Been meaning to read for some time because of Apocalypse Now


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on October 05, 2007, 12:49:15 PM
Finished Faidros. Phew... Plato isn't my cup of tea in terms of writing (and some thoughts as well). But I had to read it for school.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Juan Miranda on October 05, 2007, 06:30:46 PM
Just finished Siegrfried Sasson's wartime diaries, 1915-1918, and was quite shocked by some of the ferocious anti-semitic passages. Especially considering his own father was Jewish. One them types I guess? Also read at the same time a rather rare re-print of T.E. Lawrence's thesis on CRUSADER CASTLES, written as a student before WW1. Full of strangely prophetic passages, considering Larry of Arabia's later life.

As a bit of relief from gay Edwardian English soldiers, I'm well into Stefan Kanfer's un-putdownable biography of the Marx brother named GROUCHO, and am more than half way through Umberto Eco's FOUCOULT'S PENDULUM. Reader, I hated this tome for the first 250 pages. It seemed to be filled with the biggest and most pretentious windbags in literature not written by a Frenchman, but suddenly it just clicks and you've gotta go on.

Ah books.

Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Mw/NNrules on October 08, 2007, 03:31:45 PM
Recommended reading from Lovecraft is Winged Death, a story that was basically ghostwritten by the man for Hazel Heald, who came up with the concept. That is why it's the October story that is recommended for all my fans out there. 8) 8) 8) :( :-[. It's about a doctor who has the better part of his career ruined by an old friend of his. He seeks his revenge by sending his nemesis a poisonous hybrid of flies that's appearance is unlike anything seen before. Unforunately, he ignored the native Africans warnings that when a fly kills someone, the person's soul is put into the fly's body. The story writes itself, and it's one of the best horror stories I've read in a while. Not to mention the one of the only. Anyways, if you're easily offended do NOT read this story. Lovecraft was a racist. In about a third of the stories I've read from him, he's shown "displeasure" towards Africans, as well as Jews.
Also: found a cool Lovecraftian picture:
(http://www.wizards.com/hecatomb/images/HC_episode8.jpg)
A Shoggoth.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on October 09, 2007, 01:18:22 PM
Stephen King -  Different Seasons
Released here in two parts; haven't read the other part. I'm reading the story that the movie Stand by Me is based on.
And I haven't read a single word of it after that post ;D Now I'm about to begin Dostojevski's The Gambler. It's for my history course.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sonny on October 09, 2007, 05:58:03 PM

I'm afraid to admit it at the expense of being made fun of but....


i'm currently reading a Manga called Uzumaki.. I saw it at my university bookstore and liked it as i started reading it.  I have never bought a manga novel, and hopefully never will again  ;)... but this one has been a good one, so far at least. I'll review it when i'm done.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on October 11, 2007, 02:49:57 AM
I've never read a manga novel, only went through one in school, but I very well see why they are attractive, so I really am not going to laugh at you. :)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on October 11, 2007, 10:56:34 AM
I'm not gonna laugh at you either...


...if you promise that will be your only and last manga book ever (not probably gonna laugh here on this board publicly anyway but you can imagine what kind of howl I'll here at home). I personally can't stand manga/anime. I'm sorry if someone is a big fan but just the style of drawing makes me puke.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on October 12, 2007, 07:20:56 AM
"The Assassin's Touch" from Laura Joh Rowland. Another samurai crime...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on October 12, 2007, 07:48:21 PM
Guess not...

Long time ago Sonny


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Silenzio on October 12, 2007, 07:50:27 PM
"On The Road" by Jack Kerouac.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 13, 2007, 10:24:27 PM
I am trying to read The Plot Against America by Philip Roth. I like so much ucronic novels but this is really slow to start moving (hope it will). Which is strange considering how brilliant Roth can be.
Also reading Vito Russo's classic The Celluloid Closet. And Paul McCartney's Many Years From Now, absolute must for every Beatles fan.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on October 14, 2007, 03:18:50 AM
"On The Road" by Jack Kerouac.

Great, great choice.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Mw/NNrules on October 14, 2007, 07:32:21 PM
Finished At the Mountains of Madness finally.
AtMoM - 5/5. It starts off with a bang, but the middle segment was a bit slow, and it only heated up again near the end, when they started explaining the whole situation. I guess it's in my top five for Lovecraft which goes something like this:
1. The Shadow Over Innsmouth
2. Winged Death
3. The Call of Cthulhu
4. The Color Out of Space
5. AtMoM
All around a good read if you like Lovecraft's work.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 15, 2007, 09:54:05 AM
I've been fitfully reading "Glory, Glory, Glorieta: the Gettysburg of the West", an account of the New Mexico Campaign during the Civil War and trying to argue that it was much more important than it's made out to be. Very interesting, however I've not had as much time to read as I'd like.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on October 15, 2007, 12:04:54 PM
The chapter in Roger Shattuck's Forbidden Knowledge entitled "The Pleasures of Abstinence: Mme de Lafayette and Emily Dickinson," as a way to better get at Claude Sautet's 1992 film Un coeur en hiver.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Tuco the ugly on October 15, 2007, 12:46:21 PM
Robert Ludlum's "The Matarese Circle".


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Noodles_SlowStir on October 15, 2007, 01:15:08 PM
The chapter in Roger Shattuck's Forbidden Knowledge entitled "The Pleasures of Abstinence: Mme de Lafayette and Emily Dickinson," as a way to better get at Claude Sautet's 1992 film Un coeur en hiver.

I really like Un Coeur En Hiver.  Great film.  Daniel Auteuil's heart really had to be in winter to resist Emmanuelle Beart.  Very beautiful woman.  Love the Ravel score.  Sautet's Nelly And Monsieur Arnaud with Beart and Michel Serrault is very good as well.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on October 15, 2007, 03:58:47 PM
You're right about the Ravel and the character played by Auteuil. And Beart was incredibly beautiful before she had all that collagen pumped into her lips (she looks like a cartoon character now). Hey, this is Shattuck's take on the film, tell me if you agree:

Quote
Claude Sautet’s music-filled film Un coeur en hiver (1992) tells the story of a woman’s love refused by a man who half-believes that such feelings do not exist. Everyone and everything else in the film, including Ravel’s sensuous music, belies his attempt at emotional isolationism.

Shattuck seems to be saying that the Auteuil character is operating on principle, that he sees romantic love as a fiction, and as such, can't in good faith participate in the charade. To me the guy came off as just a cold fish.

I've seen Nelly and Monsieur Arnaud and have yet to make my mind up about it. As far as Beart's film appearances, her most impressive has to be la belle noiseuse (1991), where, as an artist's model, she spends most of the movie nude.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on October 16, 2007, 10:08:23 AM
The Scarlet Letter. For school, of course. Considering there's not much happening yet and a lot of words spent on generally nothing (or at least it can seem so), I read it pretty fast. Or maybe because of that? I started this afternoon and am already at the end of Chapter V.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on October 16, 2007, 09:55:21 PM
The Scarlet Letter. For school, of course. Considering there's not much happening yet and a lot of words spent on generally nothing (or at least it can seem so), I read it pretty fast. Or maybe because of that? I started this afternoon and am already at the end of Chapter V.
Be sure to read the Custom House preface. The novel is horribly distorted if you leave that out.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Noodles_SlowStir on October 17, 2007, 07:02:15 PM
You're right about the Ravel and the character played by Auteuil. And Beart was incredibly beautiful before she had all that collagen pumped into her lips (she looks like a cartoon character now). Hey, this is Shattuck's take on the film, tell me if you agree:

Shattuck seems to be saying that the Auteuil character is operating on principle, that he sees romantic love as a fiction, and as such, can't in good faith participate in the charade. To me the guy came off as just a cold fish.

I've seen Nelly and Monsieur Arnaud and have yet to make my mind up about it. As far as Beart's film appearances, her most impressive has to be la belle noiseuse (1991), where, as an artist's model, she spends most of the movie nude.

Dave, I think I'd like to set up a thread for Un Coeur En Hiver and respond to this.  My verbosity may hijack this thread!  ;D
It may be a good idea because we'd be able to find everything easier and it would be all together.  We can quote over your posts so the starting point is kind of defined.  Maybe it could be a discussion that would continue on...maybe others would want to contribute as well.  What do you think? 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on October 17, 2007, 07:15:21 PM
I'm game.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on October 18, 2007, 01:26:58 PM
Be sure to read the Custom House preface. The novel is horribly distorted if you leave that out.

I've already realised that, but I haven't got to reading that, because I haven't printed it out yet... phew. You know, our teachers provide us all the texts in PDF form. O0 Considering there is always only a certain number of copies in the library and there are maybe 150 of us, it's a great idea indeed.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on October 23, 2007, 08:49:29 AM
Now I'm about to begin Dostojevski's The Gambler. It's for my history course.
Read like two pages of it and decided I want to read Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl instead. They have just left their home, but this far I've liked it very much. Amazingly good writing for a girl of that age.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Mw/NNrules on October 24, 2007, 05:33:43 PM
The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammet. As most of you know, Hammet's Red Harvest is widely believed to be the inspiration for Yojimbo, FoD, Last Man Standing, and some others. So far the book is great. Definitely an easier read than AtMoM.
I'm going to re-read the last two chapters or so of At the Mountains of Madness. There were bits that I couldn't understand.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on October 26, 2007, 01:29:36 AM
I've finished The Secret of the Kingdom by Mika Waltari. I started reading it just because I decided I should have all my Finnish (= by Finish writers) books with me at university, so I took it with me... and started reading it in the train... and couldn't stop. ;D

(The other Finnish book I have (in Czech, of course...) is Rovasti Huuskosen petomainen miespalvelija by Arto Paasilinna. I wanted to take it with me, too, but when I took it out of my piles of books, my father noticed it and started reading it. At first he kept saying things like "I'll stop soon, it's such a dark humour, and it isn't so funny", but, well... he didn't stop. And he was laughing a lot. And kept quotating it. :D)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on November 14, 2007, 12:52:51 PM
Read like two pages of it and decided I want to read Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl instead. They have just left their home, but this far I've liked it very much. Amazingly good writing for a girl of that age.
Just finished it. Simply the best book I've read. No further words needed.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Silenzio on November 14, 2007, 03:25:22 PM
I just started Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on November 15, 2007, 11:17:53 AM
A clockwork orange: i plan on finishing the book before i watch the movie. This is the version with the "happy" ending.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on November 15, 2007, 01:17:28 PM
I should be reading Frankenstein, but instead I was reading such books like Mere Christianity and Three Men in a Boat (everything in English); and also the other things I should be reading, An Illustrated History of Britain and a history of the USA... how would you react on someone who prefers history from a novel? ::) Am I excused by the fact this week we were supposed to read about the Civil War? I consider it a very exciting read, really. ;D Even though I have already read a whole (Czech) book about it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sonny on November 15, 2007, 01:42:08 PM
Simone de Beavoir's The Second Sex...
I have to read it for my history class and also, coincidentially for my philosophy class.
it's very interesting but there are a couple of things i don't agree with, beginning with the fact that her philosophies were kind of extremist, aiming at absolute feminist ideals, even though she didn't admit to it until later on in her life.  The other thing I strongly disagreed with was her views on bearing children. Apparently, she believed that a woman's place is not in the house bearing and caring for children but out in the world. It's a very contradictory philosophy because, even though women should have the right to devote their lives to more than just being housewives, they are also needed to raise their children, who are imperatively important because they are the future.  Time management is the key to being able to do both.  Even so, some wmen (like Britney Spears) should not be mothers period. But that goes beyond the point.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: tucumcari bound on November 15, 2007, 03:18:02 PM

"Schmoozing With Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land, Jihadists Reveal Their Global Plans to a Jew!" by Aaron Klein

http://www.amazon.com/Schmoozing-Terrorists-Hollywood-Jihadists-Reveal/dp/0979045126/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1195160776&sr=1-1

Fascinating read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on November 15, 2007, 03:47:27 PM
I'm reading three books right now:

The Rough Guide To Westerns (2006) - Paul Simpson, which I made some comments about in the general section.

Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller - Reframing The American West (2007) Robert T. Self in depth analisys of the film.

Red Harvest - Dahiell Hammett, interesting read for two reasons I'm familiar with the areas Butte & Anaconda & Walkerville where the action takes place, and of course its connection to Yojimbo, A Fistfull Of Dollars, and Last Man Standing. Pretty good so far my only problem with Hammett is (and I've always though this from reading him before) he's like the Tarrantino of detective writers, he's more dialog driven rather than descriptive, I prefer Chandler, he can paint vivid mind movies. 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: mike siegel on November 15, 2007, 07:50:14 PM
CHARLES CHAPLIN - my autobiography
STEVE MCQUEEN - THE LAST MILE

both outstanding


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Franks Harmonica on November 21, 2007, 10:01:41 PM
Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian"


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on November 22, 2007, 10:00:06 AM
Quote
Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian"

Once the Kid joins the filibusters it really picks up, I also like McCarthy's use of some archaic terms, but his visual descriptions are very "leonesque". O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on November 23, 2007, 01:31:54 PM
It's rather funny when I say I'm reading "The Windhover", because it's so short... I'm supposed to write some 300-500 words about it for school and I don't know what to write...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on November 23, 2007, 01:44:19 PM
It's rather funny when I say I'm reading "The Windhover", because it's so short... I'm supposed to write some 300-500 words about it for school and I don't know what to write...
Surely you can spend a few words talking about the poem's use of alliteration, no? Maybe also its use of enjambment? And the bird is supposed to represent something, maybe?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on November 23, 2007, 02:16:22 PM
I'd rather skip all those technical things... I never was able to recognise accents or what is it called in English. Everytime we did it on grammar school, I always put them exactly in the places where they weren't... I guess that's my main problem with poetry. I love reading it, but I'm not able to analyze it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on November 23, 2007, 02:23:18 PM
But, anyway, thanks for helping me... just by being here to read my complaints about it and trying to help. That's exactly what I always need: someone to share, so it pushes my thoughts forward. :) I think now I have a more distinct idea about it...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on November 23, 2007, 03:29:03 PM
The Last Of The Mohicans - in English.

One of my favourite books, but I have only read it in Hungarian before. PS. I hated the Michael Mann film. It had nothing to do with the book...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on November 23, 2007, 03:43:09 PM
PS. I hated the Michael Mann film. It had nothing to do with the book...

It really didn't. Even though I actually haven't read the book...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on November 23, 2007, 03:58:40 PM
I can't take James Fenimore Cooper seriously (not after having read what Mark Twain wrote about his books) so I don't mind films that diverge from the novels. I quite liked Mann's interpretation: lots of action, and the fort looked really good.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on November 23, 2007, 04:03:38 PM
I didn't like it when I saw it many years ago. Maybe I would like it more now. But I felt the romance there was rather reduntant; and I think that feeling wouldn't change with years...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on January 21, 2008, 02:34:30 PM
Currently I'm reading Dalton Trumbo's Johnny Got His Gun. There should be a law that every nutcase who's considering joining any war ever had to read this book. The chapter ten is the greatest manifest of humanism of all times.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on January 21, 2008, 05:12:17 PM
I read that & saw the film, check that out too


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on January 21, 2008, 11:58:44 PM
I read that & saw the film, check that out too
I've heard it's good but I have hard time believing it because of the nature of the book; it's all in his head. How did they solve that problem in the movie?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on January 28, 2008, 08:13:01 AM
Bernard-Henri Lévy: American Vertigo.
Belated Christmas gift. A very catchy book; and when I say catchy, I mean it...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on January 28, 2008, 05:28:54 PM
Cormac McCarthy's "The Crossing" a Western set in 1926. A 16 year old kid takes a she wolf he trapped from New Mexico back into Mexico, while away on this adventue his folks are murdered thier horses stolen and only his kid brother survives. They head back across the border to get the horses.

Befor that I Cormac McCarthy's  "Suttree" a slice of 1950's Knoxville Tennessee.

All very very good.  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on January 28, 2008, 06:03:53 PM
Cormac McCarthy's "The Crossing" a Western set in 1926. A 16 year old kid takes a she wolf he trapped from New Mexico back into Mexico, while away on this adventue his folks are murdered thier horses stolen and only his kid brother survives. They head back across the border to get the horses.

Befor that I Cormac McCarthy's  "Suttree" a slice of 1950's Knoxville Tennessee.

All very very good.  O0

I'm guessing you read All The Pretty Horses first? Right?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on February 08, 2008, 01:57:34 AM
Zeroville (2007), Steve Erickson's latest, sample chapter here: http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=5964.msg107124#new


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: T.H. on February 08, 2008, 10:54:29 AM
I just read Steve Martin's book about his stand-up career, it was pretty interesting, albeit a bit short. It was a gift, a pleasant surprise though.

I also finished Vonnegut's "Mother Night", wonderful book. I'm pretty sure I read this in HS, but it was much more enjoyable the second time around. Has anyone seen the adaptation starring Nick Nolte?

I am currently reading Carver's "Short Cuts" and Kerouac's "Desolation Angels".


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Ben Tyreen on February 08, 2008, 02:31:21 PM
  I finished McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" this week after about a month of struggling through it.  Written in a very wordy, time-appropriate style, this book is anything but easy to read.  Definitely different from your typical depiction of the old west, especially in the pre-Civl War years.  Possibly the most violent thing I've ever read to, and the ending is pretty creepy.  Difficult read, but I'm glad I got through it. O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on February 08, 2008, 06:19:16 PM
I also finished Vonnegut's "Mother Night", wonderful book. I'm pretty sure I read this in HS, but it was much more enjoyable the second time around. Has anyone seen the adaptation starring Nick Nolte?
Yeah, I didn't think it was very good. Anyway, I've never bothered to watch it twice . . . and I'm someone who's seen the adaptation of Slaughterhouse 5 a ga-zillion times.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on February 08, 2008, 07:31:13 PM
The Hoods  8)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: T.H. on February 08, 2008, 09:20:23 PM
Yeah, I didn't think it was very good. Anyway, I've never bothered to watch it twice . . . and I'm someone who's seen the adaptation of Slaughterhouse 5 a ga-zillion times.

Yeah, it looked like a dud, although I will eventually see it so I can whine about it on the internet.

I have been holding off on Slaughterhouse 5 until I read the novel. I haven't even seen the 80s cult horror film Slaughterhouse.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on February 09, 2008, 03:03:59 AM
Quote
I'm guessing you read All The Pretty Horses first? Right?

No I didn't but I have it ordered, Didn't realize it was a trilogy, but it didn't seem to need the first book for the story, I think the last book combines the two.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on February 09, 2008, 09:20:13 AM
No I didn't but I have it ordered, Didn't realize it was a trilogy, but it didn't seem to need the first book for the story, I think the last book combines the two.

Exactly. I was just wondering. I've got the first two and ain't about to start reading All The Pretty Horses until I have a nice little Spanish to English dictionary at hand.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 09, 2008, 03:21:00 PM
Various books for my various classes. For fun:

God is Not Great: Why Religion Poisons Everything (Christopher Hitchens) - it's a very enjoyable book, Hitchens is a fun writer to read as he makes no attempt to be civil and courteous (see the video of him flipping off a TV audience). Hitchens himself is a rather bizarre, contradictory and possibly sociopathic individual, but at least he's intelligent and humorous about it. This book spells out very logical objections to religion, some of which I share, some of which I think are a bit much. It's worth a look and very persuasively argued, but it's also rather assholic.

The White Generals (Richard Luckett) - A book about the Russian Revolution/Civil War that doesn't focus on Lenin and his gang of thugs! Hooray! I've always found the White Movement to be infinitely more fascinating than the Bolsheviks, a VERY loose affiliation of people with different ideas, opinions, methods, and goals, connected only by hatred of the Bolshies. All that, and they almost won. Very well-written and more detailed than any book I've previously read on the subject.

I also snagged Howard Fast's "Spartacus" (read the first few pages but haven't really gotten into it) and "Spartacus: Film and History" (appropriately enough).


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Ben Tyreen on February 09, 2008, 03:48:19 PM
Quote
I also snagged Howard Fast's "Spartacus" (read the first few pages but haven't really gotten into it)

  The book is very good, it just takes a little while to get going.  One of the more memorable passages from the book is a very real depiction of a crucifixion and how long it takes to actually die on the cross.  Enjoy the book, buddy! :)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on February 10, 2008, 09:50:32 PM
Quote
Exactly. I was just wondering. I've got the first two and ain't about to start reading All The Pretty Horses until I have a nice little Spanish to English dictionary at hand.

Of the Cormac McCathy novels I've been reading so far "Blood Meridian" was the most difficult, agreed, you need a good big Oxford dictionary that contains a lot of archane words, a simple collegiate dictionary isn't going to cut it. And The idea of a Spanish-English dictionary won't hurt either.

Reading "No Country For Old Men" was the easiest "Suttree" also was easy comparatively.

"The Crossing" you definitely can use a Spanish-English dictionary, but by the time you are done you almost can figure out what they are saying its a cool way to learn Spanish. Its also a great primer for learning about horses and saddle rigs, horseback journeys, cowboy camping, etc., etc. Its invaluable info if you are ever inclined to write a Western novel.

I've just gotten a few pages into "All The Pretty Horses" so can't say much about that.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on February 10, 2008, 09:54:20 PM
Quote
I've heard it's good but I have hard time believing it because of the nature of the book; it's all in his head. How did they solve that problem in the movie?

Its either in the hospital room, or dreams & flashbacks, its a disturbing film.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on February 12, 2008, 08:49:02 PM
I found a copy of Shane in my english/drama teachers library, i was so surprised i made a double take just to verify it was THE shane.

Its not particularly long, it would probably take me an hour or 2 to finish it if i find the time.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on February 13, 2008, 12:05:07 AM
I found a copy of Shane in my english/drama teachers library, i was so surprised i made a double take just to verify it was THE shane.

Its not particularly long, it would probably take me an hour or 2 to finish it if i find the time.

I have it at home. In Czech, that is. I quite like it. Find the time.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 14, 2008, 06:58:30 PM
"Cities on the Plain" the end of  "Cormac McCarty's "The Border Trilogy" just started it, but also reading Howard Huges' "Stagecoach to Tombstone" O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on March 14, 2008, 11:41:10 PM
Kirby: King of Comics, by Mark Evanier (okay, maybe "reading" is overstating the case).


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Silenzio on March 15, 2008, 09:44:02 AM
Just finished To Kill a Mockingbird in English (I've read it before) and we're also reading The Killer Angels in History.

Other than that it's old copies of "Guitar World" magazine laying around my room.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on March 16, 2008, 04:48:16 AM
Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters, in English, again. Maybe I already mentioned it here some time ago... It makes me think I should read Macbeth, too.

And some adventures of Sherlock Holmes, parallel with it. Because I bought The Sign of Four and two other stories on DVD, so I got into the Sherlockian mood.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on March 16, 2008, 07:33:05 AM
Manhunt: The 12 Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Ben Tyreen on March 16, 2008, 02:56:53 PM
  How is Manhunt, rr?  I've been looking at this at the bookstore recently but haven't picked it up.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 16, 2008, 03:34:11 PM
Just finished To Kill a Mockingbird in English (I've read it before) and we're also reading The Killer Angels in History.

Other than that it's old copies of "Guitar World" magazine laying around my room.

To Kill a Mockingbird is good. I loved The Killer Angels, at least the second time I read it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on March 16, 2008, 05:20:35 PM
  How is Manhunt, rr?  I've been looking at this at the bookstore recently but haven't picked it up.
I'm only a chapter in, but it's real good so far.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on March 16, 2008, 05:28:43 PM
Just started reading Dune a couple days back. I didn't really plan on reading it but i saw it in my English teachers shelf and picked it up for curiosities sake. After a couple pages i got hooked on it and am really enjoying it so far  O0. I generally don't read sci-fi stuff but this is real good.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on April 04, 2008, 08:04:39 AM
Books I'm planning to read during summer:
-Some Terry Pratchett book
-Frayling's Something to Do with Death
-Finish Peter von Bagh's History of Cinema (great book, though I don't know if it's been translated into English)
-The Bible, (starting from the new testament as everybody advises) and I'm not shitting; I'm most probably going to separate from the church when I turn eighteen but I thought I should read the book before that, in case everybody's been lying to me about its content ;D
-And my school books for Swedish and Finnish (tests coming up in the fall)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on April 04, 2008, 08:40:20 AM
-The Bible, (starting from the new testament as everybody advises) and I'm not shitting; I'm most probably going to separate from the church when I turn eighteen but I thought I should read the book before that, in case everybody's been lying to me about its content ;D

Don't have any false impressions that you could be able to read it all... you could, but it will be hard work. I never did...

To get relieved from school readings, I started Arthur Ransome's Peter Duck again after some years.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on April 04, 2008, 10:09:33 AM
Just finished reading Slaughterhouse-5 and it was pretty good. I want to see the film, as i heard it was good too, but i doubt i could find it at any of the stores around me.

i think im gonna go back to reading dune now, at least for the time being.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on April 04, 2008, 04:59:07 PM
"The Law West of Fort Smith " (1968) Glen Shirley, a pretty in depth coverage of Hanging Judge Issac C. Parker's Federal Court 1876 to 1897, covering the Western district of Arkansas and the Indian Territory. Reading this is like reading the source material for "Hang 'Em High" and "True Grit" a lot of incidents from both films were derived from actual events ie., Jed Cooper in "Hang Em High" bringing in an unusual number of men single handed, Ned Pepper of "True Grit" based on the actual Ned Christie, and the incident where Mattie falls into the snake den happened to a deputy who was lowered into a hole in a cave looking for the bodies of two murder victums only to find a ball of rattlers nesting in the bones.

Has photos, and appendixes detailing the names and details of the crimes of all 88 men hung during Parker's tenure.  BTY Pat Hingle in "Hang 'Em High" is almost the spitting image of the actual Parker.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: mr. mouse on June 29, 2008, 12:41:45 PM
Figured this would be an interesting topic.

I'm currently reading Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Blade Runner has been among my most cherised movies for a long time but I'm only just now reading the book.
I'm only on the seventh chapter bu tso far the book is really different from the movie, and it seems to me that some elements in the book were later used in Schwarzenegger's Total Recall, wich was inspired by another Philip K. Dick story.

(http://www.thephildickian.com/images/philipkdick/philip_k_dick_dad_pb1.jpg)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on June 29, 2008, 01:15:54 PM
I might start reading 'All the Pretty Horses'.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 29, 2008, 03:14:23 PM
I bought a "Complete Civil War Handbook" at B&N yesterday, which isn't at all complete, and I've been re-reading Sabine Prufer's "Individual at the Cross-roads", an analysis of the works of Robert Bolt, and James W. Loewen's "Lies Across America". I might go to the town library this week and pick up some Joseph Conrad novels: Lord Jim or Nostromo. We shall see...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Banjo on June 30, 2008, 12:28:03 PM
From Cowboy,To Mogul,To Monster:the neverending story of film pioneer Mark Damon  by Linda Schreyer with Mark Damon.

Damon of course starred in a few sw's and was the original choice for Corbucci's Django.He was also instrumental in getting Leone to enlist Eastwood for his westerns.

An excellent read costing only £1 or $1 depending on which Amazon you order from. ;)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: tucumcari bound on June 30, 2008, 01:49:20 PM

Steve McQueen: Portrait of an American Rebel by Marshall Terrill. The best biography on the "King of Cool." Great read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Panache on June 30, 2008, 03:37:08 PM
Steve McQueen: Portrait of an American Rebel by Marshall Terrill. The best biography on the "King of Cool." Great read.


didja evr trip over tht doc on him, i thnk your th sam guy i talkd bout it to

i looked on youtub, an dint see it, but it mighta been promo for his wifes book, probly should check tht book out somtime, as it has all th stories an pics from th doc


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 05, 2008, 04:09:57 PM
Today I went to the library and checked out:

"State of Denial: Bush at War III" - Bob Woodward
"Atonement" - Ian McEwan
"Lord Jim" - Joseph Conrad (that should make Jinkies' day)
"Culture Warrior" - Bill O'Reilly

Am about a hundred pages into each of the first two.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Banjo on July 05, 2008, 04:13:01 PM
"The Making Of The Italian Job" by Matthew Field for just 9 pence from Amazon.

"You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!!!" :D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 05, 2008, 04:24:14 PM
Still waiting for 2 Leone related books to arrive (Cumbow & Oreste De Fornari) so I thought I'd check out 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die by Steven Jay Schneider.

Very thick book - 960 pages - full of short reviews and photos from arguably some of the best movies that have ever been made.  First published in 2003 and the author updates it annually.  I got the 2007 edition which includes movies up to 2006.  GBU, OUATITW & OUATIA made it.

My main gripe is that it doesn't include formal ratings for each movie e.g. 4/5 or 8/10 but it's a good coffee table book to browse through from time to time and get ideas. I certainly intend to compare the list with the DVDs in my collection and formulate a viewing list.

An Excel spreadsheet of the movies with interactive links to their IMDB entry may be downloaded from:



http://www.4shared.com/file/37900929/79e60b79/1001_FILMS_2007.html (http://www.4shared.com/file/37900929/79e60b79/1001_FILMS_2007.html)

A simple list of the movies is at:

http://msb247.awardspace.com/docs/1001.txt (http://msb247.awardspace.com/docs/1001.txt)


I have that book, along with 501 Must-See Movies. If you wouldn't mind my saying so A1, I think those omnibus "Must-see movies" books are largely trash.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 06, 2008, 06:06:54 AM
Well I only say as much because I find their manner of selection to be ridiculously arbitrary. The Towering Inferno is a must-see movie but OUATIA isn't (for example)? How do you arrive at that conclusion?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 06, 2008, 07:21:17 AM
Right, I was referring to the other book I mentioned.

I try to watch movies based on what I'm interested in, not what some book says I should see. That being said, I'll agree that the books in question make for decent coffee-table reading, I just don't put much stock in them as a resource or reference guide.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on July 07, 2008, 12:13:30 PM
Selected stories by G.K. Chesterton in English, Russian edition. I mean, a book in English for Russian readers. I borrowed it from a friend of mine, whose grandfather is a translator from English, and he's the source of these Russian-English books for us...
I'm too lazy to try to read the Russian comments, though. I borrowed it as a holiday read.

Before that I read another book by Chesterton. Unfortunatelly, I don't know what's its title in original. Anyone familiar with him? It's a series of essays / short thoughts / observations, with the general idea of noticing ordinary objects and seeing something extraordinary in them. It's great fun.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 07, 2008, 04:40:39 PM
Just for the record... Atonement (the book) is a masterpiece. I haven't read anything so beautifully written in ages. Infinitely better than the movie.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on July 07, 2008, 05:02:47 PM
Just for the record... Atonement (the book) is a masterpiece. I haven't read anything so beautifully written in ages. Infinitely better than the movie.

For real?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 07, 2008, 06:06:11 PM
For real?

Does this incredulity stem from a) your never having read the novel or b) your having read the novel and thinking it sucked?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on July 08, 2008, 01:35:11 AM
Does this incredulity stem from a) your never having read the novel or b) your having read the novel and thinking it sucked?

A.

I loved the movie, and need something good to read. Finished most of my Cormac.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 08, 2008, 04:12:51 PM
I went to the County Library today and nostalgia took control of me. I bought:

Dangerous Mammals
Dangerous Flora
Dangerous Environments
Dangerous Sports

I've brought these books up before (http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=3739.0 (http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=3739.0)), they basically exist to convince children that no matter what you do, you'll probably be killed in an unpleasant way before you go to sleep at night. They made me a paranoid hypochondriac when I was younger. ;D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on July 08, 2008, 07:18:13 PM
is there an installment called Dangerous Books?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on July 08, 2008, 11:41:59 PM
is there an installment called Dangerous Books?

 ;D

Thank you for making me laugh right in the morning.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 09, 2008, 05:45:46 AM
is there an installment called Dangerous Books?

Yes. I believe either War and Peace or Reclaiming History by Vincent Bugliosi wins that title. :D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Ben Tyreen on July 09, 2008, 11:42:13 AM
 I just started The Steel Wave by Jeff Shaara, the second book in his WWII trilogy dealing with the European theater.  He's one of my favorite authors and these haven't disappointed. O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on July 12, 2008, 11:10:40 AM
Yes. I believe either War and Peace or Reclaiming History by Vincent Bugliosi wins that title. :D
then again there is an incident where a man accidentaly gave himself a papercut directly to the jugular using Dostoevsky's The Idiot


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 12, 2008, 03:37:59 PM
Finished Bob Woodward's State of Denial. It was actually more of a "remake" (using filmic terms) of his previous two Bush at War books rather than a follow-up, with a decidedly more hostile POV (although I'd argue understandably so). Very good book overall, although Thomas Ricks' "Fiasco" is a lot better of a hostile overview of the Iraq War. 8/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 17, 2008, 06:11:45 AM
Well, yesterday I finished reading Bill O'Reilly's Culture Warrior, which I quite enjoyed, and laughed myself silly at the bigoted inanities of Michael Savage's "The Savage Nation". Not going to have time to finish the Conrad, sorry.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on July 17, 2008, 12:28:00 PM
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on July 17, 2008, 10:01:13 PM
How long is the watchmen? I really want to read it before i see the trailer during Dark Knight, and on a side note do you think i should see batman begins before i see DK?  :-X


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Kurug3n on July 17, 2008, 11:27:01 PM
How long is the watchmen? I really want to read it before i see the trailer during Dark Knight, and on a side note do you think i should see batman begins before i see DK?  :-X

Watchmen is about 12 chapter with Info for the characters between every chapter.You can go through it in about a day if you really want to.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on July 17, 2008, 11:43:13 PM
I've been trying to find it for ages but i really can't stomach looking through all that manga, and even when i do i always comeup fruit-less  :-\. hopefully i can find it some other day


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on July 18, 2008, 01:39:13 AM
I've been trying to find it for ages but i really can't stomach looking through all that manga, and even when i do i always comeup fruit-less  :-\. hopefully i can find it some other day

Buy it off of Amazon.com. It's about 400+ pages.

You don't NEED to see Begins before The Dark Knight. It would just be better.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Banjo on July 18, 2008, 03:39:44 PM
2 Midnight Media publications:-

BLAZING MAGNUMS(by Tristan Thompson and Paul J.Brown)
A guide to Italian Crime Thrillers.

GIALLO SCRAPBOOK(Paul J.Brown and Nigel J Burrel)

Great stuff and excellent introductions into other essential Italian genres. O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on July 19, 2008, 10:58:21 AM
Not reading this YET, but after the CR review I'm sure gonna get me a copy: http://www.cinemaretro.com/index.php?/archives/2210-ROBERT-RELYEAS-AUTOBIOGRAPHY-BEHIND-THE-SCENES-ON-THE-ALAMO,-BULLITT,-THE-GREAT-ESCAPE-AND-OTHER-CLASSICS.html#extended


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on July 20, 2008, 04:19:54 AM
dj that does sound very interesting, I have a few Cormac McCarthy books in the stack "Outer Dark" and "The Road", that I'll be getting to soon, Also while I was at Barnes & Nobel the other day I saw near and dear to our hearts:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1419594060/ref=sib_dp_ptu#reader-link


I also saw a coffee table book about New York Film locations I forgot who it was by but one of the contributors was Martin Scorsese, but incredibly when I looked throught the index there was no "Once Upon A Time In America" nor Sergio Leone mentioned, odd don't you think?



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: tucumcari bound on August 22, 2008, 12:10:06 AM

Heath Ledger: Hollywood's Dark Star by Brian J. Robb

Great look into the life of Heath Ledger from his early days all the way up to his untimely death.

http://www.amazon.com/Heath-Ledger-Hollywoods-Dark-Star/dp/0859654273/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1219385086&sr=1-2


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on August 22, 2008, 04:14:37 AM
I finished Frayling's STDWD some time ago, a great read O0

Now I'm reading It's Only a Movie: Alfred Hitchcock, A Personal Biography by Charlotte Chandler. I'm skipping plot summaries for the movies I haven't seen (that means most of them).


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 22, 2008, 10:56:53 AM
I just finished Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East by Michael B. Oren a few days ago. It was a great read, I'd recommend it to anyone remotely interested in history. O0

I re-read a lot of Larry Elder's Ten Things You Can't Say In America (one of the most influential books in shaping my political views). I just got back to school, so I'm going to plunder the library of all its Robert Bolt-related works now ;D.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on November 11, 2008, 09:14:29 AM
Recently read Walt Disney: An American Original, a biography by Bob Thomas. I enjoyed the bits about the pioneering work they did very much, very interesting. Otherwise there were some bits in the writing as well as in Disney's character that I didn't like, but overall it was a pleasant read.

Then I read System Of A Down: Right Here In Hollywood by Ben Myers which I enjoyed very much; I could have read it through on one sitting. Lifespanning bios for each bandmember, great stories from the early years and track by track analyses of each album. Myers really knows what he's talking about (altough I don't always agree with him) and he can place the band in the right context. Comparisons to numetal, grunge and overall heavy metal are interesting. If I had to mention a con, I'd say it's the obvious fact that he's a die hard fan which sometimes makes him sound even a bit silly, but he's very aware of this fact and this book isn't meant to be anything more or less than a book from a fan for other fans.

And currently I'm reading The Bible. I'm done with Matthew and halfway through Mark. I guess I have some kind of goal of reading the gospels before Christmas and the whole thing before summer. Yes, I am a masochist... 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on November 11, 2008, 09:57:11 AM
And currently I'm reading The Bible. I'm done with Matthew and halfway through Mark. I guess I have some kind of goal of reading the gospels before Christmas and the whole thing before summer.
The Bible, or just the New Testament?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 11, 2008, 10:35:25 AM
Just got done with A Problem From Hell: American in the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power. Fantastic book, 10/10. Am currently reading Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man for English class and Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, Jefferson and the American Revolution by John Ferling for pleasure.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on November 11, 2008, 11:44:06 AM
Invisible man? wow that's one of the books we might be reading in my literature class. We should have been reading it by now but we were accidently shipped HG Well's The Invisible man and there's not enough copies for the class. Let me know what you think of it  ;)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on November 11, 2008, 12:24:45 PM
The Bible, or just the New Testament?
The whole thing, though I started with the New Testament. I think after the gospels I'll go for the books of Moses.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on November 15, 2008, 12:25:50 AM
I guess I have some kind of goal of reading the gospels before Christmas and the whole thing before summer. Yes, I am a masochist... 

I'm more wondering whether you'd be realistically able to do that. It's a LONG book. I don't feel up for such challenge yet, and I'm really an avid reader.
But, otherwise, fingers crossed. My grandma did it too some time ago, and she started with Moses. I don't know whether she finished.


I started reading The Lord of the Rings again. I'm wondering whether I'll make it over Isengard. So far I've always stopped there, and I don't know why.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on November 15, 2008, 02:19:16 AM
I'm more wondering whether you'd be realistically able to do that. It's a LONG book. I don't feel up for such challenge yet, and I'm really an avid reader.
But, otherwise, fingers crossed. My grandma did it too some time ago, and she started with Moses. I don't know whether she finished.


I started reading The Lord of the Rings again. I'm wondering whether I'll make it over Isengard. So far I've always stopped there, and I don't know why.
Well, I've read The Lord of the Rings two and half times so I expect The Bible to be a piece of cake ;D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on November 15, 2008, 06:06:38 AM
Well, of course I've actually read the whole Lord of the Rings several times as well. But since I got the first two books for myself, I never read further than Isengard. Mysteriously.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 15, 2008, 06:34:12 PM
I've read recently a collection of essays on western published many years ago by an italian professional cinema critic (he also wrote a biography of Fellini). It was fun reading a 1966 article in which he marvelled at how people in Italy discarded the hollywood westerns, "even the ones with the big stars", preferring the local product "even those starring perfectly unknown, indigenous ones". And that was, he continued, because in an single italian western you could see more deaths than those amassed by, say, Randolph Scott in a career. 



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: mr. mouse on November 25, 2008, 12:27:01 PM
Just finished reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.
Currently reading Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 25, 2008, 12:31:54 PM
I purchased David McCullough's John Adams at Barnes and Noble and Saturday and I'm already about halfway through. Great book so far.

Also finished Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man last week for English class - a great read, although the ending was a bit too drawn-out for me.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: mr. mouse on November 29, 2008, 05:32:31 PM
Currently reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on December 03, 2008, 06:52:16 AM
To have something lighter to read side by side with the Bible I decided to start reading the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe. :D The book has all of his short stories (what is it? 66?) but I'm afraid I'll have to return the book before I've finished it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on December 03, 2008, 05:14:13 PM
"Outer Dark" Cormac McCarthy and "The Six Gun Mystique" John G. Cawelti  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on December 07, 2008, 01:53:36 PM
Wilma Dykeman's Explorations. Well, I left out some essays, because I had to finish it for a lesson, so... :P But I enjoyed it a lot, so I'm sure going to read those left out ones when I have more time.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Kurug3n on February 02, 2009, 08:32:56 PM
read The Road in about 2 days because its just so great. No Country for Old Men is a great book too. Started reading All The Pretty Horses but its taking its time for me to get into it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on February 03, 2009, 04:23:43 AM
Once you get into Mexico in "All The Pretty Horses" it moves along pretty good.

I'm just finnishing "Roughing It" by Mark Twain, and also reading "Indian Tribes of Hudson's River 1700-1850"


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on February 03, 2009, 04:43:42 AM
Reading Balzac's La Comédie Humaine, vol. 2. It's ten books, all over 1000 pages.  ;D Dude had many time.

God, Vautrin would make a perfect Spaghetti anti-hero... he's a scoundrel, and yet very wise. And a real tough guy. Has cool lines. I'd cast William Berger.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 03, 2009, 08:49:26 AM
I recently read Count of Monte Cristo (yes, I know, I should have read it in my teens: but I didn't read french then; and afterwards I read something else). The story, until Dantes escape from Chateau d'If (about a quarter of the  total 1400 pages of my two-volume editions) is the greatest turnpager ever written, or about. After that the uselessly intricated revenge plot is a let-down: like seeing a giant killing a mosquito. Still it is better adventure than anything produced currently (I presume). 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on February 03, 2009, 10:39:21 AM
I've never read Dumas's novel, but I did once enjoy Italo Calvino's short story (translated). Don't remember much about it, but here's Gore Vidal's take:
Quote
Calvino ends these tales [t zero] with his own " The Count of Monte Cristo." The problem he sets himself is how to get out of Chateau d'If. Faria keeps making plans and tunneling his way through an endless, exitless fortress. Dantes, on the other hand, broods on the nature of the fortress as well as on the various drafts of the novel that Dumas is writing. In some drafts, Dantes will escape and find a treasure and get revenge on his enemies. In other drafts, he suffers a different fate. The narrator contemplates the possibilities of escape by considering the way a fortress (or a work of art) is made. "To plan a book -- or an escape -- the first thing to know is what to exclude." This particular story is Borges at his very best and, taking into account the essential unity of the multiplicity of all things, one cannot rule out that Calvino's version of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is indeed the finest achievement of Jorge Luis Borges as imagined by Italo Calvino.

I  can't help but wonder if the whole story wasn't suggested to Calvino by the very name of the chateau: d'If.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 03, 2009, 12:31:15 PM
I can't help but wonder why do you surcharge yourself with secondary literature.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on February 03, 2009, 01:23:24 PM
Dumas is primary?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 03, 2009, 01:36:22 PM
Dumas is primary?

Opening up the topic I was afraid you had posted another quotation....


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 03, 2009, 02:00:24 PM
I'm currently reading The Urban Hermit by Sam MacDonald (my Journalism professor incidentally). Pretty funny, though it's basically low-rent Hunter Thompson. Plus whatever shit I have to read for my various classes.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on February 03, 2009, 02:40:01 PM
I read Lynch on Lynch some time ago. Very interesting and entertaining, and Lynch himself makes sure spoilers are kept to minimum.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on February 03, 2009, 04:28:00 PM
Finished "Indian Tribes of Hudson's River", and just started Caesar's "Conquest of Gall", and still reading "Roughing It"


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 03, 2009, 05:25:43 PM
just started Caesar's "Conquest of Gall"

read it last summer. Are you refreshing your latin?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on February 04, 2009, 04:06:40 AM
No an English translation titoli,  lol, but it dovetails nicely with "Indian Tribes of Hudson's River Vol I&II", i.e., Native American Tribes/Gaulls, frontier, etc., etc.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on February 04, 2009, 05:43:11 AM
Uh oh, somebody let rip an analogy and it's really stinkin' up the thread.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 31, 2009, 11:19:46 AM
Right now I'm brushing up on my early 20th Century American history, have just finished The War With Spain in 1898 by David Trask, will start reading Diana Preston's The Boxer Rebellion ASAP, and then The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris immediately after that's done. Also read the novel Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa for Comparative Politics, since were studying Rafael Trujillo, Major Barbara by Shaw for my English class, and recently read Roger Caras's Dangerous to Man, a more adult version of those "Things that can kill you" books I read as a kid.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on March 31, 2009, 12:06:48 PM
I recently read Justice for All: The Truth About Metallica by Joel McIver. Spanning 25+ years in some 400 pages means a lot of summarizing but it's got all the basic stuff. There were interesting stories from the early years and the Napster scandal was presented interestingly. Now I'm reading Truffaut's Hitchcock book. There are long sections I've read previously but now I decided to go through the whole thing. Hitch was a funny guy and Truffaut a good interviewer so I'd say it's a must for every movie lover.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 31, 2009, 01:43:46 PM
I read part of the Hitchcock-Truffaut book but didn't get the whole way through.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on April 01, 2009, 02:41:19 PM
Well finnished "Roughing It" by Mark Twain, then read "Scipio Africanus" just recently.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Kurug3n on April 06, 2009, 07:38:01 PM
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/76/100Bullets_vol1.jpg)

pretty cool so far.must check out more.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 06, 2009, 08:05:36 PM
Man and Superman by Shaw for my English class. I was loving it up until the excrutiatingly long and, dare I say pointless, dream sequence with Don Juan, Satan and the Statue. Shaw lost me about there.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Kurug3n on April 09, 2009, 11:15:13 AM
(http://www.incognitocomics.co.uk/_pics/FS_1311001.jpg)

is good.really good.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on April 09, 2009, 03:06:00 PM
(http://www.incognitocomics.co.uk/_pics/FS_1311001.jpg)

is good.really good.

Read Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina. Really good as well.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 09, 2009, 03:09:20 PM
The Revolutionist's Handbook. More gobbledegook and intellectual masturbation by Shaw. As if Act III of Man and Superman wasn't enough, we have supplementary material too! Gimme Major Barbara or Pygmalion any day.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 09, 2009, 06:41:02 PM
read "Scipio Africanus" just recently.

By whom? I've read last year Greater Than Napoleon by Liddel-Hart and it was brilliant though written almost 90 years old.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on April 10, 2009, 04:18:15 AM
The very same  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Kurug3n on April 10, 2009, 11:54:40 PM
(http://images1.wikia.nocookie.net/marvel_dc/images/thumb/7/74/100_Bullets_-_Hang_Up_on_the_Hang_Low.jpg/300px-100_Bullets_-_Hang_Up_on_the_Hang_Low.jpg)

getting better and better.


Read Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina. Really good as well.


will check out after im done with 100 bullets.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sonny on April 26, 2009, 12:01:13 PM
"IBM and the Holocaust" by Edwin Black

Very interesting (and disturbing) history of how IBM was involved with the Nazis, the method that the Nazis used to identify the jews for the final solution was crafted by IBM. They used a punch card system to identify the jewish families in Germany and Poland, that's how the extermination was so efficient.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 27, 2009, 06:55:25 AM
Lawrence and Aaronsohn by Ronald Florence - Shows how two British intelligence agents during WWI helped plant the seeds for the Arab-Israeli conflicts that we've been dealing with for the past sixty-plus years. The biographical info on Lawrence was pretty much old hat for me, but Aaron Aaronsohn is/was certainly an interesting individual to be introduced to. The book has a great opening but turns into a dual biography; what's happening is interesting but Florence's style leaves him after awhile. Worth reading though.

How Hitler Could Have Won World War II by Bevin Alexander - The title is fairly misleading. The first few chapters do show how Hitler might have won the war, strategic situations he could or should have made, but the rest of the book is pretty much a straightforward recounting of WWII. Lots of strategic/tactical detail but it becomes dry after awhile. Not terribly long, only about 300 pages, but probably not worth revisiting down the road.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: noodles_leone on April 27, 2009, 07:01:45 PM
Martin Eden, by Jack London. I still have to think about it in order to decide if it is great or just good but immature.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sonny on April 27, 2009, 07:07:24 PM
Martin Eden, by Jack London. I still have to think about it in order to decide if it is great or just good but immature.

I think your latter judgment may be the most accurate..


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: noodles_leone on April 27, 2009, 07:16:06 PM
I'm afraid you're right... Still, many facinating points in this book.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: noodles_leone on April 27, 2009, 08:18:47 PM
"IBM and the Holocaust" by Edwin Black

Very interesting (and disturbing) history of how IBM was involved with the Nazis, the method that the Nazis used to identify the jews for the final solution was crafted by IBM. They used a punch card system to identify the jewish families in Germany and Poland, that's how the extermination was so efficient.

You didn't even finished the book, liar.
 :D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Sonny on April 27, 2009, 08:56:13 PM
oh well excuse me... i'm almost done with the book, i'm on page 333 out of a 420 page book.. forgive my soul!  :P




Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 28, 2009, 07:58:52 PM
Read about half of Public Enemies today, hopefully I'll finish it tomorrow or Thursday. I gave this one a go two or three years back but the end of summer prevented me from finishing it; I thought a re-read was in order given that the film's coming out in about two months. O0 Great book and definitely recommended, although I'm still leery about the movie.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on May 01, 2009, 12:39:40 PM
I'm reading Graham Greene's Ways of Escape now. It's my first book by him, and because a lot of it concerns his other books, it's not quite the best choice, I guess... but on the other hand, I like learning about the ways he wrote them. Now I'm somewhere in the 50's and the way he describes all the conflicts in the world he observed - some of them I never heard about before - that's really an interesting, fascinating read.

It's actually Christmas gift from my aunt which I got this Tuesday. ;D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on May 05, 2009, 09:09:06 AM
Reading the Bible is not coming along exactly as I planned. This far I'm through only with the the Gospels and Genesis. Looks like it's gonna take a year or two to finish the whole thing. And I haven't found God yet but I have found some other interesting things, nevertheless.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on May 05, 2009, 03:34:00 PM
And I haven't found God yet but I have found some other interesting things, nevertheless.
You don't find God, He finds you.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 05, 2009, 05:04:15 PM
About four-fifths of the way through Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August. Very good but I'm trying to pace myself with it to reduce history burn-out.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on May 06, 2009, 02:01:01 AM
You don't find God, He finds you.
I think He won't find me either but I'm sure he would find some interesting things if He took a look down here.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on May 06, 2009, 05:40:57 AM
I think He won't find me either

You never know. ;)

I think I told you it would take a long time to read the whole thing... Couldn't resist. Sorry.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Tuco the ugly on May 06, 2009, 07:26:44 AM
I think He won't find me either but I'm sure he would find some interesting things if He took a look down here.

You filthy mouthed heretic!! How dare you blasphemy?? How dare you???

BURN HIM!!!!!


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on May 06, 2009, 08:19:13 AM
I think I told you it would take a long time to read the whole thing... Couldn't resist. Sorry.
Thanks for reminding  :D In theory it could have been possible to finish it by summer but the reality turned out to be something else. It's so dry and I also have better things to do...like watching movies.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Tuco the ugly on May 06, 2009, 09:52:45 AM
You can't read the Bible like a novel, at once. You read something, and then you think, until it makes sense.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on May 06, 2009, 01:49:12 PM
You can't read the Bible like a novel, at once. You read something, and then you think, until it makes sense.
That way I'll never finish it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Tuco the ugly on May 06, 2009, 03:05:04 PM
Well, if you start trying at 18 you won't for sure. I believe you're a smart fella for your age, but there's the right time for everything in life, and for the Bible it takes time.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on May 07, 2009, 01:03:07 AM
I think He won't find me either but I'm sure he would find some interesting things if He took a look down here.

Only God I need: http://www.badkarmaproductions.com/jc/


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on May 07, 2009, 02:23:13 AM
You can't read the Bible like a novel, at once. You read something, and then you think, until it makes sense.

That's the reason why I haven't read the whole Bible yet, and why I probably never will. :D I always read just small portions, and forget to continue...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Kurug3n on July 20, 2009, 10:53:25 PM
I've just read Save Me From Myself by Brian 'Head' Welch. Former Lead guitarist for Korn.

and

Got The Life by Fieldy. Bassist for Korn

Both are autobiographies and great.

next to read are Fight Club and Naked Lunch


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on July 21, 2009, 04:59:40 PM
I'm reading "Tales of H.P. Lovecraft" selected and edited by Joyce Carol Oates and just picked up a softcover issue of "Gangs Of New York" an informal History of the Underworld by Herbert Asbury.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 21, 2009, 05:45:57 PM
I've just finished The Three Musketeers. I presume nobody here read it, uh? Dumas is a great storyteller, he can go on writing hundreds and hundreds of pages without boring you. Still I think he should have trimmed his narratives, at least when publishing them in book form (the magazines paying by word were another matter). Anyway for those interested in popular movies and fiction this and Count of Montecristo should be mandatory reading. 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on July 21, 2009, 06:38:17 PM
I have read Three Musketeers as well along with a portion of Montecristo in grade school. Couldn't agree with you more, Dumas never bores even when a piece is as long and near plotless as Musketeers. Had the great honor of performing as Athos in the Ken Ludvig adaptation of the work (not an apaptation i care for but i fantastic opportunity nonetheless)

I'm gonna have to read The Vicomte of Bragelonne eventually but it's such a long book ive been putting it off for ages

I'm reading Blood Meridian after hearing CJ and Whalestoe talk about it. So far it's really fantastic stuff, Probably one of the only books i really love out of the last 50 years.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on July 22, 2009, 11:04:38 AM
I've just finished The Three Musketeers. I presume nobody here read it, uh?

I actually have, too, although I read only the first part... not all those sequels.


Last book I read - if it counts as a book - was Epistle to the Romans, yesterday, while travelling to Brno to pay my rent. I took no express trains, because it comes out much cheaper in summer. I thought it would suffice me for the whole journey, which was about six hours, but I was finished about halfway through. :P Anyway, it was great; you always hear certain parts cited, but without the context...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 22, 2009, 12:17:36 PM
I actually have, too, although I read only the first part... not all those sequels.

By "all those sequels" you mean Twenty Years Later and The Viscount of Bragelonne?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on July 22, 2009, 12:32:58 PM
I have read Three Musketeers as well along with a portion of Montecristo in grade school. Couldn't agree with you more, Dumas never bores even when a piece is as long and near plotless as Musketeers. Had the great honor of performing as Athos in the Ken Ludvig adaptation of the work (not an apaptation i care for but i fantastic opportunity nonetheless)

I'm gonna have to read The Vicomte of Bragelonne eventually but it's such a long book ive been putting it off for ages

I'm reading Blood Meridian after hearing CJ and Whalestoe talk about it. So far it's really fantastic stuff, Probably one of the only books i really love out of the last 50 years.

Speaking of Blood Meridian, I'm re-reading it again!


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on July 22, 2009, 02:41:35 PM
By "all those sequels" you mean Twenty Years Later and The Viscount of Bragelonne?

Yeah, I guess so. I believe in Czech it was something like Twenty Years Later and Yet Another Ten Years Later, which definitely makes it sound silly... and you easily lose track of how many of them there actually are.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Kurug3n on August 15, 2009, 07:19:06 PM
Naked Lunch.

 :o


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on August 16, 2009, 04:50:23 AM
Return of the King. I finally own the whole Lord of the Rings in Czech now. Although I still love most reading my Two Towers in English... it's such a lovely over-40-years-old book in red canvas.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 16, 2009, 12:18:46 PM
I started re-reading Stanley Karnow's excellent Vietnam: A History today. A few other Goosebumps books in the recent past, too. I'm giving up on Lord Jim, this is my second crack at it and I think it's just not for me.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on August 17, 2009, 10:56:42 PM
Bought the complete plays of Anton Chekhov and gonna start it up with The Seagull seeing as one my favorite local theatre company will be producing it soon. I'll probably start reading Barry Lyndon shortly afterwards.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 18, 2009, 06:00:22 AM
Bought the complete plays of Anton Chekhov and gonna start it up with The Seagull seeing as one my favorite local theatre company will be producing it soon. I'll probably start reading Barry Lyndon shortly afterwards.

Do you enjoy Chekhov? I had to read a bunch of his plays for an English class last semester and found him insufferable.

I started reading Barry Lyndon at some point last year but didn't get too far into it. Not because it was bad necessarily, I just didn't have enough time to commit to it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on August 18, 2009, 06:14:41 AM
Do you enjoy Chekhov? I had to read a bunch of his plays for an English class last semester and found him insufferable.
Maybe you have to see them performed. Also, maybe he's one of those artists--like Henry James--who can only be appreciated after you turn 40.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on August 18, 2009, 05:07:32 PM
I've never fully read any of Chekhov's stuff but i bought it for several reasons

1. (again) Favorite local theatre performing it, If they can make Andrew Llyodd Webber barely tolerable then they can make anything look good.
2. Had a nice coupon for 40% off making the 24ish dollar book roughly 15 dollars (giving me enough money to buy the film version of "inheriit the wind"
3. As Groggy illustrated, This is something im going to have to read anyways so might as well be now.
4. I'm no good with librairys (can never turn things in on time) so i buy my books instead nowadays.
5. Russian Literature is my favorite brand of world literature, so i figured that it was something in my safety zone.

I've read the first act of the seagull and so far so good but i accidently caught whiff of the last line so now i know much more then i wanted to know  :-X


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 18, 2009, 06:04:10 PM
Maybe you have to see them performed. Also, maybe he's one of those artists--like Henry James--who can only be appreciated after you turn 40.

Maybe. It could also be that sandwiched in between Ibsen, Strindberg, Nietzsche and Shaw the last thing I needed was more pessimism about the sorry state of humanity.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on August 20, 2009, 12:31:06 PM
I saw a series of his short stories/plays performed, and that was quite fun. Especially The Bear. (Which, funnily, shares its name with one of my favourite films, although they have nothing in common outside the title.)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on August 20, 2009, 03:01:54 PM
Ask the Dust by John Fante. Great read.

Now onto Waiting for the Barbarians.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on August 21, 2009, 06:35:24 AM
Re-reading Les rios maudits (The Accursed Kings) for third? fourth? time. One of the best historical novels ever. Lot of nasty characters and almost everyone bites the dust sooner or later. Inquisition, intrigues and lots of poisonings. And also adultery.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on August 28, 2009, 11:27:00 AM
There are very few opportunities to watch movies in the army so I've been reading a lot recently (according to my personal standards, that is).

Muovikorvo by Tommi Liimatta. Liimatta is one of my favorite songwriters, so I decided to check out his book which turned out to be really good. Not much happens but Liimatta's language is very interesting and his observations of life are peculiar yet completely true. Marmota, I recommend you read this at some point (have you read any novels in Finnish yet, BTW?)

My Autobiography by Charlie Chaplin. I really enjoyed up to the point when he got really famous. The stories about his childhood and career in theater are interesting but after that the book becomes more or less a list of the celebrities he was friends with. Not much is told about the making of his movies.

Right now I'm reading Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea, still about 40 pages to go. I quite like it, also because it's so short. I tend to like this kind of simplified conflicts between man and nature, but occasionally the bits about the boy are too sentimental.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 29, 2009, 10:25:24 AM
Well one of my classes has Noam Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival as a textbook. I may read it on my own volition since I've never given Chomsky a fair shake, though I expect to disagree vehemently with his political views (one of the passages I skimmed through compared the US to Nazi Germany in fairly hyperbolic terms).

I didn't know you were in the Army moviesceleton. :o Presumably you're doing national service?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on August 29, 2009, 11:06:41 AM
Well one of my classes has Noam Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival as a textbook. I may read it on my own volition since I've never given Chomsky a fair shake, though I expect to disagree vehemently with his political views (one of the passages I skimmed through compared the US to Nazi Germany in fairly hyperbolic terms).

I didn't know you were in the Army moviesceleton. :o Presumably you're doing national service?

From what I know of your political views, I don't see how you would ever agree with Chomsky or even remotely give him a "fair shake".


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 29, 2009, 11:25:05 AM
Agree, almost certainly not. That doesn't preclude me from reading it though. If I can read Howard Zinn and enjoy him, I can probably put up with Chomsky.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on August 29, 2009, 11:28:12 AM
Marmota, I recommend you read this at some point (have you read any novels in Finnish yet, BTW?)

Thanks for the tip. I think I like books with interesting use of language, so hopefully I'll be able to read it one day.
I haven't read any whole novels yet. Just parts of books. (I loved the chapter from Daniel Katz's Kun isoisä Sumomeen hiihti we read in school, BTW. I loved its humor.) I downloaded Quo Vadis in Finnish from Project Guttenberg in hopes of reading it in summer, but didn't get to it yet. I chose that one because I know it well in Czech and thought it would be easier as a start for reading long works. What I read of it, here and there, was like that - easier to understand, because I knew it already.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on August 29, 2009, 04:22:10 PM
Well one of my classes has Noam Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival as a textbook. I may read it on my own volition since I've never given Chomsky a fair shake, though I expect to disagree vehemently with his political views (one of the passages I skimmed through compared the US to Nazi Germany in fairly hyperbolic terms).

I didn't know you were in the Army moviesceleton. :o Presumably you're doing national service?
That's correct. And it sucks hairy monkey balls, if you ask me. Still 132 days to go...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Dust Devil on August 29, 2009, 04:25:20 PM
Still 132 days to go...

Think positive. Try counting backwards or something.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on August 30, 2009, 01:37:30 AM
That's correct. And it sucks hairy monkey balls, if you ask me. Still 132 days to go...

Which reminds me I'm happy that there's no national service here anymore, even when I'm a girl.
It has its positive points, though. My father served in the town my mom was from, and so did her father before.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on August 30, 2009, 01:48:29 PM
Which reminds me I'm happy that there's no national service here anymore, even when I'm a girl.
It has its positive points, though. My father served in the town my mom was from, and so did her father before.
You mean, that's how they met?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on August 30, 2009, 03:43:23 PM
You mean, that's how they met?

My grandparents did. My parents actually met before that, but it was convenient for them.


I started reading Neil Gaiman's American Gods. I'm wondering what will it turn out to be.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 02, 2009, 10:14:56 PM
Just read Ibsen's Enemy of the People. Dr. Whatshisdick is so fucking annoying, pigheaded and self-righteous I couldn't possibly be on his side. One of the most obnoxious literary characters I've ever come across.

I'm gonna try and read Larry McMurtry's novel about Pretty Boy Floyd in the near-future if I can find the time.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on September 03, 2009, 02:13:59 AM
I finished American Gods; it's one of those things that I read in every free moment until I finish it... As such, it doesn't give me much time to think about it. So let's just say, it didn't let me down. Neil Gaiman's certainly becoming one of my favourite writers. I think it's because I like his endings.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on September 03, 2009, 02:00:38 PM
Christopher Paolini: Brisingr 7/10

Not bad. He definitely gets better as he ages. And it stopped being a Star Wars ripoff. Eragon stopped being a vegetarian. Galby has his "horcruxes" now. Oromis didn't get all Yoda. He got BADASS!  O0
I really wait for the end, although the only real question is "What Happens To Murtagh?"


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Kurug3n on September 04, 2009, 02:33:43 PM
Last Exit To Brooklyn

by
Hubert Selby Jr.



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 07, 2009, 01:33:27 PM
Starting to read Larry McMurtry's Pretty Boy Floyd novel. Having trouble finding time to really get into it.

Also read the first few chapters of Blood Meridian at a Barnes and Noble, along with one of the latest Goosebumps books.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 11, 2009, 05:19:54 PM
I finished the Pretty Boy Floyd book a few nights ago. Liked it, didn't love it, but it was very easy to read at least.

I started reading The Amityville Horror today. I'm trying to take it as a work of fiction rather than a "true story" and judge it from that perspective, since it's almost certainly bunk.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on September 17, 2009, 05:49:39 PM
Reading Moby Dick, or The Whale and couldn't be happier about it. I'm now about 120 pages, give or take, in and loving it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 17, 2009, 08:26:04 PM
Reading Moby Dick, or The Whale and couldn't be happier about it. I'm now about 120 pages, give or take, in and loving it.

Lucky. I hated that one.

If I can somehow find time to read such a massive tome, I'm hoping to take another crack at Jeremy Wilson's authorized biography of T.E. Lawrence. (Being the busy bee I am though, I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't.) Also got On the Track of Unknown Animals by Bernard Heuvelmans, widely considered the founding work of the wonderfully esoteric field of cryptozoology.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on September 17, 2009, 10:28:30 PM
Lucky. I hated that one.

If I can somehow find time to read such a massive tome, I'm hoping to take another crack at Jeremy Wilson's authorized biography of T.E. Lawrence. (Being the busy bee I am though, I wouldn't be surprised if I didn't.) Also got On the Track of Unknown Animals by Bernard Heuvelmans, widely considered the founding work of the wonderfully esoteric field of cryptozoology.

Why did you not like Moby Dick? Just curious.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 17, 2009, 11:55:44 PM
The story was interesting and the writing style wasn't bad, but the endless, needless digressions kept throwing me out of it (the chapters on the scientific classification of whales, for instance). Plus Ahab was the only character in the story who seemed fully realized. Maybe saying I hate it is overstating the case - I was, after all, able to get the whole way through it, which can't be said of many another novel.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on September 18, 2009, 12:04:40 AM
well for my World Lit class i had the pleasure to read Candide for the umpteenth time and a virgin reading of Ibsen's A Doll's house. I'm supposed to read Kafka's The Metamorphosis but I've read it so many times i might as well memorize it. I'll read it again (truth be told it's one of my favorite short stories/novella) but I'll spend most of the week reading next weeks book, The Stranger.

Whalestoe, you wouldn't happen to be reading Moby Dick as a companion piece to Blood Meridian would you?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on September 18, 2009, 12:13:32 AM
The story was interesting and the writing style wasn't bad, but the endless, needless digressions kept throwing me out of it (the chapters on the scientific classification of whales, for instance). Plus Ahab was the only character in the story who seemed fully realized. Maybe saying I hate it is overstating the case - I was, after all, able to get the whole way through it, which can't be said of many another novel.

Hahaha, thank you. I've heard of the chapters that read more like papers from a whaling novel, but am quite looking forward to it nonetheless.

Whalestoe, you wouldn't happen to be reading Moby Dick as a companion piece to Blood Meridian would you?

No, I'm not. Purely out of fun. Which leads to me ignoring my English classes assigned readings for a bit! Why do you ask?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Atlas2112 on September 18, 2009, 12:19:48 AM
Apparently there are a lot of references to Moby Dick in Blood Meridian and i figured you may of heard of it. I guess now you can keep that in mind when you read Moby Dick, but don't stress yourself looking, I only heard of a couple allusions.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on September 18, 2009, 12:23:51 AM
Apparently there are a lot of references to Moby Dick in Blood Meridian and i figured you may of heard of it. I guess now you can keep that in mind when you read Moby Dick, but don't stress yourself looking, I only heard of a couple allusions.

Well, I have heard of those references in Blood Meridian. One so far, that I have encountered, is the idea of a prophet predicting doom for The Kid in Blood Meridian. There is a similar prophet in Moby Dick. I'll keep an eye out for more.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 18, 2009, 10:10:58 AM
a virgin reading of Ibsen's A Doll's house.

Have fun with that. I love A Doll's House but I'm pretty ambivalent towards Ibsen's work as a whole, and I HATE An Enemy of the People.

Metamorphosis is one of those stories that's more interesting than good, though it was quite easy to do a Marxist analysis of it for my senior high English class.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 22, 2009, 07:18:54 PM
Read the first 150 pages of Wilson's Lawrence bio, a bit dry so far (though I'm waiting for the good stuff and not his childhood and college life). So far he's done a pretty thorough job of quelching the "Lawrence is gay" apocrypha, if nothing else; hope to get into WWI/The Arab Revolt in the next day or so (have a four day weekend in effect due to the G-20). The Heuvelmans book might have to wait.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on September 23, 2009, 01:24:09 AM
Beowulf, as translated  into more modern English by certain Grimmere or what the name was, from Project Gutenberg.
I was surprised at how quickly I got into it, so that some of the translator's explanations were unnecessary for me. On the other hand, there were other places, especially the complicated kinships, where I got completely lost...
For a reader of J.R.R. Tolkien, it's really fun to pick up the references, such as the dragon on whom Smaug is clearly based, or the name of one of the Rohirs. ;)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 23, 2009, 10:34:25 AM
I've read Beowulf a number of times. It's pretty cool.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on September 23, 2009, 02:38:41 PM
For a reader of J.R.R. Tolkien, it's really fun to pick up the references, such as the dragon on whom Smaug is clearly based, or the name of one of the Rohirs. ;)
If you enjoy that, you should go through Wagner's Ring. I'm not sure if Tolkien knew Wagner, or if he and Wagner were just drawing from the same sources, but the correspondences are pretty cool nonetheless.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on September 23, 2009, 11:26:12 PM
About halfway through Moby-Dick now. Still liking it a lot.

Anyways, I just purchased The Complete Stories and Wise Blood by Flannery O'Connor to read afterwards.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on September 24, 2009, 11:44:12 AM
If you enjoy that, you should go through Wagner's Ring. I'm not sure if Tolkien knew Wagner, or if he and Wagner were just drawing from the same sources, but the correspondences are pretty cool nonetheless.

Maybe both: Tolkien knew it (at least C.S. Lewis did) and they both drew from the same sources.
But I don't think I'll go through it anytime soon. There are many many other things I want to go through...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on September 24, 2009, 12:13:03 PM
Maybe both: Tolkien knew it (at least C.S. Lewis did) and they both drew from the same sources.
But I don't think I'll go through it anytime soon. There are many many other things I want to go through...
Yeah, there's not enough time for everything, sure, I understand. Do what I did and read the comic that P. Craig Russell did of it. A fabulous adaptation.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on September 24, 2009, 03:49:56 PM
Do what I did and read the comic that P. Craig Russell did of it. A fabulous adaptation.

I suspect it'll be easier for me to find Wagner's version than the comics... although I'm sure it must be fabulous.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 04, 2009, 02:43:40 PM
I finally got through the Lawrence book - sat down and devoured 300 or so pages of it Friday night. A bit dry in spots but worth slogging through.

Yesterday I purchased Rick Perlstein's book Nixonland about the 1968 and 1972 elections. It's very good so far except that a) it's written from an obvious left-wing perspective (the Vietnam War parts in particular are amusingly simplistic), and b) he seems to view Nixon as being at fault for everything that went wrong in America during that time period (Watergate and government impropriety, sure; polarization over Vietnam and Civil Rights, hardly). Also, his thesis that the violent culture wars of that time period never went away seems pretty shaky, particularly because the evidence he presents contradicts his own ostensible thesis (where are the gays and illegal immigrants fire-bombing San Francisco and LA? where are pro- and anti-war protestors beating each other up on the streets? where are the politicians and political leaders being gunned down left and right?). Still, in spite of Perlstein's biases, I'm enjoying it through the first 130 pages. Very well-written if nothing else, and I'm finding the subject matter increasingly interesting the more I read on it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on October 05, 2009, 05:43:24 AM
The Accursed Kings (Les rois maudits) - aka the Badass Historical Novel. It's filled with awesome characters. Some of them poison kings out of hobby. Almost everyone commits adultery, and at least one murder per person. Lots of intrigue, and thanks to history, everyone gets what they deserve. It has some hilarious murder methods - poisoned CANDLE not being the most weird. Oh, and a story in which the Knight Templars are not mysterious - they are simply executed. No holy grail or conspiracy. But the Grand Master curses King Philip IV's family. It works out very well.


To The End Of The Earth - Golding's sea trilogy. It was good, despite the bastard killed off my favourite character. On a burning ship. Meh.


Well, to Moby Dick... I like it despite the biology stuff. But it's still better than, for example, Borodino. I felt sorry that the hilarious Ishamel/Queequeg bed scenes stopped after they boarded Pequod. I giggled so much. But anyway, Stubb is stealing the show with his humour, and Starbuck is just adorably normal.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: riotengine on October 05, 2009, 01:23:23 PM
I don't read as much as I'd like, so I've been making a more earnest attempt to get through some of the many books plied up on my shelves.

The last book I read was Our Man Flint, by Jack Pearl.

I'm currently reading Fool's Parade, by Davis Grubb.

Previously, I'd read "Inside Star Trek," and the David Carradine bio, "Endless Highway."

I have a 45 minute bus ride to work, (and back) so I've been doing most of my reading there (with the iPod on, listening to movie scores)

Greg :)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on October 09, 2009, 01:00:49 PM
Recently read a short-story collection by Stephen King. It was the first part of Skeleton Crew which was published in two parts in Finnish. It was Ok, nothing mind-blowing, and the stories were varying in style and quality.

After finishing with King I made a bold move and borrowed a collection of short-stories by Franz Kafka. I didn't get far, only 20-30 pages into Description of a Struggle. I guess I'll read my Kafka later. Now I borrowed Oliver Twist.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 13, 2009, 12:23:19 PM
Tentatively started the HUGE Reclaiming History by Vincent Bugliosi, about the Kennedy Assassination, which runs to about 1600 pages. I already read the abridged version (Four Days in November), hopefully I'll have time to get through this damned thing.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 18, 2009, 04:43:51 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XE7XXP5FL._SS500_.jpg)


I bought it two weeks ago in London and just finished it. It is full of infos on many westerns. For ex. Boetticher wrote Two Mules for him (and also confirms that his story was different from the one filmed). Also Eastwood's part in Dirty Harry was offered to him.; that also he chose Five Card Stud over Holden's part in WB. Indispensable for Mitchum's fans like me, I guess, though I still have to wade through the rest of literature about him.. I give it 8\10 because the pictures are few and strangely do not cover his life before Hollywood.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on October 18, 2009, 05:17:11 PM
Quote
For ex. Boetticher wrote Two Mules for him (and also confirms that his story was different from the one filmed).

Any details as to how so?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 18, 2009, 06:03:38 PM
Any details as to how so?


Nope. I can add that Sister Sara was to be played by mexican Silvia Pinal.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on October 19, 2009, 04:58:51 PM
Related to the Beowulf and Wagner discussion, I went through Lin Carter's book on Lord of the Rings again (I do not remember the exact name). It's a study that was written in 1960s, and therefore some of the stuff in it is outdated (it was before the publication of The Silmarillion, and some of Carter's descriptions of Tolkien's world and speculations about it turned out to be wrong). But it's a thing that puts it into perspective really well, in my opinion, and especially discusses those sources of Wagner's and Tolkien's work nicely.
And it brought to my attention some other authors of fantastic prose that sound interesting and whom i might check out one day.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 01, 2009, 10:15:19 AM
My birthday haul this year includes:

A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800 - Edward J. Larson
Alexander Hamilton: A Biography - Ron Chernow
Case Closed: Lee Harvey Oswald and the Assassination of John F. Kennedy - Gerald Posner
Your Movie Sucks - Roger Ebert

Plus I bought Max Boot's The Savage Wars of Peace, about various small-scale American military interventions (NOT to be confused with the almost-idenitcally titled Alistair Horne book about the Algerian War) at the Westmoreland Mall yesterday. I'm already about halfway through it, might even finish it today depending on how much free time I have after work.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: mr. mouse on November 01, 2009, 04:03:00 PM
The last book I finished reading was Philip K. Dick's Ubik, wich I liked very much. Then I started reading Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, but had to put that aside for a while because I have to read To Kill a Mockingbird for English Class, but that's fine, so far I like To Kill A Mockingbird very much.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 20, 2009, 03:57:45 PM
Reclaiming History: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy by Vincent Bugliosi - Incredibly comprehensive (1600+ pages!!!) debunking of the various JFK conspiracy theories, both proving Oswald's guilt and exonerrating the various parties accused by conspiracy theorists over the years. The sheer amount of information presented is exhausting, but fortunately Bugliosi is a good enough author (with a wonderfully caustic sense of humor) to make it worth slogging through at least one.

The Savage Wars of Peace: America's Small Wars by Max Boot - pretty good history with a very interesting analysis of America's 200 years of military intervention in the Third World. Only when the author's (right-wing) politics start to seep into the narrative in later chapters does it start to lose it.

A Magnificent Catastrophe: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, America's First Presidential Campaign by Edward J. Larson - pretty dry despite the interesting subject matter. Fortunately pretty easy to read.

Hegemony or Survival by Noam Chomsky - left-wing whining about America's evil based on selective and highly flawed analysis of facts and politics, with sloppy sourcing and rather banal writing. Except for his academic pedigree, there's little to separate Chomsky from idiots like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter or Michael Moore.

Still slugging my way through Casey Tefertiller's bio of Wyatt Earp, hopefully I can finish it over the weekend.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: stoicamerican on November 22, 2009, 04:08:40 PM
I've restarted Foundation, an interesting sci-fi book that I almost finished in my youth (why was I such a damn slacker? so many opportunities wasted), and unfortunately I'm obligated to reread Ender's Game (another classic work of science-fiction) which I did finish in my youth (although it was a close one). Thankfully it's a quick read, and I'll probably get hooked again and might look into the rest of the series (I'd started Ender's Shadow, again, in my youth). Recently, I decided that I would be determined to finish any book that I started of my own free will, so I know I'll try to finish Foundation, but Ender's Game will have to find time in my schedule.
Anyways Foundation is about the fall of the Galactic Empire, and its premise is based on Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. A brilliant mathematician named Hari Seldon has found a new branch of mathematics called psychohistory, based on statistical probability, which will be able to predict the time of the fall and the barborous dark ages. The first part (of five) is about Seldon arranging to have his followers relocated from Trantor (the capital of the empire) to a distant planet on the edge of the galaxy called Terminus. The next four are episodes regarding Seldon's plans for the future, which are carried out by his followers (the Foundation) after his death.
After those two, I plan to look into finding a copy of The Stories of Aesopus (the first recommendation in 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, which is by no means a perfect literary guide, but I suppose it gets the basics). I checked one library, and all their copies of it were compilations for children. I'm looking for the complete transcript of his fables (with all the rape, gore, murder, and blackmail teehee).


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: stoicamerican on November 29, 2009, 02:03:59 PM
I forgot to mention that I was also giving Into Thin Air a shot. Again. As I've stated, when I was younger, although I read a lot, I had trouble keeping attention to what I was reading. It's an interesting read so far. Krakauer's a good journalist.
I finished Foundation. This is a very good book, and although the concept of psychohistory (which is key to the story) is explained rather vaguely (so that actual and aspiring scientists don't look at it and say "Hey, this is all bullshit! Asimov's a phoney!"), it's still a great example of social engineering in fiction. As fate would have it, this is one of two Asimov books (with I, Robot) in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die which I'm going to be going through numerically as soon as I finish Ender's Game. I look forward to rereading this. It was a pleasant and quick read, unlike Dracula (which was still fairly good), which (although on the list) I'm not looking forward to rereading.
I'm slowly translating Books from the Founding of the City by Titus Livius (Livy to the majority of anglophiles, but I prefer to stick to the transliteration). I have the Latin text.
So in case anybody lost track of what I'm doing in the confusing mass of text I just wrote and still cares: I'm reading Into Thin Air (as my primary effort), Ender's Game (secondary, for book club), and reading/translating (for the hell of getting a fairly literal translation out there) Books from the Founding of the City. After that, I'll be picking up The Stories of Aesopus (again I don't use anglicized names when it's written in the same alphabet), and then The Stand, one of King's best works to refresh my memory on some details.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 29, 2009, 02:06:29 PM
I'm most of the way through Landscape Turned Red by Stephen W. Sears, a well-written and excrutiatingly detailed account of the Battle of Antietam. Should be able to finish it by tomorrow.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 13, 2009, 08:05:49 PM
I'm starting American Scoundrel: The Life of Notorious Civil War General Dan Sickles by Thomas Keneally today. If ever an historical figure deserved a biopic, it's definitely Sickles. Preferably played by Robert Downey Jr. or Daniel Day-Lewis.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 12, 2010, 11:15:48 PM
(http://maxzook.files.wordpress.com/2008/01/flashman.jpg)

I read this whole damned thing today, along with parts of another book and two textbooks. A really funny and entertaining work that dovetails nicely with my re-reading of Hopkirk's The Great Game (and its sequels). The similarities to Groggy Dundee really struck me, this is definitely the sort of novel I'd be writing if I had the stamina (and skill) to write a whole book. And to think as recently as a week ago I'd never heard of this bugger. If I haven't gone insane by the end of the week I'll have to try and track down the sequels.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on January 13, 2010, 04:05:42 AM
10,000 Ways to Die, not worth the price I payed (look for it used) and like many books about Spaghetti Westerns it does have mistakes.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 13, 2010, 08:49:52 AM
(http://ebooks-imgs.connect.com/product/400/000/000/000/000/095/204/400000000000000095204_s4.jpg)


Mike Hammer's last adventure (chronologically. There are more to come based on unfinished Spillane's manuscripts). This one is the best in many years, probably since the early '70's non-Hammer novels Last Cop Out and The Erection Set. Acruallu, this reminded me of Hammer's best novels of the fifties. Strangely there is less violence than usual, some more humor and the finale is as good as any Spillane ever wrote. Sure, there is some contrivance, but that is usual in Spillane. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on January 29, 2010, 06:55:53 AM
(http://www.bscreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/terrypratchett-interestingtimes-355px.jpg)


It's exactly as crazy as it looks. Featuring Rincewind, the talentless and cowardish Wizzard (couldn't do magic to save his life, but world champion in running away), Cohen the Barbarian, the 90-something (still going strong!) hero and his Horde (around the same age as him). The whole thing takes place in a China / Japan hybrid place that our Barbarians want to invade (all seven of them).  ;D Hilarity ensues.





Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on January 29, 2010, 08:42:46 AM
I used to read Pratchett a lot at some point. At his best, he can kill you with laughter, but as soon as you learn his style bursts of laughter become rare.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Rubio on January 29, 2010, 08:49:08 AM
(http://www.mountmichaelhs.com/mmlibrary/books/book_covers/killer_angels.jpg)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 29, 2010, 10:39:22 AM
(http://www.mountmichaelhs.com/mmlibrary/books/book_covers/killer_angels.jpg)

Thoughts? It's been a few years since I read that but I remember liking it more than the film.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 29, 2010, 10:45:38 AM
Since my last post on this thread I've read:

Royal Flash - a Flashman pastiche of The Prisoner of Zenda. Still pretty good.

Like Hidden Fire - second of the Great Game trilogy by Hopkirk, dealing with Germany's attempts to incite an Islamic Holy War during WWI. Really interesting stuff, and the book is well-written and fascinating, though it meanders towards the end.

Setting the East Ablaze - fairly short, unfocused and not-entirely-developed account of Bolshevik attempts to revive the Great Game. Spends a lot of time dealing with Frederick Bailey, a British spy operating in the region, and self-appointed warlords like Baron Von Sternberg and Enver Pasha who were interesting but at best tertiarily related to the subject matter.

The Night of the Generals - pretty good, though I might have preferred the film on the whole, which if nothing else is a very faithful adaptation.

Flash For Freedom! - my favorite Flashman to date, and certainly the funniest. Wasn't crazy about the story at first glance, but Fraser does a really clever job of advancing the plot from one absurdity to the other. And an Abraham Lincoln cameo to boot.

Flashman at the Charge - another mostly good book but it went slightly downhill when Flashman returned to Afghanistan.

Plus various things for school which stink.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Rubio on January 29, 2010, 01:50:39 PM
Thoughts? It's been a few years since I read that but I remember liking it more than the film.

In all honesty, I haven't finished it completely just yet but I'm pretty close. I like it. Good re-creation of it I'd say.  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on March 09, 2010, 01:22:34 PM
It's exactly as crazy as it looks. Featuring Rincewind, the talentless and cowardish Wizzard (couldn't do magic to save his life, but world champion in running away), Cohen the Barbarian, the 90-something (still going strong!) hero and his Horde (around the same age as him). The whole thing takes place in a China / Japan hybrid place that our Barbarians want to invade (all seven of them).  ;D Hilarity ensues.

The Rincewind books are really crazy - too crazy for my liking... I prefer the ones with the Witches, The Wyrd Sisters in particular (I also saw it in theatre - just as great).
Although my favourite character, as with many other Pratchett readers, is DEATH.


I started re-reading "Historie Svorné sedmy" ("The History of The Solidary Seven") by Jaroslav Foglar as my bedtime reading... Foglar wrote many books for young readers, from the 30s till 90s, with a decidedly moralist agenda, scouts honour and such things. Still, they're usually more or less reasonably enjoyable and often feature a very special atmosphere nobody else quite achieved in the genre (with the honourable exception of one writer, who wrote a better Foglar book than Foglar himself...), he contributed a lot to Czech comics; plus he wrote one completely hilarious book about his squad of scouts that's probably his best thing... This one in particular is special in featuring girls among the main characters.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 09, 2010, 04:22:42 PM
"Darker Than Amber" (1966) John D. MacDonald, revisiting the Travis McGee series, great pulp!


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 09, 2010, 05:57:47 PM
I've read quite a bit since this thread was last active, but I'll limit myself to my latest:

Flashman's Lady - The first 70-80 pages are about a series of cricket matches - enough said. Once the main plot finally gets going, it comes close to Fraser's best work, and if nothing else it's nice to see Elspeth given a central role for once.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: The Peacemaker on March 18, 2010, 04:41:14 PM
Frank Norris' The Octopus: A Story of California.  Awesome tale of farmers vs. railroad. Inspired by the infamous Mussel Slough Tragedy.


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51RM410ZFNL.jpg)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on April 05, 2010, 03:07:57 AM
Actually not the last one, but I think I haven't rated it here yet...


(http://benwarsop.files.wordpress.com/2009/08/1984.jpg)

This cover is HILARIOUS. Like it would be some cheap twenty-minutes-into-the-future sci-fi romance...

10/10

I'm not really into utopies, but this one is really a masterpiece. I even dreamed with it a few times. Huh. Want to see the movie now.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on April 09, 2010, 01:22:09 PM
I think I must have mentioned it here before... When I was reading 1984, I kept imagining the Big Brother posters like the posters in DYS. That's about all I allow myself to remember from it...
And, wow, that cover... words fail me.


The last book I read was Jak si vypěstovat na anglické zahrádce českého trpaslíka ("How to Grow a Czech Gnome in an English Garden") by Hana Parkánová-Whitton, a Czech translator who married an English man and moved to England (actually, in reverse order...), and eventually wrote this book about her first experiences from Britain. My sister gave it to father several years ago, because father's really fond of Britain. But I suppose she hadn't read it before she gave it to him... He never finished it, and said it had a particularly female voice that he couldn't swallow, in spite of the otherwise really interesting content.
Yesterday I took it (and finished it, probably already today...), and had to agree with him. It was a bit too much even for me. The first chapters were like... like romance in women's magazines, awful writing style! It got better, though, but it still kept surfacing here and there. Fortunately, the sappy romance parts really got sparser, and I could see she actually knew her language. I think she could really be a good translator. She wrote in Czech about people who were, of course, speaking English, in a way that made them very real.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on April 10, 2010, 11:06:37 AM
I imagine them as moving posters. Like Sirius' wanted poster. With a Stalin-like dude on them.  ;D

Last:

Feet of Clay (I'm really into Pratchett now) - Vimes is SO Clint sometimes. Colon and Nobby would make good SW supporting characters (how about Mario Brega and the guy who played the One-Armed Bounty Hunter Who's After Tuco?) Cheery is cute (a girly female dwarf who wears heels and lipstick to her beard and helmet.  O0 Golems are really moving (somehow, the so-called emotionless characters are more sensitive than humans, see Death too), and Vetinari needs a hug this time. I missed Sybil, she barely has a role.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on April 10, 2010, 12:29:44 PM
I haven't read this one yet... But yes, Vimes is very, very Clint!


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 14, 2010, 02:01:07 PM
The last book I read was Pat Buchanan's book on why World War II was England's fault (and Hitler wasn't that bad). Perhaps you can guess what I think of that proposition.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on April 14, 2010, 05:06:18 PM
The last book I read was Pat Buchanan's book on why World War II was England's fault (and Hitler wasn't that bad). Perhaps you can guess what I think of that proposition.
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on May 18, 2010, 02:47:53 PM
(http://www.lspace.org/ftp/images/bookcovers/uk/night-watch-1.jpg)

Definitely not my favourite, despite all the Les Mis stuff. Too much angst, too little humour. Carcer is even WORSE than Teatime. I'm allergic to this type of villain. (Things from the Dungeon Dimensions were way funnier.)
Young Vetinari is badass though, and Nobby!Gavroche is adorable.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 18, 2010, 04:06:09 PM
I recently bought the first volume of Persepolis, which was wonderful. I have Colonel Roosevelt's memoirs of the Spanish-American War to get through in the near-future, but due to the amount of work I'm having I might not get to it for awhile.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on October 11, 2010, 07:39:33 AM
The last books I've read are Herzog on Herzog (Paul Cronin) and Aksel Sunnarborgin hymy (Tommi Liimatta). Herzog has interesting stories and ideas (which are also very inspiring) but his fatalism is hard to swallow at times.  Liimatta's book spans 5-6 years of the life of a drifter, Aksel Sunnarborg. Liimatta has really found something that links a whole generation (a lot of it can be attributed to heavy autobiographicality). His way to write baffles some and divides readers in two camps: lovers and haters. I'm a lover, but the last third of the book would need some adjustment.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on October 12, 2010, 05:44:16 AM
I've been revisiting John D. McDonald's "Travis McGee" series, going from first to last, the only volume I'm missing is "A Purple Place for Dying" I think it was third in line, I've just finished "Bright Orange For The Shroud", and the next one up is "Darker Than Amber" but I read that first seeing as how it may be remade with Leonardo DiCaprio as McGee, which if any of you are familiar with the character, will immediately question that sanity of that choice.

Physically, McGee is a tall, tanned, sandy-haired man with pale gray eyes. He was a stand-out college football  player (at tight end) and played professional football for several seasons before a knee injury forced him into retirement; he stands 6'4" (1.95 m) tall and, although deceptively unimposing at his "fighting weight" of 205 lbs. (93 kg)

Supposedly DiCaprio is 5'10  and around 180 lbs.

To take a break I just started reading "I, The Jury" by Mickey Spillane.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 12, 2010, 07:28:01 PM
The number of books I've read since this thread was last active could fill a library. :D

Am currently reading Killing Hitler by Roger Moorhouse, a book I've wanted to read for going on two years but haven't gotten around to it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 13, 2010, 02:40:11 AM
I've been revisiting John D. McDonald's "Travis McGee" series, going from first to last, the only volume I'm missing is "A Purple Place for Dying" I think it was third in line, I've just finished "Bright Orange For The Shroud", and the next one up is "Darker Than Amber" but I read that first seeing as how it may be remade with Leonardo DiCaprio as McGee, which if any of you are familiar with the character, will immediately question that sanity of that choice.

Physically, McGee is a tall, tanned, sandy-haired man with pale gray eyes. He was a stand-out college football  player (at tight end) and played professional football for several seasons before a knee injury forced him into retirement; he stands 6'4" (1.95 m) tall and, although deceptively unimposing at his "fighting weight" of 205 lbs. (93 kg)

Supposedly DiCaprio is 5'10  and around 180 lbs.

To take a break I just started reading "I, The Jury" by Mickey Spillane.

Ever read Jury before?

I think Purple place is the only TMG novel I read. I found it boring.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on October 13, 2010, 09:16:27 AM
Ever read Jury before?

I think Purple place is the only TMG novel I read. I found it boring.


I don't recall reading "I, the Jury" before, but that may be faulty memory. I never read any of Spillane's other books though for sure, so I'll probably go through them all eventually.

As far as Travis McGee, so far on the re-read the only one that doesn't quite measure up to the rest has been "A Nightmare in Pink", which takes place mostly out of Florida, I don't believe I've ever read "A Purple Place for Dying", One to recommend that impressed me most so far was "A Deadly Shade of Gold" followed by "Bright Orange For The Shroud".


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Banjo on October 13, 2010, 09:32:00 AM
THE TRUTH AGENDA by Andy Thomas

A brilliant  introduction to conspiracy theories,a very balanced read on unexplained mysteries,global cover ups and on who really runs this world.I'm now more convinced than ever that the moon landings were a sham and that 9/11 was false flag attack.

 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Truth-Agenda-Unexplained-Mysteries-Prophecies/dp/0955060818/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1286983105&sr=1-1

My rating 10 out of 10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 13, 2010, 09:32:28 AM
 ;D Sounds about as "balanced" as Fox News. But thanks for the giggle.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Banjo on October 13, 2010, 09:37:51 AM
I expected that kind of reaction from you Groggy. :D

But why not read the seven reviews on Amazon all but one giving 5 stars?



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 13, 2010, 03:21:24 PM
I'm glad you expect sanity from me.

Amazon comments sections are almost always an echo chamber of support. And who would bother to read such a book aside from committed conspiracists?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Banjo on October 14, 2010, 05:19:59 AM
I'm not a conspiracy theorist (truth seeker is a more accurate term),i just consider myself open minded.Btw the book was lent to me and i'm now passing it onto another friend who most definitely isn't a conspiracy theorist either.Apart from the obvious fact that you haven't read the book yourself I don't understand how you can judge a book as not being balanced just because of some personal conclusions that i drew from one or two of the book chapters.I'm sceptical myself on certain subjects as is the author himself.

Whether you believe such cover ups etc or not it's hard to deny that we are not always told the truth eg the WMD debacle is one of many now generally accepted lies discussed in the book.



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 14, 2010, 09:22:13 AM
I'm duly familiar with most of the big conspiracy theories, and I'm quite convinced they're all worthy of contempt. There's a point at which being "open-minded" becomes silly or worse. Then such theories can be dangerous, like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. No fundamental difference really - looking for patterns and "order" in a disordered world, falling back on easy scapegoats to blame for everything - except the anti-US government conspiracies haven't been used as an excuse for genocide.

Also, it's rather a large logical leap to assume that "the government lies/misrepresents things" means that they have an infinite ability to cover-up, falsify evidence and (most unbelievably) remain silent for an endless period of time. The conspiracies governments do engage in are pretty easily rousted out - it only took one guy becoming greedy to unravel Watergate. Would that the government were even a fraction as competent and efficient as conspiracy theorists like to think; we might actually get things done.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Banjo on October 14, 2010, 06:07:39 PM
  The fact is that very clearly governments are far from being "competent and efficient" in that they leave plenty of clues and anomalies which inevitably lead to people questioning something that isn't obvious ie how 3000 people died so easily on 9/11 when normal procedures should have prevented it or why something as huge as the Moon landings appears to have such shaky evidence to support it.I'd rather be open minded than be a spoon fed sheep believing that every single decision being made is for the good of us all ignoring the possibilty of a hidden agenda by the ruling strata of our society.Closed mindedness is the real danger here with fabrications leading us into being duped into unnecessary wars and the removal of rights and freedoms through such extreme measures as the US Patriot Act.Meaningful debate  which this book promotes is healthy and can prevent extremism,something of which this world has seen too much of.

You may have contempt for conspiracy theories,personally i'm not into period dramas but i still wouldn't trash any publication by Charles Dickens or the Brontee sisters ie books i'd never even read.  

The Illusion of Choice:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC_wjQtfhZQ&feature=player_embedded


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 14, 2010, 08:24:55 PM
I like your equation of conspiracy theories with literature. That's right on the money. O0

And FWIW I'm ridiculing the ideas, not the book per se. I seriously doubt it contains anything I haven't read in a dozen other books, a million websites, fifty YouTube videos and a few Firecracker posts from back in the day.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Banjo on October 15, 2010, 02:21:38 AM
I like your equation of conspiracy theories with literature. That's right on the money. O0


The official line on 9/11 or apparently how JFK was murdered on the whim of a single fanatic with a personal agenda etc are some of the greatest works of fiction ever and are (barely believable)conspiracy theories in themselves.I respect your opinion and why this may not be the  book for you but i still maintain that it is essential reading for others that feel their intelligence is being insulted by arrogant,evasive governments supported by complicit media who try to marginalise anyone who questions the status quo.



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 15, 2010, 08:29:24 AM
About the "moon hoax", an end to speculations will be put by huge telescopes about to be activated in South America. 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 15, 2010, 09:21:39 AM
The official line on 9/11 or apparently how JFK was murdered on the whim of a single fanatic with a personal agenda etc are some of the greatest works of fiction ever and are (barely believable)conspiracy theories in themselves.I respect your opinion and why this may not be the  book for you but i still maintain that it is essential reading for others that feel their intelligence is being insulted by arrogant,evasive governments supported by complicit media who try to marginalise anyone who questions the status quo.

I'd like to live in your fairy-tale world, Banjo, but the Fair Play For Cuba Committee is retro-fitting my lawn mower to power Fidel's one-man escape sub.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Banjo on October 15, 2010, 10:22:18 AM
I'd like to live in your fairy-tale world, Banjo,


Maybe that explains why you've devoted so much time to read all those books and view all those websites/video's on a subject you otherwise have  so little respect for Groggy. :D

Seriously though i'm looking for some  further reading material and therefore would be grateful if you let me have  details of the dozen or so related books that you have read. :)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Banjo on October 15, 2010, 10:54:11 AM
About the "moon hoax", an end to speculations will be put by huge telescopes about to be activated in South America. 

That is interesting Titoli,do you have a link?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 15, 2010, 01:06:26 PM
That is interesting Titoli,do you have a link?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_landing_conspiracy_theories

The Daily Telegraph (London) published a story in 2002 saying that European astronomers at the Very Large Telescope would use it to view the remains of the Apollo lunar landers. According to the article, Dr Richard West said that his team would take "a high-resolution image of one of the Apollo landing sites". Marcus Allen, a Moon hoax proponent, pointed out in the story that no images of hardware on the Moon would convince him that manned landings had taken place.[56] As the VLT is capable of resolving equivalent to the distance between the headlights of a car as seen from the Moon,[57]  it may be able to directly image some features of the Apollo landing site. Such photos, if and when they become available, would be the first non-NASA produced images of the site at that definition.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Banjo on October 16, 2010, 02:58:19 AM
it may be able to directly image some features of the Apollo landing site. Such photos, if and when they become available, would be the first non-NASA produced images of the site at that definition.

Now that would be very interesting as some of the most apparent fake aspects of the Moon landings are of course both the NASA photographic and film footage.Obviously Marcus Allen's cynicism points to the possiblity of (let's say) outside interference to this independant research?Hopefully not.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 18, 2010, 09:05:55 AM
The Leaders We Deserve (and a Few We Didn't) - Alvin Stephen Felzenberg

A really interesting and, dare I suggest, thought-provoking book. Aside from his idolatory of Reagan, Mr. Felzenberg is very balanced and unbiased in his portrayal of the Presidents. His rating system is very schematic (rating them on a composite of character, vision, foreign policy, "extending liberty" [progressivism, racial tolerance, civil liberties, etc.] and economics) but I think a very good one - better than the nebulous "they were good/bad" method generally used, looking at what Presidents accomplished rather than if they accomplished something. His rating system leads to some unexpected and controversial conclusions: he makes a very good case that Ulysses Grant deserves a far better reptuation than he has, while excoriating Andrew Jackson. (I don't buy his arguments on Zachary Taylor, though, sorry.) Of course, the lack of mentioning the Illuminati/ZOG/Reptilian government takes it down a peg or two.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Banjo on October 18, 2010, 03:51:55 PM
Of course, the lack of mentioning the Illuminati/ZOG/Reptilian government takes it down a peg or two.

Oh so you've been reading some David Icke! ;)







Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Dust Devil on November 17, 2010, 06:06:55 AM
I've just read Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Le Petit Prince - it's still as beautiful and powerful, but in a curtly manner. It's been years since I read it and it still makes all the bells ring. :'(

I remember I also read the sequel some 15 years ago, and liked it, but now searching on WP I found out there's actually more (!) of them - anyone knows more on this?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 17, 2010, 06:33:25 AM
I've just read Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Le Petit Prince - it's still as beautiful and powerful, but in a curtly manner. It's been years since I read it and it still makes all the bells ring. :'(

I remember I also read the sequel some 15 years ago, and liked it, but now searching on WP I found out there's actually more (!) of them - anyone knows more on this?

I've read LPP last september and didn't find it neither beautiful nor powerful. Probably mine is not the right age to read it for the first time.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on November 18, 2010, 01:38:11 AM
I've read LPP last september and didn't find it neither beautiful nor powerful. Probably mine is not the right age to read it for the first time.

Probably not. It requires a certain kind of make-believe that probably deteriorates with age.

I only read one sequel. I rather liked it. But I can't give you any details; I remember neither its name nor who wrote it. :P And I don't relly remember much about it either, so... ahem.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on January 18, 2011, 04:56:02 PM
Stardust - 4/5

Nice fairy tale with a heroine who swears (yay!) but lacks Boss Battle.

Peter Pan - 4.5/5

Read it in English for the first time. The translation I knew since I was little is so abridged it shouldn't even be allowed to exist! The reason I can't give 5 stars is... Peter is an arrogant little jerk totally full of himself, just like Prussia, and poor Hook...  :'( He just needed some love!


Reading now: American Gods - badass so far. I could see some SW actors playing certain characters. (Frank Wolff for the nice Irish sheriff!)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 18, 2011, 05:48:48 PM
This thread should either be kept regularly or left to rot. I read too much stuff for these spasmodic updates.

Since Christmas I have read:

Colonel Roosevelt - Edmund Morris
Flashman at the Charge (re-read) - George MacDonald Fraser
Kissinger: 1973, The Crucial Year - Alistair Horne
Flashman in the Great Game (re-read) - GMF
Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief - James McPherson
The Civil War in the American West - Alfred M. Josephy, Jr.
The Horror at Chiller House - R.L. Stine
You Might a Zombie and Other Bad News - Cracked Magazine

Am currently reading True Grit and The Coming of the Third Reich by Richard J. Evans.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 18, 2011, 11:16:03 PM
I've finished two weeks ago the third volume of the  Grisbi trilogy by Albert Simonin. Most underrated thrilller french writer: he's not on a pedestal like Thompson or Goodis and wonder why. He probably writes better than both. Well, I don't wonder: he writes in argot and that gets lost in translation. Still his countrymen should take him more into consideration. Instead in the histories of the french mystery he gets less space than authors not half as good as him. I've already written this , I know it, but after having read his 3 volume I feel I must repeat it. He's on the same class as Chandler, Hammett and all the other great stylists in the thriller genre.
I'm currently plodding through Vingt ans après, that it is not half as lively as its predecessors. Still I'm going through with it and, alas, plan to do the same with the even bulkier 3rd part of the cycle. Then I'm going back to Simonin and his other trilogy which is deemed by none other than Frédéric Dard to be an absolute masterpiece. 




Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on January 19, 2011, 11:25:22 AM
I've just read Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's Le Petit Prince - it's still as beautiful and powerful, but in a curtly manner. It's been years since I read it and it still makes all the bells ring. :'(
On to Babar!


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on January 19, 2011, 03:50:56 PM
Been reading through John D. McDonald's Travis McGee series in chronological order just got done with "The Girl In The Plain Brown Wrapper" and will be starting "Dress Her In Indigo" also reading on the side "Badasses,  the Legend of Snake, Foo, Dr. Death and John Madden's Oakland Raiders"

What I like about John D. McDonald's Travis McGee is that its a blue print for anybody wanting to write a mystery where you don't have to research police procedures etc., etc., he's sort of an independent contractor a "salvage expert" anybody loses something in a legal but shady way he offers to recover it for half the value. Its a great series based usually in Florida so you get a lot of local color too. Highly recommend it. Also check out if you can "Darker Than Amber" with Rod Taylor the only T film based on McGee that hits on all cylinders.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 19, 2011, 04:21:44 PM
I really enjoyed True Grit. Portis is a master of the American vernacular and it was a fun read, especially right after seeing the new film.

The Coming of the Third Reich was a great book in an entirely different way. Not sure if I'm going to dive into Evans's other books but they'll stay on my radar.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Dust Devil on January 20, 2011, 11:38:59 PM
On to Babar!

Any recommendation?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on January 21, 2011, 09:22:32 AM
Finished American Gods. A masterpiece. Would make an awesome movie if Gaiman wrote the screenplay and chose the actors. And if it would be directed by someone who knows what he's doing.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on January 21, 2011, 02:17:28 PM
American Gods are great, but it would have to be a long film if it has to capture everything... and I'm not sure people are capable of doing that nowadays. Outside of Bollywood, that is... ;D


I'm slowly reading my way through Chesterton's Orthodoxy, in a new Czech translation. I keep thinking that I should read the original to see if the translation is good or not. It feels a bit off at times. Which, I guess, is a sign that the translation is not so good, because I don't recall having that feeling with the older translations of other of Chesterton's works that I've read before. (What an awful sentence I've just written!)

EDIT: Uh-uh... Of course it seems off. At the end of the book, the translator explains that it is a "selective" translation, to "bring out what's timeless in Chesterton's writing". A rather dubious practice, if you ask me...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Banjo on February 08, 2011, 06:17:49 PM
ALL FOR POOR JACK,an excellent first novel from multi talented singer-songwriter virtuoso guitarist Steve Tilston.

9/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 08, 2011, 06:30:23 PM
Been reading a lot on the Algerian War lately, including Servan-Schreiber's Lieutenant in Algeria, Gregory Bocca's The Secret Army (about the OAS terror group) and Larteguy's The Centurions.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on February 08, 2011, 07:14:58 PM
"Horizon's West", "Pesca In Mare", and the next Travis McGee novel "The Long Lavender Look" by John D. McDonald.  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 08, 2011, 08:20:00 PM
By Horizons West do you mean the Kitses book?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on February 08, 2011, 08:49:53 PM
By Horizons West do you mean the Kitses book?

Yes


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 08, 2011, 08:56:20 PM
Great book O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 08, 2011, 03:25:23 PM
Horizons West by Jim Kitses  O0 O0 O0

Just a heads up for those of you who may have read this in the past. The copy I was originally reading was published in 1969. Its chapter headings are as follows:

1. Authorship and Genre
2. Anthony Mann: the Overreacher
3. Bud Boetticher: the Rules of the Game
4. Sam Peckinpah: the Savage Eye
5. Postscript

I was poking around the library and came across the 2006 edition it contains quite a bit of new material. Its chapter headings are:

1. Directing The Western: Practice & Theory
2. John Ford: Founding Father
3. Anthony Mann: the Overreacher
4. Bud Boetticher: the Rules of the Game
5. Sam Peckinpah: the Savage Eye
6. Sergio Leone: A Fistful Of Westerns
7. Clint Eastwood: Tightrope Walker

Quite a bit of new material not only new Ford, Leone, and Eastwood chapters, but the chapter on Peckinpah has been extended beyond "The Wild Bunch" and now discusses "The Ballad Of Cable Hogue", Pat Garret And Billy The Kid", Junior Bonner", and "Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia".

Check it out if all you've read is the 1969 release.





Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 08, 2011, 03:29:18 PM
I'm currently reading (to keep this up to date) "Film Noir Reader" edited by Alain Silver and James Ursini (1996). Very good so far.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 09, 2011, 07:18:54 AM
In the past week or so I've finished:

Searching for John Ford - Joseph McBride - good bio of the director
Killers of the Seas - Edward Ricciuti - a book about the various things that will kill you if you vacation at the seashore
A Man for All Seasons - Robert Bolt - five billionth re-read
Voodoo Histories - David Aaronovich - debunks the asinine conspiracy theories explored further up the thread
Before the Storm - Rick Perlstein - re-read, good account of Barry Goldwater's Presidential campaign and the birth of the American conservative movement


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: The Firecracker on March 09, 2011, 11:38:45 PM
The Caves of Steel Isaac Asimov


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Whalestoe on March 09, 2011, 11:51:42 PM
A few days ago I finished Frankenstein by Marry Shelley

Currently reading The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.

Then I have to move on to Wuthering Heights, The Sun Also Rises, and East of Eden before the semester's end. I think the last novel I read outside of school was Wise Blood.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 10, 2011, 02:46:40 AM
I am trying to read Baudolino by Eco: not boring but I'll have to suffer for almost 500 pages.  :'(


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 10, 2011, 04:35:27 PM
Quite a bit of new material not only new Ford, Leone, and Eastwood chapters, but the chapter on Peckinpah has been extended beyond "The Wild Bunch" and now discusses "The Ballad Of Cable Hogue", Pat Garret And Billy The Kid", Junior Bonner", and "Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia".

Check it out if all you've read is the 1969 release.

Yeah, I have the 2005 release. The Ford and Peckinpah chapters are the best, the rest is pretty hit-and-miss.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: The Firecracker on March 12, 2011, 12:27:55 AM
Louis L'amour's The Iron Marshal...

I'm having a tough time getting through it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on March 13, 2011, 04:53:21 AM
Imprimatur - a bit overcomplicated but generally good historical murder mystery. Not as good as The Name Of The Rose but way better than Da Vinci type shit.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on March 13, 2011, 05:47:41 AM
I'm going through The Iliad slowly but surely. Before that I read Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Any recommendations regarding Hemingway?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on March 13, 2011, 09:16:30 AM
I'd recommend anything Hemingway. It's so good to read about tough men who live an adventurous life and generally act like Bogart, Cooper and other badass old actors would. (Where's this type of man in our days?)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 13, 2011, 10:08:51 AM
I'm going through The Iliad slowly but surely. Before that I read Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises. Any recommendations regarding Hemingway?

The short stories. That will be enough.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 18, 2011, 03:06:41 PM
The Reason Why - Cecil Woodham-Smith. Probably the most famous book about the Charge of the Light Brigade, though strictly speaking it's more a dual biography of Cardigan and Lucan than an account of the Battle. A great piece of narrative history even if some of her conclusions are suspect.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 20, 2011, 08:01:53 PM
Suez: Britain's End of Empire in the Middle East - Keith Kyle - I actually read the bulk of this back in January, but gave up and read the last 50-60 pages yesterday. Excrutiatingly detailed and exhausting to read, it's definitely not something you'd tackle for fun, and as interesting as I find the Suez Crisis surely there's a more accessible account than this.

Hell Riders - Terry Brighton - in-depth, updated account of the Charge of the Light Brigade. Provides a remarkably detailed account of the charge itself (using eyewitness testimony) and examines most of the historical controversies surrounding it, written in a crisp, dryly humorous style. A good companion to the Woodham-Smith book, as it focuses on the enlisted men rather than the officers.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 27, 2011, 09:31:08 PM
Two books on two Presidential impeachments:

Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy - David O. Stewart - very interesting account of an oft-forgotten (but immensely important) event in American history that a) set the stage for the repeal of Reconstruction and b) provided precedent for treatment of Presidential misconduct to the present day. The accounts of 19th Century political feuding and finagling are fascinating, but the book gets bogged down in dry legalisms on occasion, and there's a tendency to editorialize that proves annoying. Sure, Johnson was a bad guy but you should let the reader come to that conclusion on his/her own. It's short enough (324 pp. of text plus end notes/appendices) that you won't get bored even with these flaws.

The Death of American Virtue: Clinton V. Starr - Ken Gormley - an admirably balanced account of the Clinton impeachment mess, featuring interviews with most of the major players. Gormley doesn't take sides and his picture of Monicagate is probably as objective as a human being could possibly be. Unfortunately, he's a rather dry writer, and the book is so long (690 pages) and bogged down in minutiae (you'll learn what Monica Lewinsky ate for lunch every day in 1998) that it's hard to really get absorbed in it.

I won The Berlin-Baghdad Express in an academic contest yesterday and that's my current reading.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 29, 2011, 08:31:44 AM
The Berlin-Baghdad Express - Sean McMeekin - covers a lot of ground already trod by Peter Hopkirk and others, but still a pretty good account of Imperial Germany's Middle East shenanigans.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on March 31, 2011, 06:11:15 PM
Throne of Jade - pretty good, can't wait to jump on the next book!

First I was like: Napoleonic Wars with dragons? Ew, sounds like Eragon meets Hornblower...

But actually it's pure awesome. The lady CAN write and can make up an original story, unlike Paolini who jsut created a Star Wars ripoff in a basic fantasy world. Actually, this is more realism than fantasy. Apart from dragons, it's a good historical adventure, no magic and stuff. And the hero is not The Chosen One, just an average guy.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 05, 2011, 09:21:12 AM
Claws! - R.L. Stine - new Goosebumps book that's a rehash of two or three older ones. Best line: "You've just disrupted the whole Cat Universe!"

Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia - Michael Korda - the newest biography of T.E. Lawrence, and one of the best I've read. The title makes plain the author's opinion of Lawrence but it's not an uncritical hagiography, and it's much more readable than Jeremy Wilson's authoritative but exhausting "authorized" volume. Mr. Korda's the son of Vincent Korda if that's of interest.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 05, 2011, 09:35:15 AM
The Chelsea Murders - Lionel Davidson (1978). This is recommended on some mystery guides. I'm not overly enthusiastic about it, though. I read mysteries secondarily for the plot (unless the author is a master like Christie or Queen or Carr)  and mostly for character, style, one or two plot twist. This wasn't remarkable in any of these departments, characters are just names, milieus depictions just hinted at. So I plodded through it and managed to finish it because I was curious about the end, which was, as to murdserer's motives, quite predictable. 6\10 because there's much worse around.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on April 05, 2011, 12:04:24 PM
I haven't actually finished a book in months but I'm kinda reading five. The latest that I've begun reading is Laterna Magica, Ingmar Bergman's autobiography. Cool stuff.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 14, 2011, 10:19:25 PM
Six Days of the Condor - Joe Grady. If you liked the movie then you can enjoy the source thanx to the little differences in the two versions. I had read it a couple of decades ago but it is still a turn pager: not perfect, but thrilling. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: tintin on April 14, 2011, 10:41:20 PM
The Egg and I --Betty MacDonald, 1945.  It is too bad this book is hard to find except in its first edition/first printing, as it has So many amusing insights. A simple. refreshing book. Very off-the-cuff and honest.   A true story--it seems odd  now  that she Names her neighbors By Name--the Kettle's actually existed! These days, there would be lawsuits or million-dollar royalties  paid by the movie companies to them.  The word abortion and "tits" are used a lot by Ma Kettle--pretty shocking for that day and age. Betty MacDonald recalled  wincing at her language


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 14, 2011, 10:53:21 PM
Khartoum: The Ultimate Imperial Adventure - Michael Asher - excellent account of the Mahdist Wars. It focuses almost entirely on the military side of things, which makes it weak in some departments, but Asher's extremely detailed and exciting depictions of the various battles make it a treat to read.

Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel - novel telling the well-worn story of Henry VIII through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell. An interesting conceit, but I found the novel rather a chore: its prose and writing style is rather dense, the supporting characters are flat and the author engages in some very modern value judgments that aren't entirely fair. Not sure I'd recommend it.

America's Secret War Against Bolshevism - David S. Foglesong - explores Woodrow Wilson's indecisive, vacillating response to the Russian Revolution, from economic boycotts to financial aid of the Whites to his half-hearted intervention in the Civil War. It's structured rather oddly, with chapters focusing on specific attempts at intervention rather than a chronological order, but it's definitely an interesting account of a largely forgotten event.

I have a few other Lawrence bios on hand but I'm not sure if I'll have time to read them all prior to graduation.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on April 14, 2011, 11:12:02 PM
The Egg and I --Betty MacDonald, 1945.  It is too bad this book is hard to find except in its first edition/first printing,

I've never read the book, which is a total shame, beause here in the Czech Republic it's quite popular and, as far as I know, quite easy to obtain (as it was published much more recently than that).


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: tintin on April 15, 2011, 09:27:07 AM
I haven't found a copy newer than 1945 in the  US.  The FE/FP wasn't Too expensive on Amazon, considering it was in great shape. Will try again. .

 I know Hitler loved  one of my favorites;  "Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1935); he had it translated and published in German. Perhaps he was trying to show the ultimate downfall of Western Imperialism thru greed?( The book is Mucho deeper than that, Adolph! )The author had a German name...no one l knows for sure about him, he was reclusive: Bruno (B.) Traven.

EDIT: Just saw some 1989 Hardback 1987 Paperback editions of TEAI.   The  1989s cost more than a couple of 1945 FE/FP Hard backs listed.  Odd...I know I didn't pay $28 for mine... :-\


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on April 15, 2011, 06:14:40 PM
An Encyclopedic Reference to the American Style Film Noir
edited by Alain Silver & Elizabeth Ward 1979


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 16, 2011, 01:11:41 PM
A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T.E. Lawrence - John E. Mack - By far the best Lawrence biography I've read. Psychobiography has its drawbacks, but it's probably the right approach for such an enigmatic figure as Lawrence, and it's certainly preferable to the biographers who come with a political or personal axe to grind. Well-written, and presenting an extremely plausible and well-rounded portrait of its subject. Well-done.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on April 16, 2011, 04:34:25 PM
A Prince of Our Disorder: The Life of T.E. Lawrence - John E. Mack - By far the best Lawrence biography I've read. Psychobiography has its drawbacks, but it's probably the right approach for such an enigmatic figure as Lawrence, and it's certainly preferable to the biographers who come with a political or personal axe to grind. Well-written, and presenting an extremely plausible and well-rounded portrait of its subject. Well-done.
What's his take on Lawrence's distaste for physical contact?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 16, 2011, 04:48:25 PM
To grossly oversimplify, Mack's main premise is that Lawrence never really went through adolescence and thus had a child's view of sex and human contact. Mack places a lot of emphasis on his mother and the girl Lawrence proposed to around age twenty. Being captured and raped during the war didn't help him in that department. Perhaps someone better-versed in psychology than I can provide a different take, but it seems a plausible thesis to me.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on April 17, 2011, 11:14:08 AM
EDIT: Just saw some 1989 Hardback 1987 Paperback editions of TEAI.   The  1989s cost more than a couple of 1945 FE/FP Hard backs listed.  Odd...I know I didn't pay $28 for mine... :-\

I guess some people think the newer it is, the better...?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 17, 2011, 11:41:56 AM
Lawrence the Rebel - Edward Robinson - Probably the earliest Lawrence biography that isn't straight hagiography. Stephen Tabachnick assured me this was a book with "interesting" ideas. What I got was a dry recitation of well-worn facts with a liberal smattering of primary source documents and the author's own reminiscences of the war. Can be skipped.

I will try and finish the Desmond Stewart book if it doesn't make me vomit, and then take a hiatus from Lawrence.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 17, 2011, 05:06:49 PM
The Exorcist - William Peter Blatty. I read this in the '70's, but in italian. Now, after watching repetedly the movie, I can say, re-reading it in english, that it is disposable, it adds little to the movie, maybe only the fact that the possession is the consequence of some Black Masses. Actually, it almost reads like a novelization. Had there not been the film it would earn a 7\10.   


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 18, 2011, 08:09:20 AM
T.E. Lawrence - Desmond Stewart - This book is to biography as The Trial of Billy Jack is to cinema. Making outlandish shit up without the slightest evidence is okay if you're a novelist, but any "historian" who does so should be hanged, drawn and quartered.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 20, 2011, 10:11:06 AM
Richard Aldington and Lawrence of Arabia: A Cautionary Tale - Fred Crawford - This book examines the controversy over novelist Richard Aldington's "Biographical Enquiry" of TEL, arguing that Lawrence's friends and family went too far in trying have his work suppressed. The latter point is convincingly portrayed and quite thought-provoking, so in this regard it's definitely worth reading. The problem here is that, despite Crawford's attempts to paint Aldington in a sympathetic light, he still comes off as a bitter, hateful man with an axe to grind, if not against Lawrence himself then against the British "Establishment." Crawford's criticism of Lawrence's acolytes, especially Basil Liddell Hart and Jeremy Wilson, is fair enough, but I think he overstates the case by saying Aldington changed Lawrence research for the better. Apparently interjecting groundless sensationalism into the debate is helpful.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 21, 2011, 04:00:21 PM
The Mint - T.E. Lawrence - Account of Lawrence's time spent in the RAF. Full of lots of barracks-room vulgarity and nastiness, but written with the same wit and attention to detail that made Seven Pillars a masterpiece.

T.E. Lawrence or the Search for the Absolute - Jean-Marcel Beraud-Villars - Aka T.E. Lawrence: A French View. Beraud-Villars is convinced that Lawrence hates France which seems overblown, and he's borderline racist in his treatment of the Arabs. His portrait of Lawrence the man is more balanced than most though, so for that alone it's definitely one of the better Lawrence bios.

Now I will take a break from Lawrence stuff. Maybe time for some films?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on April 24, 2011, 02:21:01 PM
Naomi Novik: Black Powder War  O0

At first I was like: WTF, Napoleonic Wars with dragons? But now I'm in love.

It's not really fantasy-like, no magic, no wizards, just a realistic world where dragons happen to exist. And they're awesome.

And unlike Paolini, this has a lot of original ideas and good writing.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 25, 2011, 09:02:14 AM
The Tsar's Last Armada: The Epic Voyage to the Battle of Tsushima - Constantine Pleshakov - The story of the ill-fated Russian Baltic Fleet's voyage during the Russo-Japanese War is one of history's great tragic epics, and it was cool to find a full-length book on the topic. Unfortunately it's a mediocre book: it's way too general for my taste, and focuses on the high-level personalities rather than the average sailors or the logistics of the voyage. Plus the Battle of Tsushima itself takes up only about 20 pages of a 396-page book. Robert Edgerton's chapter-length account in Warriors of the Rising Sun remains the best telling of Tsushima I've read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 30, 2011, 06:34:46 PM
The Headless Ghost - R.L. Stine - a pretty boring and non-scary book. Even as a kid I didn't care for this one.

Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America - John Avlon - a timely read in light of recent political events, and very pertinent and well-observed commentary on the state of politics right now. The biggest thing I got out of it was how old I'm getting: the book discussed Ashley Todd, the Pittsburgh G-20 and the shooting of cops here a few years back and I had an "OMG I was there!" reaction.

Night of the Giant Everything - R.L. Stine - one of the better of the recent Horrorland books, which isn't saying much. Still pretty funny and tongue-in-cheek, and even clever in spots.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 30, 2011, 11:39:56 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515MKRQ3PBL._SS500_.jpg)


I have read a bad italian translation of it, but it doesn't make much difference. The first part is good, but as the biographical infos get scarce about Christie's middle and later years it is a hard task to draw, like in the earlier stages of Christie's life, some infos from Christie fictional work. No great effort is made to make the reader understand where Christie's art (assuming there's one) lies. HAd to riffle through the second half. I presume there are many better books on Christie than this one. 5\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 04, 2011, 06:34:09 PM
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/81/45/cfc3808a8da060a677ce4110.L.jpg)


This is, rather quaintly, the only biography written on the first famous american mystery writer after Poe. Wright was a very complicated fellow, as this books proves. The idea he wanted people to make of himself lasted until this book was published, revealing his behaviour towards his family, women and drugs.  For a good two thirds though it is about his (and his painter brother Stanton) activity as an intellectual, before he turned to writing popular fiction and going from rags to riches. He was an interesting person and so this is an interesting biography, though one senses there was much more to his personality than what can be brought to light from a biographer 60 years later, considering also the efforts of Wright to cancel most of his traces. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 04, 2011, 06:50:32 PM
Chancellorsville - Stephen W. Sears - This is the second Sears book I've read (Landscape Turned Red, his book on Antietam, is the other) and I have to conclude he's not my cup of tea. His books are dry and detailed to a fault, providing lots of information but not allowing any but the most careful reader to absorb it. In this book, Sears argues at length that Joseph Hooker is unfairly maligned by historians, arguing that his subordinates (Howard, Stoneman, Sedgwick) were to blame for the Union debacle. Not that those officers are above reproach, but if Hooker's campaign was so brilliant, and his conduct so peerless, how did the Union lose the battle in the first place? No, only an imbecile willingly hands the initiative over to Robert E. Lee/Stonewall Jackson, and Hooker's reputation is well-deserved in my eyes. Sears is not in the league of James McPherson, Shelby Foote, Bruce Catton or Edward Stackpole when it comes to Civil War writers, that's for damned sure.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 08, 2011, 06:40:49 PM
Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era - James M. McPherson - The best book I've read on the American Civil War (with Catton's A Stillness at Appomattox a respectable second).


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 09, 2011, 07:22:42 AM
I managed to find my copies of Grant's Memoirs and Irving Stone's They Also Ran in the inner recesses of my moldy closet.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 11, 2011, 05:01:46 PM
(http://brokenbullhorn.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/case-of-the-real-perry-mason-cvr1.jpg)

This was authorized by the estate and it borders on the ridiculous as to Gardner private life: it would like to persuade you that Gardner lived like a monk for 30 years before marrying a woman who had been there all along. But as I don't care about people's private life, the loss is insignificant. Gardner's life was quite a peculiar one and this biography relates most of it, still not superseding previous, shorter works like Alva Johnston's. Given the extent of his literary output it is no wonder that an analysis in depth of his literary achievement is missing. Still this is a fast reading book for thoise interested in his creations. 7\10 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 15, 2011, 07:39:02 AM
From Cedar Mountain to Antietam - Edward J. Stackpole - One of my favorite Civil War books from way back. A bit dated but a very readable, entertaining and informative account of the war's most interesting battle.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 17, 2011, 04:36:29 PM
Gettysburg: A Testing of Courage - Noah Andre Trudeau - Arguably, it adds little to the existing Gettysburg scholarship beyond providing an incredibly readable and entertaining account of the battle. Trudeau's blow-by-blow account of the battle is excellent, but he has more than a few gaffes (confusing brigades and divisions, getting a name wrong here and there) that might bug some people. Not as good as his book on Sherman's March but worth reading.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 20, 2011, 06:59:07 PM
To the Gates of Richmond: The Peninsula Campaign - Stephen W. Sears - Hmm, I write Mr. Sears off as a hack and then I find that one of his books is actually good? Perhaps it's because this book deals with a lengthy campaign rather than a specific battle, thus avoiding excessive minutae. Either way it's one of the best Civil War books, and a radical departure from Sears's other books, which mostly bored me.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 24, 2011, 08:20:47 PM
The Greatest Sports Arguments of All Time - Christopher Russo - A bit dated (written in 2003) and restricted to American sports. But enjoyable enough bathroom reading, even if Russo's writing style grates at times.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 26, 2011, 06:49:40 PM
Confederates in the Attic - Tony Horwitz - Superb.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 28, 2011, 07:29:23 AM
Two quick reads:

The Candlemass Road - George Macdonald Fraser - pretty far from Fraser's best work. An interesting setting (the English-Scottish border circa 1600) but the book is rather short (156 pages) and the plot and characters not fully developed, plus there's a largely helping of arcane language to navigate.

The Irish Brigade in the Civil War - Joseph G. Bilby - short but very readable account of the most famous unit in the Union Army. Worthwhile for the hundreds of photographs included in therein.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 31, 2011, 07:17:53 AM
Like Men of War: Black Troops in the Civil War, 1862-1865 - Noah Andre Trudeau - An excellent, wonderfully comprehensive look at African-American contributions to the Civil War. Trudeau might be my favorite Civil War writer now.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 31, 2011, 12:03:54 PM
They Met at Gettysburg - Edward J. Stackpole - A decent introduction to Gettysburg if you don't know much about it. Very simplistic analysis and the battle is viewed on a broader command level, so no blow-by-blow, detailed accounts of anything.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 02, 2011, 06:59:17 PM
Eight Men Out - Eliot Asinov - I'm not a huge baseball fan but I've always been fascinated by the Black Sox scandal. This is probably the definitive account of it, and a very good and interesting read. You can sympathize with the players without excusing what they did, given what a giant ass Charles Comiskey was. I saw the movie years ago and it's due for a re-watch.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on June 11, 2011, 08:11:10 AM
Game of Thrones (watching it too):

BADASS.  O0

Tyrion Lannister is awesome, and so is Dany. And Arya. And Ser Barristan. And the Hound.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 12, 2011, 03:49:49 PM
Have read a few in the mean-time:

Flashman's Lady - 2nd reading. This could have been the best Flashman book if it weren't for the interminable cricket scenes in the first 50 pages. Once they leave England the story really picks up, with trips to Borneo and Madagascar circa 1840, and run-ins with an interesting cast of historical villains (gentleman pirate Suleiman Usman, "White Raja" James Brooke, genocidal Queen Ranavalona). Having Elspeth highlighted for once adds an additional layer of delight.

Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? - Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Brian Bellmont - Lots of authors are jumping the James Lileks derisive nostalgia bandwagon, and this (focusing on '70s/'80s children's fads) is a good entry in the genre.

The French Foreign Legion: A Complete History of the Legendary Fighting Force - Douglas Porch - A very exhausting read, giving an in-depth history and sociological analysis of the Legion from its founding in the 1830s through Algerian independence. Extremely detailed, with lots of minutiae about Legion life (some of it interesting, some not) - you could probably find out 99% of what you'd ever want to know, except where Le Boudin comes from (a trip to Wikipedia can solve that though). Probably the most interesting sections involve how the Legion developed, and deliberately cultivated, its popular image. Porch, not unreasonably, displays a prejudice towards the Legion's colonial engagements rather than their involvement in major conflicts. Worthwhile and interesting to be sure, but very long (728 pages) and excrutiatingly detailed, it's not a light or easy read. (Fortunately I had several long car rides this week.)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 20, 2011, 08:20:26 AM
The Last Full Measure - Jeff Shaara - The problem with Jeff Shaara's Civil War novels is that they try and cover too much ground - here, everything between Gettysburg and Lee's surrender, with a brief postscript for each of the protagonists. The Killer Angels worked well because it focused exclusively on Gettysburg, but the much broader scope somewhat dilutes the dramatic power. That being said, Shaara has a great handle on his protagonists (Chamberlain, Grant and Lee), vividly sketches more peripheral players (John B. Gordon, most interestingly), and has a flare for telling dialogue and dramatic battle scenes. Had the book focused on a particular portion of Grant's campaign it could have equalled Killer Angels. It's still a good novel though.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 25, 2011, 03:56:07 PM
Nixonland - Rick Perlstein. 3rd reading. I am very ambivalent towards this book, and Mr. Perlstein (of whom I'm a slight acquaintance). It's very left-wing in its biased, has its share of inaccuracies and misrepresentations, and definitely goes overboard in blaming Nixon for almost everything that went wrong in '60s America (and by extension, modern politics). Perlstein's frenetic writing style is appropriate in some places but grating in others. As a portrait of the '60s and '70s, though, it's quite engrossing, and whatever the flaws in analysis it's a really compelling read. You can open it up to almost any page and find something worth reading. Pop history for sure, but very good pop history.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 07, 2011, 07:11:42 AM
Flashman on the March - George Macdonald Fraser. 2nd reading. The final Flashman novel has Flashy matching wits with a psychotic African King and a variety of scheming beauties during the 1868 British invasion of Abyssinia. I barely remembered this book from my first reading, but like several other Flashman entries I enjoyed it a lot more the second time around. The battle scenes are great, Fraser's at his most irreverent and humorous throughout, there are some extremely vivid descriptions of Abyssinian barbarity and atrocity, and Uliba-Wark might be the best female character in a Flashman novel. There are a few dodgy plot contrivances to keep Flashman alive; how many roving gangs of bandits can you cram into a story? I suppose this is a formulaic entry, but the formula's a good one so why complain? The book does strike a false note in using the story to critique the Afghanistan/Iraq Wars (one of Fraser's hobbyhorses in later life) which is a shame. Still, if it's not the best of the series, it's certainly not a bad way for Flashy to go out.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on July 10, 2011, 01:42:31 PM
A Feast For Crows - weakest part of ASOIAF, but thankfully the next book comes out on Tuesday!

Why weak - no Tyrion or Dany chapters, too much of Grejoys, too much Dorne, too much Cersei. Also, UnCat. Meh.



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 14, 2011, 06:23:14 PM
Very Strange Bedfellows: The Short Unhappy Marriage of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew - Jules Witcover - Workmanlike account of Spiro Agnew's tenure as Vice President, and his personal and political relationship with Richard Nixon.  There's some interesting stuff within: Agnew, a man with Presidential ambitions, mixed ambition and idiocy even more thoroughly than certain modern politicians, chafing at his marginal role under Nixon, and Nixon's scheming to dump Agnew for John Connally. But Witcover's writing is bland and the later chapters about Agnew's downfall are heavily larded with quotations and excerpts from memoirs, diaries, and White House tapes, which don't make for great reading. Really for political junkies/history buffs only.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 18, 2011, 05:38:07 PM
A Country of Vast Designs: James K. Polk, The Mexican War and the Conquest of the American Continent - Robert W. Merry - Finally got to read this.  Mr. Merry advances two controversial propositions: first, that the Mexican War was a good thing, and second that James K. Polk was one of America's greatest Presidents. I have mixed feelings about the former given how it set the stage for the Civil War, but Merry makes his case pretty well. His second thesis, however, is pretty shaky. Merry presents such a detailed portrait of Polk that it paradoxically undermines Merry's argument; Young Hickory comes off instead as an ineffectual vacillator who got swept along by popular sentiment. Despite these weaknesses, Merry is an engaging writer and his account of 1840s America is extremely vivid and readable. Highly recommended.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: tintinteslacoil on July 20, 2011, 10:37:21 AM
"The Mouse that saved the West". Cute...bit dated.  About the oil "crisis" of early '80's. . One of the last "Mouse that Roared" series.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 23, 2011, 05:40:50 PM
Sickles the Incredible - W.A. Swanberg - Daniel Edgar Sickles - notorious womanizer, Congressman, murderer, Civil War general, duplicitous Ambassador and all-around intriguer - is, for my money, one of American history's most fascinating, yet strangely overlooked individuals. Swanberg's rollicking, lively biography is an excellent read worthy of its larger-than-life subject, and much better than Thomas Kennealy's trashy American Scoundrel. Swanberg's a bit more admiring of Sickles than the average reader is likely to be, but you definitely get a sense of Sickles's mixture of ambition, ego and shamelessness.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on July 25, 2011, 02:47:27 PM
A Dance With Dragons - still "preparing" for the hopefully big finale. Good to see the North gathering and every time someone says "the North remembers" I'm like: "Freys, Boltons, you're SO screwed."

Some hilarious stuff, some minor baddies getting it, a cliffhanger of "did he die or not?" which no one buys for a second... or course he didn't. Or he'll totally be resurrected, like everyone does lately. Where are the happy times when dead people stayed dead?

Best thing? Manderly's Frey pie.  ;D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 10, 2011, 05:07:45 AM
A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn - The Last Great Battle of the American West - James Donovan - Good, very detailed and relatively objective account of Custer's Last Stand.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 13, 2011, 06:12:09 AM
Fraud of the Century - Roy Morris Jr. - A decent account of the disputed 1876 election between Rutherford Hayes and Samuel Tilden. It's an interesting read, if only in showing the chicanery and corruption of 19th Century politics (who else but Dan Sickles set the whole "fraud" in motion?), but the author makes no attempts to hide his biases: eg., that the Republicans blatantly stole the election and that Tilden's supporters did little or nothing immoral. Oddly he bemoans the end of Reconstruction under Hayes while ignoring the salient fact that Tilden's party wanted that done even faster.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 08, 2011, 02:05:32 PM
Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus - Rick Perlstein - 3rd reading.

Brassey's Book of Military Blunders - Geoffrey Regan - Aside from Someone Had Blundered, Regan consistently writes boring books about interesting subjects. I don't know why I wasted my money on this factually suspect, clunkily-written waste of paper.

The Reason Why - Cecil Woodham-Smith - 2nd reading.

Flashman at the Charge - George Macdonald Fraser - 3rd reading. This is a frustrating book. The title is misleading as it's divided into three separate acts: Flashman's adventures in the Crimean War, his time as POW somewhere in Russia, his escape to Afghanistan to thwart a Russian invasion of India. Each individual section is very strong, but Fraser strains credulity to tie them together and it's hard to swallow as a whole. That said, Fraser is at his best for most of the book, each act featuring a superlative set-pieces: a vivid rendering of the Battle of Balaclava, a night-time sleigh chase with a hilarious climax, a doped-up Flashman singlehandedly sinking a Russian fleet with Congreve rockets.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on September 08, 2011, 07:55:11 PM
The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler
Farewell My Lovely -  Raymond Chandler
The Little Sister -  Raymond Chandler
The Screaming Mimi - Fredrick Brown

In the middle of
Night & Fear - Cornell Woolrich


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 08, 2011, 10:49:20 PM
Zim: A Baseball Life, by Don Zimmer

The autobiography of a baseball lifer. Don Zimmer is the last member of the Brooklyn Dodgers to still be working in baseball (as a senior adviser to the Tampa Bay Rays). Zim was a .235 career hitter, who endured two serious beanings -- one nearly killed him, the second nearly ended his career.

He is perhaps most famous for wearing an army helmet (with the Yankee logo!) in the dugout during the '99 playoffs, after being hit in the hear by a foul ball.

 Zim has been in pro baseball since 1949, and began in the majors as an infielder with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954. Since then, he has served as player, coach, manager on a whole bunch of teams in the majors and minors, including some famous ones: he was a player on the 1962 Mets (the losingest team in MLB history), manager of the 1978 Red Sox (who lost the playoff game to the Yanks on BUCKY DENT's home run, and Joe Torre's bench coach with the Yanks from 1996 - 2003, until he left in disgust, due to George Steinbrenner's treatment (or mistreatment, to put it more accurately).

This book was written following the 2000 season; at that point, my Yankees had won 4 World Series in 5 years. Zimmer is pretty candid in this book about his feelings toward his managers, executives, and players over the years. If you are a baseball guy as I am, this book is certainly an enjoyable read. Zim is a bridge to the old days, and can talk about the days when players barely made enough to get by and had to take jobs in the offseason, Pee Wee, Campy, Gil, and the old Brooklyn Dodgers, all the way to the present day.

Zim is married to the same woman since 1951 -- his beloved wife "Soot -- whom he married at home plate before a minor league game!

Zim the man is a national treasure. "Zim" the book is a very enjoyable read for any fan of the national pastime





Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 08, 2011, 11:04:54 PM
Birth of a Dynasty, by Joel Sherman (2006)

This is an ABSOLUTELY SPECTACULAR book about the 1996 Yankees, which gave birth to a dynasty that won 4 World Series and 6 American League pennants in an 8-year span.

The book was written 10 years after the fact, giving Sherman, a baseball writer for the NY Post, enough time to interview virtually every important person related to the '96 Yankees. Not only did he interview many important players and coaches from the Yankee team, but players and managers from opposing teams as well, such as the heavily-favored Atlanta Braves team that lost to the Yanks in the Fall Classic. His list of interviews in back of the book is very impressive.

That '96 team overcame incredible adversity to win it all. More than simply discussing the '96 year, Sherman goes back and traces the team's success to personnel moves, many of which came years before.

So we learn the history of how, years before '96, the Yanks were able to sign Bernie Williams as a 16-year old from Puerto Rico; how the Yanks pulled a ridiculously lopsided trade of Paul O'Neill for Roberto Kelly; how Derek Jeter fell to the sixth spot in the draft, etc. etc. etc. So Sherman demonstrates how the pieces of the puzzle came together to make the '96 championship team, as well as  going through the story of the entire '96 season itself.

This book is written extremely well, and I cannot possibly express how much I enjoyed reading it.

Foreword by David Cone.

Especially if you are a Yankee fan, this is a can't-miss book  :)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 13, 2011, 01:05:17 PM
Black Ajax - George Macdonald Fraser - Novel about Tom Molineaux, the black prizefighter who competed for England's heavyweight title in 1810. Fraser got his start as a sports reporter and it shows with his vivid attention to detail in the boxing matches.  He employs a Citizen Kane-style structure with an unseen narrator interviewing various witnesses and participants (including, among others, Flashman's father), with mixed success. The use of arcane language is superb as usual but the characters aren't always distinct enough to register. A very interesting read all the same.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 14, 2011, 02:57:16 AM
Adieu, poulet - Raf Vallet. It seems like this movie was based on the novel:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0072603/

I haven't seen it, but on the french dvd another novel is quoted as source. Even the plot given at IMDB it is not what this novel is about though the characters names coincide.
This is one of the best "corrupted" cop novels I have read. It has a plot which lets itself be read at a sitting (you never klnow what it is gonna happen) and some brilliant dialogues (especially those of the protagonist with his superiors). I usually don't go for politics  mixed up with genre but here the things combine well because politics do not intrude in the narrative, actually they serve the plot. A pity that this, apparently, was not translated in english.  9\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 26, 2011, 07:55:09 AM
The Rise and Fall of the British Empire - Lawrence James - quite a dense read, covering as much English history between 1600 and the mid-'90s as possible within 650 pages of text. James is an engaging writer but the book is somewhat awkwardly structured, flitting around in time and digressing to discussed the cultural and political context in which the Empire thrived. Still, it gives a reasonably complete and objective view of its subject and is definitely worthwhile.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 27, 2011, 02:44:47 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41LBQ4QCGYL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Being an admirer of both  Lombino and Hitchcock I expected more from this. But it tells you little about the creative process (especially how the writer got ideas for the story)  and looks more like a long overdue settling of accounts (Hunter was fired while working on Marnie). Hunter tells us about the scenes he wrote or wanted to write and weren't accepted. He insist on wanting to persuade us that he knew more about cinema than H. It isn't well written (but probably I should have read it in the original instead of the poor italian translation I bought last sunday) or maybe I should rewatch The Birds. And I don't feel like it this moment. It has the great advantage though of being pamphlet-short.  6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 01, 2011, 04:58:13 AM
Ghost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing Crew - Brian Hicks - a book-length account of the Mary Celeste, arguably the most famous maritime mystery ever. Hicks is an engaging writer and he tells his story well, covering all aspects of the Celeste's crew and history, the trial of the Dei Gratia's crew, the myriad speculation on the topic and how it became a cultural icon (with a lengthy chapter on Conan Doyle's famous short story). Hicks has an interesting theory of what happened which seems plausible on its face, though I see others have questioned it. Worth reading if the subject interests.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 03, 2011, 07:09:34 AM
The Complete McAuslan - George Macdonald Fraser - Three different books of short stories, published over about 30 years' time, centering on a cloddish Scotsman's misadventures in a Highland Regiment post-WWII. The first two books (The General Danced at Dawn, McAuslan in the Rough) are Fraser at his best, wonderfully diverse in setting and incident and full of wry humor and characterization. Fraser served in such a regiment during WWII and there's an autobiographical element that makes it more grounded than Flashman, yet no less amusing or insightful. Some of the short stories rank with Fraser's best work, including a hectic train ride from Cairo to Jerusalem (in the midst of Israel's pre-independence turmoil), a quiz bowl match and a confrontation with Egyptian rioters saved by a half-crazed lieutenant's quick-thinking. The third book, The Sheik and the Dustbin, seems more like going through the motions of McAuslan getting into a scrape or improbably saving the day. Two out of three ain't bad though.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on October 03, 2011, 07:41:54 AM
Night & Fear (2005),  Cornell Woolrich, a compilation of his short stories many of which first were published in pulp magazines. Woolrich was a real master of the genre called noir,  author of countless pieces featuring  hardboiled detectives, disenchanted cops, or ordinary citizens caught in desperate situations.  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on October 03, 2011, 08:34:58 AM
Grogs, just out of interest, how many books do you read in, say, a month? 'Cause it's way more than I do (and I guess that currently you're also watching more movies than me).


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 03, 2011, 09:14:24 AM
I could read 2-3 books a week in college, sometimes more. With my current job and zero free time it's significantly below that.

This latest book I've been reading over the course of three months and just read the final two stories last night.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 08, 2011, 07:59:29 AM
Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement From the New Deal to Reagan - Kim Phillips-Fein - If Rick Perlstein were an academic writer instead of a sensationalist pop historian, he might write this book. Phillips-Fein looks primarily at big business's role in shaping the modern conservative movement between 1933 and 1980, downplaying the populist and intellectual components of conservatism. Interesting if the topic is up your alley, but a bit dry in spots - though the author's unwillingness to pass judgment on those she writes about is commendable.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Richard--W on October 10, 2011, 02:44:23 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41P1ZDNPK8L._SS500_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51JYokwAyAL._SS500_.jpg)

A sensible, lucid, evidential and comprehensive history of the Salem witch trials.
A good introduction to the topic.
I'd start with this narrative history before reading the transcripts, or the more extensive and specialized histories.


Richard


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 14, 2011, 08:40:41 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GFZJMQHTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg)

I expected more from this. But the reading is quite monotonous, just a series of facts and names without a sparkle of anecdotical brightness. I read it in a good italian translation and I don't think it is of any interest to the common reader, probably only to those interested in the story of NYC and of gangsterism in USA.  And it is funny that, in 1928, the author should give the title The Vanishing Gangster to the last chapter. ;D 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on October 15, 2011, 04:43:30 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51GFZJMQHTL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg)

I expected more from this. But the reading is quite monotonous, just a series of facts and names without a sparkle of anecdotical brightness. I read it in a good italian translation and I don't think it is of any interest to the common reader, probably only to those interested in the story of NYC and of gangsterism in USA.  And it is funny that, in 1928, the author should give the title The Vanishing Gangster to the last chapter. ;D 6\10

What he said, very tedious,  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 18, 2011, 12:02:26 PM
(http://www.corrupt.org/drupal/files/images/first_blood-david_morrell.jpg)

This is quite different from the movie which, in my opinion, marks an improvement on the written source. Actually the filmakers took the first part and the cave episode and of course left aside the psychological deepening of the characters giving more room to action. Not that the book lacks in that respect, but compared with the movie is at an evident disadvantage. And the character of Rambo is quite different from Stallone's portrait. I give this a 6\10, while to the movie I gave something like 9 or 10/10.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 19, 2011, 03:24:27 PM
(http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSVVbMk67oIpblN3f1n-OH-8nsNteKM_769EIIK5RNwBfdz-SRE)

Not a good thriller. It starts with an intriguing mystery to solve, but then it becomes a pulp action one not  over the top enough for being so incredible. 5\10  


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 25, 2011, 08:54:31 AM
Eden to Armageddon: World War I in the Middle East - Roger Ford - A serviceable account of what it claims. I liked the book being structured by theater rather than strict chronology, which helped keep each area focused on a battle or campaign without drifting into other areas. Because of this structure, some sections are better than others: I found the chapters on Gallipoli and the Caucasus Front more interesting than the Mesopotamian/Palestinian chapters, perhaps because I know less about the former. Two major complaints though: One, Ford focuses almost obsessively on tactical details of the campaigns/battles, which often makes for dry reading and undervalues political and strategic concerns. Two, most of the endnotes do not actually lead to sources, and there's no real bibliography in the book which is a major gaffe. Worth a read, but better books exist on the subject.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 01, 2011, 02:04:23 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/518VAGR2QPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

An excellent thriller, which owes a debt for the starting gimmick to Emperor of the North but it is good on its own terms. Though written by a french it has LA as background and it's about a series of climbers who tries to make it to the top of a very classy building, 40 floor-high, which is overseen by a Vietnam veteran who thinks nothing of letting them have a good dive. But I won't tell anything to whoever may read it (in french only, apparently). This would make an excellent movie, I don't know though if  it has been made. 8\10   


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 03, 2011, 05:17:32 AM
A Peace to End All Peace - David Fromkin - Excellent, intricate account of the Allies' wheelings and dealings in the Middle East between WWI and the Treaty of Sevres. Fromkin covers a lot of ground, focusing mostly on the political/strategic ramifications of the war, so there's not a lot of detail on specific battles and incidents. But I'd rather a more general account than the painful detail of the last book I read on this topic.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 08, 2011, 05:07:17 PM
Flashman and the Dragon - George Macdonald Fraser - 2nd reading. I barely remembered my first go-around with this one, and I'm not surprised. You'd think "routine" is the last word you could apply to any Flashman, but this book qualifies. You can imagine Fraser running through a checklist: momentous historical event (the Taiping Rebellion and the Arrow War) with copious footnotes, lots of eccentric, real-life personages (not the least Yankee freebooter Frederick Thompson Ward), exotic beauties with a penchant for kinky sex and a healthy serving of violence, torture and exotica. That's all well and good up to a point, but where's the passion, the creativity? Somewhere between the tenth pirate skirmish, the sixtieth description of the Summer Palace and Flashy's eight-hundredth coupling with Empress Cixi your mind starts to wander. The plot's all over the place, with Fraser inexplicably dropping the most interesting subplot and character (Ward) without fanfare at the 100-page mark; he even apologizes for this in the endnotes. But mainly it feels tired, with even the clever bits (Flashman's disposal of an overly-curious Irishman) seeming familiar.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 10, 2011, 06:47:57 PM
Portrait of T.E. Lawrence - Vyvyan Richards - a slim (145 pp. of text) biography of Lawrence penned by a lifelong friend. Richards supposedly had an unrequited crush on Lawrence in their Oxford days, and his "portrait" of TEL is undeniably affectionate, viewing him as a great man obsessed with the idea of "freedom," be it personal or political. Still, despite Richards' penchant for hyperbole (comparing Lawrence to Alexander the Great, Napoleon and Francis of Assisi!) his Lawrence is a more balanced and nuanced characterization than contemporaries like Lowell Thomas and Robert Graves allowed.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 10, 2011, 07:10:44 PM
(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v432/jgmallard/Ace/ISBN/14155.jpg)

Good in the first part, it becomes boring in the mid part and the end part is pulp fare. 5\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 12, 2011, 10:41:08 PM
(http://www.captainahabsrarebooks.com/ahab/images/items/567.jpg)

I read this on the recommendation of no less than Raymond Chandler who wrote about it in one of his letters. Now I think I know why: his writings are quoted in the novel itself as the reason thanx to which the narrator manages save his hide (!).  It also won an Edgar as best first novel. So a sure fire read, you'd guess?. Well, it isn't. I think it's quite goofy as to the solution of killer's identity (one could argue about the culpability of all - or almost - the characters). But the narrative doesn't flow and the protagonist is not credible. I give it 6\10 because I managed to get to the end but it could be even less and I don't recommend it to hardboiled fiction fans.  



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 15, 2011, 05:16:06 AM
Destiny of the Republic: Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President - Candice Millard - An interesting account of James Garfield's assassination, focusing largely on the hideously incompetent medical treatment he received. Besides being one of the more attractive historians out there, Millard is an excellent author with a great narrative sense and the book is a quick, interesting and easy read. Perhaps Millard goes too far in trying to rehabilitate Garfield's image but he does come off as an honorable man who *might* have made a good President.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on November 15, 2011, 05:23:32 AM
Ride The Pink Horse, interesting but nothing really outstanding.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 20, 2011, 06:46:59 PM
Arguably - Christopher Hitchens - the latest collection of Hitchens essays which includes some of my favorites: his attack on Pat Buchanan's Hitler apologia, a post-Abbotabad rant about Pakistan's duplicity, an insightful review of The Baader-Meinhof Complex and, of course, an appreciation of the Flashman novels. Mercifully free of Henry Kissinger and Mother Theresa material too!

Deep Trouble II - R.L. Stine - One of the absolute worst Goosebumps books with a "plot" that lurches from weird scene to weird scene, and one of the dumbest endings in the history of children's literature.

The Golden Warrior: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia - Lawrence James - James tries his hand at a balanced portrayal of Lawrence but it's clear his sympathies lie with the skeptical camp, arguing at length that Lawrence lied about being raped, he was a homosexual, the Arab Revolt wasn't worth the effort, etc. On the other hand, James does grant Lawrence a degree of heroism, brilliance and flexibility which elevates the book above dismissal as a hatchet job, and to be sure he goes after some of the more scurillous nonsense propagated by other biographers. The most interesting parts of the book are his oft-pointed analyses of Lawrence's creation as a media sensation: James' general history of the British Empire was quite good and he does an excellent job placing the Lawrence legend in the sociological context of post-Great War Britain. Still, a pretty middling biography without much new to say about T.E.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 24, 2011, 06:54:03 AM
Trespassers on the Roof of the World: The Secret Exploration of Tibet - Peter Hopkirk - Hopkirk is a great writer and one of the most accessible historians I've encountered. His Great Game trilogy is brilliant and he's no less impressive here, charting the efforts of British, French and Chinese explorers to visit Tibet in the the Victorian era and early 20th Century. Hopkirk is as much a travel writer as a historian and his descriptions of Tibet are extremely vivid and absorbing. Though his focus is on the outsiders (and there are plenty of interesting tales) he has a genuine respect and sympathy for the Tibetians, especially their plight at the hands of the Chinese. The only niggle is when he'll start telling a story only to claim it "falls outside this narrative" and move on. Then why mention it in the first place?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 02, 2011, 06:27:03 PM
The War of the World - Niall Ferguson - One of the better of the recent World War II revisionist histories, but still a mixed bag. Ferguson is a dense writer who pitches his books on a sociological level, and it took me three tries over two years to finally finish it. Ferguson's lumping the two world wars into one super-conflict is clever and his descriptions of atrocities and ethnic turmoil harrowing. He takes the view that the rise of collectivist ideologies (Nationalism, Communism, Fascism) led to an increase in mass slaughter and it's hard to argue this point. His more specific analyses are very mixed in quality: for instance, he expertly pounds the rationale for appeasement into dust, and he makes an interesting case that Nazism was ideologically closer to Stalinist Russian than its fascist allies. He gets into more suspect territory when he claims the Soviets were the only "winner" of WWII (I guess having 20 million dead and one's economy and infrastructure almost irreparably crippled counts for nothing?) and that the Cold War marked the "death" of Western Civilization. Writers need to learn context and causation before jumping to such conclusions. With these flaws in mind, an interesting read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 09, 2011, 08:15:12 PM
Mr. Lincoln's Army - Bruce Catton - A Bruce Catton book ought to speak for itself.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 14, 2011, 04:58:03 PM
Red Victory: A History of the Russian Civil War - W. Bruce Lincoln - Well-written, reasonably comprehensive account of what it claims. All of the books I'd read on this topic focused on one side or the other so it's nice to see that Lincoln tries to cover every angle, including the various foreign interventions, Greens, Nestor Mahkno's Black Army, the Kronstadt Mutiny and the various non-Russian nationalities vying for independence. He also gets points for avoiding the pitfalls of many Western historians (Richard Pipes most obnoxiously) who view the White Army as the lesser of two evils. Highly recommended.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on December 18, 2011, 05:33:09 AM
I'm re-reading Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz, for school.
I noticed a moment I haven't noticed properly before, during a dispute and fight at a dinner, where wojski (I think... I still have the characters mixed up, and I've read it several times) is holding a knife in a special way that suggests he's going to throw it. That's basically all there is to it, he does not throw it, and it's a moment that did not make it into the Andrzej Wajda film (like many others did not). But this one adds a level of ominousness that I wasn't aware of before.
One more reason why re-reading books is a good idea.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 18, 2011, 07:14:50 AM
The First World War - Hew Strachan - I think this is a companion volume to the very good documentary series The First World War. It's about as comprehensive as a 300-page book can be, with more than adequate focus on the war's peripheral theaters and some interesting and unique analyses of the conflict. The main attraction though are the dozens of rare photographs, some of them in color.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on December 22, 2011, 06:24:01 AM
Dark City Dames The wicked women of Film Noir. (2001) By Eddie Muller. I picked up the hard cover edition for 00.99 cents on Amazon. Dedication reads "For These Six Women and One More" The Women covered are Jane Greer, Audrey Totter, Marie Windsor, Evelyn Keyes, Colleen Gray, and Ann Savage the one more who died before Eddie could interview her was Clair Trevor. They all had long second lives post Hollywood

Its an enjoyable read, Jane Greer's career was cut short by marriage, Howard Hughes, and bad choices, Audrey Totter had a chance at a part that catapulted nobody at the time Ava Gardner into stardom another gambol. Utah mining camp born and raised Marie Windsor plodded on in SiFi flicks and TV, Westerns being her favorites. She has a nice quote about Film Noir, basically saying "we didn't think they were anything special at the time we just thought they were cheap" the dark lighting hiding the budget production values. Evelyn Keyes deflowered at 14 in a cheap motel was a real free spirit she started right at the top appearing as Scarlet O'Hara's sister Suellen in "Gone With The Wind", acted in Noirs, dropped out of Hollywood and lived in South America, and Paris before returning to Hollywood. Colleen Gray was always cast as the innocent her last Noir was Kubrik's The Killing. Ann Savage was a wild one also California born & bred, her career was a quick comet.

Apparently Audrey Totter and Coleen Gray are still alive. Savage and Keyes died in 2008, Greer in 2001, Windsor in 2000.

By no means are these the only dark women, biggest omission for me is Gloria Grahame, but she died long ago and has a book all her own  "Suicide Blonde: The Life of Gloria Grahame" by Vincent Curcio.

It was an entertaining read and gives you an insiders view on how the demise of the Studio System and TV brought an era to an end.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Cusser on December 22, 2011, 10:47:19 AM
I'm not kidding:

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly Pittsburgh Steelers: Heart-pounding, Jaw-dropping, and Gut-wrenching Moments from Pittsburgh Steelers History

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Ugly-Pittsburgh-Steelers-Heart-pounding/dp/157243922X

Next up: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Pittsburgh Pirates: Heart-Pounding, Jaw-Dropping, and Gut Wrenching Moments from Pittsburgh Pirates History

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Ugly-Pittsburgh-Pirates-Heart-Pounding/dp/1572439823/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1324575995&sr=1-2


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 22, 2011, 02:58:29 PM
I'm not kidding:

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly Pittsburgh Steelers: Heart-pounding, Jaw-dropping, and Gut-wrenching Moments from Pittsburgh Steelers History

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Ugly-Pittsburgh-Steelers-Heart-pounding/dp/157243922X

Next up: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Pittsburgh Pirates: Heart-Pounding, Jaw-Dropping, and Gut Wrenching Moments from Pittsburgh Pirates History

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Ugly-Pittsburgh-Pirates-Heart-Pounding/dp/1572439823/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1324575995&sr=1-2

I'm pretty sure my dad has both of those books. I've glanced through them myself a few times. O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 25, 2011, 11:48:34 AM
Flashman in the Great Game - George Macdonald Fraser - 3rd reading. Fifth entry in the series sees Flashy mixed up in the Indian Mutiny, from romancing a ravishing Rani to matching wits with a crafty Russian spy, all the while avoiding murderous Sepoys and rampaging English troops. This is easily the most serious installment, with very graphic and harrowing descriptions of violence and atrocities on both sides of the Mutiny; even Flashman is compelled to act heroic and noble in spots. Lots of memorable set-pieces (especially Flashman's trip to Balmoral) but the best moment is Flashman's reaction to the publication of Tom Brown's Schooldays! Third best Flashman book after Flash for Freedom and the original.

Earlier this week I gave Fraser's Mr. American a go and gave up on it halfway through. How many 25 page bridge games does a novel need? Even a cameo by Flashman himself couldn't make it worthwhile.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 29, 2011, 06:57:19 AM
(http://books.google.com/books?id=QkDoAQAACAAJ&printsec=frontcover&img=1&zoom=1)

I bought this in Paris, most appropriate place to read it. Which I did. The plot is somewhat strained but you don't care because it is mostly a comedy and also an effective guide to how Paris  works. Hate for Frogs is not required before reading but it helps. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 01, 2012, 05:02:33 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51mOc3xQq3L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg)

This is one of the most important books in the development of the mystery novel. The structure though is different from what the genre arrived later to define itself. It is more than 800 pages long in the french edition but the novel is divided in two parts the second of which (occupying 2\3 of the entire book) it is just a prologue to the detective novel developed in the first 200 and oods pages. Somebody wrote that this is almost illegible now, I read it quite easily in spite of the lenght, the first part being absolutely masterful in the structure of the detective method. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on January 12, 2012, 04:06:40 PM
Just finnished Nightwebs, Cornell Woolrich compilation which has a nice checklist of all of Woolrich's work and screen adaptations in total 23, the Noirs in bold.

Children of the Ritz (1929)
Manhattan love Song (1934)
Convicted (1938)
Street Of Chance (1942)
The Leopard Man (1943)
The Phantom Lady (1944)
Mark Of The Whistler (1944)
Deadline At Dawn (1946)
The Balck Angel (1946)
The Chase (1946)
Fall Guy (1947)
Fear In The Night (1947)
The Guilty (1947)
I Wouldn't Be In Your Shoes (1948)
Return of the Whistler (1948)
Night Has A Thousand Eyes (1948)
The Window (1949)
No Man Of Her Own (1950)
Rear Window (1954)
Nightmare (1956)
The Boy Cried Murder (1966)
La Mariee Etait en Noir (The Bride Wore Black) (1967)
La Sirene du Mississippi (Mississippi Mermaid) (1969)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 12, 2012, 04:43:28 PM
La sirene du Mississippi is based on Waltz into Darkness.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: tintinteslacoil on January 14, 2012, 06:10:11 AM
"Century of the Surgeon", Jurgen Thornwald.  A historical drama odf the pioneers, and, ultimate  accepance, of asepsis, anesthesia, and abdominal surgery. Seems hard to fathom nowadays  that doctors even Resisted Washing Their hands. The Good, Old Days...

I've read it before; it's fascinating. Like you are really there; meeting Lister and Koch.  He has a sequel;"Triumph of Surgery", about even more pioneers.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 14, 2012, 09:52:42 AM
The Fate of Africa: A History of the Continent Since Independence - Martin Meredith - Extremely ambitious in its subject and scope, analyzing why post-colonial Africa has (mostly) failed to function. Meredith's central thesis is that the European powers utterly failed to prepare Africa's people for independence, and their continued intervention in the region tends to exacerbate existing problems. Fortunately, it's far from a simple-minded polemic: Meredith sees plenty of blame to go around, with African despots, unworkable ideologies, ethnic and tribal tensions and monstrous mismanagement of natural resources playing their part. Meredith shows an enviable skill of analyzing the political, sociological and economic with equal skill and verve. An excellent read.

The White War: Life and Death on the Italian Front - Mark Thompson - 2nd reading. One of the best books on the First World War. Thompson covers Italy's disastrous involvement in the Great War, showing how it set the stage for Fascism. Thompson covers the war from every angle: harrowing accounts of the front (imagine if the Somme was fought on the sides of mountains), the stupidity of the military and politicians, the erosion of democratic institutions and the efforts of demagogues and fanatics to drive Italy into war. The only niggle is Thompson's annoying change of tense while recounting battles and events.

Crurently reading David Starkey's Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII, which I'd read many years ago. Very dense and it might be awhile before I finish it. I also received Flashman and the Tiger yesterday, completing my collection of Flashman books.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 14, 2012, 09:54:18 AM
"Century of the Surgeon", Jurgen Thornwald.  A historical drama odf the pioneers, and, ultimate  accepance, of asepsis, anesthesia, and abdominal surgery. Seems hard to fathom nowadays  that doctors even Resisted Washing Their hands. The Good, Old Days...

I've read it before; it's fascinating. Like you are really there; meeting Lister and Koch.  He has a sequel;"Triumph of Surgery", about even more pioneers.

Candice Millard's recently published Destiny of the Republic, about James Garfield's assassination and the horribly incompetent medical treatment he received, which might interest you.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 17, 2012, 03:00:10 PM
Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII - David Starkey - this is to Alison Weir's book what Richard Evans' Third Reich trilogy is to Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Starkey paints a very meticulous, detailed and complex portrait of Tudor England, and presents some fresh and interesting analyses of the players in this familiar drama. Unfortunately, his prose is stilted and the book gets a bit dense in spots, rushing over some events while dwelling on others, so it's not the most readable work. Strakey's injecting himself into the story ("I" is used way more often than it should be in an historical work) grates too.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 17, 2012, 05:21:56 PM
this is what Richard Evans' Third Reich trilogy is to Rise and Fall of the Third Reich.

what?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 17, 2012, 05:25:09 PM
More accurate and analytical but more of a chore to read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 20, 2012, 06:26:59 PM
Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations - Georgina Howell - I'd only read about Bell peripherally through the many T.E. Lawrence bios that I'd read, so it was nice to find a full-fledged biography. Ms. Bell really was a remarkable woman: archaeologist, explorer, mountaineer, Arabist, intelligence agent, political powerbroker, founder of modern Iraq - a pretty impressive resume for anyone at any time, let alone a woman in turn-of-the-century England. Howell's an engaging writer and while she's a bit too enamored of her subject (surely the longer term ramifications of the Iraq mandate are worth considering?), Bell is impressive enough to warrant idolatry. She gives equal attention to her oft-tortured personal life, difficult professional relationships and the scope of her achievements. Not surprising they're planning a biopic of her, though I'm not happy about the proposed casting of Angelina Jolie (!). Anyway, highly recommended.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: tintinteslacoil on January 23, 2012, 07:41:39 AM
Candice Millard's recently published Destiny of the Republic, about James Garfield's assassination and the horribly incompetent medical treatment he received, which might interest you.

I've also read "A Surgeon's World".   Autobiography about  a Mayo clinc surgeon who decides to move to a small town in MN. He  onmce helps the only local  doctor in a smaller  town, they have to go to Woolworth's and buy silk thread for sutures! That's how off the beaten track they are.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 23, 2012, 10:03:58 AM
I've also read "A Surgeon's World".   Autobiography about  a Mayo clinc surgeon who decides to move to a small town in MN. He helos a local doctor in a small town, they have to go to Woolworth's and buy silk thread for sutures! That's how off the beaten track they are.

 :o Sounds interesting.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: tintinteslacoil on January 26, 2012, 10:02:41 AM
Yeah, he runs the gamut. From work as a specialist, Mayo clinic, to being a GP and then only surgeon in town. About fees, ethics, how doctors get into affairs and things. A real insider's view. This is an older book; major surgery was considered $1.000 or more, then! Just my Shoulder cost $10,000 in 2003!


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 28, 2012, 01:00:01 PM
Gallipoli - Alan Moorehead - Still considered the classic account in many quarters. It's a very good narrative history of the battle, taking the stance that it was a good idea let down by poor execution and political interference. I haven't read the more recent works on Gallipoli (Peter Hart had a book published just last year) so I'm not fit to judge the veracity of Moorehead's claim. It's a definitely a good read though, and Moorehead's unwillingness to grind axes or scapegoat is refreshing - though he periodically betrays a condescending attitude towards the Turks.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: T.H. on January 30, 2012, 12:00:32 AM
Lethem's Gun with Occasional Music was a very good read. A great blend of sci-fi and PI. I don't have anything original to say about it, but I recommend to those who haven't read it that have an interest in genre fiction.

I'm almost done with Muller's take on noir, Dark City. Good stuff. I'll add my thoughts when I'm finished.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 02, 2012, 04:17:59 AM
Glory Road - Bruce Catton


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 04, 2012, 04:50:29 AM
The Meinertzhagen Mystery: The Life and Legend of a Colossal Fraud - Brian Garfield - Novelist Garfield (author of Death Wish among others) writes an accusatory biography that depicts Richard Meinertzhagen - English soldier, spy, ornithologist and Zionist - as a pathological liar who either invented or hideously distorted his diaries and writings. It's hard to know what to make of books like this. On the one hand, it's well-written and interesting, and Garfield presents his case convincingly. It helps that he's largely going off of existing research (Meinertzhagen's ornithological frauds are fairly common knowledge now) and has no visible axes to grind. On the other, one's inclined to file this with, say, Richard Aldington's "biographical enquiry" of T.E. Lawrence for Garfield's extreme reaction and willingness to indulge lurid gossip (eg. whether Meinertzhagen murdered his wife). I'd probably want to read more on the subject before judging.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 10, 2012, 08:07:42 PM
Blood and Money - Thomas Thompson - Engaging book details the saga of Dr. John Hill, a Houston plastic surgeon accused of murdering his wife, and his own murder, purportedly at the behest of his wife's vengeful father. It's a hopelessly murky, convoluted case, but Thompson's approach is both lively and admirably close to known facts; no wild speculaton here. The book does get a bit tedious in later sections: you can only read so much testimony by seedy hookers and pompous attorneys before it all blurs together. On the whole though a solid work of true crime.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 11, 2012, 10:28:41 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/t/COME-SEVEN-COME-DEATH-Morrison-VINT-PB-gc-Myst-shorts-/00/s/Mzk5WDI5MA==/$(KGrHqF,!iUE6O-cSjWyBOmlbO)Ttw~~60_12.JPG)

This is one of the few short stories collections by various authors published in the 60's dedicated to hard-boiled fiction, though all the writers involved came to be known in the '50's. The quality of the stories is generally good without being outstanding: as probably it is the case with all the fiction these authors ever produced. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 16, 2012, 10:03:03 AM
Signal Catastrophe - Patrick Macrory - Aka The Fierce Pawns, Kabul Catastrophe, Retreat from Kabul. A lively though not definitive narrative history of the First Anglo-Afghan War, which resulted in the annihilation of a 12,000-man Anglo-Indian army. Macrory tries to argue that the invasion was doomed from the start, but the evidence indicates the contrary. The British leaders on the spot made so many idiotic mistakes that it's easy to think one or two wiser decisions would have led to a different outcome. Flashman fans might appreciate the preface to the 2002 edition.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 28, 2012, 03:01:46 PM
The Great War in Africa - Byron Farwell - Good, succinct narrative history of World War I's African campaigns. Mostly focused on Lettow-Vorbeck's adventures in East Africa, Farwell nonetheless gives ample time to other theaters, including the disastrous expeditions to the Cameroons and the attempts to control Lake Tanganyika. Compares favorably to Edward Paice's recent World War I: The African Front; it's less in-depth but much more readable.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 01, 2012, 04:19:59 AM
The Siege - Russell Braddon - very graphic, in-depth account of the WWI Siege of Kut. Braddon's book takes on the tone of a polemic, as he makes no effort to disguise his contempt for the "idiots" in the British Army responsible for the disastrous campaign. As you read his vivid account of generals both arrogant and boneheaded (Charles Townshend seems a repulsive egomaniac), along with the horrific suffering their soldiers underwent during both the siege and in captivity, you can hardly blame him. A captivating read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 07, 2012, 04:17:56 AM
American Conspiracies - Jesse Ventura - I laughed and laughed and laughed. Partly because it's so stupid, partly because it kept reminding me of Ventura's cameo on The X-Files:"your scientific illiteracy makes me SHUDDER!!!" ;D

Voodoo Histories - David Aaronovich - 2nd reading.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 07, 2012, 05:03:05 AM
BY The EL
A great collection of images and memories of the 3rd Avenue El in its final years, amazingly all in color. Only a few at night though, too bad. A venerable plethora of Noir locations. It also leaves out the lower section of line that ended at South Ferry since it was already taken down) Photographed by Lothar Stelter who with a job as an electrician received access to many vantage points along 3rd Avenue in the early 1950's (it was demolished in 1955). At one point it mentions films and lists Ray Milland's "The Lost Weekend" and shows the street clock that was shot in a scene as Milland walks up the Ave. Surprisingly it doesn't mention the film "The Dark Corner" which prominently features the EL, in its opening sequence and interspersed throughout the film (I was hoping to see Tudors Arcade in an image but no), go figure.

(http://www.bytheel.com/new_cover.jpg)

sample images

(http://www.bytheel.com/resources/34.jpg)

(http://www.bytheel.com/resources/24_b.jpg)

I don't remember any of the Manhattan Els I was only 2 years old when the last one was torn down, all I remember was the massive two level structure that served the IRT Flushing line, the BMT Astoria line and the Queens stub of the 2nd Avenue El (minus tracks) that was left standing in Queens Plaza (it had a turn around loop) into the 1970's. The 2nd Avenue El crossed the Queensboro Bridge on the upper level (with a roadway on one side, now a roadway on both sides). The original station had 8 tracks on two levels, now it has 4 tracks on two levels.

Was looking at a satellite view of the Queensboro Bridge and there is still some remnants of the 2nd Avenue El on both approaches see the Queens side below:

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/2ndAveElremnant.jpg)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on March 07, 2012, 08:37:59 AM
Good work, Joe. Very interesting.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on March 07, 2012, 02:24:31 PM
Mockinjay... why did I even.  :(



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 11, 2012, 04:25:05 PM
The Battle of Adwa: African Victory in the Age of Empire - Raymond Jonas - Concise, readable account of Imperial Europe's greatest disaster: Italy's disastrous invasion of Ethiopia in 1896. Jonas paints the battle as an event that presaged the end of the Scramble for Africa (perhaps thinking a bit too long-term) and provided a sense of pride and nationalism to Africans everywhere (easier to establish). It's a well-written, relatively impartial account, which does a great job of showing the battle's effects on both the participants and the international stage. Strangely, it doesn't do so good a job showing the effects on the two countries; especially in Italy's case the campaign had dramatic reprecussions which Jonas skims over. Worth reading.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 12, 2012, 02:48:38 AM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/t/Dolls-Murder-ed-Harold-Q-Masur-1957-/00/$(KGrHqUOKogE3FMUBvKGBNy1F9jc5w~~_3.JPG)

A rather mediocre anthology, only worth checking out for a Rex Stout's not so memorable story (Cop's Gift) not easily (I presume) available elsewhere. You also have the kitschy Chandler's pièce I'll Be Waiting, if you happen to have missed it; and other not so memorable stuff. 5\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 14, 2012, 07:01:13 AM
Flashman - 3rd viewing. Still as fresh and funny as the first time I read it. After some stage-setting reminiscent of Thackeray (there's even a rigged duel) it's a brisk adventure story, with Flashman getting caught up in the Anglo-Afghan War and emerging an unlikely hero. In this initial installment, Fraser makes Flashman a thoroughgoing rotter; he even rapes an Afghan girl in case you were inclined to like him. This nastiness makes the ironic ending all the more satisfying. Fraser already shows a dab hand for action scenes, acid humor and vivid sketches of historical figures (the enigmatic Akbar Kahn most especially), while keeping the plot light and fast-moving. An excellent start to a (mostly) excellent series.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 14, 2012, 06:24:57 PM
Benny Muscles In (1955) by Peter Rabe, a small time hood takes a shot at the big time muscling in on a heroin distribution racket and getting more than he bargained for. Looking at it through the lens of time it treats its subject fairly frank and neutrally, comparably to say the film of the same year "The Man With The Golden Arm".


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 14, 2012, 08:20:07 PM
I'm accompanying the vision of the Sherlock Holmes movies with the reading of two books on the subject.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/410GWSG8VJL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

and

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51DQ24VH9hL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Both are filled with infos and pixs and good critical appraisals: I recommend them heartily. (The Barnes volume has been recently republished in an updated edition).


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 21, 2012, 05:37:57 PM
The Great Anglo-Boer War - Byron Farwell - Exhaustive but very readable account of the titular conflict. Farwell covers all the war's major battles in detail and provides a fairly good account of the complicated political backstory. He's even-handed between the two sides which is good, though with concentration camps and guerilla warfare it's perhaps excessive. On the other hand he makes no bones about criticizing conniving politicians and mindbogglingly-inept generals like Redvers Buller where appropriate. Minor quibble is that he marginalizes the role of blacks in the conflict. Farwell's two-for-two so far. O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 30, 2012, 09:58:37 AM
From the Jaws of Victory - Charles Fair - 2nd reading. The classic book on military incompetence. Fair uses an historical framework to analyze military failure through a variety of perspectives and causes from Rome through 1971, focusing on specific leaders where appropriate. His lively prose and sharp analyses make for an engrossing read. The best examples are those more obscure, especially an in-depth chapter on the Great Northern War. Fair's coverage of more familiar ground, especially the World Wars and Vietnam, is less engaging. The ending's plea for pacifism is a bit heavyhanded. Still it remains the best of its type, comparing favorably to Norman Dixon's clinical dryness and Geoffrey Regan's shallow self-recycling.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 04, 2012, 04:53:09 PM
Snafu: Great American Military Disasters - Geoffrey Regan - 2nd viewing. One of Regan's better books, though the title is completely misleading. What on Earth do the British expedition to Buenos Aires circa 1806 and the Nazi invasion of France have to do with America?

The Arnheiter Affair - Neil Sheehan - Details the famous case of a lunatic Navy Captain in the Vietnam War, who seems determined to act out a real-life version of The Caine Mutiny. An interesting read and it's disturbing to consider how a nut like Arnheiter got through the screening process (answer: with lots of help). Sadly he wasn't the last such officer to serve in Vietnam.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 05, 2012, 01:47:34 AM
(http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3267/2860851820_1b83a948c2.jpg)

As I promised after having watched last week the french movie based on this novel, I read the Christie's source which I can easily say, it is one of her best. And it is a quite different from other things she wrote, a mystery with a horror theme (murders of children) which you read at a sitting (if you have the chance) and it is more linear than the movie (which overcomplicates the plot for quite debatable reasons). 8\10   


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 06, 2012, 04:30:38 PM
Brassey's Book of Naval Blunders - Geoffrey Regan - More of the same from Regan, eg. history by anecdote. It was nice to see some more obscure cases like the Honda point disaster of 1923 grouped alongside more famous ones. On the other hand the hugely disproportionate British representation is a bit tiresome.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 11, 2012, 07:24:05 PM
Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters at War - Terry Brighton - Compares and contrasts the personalities and command styles of WWII's three most famous generals. Doesn't break much new ground but Brighton is an engaging writer who pulls off a difficult concept very well. All three men come off as obnoxious egomaniacs with varying degrees of military skill and it's up to the reader to decide who is the best.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 11, 2012, 07:33:48 PM
Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters at War - Terry Brighton - Compares and contrasts the personalities and command styles of WWII's three most famous generals. Doesn't break much new ground but Brighton is an engaging writer who pulls off a difficult concept very well. All three men come off as obnoxious egomaniacs with varying degrees of military skill and it's up to the reader to decide who is the best.

Your verdict?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 11, 2012, 09:00:36 PM
Patton, Montgomery, Rommel: Masters at War - Terry Brighton - Compares and contrasts the personalities and command styles of WWII's three most famous generals. Doesn't break much new ground but Brighton is an engaging writer who pulls off a difficult concept very well. All three men come off as obnoxious egomaniacs with varying degrees of military skill and it's up to the reader to decide who is the best.

-- I believe Ike was WWII's most famous general  ;)

 I can't stand how many Anglo-Americans basically equate Rommel morally with the big Anglo-American generals. (I haven't read this book so I am not accusing Brighton of believing that; It's just that but reading your synopsis just reminded me of this general point. So if Brighton wouldn't make that argument, then my comments here are not necessarily a criticism of him, but of those who make that argument. Eg. in his review of Firecreek, Roger Ebert writes: "But then a gang of bad guys rides into town. At first you don't realize they're bad guys, because they're led by Henry Fonda, who always plays good guys. He does this time, too. That is, he's not as bad as the guys in his gang. He's an essentially decent person on the wrong side, like Rommel in the desert." http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19680101/REVIEWS/40312105/1023 . That comment by Ebert is absolutely disgusting).



Even if Rommel never was personally involved in a single atrocity against a single civilian, the fact is that he was leading the fight for the Third Reich, and knew what Hitler was all about. The notion that he was nothing more than a military man who happened to be fighting for an evil empire but in fact was somehow a good guy and could just as well have been fighting for American and would never want a civilian harmed is beyond ludicrous. Rommel was leading the fight to attempt expand the reach, power, and world-wide domination of one of the most murderous empires in history, and is therefore as guilty as any SS officer. And btw, the civilian-soldier distinction is often ridiculous as well: making unprovoked and unnecessary wars -- and thereby killing innocent soldiers, who are just as human as non-soldiers, is murder, plain and simple. So Rommel would be a murderer even if Germany hadn't harmed a single civilian in World War II, but "merely" started those completely immoral wars.




Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 12, 2012, 04:31:14 AM
Your verdict?

Omar Bradley


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 12, 2012, 05:01:21 AM
Even if Rommel never was personally involved in a single atrocity against a single civilian, the fact is that he was leading the fight for the Third Reich, and knew what Hitler was all about. The notion that he was nothing more than a military man who happened to be fighting for an evil empire but in fact was somehow a good guy and could just as well have been fighting for American and would never want a civilian harmed is beyond ludicrous. Rommel was leading the fight to attempt expand the reach, power, and world-wide domination of one of the most murderous empires in history, and is therefore as guilty as any SS officer. And btw, the civilian-soldier distinction is often ridiculous as well: making unprovoked and unnecessary wars -- and thereby killing innocent soldiers, who are just as human as non-soldiers, is murder, plain and simple. So Rommel would be a murderer even if Germany hadn't harmed a single civilian in World War II, but "merely" started those completely immoral wars.

We've had this argument before and I'm not keen on getting into it again. In any case Brighton makes no such claim and highlights Rommel's devotion to Hitler.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 12, 2012, 11:56:41 AM
Omar Bradley

You should know by now that I didn't ask to starrt a quarrel.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 12, 2012, 05:46:54 PM
I'm tempted to say Patton except he never really held an independent command as Monty and Rommel did.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 13, 2012, 04:08:00 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/312k%2BhgpOAL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

An anthology compiled in 1968 of a good average quality. Particularly important is the first classic novel with a locked room case, Zangwill's The Big Bow Mystery, as incredible as any Christie's. Worth checking for any classic mystery aficionado, though a good PI novel by Henry Kane is featured. 8\10  


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 17, 2012, 06:40:07 AM
1812: The War That Forged a Nation - Walter R. Borneman - Concise account of the War of 1812. Reasonably comprehensive and written in a pleasantly conversational tone; perhaps not the most scholarly book but a good intro to the subject. Borneman ably shows the political and military bungling that led to and perpetuated the war, along with the increasing viciousness on both sides. I'd quibble though with Borneman's assertion that the war solidified American unity, with the Civil War still fifty years distant


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 20, 2012, 06:53:43 AM
Queen Victoria's Little Wars - Byron Farwell - Good overview of most of the major (and several minor) military campaigns waged by Britain during Victoria's reign. A nice companion volume to the Flashman books for those without the time to plow through Fraser's sources.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 22, 2012, 12:43:19 AM
Yogi: The Life and Times of an American Original (2008), by Carlo DeVito

An unauthorized biography of the great Yogi Berra.

This is a fun read, especially for me, a big Yankee fan. DeVito has obviously done extensive research, and goes to great lengths to try to ascertain the veracity of the thousands of Yogi stories and "Yogiisms" out there.

My one real problem with the book is that DeVito sometimes neglects to mention when important things happen to other people in the story. Eg. he mentions that Mickey Mantle won the 1956 MVP Award, but makes no mention of the fact that he won the Triple Crown; he says the Yanks won the '58 World Series in 7 games, but neglects to mention that they came back from a 3-1 deficit to do it; and he only briefly makes mention of Mantle and Maris going for Ruth's home run record in 1961, on what is often considered one of the 2 or 3 greatest Yankee teams -- and baseball teams -- of all time. I know this a biography about Yogi and not a history of the New York Yankees, but when something of huge importance, as the examples I've mentioned, happens to peripheral characters, it should be mentioned. And DeVito is wrong when he says the '72-'74 Athletics were the last team to win 3 consecutive World Series; the Yanks did so in '98 - '00.

If you are the kind of person who doesn't like to see an author write so unabashedly in an admiring manner -- DeVito is openly a HUGE Yogi fan -- this may grate on you. But he is fair in pointing out when eg. Yogi made questionable moves as manager. So he is very admiring but very fair.

 Yogi Berra has gone from baseball player to one of the most recognizable American characters. So many of the stories and quotes attributed to him are of questionable authenticity, and DeVito should be commended for poring through thousands of original works in an attempt to find out the truth about whether Yogi "really didn't say everything he said." he cites original sources for, and alternative versions of, each individual quote and story that happened -- and provides skepticism on those that didn't.

Overall, this is a very fun read, about one of the most famous and interesting characters of the 20th-21st Centuries.



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 25, 2012, 07:29:38 AM
Mr. Kipling's Army - Byron Farwell - Entertaining social history of the British Army between Waterloo and Mons. This sort of book can be very dry and tedious (see Douglas Porch's French Foreign Legion) but Farwell invests it with his customary wit and lively prose.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 28, 2012, 06:39:57 AM
Eminent Victorian Soldiers: Seekers of Glory - Byron Farwell - Here Farwell profiles an octet of British generals, some well-known (Charles Gordon, Herbert Kitchener), others more obscure (Evelyn Wood, Hector Macdonald). They're a diverse lot, some gifted amateurs, some career soldiers, others "rankers" who fought their way to a commission. Farwell shows their military successes but also their personal foibles, some more severe than others. I found Wood the most fascinating, a man who couldn't get out of bed without breaking a limb, and whose sister was the infamous Kitty O'Shea. Garnet Wolseley comes off as a hateful jingo, Kitchener a cold-hearted ladder-climber, Macdonald a shamed pederast. A fascinating survey.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 02, 2012, 03:39:24 PM
(http://cc.pbsstatic.com/xl/55/2255/9780897332255.jpg)

A very good collection of medium lenght stories of high quality except for the Hoch one. The Carr story is, as usual, only for devotees of the only extremely possible cases, but Pronzini and Rawson offer more credible dishes, Pronzini playing very fair with the reader. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 05, 2012, 03:05:51 PM
Armies of the Raj: From the Mutiny to Independence - Byron Farwell - Farwell examines the reconstruction of the Indian Army after the Mutiny of 1857 and its service over the next 90 years. As usual he's very perceptive when it comes to makeup of the Army, the casual racism of British officials, the loyalty of the Sepoys, the ambivalent relationship between the Indian races/religions. His description of events both well-known (Siege of Kut, Amritsar) and obscure (the Singapore Mutiny during WWI) are fascinating. Less appealing are his constant disparaging remarks about Gandhi, Nehru and anyone associated with the Indian independence movement.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 10, 2012, 06:34:01 AM
Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and its Lessons for Global Power - Niall Ferguson - This book makes an interesting case that the British Empire, for all its excesses and cruelty, was on the balance a boon to humanity. The book is vintage Ferguson: sociologically and financially-oriented, self-consciously provocative, often wrong but always thought-provoking. His ultimate conclusion is debatable but it's hard to quibble with the particular arguments. It's also nice that unlike Farwell and other Empire apologists, he doesn't underplay British atrocities or smear anti-British nationalist movements. Cautiously recommended.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 11, 2012, 06:19:28 PM
The Destruction of Lord Raglan - Christopher Hibbert - Rivals Woodham-Smith as the best narrative history of the Crimean War. Hibbert provides lively, graphic accounts of the war's major battles, the sufferings of the foot soldiers, the fractious Anglo-French-Turkish alliance, the mind-staggering administrative muddle and incompetence. Hibbert tries to rehabilitate the hapless Lord Raglan, arguing he was a convenient scapegoat for government malfeasance. Even with Hibbert's sympathetic portrait however, Raglan comes off as a nice guy who had no business leading an army. Still very readable.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 13, 2012, 07:35:42 AM
The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America - Walter Bornemann - Like his 1812 book, Bornemann offers a quick, conversational overview of the titular conflict. Given that much of this war took place in my figurative backyard, it probably behooves me to read more about it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 16, 2012, 10:34:56 PM
(http://pulpjournals.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/scan0001.jpg?w=450&h=639)

Cheyney's use of an invented american slang still sounds funny, though I was irritated by his writing "and" substituting the d with an '. The storyline is absurd (all the american gangsters, with their incredible "italian" names, seem to have moved to London) but this is meant to entertain. Some cuts would have been in order. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 17, 2012, 06:25:29 AM
The Fifty Worst Movies of All Time - Harry Medved - One of the pioneering looks at bad cinema, full of amusing trivia and biting sarcasm. Medved's choices are decidedly eclectic, ranging from the obvious (The Conqueror, Robot Monster) to the head-scratching (Alfredo Garcia? Last Year at Marienbad?). It's certainly a fun read though, funny and informative, with plenty of interviews to boot. No book that includes a long chapter on The Trial of Billy Jack can be all bad, save Tom Laughlin's autobiography.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 17, 2012, 06:28:50 AM
The Fifty Worst Movies of All Time - Harry Medved - One of the pioneering looks at bad cinema, full of amusing trivia and biting sarcasm. Medved's choices are decidedly eclectic, ranging from the obvious (The Conqueror, Robot Monster) to the head-scratching (Alfredo Garcia? Last Year at Marienbad?). It's certainly a fun read though, funny and informative, with plenty of interviews to boot. No book that includes a long chapter on The Trial of Billy Jack can be all bad, save Tom Laughlin's autobiography.

I guess that such a list would actually have to be "the 50 worst movies that some people like" or the "50 worst movies that had big budgets" or something like that. Nobody cares about movies that are so bad that they fall off the map without anyone noticing, it's the big bombs that they care about, right?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 17, 2012, 07:02:13 AM
Robot Monster and Eeegah had big budgets?

Anyway, no. Medved reviews quite a few B-grade turkeys and obscurities alongside the big budget bombs. His chapter on That Hagen Girl (a purportedly wretched Ronald Reagan-Shirley Temple vehicle) details an extensive, nationwide search for any existing prints of the film. He found a single print languishing in a vault at the University of Wisconsin. Apparently Reagan tried to bury the film around the time he first ran for President.

Of course, this book was written before video so it would have been much harder to track such things down unless they played on TV. Apparently the Z grade movies he discusses were on constant late-night rotation back then. Someone a mite older than I am can confirm or deny. I probably wouldn't have seen them if it weren't for MST3K.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 19, 2012, 07:31:22 AM
The Hollywood Hall of Shame - Harry and Michael Medved - fascinating book detailing Hollywood's biggest (pre-1985) box office flops, from their ill-gotten conceptions, troubled productions to haphazard releases. The chapters on Heaven's Gate and The Message are especially fascinating.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 19, 2012, 07:38:59 PM
Why I Quit Zombie School - R.L. Stine - Longtime Goosebumps fans will find the plot familiar from, oh, any school-set book from earlier serieses. Newbies maybe grossed out by the over-the-top gore and grossness, a bit heavy for a supposed kid's book. Admittedly the later scenes are modestly clever but it's not enough to make up for 130 pages of zombie vomit.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 26, 2012, 05:10:48 AM
The Decline and Fall of the British Empire: 1781-1997 - Piers Brendon - Sprawling look at Brittanic hegemony is entertaining but very flawed. Brendon's scope is limited, focusing mostly on a) the more colorful British imperialists, b) the effect of colonization on the colonized, with little "big picture" discussion. Throughout he prefers interesting anecdote to in-depth analysis, telling a colorful story without a coherent framework or thesis. His inclusion of events is very selective, with long chapters on, say, the Indian Mutiny but nothing about the Anglo-Sikh Wars. This makes comparative analysis of different colonies and policies difficult. Still Brendon's an engaging writer and it's certainly an interesting read, with a variety of vivid incidents and individuals littering the text. He's generally critical of imperialism but not unwilling to acknowledge its achievements, viewing its greatest indictment as the internicine strife Britain left behind almost everywhere. Perhaps not the sum of its parts but a good general history, more readable than Lawrence James' similar tome.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Cusser on May 26, 2012, 08:29:28 AM
"How I helped OJ get away with Murder" by his agent Mike Gilbert.  Gilbert unloads his guilt about impeding justice.

Spoiler: OJ does it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 26, 2012, 08:48:29 AM
Spoiler: OJ does it.

Damn, you ruined it. >:(


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 27, 2012, 08:50:38 PM
Flashman and the Mountain of Light - George Macdonald Fraser - 2nd reading. Eighth Flashman adventure has our wily anti-hero entangled in the Anglo-Sikh Wars. This is easily the dullest Flashman book, a thoroughly rote entry from beginning to end. The locales are familiar (this is Flashy's fourth trip to India), the battle scenes anemic, the characters flat, and even the big erotic set-piece (a jewel-passing orgy) is more strange than sensual. The worst part is that Flashman himself is a passive spectator to most events, resulting in a lot of clinically dry descriptions lacking Fraser's usual flair. Second-worst in the series: Tiger narrowly worsts it through narrative incohesion.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 30, 2012, 06:40:25 AM
Flashman and the Angel of the Lord - George Macdonald Fraser - 2nd reading. After three subpar entries Flashman returns to form in his 10th adventure, another delightfully picaresque romp through antebellum America. The story is absurdly convoluted, with *three* separate conspiracies enlisting Flashman to alternately stop or initiate John Brown's Harper's Ferry raid. Fraser crams the narrative with historical figures (Alan Pinkerton, William Seward) and characters from previous entries (including classics-spouting nemesis John Charity Spring) but his chillingly vivid portrait of John Brown registers strongest. Creaky plot aside, it's fun just to go along for the ride.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 01, 2012, 04:02:04 PM
The October Country - Ray Bradbury - a good collection of short stories. My favorites from this collection are The Scythe and The Small Assassin. Never has a baby seemed scarier.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 02, 2012, 03:38:01 PM
The Crimean War: A History - Orlando Figes - Figes does a better job than any other history I've read in laying out the complicated lead-in to this conflict, and its importance in European history: the war led, directly or indirectly, to the unification of Italy, the eclipse of Austrian power, the rise of German militarism and the rekindling of Islamic extremism within Ottoman Turkey. His use of Russian and Turkish primary sources gives the narrative an added edge and authority over other, generally Anglocentric accounts. Figes' most controversial stance is viewing the Crimea as a religious conflict, though it seems only Russia and France viewed it in these terms. The main deficiency is its near-exclusive focus on the Sevastopol campaign; other recent histories (Ponting, Royle) depict a much broader war. Lacking the narrative punch of Christopher Hibbert or the palpable outrage of Cecil Woodham-Smith, Figes easily bests them as a general history.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 03, 2012, 07:09:04 AM
My local library had a slew of Goosebumps books I never read as a kid. A really nice comedown after the Crimea.

Fright Camp - Every single Goosebumps camp story is essentially the same. This is Welcome to Camp Nightmare without the aliens. Despite the lack of an insultingly stupid twist it's just boring.

Are You Terrified Yet? - A wimpy kid moves to a new school and convinces everyone he's a hero. Certain jerks try to prove he's a loser. It's exactly as exciting and scary as it sounds.

Jekyll and Heidi - Kid moves to live with her scientist uncle. That happens a lot in these books. Uncle may or may not be a mad scientist. About what the title implies, but not bad, with a handful of creepy moments.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 05, 2012, 03:05:10 PM
Guns at the Forks - Walter O'Meara - Highly readable account of the French and Indian War in Western Pennsylvania, especially Fort Duquesne/Pitt. Of interest to me for obvious reasons. 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on June 05, 2012, 05:13:25 PM
Guns at the Forks - Walter O'Meara - Highly readable account of the French and Indian War in Western Pennsylvania, especially Fort Duquesne/Pitt. Of interest to me for obvious reasons. 

I enjoyed that one too.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Amaze on June 06, 2012, 12:18:44 PM
Paranormality: Why we see what isn't there - Wiseman, Richard (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00572B4BK/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title)

Really interesting book about how and why we are so easily fooled by so-called paranormal events. It even comes with instructions on how to fool your friends, create illusions etc.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on June 08, 2012, 11:02:34 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VNB3212yL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

To be read only if you have an interest in the matter of codes. The stories are not gripping, some are boring, mostly they are based on how a secret message can be delivered. In facts the best are still the two classics by Poe (Gold Bug) and Doyle (Dancing Men). I liked the De La Torre - Samuel: Johnson story and that's that. 5\10  


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 13, 2012, 06:55:30 AM
The Stories of Ray Bradbury - Ray Bradbury - 2nd reading. Omnibus collection of Bradbury's stories through 1980. At least 95 percent of my favorites are present, including obscure ones like Fever Dream and Frost and Fire.  Really this book is all a Bradbury fan needs, inevitable omissions aside.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on June 13, 2012, 12:04:03 PM
Across the River and Into the Trees by Ernest Hemingway
Jarring, fascinating, embarrassing, beautiful. Flawed, yet has its moments. I like visiting the 20th century and Hemingway is an excellent guide to have - for some reason his writing really shifts me to the time and place he describes.

Just borrowed Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five and David Robinson's Chaplin, His Life and Art from the library. Forty pages into Slaughterhouse-Five and I'm hooked.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 14, 2012, 06:38:43 AM
The Tiger and the Horse - Robert Bolt - 4th (?) reading. Ignore the dated "topicality" (nuclear freeze etc.) and this is a good play. In this early work, Bolt displays his preoccupation with personal commitment against societal pressure, his ear for dialogue, and penchant for strongly-rendered characters. On the other hand, the plot mechanics are creaky, especially a character's descent into madness, and the speechmaking veers toward the didactic. Interesting but perhaps best-viewed as a formative work.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 15, 2012, 10:59:50 AM
Gentle Jack - Robert Bolt - 4th (?) reading. Eschewing the naturalist (if Brecht-inflected) form of his earlier plays, Bolt presents a bizarre fantasy about a mild-mannered clerk trapped between the human and natural worlds. The first act is extremely stilted, with an excess of characters mixed with little plot. The second half, when the title character (a Pan-like nature god) belatedly appears, allows Bolt to explore his favorite themes in clever and inventive fashion. Lots of lavish set design and stage directions that don't overcome the thin story. A notorious flop in its day and it's easy to see why, but it holds a certain frustrated fascination.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on June 16, 2012, 10:07:24 PM
(http://bloodymurder.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/poodle_springs_parker_chandler.jpg?w=640)

Reviewing the movie I had said I'd never read the novel out of respect for Chandler. But then I came across a cheap copy last week and started rereading the first Chandler-written chapters and then, well, got to the end. Parker probably writes better than what Chandler was able to do in the last 2 years of his life. He lacks though the sparkle of the single metaphor or image that Chandler was still able to find even at his worst. So the novel is good though no masterpiece. And it is better than the movie. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 17, 2012, 06:55:25 PM
Flowering Cherry - Robert Bolt - 2nd reading. Bolt's oldest surviving play is Arthur Miller by way of Chekhov: a frustrated businessman fantasizes about quitting his job and starting a farm, his delusions alienating family and friends. Parts of it are so derivative of Death of a Salesman as to be laughable, and aside from the protagonist the characters are one-dimensional ciphers. Maybe it would come off better in performance than on the printed page: its initial run starred Ralph Richardson and Celia Johnson. Still, without a production playing nearby I'm forced to judge its literary merits, which are minimal.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 17, 2012, 08:04:12 PM
Flowering Cherry - Robert Bolt - 2nd reading. Bolt's oldest surviving play is Arthur Miller by way of Chekhov: a frustrated businessman fantasizes about quitting his job and starting a farm, his delusions alienating family and friends. Parts of it are so derivative of Death of a Salesman as to be laughable, and aside from the protagonist the characters are one-dimensional ciphers. Maybe it would come off better in performance than on the printed page: its initial run starred Ralph Richardson and Celia Johnson. Still, without a production playing nearby I'm forced to judge its literary merits, which are minimal.

P.S.: There appears to be a made-for-TV film with Michael Hordern: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1116353/ (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1116353/)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on June 20, 2012, 09:29:09 AM
Just borrowed Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five
... and it turned out to be one of the greatest pieces of literature I've ever read. But then again, I haven't read that much.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 20, 2012, 11:24:59 AM
Continuing with a theme...

The Individual at the Crossroads: The Works of Robert Bolt - Sabine Prufer - Prufer analyzes Bolt's work mostly through the prism of individualism and selfhood. This provides the most exhaustive survey of Bolt's oeuvre, examining obscure entries like The Critic and the Heart and a TV movie about James Brady alongside better-known works. Aside from Ronald Hayman's old book it's the only comprehensive look at Bolt's output, and as such extremely valuable.

Robert Bolt: Scenes from Two Lives - Adrian Turner - 3rd viewing. Turner provides a long, detailed, but incomplete portrait of his subject. Its main demerit is Turner giving Bolt's movie work much more emphasis than his radio and stage endeavors. He's best conveying Bolt's personal side: Bolt's preaching socialism while indulging material comforts, his ambivalent attitude towards film, his rocky marriage to Sarah Miles and his long, painful recovery from a stroke.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 21, 2012, 07:44:01 AM
S is for Space - Ray Bradbury - 4th or 5th reading. As mentioned before, Pillar of Fire is my favorite Bradbury story and it's hard to find it outside this volume. For that reason alone this book's worth a look. Most of the other stories are available in other collections (at least two from Illustrated Man, others from Medicine for Melancholy) but they're mostly good ones so why complain?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on June 23, 2012, 03:09:43 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/t/Sergio-Donati-Mister-Sharkey-torna-a-casa-Mondadori-1956-/00/s/MTE2OFg3ODc=/$(KGrHqN,!k8E8ETefzoPBPRgz66qjQ~~60_12.JPG)

Before working in an advertising agency and then, finally, in cinema with Leone, Donati, still a young law student, wrote and published 3 mysteries. This is said to be the best and I read it with great pleasure, though no Leone's screenplays elements seem to have been anticipated. Italian mysteries published in the 50's you can count on a hand: they didn't sell. Which is exactly the opposite of what has happened in the last 10 years. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: emmo26 on June 26, 2012, 04:55:48 AM
Anyone read Louis-Ferdinand Céline's novel Journey to the End of the Night???


Taken from wiki

Leone was a fan of Louis-Ferdinand Céline's novel Journey to the End of the Night and was considering a film adaptation in the late 1960s; he incorporated elements of the story into The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Duck, You Sucker! but his idea of adapting the novel itself never got past the planning stages.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 26, 2012, 05:07:24 AM
Anyone read Louis-Ferdinand Céline's novel Journey to the End of the Night???


Taken from wiki

Leone was a fan of Louis-Ferdinand Céline's novel Journey to the End of the Night and was considering a film adaptation in the late 1960s; he incorporated elements of the story into The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Duck, You Sucker! but his idea of adapting the novel itself never got past the planning stages.

I remember Frayling discussing it in STDWD


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on June 26, 2012, 03:31:28 PM
Anyone read Louis-Ferdinand Céline's novel Journey to the End of the Night???


Taken from wiki

Leone was a fan of Louis-Ferdinand Céline's novel Journey to the End of the Night and was considering a film adaptation in the late 1960s; he incorporated elements of the story into The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Duck, You Sucker! but his idea of adapting the novel itself never got past the planning stages.

No but I probably should check it out.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 27, 2012, 09:05:58 AM
Setting the Desert on Fire: T.E. Lawrence and Britain's Secret War in Arabia, 1916-1918 - James Barr - 2nd reading. Barr brings little new to this well-worn subject. Trawling archives and visiting historical sites, he provides a commendably complex view of British, Arab and French motivations and actions, without a lot of originality. His one bombshell is a diary analysis which (supposedly) proves Lawrence couldn't have been in Deraa when he claimed. For presenting a lucid, engaging account of the Arab Revolt and Lawrence's place in it though, Barr deserves high praise.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 28, 2012, 06:54:10 PM
Robert Bolt Plays Two - Robert Bolt. Bolt's later stage works, consisting of:

The Thwarting of Baron Bolligrew - 2nd reading. A children's play involving medieval knights, a bloodthirsty landowner, talking magpies and a dragon. Bolt uses a fantasy setting to explore his pet themes, as well as alienation devices in an appropriate context. Wonderfully crafted with a droll sense of humor, it's a delightful read.   

Vivat! Vivat Regina! - 3rd reading. Bolt returns to Tudor England with this account of Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart. This is my least favorite of Bolt's history plays, covering familiar ground without much freshness or insight. Bolt depicts the queens as contrasting politics and love, a familiar dichotomy indifferently presented. Bolt's language is sharp as always and he crafts some inspired visual touches. The most effective is a theatrical cross-cutting which allows Elizabeth and Mary to interact without actually meeting. Others are hoarier Brechtian tropes, with characters addressing the audience etc. Readable but familiar.

State of Revolution - 5th reading. Bolt's second best play, an in-depth account of the Russian Revolution and Lenin's inner circle. A bit dense with so many characters and events, but a gripping and thought-provoking read. Thematically it varies from Bolt's usual work, as he uses the Revolution to critique the USSR's descent into tyranny, and more generally the Marxist view of history. Weighty stuff compellingly presented.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on June 29, 2012, 07:08:58 PM
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/f/f0/Flashmancover.jpg/220px-Flashmancover.jpg)

Very entertaining semi-historical novel, first of a series abundantly reviewed in this thread. The parts dealing with historical facts of the military kind are the most intriguing, but  the more adventurous and fictional ones  are tolerable. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 29, 2012, 08:07:19 PM
I always knew you weren't as bad as DJ let on. O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on June 30, 2012, 12:24:55 AM
During the retreat from Kabul, the afghan chief asks for 5 hostages to let the convoy pass through and F. is ready to go with the others but then he remains with the main body of the troops just before it is attacked: Is it me who missed something or the author bungled it?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 30, 2012, 11:31:51 AM
From my recollection: Flashman joined Macnaghten's parley with the Afghans, surviving the resulting ambush and being imprisoned and tortured. He and Sgt. Hudson escaped and wound up amongst a small garrison of British holdouts who were later wiped out (save Flashman) by the Afghans. Is this what you're referring to?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on June 30, 2012, 04:07:32 PM
I'm referring to the Elphinstone's evacuation. Hostages were requested at the start by Akhbar Khan 2 or 3 times and then, before the British contingent came to the Gandamak pass, Elphinstone finally agreed to send them. Flashman gets ready with his companions to consign himself to the Afghans and then, unexplicably, he remains with the troops when they are attacked.
Anyway, no big deal: I've asked you only because you seem to be rereading the novels and I wondered if I had missed a passage or the author had bungled somewhere. 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 30, 2012, 07:16:14 PM
I skimmed back through the book at your prompting. Seems I messed up the chronology as Macnaghten's killing occurred much earlier than I'd remembered. When the issue of hostages being discussed Flashman has these thoughts:

"[Akbar said] I should come as one of the hostages, and a merry time we would have of it. I was torn two ways about this; the farther I could keep away from Gul Shah [whose lover Flashman has molested] the better; on the other hand, how safe would it be to remain with the army?

"It was settled for me, for Elphy himself called on Mackenzie, Lawrence and Pottinger to give themselves over to Akbar..." (pp. 176 of the Plume edition)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 04, 2012, 08:04:27 AM
(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_n-YpVUTNi9M/TAMUEcIUPNI/AAAAAAAAErU/9OBQf90OgNo/s1600/RoyalFlash.jpg)

A pastiche based on Prisoner of Zenda, it lacks the mass of historical details that made the number one in the series more absorbing. Still a good escapist reading. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 04, 2012, 09:01:09 AM
Royal Flash is more enjoyable for Fraser's writing than the derivative story. You can skip the movie.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 04, 2012, 09:56:06 AM
If only Flashman stopped remarking every 5 pages what a coward he is (which he's not) reading would even be more enjoyable.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 04, 2012, 04:10:24 PM
If only Flashman stopped remarking every 5 pages what a coward he is (which he's not) reading would even be more enjoyable.

I feel the intention is (at least in part) Flashman as unreliable narrator. He thinks being self-deprecating is honesty but the reader is not required to share his delusion. Whether or not he's a coward is open to question: surely everyone except a few fools would turn tail and run if given the opportunity. Certainly he's morally depraved in other ways.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 04, 2012, 04:12:42 PM
Robert Bolt - Ronald Hayman. Slim critical volume published in 1969. The author, a renowned theatre critic, analyzes Bolt's stage work up to that point, finding it interesting in variety and experimentation. The most interesting content is two interviews with Bolt, one biographical, the other responding to Hayman's criticism.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 04, 2012, 05:54:37 PM
I feel the intention is (at least in part) Flashman as unreliable narrator. He thinks being self-deprecating is honesty but the reader is not required to share his delusion. Whether or not he's a coward is open to question: surely everyone except a few fools would turn tail and run if given the opportunity. Certainly he's morally depraved in other ways.

That he is deluding himself is apparent in his appraisals of his wife, continuously defined as "stupid" and who, on the contrary, is quite wily and smart in a offhanded way. Still one wonders why he has to define her "stupid" on and on: once (for the reader who hasn't read any F.'s novel before) would be enough.
The problem in defining himself as "coward" is that some of the logic of the character gets lost when he behaves differently from what he repeats continuously to himself. If he defined himself as "opportunist", "smart", "amoral" or whatever else the problem of seeing him do things which contrast heavily with his supposed cowardice (even in the same paragraph) wouldn't arise.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 04, 2012, 06:12:16 PM
That he is deluding himself is apparent in his appraisals of his wife, continuously defined as "stupid" and who, on the contrary, is quite wily and smart in a offhanded way. Still one wonders why he has to define her "stupid" on and on: once (for the reader who hasn't read any F.'s novel before) would be enough.

Wait until you read Flashman's Lady, should you choose to press on.

Quote
The problem in defining himself as "coward" is that some of the logic of the character gets lost when he behaves differently from what he repeats continuously to himself.

I think Flashman himself has a very strict definition of heroism, eg. someone who sacrifices themselves selflessly, does something brave for its own sake, or because it's right. The point is that his contemporaries have the same view of heroism, and (incorrectly) of Flashman. Arguably he's no more heroic or cowardly than your average soldier, yet he's perceived as a great hero. There lies your irony.

On the other hand, later in the series Fraser allows him to engage in overtly heroic actions, which muddles this interpretation. Mountain of Light is especially bad in this regard.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 05, 2012, 06:31:14 AM
The Golden Turkey Awards - Harry & Michael Medved. More of the same.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 08, 2012, 03:08:14 PM
Son of Golden Turkey Awards - Harry & Michael Medved. ibid.

The Haunted Car - R.L. Stine - An existential parable about how far humans fall short of Maslow's concept of self-actualization.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 15, 2012, 12:30:23 PM
A Line in the Sand: The Anglo-French Struggle for the Middle East, 1914-1948 - James Barr - A follow-up to Barr's previous book, focusing on England and France's rivalry in the post-WWI Middle East. Barr shows that the two sides, nominally allies, were constantly at each other's throats, hoping to undermine their opposite number's prestige and power in the region. The most shocking information comes in the sections on World War II: Barr documents that De Gaulle's Free French were aiding the Irgun and other Zionist terror groups against the British, at the same time the Allies were liberating France. England's encouragement of Arab nationalism in French-held Syria is explored too, albeit in less depth. An eye-opening account of imperial gamesmanship whose consequences are still being felt.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 16, 2012, 01:54:08 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CmsS2SeyL._SS500_.jpg)

Read the third novel of this omnibus and it's better than the second, though probably half-a-notch worse than the first. And some politically uncorrect jokes are very effective. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 16, 2012, 05:02:06 PM
Not to steal your thunder but:

(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_n-YpVUTNi9M/TEKbppzPpUI/AAAAAAAAEzw/DGwlujNXkZQ/s1600/flashfreedom.jpg)

Anyway, that's definitely my favorite of the series. I don't think Flashman's ever been such an inveterate bastard as he is here.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 18, 2012, 07:47:02 PM
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game - Michael Lewis - Interesting as an inside look into how baseball teams are run, and how statistics subplanted traditional methods of recruitment and management. I'm still not sure how winning one extra game one year than the year before counts as a great accomplishment, reduced payroll or no. And yeah, more or less ignoring the team's three best players in the rush to prove a point smacks of bad journalism.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 19, 2012, 02:10:26 AM
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game - Michael Lewis - Interesting as an inside look into how baseball teams are run, and how statistics subplanted traditional methods of recruitment and management. I'm still not sure how winning one extra game one year than the year before counts as a great accomplishment, reduced payroll or no. And yeah, more or less ignoring the team's three best players in the rush to prove a point smacks of bad journalism.

There are lots of points you can quibble on; ignoring Hudson, Mulder, and Zito is perhaps the most egregious (and the most cited) one! But this is simply a fascinating book; and you can only truly appreciate it if you had been a long-time serious baseball fan before reading it. It is, in a word, heresy. Baseball is one of the holiest of American institutions, and here this guy is saying that some of its most revered statistics are bullshit -- and converting everyone!

I recently hard of a book that is meant to challenge Moneyball, it's called "The Beauty of Short Hops: How Chance and Circumstance Confound the Moneyball Approach to Baseball," by Sheldon Hirsch and Alan Hirsch. I certainly hope to read it sometime soon.

The list of criticisms of the book and Beane's approach is long. It's interesting to look back on it now. Eg. Jeremy Brown, the player who probably takes up more space in the book than any other one (no pun intended) turned out to be a nobody; 99% of baseball fans only know his name cuz of the book. But Kevin Youkilis, "the Greek god of walks," turned out to have a terrific career. The A's didn't have much success in recent years -- but then again, so many teams are now using the Moneyball approach, so it's no longer a market inefficiency.

The bottom line is that you may be able to quibble with a million and one specific points, both on the book and on Beane's approach. But for me, what's so great is the underlying idea: we have to look at results, not just intentions. Economics, statistical data. And it's great that things have changed, how people are recognizing the important stats, to judge which players truly do the most to help a team win, and to predict future performance, far more successfully. So, Moneyball has IMO been an unmitigated good, even though neglecting to mention Hudson, Mulder, and Zito is absolutely unforgivable. (I guess that Lewis can respond that the  reason the A's had those three great pitchers is because they used their statistics system to draft more successfully, so having those three pitchers actually supports the Moneyball approach rather than cast doubt on it. Nevertheless, it should have been mentioned.

 (and you should have mentioned there are no chapters about Beane's ex-wife or his daughter playing guitar ;) )


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 19, 2012, 02:59:01 AM
For any baseball fans, I put together a little comparison of the Cy Young Award voting from a few specific years, to illustrate how, thanks largely to the Moneyball approach, voters are now focusing on a pitcher's actual performance, rather than the nonsensical Wins-Losses stat they used to be obsessed with just a few years ago despite the fact that wins-losses probably the statistic that the pitcher has the LEAST control over!)

Here are the voting results and statistics of the 2004 National Cy Young Award http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/awards_2004.shtml#NLcya

Roger Clemens beat Randy Johnson for the award, despite Johnson having a year that was light years better than Clemens's. Clemens had a very good year, but not nearly as good as Johnson's. But Clemens went 18-4 and beat Johnson for the award; Johnson's record was only 16-14; it's amazing that he was able to win as many as 16 games, on a team that went 51-111, one of the worst records in major league history! Johnson was absolutely robbed in the Cy Young voting that year.

Similarly, here are results and stats of the '05 NL Cy Young Voting http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/awards_2005.shtml#NLcya

That year, Clemens finished 3rd in voting, though he had a far better year than the winner Chris Carpenter and runner-up Dontrelle Willis. However, Clemens's won-loss record was only 13-8, and Carpenter and Willis each won more than 20 games. So, no Cy Young for Clemens.


However, by 2010, the Moneyball approach had fully taken hold. Voters were now focusing on the important statistics rather than the "traditional" ones, and this was evident in the American League Cy Young voting, in which Felix Hernandez beat David Price and CC Sabathia; results and stats here http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/awards_2010.shtml#ALcya

As you see, Hernandez's record was only 13-12; while Price and Sabathia won 19 and 21 games respectively. However, Price's  team, the Tampa Bay Rays  won 84 games, Sabathia's Yankees 95, while Hernandez's Mariners went an abysmal  61-101.  But Hernandez clearly had the better season pitching, and it was a great day when he won the award -- even though I am a Yankee fan and was rooting for Sabathia -- because it showed that voters are finally focusing on what matters.





Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 19, 2012, 06:18:47 AM
Well, certainly after reading things like this, and realizing phrenology used to be (still is?) a valid criteria for selecting baseball players:

 http://firejaymariotti.blogspot.com/2009/08/why-was-moneyball-written-among-other.html  (http://firejaymariotti.blogspot.com/2009/08/why-was-moneyball-written-among-other.html)

You aren't apt to defend the old system. But its original purpose - eg., to help small market teams stay competitive - has undoubtedly been subverted by the Yankees/Red Sox/etc. copying it.

Anyway, as stated before I'm a casual baseball fan at best, so my expertise is limited. Mostly I'm going to a Pirates game this weekend and want to have some trivia to bore my friends with between innings.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on July 19, 2012, 02:42:26 PM
re-reading "The Big Nowhere" along with two other books "Rod Serling & The Twilight Zone" and "Crime Films".


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 20, 2012, 08:46:32 PM
Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II - George Macdonald Fraser - Mr. Fraser recounts his experiences as a infantryman in the 17th Indian Division, fighting the Japanese in Burma. Not surprisingly, this work is much more sober than Fraser's fiction, being an intense grunt's-eye view of a nasty conflict. In style and attitude, it's much closer to his McAuslan stories than Flashman. Still, fans will easily recognize his ear for dialect (indiscernable Cumbrian accents abound) and eye for the absurd (battling a foot-long centipede during a mortar barrage!). Its only demerit is Fraser's compulsion to defend his generation's political and racial attitudes; the occasional use of Jap would likely have passed without comment by most, given its context. (Concededly, it's not nearly as bad as his next volume of memoirs.) Still a gripping read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 21, 2012, 11:04:46 PM
Well, certainly after reading things like this, and realizing phrenology used to be (still is?) a valid criteria for selecting baseball players:

 http://firejaymariotti.blogspot.com/2009/08/why-was-moneyball-written-among-other.html  (http://firejaymariotti.blogspot.com/2009/08/why-was-moneyball-written-among-other.html)

You aren't apt to defend the old system. But its original purpose - eg., to help small market teams stay competitive - has undoubtedly been subverted by the Yankees/Red Sox/etc. copying it.

Anyway, as stated before I'm a casual baseball fan at best, so my expertise is limited. Mostly I'm going to a Pirates game this weekend and want to have some trivia to bore my friends with between innings.

I found that blog post to be terribly annoying to read (and I didn't make it very far). That blogger kept cutting in with his repetitious and unfunny criticisms which I found to be far less funny than the actual conversation he was transcribing. Not that I disagree with his substantive points. But he shouldn't feel the need to interrupt the narrative every two seconds with his own very unfunny lines.

And btw, his comment about Showalter choosing A-Rod's legs simply because he is a great player and then supposedly making a way too easy causation-correlation argument is unfair. I mean, it is possible that A-Rod does have great legs. I know it sounds creepy (but hey, not half as bad as the rest of that conversation); I never analyzed bis legs or anyone else's, but if A-Rod does have great legs then it's unfair for him to criticize Showalter for using A-Rod as an example; of course he is gonna use a successful player as an example! Yeah, if he's talking about who has great legs, he is gonna pick the best player who has great legs! So I find this blogger very uninteresting.

But yeah, there's no doubt that Moneyball was great for largely doing away with that sort of nonsensical thinking. As Billy Beane frequently said, we're trying to win baseball games, not sell jeans! (which reminds me, what ever happened to Jeremy Brown, the poster boy for the great-player-but-undervalued-due-to-a-terrible-body?  ;) )


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 25, 2012, 06:23:28 AM
The Fleet that Had to Die - Richard Hough - Concise, harrowing account of the Russian Baltic Fleet and its ill-fated voyage to Tsushima Straits in the Russo-Japanese War. Hough writes a book worthy of this strange, fascinating episode; it's certainly much better than the recent Tsar's Last Armada.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 28, 2012, 10:41:51 PM
(http://bookscans.com/Publishers/ref-paperbacks/images/murderoffrack.jpg)

A good survey of some of the '50's (and '60's) lesser known (well, 20 years ago, at least) crime writers' work. Of course, only for those interested in the subject. 8\10   


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 29, 2012, 07:09:34 AM
The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist and Mythmaker from the Crimea to Vietnam - Phillip Knightley - Knightley (erstwhile biographer of T.E. Lawrence and Kim Philby) provides a polemical history of war correspondents, analyzing their general failure to provide accurate reporting. In broad strokes it's an effective argument, showing how easily journalists are influenced by government pressure and personal beliefs. But Knightley is extremely inconsistent in his criticisms. He excoriates anti-Bolshevik reporters during the Russian Revolution but upholds John Reed as a paragon of integrity (!). He similarly praises Herbert Matthews' pro-Fascist writing during Italy's invasion of Abyssinia. Then when discussing the Spanish Civil War he smugly criticizes everyone for allowing bias to overcome reason. It's hard to sense what Knightley's point is with this sort of contradiction.

PS: There are more recent editions available, the last published in 2004.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 01, 2012, 04:25:49 PM
The Desert and the Stars: A Biography of Lawrence of Arabia - Flora Armitage - Underwhelming biography of T.E. Lawrence. It contains interesting analysis of his post-war life but mostly serves as a rebuttal to Aldington's Biographical Inquiry. Unfortunately, the book's drenched in nauseating purple prose, to wit: "Like a banshee the wind blew notes of doom through the volcanic rock towers which echoed the shivering quiet below, trembled there, and then departed untilt he next gust." Ms. Armitage was also a novelist, and it would seem a bad one.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 01, 2012, 05:47:19 PM
(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-NMBhR0pWPmg/T-jAJRaC3PI/AAAAAAAAIOc/XXmsOlJkd3s/s400/ShapeofWater.jpg)

The strenght of Camilleri's mysteries and not-mysteries  lies in the language interspersed with sicilian words unknown outside of the island but that one gets used to after a few minutes. Then there are the portraits of minor characters, the efficacity of dialogues and a narrative rhythmwhich never abates. But the plot of his first Montalbano's stories is too elaborate, not leaving a taste of reality. Still you read these books at a sitting. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 01, 2012, 05:50:49 PM
(http://italian-mysteries.com/aca02big.jpg)

Here the premise is so absurd which proves unquestionably what I said above. Still is 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 01, 2012, 05:59:57 PM
(http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1328040479l/69366.jpg)

Slightly better than the previous 2. Unfortunately the final explication  of what has happened is too incredible.7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 02, 2012, 07:37:12 PM
Meet the Men Who Sailed the Seas - John Dyment - Retro kids book about the history of sailing. Alibris accidentally sent me this instead of the book I actually ordered. It gave me a few chuckles but I'll be sending it back.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 02, 2012, 09:55:33 PM
(http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/reviews/TVotV.jpg)

I wonder what kind of work the translators did with Camilleri's language, one of his main features. Did they keep the sicilian words as they are or tried to  render them in some kind of local lingo...?
This is no better no worse than the previous books in the series: the solution comes a bit too out of nowhere, though. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 03, 2012, 06:03:32 PM
(http://images.borders.com.au/images/bau/97803304/9780330493031/0/0/plain/excursion-to-tindari.jpg)

A real turnpager, but the solution is too simplistic and left me unsatisfied. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 04, 2012, 05:27:30 PM
(http://img.dooyoo.co.uk/GB_EN/orig/0/5/8/7/9/587929.jpg)

I am accustomed to read the notes at the end of a book, if there's any. In this case that gave me the key to the solution as the author mention the Faulkner's (famous) short story on which the solution to this case was based. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 06, 2012, 02:37:55 PM
The Best Pittsburgh Sports Arguments - John Mehno - Mehno runs down 100 of Pittsburgh's most enduring sports controversies and debates, covering every conceivable sport down to the UFL and pro tennis. More a trivia book than anything substantial, but a fun introduction to Pittsburgh arcana. 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 08, 2012, 10:05:45 PM
(http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/reviews/RtM.jpg)

Another average Montalbano, with the commissario not getting at once what the reader understands easily. That makes things goofy. The finale is more action-oriented than deductive. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 09, 2012, 09:32:23 PM
(http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/reviews/TPotS.jpg)

The plot is to be seen through easily and there's a heavy touch of melodrama at the end. If one reads the series because he finds attractive the characters of the  lesser protagonists, will find little of it. So it's 5\10.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 10, 2012, 04:20:04 AM
Your Accomplishments are Suspiciously Hard to Verify - Scott Adams - The more time I spend in the corporate world the more I find Dilbert depressingly accurate. Here's hoping grad school works out.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 12, 2012, 09:34:47 AM
Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia - Michael Korda - 2nd reading. The latest major TEL biography is laudatory to say the least. Korda views Lawrence as a military genius, political savant, skilled inventor - yet he dislikes his writing. He also plays down Lawrence's neurotic side, viewing him as intelligent, productive and generally satisfied even after WWI. Very well-written and enjoyable, but not entirely convincing.

Lawrence of Arabia: The Literary Impulse - Stanley & Rodelle Weintraub - Slim volume analyzing Lawrence's literary output. The Weintraubs see him as possessed by an impulse to write, but that his desire outpaced his ability. As someone who loves Seven Pillars of Wisdom and enjoyed The Mint I'll register a dissent.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 15, 2012, 03:24:19 PM
(http://i43.tower.com/images/mm111468343/paper-moon-camilleri-andrea-hardcover-cover-art.jpg)

A weak entry in the series. only for camilleri aficionados.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 15, 2012, 03:29:41 PM
(http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/reviews/AHeat.jpg)

Possibly best entry in the series, though the murderer could have been discovered 200 pages earlier had the police done her job. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 15, 2012, 03:33:58 PM
(http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/reviews/TWotSphinx.jpg)

Average entry in the series. Not a well developed finale. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 15, 2012, 03:37:47 PM
(http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/reviews/TToSand.jpg)

Possibly inspired by Stout's Some Buried Caesar, though not as entertaining and as funny. As usual, the explanation is lame, but you don't read Camilleri for the plot. 7\10 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 15, 2012, 03:41:45 PM
(http://murderbytype.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/salvo.jpg?w=640)

Interesting at first, it loses momentum once you understand how things went a hundred pages before the policemen do. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 15, 2012, 10:55:06 PM
(http://www.panmacmillan.com/devpanmacmillan/media/panmacmillan/Books/width220px/the-age-of-doubt-978144720331501.jpg)

Very weak entry in the canon. Action oriented, no mistery, and with a melodramatic finale. 4\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 16, 2012, 04:17:08 PM
(http://img2.imagesbn.com/images/183380000/183381239.JPG)

Average entry in the series. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 17, 2012, 09:35:39 AM
The Homicidal Earl: The Life of Lord Cardigan - Saul David - David casts a sympathetic though not uncritical eye towards the infamous commander of the Light Brigade. David dispels many of Cecil Woodham-Smith's harsher characterizations, eg. of Cardigan as stupid and unfeeling towards his men. In fact he was fairly intelligent and cared deeply towards his soldiers, if not his fellow officers. David also shows him as an active MP, albeit a particularly reactionary one. Still, Cardigan's repellant traits are undeniable: his temper, ego, promiscuity and uncanny predilection for scandal. David's final picture is of a short-tempered martinet, probably as fair a portrait as Cardigan deserves.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 25, 2012, 09:32:06 AM
The Golden Reign: The Story of My Friendship With Lawrence of Arabia - Claire Sydney Smith - A personal portrait of TEL by the wife of his RAF C.O. Any such depiction is going to be suspect, if only because of its limited perspective. Moreso in this case, as Mrs. Smith harbored romantic feelings for Lawrence that he obviously didn't reciprocate. Still it's valuable for its very intimate look at Lawrence in his later years, generally happy and productive in the RAF, a distinctly different picture than the self-loathing scoundrel hiding out from the world.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 26, 2012, 05:25:02 PM
Bloom County: The Complete Library, Vols. 1-2 - Berkeley Breathed - IDW Publishing has very generously compiled every single Bloom County strip into five volumes. For the uninitiated this was an excellent newspaper comic that ran in America from about 1981-1989. Sort of Doonesbury meets Calvin & Hobbes, though comparing it to other strips doesn't do Breathed's achievement justice. The first volume is a bit strange; the formative years featured a lot of characters that vanished when the strip hit its stride - namely Milo Bloom's right wing lunatic grandfather. The political satire is also more pointedly left wing than the general ridicule later on. The second volume gets into the meat of the strip, with the best-known characters (Opus the Penguin, Steve Dallas, Bill the Cat, etc.) firmly established, the artwork better developed and the story lines more clever and funny. Most notably, the political and cultural references seem only slightly dated.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 27, 2012, 06:28:29 AM
Chitral Charlie: The Rise and Fall of Major General Charles Townshend - N.S. Nash - Competent biography of the general responsible for the surrender of 13,000 British soldiers at Kut during World War I. Nash is fair to Townshend and even reasonably sympathetic, but his subject is still an insufferable egomaniac. His narrative follows Russell Braddon's The Siege very closely though he differs in his conclusions re: Townshend's tactical decisions. The main blame for the Kut disaster, Nash argues, should go to Townshend's superiors. Fair enough, but Townshend certainly exacerbated things by claiming his division could defeat an entire Turkish army and capture Baghdad singlehanded. Or his ludicrous, self-contradictory telegrams while under siege that spurred ill-prepared, undermanned relief attempts. Or his enjoying a comfy captivity on an island resort while his troops died in slave labor camps. Poor Townshend.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 28, 2012, 09:40:22 AM
338171 T.E. - Victoria Ocampo - Argentina's premiere literary critic (circa 1942) produces a notably weird book on TEL. This slim volume serves as a metaphysical analysis of Lawrence's personality, viewing him as a secular saint "crucified by his will." It's hard to know what to make of it, mixing good insights with bizarre flights of fancy. Apparently mine is an updated edition as Ocampo takes the time to slam Richard Aldington.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 05, 2012, 04:37:04 AM
Kingmakers: The Invention of the Modern Middle East - Karl Meyer & Shareen Blair Brysac - Purports to examine Anglo-American meddling in the Middle East from the Victorian Era through the present, and its lasting legacy. In practice it's a dozen biographical sketches of varying interest and relevance. The authors are engaging writers but the structure of the book is strange. The sketches are self-contained yet frequently overlap, the narrative jumps around from Egypt to Iraq to Iran to Afghanistan and back, and some chapters have little or nothing to do with the ostensible topic. Most egregiously, one chapter focuses almost entirely on Flora Shaw's role in the Jameson Raid; since when is South Africa part of the Middle East? Readable, if only because the subjects themselves (TEL, Gertrude Bell, H. John Philby, Kermit Roosevelt) are fascinating, but much better books exist on the topic.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 10, 2012, 09:18:55 AM
The Mint - T.E. Lawrence - 2nd reading. I was lucky enough to find a first edition copy at a used bookstore for $20.

Khyber: The Story of an Imperial Migraine - Charles Miller - Lively account of Britain's troubles with Afghanistan and India's Northwest Frontier. Not as comprehensive as Peter Hopkirk's Great Game Trilogy, and Miller's conversational style is a bit excessive, as when he refers to the Mad Mullah's proclamations as "crap" or compares a Pakistani official to Telly Savalas. Miller is to be commended though for his grasp of the ethnic, religious and tribal fault lines in Central Asia.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 15, 2012, 04:46:05 AM
Seven Pillars of Wisdom: A Triumph - T.E. Lawrence - 3rd reading. A multifacetted masterpiece that works on numerous levels: as literature (Lawrence's prose is striking), military chronicle, memoir, psychological self-portrait. His battle descriptions are remarkably vivid (especially his failures), his descriptions of Arabia breathtaking, his portraits of personages sharp and convincing, his self-reflection admirably frank and revealing. Many question its accuracy; being a memoir however, its subjectivity and modest embellishment should be taken for granted, rather than chalked up to "lying." I believe mine is the '35 text rather than the definitive '22 edition.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on September 15, 2012, 08:10:34 PM
Wanderer Sterling Hayden 1963, Sterling Hayden's autobiography. At the peak of his earning power as a movie star he suddenly quit walked out on Hollywood, walked out of a shattered marriage, defied the courts, and set sail with his four children in the schooner Wanderer-bound for the South Seas. His attempt to escape launched his autobiography. Interesting read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 15, 2012, 08:15:51 PM
Edward Hopper by Gerry Souter  http://www.amazon.com/Edward-Hopper-Collection-Gerry-Souter/dp/1906981620/ref=sr_1_23?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1347762377&sr=1-23&keywords=edward+hopper

It has some silly mistakes (eg. in describing one etching, Souter discusses all the elements -- but neglects to mention the one person in the etching! And in one painting he says the wife is standing over the husband's right shoulder, when in fact it's his left. Shitty mistakes like that make me wonder how much this guy knows). But the main reason I bought the book is for the paintings, there are 96 of them (including a few etchings), it's very reasonably priced (about $20 at the MoMA store). The main issue is whether the color of the paintings is accurate. The only actual Hopper painting I have ever seen is New York Movie, and I felt that the version in the book was a pretty good representation, so I hope the rest are similarly accurate. Of course I can't accurately judge the color-accuracy of the paintings in the book, until I visit more museums and see more of the paintings in person. But for my first book on art, I enjoyed it  :)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 15, 2012, 08:16:33 PM
Wanderer Sterling Hayden 1963, Sterling Hayden's autobiography. At the peak of his earning power as a movie star he suddenly quit walked out on Hollywood, walked out of a shattered marriage, defied the courts, and set sail with his four children in the schooner Wanderer-bound for the South Seas. His attempt to escape launched his autobiography. Interesting read.

does he describe his deep regret and anguish over having named names?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on September 16, 2012, 04:39:08 AM
does he describe his deep regret and anguish over having named names?

He had mixed feelings. His real passion was for the sea and sailing, the majority of the book is pre Hollywood.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 16, 2012, 05:35:30 AM
I once heard someone say(I wanna say that it was on one of the documentaries on the bonus features of the THE LONG GOODBYE dvd, but I'm not certain about it), that Hayden relented and named only the names that HUAAC was already aware of, but ultimately he deeply regretted doing that.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 17, 2012, 10:49:17 AM
Three Empires on the Nile: The Victorian Jihad, 1869-1899 - Dominic Green - Competent account of Britain's entanglements in Egypt and Sudan, specifically Urabi Pasha's uprising and the Mahdist Wars. Green successfully intertwines the components of imperialism, Arab nationalism and Islamic fanaticism together, inviting modern-day comparisons. The book brings little fresh insight to these oft-told events, but it's a decent narrative history.  


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 19, 2012, 06:04:54 PM
Allenby of Arabia: Lawrence's General - Brian Gardner - received this just in time for the 94th anniversary of Megiddo. Workmanlike biography that's more interested in Allenby the man than Allenby the public servant. Gardner paints a flattering portrait of Allenby: a man of diverse interests (ornithology, botany, polo), military skill and far-reaching statesmanship, whose main flaw was a volcanic temper. While ably detailing Allenby's family life, friendships and quarrels (Douglas Haig does not come off well), Gardner treats his military campaigns and political career in Egypt superficially. At 275 pages of text though it's an easy read, and provides some appreciation for this considerable man.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 23, 2012, 09:05:13 AM
Lawrence of Arabia: A Film's Anthropology - Steven C. Caton - 2nd reading. I first read this during my would-be film student days circa 2007. Revisiting it now reminds me why I left that field of study. Caton's solid detailing the film's political and visual motifs: in particular, his screenplay analysis is nearly as effective as Joel Hodson or Adrian Turner. When he analyzes Lawrence's sexuality and "Orientalism" Caton bogs down in tedious textual analysis (Edward Said in particular) and tiresome theoretical pondering. Call me a pleb (I'm sure Jenkins will), but I've always found straightforward textual analysis of movies/plays/books more fruitful than a critical framework with predetermined answers. Using one's personal experience as a basis for analysis is bothersome too.

The Arab Awakening - George Antonius - Classic account of the early days of Arab nationalism: its birth in 19th Century Syria, the Arab Revolt and Anglo-French perfidy, the rise of Ibn Saud and their early conflicts with Zionism. For an Arab writer Antonius is admirably fair-minded, treating British and Zionist positions with respect, though he's liable to play down more disreputable Arab actions. Some of his analyses are naive (claiming Ibn Saud is a moderating force!), other more prescient (his analysis of sectarian fissures in Iraq). Essential reading for those interested in the Middle East.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 23, 2012, 01:09:07 PM
(http://patricktreardon.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/strachey-victorians.jpg)

I admit I didn't read half of the first portrait (Cardinal Manning), as I'm not interested in religious affairs or debates. The other three, I presume do not retain, almost a hundred years after, the debunking force they might have had at the time of publication. Actually, I think that Nightingale's figure isn't debunked at all: on the contrary. I don't even think the book has so many literary merits (though I read a translation), I think that the portraits would have been more effective with a faster journalistic style. Anyway the reading is useful if you have an interest in those particular characters. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 23, 2012, 01:10:41 PM
Thanks Titoli, I've been wanting to read that for awhile. O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 26, 2012, 04:51:58 AM
The Conquest of Morocco - Douglas Porch - Rambling account of France's efforts to subjugate Morocco. Porch is best with colorful details, providing vivid depictions of devious Frenchmen, decadent Moroccan officials and opportunistic cutthroats (including our friend Raisuli). Military buffs will enjoy Porch's accounts of obscure battles and campaigns. Porch is less successful drawing the political/imperial context that spurred France's intervention in the region. It lacks the tedious detail of Porch's Foreign Legion book but is also less convincing.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 27, 2012, 01:12:01 AM
You Must Remember This (2008), by Richard Shickel and George Perry: the story of Warner Bros., in honor of it's 85th anniversary http://www.amazon.com/You-Must-Remember-This-Warner/dp/076243418X/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1348727892&sr=1-2&keywords=you+must+remember+this The book is a companion to the PBS film series of the same name (which I haven't seen yet; though it's available on dvd http://www.amazon.com/You-Must-Remember-This-Warner/dp/B0013MYB5Y )

I happened to be checking out the Barnes & Noble bookstore at Fordham Law School a couple of years ago, and there's always this shelf of books that they need to get rid of and are selling dirt cheap, (like at the end of the semester or something) and I saw this monster coffee table book for 50 cents! (precisely 1/100 of the book's printed price); who ever said half a buck can't buy you anything anymore  ;) In bits and pieces, I must have looked through the book 5 times or so by now.

It's exactly what you'd expect from a coffee table book: it's 450 pages (including an introduction from Clint Eastwood), filled with shitloads of great photographs: movie posters, action shots, publicity shots, etc. etc. etc. Like most coffee table books, the photos are dominant:this is not the place for eg. an intensive study of the life of James Cagney, or what was served for lunch on the WB lot on afternoon of April 7, 1929. But there is a short bio/profile  about each of the important players, and  is a nice amount of information about the executive background, the basic story of how 4 sons of immigrants named Harry, Sam, Abe, and Jack Warner, founded one of the major Hollywood studios. And while the authors are proud WB fans (as am I) and love the particular stuff that WB did, eg. with the grittiness of the gangster and socially conscious movies, etc., they are honest and straightforward. They are not afraid to say when a movie sucked and/or bombed at the box office, or to describe the lean years at the studio, or criticize executives, etc.

if you are a cineaste, enjoy a bit of Hollywood history, or are simply a SB fan (and which serious movie fan wouldn't be?), this book will be fun! Sorry, but none of you will be able to buy it as cheaply as I did  :P Still, I see that used copies are currently selling on Amazon for just a little over $8; IMO that is quite a bargain for a very fun book!

Next, I'd like to see the dvd's of the PBS tv show; it's 289 minutes long (or exactly one hour longer than OUATIA)  :) I see someone posted the first two episodes to youtube: (The film -- or at leats these 2 episodes -- is made by Richard Shickel, narrated by Clint Eastwood):

Episode 1: "A Rising Power: 1923 -- 1937" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGbLoIbjrPk

Episode 2: "War and Peace: 1937 -- 1949" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhSCwndAfSA&feature=relmfu


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 27, 2012, 06:29:07 AM
The White Nile - Alan Moorehead - Classic account of Britain's exploration of the Nile River and expansion into Central Africa. Moorehead recounts famous personages (Burton, Speke, Gordon, Kitchener) and events (Livingston and Stanley's meeting, the Mahdist Wars, Fashoda) with engaging style, commendable objectivity and dry humor. Mine is an illustrated version with dozens of handsome photographs and drawings. I'll be tracking down Moorehead's companion volume (The Blue Nile) ASAP.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: marmota-b on September 29, 2012, 07:42:22 AM
I'm re-reading the classic Sherlock Holmes stories, slowly and carefully and noticing little details I have not noticed before, like where they actually take place...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 29, 2012, 08:23:20 PM
Don't Scream - R.L. Stine - A boy is haunted by a homicidal A.I. creature. By Goosebumps standards it's pretty good.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 01, 2012, 07:31:39 AM
Ross: A Dramatic Portrait - Terence Rattigan - 2nd reading. Inevitably I devoured this last night after finding it online. Rattigan's TEL emerges as an eccentric, tormented but likeable man driven by willpower, arguably more true-to-life than Lean/Bolt's depiction. The framing device set during Lawrence's RAF tenure provides effective exposition. On the other hand there's no dramatic foil like Ali to play off: Lawrence is an interesting man amidst a sea of ciphers.  Rattigan's treatment of Deraa is a weak point, positing the Turks raped Lawrence to break his spirit while leaving him alive. It's as dramatically credible as Bane doing it to Batman. I can't imagine this working as a film (as intended) without the missing action scenes. As a play it's serviceable.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on October 01, 2012, 10:08:43 PM
Groggy do you read all these TE Lawrence books because you love Lawrence of Arabia, or do you love Lawrence of Arabia because you love TE Lawrence? What came first?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 02, 2012, 03:07:46 PM
Yes to the first. Movie before history to the second.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jill on October 06, 2012, 06:12:14 AM
Good Omens - still awesome.

Suddenly realized my headcanon Aziraphale is Martin Freeman. He's a ball of fluff but he can be dangerous.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 09, 2012, 06:21:41 AM
The Lion's Last Roar: Suez 1956 - Chester L. Cooper - Admirably clear-headed account of the Suez Crisis. Cooper played a minor role as an aide to John Foster Dulles, but he avoids the pitfalls of other Suez books I've read: axe-grinding (Anthony Nutting), tedious detail (Keith Kyle), stolidity (David A. Nichols). Relatively objective save where Cooper injects his personal experience into the narrative. Even so, he evinces unusual sympathy for Anthony Eden, Dulles and other oft-maligned players in this drama.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 10, 2012, 12:33:24 PM
Explores of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure - Tim Jeal - Retread of The White Nile focusing on the explorers' interpersonal rivalries. Jeal's raison d'être is showing John Speke as the true hero of Nile exploration, while conversely denigrating Richard Burton as a racist, perverted egomaniac. He handles other figures (Stanley, Livingston, Baker, etc.) unremarkably. Most interesting are the sections showing the long-term effects of European exploration. Otherwise, stick with Alan Moorehead.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 10, 2012, 06:35:02 PM
(http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1207090053l/3151893.jpg)


Wonderful book (followed by a second in the english trnslation) by a polish philosopher, sublime creator of aphorisms. At amazon you can find some sample in the reviews. 10\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 14, 2012, 08:08:29 AM
Desert Hell: The British Invasion of Mesopotamia - Charles Townshend - Detailed history of one of WWI's most obscure (and pointless) sideshows. Townshend understandably focuses on the campaign's hardships: poor planning (military and political), inadequate provisions and medical care, hostile climate and a determined enemy. A modern reader will be astonished at how haphazard British strategy was, evolving from active defense to ad hoc conquest. Townshend invites comparisons with the recent Anglo-American adventure in Iraq but a close reading of his text highlights more differences than similarities. His defense of the infamous General Townshend also proves less-than-convincing.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 14, 2012, 11:55:48 AM
Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball, by Bill Madden.

Bio of the Yankee owner George Steinbrenner (released shortly before his death). So he was a piece of shit who abused his employees, made lots of money through his shipbuilding company (partially through gov't cronyism with contracts from politician friends), and won lots of championships.

As a Yankee fan I am glad he was out owner. But he was a piece of shit as a human being.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 14, 2012, 04:47:14 PM
Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation - Joseph J. Ellis - Ellis examines the Founding Fathers through six seminal episodes in American history. His choice of events is eclectic and non-chronological, which makes for an oft-frustrating read. Ellis's analysis is quite interesting though, showing how personalities as much as political differences impacted the shaping of America.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 17, 2012, 06:20:27 AM
The Blue Nile - Alan Moorehead - More expansive than The White Nile, Moorehead focuses on large-scale military campaigns rather than individual explorers. He devotes most of the narrative to Napoleon's disastrous invasion of Egypt and the more successful British expedition to Abyssinia in 1868 (subject of a Flashman novel). Despite the larger scope it retains Moorehead's eye for natural and sociological detail, and his stories are fascinating. Both volumes get my highest recommendation.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 18, 2012, 09:54:53 PM
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/68/ChandlerRedTide2.jpg)

Is this the first "graphic novel" ever? No idea and don't care. I don't like Steranko's style, too primitive. The story is run of the mill hard-boiled P.I. set in the '40's, little imaginitive, but tolerable. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 20, 2012, 08:47:28 PM
Hitchcock/Truffaut - Francois Truffaut - 2nd reading. This was the updated '80s version.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 08, 2012, 04:36:02 AM
Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 - Gordon S. Wood - American Revolution historian Wood (Revolutionary Characters, etc.) crafts a sweeping portrait of the early United States. Wood views the Federalist/Republican split as emblematic of America's search for a distinct identity. Wood generally sides with the Republicans, arguing they were more American than the Anglophilic, aristocratic Federalists. He shows equal adeptness analyzing political matters alongside sociological and cultural developments, creating a commendably thorough, readable work. Part of the Oxford History of the United States.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 10, 2012, 07:07:06 PM
Planet of the Lawn Gnomes - R.L. Stine - This newest Goosebumps book doesn't have a character rolling their eyes until page 90. Clearly R.L. Stine has lost his touch.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 17, 2012, 06:46:13 PM
What God Hath Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848 - Daniel Walker Howe - A problematic entry in the Oxford History of the US. Howe's focus on both religion and technology as the impetus for American expansionism is quite interesting. He's equally skilled with both big picture developments (the development of state's rights, abolitionism's rise and westward expansion) and more personal concerns (the life 19th Century women, evangelical Christianity's hold on antebellum America). Unfortunately, Howe saturates the text with unsubtle pro-Whig bias: John Quincy Adams becomes the visionary hero of the age, while Andrew Jackson is a racist, demagogic quasi-dictator. I can agree that Jackson's pro-slavery expansionism was wrong; can't I view expanded franchise and public engagement positively?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 20, 2012, 07:36:52 PM
The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery - Eric Foner - Foner brilliantly analyzes Lincoln's evolution from racist Midwestern politician to full-throated abolitionist. Foner offers a complex portrait of our 16th President, showing him a remarkably complex and adaptable person with genuine character growth. Certain passages are disquieting: Lincoln's long-standing support of slave colonization reflects badly. As perilous his personal journey was, however, it's Lincoln's ultimate acceptance of racial equality that proves most compelling.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on November 21, 2012, 11:47:01 AM
Has Lincoln now become your new Lawrence?  ;)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 21, 2012, 12:18:37 PM
I don't think any mortal man has the time to plow through everything written about Lincoln.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on November 21, 2012, 12:33:10 PM
I don't think any mortal man has the time to plow through everything written about Lincoln.

are you saying you have plowed through everything written about Lawrence?

Interestingly, Lincoln is today almost universally mentioned positively -- ask typical Americans to name the greatest presidents, he'll almost always be in the top 3. But among historians (and lawyers of certain persuasions), there's a lot of very questionable shit he did during the Civil War.

btw, I noticed at the end of the movie that it said its based partially on Doris Kearns Goodwin's book. I don't know  whether or not that book is accurate, but one thing I am quite confident in saying is that while Goodwin may have grown up a Brooklyn Dodger fan and now fancies herself some sort of baseball historian,  she is a very, very shitty baseball historian. I certainly hope her knowledge of political history is better than her so-called knowledge of baseball history.

It would be interesting to know how much of the movie is accurate and how much of it is just Hollywood, but you are the bookworm around here (the little I read is generally about baseball  ;)). When you have an answer, you can share it  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 22, 2012, 09:09:01 AM
Riots, USA: 1765-1970 - Willard A. Heaps - Being a nostalgic cove I'll happily waste time revisiting books I read many, many times a kid. It's a fairly short book, likely written for young adults, discussing 15 major riots in American history. Its analysis is superficial but the accounts are quite interesting; alongside well-known cases like the NYC Draft Riots and various racial strife there's also an account of the Astor Place Riot, where a feud between two Shakespearean actors actually triggered a major insurrection. Sadly today such a riot would be caused by Twilight fans arguing over Edward and Jacob.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 24, 2012, 06:45:38 PM
Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction - Eric Foner and Joshua Brown - A pared-down version of previous Foner books, with interesting photo essays by Brown. Foner's central thesis is that Reconstruction was America's greatest, if not only chance to achieve racial equality. Its failure, he argues, prevented the post-Civil War wounds from healing. Foner demolishes the Dunning School of lazy blacks and crooked Republicans ruining the South: instead, he depicts biracial Republican rule as efficient, despite constant violence and intimidation by racist Democrats. Foner's leftism results in some odd analyses, for instance arguing that redistribution of plantation land was the government's best hope for success. While critical of Presidents Grant and Hayes for loosening the reins on Southern segregation, he doesn't suggest how Reconstruction could have been better enforced. Would a perpetual military occupation of the ex-Confederacy been sustainable, let alone desirable? A very valuable book regardless.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 01, 2012, 09:54:58 AM
A Treasury of Royal Scandals - Michael Farquhar - 2nd reading. It is what it is.

Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party from Eisenhower to the Tea Party - Geoffrey Kabaservice - Fascinating analysis of the GOP's rightward slide, through the perspective of centrist/liberal Republicans. Kabaservice disputes recent historians (Rick Perlstein, Fred Schneider) who see a clear line from Barry Goldwater's disastrous Presidential run to John Boehner. Instead, he shows the '60s and '70s driven by heated interparty rivalry. Kabaservice blames the moderates' failures on their inability to arouse enthusiasm or coalesce around a strong candidate (Nelson Rockefeller is roundly castigated); he also praises Ronald Reagan for inclusiveness and pragmatism. The nearer Kabaservice gets to the present the more critical he becomes: he argues the GOP does itself (and the country) a disservice being doctrinaire and intolerant. As a disaffected conservative I can't help but agree.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 04, 2012, 04:26:54 AM
The Agony of the G.O.P. 1964 - Robert D. Novak - Blow-for-blow account of the 1964 Republican primaries. Novak isn't so prescient in his analysis of Goldwater's popularity, seeming to agree with the common wisdom that he wrecked the Republican Party forever. As a behind-the-scenes account of the campaign it's quite interesting, showing Goldwater's grassroots success, Nelson Rockefeller's ambivalence and poor campaigning, and the inability of another moderate to run convincingly.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 04, 2012, 06:41:44 AM

Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party from Eisenhower to the Tea Party - Geoffrey Kabaservice - Fascinating analysis of the GOP's rightward slide, through the perspective of centrist/liberal Republicans. Kabaservice disputes recent historians (Rick Perlstein, Fred Schneider) who see a clear line from Barry Goldwater's disastrous Presidential run to John Boehner. Instead, he shows the '60s and '70s driven by heated interparty rivalry. Kabaservice blames the moderates' failures on their inability to arouse enthusiasm or coalesce around a strong candidate (Nelson Rockefeller is roundly castigated); he also praises Ronald Reagan for inclusiveness and pragmatism. The nearer Kabaservice gets to the present the more critical he becomes: he argues the GOP does itself (and the country) a disservice being doctrinaire and intolerant. As a disaffected conservative I can't help but agree.


To those who lecture the GOP about its  supposed rightward shift, I point out that  the Party's last 2 Presidential nominees (McCain and Romney) are as moderate Repubs as you will ever find; while the Dems' nominee (Obama) is as extreme leftist as you can possibly get.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: noodles_leone on December 04, 2012, 07:35:18 AM
while the Dems' nominee (Obama) is as extreme leftist as you can possibly get...

... in the USA. He would be considered as a moderate rightist here in Europe.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 04, 2012, 08:36:00 AM

To those who lecture the GOP about its  supposed rightward shift, I point out that  the Party's last 2 Presidential nominees (McCain and Romney) are as moderate Repubs as you will ever find; while the Dems' nominee (Obama) is as extreme leftist as you can possibly get.

That hardly matters when they're forced to adopt hard right positions by the base, which has been taken over by theocrats and Bircher nut jobs. Romney certainly didn't run as a moderate.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 04, 2012, 08:38:11 AM
... in the USA. He would be considered as a moderate rightist here in Europe.

Heck, Obama isn't even the far left of the Democratic Party.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 04, 2012, 08:41:13 AM
That hardly matters when they're forced to adopt hard right positions by the base, which has been taken over by theocrats and Bircher nut jobs. Romney certainly didn't run as a moderate.

I don't care what Romney called himself, he was definitely a moderate as compared with the GOP. You may consider that a negative statement on the GOP, but the fact is that when one party has twice nominated its most moderate candidate as its "standard bearer," while the other has nominated its most extreme, I'm not sure how appropriate it is to criticize the former party for supposedly being too extreme!

Nobody is "forced to adopt hard right positions by the base." if you look through  eg. Romney's economic platform, it was actually very, very moderate. Which pissed the hell out of an economic libertarian like me


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 04, 2012, 08:43:25 AM
And there you have it. Romney is a "moderate," and Obama a "radical," compared to libertarians. QED


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 04, 2012, 08:44:02 AM
Heck, Obama isn't even the far left of the Democratic Party.

well  it would certainly be fair to say that the Democratic leadership is definitely by those on the far left. How many "JFK Democrats" are really remaining in power? (The handful of "Blue Dogs" are basically a bunch of freshman with no power and many of them voted in lockstep with every bit of the Obama agenda anyway).


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 04, 2012, 08:46:01 AM
Dear God, I have enough of these stupid arguments in real life. I don't need one on a movie board.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 04, 2012, 08:48:09 AM
And there you have it. Romney is a "moderate," and Obama a "radical," compared to libertarians. QED

No, that's not what I said. I am not making a subjective statement from the view of a libertarian. Rather, I am making (what I believe is) an objective statement in comparison to their parties: when you compare each candidate to his party's base, the fact is (based on the candidates' voting records and statements), Romney is on the moderate side of his party, while Obama is on the most extreme side of his party.

I am not one of those who necessarily equates "Moderate" with "Good" and "Extreme" with "Bad." I am just making a simple point: that it doesn't seem appropriate to criticize the GOP for extremism when the GOP has nominated moderate Repubs, while the Dems have nominated extreme Leftists


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 04, 2012, 08:54:23 AM
Ugh.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 04, 2012, 08:56:08 AM
Dear God, I have enough of these stupid arguments in real life. I don't need one on a movie board.

dude I have zero use for normative political arguments. This is a positive argument, not a normative one.
if you look at the various groups -- both on the Right and Left -- that "rate" politicians based on their voting patterns, you will find that they consistently rated Obama as the most liberal Dem, while they rated McCain and Romney among the most moderate Repubs.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 04, 2012, 09:02:18 AM
I appreciate your trying to take the highroad. But we've had political discussions, normative or positive, on this board many times in the past and they never end well. I recuse myself of any further argument.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 08, 2012, 04:20:49 PM
Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama - Much better than I expected. Young, pre-politics Obama is not only a good writer but very introspective and self-critical, besides providing an interesting account of being mixed race in '70s and '80s America. Elements of his public persona both good (earnestness, conciliatory manner) and bad (ego, resistance to outside criticism) come through clearly. The Kenya section rambles but I'll let it slide: coming to terms with his father is clearly a big part of his life. This seems like the real man, not the manufactured public image.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 08, 2012, 06:14:08 PM
Dreams from My Father - Barack Obama - Much better than I expected. Young, pre-politics Obama is not only a good writer but very introspective and self-critical, besides providing an interesting account of being mixed race in '70s and '80s America. Elements of his public persona both good (earnestness, conciliatory manner) and bad (ego, resistance to outside criticism) come through clearly. The Kenya section rambles but I'll let it slide: coming to terms with his father is clearly a big part of his life. This seems like the real man, not the manufactured public image.

is this the book where he says you shouldn't pass major legislation with "50% plus 1"?   ;D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on December 08, 2012, 07:49:55 PM
The Crying of Lot 49
Pretty good, solid ending. I feel like I need to read it again to truly appreciate it, but it's far too difficult of a read (despite a short one) for me to feel like doing that again. I want to read V.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 08, 2012, 09:55:14 PM
(http://www.lordheath.com/web_images/book-the_comedy_world_of_stan_laurel__john_mccabe_.jpg)


This is one of the four books McCabe dedicated to the Boys: I've read three of them, all mandatory reading for fans, though I presume there's more to be digged about the private lives of the  duo, for those interested in such matters. This one deals even more than Mr. Laurel and Mr. Hardy and Babe,  with the art of the duo rather than with the life events regarding Laurel, as betrayed by the title. There are many pages dedicated to complete sketches and bits of sketches which are very funny for the most part. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 12, 2012, 01:55:38 PM
Military Blunders: The How and Why of Military Failure - Saul David - It's not often that you encounter a nonfiction book from 1997 referring to Russians as "Asiatics of low intelligence." Or claiming Singapore fell to the Japanese because all its guns faced the sea. Or confusing Matthew Ridgeway with Maxwell Taylor. Or spelling errors every other page. Editorial sloppiness aside, this is just a rehash of Geoffrey Regan's last 1,000 books, themselves rehashes of Regan's first 1,000.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 12, 2012, 09:22:26 PM
Russians as " nihilistic Asiatics" were dubbed by Fuller  in his "Decisive Battles".


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 13, 2012, 04:31:56 AM
I can overlook a bit of casual bigotry in a book written in the '50s. A book written 15 years ago, reprinted in 2012, is something else.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 14, 2012, 03:01:50 PM
I can overlook a bit of casual bigotry in a book written in the '50s. A book written 15 years ago, reprinted in 2012, is something else.

What I meant was he might have taken (acritically) the hint from that source. 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 14, 2012, 03:22:25 PM
(http://www.andieday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/les_miserables-1.jpg)

I've finally made it wading through the more than 2000 pages of this brick. I wonder how many readers nowadays are willing to embark in a sometime painful experience, where the plot it is continuously interrupted to make way to long parts (sometime more than 100 pages long) dealing with facts which in a novel are usually only mentioned.So you have an account of all the Waterloo battle just because an event regarding two of the characters takes place at the end of it.. Sometime the historical parts are very interesting, like the one on Paris gutters; other ones, like the one on the nunneries, I couldn't have cared less. And VH is commenting and making reflections all the time, sometime boring you to death. The plot it is your typical feuilleton, with so many coincidences (the  characters have no difficulty finding themselves) and many inverosimilitude; and other writersof the genre are much better plotters than Hugo. Still sometime he reveals himself fo the great writer he is. So if you want to read it prepare for a very extenuating experience. 6!10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 14, 2012, 04:48:13 PM
Presumably you've no interest in the upcoming film.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 14, 2012, 11:22:30 PM
Presumably you've no interest in the upcoming film.

I'm interested in the Gabin's (I've started watching it) and Ventura's versions. Maybe also the french musical. Actually I think the filmed versions (including the italian serial featuring Moschin of almost half a century ago) , if well done, are preferable to reading the brick.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 15, 2012, 05:06:43 AM
Well two-and-a-half hours of film is generally better than 2,000 pages of reading.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 15, 2012, 06:16:25 AM
Dark Continent: Europe's 20th Century - Mark Mazower - Engrossing analytical history of Europe's 100 year political turmoil, from World War I through the fall of Communism. Mazower (Hitler's Empire) takes a macro view focusing on ideologies and socioeconomic developments rather than specific events. He's particularly good highlighting the development and failure of particular ideologies: the distinctions between Nazism and "Old Right" fascist movements, Thatcherism's disastrous overreach (and its discrediting of European neoliberalism), the USSR's status as Europe's last traditional empire. An excellent, insightful read. As a board-appropriate aside, Sergio Leone gets namedropped in a discussion of postwar European culture.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 15, 2012, 10:00:55 PM
Well two-and-a-half hours of film is generally better than 2,000 pages of reading.

my life's theory precisely.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 17, 2012, 06:24:36 AM
War on the Waters: Union and Confederate Navies in the Civil War, 1861-1865 - James McPherson - Engrossing account of the Civil War at sea. Despite the title, McPherson focuses overwhelmingly on the Union side, showing the frustrations of maintaining their blockade of Southern ports and operations on the Mississippi River. Coordinating land-sea operations with the Army stands out as a particular bugaboo, causing Vicksburg and Charleston to last longer than they ought. The vastly outmanned Confederacy must resort to contraptions like ironclads, mines and submarines to keep pace. McPherson's accounts of specific campaigns are succinct; more interesting are his description of personalities, from the heroic David Farragut to the arrogant Samuel DuPont and impish Confederate raider Raphael Semmes. Recommended for Civil War buffs.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 17, 2012, 11:59:43 AM
(http://www.lupa-romana.de/Bilder/Lit-Harris-Lustrum.jpg)

I like the three novels set in Ancient Rome written by Harris more than his other thrillers. Especially the two
having Cicero as the hero made me want to check on the original sources how things really went. This second book of the series (I don't know whether Harris will write other ones) is a great turnpager, even if you are not interested in that historical period and characters. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 20, 2012, 04:35:51 AM
The Real Lincoln - Thomas DiLorenzo - This might be the worst "nonfiction" book I've ever read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 20, 2012, 08:41:03 PM
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the British Empire - H.W. Crocker III - I take back what I said re: The Real Lincoln.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 23, 2012, 06:33:12 AM
The Crimean War: A Reappraisal - Phillip Warner - This slim volume seems designed as an answer to Woodham-Smith and Hibbert's critical popular accounts of the Crimean War. Warner raises many interesting points, arguing the war was a success for containing Russian expansion and its long-term ramifications (including the unification of Italy and rise of Germany). He also discusses campaigns outside the Crimea and focuses more on the foot soldiers than the officers. In some of these he prefigures more detailed recent works by Trevor Royle and Orlando Figes. Warner's main failing is that he's a very dry writer, not helping his case with heavy quotation from primary source material. If the subject matter interests it's cautiously recommended, but lay readers might prefer one of the above writers.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: sargatanas on December 27, 2012, 05:08:39 AM
if you think TMWNN had weird adventures check out Keith Richard's' book " life ". 
then imagine a spaghetti western morphing from his mis~adventures, lol   O0



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 28, 2012, 06:18:25 AM
Death Before Dishonour: The True Story of Fighting Mac - Trevor Royle. Short investigative biography of Hector Macdonald, the British soldier who went from Scottish Private to Major General, fought in some of the Victorian Era's greatest battles, only to be undone by ill-concealed pederasty. I didn't learn much about Macdonald that I hadn't known from Byron Farwell's sketch in Eminent Victorian Soldiers. He's a tragic figure in his way, but then forcing oneself on young boys is a crime in any age; claims that Macdonald was resented for his lower-class origins seem overblown. Royle is perhaps most interesting investigating post-mortem rumors about Macdonald, namely that he faked his death and reemerged as a German field marshal during the Great War.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 30, 2012, 09:23:48 AM
Histories of the Hanged: The Dirty War in Kenya and the End of Empire - David Anderson - An admirable account of Kenya's Mau Mau Rebellion, so often pilloried in the Western press and controversial still in Kenya. Anderson examines the rebellion's background, stemming from British redistribution of Kikuyu tribal lands, and focuses heavily on the methods used by the British administration to crush the rebellion. He doesn't shy away from depicting Mau Mau atrocities but the military/government response, including retaliatory murders raids, rigged trials and concentration camps, hardly seems more "civilized." Anderson does avoid the hyperbolic hysterics of Caroline Elkins' Imperial Reckoning, which posits up to 200,000 Kenyans killed while ranting about empire like a drug-addled grad student.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 30, 2012, 12:15:52 PM
The Echoing Green (2006), by Joshua Prager

Bobby Thomson's home run ending the 1951 National League playoff is still one of the most memorable moments in baseball history. Prager, a Wall Street journal writer, does incredibly extensive research here, taking us behind the scenes of that moment, and particularly, revealing (what had previously been rumored but never confirmed in this manner) that during the Giants amazing stretch run, and all through that final game of the playoff, they were stealing the opposing catcher's hand signals by having a man with a telescope in center field. Prager had a story on page 1 of the Journal on January 31, 2001, entitled "Was the '51 Giants Comeback a Miracle, or Did They Simply Steal the Pennant?" http://online.wsj.com/article/SB980896446829227925.html

Needless to say, this was a biiiig deal. Prager then spent 5 more years researching the story; and gives a real flavor of what it was like to be living in New York on October 3, 1951.

I cannot recall having ever read a baseball book this well-researched. If you are a baseball fan, this has to be the next book you read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 10, 2013, 06:19:06 AM
The Siege - Russell Braddon. 2nd reading

War Without a Name: France In Algeria, 1954-1962 - John Talbot - Succinct chronicle of Algeria's War for Independence, focused almost exclusively on the French perspective. This is more of an introductory primer than a detailed history, though Talbot provides interesting analysis of French cultural and political reaction to the war. Alistair Horne's A Savage War of Peace is far more authoritative.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on January 10, 2013, 03:52:33 PM
(http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2334/2513764533_c4c96056a2_o.jpg) interesting images


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 14, 2013, 06:30:37 PM
(http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/avon-books/865-1.jpg)

A collection of photographs, articles, drawings, sheet music from the period. Light, entertaining reading for those interested in the lesser events of the era. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 15, 2013, 09:43:12 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WzwSa4uPL._SS500_.jpg)

(http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1350785847l/2464791.jpg)

Thisis one of the best spy novels ever, on a level with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy or The Intercom Conspiracy. The only defect I can pinpoint is that I would have gladly done without all the mumblings and memories of the Soviet Agent in the second part: they slow down the action, though somebody might object that this is the very core of the story. 8\10.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 18, 2013, 07:46:01 AM
A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War - Amanda Foreman - Sprawling account of the Civil War through British eyes. Foreman presents a wealth of engaging detail, from battles and events to various personalities. The book succeeds best depicting the era's diplomatic machinations, with both North and South rather clumsily trying to win over Britain. She shows British statesmen thoroughly ambivalent: distrustful of American republicanism, respecting the South's chivalry while loathing slavery, the strangling impact of the Union blockade on cotton imports. She recounts the era's many Anglo-American flashpoints with verve: the Trent affair, construction of Confederate commerce raiders in England and use of Canada as a base for Rebel terror plots. Her depictions of familiar battles and military campaigns are less effective and often error-riddled (claiming that Hood's final defeat came at Franklin rather than Nashville, say). Worth reading though for its unique perspective.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 20, 2013, 07:25:55 PM
Cardigan: The Hero of Balaclava - Donald Thomas - Another sympathetic biography of the Light Brigade's commander. Even more than Saul David, Thomas strains to put his subject in a good light, highlighting his courage, chivalry, concern for his enlisted men and capacity for friendship. All this I'm happy to concede. But this doesn't eradicate his pettiness, brutal discipline and promiscuity. Thomas takes the childish expedient of blaming the media for Cardigan's reputation, not that he poked petty fights with his subordinates or seduced countless women. And what on Earth is the non sequitur about the bloodiness of later Empire builders about? Well-written but not very convincing.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 26, 2013, 07:34:59 PM
The Civil War: A Narrative, Vol. 1: From Ft. Sumter to Perryville - Shelby Foote - One of the definitive popular histories of the Civil War. Long and exhaustive, but beautifully written, it's best appreciated by military buffs. Foote provides engaging accounts of every battle, from Shiloh and Antietam to Glorieta Pass and Pea Ridge. A novelist by trade, Foote is best sketching personalities (from Presidents Lincoln and Davis through generals, foot soldiers and diarists) and relating colorful anecdotes. On the other hand, Foote proves superficial discussing the causes, political dimensions and social upheaval of the war. Though he tries to be impartial, Foote's Southern sympathies shine through, as when he refers to abolitionists as "Jacobins." The lack of formal sourcing qualifies Foote's accuracy. Despite these failings, it's highly entertaining and informative, though I'd peg McPherson's Battle Cry of Freedom as a better introduction to the war.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 27, 2013, 04:10:50 AM
I was uncertain whether to buy an unused tome of this which lays unsold on stall in a flea-market near my home since ever. After your review I'll leave it there.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: noodles_leone on January 27, 2013, 06:21:44 AM
Just ordered Acting in Film: An Actor’s Take on Movie Making by Michael Caine. It seems to be the ultimate book on acting, kind of what Hitchcock/Truffaut is to movie making. I learned a lot just by reading some extracts.

Has anyone read it?

Review and very insightful extracts here: http://www.sheilaomalley.com/?p=44298

Nothing to do with anything, but I first tried to buy the e-book, and it isn't available outside North America. Wtf? Amazon can ship me a real book from the USA (which means I have to wait for at least a full month) and cannot let me download 10Mo from their server? I'm not a big opponent to copyright, but it sure needs a reform to be more consistent with the way the world works now before they kill the whole media industry (or at least let me start a real career before crashing the industry).


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 29, 2013, 11:31:40 AM
Wolves in the City: The Death of French Algeria - Paul Henissart - Detailed account of the OAS terror campaign in Algeria. Henissart conveys this violent, chaotic time with admirable verve and clarity. Unlike Geoffrey Bocca he doesn't glamorize the OAS, showing them a gang of murderous, nihilistic thugs. Any movement, no matter how idealistic, surely surrenders the high ground when they machine gun hospital patients and kneecap school teachers. The author presumes some background in French/Algerian history so perhaps not an entry-level read.

T.E. Lawrence: In Arabia and After - Basil Liddell-Hart - One must be interested in military tactics to enjoy this book. BLH analyzes Lawrence's tactical achievements in considerable detail, comparing him to theoreticians like Saxe and Foch and commanders like Napoleon and Marlborough. BLH certainly has authority to draw such comparisons, and his comments on Lawrence's asymmetrical casualty ratios and allocation are hard to refute. On the other hand, his near-uncritical acceptance of Lawrence's accounts and claims that Lawrence was a visionary philosopher amount to something like a hagiography.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 31, 2013, 10:28:03 AM
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/02/ciu/ea/15/5c0136c622a039f9bb8d3110.L._AA300_.jpg)

A very good summary of roman history written by an archaelogist. The forte of the book though are the great pictures which accompany the text. 10\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 08, 2013, 07:19:33 AM
Garibaldi and His Enemies - Christopher Hibbert - Adequate account of Italy's Risorgimento. Hibbert's skills as a narrative historian are put to the test: Italian unification was a messy process involving numerous wars, factions and foreign powers angling for power and influence. The book frequently bogs down sorting out who's who. Whenever Hibbert focuses on Garibaldi he scores, capturing something of his unique personality and unflagging idealism. The rest of this volume may be rough-sledding for novices.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 12, 2013, 04:59:14 AM
Mussolini's Italy: Life Under the Fascist Dictatorship, 1915-1945 - R.J.B. Bosworth - Social history of Fascist Italy, focusing alternately on Mussolini's governing style and its effects on Italian society. Bosworth favorably resembles Mark Mazower in his scope and prose, albeit more apt to inject humor and personal opinion into the narrative. The portrait of Italy shows a regime nowhere near as successful as its German cousin in gaining popular support: Mussolini ruled by a mixture of force and accommodation of conservative interests. Nonetheless, he ably shows the regime far more malign and oppressive than most commentators have it. Very interesting read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 12, 2013, 10:13:52 AM
T.E. Lawrence: The Genius of Friendship - Henry Williamson - The author of Tarka the Otter recounts his friendship with TEL. Some interesting and valuable material, with Williamson reproducing Lawrence's letters verbatim. Then at the end Williamson indulges in a fantasy of Lawrence as leader of a Fascist England. All right then.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 15, 2013, 07:31:34 AM
Son of Slappy - R.L. Stine - Sample prose: "The kids touched knuckles and hee-hawed." Sentences like that demonstrate that no American author more painstakingly captures the cultural nuances of modern youth than R.L. Stine.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 15, 2013, 01:13:03 PM
Sawdust Caesar: The Untold Story of Mussolini and Fascism - George H. Seldes - This book appeared in 1935, when many westerners (liberal and conservative alike) regarded Mussolini as a possible role model. This critical volume provided a valuable corrective. Seldes, an American journalist, meticulously documents Fascism's failings, from its inept policies and incoherent ideology to its brutal repression. Most of Seldes' opprobrium lands on Mussolini, neither the romantic strongman nor comic opera buffoon but an ambitious street thug elevated to power. Readable even today.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 23, 2013, 01:26:57 PM
T.E. Lawrence To His Biographers - Robert Graves/Basil Liddell Hart - Details Lawrence's private correspondence with two of his early biographers. A 1963 reissue, this two-volume set not only catches a fairly intimate side of TEL but shows how his account of events changed within a few years. Dishonesty, embellishment or bad memory? You be the judge.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Senza on February 24, 2013, 12:49:25 AM
The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring. I will be taking a break, from this trilogy to read STDWD, which should arrive in the mail in a couple of days.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 25, 2013, 06:40:02 PM
Invisible Armies: The Epic History of Guerrilla Warfare From Ancient Times To The Present - Max Boot - Boot (The Savage Wars of Peace) traces the evolution of asymmetrical warfare from the Romans to Iraq. His coverage is necessarily superficial for most subjects, providing brief sketches of notable guerrilla leaders, terrorists and counter-insurgents. If Boot's analysis of specific events occasionally lacks, he's excellent showing the impact of technology, media and ideology on different movements, finding unexpected parallels between, say, the Ku Klux Klan and France's OAS, or Mao Tse-Tung and Osama Bin Laden. Highly recommended for history buffs.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 25, 2013, 08:19:04 PM
(http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/7261/sdc11075l.jpg) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/189/sdc11075l.jpg/)



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on February 26, 2013, 12:12:40 AM
(http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/7261/sdc11075l.jpg) (http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/189/sdc11075l.jpg/)


Groggy?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 26, 2013, 04:33:59 AM
I have hair.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 26, 2013, 09:55:11 AM
Max Boot by drinkanddestroy

I invited him to participate in this panel discussion I arranged http://www.fed-soc.org/events/detail/nation-building-when-can-and-should-the-united-states-do-it


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 26, 2013, 10:51:45 AM
Cool. What did he talk about?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 26, 2013, 11:33:27 AM
well you know he is a big believer in spreading democracy, whatever term you wanna use for that, whether it's "neocon" or Bush's "Freedom Agenda" or whatever term you wanna use.
 I had a few minutes to speak with him personally afterward; he certainly is in favor of America doing what it can to free oppressed people in the Middle East. I doubted that the Egyptians are interested in a democracy. He seemed to think they are.

IMO the whole discussion of spreading democracy can only start if the people in these countries really want a Western-style democracy. That is, a secular democracy that protects all religions and sects with Bill of Rights-style liberties.


He certainly knows his shit, that's for sure.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 26, 2013, 11:42:55 AM
I really enjoyed Boot's The Savage Wars of Peace. An excellent book despite its occasional editorializing. (Some Pitt classes on foreign policy were using it as a textbook two-three years ago.) Invisible Armies isn't as good but very readable.

Cool that you got to meet him, too. Some guys have all the luck. O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 26, 2013, 11:50:13 AM
I really enjoyed Boot's The Savage Wars of Peace. An excellent book despite its occasional editorializing. Invisible Armies isn't as good but very readable.

Cool that you got to meet him, too. Some guys have all the luck. O0


If you wanna meet those people, go to the Federalist Society's annual Lawyers Convention in November in Washington. It's a who's who of conservative/libertarian lawyers, academia, law professors, politicians, pundits, etc.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 26, 2013, 05:57:24 PM
I assume they don't smile on hecklers.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 26, 2013, 06:06:49 PM
I assume they don't smile on hecklers.

I don't know, I have never seen a heckler there  ;)



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on February 26, 2013, 10:09:21 PM
I'm trying to read V since I liked Crying of Lot 49. I don't know if Pynchon doesn't make sense, or if I'm too fucking stupid to understand what's going on.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 27, 2013, 04:31:15 AM
I have the same reaction to Camus. Life's too short to figure it out.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 28, 2013, 06:18:27 AM
Reversal of Fortune - Alan Dershowitz - One of the better true crime books I've read. Its main virtue is that Dershowitz puts a lot of effort into making the investigations and proceedings comprehensible to lay readers. While his approach is inavoidably subjective - he clearly believes Claus was innocent - Dershowitz is nonetheless relatively fair-minded in assessing the case.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 28, 2013, 09:39:10 AM
Reversal of Fortune - Alan Dershowitz - One of the better true crime books I've read. Its main virtue is that Dershowitz puts a lot of effort into making the investigations and proceedings comprehensible to lay readers. While his approach is inavoidably subjective - he clearly believes Claus was innocent - Dershowitz is nonetheless relatively fair-minded in assessing the case.

at least he SAYS he believes Claus was innocent. Even if he really wasn't sure, there was no way that he could say that


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 28, 2013, 12:41:45 PM
Why not? It's not unheard for an attorney to trash their client in a tell-all book.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 28, 2013, 01:03:50 PM
Really? I am not sure if that violates any rules of attorney-client ethics, but at the very least it doesn't seem like good business. Who would want to hire a lawyer that's going to trash them later in a book?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 28, 2013, 01:27:10 PM
Really? I am not sure if that violates any rules of attorney-client ethics, but at the very least it doesn't seem like good business. Who would want to hire a lawyer that's going to trash them later in a book?

A desperate or stupid person.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 28, 2013, 02:36:05 PM
(http://di27.shoppingshadow.com/images/di/78/35/6a/665277725532706b4f6931314d5848735a3641-450x450-0-0.jpg)

I read this in when I was in high-school and found it great. Now, I still find it great, though a couple of notches under Ariosto's masterpiece. I wonder though what the english translation is like.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 02, 2013, 04:09:40 PM
Nicholas & Alexandra - Robert K. Massie - Sprawling, elegantly written portrait of Russia's last Tsar. Massie's prose is beautiful and his depth of research impressive. Inevitably much of the book has been superseded by 45 years of new evidence (Rasputin's murder story, most obviously) but this shouldn't be held against it too much; the sheer detail of Russian court life and political turmoil is staggering. Massie succeeds in making his title characters sympathetic, human and pitiable. There lies the problem: as evocative and detailed the book is, Massie romanticizes Nicholas far too much. Massie's sympathy comes from an earnest but misguided personal empathy: his son had hemophilia, Prince Alexei did, ergo Massie likes Nicholas. An odd way to approach history, surely? While hardly an evil tyrant, Nicholas was an inept autocrat who set his country on the road to economic ruin, political chaos and Bolshevism. In a country that still fawns over foreign royalty, perhaps Massie's viewpoint isn't that shocking.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 07, 2013, 06:29:53 PM
Burton & Speke - William Harrison - Historical novel about the two Nile explorers. The source for Mountains of the Moon, this is one case where the film improves on the book. Harrison etches his characters sharply, creating an effective contrast between the brilliant hedonist Richard Burton and ambitious, arrogant, repressed J.H. Speke. His writing is well-researched and, barring a few bits of speculation (Speke's death most obviously), commendably matches the historical record. But the narrative frequently sags, bogging down in needless digressions (Burton's adventures in America and West Africa, Speke's liaisons) and psychobabble. Harrison's obsessed with equating fame with sex, Speke hoping to "earn" homosexual debauchery by discovering the Nile, a conceit which grows tiresome through repetition. Rafaelson's more streamlined screenplay is much better.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 07, 2013, 07:35:14 PM
(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/suicideblonde_zpsb385c48e.jpg)

Bio of Gloria Grahame, could have been a bit more informative on her films than it was.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 08, 2013, 04:36:23 PM
(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_PB-O1yT5EYg/S9Oa4Z7M3iI/AAAAAAAA6cM/BGHtSaaZ3BA/s400/01_kidnapped_wyeth_cover.jpg)

Notable for the journey through Scotland, made me want to do the same, though now would be more complicated. The story sometimes gets bogged in political dissertations which slow down the flowing of the story. The figure of the uncle is underdeveloped and the final trick to entrap him moronic. 7\10 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 08, 2013, 04:53:55 PM
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert - Flaubert's tale of infidelity and boredom in rural France remains a classic. Flaubert's prose is elegant and witty, his characters sharply observed, the evocation of its time and place masterful. The novel's set pieces leave an ineradicable impression: the county ball, Emma's tryst at a county fair. Flaubert ridicules bourgeois values but crafts his characters with detached sympathy. Emma Bovary is a wonderful protagonist, her sordid actions presented without moralization or undue sympathy. It's hard not to feel bad for Charles though, a likeable stiff with no zest for life. A must-read


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 09, 2013, 05:23:02 PM
(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_PB-O1yT5EYg/S9Oa4Z7M3iI/AAAAAAAA6cM/BGHtSaaZ3BA/s400/01_kidnapped_wyeth_cover.jpg)

Notable for the journey through Scotland, made me want to do the same, though now would be more complicated. The story sometimes gets bogged in political dissertations which slow down the flowing of the story. The figure of the uncle is underdeveloped and the final trick to entrap him moronic. 7\10 

I did a book report on this in seventh grade. wasn't an easy read for an 11-year old kid


recently saw the 1938 movie with Freddie Bartholomew playing the main character http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0030321/?ref_=fn_al_tt_5 Decent film adaptation; being from that period in film history, it's just a black-and-white soundstage/backlot film, so there is no sense of location


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 09, 2013, 10:00:38 PM
I did a book report on this in seventh grade. wasn't an easy read for an 11-year old kid

Even for an adult it isn't an easy task, with all those archaisms and scottish words, though some are explained in footnotes in the edition I have.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 09, 2013, 10:05:12 PM
(http://arthursbookshelf.com/adventure/twain/detective.jpg)

I was curious about why this wasn't much discussed in histories of the detective novel, at best just barely mentioned. Well, the plot sucks, so elementary. It is worth reading just for how one of the characters tells the story of a theft and how partners in crime try to cheat one another subsequently. 5\10 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 10, 2013, 06:25:03 AM
Must admit I've never heard of that one.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 12, 2013, 01:44:41 PM
Beast, Men and Gods - Ferdinand Ossendowski - Fascinating memoir of a White Russian émigré fleeing from Siberia through Tibet, Mongolia and China. Ossendowski vividly describes battling bears and wolves, fighting off Red cavalry patrols and Tibetan bandits, and encountering High Lama Bogd Kahn and the infamous Baron Ungern-Sternberg. This book strains credulity even more than most memoirs.  For one, Ossendowski glosses over his time as a political officer with Ungern; he wasn't merely an interesting passerby. For another, he's obsessed with Buddhist mysticism, recounting Mongolian myths and ceremonies in great, credulous detail. So obsessed, indeed, that the narrative fizzles out and his actual escape becomes an afterthought. A remarkable though dubious volume.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 13, 2013, 08:36:36 PM
Eminent Victorians - Lytton Strachey - In this wonderful book, Strachey deconstructs four heroes of Victorian England with acid wit and brutal directness. It's not a straight hatchet job; as Titoli noted months ago, his portrait of Florence Nightingale is largely positive, and he has kind things to say about General Gordon and Tom Arnold (Cardinal Manning though appears beneath contempt). Granted, Strachey is a socialist and his constant inveighing against religion grows tiresome. Also, I don't know on whose authority he claims Gordon a drunkard, when most biographers conclude the opposite. All the same, his elegant writing provides genuine insight into these monumentally flawed personages. Noteworthy as a groundbreaking biographical satire, it's still a delightful read on its own merits.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 13, 2013, 10:40:15 PM
(http://www.bkkbooks.com/image/Rackham-Peter-Pan-in-Kensington-Gardens.jpg)

This is a short novel, which at first reads well but then (with PP not on the scene) it drags as the little plot it had gets lost. Barrie is an elegant writer with good sense of humor but after a while you wonder why an adult should be reading this and how a child can help getting bored. 6\10 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 14, 2013, 08:13:36 AM
The Life and Death of Trotsky - Robert Payne - Excellent biography of the Bolshevik leader. Payne (The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler) depicts Trotsky as a brilliant man serving a horrendous cause. While he points up Trotsky's charisma, literary skill, military leadership and occasional insightfulness, Payne never loses sight of his throbbing ego, shortsightedness re: Stalin or, certainly not least, his political atrocities. Certainly he's under no illusion that Trotsky would have been better than Stalin. Probably as close to balanced a biography as Trotsky deserves.

Anthem - Ayn Rand - Short dystopian parable about the virtues of individuality. As a critique of collectivist ideology it's crude but effectively argued. Philosophically it's warmed-over Nietzsche. Doesn't inspire me to dive into Rand's bigger works.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 16, 2013, 06:11:47 PM
The Frogs - Aristophanes - Brekekekex, coax, coax, brekekekekex, coax.

Morocco That Was - Walter B. Harris - Picaresque account of turn-of-the-century Morocco from an English diplomat. John Milius must have consulted this while making The Wind and the Lion. It's all there: sybaritic sultans, convoluted court politics, scheming Europeans and Mulai El Raisuli, who held the author hostage for several weeks in 1903. Harris provides fascinating portraits of Morocco's weak sultans: Abdelaziz is well-meaning but ineffectual, Mulai Hafed a greedy power player; their incompetence made European conquest inevitable. He's less charitable towards Raisuli, here a charming thug who'd just as soon behead you as break bread. Harris provides commendable analysis of Moroccan tribal politics and Sufi Islam, though his imperialist hectoring won't sit well with 21st Century readers.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 18, 2013, 08:16:59 AM
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/8/8c/ArchangelNovel.jpg/200px-ArchangelNovel.jpg)

Not Harris' best, clearly inspired by the far superior Levin's The Boys from Brazil (and the movie based on it). Its only point of interest is some discussion about Stalin's private life and death. But the plot is verging  sometime on the ridiculous. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 19, 2013, 05:57:42 PM
Journal Kept During The Russian War: From The Departure Of The Army From England In April 1854, To The Fall Of Sebastopol - Fanny Duberly - Remarkable book by a remarkable woman.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 20, 2013, 05:56:42 AM
(http://www.johnblackwriter.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Ghost.jpg)

Excellent turnpager, which shows a Harris grown-up as a writer, maybe because there's some autobiography trait in the characters. Only doubt I have is about his being sanguine about how politicians (and the most powerful ones of them) may still be called to account for their crimes. everyday reality shows that never happens. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 21, 2013, 02:40:34 PM
The Sword Does Not Jest: The Life of Charles XII, King of Sweden 1697-1718 - Frans G. Bengtsson - Colorful but frustrating biography of Charles XII, the Swedish warrior-king who defied far superior Russian/Polish/Saxon forces in the Great Northern War before losing disastrously at Poltava. Bengtsson's writing is lively, humorous and richly detailed, yet there's a disconnect between his style and subject. Bengtsson views Charles as a noble paragon of manly virtue. But he comes off to this cynical, non-Swedish 21st Century reader as a reckless adventurer who picked needless fights with neighbors, committed grievous strategic errors (especially his pointless war with Poland) that overwhelmed his tactical brilliance and demoted his country into a second rate power. To each their own.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 22, 2013, 06:55:11 AM
War is a Racket - Smedley Butler - Famous anti-war tract by an ex-Marine Corps General doesn't match its reputation. Butler may have been a Medal of Honor winner but his screed is about as articulate and insightful as a college student's Livejournal: carefully selected facts and half-truths, eye-rolling sarcasm and conspiracy theorizing, all given a patina of credibility because its author was a genuine war hero. No wonder web surfing socialists love it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 25, 2013, 01:33:41 PM
The Man-Eaters of Tsavo and Other East African Adventures - John Henry Patterson - Engineer-hunter Patterson relates trying to build the Uganda Railway while menaced by (and menacing) assorted African fauna. The sections devoted to the Tsavo lions (roughly the first third of the book) are fascinating stuff. The remainder provides an often tedious account of Patterson shooting his way through Africa's wildlife. May interest sporting and travel enthusiasts.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 28, 2013, 01:16:13 PM
The Donkeys - Alan Clark - Short, angry, highly influential polemic about the first two years of World War I. Clark is most on-point chronicling the backstabbing amongst the British high commands, showing Haig, French, Robertson and others constantly at daggers' points. His descriptions of Second Ypres, Loos and other battles are effective, focusing on the human cost and tactical mistakes without always considering viable alternatives. By ending his narrative in late 1915 though, Clark undercuts his ability to show the broader implications of such incompetence, or how generals ultimately managed to master trench warfare.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 29, 2013, 11:21:48 AM
(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-2yZS3DRiTyQ/Ta5NlelqzLI/AAAAAAAAADs/sYrhpsPtEow/s1600/Alienist-caleb-carr.jpg)

An excellent turnpager about a serial killer with an historical background (end of XIX century New York with real characters like Teddy Roosevelt, Franz Boas etc.) it holds your attention for 600 pages. 8\10
 I presume Groggy knows one of the author's previous books (or he might be interested in it) :

(https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRbLaLZ2Y-hM0iezhwS4AlbKwFnAACgqswnmVXjB44FPxAiqaIUnA)
 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 29, 2013, 12:22:35 PM
Tough Without A Gun: The Life and Extraordinary Afterlife of Humphrey Bogart (2011), by Stefan Kanfer http://www.amazon.com/Tough-Without-Gun-Extraordinary-Afterlife/dp/B00AZ9FT5M


In addition to discussing his life, (as the title indicates) Kanfer dedicates a couple of chapters at the end to Bogie's legacy, and why in his opinion, there will never be another Bogie.

Kanfer, a former critic flm critic for Time, is obviously a huge Bogie fan, but this book seems to be straightforward and honest, discussing Bogie's personal faults as well as his professional greatness; with none of the the tabloid-salacious-explosive-tell-all nonsense. I haven't read any other books about Bogie -- I know there must be dozens in the English language -- but this one is very good. The book discusses his personal life, and all the movies Bogie made. (I just skipped the parts where he discusses the movies I haven't seen yet).
 Kanfer is a very good writer.
Most of the discussions about movies are about facts, ie. it's not just a bunch of movie reviews with the author's opinion. But Kanfer does not shy away from offering his own opinion at times either.

Of course, I don't agree with every one of Kanfer's opinions (eg. he calls In a Lonely Place "a modest noir thriller:; IMO that movie is one of the 5 or 10 greatest noirs ever made. Kanfer says the only blemish on The Maltese Falcon is the scene where Bogie laughs at Peter Lorre; IMO that scene is funny. When discussing some of the gangster roles Bogie was given before he achieved lead actor stardom, he calls some of those movies, including The Roaring Twenties, a waste of celluloid. I agree that those 30's gangster roles weren't nearly as well-suited to Bogie as the roles he got once he became a lead actor, but IMO The Roaring Twenties is a great movie -- the second-best of the Warners Gangster Cycle, after The Public Enemy.)

Kanfer has obviously read a lot about Bogart, and offers interesting quotes and anecdotes from other sources (books, magazine articles, etc.) In the later chapters discussing Bogie's legacy, Kanfer mentions some of the books written about Bogie and what they focus on, so it's a nice source of any for anyone looking for further reading on Bogart.

Even when Kanfer offers his opinion, he does it in a very non-abrasive way. For example, in the section where he discusses other books written about Bogie,  he mentions one book that is supposedly a tell-all about the young Bogie that made outrageous unsubstantiated claims (The Secret Life of Humphrey Bogart: The Early Years (1899-1931), by Darwin Porter -- eg. Bogie used to procure male prostitutes for the bi-sexual Howard Hughes; Bogie had affairs with Bette Davis, Marlene Dietrich, Tallulah Bankhead, and Barbara Stanwyck, etc.....) Kanfer says, the book "...used unsupported scuttlebutt by Bogart's old rival Kenneth MacKenna... None of this was particularly convincing, and reviewers advised their readers to look elsewhere for real insights.")

I haven't read any other books about Bogie, but I will say that this is a good book that I enjoyed very much.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 29, 2013, 01:03:00 PM
I know Mr. Ward, if only as a character in Flashman and the Dragon. Carr I only know through his contributions to What If? Thanks Titoli.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 29, 2013, 04:04:42 PM
I know Mr. Ward, if only as a character in Flashman and the Dragon. Carr I only know through his contributions to What If? Thanks Titoli.

Your thanx mean that you're gonna get the book and report?



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 29, 2013, 04:18:12 PM
If I can find it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 30, 2013, 08:22:15 PM
"Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball" by Bill Madden (2010)

A spectacular 420+-page biography -- it will probably go down as THE definitive biography -- of the late George Steinbrenner, most famous team owner in the history of American sports. He was part of a group that purchased the Yankees from CBS in 1973 for about $10 million (his own initial investment was reportedly $168,000) and by the time he died in 2010, at the age of 80, the team was worth well over a billion dollars; it is routinely rated as the most valuable sports franchise in an annual report by Forbes.

Steinbrenner was a tough bastard who fired manages and coaches at whim; he famously hired and fired one manager (Billy Martin) 5 times. He was the type of person that wwould rant and rave and mistreat his employees, and then write a large check to fund a sick childrens' hospital in Tampa. He was the sort of guy you might love to play for or root for his team, cuz he's pay you well or always field a competitive team; but you'd also hate to play for him or root for his team, cuz he could be a meddling pain in the ass or decide he HAD to get some over-the-hill star just cuz of his name.

Ultimately I think every fan would love to have Steinbrenner as owner. During his tenure, the Yanks won 11 AL Pennants and 7 World Series championships (although the last one, won in '09, was when he was ailing, and the team was run primarily by his sons, Hank and Hal; by now, Hal has taken over as the main guy).

Bill Madden is an acclaimed baseball writer in New York, and knew The Boss as well as anyone.

he doesn't pass judgment on Steinbrenner's actions (indeed, some of them are indefensible) one way or another; he simply tells the stories, relates the facts, as is. Period. There aren't multiple interpretations to much of this; just about everyone you ask will sum up The Boss by saying something like: as a team owner, he wanted to win badly, would do anything to win, including treat everyone like shit, including low-level secretaries but you knew he was doing all he could to field a great team; as a human being outside baseball, he as known to have a big heart and it wasn't until the end of his life that people learned about all the charity he was doing."

Anyway, Madden does a great job of giving us the story. No preaching, just giving us the story. And what a story it is! Love him or hate him, you will wanna read this Bossbio


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 31, 2013, 03:53:40 AM
Eli Manning: The Making of a Quarterback, by Ralph Vacchiano (2008)

I had to close this book after a few pages; it's simply awful. Vacchiano sounds more like a fan calling in to a sports talk radio show than a sportswriter. Sure, I understand that he is a Manning fan -- so am I; Manning may be my favorite football player -- and I wouldn't mind it if Vacchiano makes clear that he is a fan, but what I can't stand is how the book is one big excuse/apology for Manning after another. It sounds like it's written by Manning's mother.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 31, 2013, 07:53:40 AM
A third reading of The Reason Why and

The Charge of the Light Brigade (British Film Guide) - Mark Connelly - Good dissection of Tony Richardson's film. Connelly runs down the movie's arduous production and analyzes its Crimean War satire in the context of '60s radicalism. Most notable (though obvious upon reflection) is his look at Richardson's juxtaposition of war and sexual prowess. It's an interesting analysis though I'm not sold on Connelly's argument that the movie's tonal unevenness is an asset rather than a virtue.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 03, 2013, 07:04:53 AM
Crimea: The Great Crimean War, 1854-1856 - Trevor Royle - Royle compresses a lot of information into about 500 pages of text. Book covers the war from various angles, but its main focus is diplomacy. Here we learn of Austria's efforts to act as an "honest broker" and ensure a dominant position in postwar Eastern Europe; Sardinia siding with the Allies to gain French help in unifying Italy; Prussia using the conflict as a springboard for German unification; and the very real chance the United States could have intervened. These angles are more thoroughly fleshed out than Royle's chapters on the military campaigns, and frankly more interesting. While Royle does a good job covering peripheral theaters of the war, his commentary on the Sevastopol Campaign adds little to the already-abundant literature. Also he makes mistakes like claiming Cardigan married Lucan's sister rather than the other way around. He does explore the war's technological, tactical and medical innovations in some detail. Overall though I prefer Orlando Figes' more recent volume.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 09, 2013, 07:39:19 PM
On the Psychology of Military Incompetence - Norman Dixon - An excellent read. Don't feel up for an in-depth review right now; internet is restricted.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 10, 2013, 03:02:06 AM
I am in middle of reading this book http://www.amazon.com/The-York-Times-Story-Yankees/dp/1579128920

amazing stuff. 382 original articles on the Yankees that appeared in the New York Times between 1903 - now. For any fan of baseball history, this book is one to cherish.



aah, I just LOVE every second of reading this book. I wish it would go on forever   :)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 10, 2013, 12:41:31 PM
(https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT2HuKPgQ6STk23s-W6PthU12UJkwXvdbCXRLX-mNcX7iOh1_gs)


A worthy sequel (in fact it sold even more). I find though two elements of the plot unconvincing (or, at least, unexplained):

SPOILER

How can Libby hide her pregnancy from her family? And was it real possible for a woman brought to trial for a major crime in 1898 not to be forced to give her generalities (namely birthplace and birth date)? I wonder how could such a person be properly identified...Anyway 8\10.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 13, 2013, 08:50:48 AM
The Washing of the Spears: The Rise and Fall of the Zulu Nation - Donald R. Morris - Despite the title this book is more a panoramic history of South Africa up to 1879, focusing on the Zulus, Boers and British about equally. Morris presents a staggering wealth of information, crafting a remarkable narrative with incredible scope and sociological detail. Morris provides incredibly vivid vignettes of his protagonists: Shaka, Cesthawayo, Colonel Durnford, Lord Chelmsford, France's Prince Imperial, etc. His digressive style allows for fascinating detours: discussion of Bishop Colenso, for instance, leads to a discourse on the Anglican Church's Oxford Movement, while Garnet Wolseley's entrance provides analysis of British Army reform. There's also a short but fascinating chapter on Zulu orthography. This may exhaust some general readers, but more patient individuals will appreciate Morris's rich textural fabric. Much of the content is dated or details incorrect, inevitable in a 48 year old book. A bigger caveat is that the European characters gradually eclipse the Zulus, especially in Morris's coverage of the Anglo-Zulu War. Nonetheless, a brilliant work.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 17, 2013, 01:26:08 PM
Some slim volumes to pad out my reading list.

Gordon of Khartoum: Martyr and Misfit - Anthony Nutting - Nutting has a better handle on Gordon than he did T.E. Lawrence, no doubt because Gordon's motives are less inscrutable. Nutting debunks some of Strachey's more extreme claims (there's no reputable source for Gordon as alcoholic or homosexual) but remains highly critical. Gordon is a mixture of missionary zeal, throbbing ego and capricious moods, who achieved some great things but needlessly fouled up others.

Look Back in Anger - John Osborne - So nasty, claustrophobic and misanthropic that it's ultimately self-defeating. While nastiness was undoubtedly Osborne's intent, it's more irritating than cathartic. The movie is better if only for opening up a tiny bit.

Trevor Howard: The Man and His Films - Michael Munn - Lightweight biography of the British actor. Munn contests accounts of Howard as hellraiser, instead showing him as a basically nice guy who loved his wife, his cricket and his liquor. If true, there lies the problem: Howard comes off as someone you'd want a pint with, not read a book about. Nice guys rarely make good book subjects. There's a few anecdotes about Howard's early life (betcha didn't know he loved jazz and spent a chunk of his childhood San Francisco) and filming experiences (especially The Bounty and Ryan's Daughter) but overall can be skipped.

Sinister Twilight: The Fall of Singapore 1942 - Noel Barber - Barber attempts a panoramic history of Singapore's fall to Japan but falls well short of his ambition. Barber is at his best conveying the day-to-day experience of living under siege and enemy occupation, following several ordinary Brits (and Americans) who lived and suffered during that time. His military and political segments are colorless and superficial, his racial attitudes distressingly retrograde (one passage claims that no Japanese man is capable of "divining the thoughts" of Englishmen, but the converse is evidently possible!). A decent intro to the subject but one desires a more detailed account.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 20, 2013, 02:30:15 PM
The Bastard War - A.J. Barker - Detailed account of England's Mesopotamian Campaign in WWI. Barker provides the cornerstone for all future authors on the subject, from Russell Braddon to Charles Townshend (the historian not the general). He views it, understandably, as an unnecessary quagmire that diverted troops from more important theaters, stirred up political and religious resentment and resulted in needless death through gross incompetence. Barker's more fair-minded than Braddon but his account of cholera outbreaks, military bungling and administrative idiocy makes its own point. More a military than political history though.

The Last Days of Hitler - Hugh Trevor-Roper - Inevitably dated, polemical and incomplete, but worth reading for Trevor-Roper's meticulous reconstruction of the Fuhrer's demise.

The Long-Distance Runner: An Autobiography - Tony Richardson - By most accounts Richardson was an arrogant perfectionist who was nearly impossible to work with. Naturally he comes off much better in his own work, cognizant of his failings but feeling put upon by producers, writers and stars who just don't get it. Despite his oft-defensive tone, Richardson's writing style is engaging, recalling childhood, education and theater/film with panache. He recounts plenty of fun anecdotes, especially working with temperamental stars like Richard Burton and Laurence Olivier, and is honest about his rocky relationship with Vanessa Redgrave. Understandably his reticent about his bisexuality, which ought only bother tabloid types.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 25, 2013, 09:36:48 PM
The Charge: The Real Reason Why The Light Brigade Was Lost - Mark Adkin - The positives: meticulous, detailed account of the Battle of Balaclava; obvious knowledge of military tactics and hardware; detailed profiles of the four major protagonists. The downside: his ridiculous belief that Captain Nolan deliberately led the Light Brigade to its doom, either out of arrogance or spite. Get real.

John Osborne: A Patriot for Us - John Heilpern - One of the best show biz biographies I've read. Heilpern tackles the "Angry Young Man" playwright in painstaking detail, using unpublished notebooks and interviews with dozens of family, friends and associates. The portrait of Osborne isn't remotely flattering: a hateful misanthrope who alienated friends and family, feuded physically and psychically with his wives (the chapters on Jill Bennett make terrifying reading) and was generally a petty asshole (see his vitriolic "break up" letter to Tony Richardson). Though Heilpern would have us think otherwise, occasional flashes of generosity and friendship by Osborne don't really make up for his transgressions. Heilpern nonetheless gives Osborne the dramatist his due: for better or worse, he changed theatre forever. Written with penetrating insight and colorful wit, Heilpern's book is formidable.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 27, 2013, 07:12:31 AM
The Panther's Feast - Robert Aprey - An ostensibly nonfiction account of Alfred Redl, the Austrian army officer blackmailed into supplying information to Russia. I say ostensibly because it's billed as an "interpretive biography" - meaning heavy on invented conversations and racy sex scenes. Redl's an interesting figure so the book's worth reading, but I've no idea why this wasn't marketed as a novel.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 27, 2013, 09:11:18 PM
(http://www3.alibris-static.com/isbn/9780340794999.gif)


This could have been very good, but like most of novels published nowadays, it seems you have to fill more than 500 pages to have your book published. Had it ben cut to little more than half, expecially all the romance, it would have made a good historical thriller, featuring some real charcaters like President Harding, Houdini, Philo Farnsworth and the main character, Charles Carter. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 27, 2013, 09:22:49 PM
Picnic at Hanging Rock - Joan Lindsay - Short, beautifully written and atmospheric think piece. The main benefit of the novel vis-a-vis the film is that Lindsay's more interested in her characters than Peter Weir. Thus you get some idea of back story and motivations, especially the repressed Ms. Appleyard and Mike and Irma's relationship.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 01, 2013, 10:46:52 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51aPnQGcJDL._SY320_.jpg)

A series of brilliant portraits of some gangland figures in the 20's and '30s. Though superseded by more updated studies (this was published almost half a century ago) I presume is still valuable for informations on some lesser known characters like Owney Madden or Roger Touhy. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on May 02, 2013, 04:14:36 AM
looks good  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 02, 2013, 10:39:10 PM
looks good  O0

It is odd though that Alvin Karpis (Ma Barker's gang) is said in the book to have been dead by 1962: which was actually the year of his release, if I have to believe wikipedia.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: chris on May 03, 2013, 04:31:32 AM
According to several reliable sources Alvin Karpis was transferred from Alcatraz to McNeil Island Penitentiary in 1962 shortly before Alcatraz closed in 1963.  He was finally released from prison in 1969 and, because he had never been given official immigrant status in the USA, he was deported to the country of his birth, Canada.

In Canada he wrote the first book about his criminal career, Public Enemy Number One: The Alvin Karpis Story, with a Montreal reporter, Bill Trent. (published in 1971)

Within a few years, Alvin Karpis retired to Spain where the weather was pleasant year round and he died on Aug 26 1979 in Torremolinos Spain from an overdose of sleeping pills.

http://www.alcatrazhistory.com/karpis.htm (http://www.alcatrazhistory.com/karpis.htm)

http://www.littlebrick.com/alvinkarpis/about/6-postprison/index.html (http://www.littlebrick.com/alvinkarpis/about/6-postprison/index.html)

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=IAsVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=jAIEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7158,5054360&dq=alvin+karpis (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=IAsVAAAAIBAJ&sjid=jAIEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7158,5054360&dq=alvin+karpis)

 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 03, 2013, 11:40:37 AM
Yeah, that's by and large what is written in wikipedia. I wonder what lead Goulart in error.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 03, 2013, 04:07:41 PM
Raj: The Making and Unmaking of British India - Lawrence James - Typical Lawrence James: covers a lot of ground haphazardly. With some topics he's extremely on point; on others he makes unaccountable errors or grinds offputting axes. As always, James proves best analyzing the cultural side of things, especially the interplay between British and Indian societies. His historical/political account is fine until he gets to the run-up to independence; his contempt for Gandhi, Mountbatten and other players bleeds through the last 150 pages.

Bayonets to Lhasa - Peter Fleming - Account of Britain's 1904 invasion of Tibet, surely one of the strangest, most pointless conflicts in history. Fleming (brother of Ian) frames this punitive expedition as an extension of the Anglo-Russian Great Game - a particularly stupid one, given that no Russians were within 500 miles of Tibet at the time. The British easily best the Tibetans (machine guns versus gingals isn't exactly a fair fight) but nearly fall victim to the harsh Himalayan climate. He ably shows the clash of personalities between Lords Curzon and Kitchener, but it's the strange figure of Francis Younghusband, a soldier-mystic in the mould of Gordon of Khartoum, who draws the most attention. In the end the British withdraw with few concessions; the Chinese fill the void; the Russians aren't effected since they weren't there in the first place. Essentially, thousands of people died for nothing.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 03, 2013, 06:28:36 PM
Fleming. I don't want to be the jenkins of the house, but everybody here should be able to spell correctly the last name of james bond's author.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 03, 2013, 06:52:23 PM
Hmm, I originally called Younghusband "Goodhusband" too. My brain must be fried. :D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 04, 2013, 12:03:56 AM
Hmm, I originally called Younghusband "Goodhusband" too. My brain must be fried. :D

Yeah, all the more because I never heard or read the "Flemming" spell, while there are at least two other famous "Fleming" (the scientist and a tennis player).


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 04, 2013, 03:31:48 PM
And Rhonda.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 04, 2013, 03:48:01 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flemming (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flemming)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 04, 2013, 04:05:32 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/t/CAPOLAVORI-DEL-GIALLO-N-222-SERGIO-DONATI-SEPOLCRO-DI-CARTA-SARA-1-/00/s/MTUwOFgxMTEw/$T2eC16NHJG!E9nm3o)QWBQYf627HEQ~~60_12.JPG)

This was the second of the three mysteries written by Donati before he turned to cinema. The Paper Tomb is a tolerable action mystery with a good finale, though it suffers from some defects typical of the times (1956) in Italy, where crime was not yet a social plague like it became in late '60's. Also the language sounds bogus, like the english names of most characters. There is nothing which can be related to Leone, maybe some vague chandleresque echo, though oddly Wade MIller and Poe are named. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 04, 2013, 04:12:17 PM
Cool find.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on May 04, 2013, 07:31:07 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flemming (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flemming)
This is funny. So you follow the link and see a list of Flemmings, including one "Ian Flemming", and then when you click on THAT link you are taken to the page for "Ian Fleming." Wikipedia is so much fun.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 04, 2013, 09:32:44 PM
Cool find.
I reviewed his third one last june.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 04, 2013, 09:36:01 PM
And, guess what, there's an english translation of this one as The Paper Tomb:

http://www.ebay.it/itm/Book-The-Paper-Tomb-by-Sergio-Donati-1958-/160466811717?pt=Fiction&hash=item255c913b45



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 04, 2013, 09:50:40 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/t/SERGIO-DONATI-COCO-A-GOGO-SERIE-JAUNE-4-/00/$(KGrHqQOKkQE5W1hrfkVBOZP,f26oQ~~_12.JPG)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 07, 2013, 02:00:18 AM
(http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1215792496l/1533226.jpg)

A funny little book on characters who had a decisive role for the life of eminent people and/or  indirectly were the cause for some major events. Sometime maybe the author exaggerates their relevance, but you never can fully deny they had some kind of influence. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 07, 2013, 09:09:28 AM
The Trial of James Thomas Earl of Cardigan - Trial transcript. Lord Cardigan shoots one of his officers in a duel, is charged with attempted murder and gets off ostensibly because the prosecution could not prove that his victim, Harvey Tuckett, was the same Harvey Tuckett who once served under Cardigan in the 11th Hussars. Cardigan free to commit many other outrages thereafter. I'll have to see if the transcript of his "criminal conversation" trial is online anywhere.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on May 07, 2013, 10:34:42 AM
(http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1215792496l/1533226.jpg)

A funny little book on characters who had a decisive role for the life of eminent people and/or  indirectly were the cause for some major events. Sometime maybe the author exaggerates their relevance, but you never can fully deny they had some kind of influence. 7\10

Sounds good too.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 09, 2013, 10:15:40 PM
(http://i43.tower.com/images/mm100728720/gangsters-swindlers-killers-thieves-lives-crimes-fifty-american-lawrence-block-hardcover-cover-art.jpg)

Block chooses and introduces small portraits of various kinds of criminals, cullled from National American Biography. As for a similar book I reviewed above, it is interesting for bringing under the spotlight some little known figures like Stephen S. Renfroe, John F. Deitz etc. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 11, 2013, 08:45:17 AM
The Black Book of Communism - Various - Prosecutor's brief against Communism by a group of French socialists, detailing the appalling crimes of the USSR, China, Cambodia and other red regimes. Effective so far as it goes, though there's little discussion of Communism as an ideology, why/how its violence was unique (the authors seem not to grasp the distinction between it and, say, Nazism) or even basic historical context - which wouldn't excuse, of course, but explain the violence committed by said countries. It's a remarkable read for anyone still doubting the destructive evil of this ideology, though I can't imagine there are too many left in the West.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 13, 2013, 08:10:28 PM
The Fate of Admiral Kolchak - Peter Fleming - Short account of the Russian Civil War and Allied intervention, focusing on Aleksandr Kolchak's doomed All-Russian Government. Fleming does an able job mixing political analysis with narrative history: all the players, from Allied statesmen to Russian revolutionaries and reactionaries, come through clearly, as do their roles and motivations in this complicated drama. Fleming critiques Kolchak's misrule but expresses sympathy for the man himself, a brave sailor out of his depth running a country (even a ramshackle republic). Inevitably aspects of his account are ill-phrased; were the Czech Legions really craven traitors for wanting to get back to their home country instead of remaining pawns of foreign powers? But you allow certain prejudices and outdated analysis with a book written 50 years ago.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 15, 2013, 04:47:50 PM
The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull and the Battle of the Little Bighorn - Nathaniel Philbrick - Readable but highly suspect account of Custer's Last Stand. Donovan shows a flare for narrative, but his account of Custer is unreservedly negative, often repeating disproven or dubious factoids (eg., Custer was bisexual or had an illegitimate half-breed child). James Donovan's A Terrible Glory is much, much better. Mr. Philbrick is giving a lecture here in Pittsburgh tomorrow; maybe I'll take the opportunity to yank his chain a bit.

Napoleon III and His Carnival Empire - John Bierman - Bierman provides a shallow, salacious account of the clownish French Emperor. Bierman wastes too much time accounting Napoleon's innumerable affairs in lascivious detail: this works as stage setting/character building early on, but gets cringeworthy when repeated ad nauseum. That makes the rest of this 400 page volume rather flimsy. Bierman posits Napoleon as a precursor of both Fascist dictators and media-savvy democratic politicians in his style over substance populism; this analysis would be more interesting if he didn't confine it to a brief, late chapter. Similarly, he treats Napoleon's domestic policies, architectural projects and even France's military adventures as secondary to the Emperor's next mistress, squabbles with his wife or feud with his half-brother. Not what I'd call a serious historical work.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 16, 2013, 06:49:23 PM
Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom - Stephen Platt - Brilliant account of the Taiping Rebellion, China's catastrophic civil war that fatally crippled the Qing Dynasty, established Western dominance in the Orient and killed over 20,000,000 people. Platt keeps western figures like Lord Elgin and Frederick Bruce on the sidelines. Frederick Townsend Ward and Charles Gordon, often lionized as gallant adventurers, come off as unprincipled freebooters. Platt's mainly interested in the Chinese protagonists: Zeng Guofan, the scholar-turned-general who restructured the Imperial Army from scratch; Dowager Empress Cixi, a concubine accumulating power in the fractious Manchu court; and Hong Xiuquan, the Taiping messiah who considered himself Jesus's brother. Platt blends these personalities with a commendable account of the war's complicated political, religious and military strands. The Taiping's religion crusade morphed into a populist rising against Manchu tyranny, while their leadership devolved into savage in-fighting. Taiping Christianity attracted myriad supporters in the West, even as pragmatism drove the British and French governments into Manchu arms. He also argues the desultory Anglo-French interventions forestalled European involvement in America's Civil War. Thought-provoking and lucid account of an epochal conflict, little-known in the west.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 21, 2013, 05:16:26 PM
(http://cache0.bdcdn.net/assets/images/book/medium/9780/4402/9780440223429.jpg)

Some decades ago I had stepped into Nam by the same author and it was probably the best book about Vietnam War I ever read.  This one isn't that good: interesting but it doesn't give a large picture  of the underworld as one may expect. And the blurb about the "most wanted" is simply false. The people interviewed are picked randomly and are probably representative of the lower echelons of the crime scene. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 22, 2013, 05:29:15 PM
(http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1183315660l/1401055.jpg)

A real turnpager, as Nam was. As I read at Amazon, cops are not the way they self-describe themselves here anymore, probably referring to racial and gendre attitudes (this was published in 1985). Still the MO I presume remains basically the same and each tale is very interesting and entertaining. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 22, 2013, 09:25:05 PM
Making Patton - Nicholas Evan Sarantakes - A good book, light on theory and analysis, heavy on facts, showing Patton's arduous journey to the screen. Many movies spend years in gestation, but Patton was first mooted in 1950. Producer Frank McCarthy comes off as the hero of the piece, doggedly pursuing his vision through innumerable hurdles: difficulty securing screen rights, the hostility of Patton's family, competing projects, studio chicanery, a revolving door of directors (Richard Brooks, John Frankenheimer, John Huston), writers (Calder Willingham) and stars (John Wayne, Burt Lancaster). Sarantakes does compare Patton the character to Patton this historical figure, arguing Omar Bradley's input distorted the movie's portrayal. There's also a brief chapter recording Patton's outsized influence on pop culture.

President Nixon: Alone in the White House - Richard Reeves - Focuses entirely on Nixon's presidency, yet still manages to be the best thing I've read about the man. The book shows an intimate, detailed portrait of Nixon's presidency, drawing on interviews, memoirs and the infamous White House tapes. I found the analysis of Nixon's domestic politics most eye-opening: whatever he achieved on this front (creating the EPA, school desegregation) he didn't give a damn about any of it. Reeves' relatively dispassionate approach is a godsend compared to nakedly critical accounts like Seymour Hersh and Rick Perlstein (who blatantly steals a lot from Reeves), chronicling Nixon's successes, failures and crimes evenhandedly. The lack of editorializing makes the nasty aspects more effective.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 30, 2013, 04:19:22 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51IrLbya%2BqL._SY300_.jpg)

I've read the italian translation, but also available in english. A fair introduction to the history of that nation's cinema, useful especially for the beginnings and some infos on the production's conditions. The nouvelle vague was just at the beginning when the text was written (1960): the misleading title moving the limit to 1962 was acritically accepted in the italian translation as well. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 31, 2013, 05:40:12 AM
I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie - Roger Ebert - While home last weekend I dug up this old favorite - frayed jacket, pages stained with Chunky Soup and all. This book shows Ebert at his absolute best, tearing into awful flicks with a curious mixture of joy and rage. A fun read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 31, 2013, 08:11:03 AM
I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie - Roger Ebert - While home last weekend I dug up this old favorite - frayed jacket, pages stained with Chunky Soup and all. This book shows Ebert at his absolute best, tearing into awful flicks with a curious mixture of joy and rage. A fun read.

tell me some of those movies. i'll check up those reviews on his website


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 01, 2013, 08:51:02 AM
No End of a Lesson: The Story of Suez - Anthony Nutting - Nutting's insider account of the Suez Crisis of 1956, detailing his attempts to forestall the Anglo-French-Israeli conspiracy and subsequent resignation. There's plenty of axe-grinding self-justification against Eden and his ministers, but Nutting earned the right: his opposition to that absurd enterprise was an open secret at the time, not a johnny-come-lately criticism.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 02, 2013, 12:32:36 PM
The Road to Khartoum: A Life of General Charles Gordon - Charles Chenevix Trench - One of the more balanced biographies of Gordon. Trench spends a lot time rebutting the criticisms of Strachey and Nutting: claims of pederasty and drunkenness are convincingly debunked, and Nutting's idea that Gordon provoked his own death on a half-cocked glory hunt is shown fairly hollow. The Gordon emerging here is fairly complex: heroic, honest in his old-fashioned Christianity, a good man in some ways but an impossible egotist in others. Good show.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 02, 2013, 07:09:00 PM
Hancock the Superb - Crisp biography of Winfield Scott Hancock, the "Superb" Union general who distinguished himself throughout the Civil War, proved a judicious arbiter during Reconstruction and unsuccessfully ran for President in 1880. Tucker makes no bones about admiring Hancock: an inspiring military commander, duty-bound civil administrator and honorable man. He employs a clean, readable narrative, detailing Hancock's famous exploits at Gettysburg and Spotsylvania as enthusiastically as his political campaigns. An odd error here and there (how could Thomas Meagher have campaigned for Hancock when he died in 1867?), and elision of Hancock's private life, doesn't mar an enjoyable work.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on June 04, 2013, 07:11:29 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51YhBSMndKL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg)
 
A fast-reading oral autobiography of the famous composers. It tells much about a duo which for most is just a repetitive couple of names on dozens of great songs. Still that much is not enough. I would have liked more infos about how they write words and music and even more curious about their views on fellow composers and musicians. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 06, 2013, 03:31:15 PM
Army of Amateurs: General Benjamin F. Butler and the Army of the James, 1863-1865 - Edward G. Longacre - Excellent account of the hard-luck Union Army of the James, who formed an unwieldy fifth wheel to Grant's advance on Richmond. Longacre's account focuses more on the personalities than the battles, showing an officer corps riven with infighting, backstabbing and rampant egos. The central figure is Benjamin Butler, notorious political general, who hopes to use the Army as a springboard to political success. Longacre's account mixes trenchant analysis with wry humor, though he goes a step far in suggesting Butler was an unfairly maligned general.

The Vainglorious War - A.J. Barker - Workmanlike volume on the Crimean War. Barker's account is good as a straight military history: he provides extremely detailed tactical accounts of the war's major battles, which help elucidate what other books make unclear (especially the Alma). Otherwise, he recites familiar facts, figures and fights without particular insight or originality, giving short shrift to the political aspects while relegating Florence Nightingale to a brief side chapter. Compared to standard works like Woodham-Smith, Hibbert et al unremarkable.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 09, 2013, 08:35:52 AM
Churchill's Crusade: The British Invasion of Russia, 1918-1920 - Clifford Kinvig - Wordy chronicle of the Allied intervention in Russia's Civil War. As the title implies, Kinvig focuses on Britain's involvement in the conflict, particularly Winston Churchill's eagerness to embroil Britain in another major conflict so soon after World War I. Kinvig conveys the campaign's haphazard staging, logistical difficulties and imparts some new information on tactics used - notably Britain's heavy use of poison gas. Unfortunately the dry prose and cluttered narrative make it a chore to read.

The Race to Fashoda - David L. Lewis - A revisionist take on Moorehead's The White Nile, centering on the Anglo-French confrontation at Fashoda in 1898. Lewis (also a biographer of Martin Luther King and Alfred Dreyfuss) focuses heavily on African reactions to the Scramble for Africa, showing the efforts by Abyssinia, Mahdist Sudan and others to work the European rivalries to their own advantage. It's a decent read but feels superficial.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 11, 2013, 06:23:46 PM
Falling behind a bit... :(

Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan, 1839-1842 - William Dalrymple - Peerless account of the First Anglo-Afghan War, besting extant volumes by Patrick Macrory and Peter Hopkirk. Dalrymple presents fresh primary research, tapping Afghan, Indian and Russian archives to provide a more rounded portrait. Dalrymple counterpoints the Anglo-Russian "Great Game" with ongoing Afghan tribal rivalries. Ousted Shah Shujah manipulates the British into placing him on the Afghan throne, as more compliant than the cagey Dost Mohammed. Dalrymple fleshes out the familiar story of Elphinstone's disastrous occupation and retreat from Kabul with new interpretations. He argues Afghans would have accepted Shujah's rule if not for the foreign bayonets propping him up. Similarly, Afghan resentment of the British began almost immediately, due to rampant exploitation of Kabul's women. And British military and political incompetence, from virulent Russophobia to Elphinstone's bizarre passivity towards the rumblings in Kabul, registers with stark clarity. A masterpiece of narrative history.

The Great Mutiny: India, 1857 - Christopher Hibbert - I loved Hibbert's The Destruction of Lord Raglan, which remains my favorite book on the Crimean War. Everything else I've read of his, however, has been either naggingly superficial or inscrutably dense. The Great Mutiny falls in the latter category. Hibbert's heavy on eyewitness accounts, almost exclusively from the British point of view, which gives some immediacy to the horrible events depicted. But for a popular history, and for a writer who's done more accessible work, it's rough sledding, due to dense prose and anodyne analysis. It took me three tries over a year's time to finish it. Having finished, I'm not sure it was worth the effort.

The Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution - Richard Slotkin - Slotkin provides a good narrative account of the events surrounding the Battle of Antietam, the repulse of Robert E. Lee's first invasion of the North. Slotkin's military coverage is workmanlike; his narrative works well-enough, but doesn't provide especially keen insight to the battle or strategy surrounding it. He's much better placing the conflict in a political context. In particular, he highlights the clash between George McClellan, headstrong, ambitious but cripplingly cautious Union general and the shrewd, polite to a fault President Lincoln. Slotkin shows the battle's main importance on two fronts: one, by encouraging Lincoln to pass the Emancipation Proclamation and hence add a moral dimension to the Union war effort. Two, by dissuading McClellan that a military putsch (seriously advanced by McClellan's inner circle) wasn't on the cards, thus preserving a threat to democracy just as grave as secession. Readable, though Civil War buffs won't learn anything new.

I also took a stab at the collected correspondence of Sir Garnet Wolseley. After about 100 pages of preening, bigoted snobbishness I gave up.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on June 12, 2013, 12:48:06 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51bVj8rrLlL._.jpg)

I read a french edition, but Bazin writes so well that he loses little if anything in translation (I'm talking about the italian translations, of course). I share little of his enthusiasms for the french movies he raves about. But I don't care because he's my favourite writer of cinema possibly with Dwight MacDonald.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 12, 2013, 03:13:52 PM
Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee, by Allen Barra

http://www.amazon.com/Yogi-Berra-Eternal-Allen-Barra/dp/B004JZWLVS

Great bio of the great Yankee catcher and American icon.

It's very clear that Barra is an unabashed Yogi fan, and I suppose it may occasionally get on some reader's nerves how much of a fan Barra is: Yogi can basically do no wrong in his eyes; anyone who ever doubted Yogi as a player or manager is crazy; he even has a section where he tries to explain why the Yogi-isms kinda make sense! But I laughed that stuff off, I found that kinda funny. Bottom line is that this is a terrific  book. One of my favorite subjects to read about is the Yankees' legendary dynasty from 1947-1964, when they won 15 pennants and 10 World Championships in 18 years -- and this book puts you right in the middle of it all. But more than that, it follows Yogi's entire life, from his childhood on St. Louis's "Dago Hill" to his service on Landing Craft Support Small rocket-launching boats on D-Day, to his great playing days with the Yankees, his managerial stint with the Yanks in '64, then coaching and managing with the Mets, managing the Yankees again and coaching the Astros, and his very successful career as a pitchman for various products, to exec at Yoo-Hoo, to uttering some of the most famous and endearing lines in American history.

Yogi Berra is one man that everybody loves -- even if you are a Yankee-hater -- and this book is therefore a wonderful read for everyone  O0 O0



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 14, 2013, 05:59:52 AM
Burnside - William Marvel - Sympathetic biography of the much-maligned Civil War General comes off as an egregious case of special pleading. Marvel shows convincingly that Burnside was a nice guy who was often manipulated by ambitious colleagues. His descriptions of Burnside's victories in the Outer Banks and Knoxville make good reading, even if (especially with the latter) he's inclined to overrate their importance. When it comes to Burnside's more famous blunders though he really reaches. Like any defender of incompetent generals Marvel blames everyone but his subject: meddling politicians, idiot superiors, blundering subordinates. Sure, at Fredericksburg William Franklin botched his attack on the Confederate right. But whose fault was it that Burnside threw 14 consecutive attacks against the stonewall on Marye's Heights? The whole book is like that. Marvel's contention that Burnside was a good general with bad press won't convince anyone who's read more than a few books on the Civil War.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on June 22, 2013, 09:00:32 AM
(http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/novel-library/45-1.jpg)

I'm curious to watch the movie Ford made out of it, though I'm certain he used the most melodramatic parts leaving aside the harshest ones. It is an uncommon hoodlum story, not the typical moral ascent from rags to riches through crime but with some dicey parts which are rather mordern, though marred by a redemptive thread which goes through the finale which makes little sense. Clarke knows how to tell a story and create characters, though. I will surely try to read what I presume is the follow up to this, judging by the french title. 7\10
An interesting circumstance, of interest to those people who are delving into the literary antecedents of Grey's The Hoods, may be the fact that the main character of the novel likes to "kick the gong around" and his (and other characters) use of opium is treated quite freely.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 26, 2013, 10:30:37 PM
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - What is there to say? Beautifully written, superbly crafted characters and a surprising amount of humor. The horrible awkwardness of St. John proposing to Jane remains most vivid. I could complain about Rochester's mad wife being a silly plot contrivance but that's not fatal.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on June 29, 2013, 03:42:10 PM
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_x2TThMsyaYA/TQVilICU07I/AAAAAAAAFnM/Q83t_6WJjFk/s1600/spy%2Bwho.jpeg)


I read it, in translation, eons ago. Probably one of the first novels I ever read. I also remember catching the end of the movie in summer '65, an open air "arena" coming out of the adjoning cinema (wish I could remember which movie I had been watching).   It is still a good reading but the trial part is too contrived and little credible. The dialogues in the final part are too didascalic: they want to prove too much. Still 8\10, if only because at the time novels of this sort were confined inside the 200 pages (in this case 224): today they have to bloat them to 6-700.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 30, 2013, 03:20:01 AM
http://www.amazon.com/Reggie-Jackson-Thunderous-Baseballs-October/dp/0061562386/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372583568&sr=8-1&keywords=reggie+jackson+dayn+perry

Reggie Jackson: The Life and Thunderous Career of Baseball's Mr. October, by Dayn Perry

This is a shitty bio of a shitty human being. Reggie Jackson is a Hall of Fame baseball player who may have been the most arrogant hot dog and biggest piece of crap in the history of baseball. He was known to make comments like "Sometimes, I don't even understand the magnitude of me." I've read just about every interesting sports book there is at my local library (and the ones I ordered from other libraries were taking too long to arrive) and I needed SOMETHING to read on the shitter, so I reluctantly checked out this book. So while taking I shit, I spent my time reading a shitty book about a piece of shit.

A good author would have interviewed lots of Jackson's teammates and opponents now, to get their opinion on Jackson's career, but there are almost no quotes from the current day. In the back of the book, Perry says that Jackson refused his interview requests, but why didn't Perry interview Jackson's teammates? In his list of interviews in back of the book, almost all the names are media members; looks like Perry interviewed almost none of Jackson's teammates/opponents.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 30, 2013, 06:48:45 AM
I needed SOMETHING to read on the shitter, so I reluctantly checked out this book. So while taking I shit, I spent my time reading a shitty book about a piece of shit.


Either you're an improbably fast reader or were extremely constipated. No other explanation suffices.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 30, 2013, 06:49:14 AM
Francis Ford Coppola: A Filmmakers Life - Michael Schumacher - A fairly standard show biz bio. Stories of making films like The Godfather, Apocalypse Now and The Cotton Club are fascinating; how could they not be? Schumacher did interview Coppola, friends and family which adds additional interest. But there's no great insight into Coppola's that isn't evident from extant interviews and documentaries: a talented, arrogant fellow who either a) got a raw deal from studios and critics, b) increasingly wasted his talents on paltry projects. Your call.

Cracker: BFI TV Classics - Mark Duguid - Having blogged the entire Cracker series recently I was keen on reading a detailed analysis of the show. Duguid proves most interesting probing the background of show runners Jimmy McGovern and Paul Abbott, placing Cracker within the context of both '90s British crime shows and soap operas (where McGovern and Abbott cut their teeth). His actual analysis though focuses mainly on surface matters: masculine unease, working class resentment, etc. These should be evident even to facile thinkers like myself.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 02, 2013, 05:27:10 PM
(http://img1.imagesbn.com/p/9780306807732_p0_v1_s260x420.jpg)

The first third deals with the history of paperbacks with a special regard for the covers. Unfortunately the impagination doesn't follow the text, so one has to search continuously through the book to find the pictures being discussed. The rest is an analysis of major crime writers starting from Hammett to arrive at those whose debut was in the '50's. O'Brien seems to ignore the history of hardboiled fiction before IIWW, especially a decisive author like Carroll John Daly and so his analysis sometimes (you cannot discuss Spillane if you don't know who Race Williams is) leaves much to be desired. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on July 02, 2013, 05:36:52 PM
(http://img1.imagesbn.com/p/9780306807732_p0_v1_s260x420.jpg)

The first third deals with the history of paperbacks with a special regard for the covers. Unfortunately the impagination doesn't follow the text, so one has to search continuously through the book to find the pictures being discussed. The rest is an analysis of major crime writers starting from Hammett to arrive at those whose debut was in the '50's. O'Brien seems to ignore the history of hardboiled fiction before IIWW, especially a decisive author like Carroll John Daly and so his analysis sometimes (you cannot discuss Spillane if you don't know who Race Williams is) leaves much to be desired. 7\10

looks interesting.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 02, 2013, 06:41:32 PM
The Killer Angels - Michael Shaara - Third reading. The first time I read this, I didn't get much out of it. Now I'd rank it alongside The Centurions and two or three of the Flashman books as the best military fiction I've read.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky - Saw the movie awhile ago so I thought I'd check out the book. Really beautiful novel about a maladjusted Pittsburgh teen making friends with some outsider kids. True, it hits the expected coming-of-age notes but does so in a believably raw and poignant way. Chbosky covers sensitive topics like masturbation, drugs and homosexuality in a frank and lucid fashion. But his greatest achievement is capturing the voice of a disaffected boy battling shyness and repressed demons. Whether Charlie's trying pot, flirting with his dream girl or contemplating suicide it never feels phony or contrived. Not sure how I feel about the climactic twist, which explains Charlie's behavior but doesn't really enhance the story.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 03, 2013, 03:26:02 AM
Now I'd rank it alongside The Centurions and two or three of the Flashman books as the best military fiction I've read.



You read this?

(http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1311994126l/376539.jpg)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 03, 2013, 06:02:38 AM
I've not done.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 03, 2013, 07:38:33 AM
Do.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 03, 2013, 02:24:08 PM
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh - Michael Chabon - Another Pittsburgh-set coming-of-age novel, though I'm less fond of this one. Its main appeal is seeing familiar locales used as plot points. I'm particularly tickled that one character works at the Hillman Library, where I toiled for three years as an undergrad. But the prose and characters are an especially obnoxious breed of self-conscious quirk. And frankly, my brain violently rejects any novel with a character named Phlox.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 04, 2013, 01:29:10 PM
The Light Cavalry Brigade in the Crimea - Lord George Paget - Memoirs of the Colonel of the 15th Hussars. Most accounts of the Charge of the Light Brigade draw heavily on Paget, so it's definitely an important read. His analysis of the Charge is very clear-eyed and objective despite his own role. About half the book though is often tedious correspondence between Paget and other Allied commanders. A boon for primary source research but not much entertainment value.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 07, 2013, 04:27:53 PM
(https://ebooks-imgs.eb.sonynei.com/product/400/000/000/000/000/357/453/400000000000000357453_s4.jpg)


Lukacs discusses most of biographers of Hitler and sums up the state of debate on various aspects of Hitler's role in history. The attitude toward his colleagues is open-minded and generally fair; and his own opinions are always interesting, sometime illuminating (f.e. his considering Hitler not a racist but a nationalist; or the question of the Lebensraum as a secondary reason for the Russia campaign). Still he doesn't persuade me with his downplaying of the murderous nature of nazism (he never discusses the atrocities of the war in the East, even before the beginning of the exterminations in the camps) and when he discusses Hitler's  stature as a statesman after 1941, his not taking into consideration what the nazi regime had started to do to millions of people makes many of his opinions quite debatable.     8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 07, 2013, 09:24:16 PM
Forced my way through five John Osborne plays today for a blog article. It scarcely seems worth the effort.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on July 08, 2013, 11:04:27 PM
Finished V. by Pynchon. Ended up liking it quite a bit, especially the Whole Sick Crew chapters. The Stencil chapters were hit or miss for me and were often far too confusingly written for their own good. I'm not sure whether I prefer it to Crying of Lot 49 or not. I prefer Lot 49's simpler narrative, though I enjoy the characters and occasional humor in V more.

Halfway through reading V, I read an interview with P.T. Anderson saying that he almost copied an alligator hunting scene to use in The Master. I thought this was interesting, considering that the novel's co-protaganist Benny Profane kept reminding me of a more subdued version of Freddie Quell.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 09, 2013, 03:20:41 AM
(https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQYdqThOJnPwh09i6rdh2WKc_Cf3AGHLnGQJZvYiuPHbMtepBVF8g)

A beautiful small biography (but there couldn't be a bigger one), brilliantly written (though I couldn't find anythng "funny" as the reviewer of Sunday Times did) and interesting at every page. 10\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 09, 2013, 04:28:30 AM
If God told you that you were about to die and all you could do in your time remaining on Earth was either read one book or watch one movie (and both would take the same amount of time, so no tricks), which would you choose?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 09, 2013, 05:43:37 AM
I wouldn't care either way.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 12, 2013, 07:54:02 AM
Some complementary readings:

The Red Flag: A History of Communism - David Priestley - Probably the best of the recent big one-volume histories of Communism. Priestley's more interested in Communism as an intellectual and cultural movement, exploring it as much through plays, films and literature as the functioning of Communist states. He's relatively objective in showing how Communism mutated from Marx's crude teachings into a variety of destructive forms when placed in government. The implicit argument, of course, is that pure Communism isn't really attainable; he shows how easily the USSR, and even China and Cuba, saw stateless ideology subsumed by nationality and personality cults. You know it's a comprehensive work when he spends two pages analyzing Red Dawn!

A Conspiracy So Immense: The World of Joe McCarthy - David M. Oshinsky - Oshinksy places the famous '50s demagogue in the context of anti-Communist hysteria. Oshinsky is more restrained in his criticism than many historians: he shows McCarthy occasionally raised valid questions, and debunks claims that he was a budding Hitler, simply because he had little ambition beyond his Senate seat. The portrait's still highly critical though, of a man driven more by reckless ambition than genuine commitment.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 17, 2013, 12:01:05 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41gaUg5LbuL._.jpg)

This was published in 1969. I presume there have neen in the meantime other publications on the matter of Paris in the cinema. Here the subject is treated in depth, especially regarding the work of major french directors before WWII . But strangely there are great omissions, like the Paris of the Nouvelle vague. But it is worth searching for for all those interested in the subject. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on July 18, 2013, 04:13:11 PM
Travels with Charley: In Search of America
Sometimes profound-ish, other times cliched and simple in the Steinbeck manner. Some sections can drag. I've only read this and 2 other Steinbeck novellas (Of Mice and Men - excellent; The Pearl - mehh). One day I'll get to the big stuff - East of Eden, Grapes of Wrath, etc.. But I'm usually not the most active reader.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 18, 2013, 09:59:00 PM
Have lately been trying to read The Lunatic Express by Charles Miller with little success. Dude is like Alan Moorehead's boring twin brother.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 20, 2013, 10:06:38 PM
Joe DiMaggio: The Heroe's Life, by Richard Ben Cramer
 http://www.amazon.com/Joe-DiMaggio-The-Heros-Life/dp/0684865475

This is a very famous biography of Joe D. that was published in 2000, and a New York Times bestseller. I just got around to reading it now. This ain't exactly a book for a hero worshipper, I'll tell ya that. Or maybe it is - it lets the hero worshipper know that he is a jackass.

DiMag was basically a piece of shit: there were so many friends, men who would do anything for DiMag, if he needed them for anything they'd even leave their wives for a night to serve DiMag or whatever, but sooner or later he'd inevitably turn his back on them cuz he decided they were in it for something or some other thing he got upset at them over. And many of his teammates on the Yankees, like Mickey Mantle, said he hardly spoke to them.
"The Hero's Life" is a perfect title for the book, cuz that's really what this is about. Joe D. knew what we wanted of him, and he gave of that in public, he played the part to perfection. But as a human being, he was a piece of shit. He may have always had these perfectly tailored and pressed suits and never a hair out of place and acted all "dignified" outwardly, but that's not what really makes a gentleman.
 I was at Yankee Stadium for a game in 1999, soon after he died, when when then Yankees honored his memory, they dedicated a monument to him, Paul Simon sand Mrs. Robinson, his old teammates were there, I still have that program.
I've read enough about baseball players and movie stars to know, I don't do the hero worship game. I am a huge Yankee fan, I love the Yankees and Yankee history, I love reading about the Yankees' championship teams and great players, but I am no hero worshipper; I always laugh at the jackasses who wait on line for hours to meet some celebrity or another, some guy who doesn't give a shit about you and sure as hell wouldn't wait on line to meet you, who wouldn't give a shit if something happened to you, they sure as hell wouldn't send you a card if you got sick or send flowers to your funeral. Of course, celebrities are good people, but my point is, to worship someone just cuz they are a ballplayer (or actor or singer or whatever) is stupid.
You can love a sport, or a  team, or watching certain players play; just as you can love movies or watching a certain actor act; or love art and looking at a certain artist's paintings; but if you worship the person (especially without knowing or caring about what he is as a human being) well, that's ridiculous, and actually in a way says something worse about you than it does about them.

Cramer is a very good writer. He won a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting in 1979, for his work reporting on the Midle East for the Philadelphia Inquirer. I had no idea, until I just looked at his wikipedia page this moment, that he died a few months ago, on January 7, 2013, at the age of 62. Very sad to hear that  :'(
So now I should  amend the first sentence of this paragraph to read, "Cramer was a very good writer."
It's very obvious from reading the book - and the acknowledgements in the back confirm this - that Cramer did incredibly extensive research for the book. He interviewed untold numbers of people - former ballplayers, friends of DiMag, lovers (including several former Miss Americas), family members, investigative reporters who know everything about Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedys, etc. The most important thing for a book on baseball history, besides being a great writer, is doing the research, and Cramer has absolutely done that. No doubt. This book was a five-year project for him. And it sure bore fruit  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 21, 2013, 03:25:30 AM
A famous article by Gay Talese was probably the first one to debunk the myth:

http://www.randomhouse.com/kvpa/talese/essays/dimaggio.html


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 21, 2013, 08:15:37 AM
The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, 1856 - William Dalrymple - Sterling account of the Indian Mutiny from the perspective of Bahadur Shah II, the Mughal Emperor who became a reluctant leader in the anti-British uprising. Not a comprehensive account of the Mutiny: Dalrymple focuses almost exclusively on the happenings in and around Delhi, which are certainly fascinating enough. Avoiding the blood-and-thunder hysterics of most Western books, Dalrymple proves remarkably sensitive to all sides. Like Shah Shujah in Dalrymple's Return of a King, Bahadur comes off as a tragic figure swept up in events beyond his control. The book captures the multifaceted factions among the rebels: mostly Hindu soldiers, embracing a Muslim King as their figurehead, while others call for jihad. Nor does Dalrymple downplay the gruesome atrocities perpetrated by each side (though the British certainly come off worse, even pondering the wholesale extermination of Delhi). He does argue that Mughal India was more tolerant and pluralistic than what followed; I leave that for students of Indian history to judge. A thoughtful, well-written work that should revise standard Western understanding.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 21, 2013, 10:36:31 AM
A famous article by Gay Talese was probably the first one to debunk the myth:

http://www.randomhouse.com/kvpa/talese/essays/dimaggio.html

yup, Cramer mentions that article prominently, and interviewed Talese for the book.

I was gonna search for that article; thanks for the link  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 23, 2013, 06:22:05 AM
(http://arulchandrana.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/baudolino-by-umberto-eco.jpg)

I started to read it a couple of years ago and it was painful to get to the end. The problem is that Eco builds this novel on his vast erudition, adopting characters and situations to give vent to a aimless display of enormous knowledges. But the reading is mostly boring, especially when not based on historical facts but theological or philosophical discussions and enumerations of names, based on both reality or phantasy. 5\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on July 23, 2013, 12:08:19 PM
Heart of Darkness
YAAAAAAAAAAWNNN. Coppola did it better.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 24, 2013, 04:26:36 AM
(http://www.abfar.co.uk/_images/30183.jpg)


A very enjoyable introduction to the matter, more based on characters than on statistics as usual with british popular historiography. I seem to remember having read H.'s book on Duce and not having been impressed, though. Recommended. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: stanton on July 24, 2013, 05:43:06 AM
(http://arulchandrana.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/baudolino-by-umberto-eco.jpg)

I started to read it a couple of years ago and it was painful to get to the end. The problem is that Eco builds this novel on his vast erudition, adopting characters and situations to give vent to a aimless display of enormous knowledges. But the reading is mostly boring, especially when not based on historical facts but theological or philosophical discussions and enumerations of names, based on both reality or phantasy. 5\10

One of the few novels I stopped reading. After a third I was sure that the rest wouldn't be less boring.

But The Name of the Rose was one of the most entertaining reads ever. Great fun, lousy film.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 24, 2013, 05:58:12 AM
What do you think of the Pendulum?
I have started The Prague Cemetery and it looks promising.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 24, 2013, 07:36:18 AM
A very enjoyable introduction to the matter, more based on characters than on statistics as usual with british popular historiography. I seem to remember having read H.'s book on Duce and not having been impressed, though. Recommended. 8\10

Haven't read this yet. The only Hibbert I've especially enjoyed is The Destruction of Lord Raglan. He's a very uneven writer.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 25, 2013, 07:42:55 AM
The Strangest War: The Story of the Maori Wars, 1860-1872 - Edgar Holt - Workmanlike account of Britain's conquest of New Zealand. Holt does a respectable job remaining fairly objective, sketching the motivations of New Zealand colonists and their tension with British officials and clergy; the different Maori tribes get far better treatment than natives in most comparable works. Still it's fairly dry and while a good introduction to the topic, not much of a pleasure read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 26, 2013, 07:28:38 AM
The Black Count: Revolution, Betrayal and the Real Count of Monte Cristo - Tom Reiss - Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, mixed-race French General and father of the novelist. Reiss's book works better as an exploration of French racial attitudes. He depicts the country as remarkably tolerant, with an active antislavery movement and some semblance of racial equality long before British and American thinkers even approached the idea. That Dumas, a Haitian-born Creole, became so successful at the time speaks volumes. Reiss probes this interesting theme almost to excess; he frequently engages in tangents on slavery, French Revolutionary politics, the impact of America's Founding Fathers on French culture and Italy's reaction to Napoleonic conquest. This makes interesting reading but cuts away from the book's focus on Dumas. A very readable narrative history; just don't expect a straight biography.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 26, 2013, 10:43:16 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51xCTq52XWL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg)

Best Eco's novel after (or with) the Name.  Actually for the first 2\3 could even be better, or at least better readable.  As usual the best parts are those better connected with historical facts. Extremely funny in the first part. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 28, 2013, 07:25:53 AM
Managed to finish one book I'd been reading this week, and slam down a few of modest length. Six hours in a bookstore gives you plenty of time to read. 8)

Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals and Reagan's Rise to Power - Seth Rosenfeld - Rosenfeld spent nearly three decades researching and writing this book, suing repeatedly to get FBI files under FOIA and meeting agency obstruction all the way. Understandably, as he paints an unflattering portrait of the Bureau's efforts to stamp out Berkeley's Free Speech Movement and its offshoots. Rosenfeld unsurprisingly views Mario Savio and Co. as decent, perhaps confused kids abused by The Man. One's inclined to dismiss this as Boomer nostalgia, but the facts presented here show just how out-of-control the FBI was under J. Edgar Hoover in their information gathering and provocation. This couples with an attack on Ronald Reagan, shown here as a willing FBI informant during the HUAC era using Savio and Co. as a springboard to politics. A fascinating book, even if you disagree with some of Rosenfeld's conclusions.

The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Sallinger - I can imagine reading this around age 13 or 14 and loving it. Salinger captures perfectly the alienation and self-righteous, mad at the world attitude of a misguided adolescent.

The Stranger - Albert Camus - My only experience with Camus up till now had been The Plague, which I hated. This book's much better. Maybe Camus works better at novella length.

Reasons to Be Happy - Neil LaBute - The latest from everyone's favorite misanthrope playwright. Evidently this is a sequel to an earlier play, Reasons to Be Pretty, which I'm not familiar with, showing a love parallelogram between four 30-somethings. It retains the dynamics, structure and barbed language of The Shape of Things and In the Company of Men but is much less bleak. The characters are likeable to some extent, a rarity for LaBute, and if the ending isn't exactly happy at least it doesn't inspire despair. There's progress, anyway.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 28, 2013, 09:12:46 AM


The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Sallinger - I can imagine reading this around age 13 or 14 and loving it. Salinger captures perfectly the alienation and self-righteous, mad at the world attitude of a misguided adolescent.

Unfortunately I read it at about 20 and found it bogus.

Quote
The Stranger - Albert Camus - My only experience with Camus up till now had been The Plague, which I hated. This book's much better. Maybe Camus works better at novella length.

Probably, but I wouldn't give it a second chance. Camus is the kind of writer who can be of interest to those who are looking mainly for messages in a novel instead of characters and plot. Which means he's not a novelist at all.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 28, 2013, 10:44:08 AM
Probably, but I wouldn't give it a second chance. Camus is the kind of writer who can be of interest to those who are looking mainly for messages in a novel instead of characters and plot. Which means he's not a novelist at all.

Well put.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 31, 2013, 05:10:37 AM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/t/The-DREAMS-OUR-STUFF-IS-MADE-OF-HOW-SCIENCE-FICTION-CO-/00/$T2eC16NHJIYE9qUcM8IiBRV(JU5tZQ~~_35.JPG?set_id=89040003C1)

A collection of essays on the interrelation between SF and everyday reality, though the spectrum of the book is ampler. I knew Disch as a novelist, though not particularly impressed by what I read (I think only his firs published novel) but here he is quite brilliant, especially in the discussion of the feminist approach to the genre (I like his debunking of LeGuin, an author I find boring in her unabating research of the PC). A pity he suicided a few years ago. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 31, 2013, 11:47:54 PM
Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand - This 1200 page monument to self-righteous didactism attempts, through sheer grandiloquence, to elevate sociopathy into a viable philosophy. At best, it crudely reconfigures Nietzsche into economic terms: the ubermensch are the rich and successful, the rest of humanity insects with no value to anyone. No wonder business leaders love it so much. With Rand, ideological analysis takes center stage because as a novelist she stinks. Nothing happens for about 600 pages, and thereafter only fitfully: plot is an alien concept, characters are laughable cartoons, the dialogue either bald exposition or long-winded position speeches. The endless ranting (culminating, of course, in a 60 page monologue) doesn't remotely ennoble a premise that can be summed up in a sentence.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 02, 2013, 07:24:26 AM
38 Nooses: Lincoln, Little Crow and the Beginning of the Frontier's End - Scott W. Berg - Details the 1862 Dakota War in Minnesota. Berg does a fine job sketching in the conflicts background, where tensions between Little Crow's Dakota tribe and intrusive white settlers grew intolerable, and a random act of violence by drunken Indians led to wholesale massacre of settlers and inevitable retaliation. Berg's most interesting conceit is contrasting Abraham Lincoln's moral high-mindedness re: the Civil War and emancipation with his patronizing indifference towards Indian matters - though one must concede Southern secession endangered the country far more than a skirmish on the American frontier. Like many popular histories though, Berg's apt to leave the narrative with digressions that obfuscate as much as illuminate. Some are interesting (Henry Whipple's pro-Indian agitation), others more opaque (digressions on Antietam and Gettysburg); together they lead to a sloppy book.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on August 02, 2013, 03:33:49 PM
Mickey and Willie: Mantle and Mays, the Parallel Lives of Baseball's Golden Age, by Allen Barra
http://www.amazon.com/Mickey-Willie-Mantle-Parallel-Baseballs/dp/0307716481

Having recently read Barra's biography on Yogi Berra http://www.amazon.com/Yogi-Berra-Eternal-Allen-Barra/dp/B004JZWLVS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375478845&sr=1-1&keywords=yogi+berra+allen+barra which is one of the greatest baseball books I have ever read, I was disappointed in this book, which is not on the level of the Yogi book. But then again, few are.

I like how Barra digs into the statistics of those years, and demonstrates how, though Mickey won 3 MVP's and Willie won I think two, they each actually should have won 8 or 9.

There are a few typos in the book.

And if you're the kinda reader who doesn't like when the author sticks his opinion in there blatantly, then Barra is not the author for you - he is not shy about telling you how he feels. For example, in response to some people who are saying that Mays's catch in teh '54 World Series wasn't all that great, Barra says that's "nonsense."



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on August 07, 2013, 06:59:01 PM
Over the last year:
(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/Pulps_zpsb109534d.jpg) most of this

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/DarkCitySelby_zps46c6dc78.jpg) this for a reference

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/NA_zpse5ccffff.jpg) Quite a bit more explicit than the film  O0

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/LCtheGangster_zpsbddea08d.jpg) the book The Gangster was based on a lot of changes in screen play

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/Somewhere_zps7b1b9d01.jpg) just started


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on August 08, 2013, 03:28:20 AM

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/NA_zpse5ccffff.jpg) Quite a bit more explicit than the film  O0


I just started watching the movie, shut it off after 45-50 minutes.
The only reason I stayed with it that long is that the movie is highly rated; I kept thinking "It has to get better!" But I finally decided to stop torturing myself.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 17, 2013, 04:41:14 PM
(http://www.languefrancaise.net/docs/uploads/Argot/LeBreton1953/le-breton-rififi-chez-les-hommes-1953-1.jpg)

It's as good as the movie, or maybe even better because of the language which makes it so brilliant once one begins to master it. There's no melodrama, every character, dialogue or situation is hard, much harder than what you could find, at the time, in the supertough narrative of a Spillane. Maybe the finale could have been abridged, as in the movie. But I give it a well-earned 9\10.
It's funny how Dassin, in this interesting and funny interview, came to grips with the book's language when he was proposed to shoot the movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2F31S8Zm1w




Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 17, 2013, 05:26:13 PM
Osceola and the Great Seminole War - Thom Hatch - A superficial and tedious recounting of America's wars against the Seminole Indians. The subject is fascinating, with Osceola uniting a hodgepodge of Creek Indians and escaped slaves into a potent guerrilla force that resisted American incursions into Florida for almost a decade. But Hatch pitches the story at an almost cartoon good-evil level, with little insight into his protagonist or the broader events examined.

The Third Reich: A New History - Michael Burleigh - The title's a bit misleading: Burleigh really doesn't stray from conventional depictions of Nazi Germany on anything but a few details. Still, he provides a nuanced analysis of Nazism's rise to power, the functioning of Hitler's state on cultural and economic levels, and the centrality of war and genocide to its existence. That said, the history's pitched at a sociological rather than narrative level; as such it's recommended more for specialists than casual buffs.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on August 17, 2013, 07:38:50 PM
A Legend in the Making: The New York Yankees in 1939, by Richard J. Tofel

No Cheering in the Press Box: Recollections – Personal & Professional - By Eighteen Veteran American Sportswriters, Recorded and Edited by Jerome Holtzman


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 24, 2013, 08:24:35 AM
Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy and the Feud That Defined a Decade - Jeff Shesol - Examines the bitter rivalry between LBJ and RFK, which rent the Democratic Party in two during the late '60s. Shesol focuses on the differences in personality between them: Johnson, an immensely powerful, arrogant but insecure leader; Kennedy, who reluctantly inherited his late brother's legacy. Despite their dislike, the two worked together until Vietnam made their differences irreconcilable. Perhaps Shesol overstates his case: fissions over Vietnam were evident before Kennedy openly broke with Johnson's administration, and certainly Bobby was a johnny-come-lately to the antiwar team. So it's probably fairer to say the two men were representative of, rather than the trigger for, Democratic turmoil. It's fascinating stuff all the same.

The Thin Red Line: An Eyewitness History of the Crimean War - Julian Spillsbury - Spillsbury makes heavy use of letter and diary quotations to craft an excellent narrative account of the Crimean War. The book focuses exclusively on the primary campaign against Sevastopol, though in fairness most of the really interesting accounts (Duberly, Paget, Russell) originated from there. Spillsbury makes a few questionable judgments: his characterization of the Turks as cowardly, for one, and he plays up Anglo-French tensions more than most other writers. A good introduction to the war.

The TE Lawrence Puzzle - Stephen E. Tabachnick (editor) - A series of essays examining TEL's life and legacy, written in the mid-'80s. About half of the book's devoted to Lawrence's writing, which makes sense as Tabachnick's an English professor. Other pieces examine his relationship to the French, his role as an intelligence officer, mechanical skill and overview of Lawrence-inspired fiction. (Comparatively) Well-known Lawrence writers like Jeffrey Myers and Stanley Weintraub are among the contributors. Definitely a specialist book but I daresay I qualify.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on August 24, 2013, 09:24:26 PM
Babe: The Legend Comes to Life, by Robert W. Creamer

The definitive biography of the greatest baseball player and greatest sports personality ever  :)



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 24, 2013, 09:45:30 PM
Babe: The Legend Comes to Life, by Robert W. Creamer

The definitive biography of the  greatest sports personality ever  :)




Ahahah. Greater than Ali? Give me a break.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on August 24, 2013, 10:03:20 PM

Ahahah. Greater than Ali? Give me a break.

I wasn't alive at all during Babe's lifetime, nor for any of Ali's fights. So, everything I am going on is based on what I've read, heard, watched, etc. And I will be the first to admit that I am biased, considering that the Yankees have been one of the most important things in my life since I was 11.

They both dominated their respective sports and the headlines, though for very different reasons.

As far as athletics go, most boxing experts do not consider Ali to be the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all-time (that honor generally goes to Sugar Ray Robinson). Granted, Ali missed some of his prime years cuz of the draft stuff, and who knows what he could have accomplished during that time. (Then again, in Ruth's favor, you can point out that he was a pitcher for three full seasons, plus half of two others, before finally becoming a full-time outfielder in 1920). But many experts do consider Ruth to be the greatest player of all-time; I certainly believe so, even if his numbers were compared to today's players; when you factor in the era that Ruth played in, he is so far and away above anyone else, it's not even close.

It's very difficult to measure who dominated headlines more, especially considering that the media was very different in their respective eras. In Ruth's time, it was almost entirely driven by newspapers and photographs (and perhaps some radio at the very end), whereas Ali had tv and radio. Ultimately, it's really impossible to measure the personality thing.

But as far as their respective sports are concerned, Babe revolutionized baseball completely. He was singlehandedly responsible for changing the game from "small ball" (in those days it was called "inside baseball") to a power game. In two different seasons, he hit more home runs than any other team in the American League. What he did during those seasons in the 1920's, is equivalent to someone hitting 200 homers in a season today.
Ali may have been a great boxer – heck, he may have even been the greatest – but I don't think he revolutionized boxing anywhere near the way Babe revolutionized baseball.

And nobody else could ever eat, drink, fuck, belch, fart, and bellyache like the Babe did  ;)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 24, 2013, 11:04:53 PM
Perilous Question: Reform or Revolution? Britain on the Brink, 1832 - Antonia Fraser - Covers some interesting ground, but probably best-appreciated by readers with a better grasp on British politics than myself.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 25, 2013, 05:51:09 AM
Ali didn't revolutionize boxing (he couldn't, as boxing is one of the most elementary of sports), but he revolutionazed sport as   filtered by the media. He made the before and after the event as exciting as the event  itself. And then he fought against U.S. government for 3 and half year and won: and that would be great enough feat itself.  About boxing, he revolutionized his category: you name SRR and this "pound for pound" story which I always felt it was just a way to deny Ali the title of the Greatest (I'm not downgrading Sugar Ray: Ali of course was an admirer: he bowed to him when Sugar went up the ring during the first fight against Liston). The fact is that Ali was faster by a third than Robinson, even though he was 40 pounds heavier (I'm talking about the first Ali), his footwork was much more impressive than Robinson's and he had an iron jaw: because he was  fighting in a category filled with slow moving bozos, that made him spectacular like nobody else in the most popular individual sport in the world.
Ruth was the greatest (so you say) in a quite provincial sport, popular in USA and another handful of countries where it was imported after WWII. Try to get outside of the States and ask a german or a British or an australian sport follower if he ever heard of Babe Ruth and see what his answer is gonna be.  


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on August 25, 2013, 06:32:44 AM
Ali didn't revolutionize boxing (he couldn't, as boxing is one of the most elementary of sports), but he revolutionazed sport as   filtered by the media. He made the before and after the event as exciting as the event  itself. And then he fought against U.S. government for 3 and half year and won: and that would be great enough feat itself.  About boxing, he revolutionized his category: you name SRR and this "pound for pound" story which I always felt it was just a way to deny Ali the title of the Greatest (I'm not downgrading Sugar Ray: Ali of course was an admirer: he bowed to him when Sugar went up the ring during the first fight against Liston). The fact is that Ali was faster by a third than Robinson, even though he was 40 pounds heavier (I'm talking about the first Ali), his footwork was much more impressive than Robinson's and he had an iron jaw: because he was  fighting in a category filled with slow moving bozos, that made him spectacular like nobody else in the most popular individual sport in the world.
Ruth was the greatest (so you say) in a quite provincial sport, popular in USA and another handful of countries where it was imported after WWII. Try to get outside of the States and ask a german or a British or an australian sport follower if he ever heard of Babe Ruth and see what his answer is gonna be.  

I never made an argument about baseball internationally. There is no doubt that boxing is much more of an international sport than baseball [even though the vast majority of champions and well-known fighters are Americans, or Latin Americans based in America. There are exceptions, like Lennox Lewis (UK) or the Klitschko brothers (Russia), ]but the boxing champions are vastly Americans. But anyway, as far as being an internationally followed sport, yes, boxing is much more followed internationally than is baseball. Definitely today. Back then, (in the 20's) baseball was THE SPORT in America. The only things that came close to challenging it was boxing and horse racing (mostly harness racing, probably). Baseball was THE team sport in America, and there was no close second at that time. Baseball was all. And ruth dominated that sport in a way no man has ever dominated a sport before or since. (I can bring statistical evidence, if you are interested in seeing numbers).
But even considering that baseball was merely an American sport, Babe was IDOLIZED INTERNATIONALLY. At the end of baseball's season, he routinely went on barnstorming trips around the world, in the 20's, and 30's. Stadiums in Japan were packed like they'd never been before. Standing room only. In stadiums like Osaka, Ruth received a royal welcome, the crowds came to cheer him, they lined the streets to catch a glimpse of him, plain and simple, Babe Ruth was royalty in Japan. And in London as well. Not so much France. he hated Paris, and nobody recognized him there.
But that is another point in Babe's favor - how, during an age when baseball was primarily a sport of the Americas, he became an internationally known star, putting up statistics that human beings at the time couldn't comprehend. And causing a change in the rules of the game., the essence of the game, the way the game is played. There's a reason why lazy people refer to the modern era of baseball as post 1920 - cuz thats the year Babe was traded to the Yanks and started hitting homers that previously would have obly been possible in Strongman comics books.  refer to the modern era as the time the American League was recognized as a second major league, very early 1900's, sometime in 1901, 1902, or 1903 at the latest.

Even if more people in Europe today know who Ali is but don't know who Ruth is, that does not mean that in his time, for his time, Ruth wasn't the biggest sports personality of all-time, dominating the ball game as well as the fame game


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 29, 2013, 04:11:26 PM
(http://agoodstoppingpoint.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/forever-war.jpg)

I was disappointed with this one, after having waited almost 40 years to give it a try. The problem is that the action scenes are boring because of all the scientific explanations which accompany the development of the fights. Much more entertaining is the sociological picture of a near or not so near future, though some of the predictions are little convicing (generalized homosexuality as a way of fighting overpopulation). 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 29, 2013, 04:14:41 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/$(KGrHqIOKk!E5CWdCtGDBOVlFoO(7Q~~_35.JPG)

Not as good as the Grisbi trilogy but a good entertainment, especially after the author leaves aside the comedy of the first third for more action-oriented narrative. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 31, 2013, 05:55:41 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/t/GREAT-TRUE-STORIES-OF-CRIME-MYSTERY-DETECTION-/09/!ByF5R+QBGk~$(KGrHqEOKjMEwPKP8FdfBMQSYqj,ow~~_1.JPG)

I've read just the first 3, or four stories included here and they are all very interesting and well told. But what pushed me to write this before reading it through is the first blurb on the back cover (the book was published in 1965):

"Crime, Mystery and Detection is an absorbing experience on a number of counts.Treason, grand larceny, petty thievery and even the stealing of affections appear in this book. What these acts all have in common is that fascinating pursuit of justice - detection. We are all caught up in the brainwork of snaring the criminal, whether he is the cleverest Communist agent in America, the most detestable murderer or the most debonair jewel thief. Here the reader can probe and speculate to his heart's content." Richard M. Nixon
 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on August 31, 2013, 08:47:57 PM
Gravity's Rainbow
I really liked V and Crying of Lot 49, but this is shit. I thought the first 300-400 pages were great, but after that it slowly becomes more and more illegible. By the final 100 or so, the novel makes almost no sense. The 400+ characters are almost indistinguishable in personality. It's essentially a book about strange people fucking oddly (shit eating?), rocket-boners, and PARANOIA PARANOIA PARANOIA. I'm fairly certain the book was supposed to be a joke, especially during the chapter describing the life and adventures of a lightbulb. Again, the first few hundred pages were interesting, unique, legible, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. Then Pynchon loses it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 01, 2013, 01:25:35 AM
Reynolds, Raschi and Lopat: New York's Big Three and the Great Yankee Dynasty of 1949-1953, by Sol Gittelman


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 01, 2013, 08:01:58 AM
Read a few this week:

Guerrilla: Colonel Lettow Vorbeck and Germany's East African Empire - Edwin Hoyt - Short chronicle of World War I's East African Campaign. Read Byron Farwell instead.

The Battle of the Alma - Peter Gibbs - Nice to read a detailed account of this battle, which usually gets skimmed over in Crimean accounts. The Allied leaders come off as such dunderheads it's amazing that they managed to win. More amazing still that some historians persist in defending them.

Gallipoli - Peter Hart - Hart makes his thesis that Gallipoli was a foredoomed waste of time clear from the very first sentence. Ax-grinding aside, his wonderfully detailed tome balances both strategic decisions and boots-on-the-ground accounts better than any other historian I've read. He weaves personal accounts into the story and allows the suffering of soldiers - poorly led and under-supplied, even by WWI standards - to come across starkly. He downplays the ANZAC role, which might anger some. His incorporation of Turkish accounts provides a much better-rounded account than, say, Alan Moorehead's old book. A must-read for history buffs.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 07, 2013, 04:19:13 PM
Shot All To Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid and the Wild West's Greatest Escape - Mark Lee Gardner - Enjoyable account of Jesse James' most famous exploit, both meticulously researched and well-written.

Death of an Army: The Siege of Kut, 1915-1916 - Ronald Millar - Workmanlike recounting of the Siege of Kut. Millar does a good job showing day-to-day life during the siege, not only among the hard-suffering Anglo-Indian forces but their Turkish foes and Arab civilians caught in the crossfire. Compared to Russell Braddon, he's much more objective re: Charles Townshend and the British leadership generally. That said, the book isn't half so well-written as Braddon's The Siege; worse, Millar inadequately sketches the strategic contents and ignores the garrison's ghastly captivity. Readers seeking a purely military history may enjoy.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 13, 2013, 06:35:04 AM
Shenandoah 1862: Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign - Peter Cozzens - Revisionist look at Stonewall Jackson's most famous exploit. As a detailed campaign history it's worth reading: Cozzens covers a lot of ground in admirable detail, describing strategic decisions, personalities and battles without losing reader interest. The main problem though is Cozzens's obsession with his hobbyhorse: that Jackson was not that great a general. He doesn't make a strong case, pointing up Jackson's unpleasant qualities (eg. his terse dismissal of Richard Garnett, secrecy towards subordinates, religious zealotry) which, however personally unlikeable they might have made Jackson, have little bearing on his tactical abilities. He does make reasonable critiques of Jackson's mishandling of the Romney raid and his recklessness at Cross Keys, but seems loathe to acknowledge Jackson's more decisive victories or strategic impact. And while Cozzens' goal of examining Union decision-making is admirable, he really strains to show the likes of Nathaniel Banks and John C. Fremont as anything but incompetent. One actual sentence about the Battle of Winchester: "Having expected defeat, Banks had mentally prepared himself for the difficulties of retreat." Surely no more backhanded complement has ever been paid.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 13, 2013, 10:00:46 AM
he really strains to show the likes of Nathaniel Banks and John C. Fremont as anything but incompetent. One actual sentence about the Battle of Winchester: "Having expected defeat, Banks had mentally prepared himself for the difficulties of retreat." Surely no more backhanded complement has ever been paid.

Sorry, but I can't see where the "compliment" is. I don't think great warlords ever went into battle thinking about a retreat: I presume a general should try to avoid getting into a battle if he thinks he's gonna lose it. 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 13, 2013, 05:39:12 PM
I guess that example doesn't work so well out of context. The author spends several paragraphs describing how Winchester wasn't a calamitous defeat for Banks but a brilliant delaying action. So presumably it's meant as a compliment.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 14, 2013, 06:46:15 PM
Iron Horse: Lou Gehrig in His Time, by Ray Robinson

This is generally considered the definitive biography of Lou Gehrig; I think it's alright, well-researched, but I wouldn't put it up there with the all-time great baseball biographies.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 17, 2013, 06:49:16 PM
More Military Blunders - Geoffrey Regan - Another of Regan's "rehash the same material in a cheap paperback for a few quid" efforts. I'll give him a little credit for this volume, since he includes obscure cases like a doomed French expedition against Timbuktu and Britain's war against Somalia's "Mad Mullah." Then he recycles chapters on San Juan Hill, the Wabash and Mussolini's invasion of Greece verbatim from his earlier books. But hey, I only spent a penny on it.

Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East - Scott Anderson - The 5,000th TE Lawrence biography (I may be lowballing). Anderson frames a broader portrait of WWI in the Middle East, incorporating not only Lawrence but several contemporaries: Zionist agent Aaron Aaronsohn, German spymaster Curt Prufer and Standard Oil exec William Yale. But these appear so fleetingly Lawrence takes center stage. Anderson interprets Lawrence as progressively disillusioned by imperial chicanery and ending the war pro-Arab and anti-British. A simplistic reading to be sure, and points up Anderson's focus on Lawrence's diplomatic and political activities over his military exploits and inscrutable personality. Even in its broader canvas, the book covers little that David Fromkin, James Barr and others haven't trod thoroughly. A casual buff simply looking for a good read might be more generous.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 19, 2013, 11:38:06 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51egHTTONOL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

This is the second Simonin's trilogy after the one about the Grisbi. It is as good as that one, though it portrays the underground in a more unromantic fashion. Actually there is no positive character. Even Max le Menteur is much less endearing than he was in the other three books (though being here a minor character). Strange that this wasn't brought to screen. 9\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 21, 2013, 04:23:13 PM
My Campaign in Mesopotamia, Volume I - Charles V.F. Townshend - A narcissistic failure of a general tries to rehabilitate his reputation by blaming everyone else for his defeats, while comparing himself variously to Napoleon, Caesar, Gustavus Adolphus, Charles XII, Wellington, Belisarius, Moltke and Wolfe. A humble man, Charlie Townshend was not. And we haven't even reached the high point of his career, eg. the Siege of Kut yet! I'm sure Volume II will be a barrel of laughs.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 21, 2013, 06:58:55 PM
Lefty: An American Odyssey, by Vernona Gomez and Lawrence Goldstone.

This is an absolutely wonderful biography, of Yankee Hall of Fame pitcher Vernon "Lefty" Gomez, co-authored by his daughter. One of the greatest baseball biographies I have ever read. The research is incredible, the writing is great; what a great pleasure this book is, beginning to end!


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 25, 2013, 10:30:20 PM
Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of James Garfield - Kenneth D. Ackerman - Superb political history of America circa 1880. The book focuses mainly on the rivalry between Republican leaders Roscoe Conkling and James G. Blaine, whose personal feud came to represent larger cleavages in the Republican Party. Namely, the argument over civil service reform and attempts to curb the influence of crooked political machines. Into this vortex stepped James Garfield, an honest man who refused to be cowed by either side. Ackerman provides a richly detailed portrait of Garfield's brief presidency, contrasting this unlikely leader with other political figures and his assassin, Charles Guiteau, much more than a "disappointed office seeker." I'd put this alongside Team of Rivals as the best book I've read on 19th Century American politics.

The Gardeners of Salonika - Alan Parker - Workmanlike account of the Salonika Campaign, a useless but costly sideshow of the First World War. At the campaign's height, 300,000 Allied troops were tied down in Greece, mostly dying of malaria or feuding with their Greek hosts rather than fighting Bulgarian/Austrian troops. Indeed, the diplomatic finagling proves the story's most interesting angle: the Allies parked this huge army within Greece while that country was still neutral, leading to no end of political turmoil and needless bloodshed. The book itself is no masterpiece, but it's hard to find English-language accounts of this campaign so points for trying.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 28, 2013, 07:31:31 AM
The Battle of the Bundu - Charles Miller - Another book on Lettow Vorbeck. Miller's a hit-and-miss author; he has a conversational, almost flippant writing style that can be charming (Khyber) or obnoxious (The Lunatic Express). I couldn't get through Lunatic Express because his style read like a brain-damaged Alan Moorehead. This one leans more towards the former, being reasonably well-written and certainly interesting, though it's hard to bollix this story.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 28, 2013, 07:10:43 PM
Fonda: My Life, as told to Howard Teichmann

The great autobiography of the great Henry Fonda, released shortly before his death. Teichmann did a spectacular job here. The only thing is, if you read this book, don't expect much discussion of his films. There are a few exceptions, such as The Grapes of Wrath and Mister Roberts, and OUATITW gets a couple of pages, but that's about it - the Mister Roberts play is used as a sort of framing device - but with few exceptions, the films get at most a line. The book is a discussion of Fonda's life, not his movies, and helluva lot happened in his life. (Not least of which are five wives, two of which committed suicide; one while married to him, one years later.)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 29, 2013, 03:48:56 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41OT7XaEYTL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

Jack Ritchie is one of the greatest mystery short stories writers, on a par with (or just a little bit under) Doyle, Chesterton and you name it. Here you find some great stuff and other less but still readable. I came to him through the movie which gives the title to the collection. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on September 29, 2013, 04:56:34 PM
Been on a James Ellroy jag lately, his style is very reminiscent of James M. Cain. In the last few months I've read:

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/The_Big_Nowhere_zps09a728bf.jpg)

Part of the LA Quartet a re-read

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/HN_zpsd30e7449.jpg)

Pulpy short stories of Hollywood

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/la-confidential_zpsfb304275.jpg)

Third installment of the LA Quartet another re-read

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/crimewave_zpsef1e47ce.jpg)

just started this one


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 07, 2013, 10:31:43 AM
(http://www.babelio.com/couv/cvt_Du-mouron-pour-les-petits-oiseaux_1417.jpeg)


I have almost finished reading Simoni's works. I am fascinated by his argot words (though that forces me to read his books with three dictionaries at hand, though not always finding there some expression) and his style and his characters. This one has some crime elements, but quite secondary. it  is more a portrait of characters, quite entertaining but not like his crime novels. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 07, 2013, 11:30:16 AM
Been on a James Ellroy jag lately, his style is very reminiscent of James M. Cain. In the last few months I've read:

(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/The_Big_Nowhere_zps09a728bf.jpg)

Part of the LA Quartet a re-read



Can  be better read on its own or as part of the tetralogy?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on October 07, 2013, 04:43:25 PM
They are only linked through re-appearing characters in the LAPD and the LA underworld. They don't need to be read in any particular order (they are separate stories) though the books are in order chronologically.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 09, 2013, 09:48:14 PM
Boer War readings:

Good Bye Dolly Gray - Rayne Kruger - Very thorough narrative history of the war. Kruger tries to be as objective as possible, usually a virtue though sometimes a demerit (he considers British concentration camps just one of those things). I'd argue it's more interesting in its political than military analysis.

Buller's Campaign - Julian Symons - Focuses on Redvers Buller's idiotic attempts to relieve the Siege of Ladysmith. Symons claims some sympathy for Buller, but still portrays the man as a petty, vindictive, small-minded walrus with no business leading an army. Spion Kop in particular is a textbook example of how not to fight a battle; when you only utilize 1,700 of your 28,000-man army, something's desperately wrong. As for the book, good but nothing special.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 11, 2013, 06:43:15 PM
Our history buffs might be unaware of this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ax3B4gRQNU4



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 11, 2013, 06:59:08 PM
Nice find Titoli! O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on October 12, 2013, 05:28:27 AM
agree  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 12, 2013, 01:12:16 PM
(http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1174411053l/394017.jpg)

This is intriguing except for the finale where Japrisot mixes 3 elements of classic dénouement made famous by other authors  SPOILER

(the multiple murders to cover the important one, the multiple culprit, a policeman as main murderer).

So, if you are a casual mystery reader who hasn't anty deep knowledge of the field you might even be awed by this, otherwise you'll be disappointed like me, though entertained for a couple of hundred pages. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 12, 2013, 11:09:31 PM
Five O'Clock Lightning: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and the Greatest Baseball Team in History, the 1927 New York Yankees, by Harvey Frommer


Giorgio de Chirico, by James Thrall Soby


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: stanton on October 13, 2013, 05:33:49 AM
They are only linked through re-appearing characters in the LAPD and the LA underworld. They don't need to be read in any particular order (they are separate stories) though the books are in order chronologically.

I disagree.

The first one The Black Dahlia is a bit separated from the others, but the other 3 should be read in chronological order. You can read them on their own, though, but they are connected enough to have more fun with them chronologically. E.g. one of the novel's prologue could have been the last chapter of the previous novel.

I think The Big Nowhere is the perfect start to delve into Ellroy's ultra dark noir world.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 13, 2013, 05:38:13 PM
This gave me a thrill.  :o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYot5-WuAjE


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 17, 2013, 07:02:39 AM
1919: Red Mirage - David J. Mitchell - Wildly overreaching book attempts, in a single 350 page volume, to examine the tumultuous events immediately following World War I: the Versailles Peace Conference, Russian Revolution, Bolshevik coup in Hungary, D'Annuzzio's coup d'etat in Fiume, the Spartacist rising in Germany, labor unrest in England and America, and many other topics. The scope is commendable but the book becomes self-defeating: Mitchell can't hope to provide anything like depth or insight, since he can only treat each topic superficially. The result is a riotous collage that's interesting, perhaps most of all as a springboard to further research, but ultimately unsatisfying.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 17, 2013, 08:13:48 PM
Wilson - A. Scott Berg - New biography of Woodrow Wilson. Very well-written but definitely a "great man" history, complete with Biblical chapter headings. Berg emphasizes Wilson's idealism, intelligence and effectiveness as a chief executive. His long passage on the Paris Peace Conference makes for great reading, with its intrinsic grasp of the personalities and stakes involved. He also dwells, perhaps excessively, on the President as drippy romantic, pouring out soppy love letters to his wives and paramours. Berger does elide over the President's more unpleasant policies (eg. his racism and taste for invading Third World countries), though he's critical of Wilson's passage of the Espionage and Sedition Acts, and the conspiracy to conceal Wilson's stroke. I doubt it will change many minds on this most controversial of Presidents, but worth reading.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 19, 2013, 02:54:12 PM
Some Spaghetti books:

10,000 Ways to Die - Alex Cox - Besides the weird theories and occasional errors noted in the other thread, this is an entertaining book by an enthusiast filmmaker. A nice overview of the genre, and Cox's candid, conversational style makes it a fun read.

Once Upon a Time in the Italian West - Howard Hughes - A good intro to the subject, though it's restricted to "great" (and well-known) films like the Dollars Trilogy, Great Silence, Django, Sollima's flicks, etc. Hughes' approach is a bit more analytical, Frayling lite perhaps.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 19, 2013, 06:48:28 PM
Perfect: Don Larsen's Miraculous World Series Game and the Men Who Made it Happen, by Lew Paper

This is basically a mini-biography of all 19 men who appeared in one of the most famous games in baseball history. Paper goes through a play-by-play of the game, and spends each half-inning with a bio of a different player. It's an interesting book. Any baseball fan will already be familiar with the professional and personal lives of stars like Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, and Jackie Robinson. But what I really liked about the book is that you also learn a little about lesser-known players, such as Andy Carey, Jim Gilliam, and Joe Collins.

I'll mention two specific interesting discussions here:

Paper does a nice job with the discussion of Enos Slaughter's motivations when he spiked Jackie Robinson in 1947. Many accused Slaughter of racism; Slaughter, however, just said he was playing the game hard (which he always did, and in fact spiked many white players in his day). Slaughter was very bitter till the end of his life over the fact that he was accused – prominently in Ken Burns's documentary – of targeting Jackie because he was black; opinions varied over the accusation, and ultimately, Paper does a nice job of telling the story and bringing all the opinions, but wisely says that ultimately, nobody can know for sure but Slaughter.

Also, Paper says that, other than pitcher Larsen and catcher Berra, every Yankee on the field that could see the final pitch (a called third-strike on pinch-hitter Dale Mitchell), agreed that it was a ball. Mitchell always swore it was high and outside. One Dodger said that years later, he met the home-plate umpire, Babe Pinelli, who had retired after that 1956 World Series, and Pinelli admitted to him that he wanted to end his career on a high note, going out on a World Series perfect game, and that in the late innings, he was calling anything close a strike. (He does not say specifically if Pinelli ever admitted that the final pitch was a ball.)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 23, 2013, 06:07:17 AM
(http://www.mollat.com/cache/Couvertures/9782916266145.jpg)

A valuable collection of different stories and essays plus an interview.  The most important item is probably the short story La mouillette,  first published in the short-lived magazine Noir in 1954: on the same level as his best novels. Of interest his essays on argot.  I don't care about his articles on fishing, but maybe CJ would. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 23, 2013, 07:52:14 AM
Before the Fall - William Safire - Richard Nixon's chief speechwriter tries to defend him. A valuable book for allowing an inside view of the Nixon Administration: the backbiting and pettiness, the obsession with PR, Nixon's insecurities. He's sympathetic (though not uncritical) towards his old chief, trying to argue he was more principled than he let on in public or the Watergate tapes.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Amaze on October 23, 2013, 01:57:00 PM
The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave.
Pretty shitty book, did not make me want to read more of his books. It was very monotonous and it felt at times like it was written by a 15 year old boy.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 24, 2013, 10:43:54 PM
(http://www.languefrancaise.net/docs/uploads/Argot/Simonin1966/simonin-lettre-ouverte-aux-voyous-2006-1.jpg)

Simonin tries to make a portrait of a criminal's life in the early '60 in the form of dialogue with one of them. The result is not as vivid as his narrative efforts and at best can be considered surpassed by the new times. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 26, 2013, 07:17:18 AM
President Kennedy: Profile in Power - Richard Reeves - As with his Nixon book, Reeves provides a detailed, relatively balanced look at JFK's presidency. The main portrait impression is of a man who came to office supremely untested and out of his depth, but quickly grew on the job. Reeves' account is critical of Kennedy for his ambivalence on Civil Rights, his complicity in Vietnam (especially the Diem coup) and his womanizing. But his strengths come to the fore in dealing with the Soviets and his belated (but passionate) embrace of Civil Rights in his last year of life. Reeves also wrote a book on Reagan which I'm keen now on reading.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 26, 2013, 05:17:04 PM
John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth, by Michael Munn

Film Noir, by Alain Silver & James Ursini. Paul Duncan (Ed.)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 27, 2013, 09:07:13 AM
Strom Thurmond's America - Joseph Crespino - This work is only a half-biography of the segregationist Democrat-turned-Republican elder statesman. The other half examines Thurmond's impact on American politics, eg. channeling racism into concerns about welfare and nebulously defined "law and order." Like many politicians, Thurmond's an interesting character for his contradictions: a racist who fathered a black child, an avid New Dealer who became a conservative icon. But Crespino proves superficial in exploring his broader cultural impact. Of all of that era's prominent conservatives, what makes Thurmond more important than, say, George Wallace or Barry Goldwater (or Richard Nixon for that matter)? True he hit the scene first, but during his '48 presidential run Thurmond was a straightforward segregationist. Presumably his 1964 defection to the GOP is the point of entry, after which he at least toned down his rhetoric. Either way, not as interesting as other recent volumes by Perlstein, Kabaservice, etc.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 30, 2013, 05:51:52 PM
(http://cache0.bdcdn.net/assets/images/book/medium/9780/0995/9780099545828.jpg)


Why these people write thrillers 450 pages long when 200 would be more than enough? They fatten the plot with descriptions that do not help the plot moving on and tell us little about characters: they are preachy, in this case. Still I read this at a sitting, as Grisham, thank goodness, keeps you avid to know how the plot is gonna proceed. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 30, 2013, 05:54:20 PM
(https://dx5y3z85enc4t.cloudfront.net/200x200/scale/books/1348644770/832624.jpg)

Same criticism as above, but at least this is shorter and the fattening is made up of a travelogue through the italian city of Bologna, making me curious to get there and pay a better visit of the only one I ever made. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 31, 2013, 08:58:19 PM
(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-0r75LGYhji0/T44Y4BbhWlI/AAAAAAAAAhM/vBjqfErjJT8/s1600/9781904738077.jpg)

Apparently a legal thriller (quite elementary as to plot twist: but credible because administration of justice in Italy is clownish) the author is actually more interested in the personal vicissitudes of his protagonist, a lawyer operating in Bari. Can't say is bad, but this lawyer is too leftist and mawkish for my taste. Still worth a look. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 01, 2013, 07:48:57 PM
An American Melodrama - Lewis Chester, Godfrey Hodgson & Bruce Page - Exhaustively detailed account of the 1968 Presidential election, written by three British journalists. They view American politics with a jaundiced, sometimes snobbish outsiders' eye, but in such the year of Nixon, Humphrey and Wallace it seems appropriate. The wealth of detail regarding backstage backstabbing, convention chaos and party infighting makes it a formidable source.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 02, 2013, 09:55:41 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/t/Vintage-The-Best-of-O-Henry-O-Paperback-Book-6640-/00/s/MTAyNFg3Njg=/z/~Z8AAOxy9nhSIXcj/$(KGrHqJ,!ogFI(i4wSpzBSI(ckWYsg~~60_57.JPG)

I don't know what to think about it. Maybe my expectations were higher. But most of the stories in this anthology are lame and quite repetitive as to plot (starving girls seem to be the author's forte). The most famous tales like The Ransom of Red Chief or The Gifts of the Magi do not quite hit the target because of too much sentimentalism or insufficient dose of humor. Even the lexicon is sometime frustrating because some words couldn't be found in dictionaries: that doesn't help reading, though it may enliven the narrative. My favourite story of the lot: Memoirs of a Yellow Dog. 7\10




Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 03, 2013, 08:50:03 AM
England's Pride - Julian Symons - A crisp narrative history, recounting General Wolseley's failed efforts to relieve General Gordon in the Sudan. Symons blames the British government for dispatching Gordon in the first place, hence precipitating the crisis, and dragging their feet once the Mahdi besieged Khartoum. But there's plenty of blame to go around: Wolseley's over-meticulous campaign plan, bickering between British commanders on the ground, lack of coordination between the desert and river columns, insuperable supply difficulties (a ten-day coal shortage may have been the final straw) and the expedition's sheer logistical improbability. And, lest we forget, the Mahdists' stubborn resistance. It's less a wonder that Wolseley failed than that he came within 48 hours of success.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 04, 2013, 09:53:34 AM
England's Pride - Julian Symons - A crisp narrative history, recounting General Wolseley's failed efforts to relieve General Gordon in the Sudan. Symons blames the British government for dispatching Gordon in the first place, hence precipitating the crisis, and dragging their feet once the Mahdi besieged Khartoum. But there's plenty of blame to go around: Wolseley's over-meticulous campaign plan, bickering between British commanders on the ground, lack of coordination between the desert and river columns, insuperable supply difficulties (a ten-day coal shortage may have been the final straw) and the expedition's sheer logistical improbability. And, lest we forget, the Mahdists' stubborn resistance. It's less a wonder that Wolseley failed than that he came within 48 hours of success.

Is there anything in this book you didn't know before?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 04, 2013, 07:28:02 PM
(http://www.bitterlemonpress.com/images_books/books/67_165.jpg)

It fares batter than the first of the series, though the author doesn't come up with an inventive solution for the courtroom  drama. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 06, 2013, 07:47:25 PM
(http://img2.imagesbn.com/p/9781904738541_p0_v1_s260x420.JPG)
Best of the Guerrieri series so far. It also has a very good courtroom scene. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 06, 2013, 07:50:37 PM
(https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS_1ABUo8eo-Bsb9BCrRbjolWoiuYqUBAh_siyrwQgUc4o4XL_AGw)

A step back from the previous book of the Guerrieri series. There's no courtroom drama, Guerrieri acts as a PI, the solution is good, but there's too much fattening of the plot. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 07, 2013, 07:08:13 PM
Is there anything in this book you didn't know before?

The details of the different battles, the extremities of the supply problem, the degree of personality clashes among Wolseley's subordinates. So yes.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 08, 2013, 06:32:37 PM
Henry Cabot Lodge: A Biography - William J. Miller - The mid-20th Century statesman and diplomat, not TR's friend/Woodrow Wilson's nemesis. Glowing to the point of sycophancy, it was written in 1967 and hard not to judge it in hindsight. The author's view, for instance, that victory in Vietnam was just around the corner can't help seeming laughable. More substantially, Miller elides or downplays Lodge's arrogance, ambition and reckless diplomatic behavior. Was Lodge's involvement in the Diem coup a secret even at the time? I haven't gotten that impression. Lodge was nonetheless a fascinating man and the book's worth reading for that.

A Savage Conflict: The Decisive Role of Guerrillas in the American Civil War - Daniel E. Sutherland - Panoramic view of the Civil War's guerrilla fronts. Sutherland covers well-known partisans and bushwhackers like Will Quantrill, Jim Lane and John Hunt Morgan, but also lesser-known groups like and Unionists rampaging through the Carolinas and North Texas. Those seeking detailed accounts of their exploits will be disappointed. Sutherland focuses more on scope, placing the guerrillas in the war's greater context: their often dubious motives, official hostility (even in the South, where partisans often operated in lieu of regular forces), the cruel countermeasures and their impact on the broader war, tying down supplies and manpower. Highly recommended.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 14, 2013, 03:36:42 PM
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/d/d6/AsimovOnScienceFiction.jpg/220px-AsimovOnScienceFiction.jpg)

A collection of various articles on many subjects which do not jelly into an organic view of the genre. I mean: shy away from it if you're looking for some kind of guide. If you know already the matter you may be interested on some of A.'s opinions. And if you like A.'s style read it anyway. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 19, 2013, 11:56:25 PM
(http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-UA6y9rWMdSY/Tv2BYfrL5NI/AAAAAAAABTY/UArP7y0lh5Q/s320/scapegoat-pennac-daniel-paperback-cover-art.jpg)

Concurring with the release of the movie I finally decided to give it a try. I had heard people who were reading it describing it as the vicissitudes of the "scapegoat" and not, as they should have, as a serial killer (or about that) thriller. That, I think, is the core of the novel although Pennac fattens the story with the too annoying vicissitudes of the protagonist family. I won't read the other adventures of the "scapegoat" but I give this a 8\10.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on November 20, 2013, 03:01:58 AM
The Western Films of John Ford, by J.A. Place

Yankee Stadium: The Official Retrospective, by Mark Vancil and Alfred Santasiere III


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 25, 2013, 08:15:17 AM
(http://www0.alibris-static.com/isbn/9781566637077.gif)

The famous novelist and screenplayer is one of the most important experts on boxing. This is a collection of recent writings commenting on quite recent fights. The best article though is the hefty one about Mike Jacobs written in 1950. 9\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on November 25, 2013, 08:22:47 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51QvJpKdEsL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg) great so far 3/4 the way through.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 28, 2013, 08:25:15 AM
Lots of political books in recent weeks.

A Generation Awakes: Young Americans for Freedom and the Creation of the Conservative Movement - Wayne Thorburn - Everyone's favorite right-wing extremist conservative student group gets an exhaustive chronicling by one of its former national chairmen. Thorburn does excellent work chronicling YAF's early years, a story told by Rick Perlstein among others but never as well. Thorburn shows YAF's substantive impact on national politics, the high-profile careers of many members, its fissions and splits during the Vietnam era and gradual decline. The book loses interest as it drags along; once it reaches the Reagan era it becomes a recitation of names and dates, chronicling seemingly every single alumnus. I only wish this book had been available for my college seminar paper.

Republicans and Race: The GOP's Frayed Relationship With African-Americans, 1945-1974 - Timothy N. Thurber - Thurber examines how the Republican Party, between the end of World War II and Watergate, transformed from the "Party of Lincoln" to its modern incarnation as a predominantly white, conservative party.  hurber overturns a lot of conventional wisdom on the topic. The racial realignment originated from FDR's New Deal policies and Republican opposition, long before the Civil Rights Act. Black leaders' frustration with Eisenhower's incremental approach to civil rights played a part, as did Kennedy's rhetoric (if not actions). And while acknowledging the realignment following Johnson's achievements and Barry Goldwater's candidacy, he downplays the "Southern Strategy" meme, arguing that moderates controlled the GOP until Ronald Reagan's election. He's also extremely, if not always convincingly, sympathetic to Nixon, who built heavily on Kennedy and Johnson's achievements (but more out of pragmatism rather than ideological solidarity). On the whole he sides with the "benign neglect" assessment over simple accusations of racism.

And several books on the '64 presidential election, including:

The Making of the President 1964 - Theodore White

The Road to the White House: The Story of the 1964 Election - Harold Faber

and

All the Way With LBJ: The 1964 Presidential Election - Robert David Johnson

The first two books are contemporary accounts; indeed, Road is a largely a compilation of New York Times articles. White's book is more interesting as it chronicles the bitter infighting during the Republican primaries, all the way through the convention (though Robert Novak's Agony of the GOP is even better), along with Johnson's struggles to adjust to the presidency and frame a campaign message. He especially does a great job at describing the national mood after JFK's assassination, the fear of racial violence and nuclear war that enabled Johnsons' reelection. The Times account is valuable for its detailed on-the-ground accounts of key events in the campaign, and paints detailed portraits of Johnson and Goldwater. But its immediacy is also a flaw as it prevents detached analysis. Hindsight is 20-20, but the opening chapter is laughably shortsighted, with Faber proclaiming the Republican Party and conservatism irrevocably discredited by Goldwater's defeat.

Johnson's book is a much more recent volume. He leans towards the academic and analytical, rather dry in style and focusing more on broad societal trends than individuals. His most contentious argument is that Henry Cabot Lodge stood the best chance of beating Johnson in the general election. An odd thesis, and since Lodge never took his campaign (run by stateside amateurs while serving as Ambassador to South Vietnam) all that seriously speculation at best. Johnson has the benefit of 40-plus years that White and Faber lacked, allowing him to place Goldwater's campaign within the rise of conservatism, while showing Johnson as the last gasp of New Deal liberalism. Neither's an especially new argument.

Also a biography of William Scranton that I'm picking at when I'm able to sneak off to the library.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on November 30, 2013, 09:14:31 PM
Scorsese by Ebert

http://www.amazon.com/Scorsese-Ebert-Roger/dp/0226182037/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1385871260&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=scorses+by+ebert


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 05, 2013, 03:48:38 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41SfPL4nA%2BL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)


This omnibus volume includes the five sf novels written by this author.

What Mad Universe is probably the best one of the lot, though the finale is quite disappointing. But the dystopy part is brilliant and full of inventiveness, with a touch of humor. 8\10

The humor should have been the prevailing note of Martians Go Home but that works only at the beginning, Brown not being able to sustain the comic note beyond the first 20-30 pages. 6\10

The Lights in the Sky Are Stars
. This could have been maybe a masterpiece as a short story in the hands of a Bradbury. Unfortunately  Brown made it a full novel and of the 100 pages the 80 in between are just fattening up of the beginning and the finale. 5\10

Rogue  in Space. Included in the volume are  the two short stories on which this novel was based. I think the shorter form suits better the material. of the adventurous kind: actually the first story would be enough, the second being quite contrived as to inventiveness. 6\10

The Mind Thing. A very good horror-sf of the alien invader kind. On a par with Invasion of the Body Snatchers or The Puppet Masters. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 06, 2013, 05:41:12 PM
Almost President: The Men Who Lost the Race But Changed the Nation - Scott Farris - Decent book chronicling some of the more notable presidential also-rans. Lightweight but contains interesting sketches of Henry Clay, Stephen Douglas and Barry Goldwater, among others. I'd more firmly rate Irving Stone's old book They Also Ran if you can find a copy.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 07, 2013, 07:07:22 AM
White Knight: The Rise of Spiro Agnew - Jules Witcover - A detailed, largely critical account of Agnew's rise from obscure Maryland Governor to Vice President. Noting Agnew's liberal attitudes as Baltimore County Executive and later Governor, Witcover suggests a personal motive for his conversion to conservatism: when Nelson Rockefeller announced he wasn't running for President in '68 (later backtracking, of course) Agnew lashed onto conservatism instead. All of Agnew's incendiary speeches, alliterative tirades and boneheaded gaffes are reproduced in full, some analyzed in needlessly exhaustive detail (do we need 20 pages on the "fat Jap" comment?). Modern readers may get the impression that a talk radio host somehow wound up as Vice President. Witcover wrote a later volume, A Heartbeat Away, chronicling Agnew's downfall which I haven't read. I have, however, read this...

Go Quietly... or Else - Spiro Agnew - I typically avoid political memoirs since they tend to be indifferently (ghost-)written exercises in self-justification. But this was too much to pass up. Agnew claims that the charges of bribery and income tax evasion that drove him out of office were a conspiracy by old political enemies in Baltimore; that the investigation was rigged; that the media eagerly pounced on his misfortune (an impression he undercuts by citing sympathetic newspaper editorials); that Elliot Richardson was an ambitious, possibly Zionist schnook; that Nixon desired his ouster to distract from Watergate. And, most controversially, that Alexander Haig threatened to murder Agnew if he didn't resign. The utter lack of self-reflection or accepting responsibility is amazing, even so far as Nixon Administration memoirs go.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 10, 2013, 03:27:34 PM
(http://afflictor.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/399-1.jpg-198x300.jpg)

A very good bathroom reading. I read this series of anectodes told in a very sentimental, sometime mawkish way during a long series of debates with myself. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 11, 2013, 08:15:36 PM
Nixon's Vietnam War - Jeffrey Kimball - Basically tries to deconstruct the idea that Nixon achieved "peace with honor." Tricky Dick vacillates between a desire to execute his "madman theory" and bomb Vietnam to the stone age, or else withdraw and appease popular sentiment. The conclusions aren't especially novel but the detailed accounts of operational planning make for interesting reading.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 11, 2013, 09:24:32 PM
I) Conversations with Wilder, by Cameron Crowe

II) Some Like it Wilder, by Gene D. Philips

(I've only seen six of Billy Wilder's movies - Sunset Blvd., Ace in the Hole, The Lost Weekend, Witness for the Prosecution, Stalag 17, and Double Indemnity). I read the parts that deal with those movies, and the parts that deal with cinema in general and his biography; I skipped the parts about his movies that I haven't seen).

There are some discrepancies between the books; where a discrepancy exists, I'll believe the words of Billy Wilder himself as opposed to the words of a biographer who conducted one interview with Wilder and otherwise bases much of his book on a combination of previous Wilder books.

Foe those who are interested, I'll share a few statements and quotes by Wilder; item #4 is from the second book; all others are from the first:  (everything in yellow is a direct quote from a book)


1) Wilder says that anytime someone asks him what the greatest movie ever is, his answer is Battleship Potemkin.

2) Wilder's says the best-directed movie of all-time is The Best Years of Our Lives, directed by his friend William Wyler.

3) p. 30 - Wilder says Charles Laughton was "the greatest actor that ever lived." And he says Edward G. Robinson was "a wonderful actor."

4) p. 152 of the second book says that Stalag 17 was banned in Germany upon release.
Quoting from the book: In 1956, Wilder received  a letter from George Weltner, the Paramount executive in charge of worldwide, indicating that the film could be released in Germany – provided that, when the dialogue was dubbed into German, the spy hiding among the prisoners "is not a Nazi, but a Polish prisoner of war" who has  sold out to the Nazis. Wilder replied to the Paramount high command, "Fuck you, gentlemen! You ask me, who lost my family in Auschwitz, to permit a change like this?"
Wilder threatened to never work for Paramount again unless he received an apology. He never heard from anyone at Paramount "no apology, no nothing," but in 1960 the movie was released, unaltered, in Germany.


5) (p. 24 of first book) , discussing Stanley Kubrick: Wilder says the only Kubrick film he didn't like was Barry Lyndon. (The book was made before Eyes Wide Shut.) But in Full Metal Jacket, he loved the first half but not the second half:

 The first half of Full Metal Jacket was the best picture I ever saw. When the guy sits on the toilet and blows his head off? Terrific. Then he lost himself with the girl guerrilla. The second half, down a little. It's still a wonderful picture. You know, if (Kubrick) does a thing, he really does it. But this is.... this is a career to discuss. Every picture, he trumps the trump. These are all pictures any director would be proud to be associated with, much less make. At a picture like The Bicycle Thief [1947], you forget that this is your profession. You just get lost in the picture.

6) RE: Humphrey Bogart:  On the set of Sabrina, Humphrey Bogart clashed with Wilder, William Holden, Audrey Hepburn, and just about everyone else. However, a few years later, when Bogie was on his deathbed, he called Wilder to his home and apologized for his behavior on Sabrina. Wilder therefore says (p. 10), the last memory of Bogart I have is, he was a terrific guy, because that's the way I saw him last. He was very good, better than he thought he was. he liked to play the hero, and in the end, he was.

on p. 173 of the first book, Crowe mentions how Stephen Bogart (Humphrey's son) writes in his book that Humphrey thought that the fact Holden and Hepburn were having an affair was weighing the chemistry of the movie against Bogart.

Wilder's response:

Absolutely crazy. He was crazy, Bogart was. He thought that the picture stunk. But peculiarly enough, when I knew that I was on his list of shitheels... when his illness was cancer, and he was lying there, he became very docile, he became very nice. And I felt for him, for the first time, because he was, after all, an anti-Semite who married a Jewess. How can I do better?

on p. 174, Crowe asks, "Were you capable of being a bastard to an actor, or a crew member?"

Billy replies:

 A bastard to an actor? Yeah, sometimes you have to be a bastard to an actor, because the person likes to be treated like a bastard. You learn that very quickly. So you have to have a different pattern of behavior, from one actor to another actor, to an actress in the same piece. Because once the picture's over, it's over. You're not married to them, as I've said before. Sometimes there is a son of a bitch that I took for a picture because they're a son of a bitch. Because I want him to be a son of a bitch.
 And look, it should be worth everything in this world to have an actor or actress or a cameraman or anybody who helps you with your picture. It's gonna be over one day. But while you are working with them, you take abuse, or you take some niceties which you know are not sincere – you take it to go on. Come the next day, you're gonna be on that stage again, you're gonna continue this scene, or start a new one. You have to massage their ego, or you... If I knew that Mr. Bogart was an anti-Semite – and I knew it – I still took him, because I needed him for the picture. The picture means a great deal, a great deal, to me at least. And it's very difficult, but to take somebody who is unpleasant, and who has got no talent, that's a tragedy.

I had a heard time hearing Wilder say Bogie was an anti-Semite (Forget the fact that (as Wilder noted), Lauren Bacall, the love of Bogie's life, was Jewish; and besides for the fact that Bogie named his daughter after Leslie Howard, cuz he was eternally grateful for Howard insisting he get his career-making part in the Petrified Forest - Howard's father was Jewish, his maternal grandparents were Jewish; his mother's mother was probably not Jewish and therefore Howard was not actually Jewish according to Jewish law, but Bogie did name his child after a guy with that much Jewish blood, so to speak. But forget all that.)
I'd never heard anything about Bogie being an anti-Semite.
Bogie's mother Maud was a virulent anti-Semite, but I never heard that about Bogie. In fact, Darwin Porter, author The Secret Life of Humphrey Bogart (I have no idea how reliable this book is), wrote the following, on bottom of this page http://www.adherents.com/people/pb/Humphrey_Bogart.html

It wasn't until an hour later, after Lee had gone, that Maud stormed into his bedroom. "Don't you ever invite that stinking little tramp into my house again," she yelled at her son.

..."She's a slimy Jew," Maud charged. "I don't want a son of mine going out with a Jewess. These money-changers are the anti-Christ. They have no appreciation of the finer things of life. They're all about greed and chicanery. They are the bottom-feeders of life."

"Jews are just as good as anybody else," Hump [Humphrey] said. "No better, no worse."

I did some searching online, and it seems that Wilder is the only source for Bogie being an anti-Semite. It all gets back to these couple of quotes by Wilder; I even saw someone pose this question in a Google group and the responses were all that the only source for this was Wilder https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.gossip.celebrities/vE3eHhGtdow

Obviously, Wilder knew Bogie and I didn't, but considering that quote Porter attributed to Bogie mentioned above (Jews are just as good as anybody else. No better, no worse," and considering that I'd never heard a single person other than Wilder ever say Bogie was an anti-Semite, I have to say that I am not convinced either way.
Guess we'll never know (just like with most people - you never know what feelings/prejudices are ever in anyone's heart)


---------------------------------------------

For anyone who is a Billy Wilder fan – and if you are a fan of classic movies, how can you not be a fan of Wilder? – you'll enjoy Conversations with Wilder.
It's annoying how much Crowe writes about the meetings themselves, in italics. Like before each conversation begins, you'll have these italicized paragraphs, like 'Today we meet in Wilder's apartment. I am five minutes late, and he answers the door in a green sweater and blue shirt...." And then Crowe will intercut a Wilder quote with, eg. 'The phone rings, and Billy answers it...' I guess Crowe wanted to give you the feel of actually being there with Wilder, and you definitely do get that feel, but, while the occasional sentence in the beginning is fun, by the end it's endless paragraphs and it gets annoying... Anyway, you can skip the italicized paragraphs if you want, just read the conversations, they are awesome.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 12, 2013, 02:28:13 AM
a few more tidbits from Conversations with Wilder: (everything in yellow is a direct quote from the book)

7) Marilyn Monroe was terribly difficult to work with, like she would repeatedly show up late.
p. 36:

She was, believe it or not, a terrific dialogue actress. She knew where the laugh was. She knew. But then again, we would ahve three hundred extras, Miss Monroe is called for nine o'clock, and she would appear at five in the afternoon. And she would stand there and say, "I'm sorry, but I lost my way to the studio. She had been under contract there for seven years!.... After The Seven year Itch, I said, "I'll never work with her again." But then I was delighted when I heard that she had read the script and she would like to do Some Like It Hot. It's wonderful that Monroe wanted to do the part..."

And Wilder also said, "Whenever I saw her, I always forgave her."

8 )  pp. 88-89: RE: The Spirit of St Louis, Wilder bemoans the fact that,
"I could not get in a little deeper, into Lindbergh's character. There was a wall there. We were friends, but there were many things I could not talk to him about. It was understood – the picture had to follow the book. The book was immaculate. It had to be about the flight only. Not about his family, about the daughter, the Hauptmann thing, what happened after the flight... just the flight itself." I'm surprised Wilder, a Jew who lost 3/4 of his family in Auschwitz, was friends with the Nazi-loving Lindbergh.
As one example of a story Wilder could not put into the movie, Wilder confided that he heard a story from newspapermen who were in Long Island with Lindbergh the night before he was to take off on his famous flight. The newspapermen "told me a little episode that happened there, and that would have been enough to make this a real picture.
The episode was that Lindbergh was waiting for the clouds to disappear - the rain and the weather had to be perfect before he took off. There was a waitress in a little restaurant there. She was young, and she was very pretty. And they come to her and said, "Look, this young guy there, Lindbergh, sweet, you know, handsome.... (His plane is) going to be a flying coffin, full of gas, and he's not going to make it. But we come to you for the following reason. The guy has never been laid. Would you do us a favor, please. Just knock on the door, because the guy cannot sleep...."
So she does it. And then, at the very end of the picture, when there's the parade down Fifth Avenue, millions of people, and there is the girl standing there in the crowd. She's waving at him. And he doesn't see her. She waves her hand at him, during the ticker-tape parade, the confetti raining down. He never sees her. He's God now. This would be, this alone would be, enough to make the picture. Would have been a good scene. That's right – would have been a good scene. But I could not even suggest it to him.

[Wilder mentioned several times throughout the book how he would have loved to put that episode in the movie, eg. p. 90: ... And just that girl, who we'd see again at the very end. And you fade out on that [Wistfully:] That would have made the whole picture.

After Wilder said there's no way he could have even mentioned asked Lindbergh about filming this episode, Crowe asks, "Couldn't you have had your producer bring it up?"

 Wilder responds:

No. Absolutely not. They would have withdrawn the book or something. "There you go, Hollywood, out of here!" I don't know - very tough guy, very tough guy. I know, because I pulled jokes on him. One day when we were flying to Washington, Charles Lindbergh and I, we were going to the Smithsonian Institution to see the real Spirit of St. Louis, which we had duplicated. Hanging off the ceiling, it's there. And we were in a plane flying to Washington, and it's very very rough, so I turned to him and I said, "Charles, wouldn't it be fun if this plane now crashed, can you see the headlines? – LUCKY LINDY IN CRASH WITH JEWISH FRIEND!" And he said, Oh, no no no, don't talk like this!"


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: stanton on December 12, 2013, 02:50:58 AM
So you wouldn't watch other Wilder movies because these are mostly comedies?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 12, 2013, 03:41:38 AM
Final post on  Conversations with Wilder by Cameron Crowe:

9) RE: the French New Wave (pp. 186-187)

I was very friendly with Louis Malle, and I knew Truffaut. The whole bunch of them, I knew them. That was a thing, they thougt they had found something new. It was not all that new, but it was very good. For instance. Mr. Truffaut's picture Day for Night [1973]. That's a real masterpiece, I think. Really funny, and really good. I told him so. Just before he died, fortunately. I don't know, it was just a new way of making pictures, but it was not quite a new way, because certain pictures were already nouvelle vague before them. I don't like Godard. I think there behind the mask of the sophisticated man, there hides nothing but a dilettante. Wilder goes on to say, "Breathless, that was the only good one."

10) As a young reporter in Germany, Wilder walked into Frued's house and tried to interview him. Freud, who hated reporters, took a look at Wilder's press credentials and said, "There is the door!"

11) Crowe asks about Mike Nichols and Carnal Knowledge.
Billy says:
 Mike Nichols is a very fine director. I like him very much. I miss the days when there were more directors of import like Nichols. You looked forward to their work. Carnal Knowledge was a good picture..."

12) Crowe asks Wilder about his famous statement at an AFI interview, "I don't do cinema, I make movies."

Yeah, that's right. I make movies, for amusement. That's the difference between a bound book and a thing to be continued every week in the Saturday Evening Post. In other words, you just do it for the moment. It is not to be bound. There are only a few pictures [worthy of that], here and there, from other people – Eisenstein, or Mr. Lean, David Lean. I just do not like to think in kind if inspired language that we're not making pictures, we are making [with grand accent] CINEMA!

13) (p. 223) I liked Jaws very much... The Godfather was a first-class picture, one of the best pictures ever made.

14) And finally, Crowe says that for many years "there was lots of popular culture in Wilder's films," he was "very connected to popular culture.. there's jazz, there's 'hip' dialogue, all very current, and he asks, "I wonder when you staretd to feel that popular culture was parting company with you.

Billy responds:

It was the end of jazz. It was always that I was a guy who was trying to speak to as many people as I possiblyn could. I was not a guy who was writing deep-dish revelations, or writing a play like Waiting for Gadot. That did not interest me. It interested me to life the taste of the average person, just lift it a little bit. With some pictures, people leave the theater and it's forgotten. If people see a picture of mine, and then sit down in a drugstore in a neighborhood or have coffee and talk about it for fifteen minutes, that is a very fine reward, I think. That's good enough for me."


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 12, 2013, 03:42:17 AM
So you wouldn't watch other Wilder movies because these are mostly comedies?

correct


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 17, 2013, 04:39:47 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VO5vZlEFL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

I wonder if this book was subsidized by the Italian Tourism Council, just as The Broker might have been. Anyway, I can't judge what an american "american football" fan  may find here that might interest him. Maybe the description of the field actions are excellent but I'm not a fan and so I just skipped over them. Anyway, as to plot this is as unimaginative as can be, lacking a dose of humour (except in the description of the first approach of a NFL player to Italy) which might render the reading memorable. Grisham knows though how to keep a good plot rhythm but you don't want to read this stuff again. Just use it as a travelogue if you plan to visit Parma. 5\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 18, 2013, 10:50:24 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41LyCPFcbEL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Originally published in 1968 and last reprinted in 1982 (the paperback edition I read), this would be an excellent collection of essays mainly composed of excerpts from books were it not that the truth about most of the cases discussed was brought to light only in the last two decades. For example, it would look as "Cicero" was really a British double agent. So a visit to wikipedia after reading some of the artcles is mandatory.  But the reading was engrossing, as some very interesting cases I had never heard before of were discussed: the Noel Field family's disappearance, the Zimmermann telegram, the Gouzenko almost failed defection, or the most incredible of all: the Ievno Aseff double crossing of czar's secret police and the would-be czar's revolutionary assassins. Not to talk of Alfred Redl. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 25, 2013, 07:23:25 AM
(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_CJpb8TFW0zk/TBhvp-K7qvI/AAAAAAAAA9U/UuDPXqhgfhI/s400/bill+bryson.jpg)

These notes on the modern american way of life are sometime funny, sometime perceptive and sometime sad as compared to Bryson's experiences in his own country 20 years before and in Great Britain. It makes an amusing reading anyway, though apparently some american readers took it as an anti-american attack, which is not. 8\10  


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 25, 2013, 07:29:40 AM
(https://covers.openlibrary.org/b/id/6566332-M.jpg)

A third of the book is about the legal feud and it's the part that is narratively compelling, as usual with this author. the rest is padding, this time of the preachy kind, about the D.C. homeless. But if I want to read about them I buy some essay on the subject. 8\10 for the first plot, 3\10 for the padding.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 26, 2013, 06:42:09 PM
(http://img6.bdbphotos.com/images/orig/q/o/qoinv3mx6wmpxmwn.jpg?obn5da3o)


I liked this, as there was less padding and preaching than usual, though I think that this stuff should go beyond 200 pages instead of the roughly 500 of the paperback edition I read. The "class action" theme from the lawyers pov is something  I had no idea before and the catches it might involve (though I saw them coming ) make the reading compulsive. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 26, 2013, 07:35:46 PM
The New York Yankees: An Informal History, by Frank Graham

great book on the early history of the greatest baseball team of all-time. Was first published in 1943 (with results through the '42 season), then published again in 1947 (with results through the '46 season). It was re-printed in 2002, but I got an edition from the '40's on Amazon (11th impression of the 1947 version).


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 29, 2013, 06:56:37 PM
(http://www.ryo.se/bokbilder/102339.jpg)

Bogdanovich is not a film critic of the obnoxious kind, the one who searches for hidden meanings and (gay) subtexts: he lets people talk and he had the fortune of being able to let some great ones do it. It is always interesting and you get a wagonload of otherwise unavailable infos. The pieces I prefer are the ones on Dietrich and the party at Camp David. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 29, 2013, 08:43:18 PM
Trevor Howard: A Gentleman and a Player - Vivienne Knight - More interesting than the Michael Munn bio I read awhile back. But as the authorized biography it's obviously geared to paint a positive impression, even in circumstances that don't flatter the subject. Here I learned, albeit through winks and nods, that Howard was an inveterate womanizer and Helen Cherry tolerated it for decades. There's a woman - clap her! That leaves Terence Pettigrew's 2001 bio, which I understand is more critical.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 29, 2013, 08:45:14 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41LyCPFcbEL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Originally published in 1968 and last reprinted in 1982 (the paperback edition I read), this would be an excellent collection of essays mainly composed of excerpts from books were it not that the truth about most of the cases discussed was brought to light only in the last two decades. For example, it would look as "Cicero" was really a British double agent. So a visit to wikipedia after reading some of the artcles is mandatory.  But the reading was engrossing, as some very interesting cases I had never heard before of were discussed: the Noel Field family's disappearance, the Zimmermann telegram, the Gouzenko almost failed defection, or the most incredible of all: the Ievno Aseff double crossing of czar's secret police and the would-be czar's revolutionary assassins. Not to talk of Alfred Redl. 8\10

Titoli, have you read Peter Hopkirk's stuff? Something tells me he'd be up your alley.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on December 30, 2013, 05:23:01 AM
Titoli, have you read Peter Hopkirk's stuff? Something tells me he'd be up your alley.

No, I didn't. I'll check him out.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: sargatanas on December 31, 2013, 11:41:36 PM
STUNTMAN !
Hal Needham

car crashes - plane jumping - bone breaking
death - defying - hollywood life  
the show must go on

 O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 02, 2014, 07:34:01 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51nFlfqAmHL._.jpg)

The movie follows quite closely the book, not only in the main plot but also in some dialogues and details. But there are some relevant differences, inevitables considering that the book, in the paperback edition, is more than 500 pages long. The narrator has a knack for explaining all the procedures of a trial and he never refrains from commenting whatever move his trial adversary makes. So I wonder how many readers made it to the end. Actually the last 50 pages are the least dramatically effective as the include the final arguments by the parts and the reading of the defensive instructions by the judge. To skip them though would be a pity, as the defensive plead explains something that in the movie isn't clear, i.e. that the victim had set the scene expecting the murderer to arrive and kill him, being thwarted in his scheme by the fact that the Lt. was left-handed.  The character played by Stewart is younger, so much so that he finally gets the girl Mary Pilant who here is not the daughter of the victim. Here the lawyer plays the drums, not the piano.  There are no "panties" lost and so all the Mary Pilant decisive revelation  (especially on a dramaturgically pov) is not there. I think that, on the whole, the book is better than the movie, though the bulk may attract only non casual readers. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: stanton on January 02, 2014, 03:40:33 PM
Since when are books better than films?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 02, 2014, 04:10:40 PM
Since when are books better than films?

That depends on the books.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: stanton on January 02, 2014, 04:18:37 PM
The quality of books can only be measured by their "filmability". It is the aim of books to be in a serving function for films. Otherwise they are more or less worthless.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 02, 2014, 04:24:21 PM
It is the aim of books to be in a serving function for films.

You've read this or was it in a movie's dialogue?



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: stanton on January 02, 2014, 04:33:49 PM
No, I invented it, but not this evening. But I doubt that I have the only copyright.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 04, 2014, 07:37:29 PM
(http://isbn.abebooks.com/bwk/42/14/0140293442.jpg)

Totally different from the light comedy by the same name, it is a reflection on life  through the passion for football. Maybe is the best book on football fanaticism written so far and milions of supporters like me can relive the same experiences of their early teen years, when first sufffering the illness of football passion. Still I would like to ask the author why he left apart a side of the supporting experience which is as essential as the rooting for, i.e. the rooting against. I think it is impossible for football fans to watch any football match without rooting for one of the sides. All the more so when the result of a match it is decisive for that of your own side. Anyway a good reading experience for the fans of the game. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on January 04, 2014, 09:31:55 PM
FIVE O'CLOCK LIGHTNING: RUTH, GEHRIG, DIMAGGIO, MANTLE, AND THE GLORY YEARS OF THE NY YANKEES, by Tommy Henrich and Bill Gilbert...... This is a GREAT autobiography of Tommy Henrich, the terrific Yankee right fielder/first baseman from 1937-1950 (though, like many players of his era, he missed 3 seasons due to military service in WW2.) Henrich, was teammates with the great DiMaggio longer than anyone else. In recounting each of Henrich's years with the Yankees, Henrich/Gilbert you a nice flavor of the times, discussing the latest electronic gadgets, cars, movies, etc. Henrich was a great believer in team spirit and Yankee pride, and he is not shy about sharing his opinion about various issues in the game then and now (ie. When the book was written, around 1991), such as to call out the modern-day ballplayers, whom he believes lack some of the characteristics of the players of Henrich's era. This book is a must-read for any fan of Yankee history, and a fun read for any baseball fan.... Along with Charlie Keller in left and the great DiMaggio in center, Henrich was a member of one of the finest offensive outfields of all-time. Henrich was most famous for a strikeout that led to his team's VICTORY in Game 4 of the 1941 World Series; when, with the Yanks trailing with two outs in the 9th inning, Henrich swung and missed for the third strike from Brooklyn reliever Hugh Casey (which Henrich just says was a curveball, though it has long been rumored to have been a spitter) for what would have been the final out.... but the ball got past catcher Mickey Owen for a passed ball, Henrich made it safely to first; a succession of Yankee hits later, and the Bombers won the game and then wrapped up the Series the next day. I once heard him do a radio interview, just after the great DiMaggio died in 1999; there is one thing I remember from that interview - Henrich's reply when asked about those who say Ted Williams was a better ballplayer than Dimaggio: "Humbugs!"


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 05, 2014, 07:33:14 AM
The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism - Doris Kearns Goodwin - Another sprawling slice of Presidential history from Goodwin, after her excellent Team of Rivals. As the title indicates it focuses mainly on Roosevelt and Taft's friendship, and its relationship to/effect on progressive politics at the turn of the last century. The book excels when dealing with this aspect, providing well-rounded portraits of both men. A lot's been written about Roosevelt but the sympathetic treatment of Taft, a good though plodding man, is very welcome. The title's third tier, exploring the role of muckraking journalists in social change, is comparatively anemic. Though Roosevelt knew and occasionally consulted the likes of Jacob Riis and Lincoln Steffens, Goodwin largely keeps them off to the side in her story, awkwardly fitting into the narrative. Calling it the Golden Age of Journalism, when the sensationalist "yellow press" proved as impactful as McClure's, seems a reach too.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on January 07, 2014, 04:11:30 PM
Mrs. Duberly's Campaigns - E.E.P. Tisdall - Serviceable biography of Fanny Duberly. Should this remarkable woman's adventures interest you, her diaries are readily available online. Little reason to pick this one up.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 09, 2014, 08:37:48 AM
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/6/6b/Harry_Potter_and_the_Philosopher%27s_Stone_Book_Cover.jpg)

A good collection of popular fiction tropes with a light touch of humor and originality, it is the kind of book I'd give 7\10. But as the author is good-looking it earns 8\10.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 09, 2014, 08:47:32 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/413J0HH11RL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg)

Glanville is not the best british football journalist but he is important for his documentaries (notably Goal! on 1966 WC) and his probes into italian major teams attempts at bribery toward the referees in the european cups in the '60's and 70's. But the book is filled with pages and pages dedicated to irrelevant matters and not very-well edited. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 21, 2014, 01:45:10 PM
(http://csimg.webmarchand.com/srv/FR/00000976850899o/T/340x340/C/FFFFFF/url/vidocq-eric-perrin.jpg)

Excellent biography of a very interesting figure.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 01, 2014, 03:36:01 PM
(http://www.liveneg.com/upload/13/121/1207/1206348_img1.jpg)


(http://bookzangle.com/images/books/00043/009718.jpg)

An excellent report on campus life in the Deep South in the '50's (but I presume it is still valid nowadays). What prevents me to give it full rating is the fact that some of the pages and of the characters sound more like the idea we have been induced to form of them through media than as real characters (Elisabeth to me is a variation of Sylvia Plath's in The Bell Jar).  9\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 01, 2014, 07:41:46 PM
Louis Edward Nolan and His Influence on British Cavalry - Louis Moyse-Bartlett - Adequate biography of the cavalryman who delivered the message triggering the Charge of the Light Brigade. Arguably Moyse-Bartlett does a better job sketching the British Army circa 19th Century than his protagonist, though he does show Nolan a visionary thinker.

The Civil War on the Western Border, 1854-1865 - Jay Monahan - Sprawling history focusing on the brush fire wars in Missouri and Kansas, from the Kansas-Nebraska Act through Sterling Price's last invasion of Missouri. Monahan crafts a compelling narrative with a broad scope and colorful characters (Sterling Price, Jim Lane, Joseph Shelby, Stand Waite), handling the military action and sociopolitical developments equally well. Some annoying errors - he insists on calling William Quantrill "Charles" - that don't mar the overall work.

The Chanak Affair - David Walder - Focuses on how British policymakers forced Greece into an ill-advised invasion of post-WWI Ottoman Empire, triggering Mustafa Kemal's rebellion and the emergence of modern Turkey. Not bad, but nothing David Fromkin or Margaret Macmillan don't cover better.

Slimed! An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age - Mathew Klickstein - Entertaining so far as it goes, featuring interviews of various Nickelodeon stars, writers and animators. One obvious limitation is that the book focuses only on early '90s Nickelodeon, meaning plenty on Ren and Stimpy and Salute Your Shorts, nothing on, say, Rocko's Modern Life or The Angry Beavers. For nostalgic '90s kids like me, worth reading.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 01, 2014, 10:59:24 PM
The House That Ruth Built: A New Stadium, the First Yankees Championship, and the Redemption of 1923, by Robert Weintraub


Really good book, very well-researched  O0 O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 04, 2014, 11:17:05 AM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTYwMFg5OTg=/$(KGrHqZHJDgE-VFvJF3yBPlw-+6Bug~~60_12.JPG)

The follow-up to The Foreign Student and just as good, or even better.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 07, 2014, 03:48:57 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ER3TJ5C2L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX342_SY445_CR,0,0,342,445_SH20_OU02_.jpg)


This interview made in 1999 by the great british historian about the new century's perspectives it tastes already stale. The internet has developed much faster than he thought, even in the lesser developed countries and his reading of the future developments in world politics and economics will have to wait some other decade to prove wrong or right. Other books by the author are much more rewarding: Bandits and Primitive Rebels, for example. He also wrote about jazz but in amateurish fashion.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 08, 2014, 07:09:17 AM
Death in Venice - Thomas Mann - Works much better as a book than movie. It lacks Visconti's annoying flashbacks, and the difference in Aschenbach's character helps: he's a successful novelist instead of the movie's hack composer. There's still the perverse subject matter, but at least Mann's presumed intention of presenting Tadzio as an aesthetic rather than sexual ideal can be gleaned in literary form.

Mephisto - Klaus Mann - Thomas's son and his story of an actor selling his soul to the Nazis. I prefer Szabo's film since he gets to the Nazi era and resulting moral compromises sooner. Mann describes Weimar theater in some detail, with characters resembling Marlene Dietrich among others, which takes up almost two-thirds of the book before getting to the meatier sections.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 12, 2014, 06:20:18 PM
Gaston Leroux - The Haunted Chair

(http://jbergami.chez.com/livres_bd/le_fauteuil_hante.jpg)

Hard to get in english, it is a very good terror short novel, midway between horror-fantasy-mystery with a touch of comedy (an analphabet is elected to the Académie française). A turnpager.   


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 20, 2014, 10:01:53 PM
(http://theburleskbangus.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/train.jpg)

By the same author I only knew Rising Sun and didn't like it very much, though it was a 6\10 rating. But this one is very good. The narration is based on true facts (though some fictional, adventurous elements are introduced), the criminals are made to speak in the underworld jargon of the times, unaccessible even to some of the characters in the book; and most of the chapters are introduced by informations on the victorian era pertaining to what is going to happen in the story. I saw the movie some decades ago and wasn't much impressed (because it was dubbed, I presume) but I'll try to watch it again as the trailer looks promising: Connery saying "I wanted the money" is alone worth the price of admission. 10\10   


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 23, 2014, 06:09:25 PM
(http://cache1.bdcdn.net/assets/images/book/large/9780/8256/9780825672804.jpg)

It took me a while to get through it, as I accompanied the review of every song written by Bacharach by listening to it on the tube where about 80% of B's output is available. The book being more than 10 years old will be probably brought to date when Bacharach won't produce any more. Indispensable for the fans who would like to know more titles than those 40-50 of public domain, though i feel at odds with the author's appraisings, especially regarding the newest production. There's no analytical musical evaluation, but all is written in a colloquial style, funny at times. 10\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 28, 2014, 10:59:25 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51wDhJF-gYL._SY445_.jpg)

A good overview of the genre (the historical mystery) with much room left to the authors own view and approaches. But some of the second part might have been left out. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 01, 2014, 06:19:10 AM
The Inquisition in Hollywood - Larry Ceplair - Overview of the plight leftist filmmakers faced in Hollywood from the Depression years through 1960. Ceplar examines how progressives reacted to the tumultuous time period: the frayed alliance between liberals and communists, the collapse of the Popular Front after the Hitler-Stalin Pact, their confused reaction to the blacklist. He blames the studios rather than HUAC for the blacklist, showing them buckling under public pressure and cowardice. A very interesting and nuanced approach to the topic, with a few shortcomings. The near-exclusive focus on screenwriters yields a fairly limited dividend. Directors and actors affected by the blacklist are barely mentioned. Then there's the fact that Hollywood anticommunists, perhaps not surprisingly, are marginalized or ridiculed. Still worth reading for those whom interests.

Fascist Voices: An Intimate History of Mussolini's Italy - Christopher Duggan Remarkable book detailing life under Benito Mussolini's Fascist government. Duggan draws from diaries, letters and private correspondence to detail the upheaval wrought by Mussolini's reign. He shows Mussolini's appeal rested on several pillars: Italian nationalism frustrated since Garibaldi's Risorgimento; a "sick," barely functioning democracy; Italy's disastrous performance in World War I and diplomatic "betrayal" at Versailles. By Duggan's account, Mussolini was the right man in the right time, charismatic, decisive and a master of image. And as he shows, most Italians stood by Il Duce until the consequences of his autarchist, imperialist New Order became inescapable. Duggan may be faulted for downplaying Fascism's cultural and economic sides, but it's otherwise an incredibly balanced, nuanced work.

D'Annunzio: The Poet as Superman - Anthony Rhodes - Old biography of Gabriele D'Annunzio, the famed poet, novelist, war hero, freebooter and proto-Fascist. He's an interesting man and Rhodes does him justice, though his comments and analysis occasionally border on sneering. There's a more recent biography of D'Annunzio by Lucy Hughes-Hallett that I'm keen on checking out.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 02, 2014, 11:26:56 AM
(http://www.anniesbooks.co.uk/my%20documents/images/books/005253.jpg)

An excellent thriller (though some may not put up with the pervasive medical lingo) with sustained rhythm, in spite of being almost 50 years old. It earned a Edgar award for the author, a fact which, at the time, quite embarrassed him. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 07, 2014, 11:55:28 AM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/t/Appeal-John-Grisham-2008-Paperback/00/$T2eC16V,!zUE9s38+COlBRb0mtGBdQ~~_32.JPG?set_id=89040003C1)

Grisham is good at illustrating possible (or factual) conspiracies, even if he is not able to build credible characters (they are all so bad or so good. But this book is a pageturner for 9\10 and is worth a solid 8\10.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 10, 2014, 05:31:28 AM
(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/08/ciu/bf/50/5f35c27a02a0db606b3fa110.L.jpg)



The 3-year manhunt for France's PE n.1 as told by the policeman who, literally, caught him in 1950. A real pageturner (Borniche is as good a storyteller as he tells he is a good policeman) makes me looking forward to watch the movie apparently as good as the book.  


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 10, 2014, 05:33:40 AM
(http://thumbs2.ebaystatic.com/d/l225/m/mM8kb2UGeeOH5vJaUcNM9bg.jpg)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 11, 2014, 08:59:35 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pJRjEqHZL._.jpg)

Autobiographical novel on the author's vicissitudes as a orphan teenager in  a  correctional institute in thirties France. Strangely only a few years ago a movie was made out of it. 8\10


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmD46qIxgP0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 11, 2014, 03:51:08 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41cA23lQnnL._SL500_.jpg)

Follow up to the former. The fact that both books end up with the protagonist killing somebody makes me assume they're not completely autobiographical. Anyway this one is even better than the first one, as it depicts the Paris underworld of the 30's, like Simonin did for the previous decade, though with less display of argot. A movie was made from the book, with a great cast (Pampanini !, Pellegrin, Trintignant !!, De Funes !!! et Ventura) but apparently not to be found anywhere on line. Hope some copy does exist from vhs or from tv. I would like to see it. 9\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 15, 2014, 07:52:52 PM
(http://pmcdn.priceminister.com/photo/henri-charriere-papillon-livre-861013626_ML.jpg)

I read this in 1970 or 1971, as soon as it was translated. It holds well, probably I liked it even more this time in the original (btw, it is written in a quite basic french). Charriere was not the protagonist in real life of all the adventures in the book (he said that only 75% of the book was autobiographical, but some say that the percentage should be lowered to a generous 10%. I tend to agree with the last)  but he's a good story teller and keeps you interested for all the almost 700 pages of the paperback editiion: not a small feat. I would have done without the indian village episode (but there are some readers who think is the best of the book) and with some repetitive reflections. Charriere put  together some of his own experiences, some which he got from other bagnards, some from books like Belbenoit's and some, I'd bet, from movies (I think that the bagne turc episode was taken from Thunderball). 8\10       


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 18, 2014, 09:59:22 AM
(http://mensolerie.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/livre20papillon20banco.jpg?w=222&h=300)

If you liked Papillon, then you should like this as well. Charriere is a good storyteller, though the story may not be his own as he claims to be. Here he explains facts about his background both before and after the bagne. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 22, 2014, 06:36:13 PM
STENGEL, HIS LIFE AND TIMES, by Robert W. Creamer


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 22, 2014, 11:42:44 PM
(http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1174337544l/382615.jpg)

If you are a Hammett fan this is not to be missed, especially for the hundred of never seen before pictures. The little daughter also gives some bits of infos I can't remember having read in other biographies (but I read them long time ago, so I could be wrong on that account). Unfortunately I read a french translation of the book, which is just atrocious ("Scottie" Fitzgerald is made to become a woman). If you're not a fan though you should start from other biographies, Layman or Johnson. 9\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 25, 2014, 08:00:18 AM
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/rf/image_296w/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2014/01/16/BookWorld/Images/lostdomain.jpg)

This classic story delivered what Schnitzler's Traumnovelle  failed to : a real impression of magic. This has been criticized for his second part, when all of the magic of the first is explained. I disagree, though I think some cut would have been in order. 8\10.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 01, 2014, 03:21:20 PM
Sadly, I ran out of baseball books last week, so I had to read one of the political books (first one I have ever read voluntarily, i.e. For non-school purposes) that happen to be sitting on my shelf: REAL CHANGE, by Newt Gingrich.

Happily, a few baseball books I ordered from Amazon came today, so I am back in business. Just in time for baseball season; Yankees' first game is tonight :) :) :) :) :) :)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 02, 2014, 06:13:28 PM
I've read a lot since the last time I posted here, mostly pertaining to Nazi German, German cinema and Nazi German cinema. Won't recap them all but a few highlights.

Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism...absurd. He doesn't content himself with arguing Fascism as a left-wing ideology, invoking dubious variants of Godwin's Law and guilt by association to tar FDR/JFK/Hillary Clinton with the swastika brush (Hitler liked organic food, liberals like organic food, for one hilarious example). Goldberg argues, in all seriousness, that pretty much everything in modern culture, from Brokeback Mountain to the Cookie Monster, is evidence of creeping fascism. If I didn't know the author I'd assume this was an elaborate prank.

Several Leni Riefenstahl books. Steven Bach's Leni: The Life and Work of Leni Riefenstahl struck me as a vindictive hatchet job: he always assumes the worst about his subject while repeating dubious gossip and insinuation (a close relationship with Hitler and Goebbels, the Tiefland gypsy controversy). Compared to his admirably balanced Marlene Dietrich biography, it smacked of slander. Then I read Riefenstahl's memoirs and changed my mind. I've rarely encountered a memoirist with such utter lack of candor: Riefenstahl claims she didn't understand the difference between Nazism and Communism, says with a straight face that Triumph of the Will is mere "recording of history," and sees a wide-ranging conspiracy to ruin her career. Her response to the Nazi era is essentially "yes, I made films for Hitler - why are you picking on me?" After reading Leni's own words, Bach's characterization seems eminently fair.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 15, 2014, 11:21:57 PM
(http://robertarood.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/bests.jpg)

This brick (800 pages) is not up to the promise of the title. A more adequate one should have had "crime" for the "mystery". And still, one wonders about the choice having been made of the best, as some of the stories are merely undistinguished (Paretski's, e.g.). And one wonders also about some evident absences (Rex Stout, for one. Or Spillane). But it is the preference of many works by non-practitioners which is annoying, over works by pulpsters. True, a cultist is more likely to own already the work by the last and not the story by Flannery O'Connor or even O'Henry. But as this anthology is intended for the general reader it should have striven for a more parochial look at the field.   So for me the value lies in the discovery of an author like Shirley Jackson and of a remarkable story by Stephen King. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 16, 2014, 05:56:45 AM
Lawrence: The Uncrowned King of Arabia - Michael Asher - There is one (1) neat thing about this book: Asher actually tries to replicate some of Lawrence's feats, finding many of them exaggerated or unlikely. Otherwise very derivative and unoriginal.

To Begin the World Over Again: Lawrence of Arabia from Damascus to Baghdad - Jon Hulsman - The author explores Lawrence's approach to "nation-building" and how it would apply in a modern context. He's persuasive on some points, especially a) Lawrence's ability to work with Arabs, b) arguing Lawrence sold out his principles by helping place Feisal on Iraq's throne. Emphasizes his political/diplomatic achievements, so not a straight biography, but worth reading.

John Wayne: The Life and Legend - Scott Eyman - Newest bio of the Duke. I'd only read Michael Munn's gossipy, hero-worshipping book so this one was a pleasant surprise. This is a warts-and-all biography without dwelling on the warts; Eyman explores Wayne's acting career, examines his lasting appeal, his tumultuous personal life and political activism, generally withholding judgment. Eyman doesn't cover specific films at any great length, with a few exceptions like The Alamo, but he covers a lot of ground in 500 pages. Pretty solid as celebrity biographies go.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: dave jenkins on April 16, 2014, 06:24:53 AM
Lawrence: The Uncrowned King of Arabia - Michael Asher - There is one (1) neat thing about this book: Asher actually tries to replicate some of Lawrence's feats, finding many of them exaggerated or unlikely. Otherwise very derivative and unoriginal.
Can ya give us a ferinstance?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 16, 2014, 04:57:10 PM
The standout one is Asher trying to cross the Sinai Desert on camelback in 48 hours, which Lawrence claims he was able to do in Seven Pillars. He fails.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 16, 2014, 06:57:02 PM


John Wayne: The Life and Legend - Scott Eyman - Newest bio of the Duke. I'd only read Michael Munn's gossipy, hero-worshipping book so this one was a pleasant surprise. This is a warts-and-all biography without dwelling on the warts; Eyman explores Wayne's acting career, examines his lasting appeal, his tumultuous personal life and political activism, generally withholding judgment. Eyman doesn't cover specific films at any great length, with a few exceptions like The Alamo, but he covers a lot of ground in 500 pages. Pretty solid as celebrity biographies go.

I also read Munn's bio. Munn is definitely a Wayne fan (who isn't?) but I don't know if I'd call it hero-worshipping; Munn is pretty clear about the warts. For instance, he talks about how Wayne's then-mistress (I think it was Pilar?) got an abortion cuz her having a kid with Wayne while Wayne was married to the other babe would have messed up Wayne in divorce proceedings; I was not aware of that. He talks a lot about Wayne's womanizing.

And what do you think of the whole supposed Soviet plot to assassinate Wayne? A plot that somehow Yakima Canutt and Orson Welles and Wayne uncovered - supposedly some Commies in Hollywood knew about this plot and that's how Wayne's camp found it out? I wouldn't doubt that the Soviets might want Wayne  - the biggest movie star in the world bashing them like that - dead. But that story sounds more than a little fantastic to me. Munn just presents it without saying whether he agrees or disagrees, he simply quotes Canutt/Wayne/Welles and leaves it at that...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 16, 2014, 07:03:13 PM
SEASON OF GLORY, by Ralph Houk and Robert W. Creamer.

This book is about the great 1961 Yankees. Creamer writes a portion about the team, then there's a few paragraphs from Houk (the manager of that team) reminiscing; then Creamer writes some more, then a few more paragraphs from Houk, etc. For example, Creamer may write a chapter about the team's performance in April, then Houk will discuss his recollections of April; then Creamer will write about Ryne Duren, and Houk will then talk about Ryne Duren.

Unfortunately, this book has a lot of game play-by-play, which I always find boring. Creamer is a world-class baseball researcher/biographer - having written THE definitive biographies of Babe Ruth and Casey Stengel - but in this book, maybe cuz there isn't all that much else to write about a single season, he goes into a lot of game play-by-play, and I skipped much of that. When he is not doing play-by-play, but discussing a subject - eg. the media's torment of Roger Maris, Ford fRick's torment of Maris, Maris's torment of himself, etc. - then Creamer is as interesting as always.

Overall, though, I am glad the book was written, cuz it's nice to have a book commemorating one of the greatest teams in baseball history.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 16, 2014, 09:21:58 PM
Quote
And what do you think of the whole supposed Soviet plot to assassinate Wayne? A plot that somehow Yakima Canutt and Orson Welles and Wayne uncovered - supposedly some Commies in Hollywood knew about this plot and that's how Wayne's camp found it out? I wouldn't doubt that the Soviets might want Wayne  - the biggest movie star in the world bashing them like that - dead. But that story sounds more than a little fantastic to me. Munn just presents it without saying whether he agrees or disagrees, he simply quotes Canutt/Wayne/Welles and leaves it at that...

I'm wary of it considering the source. Munn's claimed in other books that he had an affair with Ava Gardner at age 17, got hit by George Raft's car, converted David Niven to Mormonism and became drinking buddies with Steve McQueen and Richard Burton. Either he's the most interesting man in the world or a colossal fraud.

Though if anyone were crazy enough to sanction Wayne's assassination, it would have been Stalin. He wasn't wary about bumping off dissident Soviet artists.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 18, 2014, 06:21:00 AM
Here is a short article by Eyman for TCM about his Wayne bio http://www.tcm.com/this-month/movie-news.html?id=965770&name=John-Wayne-The-Life-and-Legend


I mentioned in other threads that TCM is playing Wayne movies for over 100 hours straight next week from Monday-Saturday. Well now I see that Eyman will be introducing those movies along with Robert Osborne
http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/968558|0/John-Wayne-Star-of-the-Month-4-21-4-25.html
(this link doesn't work when clicked on; just drag the whole think into your address bar and it'll come up fine   ;) )



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 18, 2014, 03:07:42 PM
Thanks Drink. I found Eyman's John Ford book at the library today. I'll give it a look, though I'm skeptical it can top Joseph McBride's Searching for John Ford.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 18, 2014, 03:21:40 PM
Lawrence of Arabia: A Biographical Enquiry - Richard Aldington - 2nd reading. My opinion's basically unchanged four years and 30-some Lawrence books after my first go-around. Whatever its merits in introducing critical discourse to Lawrence writing, it's still a nasty work by an author who hates Lawrence, one senses, because he became famous while Aldington toiled in obscurity. Hence the references to Aldington and his Western Front colleagues being the "real heroes" of WWI, the disparagement of Seven Pillars as a lousy book, the racist taunts towards the Arabs (including a bald statement they were better under Anglo-French rule), the accusations ranging from understandable (Lawrence as self-promoting and facetious) to contentious (Lawrence as homosexual?) to bizarre (Lawrence as lazy!?!). Possibly Aldington was trying for an Eminent Victorians-style debunking, but he lacks Lytton Strachey's wit and playfulness. Mostly he seems a hateful bastard.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 22, 2014, 06:47:03 PM
(http://www.atelierdecreationlibertaire.com/alexandre-jacob/wp-content/uploads/dry-guillotine.jpg)

It seems that Charrière never read it, still this is the real McCoy if one is interested about the stuff which makes up his Papillon. A reviewer at amazon.fr gives the edge to Papillon over this because of its more pervading lyricism. I think that it is just the opposite. This is even tougher, cruder and there is no room whatever for distracting poetical flights which slow down the narrative pace. And there is no room also for positive characters which abound in Papillon. This book was awarded a Pulitzer in 1938 and was a smash hit (I have a 14th edition printed that same year). 10\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 25, 2014, 09:05:06 PM
(http://www.underscores.fr/images/2008/12/john-barry-midas-touch.jpg)

An informative book, though nil by a critical point of view. Everything JB did is wonderful, beautiful, you name it. It helped me discover many unknown masterpieces but you must check every single work under discussion. 8\10      


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 27, 2014, 07:21:34 AM
Print the Legend: The Life of Jon Ford - Scott Eyman - Not bad, but McBride's book is much better.

Stagecoach to Tombstone - Howard Hughes - Overview of the Western genre, touching most of the usual highlights with a few wild cards (Forty Guns, Ulzana's Raid).

The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith - Thomas Keneally - Loosely based on a true story, a novel about an Aborigine bushranger/serial killer wreaking havoc on Australian whites. Lots of graphic violence and political talk (it takes place around the time of Australia's Federation in 1900) without making the protagonist especially compelling. The film version's better.

The Last Frontier - Howard Fast - Novel about the Northern Cheyenne exodus, one of the two books to inspire Ford's Cheyenne Autumn. The book's definitely hurt by focusing entirely on the white perspective, if only because Fast caricatures them (Carl Schurz and General Sherman, especially). Lots of action and liberal speechmaking but thin characterization and the Indians are bit players in what should be their drama.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 07, 2014, 10:17:39 PM
(http://www.jamesbondfirsteditions.com/jamesbond/images/items/40502.jpg)

This was published just a couple of years after Fleming's death and it still makes a great read, thanx to the very great life the subject had. 9\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 23, 2014, 04:36:28 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/t/For-Your-Eyes-Only-Ian-Fleming-and-James-Bond-Macintyre-Ben-Paperback-New-/00/$(KGrHqN,!jkE1I92hRnkBNfwtINBDg~~_35.JPG?set_id=89040003C1)

Excellent book about the autobiographical sources of Fleming's novels. 10\10.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on May 24, 2014, 04:40:12 AM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/t/For-Your-Eyes-Only-Ian-Fleming-and-James-Bond-Macintyre-Ben-Paperback-New-/00/$(KGrHqN,!jkE1I92hRnkBNfwtINBDg~~_35.JPG?set_id=89040003C1)

Excellent book about the autobiographical sources of Fleming's novels. 10\10.

cool


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 24, 2014, 05:07:58 AM
Australia: A New History of the Great Southern Land - Frank Welsh - Serviceable one-volume history of the Land of Aus. Mostly read it to get a basic understanding of the country's history and politics, and it delivered well-enough.

Goal Dust - Woody Strode and Sam Young - Woody's memoirs written in a loose, conversational style. He focuses more on his sports career (an understandable source of pride) than his film work, though he's plenty of great anecdotes to share. His clowning around with Lee Marvin on the set of The Professionals and testy but loving relationship with John Ford are the most interesting segments. Very complementary towards Sergio Leone who helped Strode find work in Italy after OUATITW.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 24, 2014, 03:33:08 PM
Does he say anything about Leone giving him more close-ups than he had in his entire career?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 24, 2014, 05:25:48 PM
Yes.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 25, 2014, 01:22:09 AM
DRIVING MR. YOGI: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, and Baseball's Greatest Gift, by Harvey Araton

For more than a decade, Yogi Berra has attended Yankee spring trainings as an instructor. During that time, another Yankee legend who serves as spring training instructor, Ron "Gator" Guidry, has been his designated driver. Over the many spring trainings, Gator and Yogi have formed a close bond - Gator calls Yogi his best friend – and this book is a wonderful, warm, sweet, heartwarming, sentimental book about their shared experiences. Yes, I used every cute term I could think of there, but Araton has the great gift of being able to be sentimental without being overly schmaltzy. I also read his book on "the Old Knicks," called WHEN THE GARDEN WAS EDEN, and I noticed the same thing: He is able to beautifully recall an era, stir up the sentimentality in those who experienced it (long before I was born), but never make you cringe with schmaltziness.
This is the sort of book that can be enjoyed not only be the hardcore baseball fan like me, but by anyone who knows even a little about baseball and can appreciate a good human-interest story.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 26, 2014, 06:05:39 AM
(http://placesbrands.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/cities.jpg)

Fleming was sent by the Sunday Times on a trip abroad (replicated with another one on continental europe by car) and Fleming had about 2 days (for each city) to discover what was worth writing for about places like HK, Macao, Tokyo and various USA big cities. The things likeky to capture his interest were brothels, gambling dens and restaurants. Can you blame him? Of course after half a century most of these trip advises are worth nil: but he knew how to keep his readers interest alive, describing characters, local traditions, anecdotes and even adding a James Nond story in the NY chapter. He's a great narrator, with a peculiar style (as Raymond Chandler remarked), the same he adopeted for his novels. If you're a Bond fan this is mandatory reading. 9\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 27, 2014, 11:58:51 AM
(http://www.segnideltempo.it/siteimgs/img377_small.jpg)

This was the first of three mystery novels published by Donati  in the mid-fifties. Very much influenced by the hard-boiled school, the story suffers from having the action set in the Italy of the time, where, admittedly, there were gangsters deported from the USA but the italian streets were not the scene of gang violence like the one depicted here. But what stroke me was the fact that Donati, then a mere college student, has his protagonist working as ghost-writer for cinema screenplayers. Also there are some references to Hollywood movies ("Steve Cochran gangster movies") and to writers like Spillane and McCoy.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on May 27, 2014, 08:32:53 PM
interesting


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 29, 2014, 06:24:11 PM
The Order of the Death's Head: Hitler's SS - Heinz Hohne - Fascinatingly detailed account of Nazi Germany, focusing (as the title suggestions) on Heinrich Himmler and the SS. In many ways the anti-William Shirer: Hohne shows the Third Reich as not a monolithic war machine but a disorganized regime with different factions at each other's throats. On top of his detailed yet extremely readable narrative, Hohne provides unique interpretations of key events. On the Night of the Long Knives, Hohne depicts the SS manipulating Hitler into offing Ernst Rohm and the SA. Where many historians delineate a straight line from Mein Kampf to Auschwitz, Hohne shows the equivocal, hesitant manner the Holocaust turned into full-blown genocide. And Himmler dabbled in anti-Hitler conspiracies throughout the Second World War until the Stauffenberg plot, ironically, elevated him to Germany's second most powerful figure. I'd have to reread, say, Shirer or Evans or Burleigh to test the validity of Hohne's theses, but it's certainly one of the best books on the subject I've encountered.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 29, 2014, 09:32:01 PM
The Order of the Death's Head: Hitler's SS - Heinz Hohne - Fascinatingly detailed account of Nazi Germany, focusing (as the title suggestions) on Heinrich Himmler and the SS. In many ways the anti-William Shirer: Hohne shows the Third Reich as not a monolithic war machine but a disorganized regime with different factions at each other's throats.

Where's the news? Fest wrote as much 50 years ago.

Quote
On top of his detailed yet extremely readable narrative, Hohne provides unique interpretations of key events. On the Night of the Long Knives, Hohne depicts the SS manipulating Hitler into offing Ernst Rohm and the SA. Where many historians delineate a straight line from Mein Kampf to Auschwitz, Hohne shows the equivocal, hesitant manner the Holocaust turned into full-blown genocide. And Himmler dabbled in anti-Hitler conspiracies throughout the Second World War until the Stauffenberg plot, ironically, elevated him to Germany's second most powerful figure. I'd have to reread, say, Shirer or Evans or Burleigh to test the validity of Hohne's theses, but it's certainly one of the best books on the subject I've encountered.


I don't know about Evans or Burleigh, but you must start from scratch: read Fest and Speer.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 30, 2014, 03:27:03 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41priSUqWEL._SL500_.jpg)

I expected more from this. It starts well, but the last third it was hard to follow and to believe: can you picture 5 americans entering URSS and passing themselves as russians? And to get what? A piece of paper. Bah. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 30, 2014, 05:34:10 PM
Where's the news? Fest wrote as much 50 years ago.

This book was written 50 years ago.
 
Quote
I don't know about Evans or Burleigh, but you must start from scratch: read Fest and Speer.

I have read Fest. Speer I haven't found the time.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 30, 2014, 08:15:47 PM
This book was written 50 years ago.
 
I have read Fest. Speer I haven't found the time.

Actually Hohne's book was published in 1967. Fest's The Face of Third Reich in 1963.



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 30, 2014, 08:26:38 PM
Okay, it was written 47 years ago. You win.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 30, 2014, 10:51:19 PM
Oh, come on, don't do the jenkins. I meant if you have read Fest the Hohne's should come to you as news.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 31, 2014, 07:40:39 PM
JOHN MCGRAW, by Charles C. Alexander
A terrific biography of the legendary baseball manager of the "old Orioles" and New York Giants.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on June 02, 2014, 03:41:53 PM
(http://c2.bibtopia.com/h/707/982/224982707.0.m.1.jpg)


Something different from what the title had brought me to expect more than 30 years ago, when I first heard about O'Hata's book. I think that without the sentimental vicissitudes of the female protagonist the book would have been much better. But it's a good reading, actually impressive as to the frank representation of the sexual mores of the age (though that it is not the main theme). 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 03, 2014, 04:00:29 PM
(http://www.boekensite.net/engels/Coversenglish/225eng.jpg)

One of the best by Grisham though, as usual, good in the suspense part and less in the depiction of the trial: half of it could have been condensed. The movie apparently isn't as good as the book. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 03, 2014, 04:03:27 PM
(http://yuq.me/users/25/750/4eOgVASpHo.png)

I liked this one for its irony and also for some of the plots, though the idiomatic language was sometime hard to get. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 05, 2014, 03:25:08 PM
(http://boishare.com/img/2b29bf0b5e2c1f999d59c56392bc3079.jpg)

No coutroom drama, though lawyers and trials are part of the plot, but a solid thriller, though you may see the end coming from the first pages. But Grisham knows how to tell a story and keep you interested. And this time is even a 100 pages under his par. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 09, 2014, 07:29:48 PM
(http://s3.amazonaws.com/static.modcult.org/mc/images/thumbs_1790-You_Play_the_Black_and_the_Red_Comes_Up_F.jpg?1254943390)

I expected more from this one. One of the hardest of the hardboiled novels? Bah, for once I agree with Edmund Wilson dubbing it as a "pastiche". Which means it is no hard at all. The characters are rather uninteresting and the situations you saw them before. There's fast rhythm and some good dialogues (and monologues) but it doesn't compare with the best of the genre. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on July 09, 2014, 09:39:27 PM
I read Bleeding Edge, Thomas Pynchon's most recent novel. Definitely his most well-developed characters, but too similar and not as good as Crying of Lot 49. It was good though. Probably like a 6.5/10 or something.

I also read Ringmaster! by Jerry Springer, all about his life, thoughts, production of his show. Interesting story and an entertaining read. A scripted conversation with "God" at the beginning is a bit corny, but also gives light to Jerry's own corny sense of humor. Also a bit heavy on the "defending myself" thing in terms of false criticisms of the career and show, though his defenses are convincing.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 17, 2014, 08:55:59 AM
(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BrPm6H2IgAAD0Vx.jpg)

I saw the movie a couple of times in a theatre, also on tv but long time since. The novelization of the screenplay is good, made me want to watch the flick again. 7\10  


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 20, 2014, 08:06:22 AM
The Arms of Krupp - William Manchester - Doorstop volume recounting the German steel family's complicity in Wilhelmine and Nazi imperialism. The subject is fascinating but I found Manchester a plodding writer, with a weakness for clunky prose, overlong detours and weird style choices. He probably prolongs the book by 200 pages alone through his habit of placing untranslated German alongside its English form, a quirk which adds nothing. The book really bogs down in the Nazi era, with endless chapters recounting the fate of slave laborers in the Krupp plant. Harrowing stuff, but in context they feel out of place. Badly in need of a copy editor, because there's an excellent 600 page book buried somewhere.

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green - I saw the movie recently, which wasn't bad so far as YA adaptations go. I read the novel in one sitting yesterday and was unimpressed. For some reason, the forced hipster dialogue reads much worse on page than screen, providing taint of snarky self-awareness that undermined the story. The central romance is definitely sweet, but the subplot where Hazel and Gus travel to Amsterdam to meet their favorite author still feels like a waste of time.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: PowerRR on July 24, 2014, 05:52:52 PM
I read Vineland. Along with Gravity's Rainbow, really didn't like this one for Pynchon. Both are way too muddled and all-over-the place to really enjoy the narrative. There were segments in the beginning and the early-ending that caught my attention, but other than that pretty unenjoyable to get through... unfortunately I'm a completionist. Many say Vineland is one of his more straightforward books, but I found it much more difficult than others.

Also read The Disaster Artist which was excellent. It's the story of the "greatest bad movie ever", The Room, written by one of the actors Greg Sestero. Laughs on every page, but also very touching and presented in an unchronological order. James Franco, who is adapting it into a film, describes it as Boogie Nights meets The Master. I read this halfway through the book and agree a good amount on The Master comparisons - not so much Boogie Nights.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 26, 2014, 11:07:41 PM
(http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?id=HN.608009662439622875&pid=15.1&H=258&W=160)

Flashman and the Mountain of Light

Very interesting for me who was totally ignorant of the facts, I found the adventure part (especially the sexual one) redundant and the battles descriptions not very well impressing. Still worth one's time if not well-read on the matter.   


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 27, 2014, 12:41:54 AM
Just finished Scott Eyman's just-released bio of John Wayne.

It is simply a spectacular biography. Incredibly well researched and written (except for the fact that Eyman seems to be unaware that you are supposed to put a comma, and NOT write the word "that," before a quote. You are supposed to write, "He said, 'John was great in this movie,' " NOT "He said that 'John was great in this movie.' ")
Eyman makes no mention of the supposed Commie plot to assassinate Wayne, which Michael Munn talks a shitload about in his Duke bio. (Munn supposedly heard about this plot from Orson Welles and some others.)
Great, great, great job by Eyman.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 27, 2014, 08:45:14 AM
I agree with you on Eyckman's book Drink, one of the best show biz biographies I've read. He's much more objective than the fanboyish Munn, though lacks some of the fun anecdotes.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 27, 2014, 08:45:59 AM
(http://ts4.mm.bing.net/th?id=HN.608009662439622875&pid=15.1&H=258&W=160)

Flashman and the Mountain of Light

Very interesting for me who was totally ignorant of the facts, I found the adventure part (especially the sexual one) redundant and the battles descriptions not very well impressing. Still worth one's time if not well-read on the matter.  

Probably my least favorite Flashman book, for precisely the reasons you mention. Maybe Tiger is worse for the pointless Sherlock Holmes cameo.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on July 27, 2014, 03:51:51 PM
Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark - Brian Kellow - Straightforward, workmanlike biography of Kael. If only from the sheer number of reviews and essays excerpted, you get a much better sense of Kael the critic than Kael the person. Though the glimpses of the latter we do get, eg. her controlling relationship with her daughter and long-running feuds with Andrew Sarris and Penelope Gilliat, aren't flattering. Kellow's mostly laudatory but does take Kael to ask over some of her more controversial pieces, like her Citizen Kane essay (where she blatantly stole information from another researcher) and obsession with Brian De Palma.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 27, 2014, 11:37:39 PM
You can tell Eyman loves the Duke, I don't know if objective is the word. Seems like Munn basically relied upon a handful of interviews plus his own meetings with Wayne, and that's all. Eyman's book seems to be as well-researched and sourced as a bio can ever be. Seriously, we shouldn't even be mentioning the two books in the same sentence or attempt to compare them any more than you'd compare 20-year single malt scotch to bathtub gin. The argument doesn't even start.

RE: Eyman's supposed objectivity: it quite clear he is a liberal. He doesn't make much atttempt to hide it. He doesn't blame Wayne for much (except THE GREEN BERETS); when discussing the anti-commie stuff he basically implies Wayne was in over his head and didn't realize he'd sided with nutjobs and that, in any case, he wasn't nearly as bad or racist as Ward Bond. Basically, Eyman, despite being a liberal, wants to love Wayne, so he tries every excuse possible. (Can't he just say "I am a liberal and I still love Wayne, period, no excuses"?) do you call THAT objectivity? I don't know.
And besides the political stuff, he indeed discusses Wayne, warts and all. But he is very opinionated about Wayne as an actor, which of Wayne's movies he thinks were great and which were awful; which critics were dead wrong in his opinion, etc. Etc. Etc.
So, he is far from a fanboy, but i wouldn't say he is completely objective either. Not that I am complaining. This is a great book beginning to end. (Even though he thinks every non-Wayne conservative is a buffoon ;) )


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 09, 2014, 12:15:08 PM
Two complementary books:

Nixon's Shadow: The History of an Image - David Greenberg
and
Reinventing Richard Nixon: A Cultural History of An American Obsession - Daniel Frick

Greenberg's book explores Nixon's perception by the public at large, from the California conservatives who worshipped him through his liberal enemies and postmortem rehabilitation. Frick's work mainly examines media portrayals, both well-known (Nixon, Frost/Nixon, Secret Honor) and more obscure (the novel The Public Burning and poem Tyrannus Nix). Inevitably they overlap, exploring the same topic: how Nixon's image was shaped by contemporary events and concerns as much as his own actions. An interesting topic, but I'd question whether it's more true of Nixon than any 20th Century figure.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on August 10, 2014, 03:37:53 AM
I am in middle of reading Eli Wallach's autobiography, written in 2005, called "The Good, the Bad, and Me: In My Anecdotage." It is a GREAT book, which Eli wrote himself. Everyone here should read it of he hasn't done do yet


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 10, 2014, 06:42:18 AM
I'm sure I read that at some point. Lots of great anecdotes.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 11, 2014, 07:16:50 PM
The General and the Jaguar - Eileen Welsome - Succinct account of Pancho Villa's Columbus Raid and Pershing's Punitive Expedition. Welsome spends a good amount of time unraveling different factions in the Mexican Revolution, which makes events easier to follow. Welsome sympathizes with Villa up to a point, but the atrocities at Columbus and San Isabel speak for themselves. Her style's a bit irksome, using florid novel-like prose to inject superfluous "color" into the story. But it's nice to read a book-length account of this campagin: I'd only read the chapters in Clarence Crittenden's Blood on the Border beforehand.

The Fredericksburg Campaign: Winter War on the Rappahannock - Francis Augstin O'Reilly - Detailed account of the Battle of Fredericksburg, using eyewitness accounts to cover the battle almost blow-by-blow. Problem is, this battle doesn't really lend itself to such intricate dissection: charge after suicidal charge by the Union Army with the same result does not benefit from recounting each phase in extreme detail. In fairness, the early, less-discussed phase of the battle (Franklin's attack on Prospect Hill) came close to success, but most of the book discusses the Maryes Heights assaults which were hopeless.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on August 17, 2014, 12:59:35 AM
Finished Wallach's book; great stuff!

I also just read Richard Schickel's 1996 biography of Eastwood. Schickel said Leone lied about being born in 1929; he says Leone was really born in '21 .... I forgot if Frayling addresses this or not in STDWD or not; I may go back and check eventually. I recall Frayling saying Leone was born in 1929, I don't remember if he ever addresses that Schickel or anyone else says Leone's true birthday was in 1921.
Schickel says the poncho from the Dollars films (which he actually calls a "serape" was not brought by Eastwood to Europe, but was the idea of Leone or the props department or costume guys or whatever. I remember this was the source of some disagreement; I seem to recall reading somewhere (maybe Frayling?) that Eastwood says he brought it. Maybe I am wrong. But if Schickel, Eastwood's own biographer, says it was not Eastwood's idea, then I would probably believe him.
Schickel spends a lot of time discussing Pauline Kael's bashing of Eastwood - especially RE: DIRTY HARRY, cuz Kael's criticism of that movie seems to have been very influential. Schickel spends 8 pages discussing that! Despite all his discussions of the critics (particularly in Eastwood's early career), Schickel never mentions Roger Ebert - who was probably the most prestigious critic after Kael, and who was generally a big fan of Eastwood (despite also having liberal opposition to DIRTY HARRY). Not sure why he never mentions Ebert, maybe he and Ebert didn't get along or sumthin?
Since the book was written in 1996, I hope Schickel re-publishes it with new chapters about the years since; after all, Eastwood made many interesting movies since, like MYSTIC RIVER, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, GRAN TORINO, etc.
He also says that John Wayne liked Eastwood and wanted to work with him if they found a project they agreed on (even though they obviously represented different philosophies about the West(ern) ). Of course, they never found an appropriate project before Wayne died.

Good book by Schickel.




Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 17, 2014, 07:46:16 AM
Spent all week reading General Gordon biographies/books for an article I'm writing. I think all re-reads, like Michael Asher's Khartoum, Charles Chenevix Trench's The Road to Khartoum and the relevant chapters in The White Nile and Eminent Victorians.

Also, I bought Rick Perlstein's Invisible Bridge at B&N yesterday and am plowing through that. So far not up to his previous books. Will comment further once I've finished.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 17, 2014, 07:51:45 AM
Schickel never mentions Roger Ebert - who was probably the most prestigious critic after Kael, and who was generally a big fan of Eastwood (despite also having liberal opposition to DIRTY HARRY). Not sure why he never mentions Ebert, maybe he and Ebert didn't get along or sumthin?

I get the impression from Kael's biography that she and Schickel hated each other. So I doubt dislike of Ebert accounts for it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on August 18, 2014, 02:01:24 AM
I get the impression from Kael's biography that she and Schickel hated each other. So I doubt dislike of Ebert accounts for it.

But there was no way he could write a book about Eastwood and not discuss Kael. You can't say the same about Ebert.

who knows ....

BTW, RE: Indio's rape of Mortimer's sister in FAFDM, Schickel writes (p. 161):

The movies have, of course, shown suicide as a consequence of rape before, but few have done so with such unprepared-for – and shocking – immediacy, for we also learn from it that this assault occurred on their wedding night, her innocence defiled at the very moment for which it had been defended. No wonder it haunts even the bestial El Indio.

Does anyone agree that this occurred on her wedding night? I never interpreted it that way, nor have I read anyone else interpreting it that way. As I recall, the girl is wearing a simple nightgown – could be wedding night could be not – but the man is wearing normal shitty clothes that you'd expect any Westerner to wear; I am sure that even in the dirty Spaghetti West, grooms wear decent clothes on the night of their wedding. Nothing in the clothing indicates wedding night - does Schickel think it's the wedding night cuz of the exchange of gifts? I have no idea, but I have no reason to believe it was the wedding night. Come to think of it, if it was the wedding night,  it would make the scene even more powerful, but IMO there's no reason to believe it was intended as the wedding night.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on August 18, 2014, 04:46:15 AM
you'd have to read the script.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 18, 2014, 05:25:45 PM
The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan - Rick Perlstein - Much as I like Perlstein's previous books, he's never been a subtle or disciplined writer. His third volume - detailing Watergate, Gerald Ford's presidency and Ronald Reagan's quixotic '76 campaign - really tries one's patience. It's a riotous collage of events, personages and touchstones big and small, with no sense of proportion - The Bad News Bears gets as much coverage as the Mayaguez Incident. You can't go one page without a ludicrous run-on sentence, typo, digressive movie reference or puerile snark ("The President was not a crook. Surely that is good to know."). There's interesting stuff here - the biographical segments on Reagan, coverage of the Church Committee's findings on CIA subterfuge - but you have to wade through lots of superfluous junk to find it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 23, 2014, 05:19:22 AM
The Last Expedition - Daniel Liebowitz and Charles Pearson - Account of Henry Stanley's disastrous expedition to "rescue" Emin Pasha from the Mahdi. Emphasizes the horrendous hardships visited upon Stanley's men as they trekked through the Congolese jungle; hundreds died, disease ravaged the ranks, and constant attacks by hostile tribes rendered Stanley more in need of rescuing than Emin. The authors really loathe Stanley and don't try hiding it; though on the basis of evidence presented, who can blame them?

Lovers on the Nile - Biography of Stanley and Florence Baker, the husband-and-wife explorers. The subject matter is the stuff of pulp adventure novels: Baker bought his wife at a slave auction in the Balkans, and she joined him on various expeditions across Africa, alternately lionized and loathed by British society. The book is disappointingly pedestrian, never really getting at their personalities or interests. Hopefully better books on these guys exist.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 27, 2014, 04:58:34 PM
The Man Who Saw a Ghost: The Life and Work of Henry Fonda - Devin McKinney - This is what's usually called an "interpretive biography." Not content with a straightforward life-and-career approach, McKinney instead indulges in flowery prose, chronological shifts, psychological speculation and historical/political digressions (stop citing Gore Vidal please). Nor is this a work for those seeking production anecdotes: McKinney eschews that for detailed textual analysis. For Leone-istas, he grants OUATTIW about ten pages of analysis, but dismisses Nobody in one or two sentences. Ultimately McKinney's Fonda emerges as a brilliant actor, faithless husband, distant father and deeply haunted man.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on August 27, 2014, 06:26:50 PM
Ultimately McKinney's Fonda emerges as a brilliant actor, faithless husband, distant father and deeply haunted man.

would anyone else describe him differently?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on August 27, 2014, 07:01:29 PM
It's not that it's an invalid portrayal of Fonda, rather than the approach is bizarre.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 04, 2014, 06:53:37 AM
(http://wemeantwell.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/flashman-in-the-great-game-flashman.jpg)

Flashman in the Great Game

One of the series best, with the adventure parts absolutely breathtaaking. 8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 04, 2014, 07:04:10 AM
Flashman and the Dragon

(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/--ij15bAiFJk/TfSO9NgqS9I/AAAAAAAAFU0/I6BarIMum5w/s400/FlashmanDragon.jpg)

Informative, but probably an essay would have fared better. Battle descriptions are ineffective. 6\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 04, 2014, 07:07:26 AM
(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_n-YpVUTNi9M/TSwPWPjgWdI/AAAAAAAAFMg/uEmNLtnQbnI/s400/Flashmanslady.jpg)

Flashman's Lady


Great entry in the series, although cricket is even more boring than baseball.  8\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 04, 2014, 07:11:56 AM
Flashman and the Redskins

(https://covers.openlibrary.org/b/id/3696-M.jpg)

Well-built, intriguing plot, though longish  in parts. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 04, 2014, 07:18:36 AM
(http://www.manhattanrarebooks-literature.com/images/Roth%20Goodbye%20Columbus%201000.jpg)

Roth Goodbye Columbus

"Defender of the Faith" the most brilliant story. The other ones have sometime interesting characters (GC, f.e) but not well developed. 5\10.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 04, 2014, 07:22:21 AM
Toni Morrison - Sula

(http://www.kdl.org/image_attachments/0001/6481/416shampf6l.jpg)

I hope they didn't award her the Nobel Prize for this one. I forced myself to read the first 50 pages but couldn't go beyond, boring as hell. 2\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 04, 2014, 05:01:55 PM
Great entry in the series, although cricket is even more boring than baseball.  8\10

Agreed 100%. This would be one of my two or three favorite Flashman if not for the endless cricket matches at the beginning.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 05, 2014, 06:04:04 AM
Fell a bit behind...

Final Cut: The Making of Heaven's Gate - Steven Bach - More an insider's perspective on the decline of United Artists than the making of Heaven's Gate, though the latter obviously figures in the narrative.

The Lavender Scare - David K. Johnson - Details government firings of homosexuals during the Cold War era, equating sexual deviancy with disloyalty. According to this book anyway, more gays/lesbians were expelled from government than Communists throughout the '50s.

Snakes and Ladders - Dirk Bogarde - Bogarde's second volume of memoirs (I haven't read his first). Well-written but somewhat jumpy and fragmented: he dwells on relationships with Judy Garland, Luchino Visconti and a few other notables, but rarely details the making of specific films. Quite a few he dismisses in a vague sentence or two.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 05, 2014, 01:36:29 PM
Fell a bit behind...

The Lavender Scare - David K. Johnson - According to this book anyway, more gays/lesbians were expelled from government than Communists throughout the '50s.



Of course: they were more, considering also that half membership of the CP was made up  of FBI stoolies.



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 11, 2014, 05:24:55 AM
Advise and Consent - Allen Drury - This won a Pulitzer? Presumably those were handled out based on bulk back in the day. I enjoyed the movie but the book is dense and often numbing: tedious Senate meetings and long digressions into minutia. I could have done without the long scenes of Senators and foreign diplomats debating Leffingwell's merits as potential Secretary of State. Main difference between film and book is that Leffingwell is much less sympathetic here.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 12, 2014, 02:23:49 PM
just read Scott Eyman's bio of John Ford.


I started reading the book when it was up to the mid-1930's, cuz, as I've mentioned previously, I generally don't care much for celebrities' personal lives and mainly read these bios for discussion of their movies. This is especially true for an asshole like John Ford, (whom, before I read this book, I already knew was) an absolute piece of dogshit; wtf should I give a damn about his personal life? All I really care about is discussion of the movies, and I often find that a good bio contains more interesting discussion of the subject's movies than any book dedicated to "The Films of .... " (which are often written by nerdy academics and impossible to understand ... on the subject of Ford, I remember reading these two books by one idiot professor http://goo.gl/mMSQZS and http://goo.gl/3WLRXI was like getting three root canals at once without anesthesia).

Anyway, all I can say about Scott Eyman is that he seems to be one of the most well-researched biographers in the world. Having previously read his 2014 bio of John Wayne (written like 15 years after his bio of Ford) I knew what to expect - an incredibly well researched book (with some liberal opinion tossed in; plus the word "that" appearing before virtually every quote; and one or two mentions of the word "legendarily"  ;) ) and a terrific read.

 O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 12, 2014, 03:56:00 PM
I didn't like it half as much as Joseph McBride's Searching for John Ford. But that's just me.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: stanton on September 13, 2014, 05:36:44 AM
And the book by J.A. Place about Ford's westerns is entertaining stuff.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 14, 2014, 08:08:55 PM
Exodus - Leon Uris - Another best-selling brick later made into an Otto Preminger film. This one's at least readable, with a clipped style that lends itself well to action scenes and terse characterization, if not literary depth. Less successful are Uris's digressions into historical background, marred by bush-league errors and pervasive Arab bashing.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 15, 2014, 02:16:51 AM
Exodus - Leon Uris - Another best-selling brick later made into an Otto Preminger film. This one's at least readable, with a clipped style that lends itself well to action scenes and terse characterization, if not literary depth. Less successful are Uris's digressions into historical background, marred by bush-league errors and pervasive Arab bashing.

I never read the book but I have seen the movie; and if the book is anything like the movie, then my understanding is that it is a novel, a total work of fiction, nothing to do with the real-life Exodus ship (which actually ended much more tragically than the movie). Am I wrong?

if it's not a work of history, then who said it's after any sort of accuracy? seems to me it's taking rough events from history and making them into events for a fake story. Like the gunfight at the OK Corral and My Darling Clementine.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 15, 2014, 04:35:40 PM
Yes, it's a work of fiction. But when Uris digresses from the narrative for 100 page info dumps of Middle Eastern history, the Zionist Movement's origins and the World Wars I don't think it's unreasonable to comment on his accuracy.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on September 16, 2014, 05:45:23 AM
Way too many...


Detours and Lost Highways: A Map of Neo-Noir - Foster Hirsch
Through The Eye of the Needle: Wealth, the Fall of Rome, and the Making of Christianity in the West - Peter Brown
The Way Some People Die & The Drowning Pool - Ross MacDonald
The Cold Six Thousand - James Ellroy
Cocktail Waitress - James M. Cain (his last novel)
They Shoot Horses Don't They? - Horace McCoy
Getting Off & Borderline - Lawrence Block


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 16, 2014, 05:02:24 PM
The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde - Melvin Holland - The unexpurgated transcript of Oscar Wilde's prosecution of Lord Queensbury for slander, annotated by Wilde's grandson. An enjoyable read thanks to the protagonists: witty Wilde versus the humorless defense attorney Carson make a great pairing. With his constant claims of superiority and admitting his attraction to younger men (if not Lord Douglas himself), Wilde seems either reckless, stupid or deliberately courting trouble in his answers.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 18, 2014, 05:24:44 PM
The World and Its Double: The Life and Work of Otto Preminger - Chris Fujiwara - A "critical biography" that's relatively light on biographical detail (so quite possibly up Drink's alley). Most chapters break down to half anecdotes about a given movie's production, half analysis of the movie in question. The book's not without interest, but 90% of the anecdotes amount to Preminger insulting x-actor or y-key grip. Though I did like Dalton Trumbo's comment about liking Preminger because "he's full of protein instead of shit." The analysis part is fine, though Fujiwara's an obvious fanboy - he even sticks up for crap like Skidoo and Rosebud.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 21, 2014, 03:55:38 AM
Elia Kazan: A Biography, by Richard Schickel

I liked this book a lot, more here http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=6955.msg173882#msg173882


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on September 24, 2014, 07:11:09 AM
Watergate: A Novel - Thomas Mallon - Fictionalization of the Nixon Presidency, part thriller, part satire. Mallon avoids pretty much all the expected moments, focusing on bit players (advisor Fred LaRue, secretary Rosemary Woods, Attorney General Elliott Richardson) rather than familiar figures like Haldeman, Kissinger, etc. Some of the book is wickedly funny, other times it reaches for pathos it really doesn't earn. Some artistic license, like making ancient Alice Roosevelt Longworth a major character and having Pat Nixon carry on an extramarital affair, don't quite work either. Enjoyed it on the whole, but then I'm a Nixon buff.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 27, 2014, 09:20:56 PM
I didn't like it half as much as Joseph McBride's Searching for John Ford. But that's just me.

what about Tag Gallagher's book? Have you read that one?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 08, 2014, 07:34:40 PM
1940: FDR, Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler - The Election Amidst the Storm - Susan Dunn - A decent volume depicting America's political scene just before World War II: the battle over American intervention and military build-up, the debates over Franklin Roosevelt seeking a third term, the Nazi sympathies of Charles Lindbergh and the America First crowd. Too bad the election itself (which takes up most of the book) is anticlimactic; FDR won in a landslide, albeit not as big as his previous elections, and Wendell Willkie's platform didn't substantially differ from FDR's. Dunn's analysis and prose are crisp and to the point, though she loudly announces her biases.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 10, 2014, 07:20:02 PM
The American Axis: Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of the Third Reich - Max Wallace - A sensationalist history that starts with a reasonable premise and stretches into speculation. Henry Ford was a virulent anti-Semite who admired Hitler? Sure. Ford funded Hitler during the '20s and '30s? Possible, but Wallace's evidence is thin. The Nazis wouldn't have achieved power without Ford, or been so antisemitic if not for his International Jew? Doubtful. Wallace handles Charles Lindbergh better: his Lindbergh is less unwitting dupe than knowing Nazi sympathizer and virulent bigot. When Wallace's writing sticks to hard facts (like Ford's wartime collaboration with Germany and Lindbergh's support of eugenics) he's very convincing; his inferences and interpretations are murky and speculative.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 13, 2014, 07:08:07 AM
1. The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir, by Foster Hirsch

further discussion here http://www.fistful-of-leone.com/forums/index.php?topic=1822.msg174245#msg174245


2. James Cagney: A Celebration, by Richard Schickel

Enjoyable book; happily, it focuses on Cagney's movie roles, doesn't waste much time on his personal life. In the beginning, Schickel implies that he is constructing the book – published in 1985 – around the extensive interviews he conducted with Cagney on the set of Ragtime, but happily, that's not really what the book is about. It's Schickel discussing Cagney's screen career, and inserting some quotes from the aforementioned interviews.
Good book.

3. Psycho: Behind the Scenes of the Classic Thriller, by Janet Leigh

Janet Leigh's 1995 book discussing her experiences on the making of Psycho, and exploding some of the myths about the movie. Much of what I read here isn't new to me, because Leigh discusses lots of this stuff in the bonus features of the Psycho DVD. (Of course, DJ says you can't trust anything in bonus features of a DVD, so he'll only trust it in print. Cuz being printed in a book is much more trustworthy than being spoken in interviews on bonus features.) What was new to me is that Leigh interviewed some of the Psycho collaborators for this book (John Gavin, who played Marion Crane's boyfriend Sam; assistant director Hilton Green; and screenwriter Jospeh Stefano. Of course, DJ doesn't think you can trust a word of what the screenwriter says in his interviews on the DVD's bonus features, but I'm not sure if he thinks that what the screenwriter says in a published interview is more trustworthy.)
By the way, here is a portion of that "making of" video from the DVD's bonus features, featuring the aforementioned interviews with Leigh, Stefano, and others http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82vOLLMeOuQ

Anyway, so there was little that was earth-shattering in the book for me, but I'm a big fan of the movie, so the book was enjoyable to read. It's a small book, less than a couple of hundred pages, a quick read. If you're a fan of the movie (and who isn't?) and you can get the book in your local library or something, it's worth a read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 14, 2014, 09:23:58 AM
I own a first-edition copy of STDWD, with the black-and-white cover, printed in 2000 by Faber & Faber publishing in London.

I happened to be looking through Amazon now and I noticed that the book was reprinted in 2012, by University of Minnesota Press, with a color cover. http://www.amazon.com/Sergio-Leone-Something-Do-Death/dp/081664683X

I assume that it's merely a reprint of the exact same book and that other than the cover, there aren't any differences from the original?



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 14, 2014, 04:50:17 PM
I used to have that version, but read it so many times the middle section fell out of the binding. Haven't gotten around to replacing it yet.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 14, 2014, 07:38:01 PM
Mine ain't in great shape either. I guess a paperback book over 500 pages long doesn't have much chance of long life (or is it just a cheap binding?)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on October 14, 2014, 07:46:57 PM
You're probably right about that. My copy of Kevin Brownlow's David Lean biography is still going strong, but it's a hardcover. Sir Christopher didn't stand a chance.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 19, 2014, 02:21:06 AM
Who the Devil Made It, by Peter Bogdanovich

Who the Hell's in It, by Peter Bogdanovich

Both are essential volumes for fans of movies' golden age. These book are such great reading, you'll enjoy even the chapters about/conversations with directors or actors whose movies you've never seen.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on October 19, 2014, 07:32:07 AM
Detours and Lost Highways: A Map of Neo-Noir by Foster Hirsch

Just read this book (1999) edition, that provided a quick guideline of films the author felt fit under the Neo Noir banner. I'm in the process placing some of these films into my Netflix DVD queue and acquiring others on VHS that haven't had a new release as yet.

Anybody's Film Noir list is subjective, everybody's definition is different. Is Noir a genre or a style?

Here is what I've come up with. It would almost be better to say that, rather than call these films a genre call them a style/tool of film making used in certain film/plot sequences or for a films entirety that was used to conveyed claustrophobia, alienation, obsession, and events spiraling out of control, mostly in the Crime, Thriller, and Suspense Genres, but also seeped to a lesser degree into others (Drama, Westerns). This style/tool came to fruition in the roughly the period of the last two and a half decades of B&W film.

Then you can say we have this Film Noir Style that can have two opposite poles one would be, keeping the French terminology, Films de la nuit, Films of the night, the opposite would be Films Soleil, films of the sun, those sun baked, filled with light occasionally desert Noirs, then all the rest would fit in the spectrum in between being various shades of grey or Films Gris.

Now Hirsh stipulates that what we call Classic Films Noir was a developing style but that toward the end of its run became somewhat aware of itself. What are called Neo Noir (films that conscientiously homage or try to recreate Films Noir) are now a genre. Some of these Neo Noirs are contemporary modern films some are set in the future, some are depicting the classic Film Noir era which Hirsh calls the "Imaginary Museum" of the later some work some don't.

After screening his suggestions of what he thinks fits this genre, I don't agree with a lot of his inclusions but I do with others. Its still a subjective, I know it when I see it, gut feeling subject, and everyone's guts are different. My criteria is more restrictive than Hirsh's.

I personally cut slack to what Hirsh calls the "Imaginary Museum" type Neo Noirs that try to recreate the past, these have the archetypes and iconography of Classic Noir and some of the earliest of these, as a bonus, even have classic noir actors as leads or sprinkled though the cast. The Achilles's heel of some of these films is the amount of PC distortion or contemporary values that creep into the story line. The farther away we get from post WWII to say the mid 60s the harder it is to get the old Noir Zeitgiest right or to even recognize it.

It's not easy to make an instant noir, its almost as if, like Classic Noir you need the span/lens of time to look back and cherry pick the successful Neo Noirs out.

The book is a decent reference to explore the Neo Noir concept and there was a definite uptick in Neo Noir candidates during the 90s. It would be interesting to check and see if the latest edition includes 21st century films. Its a good book to start a Neo Noir quest.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on October 19, 2014, 08:36:40 AM
I just read Hirsch's first noir book, "The Dark Side of the Screen," he says he considers noir a genre, though he acknowledges that others call it a style or whatever ... I guess people use the word Genre differently, some more narrowly some more broadly, personally I don't find the debate of genre vs. style all that interesting or important.

But either way, I definitely wouldn't call neo-noir a genre; there simply aren't enough neo-noir movies to call them a genre ... anyway, maybe this should be moved to the noir thread  ;)

By the way, speaking of Detours: TCM is having an Edgar G. Ulmer night on Tuesday night http://www.tcm.com/schedule/index.html?tz=est&sdate=2014-10-21 which includes a documentary about Ulmer.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on November 13, 2014, 10:26:23 PM
MITCHUM, In His Own Words, Edited by Jerry Roberts

A collection of interviews with Robert Mitchum


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 15, 2014, 06:01:05 AM
Five Came Back - Mark Harris - Really excellent book about five directors (Capra, Ford, Huston, Stevens, Wyler) who served in World War II.

I also read Harris's Pictures at a Revolution recently, chronicling the 1967 Best Picture nominees and their role in ushering in the New Hollywood. So far as I know these are his only two books, but even on that basis I'd rank him among the best film writers out there.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 22, 2014, 07:06:19 AM
The War That Ended Peace - Margaret MacMillan - MacMillan, who previously wrote an excellent chronicle of the Paris Peace Conference, probes the causes of World War I in great detail. On the one hand, there's not much new information that Robert Massie, Barbara Tuchman and other writers didn't exhaustively plumb already. Nor is her thesis (that Europe felt war inevitable but lacked the will to stop it) especially innovative. But MacMillan's an engaging writer with a knack for capturing historical figures and finding fascinating details: I really enjoyed her depiction of Kaiser Wilhelm as a reckless bluffer surprised as anyone when other powers called him out. My main complaint is her constant, almost compulsive need to drag in modern analogies: comparing the Black Hand to al-Qaeda say.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 25, 2014, 05:50:57 PM
Red Rain - R.L. Stine - Basically a Goosebumps book with sex scenes, graphic violence and Scorsese-level profanity. Maybe Stine's getting something out of his system.

A Mad Catastrophe - Geoffrey Wawro - This book makes a very good case that Austria-Hungary was the most incompetent and ill-prepared of the belligerents in World War I. The prewar frictions within the Empire, assorted military scandals (eg. Alfred Redl and the Skoda trading snafu) and political miscalculations are covered. The book covers, in more detail, the horrendously botched initial invasions of Serbia, the catastrophic 1914 campaigns against Russia, the boneheaded strategy, poor supplies, mass desertions and atrocities accompanying this campaign. The book only covers the first year of the war, so the Italian and Salonickan theaters go unmentioned. What Wawro does cover is evidence enough.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 26, 2014, 12:59:26 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/519KKR9NR8L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

A classic.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on November 28, 2014, 09:01:08 AM
Forgotten Ally: China's World War II, 1937-1945 - Rana Mitter - Excellent book on a topic I really didn't know much about. Superbly written, comprehensive and if nothing else, the sheer scope and violence of this theater (fourteen million Chinese died) comes across with breathtaking clarity. The author's surprisingly positive towards Chiang Kai-Shek; Wang Jiwei, Chiang's ally-turned-Japanese collaborator, comes off as an almost-tragic figure; Mao is a cipher.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 07, 2014, 11:14:07 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/519KKR9NR8L._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

A classic.

Indeed. Great book  O0

Wilder interviews are great to read, and also great to watch. He has lots of interviews on the bonus features of the Criterion DVD/BRD of Ace in the Hole. And there are a ton if his interviews on YouTube. Check out as many as you can. Wilder's are among my favorite filmmaker interviews  :)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 07, 2014, 11:15:28 PM
All My Yesterdays: An Autobiography, by Edward G. Robinson with Leonard Spigelglass

A wonderful autobiography of one of my all-time favorite actors  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on December 07, 2014, 11:40:08 PM
–– To Absent Friends, from Red Smith http://goo.gl/t0eLnC

Red Smith was one of the greatest sportswriters ever, most famously for the New York Herald Tribune from the '40's thru the mid-60's, then for The New York Times from the early '70's until his death in 1982.

This is the third book of Red Smith articles I have read. This is a collection of articles he wrote through the years about people who died – sometimes they are famous athletes we've all heard of like Babe Ruth or Honus Wagner, but plenty are about people whom I've never heard of, e.g. a boxing trainer or an owner of racehorses or whatever. But all columns are equally enjoyable to read, cuz they are all written by Red Smith. He is so wonderful to read; reading Red Smith columns can make one happy to be alive  :)

The other two Red Smith books I've read are:

–– Red Smith on Baseball: The Game's Greatest Writer on the Game's Greatest Years http://goo.gl/3r1PI8 this is a collection of some of his greatest baseball articles

–– American Pastimes: The Very Best of Red Smith, compiled by Daniel Okrent http://goo.gl/IwUkXb
this is a collection of some of Smith's greatest columns on a variety of subjects. There are articles about baseball, boxing, bass fishing, trout fishing, horse racing, college football, pro football ...
Of course, there is some overlap between these three books, like when reading "The Best of ..." book, I may see a column that was already reprinted in "Red Smith on Baseball," but there's plenty of new stuff in each of these three books.

And there are plenty more book-length collections of Red Smith columns, and I plan to read every one I can get my hands on. The ones that aren't available from my library are available on Amazon, used copies pretty cheap. Reading Red Smith is a joy  :)



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on December 27, 2014, 04:04:06 PM
Over the past few weeks, I've read a slew of books on Reconstruction and Andrew Johnson's impeachment for a personal project. Rather than list them all, I'll single out Hans Trefousse's The Radical Republicans as an excellent summary of that much-maligned political movement.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 10, 2015, 06:11:37 PM
Le trou - Josè Giovanni

(http://img.over-blog.com/280x404/3/02/86/35/POLAR-7/le-trou-1.png)


Though a little different from the movie, it adds little which is more meningful to it, actually it slows down the action by adding reflections on prison life and some psychologic analysis of the narrator (Manu). Watch the movie and skip this.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 23, 2015, 11:50:37 PM
(https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS_klEPq7BXHDu3gCbuc7l-6a-gy0eRyRTwvR0-AG8Vqsyy0iLgDQ)


London's prose is too turgid for current times, or at least for my tastes. What it takes him 400 pages he could say in 200 even more effectively. But of course he was afraid he might lose the readers along the way. I lke his description of his hero's dealings with the literary market: that's what makes his book still worthy of a reading. I like less his sentimental and everyday vicissitudes which lead to a rather contrived ending. Apparently London meant it to be a criticism of individualism and nihilism and was dumbfounded when nobody took the hint, actuallt just the opposite. And I wonder at his amazement. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 24, 2015, 01:27:57 AM
–– To Absent Friends, from Red Smith http://goo.gl/t0eLnC

Red Smith was one of the greatest sportswriters ever, most famously for the New York Herald Tribune from the '40's thru the mid-60's, then for The New York Times from the early '70's until his death in 1982.

This is the third book of Red Smith articles I have read. This is a collection of articles he wrote through the years about people who died – sometimes they are famous athletes we've all heard of like Babe Ruth or Honus Wagner, but plenty are about people whom I've never heard of, e.g. a boxing trainer or an owner of racehorses or whatever. But all columns are equally enjoyable to read, cuz they are all written by Red Smith. He is so wonderful to read; reading Red Smith columns can make one happy to be alive  :)

The other two Red Smith books I've read are:

–– Red Smith on Baseball: The Game's Greatest Writer on the Game's Greatest Years http://goo.gl/3r1PI8 this is a collection of some of his greatest baseball articles

–– American Pastimes: The Very Best of Red Smith, compiled by Daniel Okrent http://goo.gl/IwUkXb
this is a collection of some of Smith's greatest columns on a variety of subjects. There are articles about baseball, boxing, bass fishing, trout fishing, horse racing, college football, pro football ...
Of course, there is some overlap between these three books, like when reading "The Best of ..." book, I may see a column that was already reprinted in "Red Smith on Baseball," but there's plenty of new stuff in each of these three books.

And there are plenty more book-length collections of Red Smith columns, and I plan to read every one I can get my hands on. The ones that aren't available from my library are available on Amazon, used copies pretty cheap. Reading Red Smith is a joy  :)



just finished another collection of Red Smith columns, this one called "The Red Smith Reader." Edited by Dave Anderson of the NY Times, this was initially published in 1983 and a new edition was just published in 2014 http://goo.gl/SDLYnT

great stuff  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 24, 2015, 01:38:37 AM
1. Ed Barrow: The Bulldog Who Built the Yankees' First Dynasty, by Daniel R. Levitt  http://goo.gl/SJHNm7

I am glad that Ed Barrow finally had a biography written of him (in 2010). One of the greatest executives – maybe the greatest, in close competition with Branch Rickey and George Weiss – in baseball history, Barrow (under various titles such as secretary, general manager, president) ran the Yankees for well over two decades. When he came to the Yankees, they hadn't yet won a single championship. When he left, they were the most prestigious team in American sports. Very well-researched book.





2. Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever, by Jack McCallum http://goo.gl/pCknQf



This book is a fun read, by one of the reporters with the closest access to the 1992 Dream Team. Just a warning: If you are the kind of reader who believes that writers should just tell the story and not stick in their opinion, then you will find this book incredibly grating, cuz hardly a page goes by without McCallum telling you what he thinks. This book is not the detached unbiased reporter; this book is being told by a man telling you a story as he experienced it and as he remembers it and what he thinks about it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 14, 2015, 07:09:23 PM
Olivier - Philip Ziegler - Latest of innumerable Laurence Olivier biographies, without much new or exciting to say. Did you know Larry was a philandering egomaniac? If this is news, be sure to read this book!


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 19, 2015, 07:48:33 PM
Rereading the Flashman books for the five hundredth time. Have made it through the first four in the past week.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 30, 2015, 04:37:48 PM
H, or Monologues at Front of Burning Cities - Charles Wood - From the screenwriter of The Charge of the Light Brigade comes this play about the Indian Mutiny, written in blank verse. Very long, wickedly subversive and surely one of the blackest comedies I've encountered in any medium.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 31, 2015, 12:51:16 AM
In the last months I'm reading almost exclusively french mystery/crime/spy novels, apart from some jazz book (these very days: a Fats Waller biography and a Gary Giddens collection of writings, both very good.). I'm going through the non San-Antonio production by Frédéric Dard. I think  that his most famous creation has partly obscured the fact that he was an excellent thriller writer, in the same class of Cornell Woolrich: actually better, in my view, as his plots are more solid than those of his american counterpart. And the french critics, with one or two exceptions, completely passed over him, favouring more recent, pretentious and left-sided authors who generally  can't hold a candle to him. L'Homme de l'avenue is another masterpiece (I think I have already mentioned the other supreme work from which a movie was made, Le dos au mur). Even not at his best he's quite entertaining and, of course, funny.    
I'm also going through the auto-biographical writings of Auguste Le Breton. Here same as above. Few have read his  books on the Paris underworld before and after WWII, though they make for a gripping reading. But, like Dard or Simonin, Le Breton was not into politics so he has not been read much from the '80's on.      


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 04, 2015, 12:54:04 PM
The Lost Summer: The Heyday of the West End Theatre - Charles Duff - Partly a biography of English stage director Frith Banbury, also a counterblast against John Osborne and the Royal Court. The author explores West End theater through its playwrights, some well-known (Robert Bolt, Terence Rattigan), others (Rodney Ackland, N.C. HUnter) obscure. Duff argues that the '50s West End has been unfairly ignored by theater historians; debatable, especially for the writers he covers.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 04, 2015, 07:07:56 PM
Anglotopia asked me to write an article on the Gallipoli Campaign, presumably for the 100th Anniversary this month. Any suggestions from this board's history buffs? I've already read the Alan Moorehead book, something written in the last 60 years would be preferable.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 05, 2015, 07:00:52 AM
(http://images.delcampe.com/img_large/auction/000/166/915/267_001.jpg)

Frédéric Dard published around 1956, under the by-line "Kaput" four novels about a cool-blooded killer (whose memories these novels pretend to be). He had to terminate the series because of protestations from people who thought this kind  of character too strong for the then current moral values. After 15 years the novels were collected in a single volume as tastes had changed and violence having penetrated so deeply in daily life that this stuff wasn't perceived anymore as a danger for young or otherwise feeble minds (though the former Dard's tetralogy about the character of the Ange Noir was no less strong but just a bit more temperated by a slice of San-Antonio's humor). Still, as said in my post above, few, if any, have recently read them, though they make for strong noir literature; and I can't understand why, as so much fuss is made, rightly about Jim Thompson's novels (whose The Killer Inside Me was published a lustre before these)  and not so much rightly Highsmith's Ripley who came a year after Dard's tetralogy (and some similarity in the plot might even lead me to assume she might have read him and copied him. Or shall we more elegantly say: "let herself be inspired by him"?). Anyway, it's the kind of stuff you can't put down once you start. 8/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 05, 2015, 06:57:00 PM
PINSTRIPE EMPIRE: NEW YORK YANKEES FROM BEFORE THE BABE TO AFTER THE BOSS

A narrative history of the Yankees from their beginnings as the New York Highlanders in 1903 until after the 2011 season.
Although this book is more than 500 pages, this is a pretty basic, rather than in-depth, guide, as it covers more than 100 years. In other words, for a hardcore fan like me who knows almost all there is to know about Yankee history, there is not a ton here that I didn't already know, and in many instances I thought there could have been even more mentioned. But I guess the book couldn't be a thousand pages. For someone who isn't yet such a hardcore fan and wants a brief rundown of the team's history, this book is a good place to start.

What Appel adds, and what I enjoyed very much, is some behind-the-scenes stuff; he was a Yankee employee during the 60's and 70's, including time as the team's PR director (a job he started when he was only 24 years old!) so he knows a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that even serious fans may not have known. For example, he says that in private concersation, Bob Shawkey - who pitched for the team in the 20's and was manager for one year in 1930 - admitted to him that he was bitter that he had been fired after one year as manager, and felt that if he had been given more time, he could have won all the pennants that Joe McCarthy won (as manager from 1931-1946) and maybe even all the ones Casey Stengel won (as manager from 1949 -1960).

Appel once asked Pete Sheehy - clubhouse manager from 1927-1985 - to tell him something about Babe Ruth. Sheehy thought for a moment and then said, "He never flushed the toilet." :D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 11, 2015, 09:45:54 AM
(https://utterbiblio.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/9781846689413.jpg)

I bought it expecting something completely different: a life in prison story (i first heard of it in connection with Papillon). Instead  it is the half-true story of the escape and being a fugitive of this young girl who turned into a celebrity with a couple of autobiographical novels but was in the end extremely unlucky. I think this review does explain well the reasons why a female may find this great:    


http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/2014/03/female-genet-albertine-sarrazin%E2%80%99s-astragal

I was about to stop reading about a third but decided to get to the end and the book it actually gains a certain momentum in the last third and it earns a 7\10. Still I do not go for so much of self-analysys, I like to read about facts and do the analysys of characters (firs of all the one of the narrator) myself. That means that the not so long book could have been better if reduced in size.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 15, 2015, 07:19:17 PM
King Solomon's Mines - H. Rider Haggard - Not bad for what it is.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: noodles_leone on April 16, 2015, 12:47:33 AM
Decisive Moments in History - S. Zweig

I was told many times it was a fascinating read, and apart from a couple uninteresting chapters (that can greatly vary depending on the reader's interests), it definitely is. Zweig has a tendency to over-emphasize the importance of little events but it works pretty well when he's describing battles such as Waterloo and the fall of Constantinople. But his lyric style is never more adapted than i the chapters about adventurers.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 16, 2015, 03:16:10 AM
Red: A Biography of Red Smith, by Ira Berkow

Enjoyable bio of the great sportswriter.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 26, 2015, 12:53:01 PM
Rhodes: The Race for Africa - Antony Thomas - Critical biography of Cecil Rhodes, who comes off as a grand-scale corporate pirate and freebooter destroying South Africa for his own benefit.

The Four Feathers - A.E.W. Mason - Unlike the movie versions is this less an adventure novel than a brooding character study: hence it's written in somewhat stilted prose with long stretches of characters explaining other characters' actions. Also it takes place between Gordon's fall and Kitchener's reconquest, when nothing was happening in Sudan besides ephemeral border skirmishes. Disappointing.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 15, 2015, 10:44:48 AM
A Life at the Movies and Million Dollar Movie - Michael Powell

Sometimes Groggy is a lucky ducky, as when he finds both volumes of Powell's autobiography at the used bookstore for $10 each! Since I've been ill the past few days I had time to plow through these books and it was worth every penny.

The first volume is far and away the best film memoir I've read. Powell had an interesting life and his prose is lively, infectious and informative, even in its digressions. His love of cinema really comes through as he discusses everything from quota quickies, to working with Alfred Hitchcock (as Hitch's stills photographer) and David Lean (who was Powell's editor), to a long, torturous reccie to Burma for a film that never materialized. Of course his friendship with Emeric Pressburger comes into play, along with his loves and affairs: he labels Deborah Kerr the love of his life and talks (non-salaciously) about other flings like Pamela Brown and Kathleen Byron. And his in-depth accounts of filming the various Archers movies is richly detailed in both incident and technique, well beyond mere anecdotes. A must-read for all film buffs.

Million Dollar Movie isn't as enjoyable. Powell wrote it in his last months before death, and he covers some of his less-successful pictures. Perhaps that's why his tone becomes defensive, irritable and even arrogant. He dwells on gossip (a long, discursive segment on Jennifer Jones and David O. Selznick) and there's much more pointed language: he calls one of his mistresses (Pamela Brown?) a manatee, whines about producers screwing him over and chides audiences for not appreciating his work. He's very proud of Pursuit of the Graf Spee (which is boring) and hates Ill Met By Moonlight (which is pretty good). Surprisingly he spends little time on Peeping Tom besides reprinting some of the negative notices. He doesn't seem to attach any particular significance to its failure.

Only towards the end, when he discusses his relationship with Martin Scorsese, does Powell regain the playfulness that marked his first volume. Though Marty comes off as an even bigger fanboy than QT, it's fun to see them interacting with each other, and he shares some choice anecdotes (like when Robert De Niro, to shut up a badgering taxi driver, made him drive around New York to show Taxi Driver filming locations). Then a declaration of love for Thelma Schoonmaker, then he dies.

Even for the second volume's rough patches, a really remarkable read. Powell lived a charmed life and was well-aware of that fact; the utter joy and appreciation for his career is what makes this so worthwhile.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 24, 2015, 10:31:25 AM
(http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/angels_and_demons.jpg)

As good as Da Vinci Code, though it could have been shortened and Brown could have asked some native about his italian, sometime ridiculous and sometime just plain invented or incomprehensible. Even the topography of Rome is sometime wrong. But it is entertaining anyway. 7\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 24, 2015, 11:55:17 AM
American Rebel: The Life of Clint Eastwood - Marc Elliot - Superficial bio of Clint, gives a competent chronology of his life and career without much insight into his personality or films.

Bloody Sam: The Life and Films of Sam Peckinpah - Marshall Fine - A decent, factual biography of Peckinpah. Good at recounting his films' tumultuous productions, and lacking David Weddle's overdone flights of prose, but not as entertaining as Weddle nor insightful as Paul Seydor.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 24, 2015, 04:37:41 PM
(http://i.ytimg.com/vi/x_843IX6v0o/hqdefault.jpg)

Reel Justice: The Courtroom Goes to the Movies - Paul Bergman/Michael Asimow

Entertaining book about movies with judicial theme. It analyzes the correctedness of the law and judicial practices as shown in the films and lots of other criticism. But most of the time I disagree with the evaluations. 8/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 25, 2015, 05:10:22 PM
Aim for the Heart: The Films of Clint Eastwood - Howard Hughes - Typical Hughes book.

Mad as Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right - Dominic Sandbrook - Very good summary of '70s America, depicting Ford and Carter's disastrous presidencies, the period's cultural ferment, the rise of grassroots conservative movements (the Moral Majority, anti-ERA movement, etc.) and Ronald Reagan's rise to the Presidency. Covers the same period as Rick Perlstein's latest book in half the space, and without the condescension and useless digressions.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 31, 2015, 07:00:55 PM
On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller - Richard Norton Smith - Excellent biography of the billionaire philanthropist, New York Governor and perennial presidential candidate. Among the best political biographies I've ever read.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 07, 2015, 08:43:07 PM
Cadres for Conservatism: Young Americans for Freedom and the Rise of the Contemporary Right - Gregory Schneider - One of the better YAF books I've read, covering their activities in the '60s and '70s in detail and not holding back on infighting, eg. the libertarian split from the group in the late '60s. The book fizzles out after 1971 but then, so did YAF itself.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 19, 2015, 07:57:00 PM
Nightmare: The Underside of the Nixon Years - J. Anthony Lukas - Still one of the best Watergate books, written just two years after Nixon's resignation. Doesn't have the full archival access of more recent books, but its author interviewed every conceivable party in the case (save Nixon himself) and his research holds up well.

Blind Ambition: The White House Years - John W. Dean - Nixon's counsel-turned-informer comes off as an opportunist who shivs his boss when the going gets tough. At least Dean's more or less man enough to admit this, so points for candor.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on July 18, 2015, 04:11:15 PM
(http://images-02.delcampe-static.net/img_large/auction/000/280/881/634_001.jpg)

Well, I'm reading a lot in the last times though not posting here my reviews as the books I read are mostly in french and even more than 50 years old: little chance they can interest the forumists, uh (not counting the fact that few, if any, have been translated)? Anyway, apart from reading all of the thriller, non Sanantonio, production of Frédéric Dard I'm reading all of the autobiographical novels of Auguste Le Breton. And it amazes me how in France this author seems to be completely forgotten. Worse, I suspect that some of his last autobiographical novels have never been read at all and this is one of those: probably the best one. Now, it's a shame because apart from being good to read they would make great stuff to build movies on. Especially this one, which is a kind of informal history of the Paris underworld under the Nazi occupation. It is full of great characters (among them, Yves Montand or the piano player Louis De Funès), great scenes, great (and not so great) songs: a mini-series could easily be made out of it with better results than, say, Lacombe Lucien. 10/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on July 20, 2015, 04:56:57 PM
THE RETURN OF MURDERERS ROW: THE 1928 NEW YORK YANKEES, by Charlie Gentile

The '27 Yanks are widely considered the greatest team ever; the '28 team, which had just about the same roster, and also swept the World Series, is far less remembered, and Gentile sets out to give it its due.

Gentile is a sabermetrician and first-time author. He seems to be a better researcher than writer. He must have read every newspaper from the era; his endnotes are impressive, the book is interesting at times, but it isn't great. When discussing a particular team in a particular year - especially way in the past - there's often a lot of reciting facts of what happened in what game, etc.; this is the sorta stuff I generally don't find that interesting. Lots of stating facts and not terribly engrossing writing.
Neverthess, Gentile should be commended for a nice research job. And to be fair, there's not all that much info available on most players of that era other than the day-to-day newspaper accounts. Of the players on that team, I believe only Ruth, Gehrig, and GM Ed Barrow have had biographies written of them.

The only really great books about a particular team in a particular year that I have read (admittedly not that many) are Joel Sherman's book on the 1996 Yanks, called Birth of a Dynasty.
David Halberstam's great Summer of '49 and October 1964 are each about several teams involved in a pennant race, not just one team.

Anyway, no book previously existed on the '28 Bombers, and - even if it is less than great - I am glad that one now does :)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 05, 2015, 04:39:02 PM
His Eye Is On the Sparrow - Ethel Waters


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41fQB5HQzSL._SX295_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

Fascinating self-portrait of one of the great american black singers (actually my favourite with Holiday, above Fitzgerald, Vaughan you name it). 9\10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 20, 2015, 08:56:35 AM
(https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTcwfkyfh2k_t9uokG0R-PrBuEiW9UbMJUQ_AKCMBFrfHHpZOGaisVCAA)


I expected more, I think that there are just two masterpieces: Beware the Dog (I have the impression few have read it as it was included in the author's not much appreciated war stories) and Man From The South, televised in the Hitchcock's series with Mac Queen and Lorre. Dahl is pleasing to read but his "twists in the tale" are generally predicatable and his narratives sometime suffer from verbosity. 6/10  


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on August 20, 2015, 09:02:06 AM
(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_zNw9VE7Y3Hc/TEdBP7PsW2I/AAAAAAAADio/17-OXD4IC5M/s1600/misogyny.jpg)

I'm not a H.'s fan, but this it does have the advantage of being very short. Some of the tales aspire to being ironic, but that doesn't seem to be the author's best weapon. Still it can be read with some interest. 6/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 01, 2015, 03:37:33 AM
Jeffery Deaver . The Bone Collector. Though verbose as most nowadays thrillers, which can't be good if they're not over 400 pages long, it is good, in the riddle line of Caleb Carr's serial killer twin books. And it explains what the movie (a shortened and adapted version of the book plot) didn't care to. 8/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on September 01, 2015, 08:48:46 AM
GIL HODGES: A HALL OF FAME LIFE, by Mort Zachter


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on September 08, 2015, 01:47:40 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51l2WToidUL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg) Noir is not M.'s forte but he manages to deliver in the third novel collected in this volume (Ride the Nightmare) which includes the three "noir" novels written by the author in the 50's The other two are negligible, though all the three found their way to filming.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 17, 2015, 12:26:53 PM
(http://img1.fantasticfiction.co.uk/images/t1/t6795.jpg)

This anthology is up to the promise of the title. And so it earns a 8/10. But a good feature is the fact that includes some stories which were turned into movies. Notably Matheson's Duel (and it is amazing how much of the movie had its source in the written page); Johnson's much anthologized A Man Called Horse;  and the rare Rooney's The Wild One, of which little was retained in the film.  


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on November 18, 2015, 04:11:48 AM
(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/Best%20American%20Noir%20of%20the%20Century_zpszuw0yree.jpg)

This anthology has also been pretty good check it out when you can.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 23, 2015, 09:24:25 AM
The second part of an anthology of turned into images thrillers. Among them the most notable are Don't Look Now (which made me watch the movie again); Sorry Wrong Number (ditto); The Lodger (never saw Hotchcock's, I will); and The Gentleman of Paris. 8/10

(http://www.parigibooks.com/shop_image/product/22197.jpg)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: chris on December 07, 2015, 05:50:39 AM
Diego Gabutti C'era una volta in America

(http://i1078.photobucket.com/albums/w494/chris5522/slwb/gabutti1_zpshtgwoejk.jpg~original)

First published in 1984 to coincide with the release of Once upon a time in America.  Has recently been reprinted and there are 165 pages covering all Leone's movies and his involvement in Bicycle Thieves, Ben Hur etc.  Also available as an e-book and Kindle.  Written in Italian.

Diego Gabutti was a friend of Sergio Leone for several years and during the filming of Once upon a time in America, Leone invited him onto several of the sets including New York, Venice, Cinecitta and the Presidential Estate of Capocotta.  He also had meetings with Leone at his home and had access to Leone's private library.  During the conversations with Leone, Gabutti took extensive notes and put these into this book.  It is authorised by Leone who has written the preface.

Very interesting read with lots of content spoken by Leone.  It's a pity it's only available in Italian but the Kindle edition is just about readable using the built-in translate function.
  
 


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: stanton on December 07, 2015, 06:01:11 AM

First published in 1984 to coincide with the release of Once upon a time in America.  Has recently been reprinted and there are 165 pages covering all Leone's movies and his involvement in Bicycle Thieves, Ben Hur etc.  Also available as an e-book and Kindle.  Written in Italian.

Diego Gabutti was a friend of Sergio Leone for several years and during the filming of Once upon a time in America, Leone invited him onto several of the sets including New York, Venice, Cinecitta and the Presidential Estate of Capocotta.  He also had meetings with Leone at his home and had access to Leone's private library.  During the conversations with Leone, Gabutti took extensive notes and put these into this book.  It is authorised by Leone who has written the preface.

Very interesting read with lots of content spoken by Leone.  It's a pity it's only available in Italian but the Kindle edition is just about readable using the built-in translate function.
 
 

Any news about My Name is Nobody?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: chris on December 08, 2015, 03:12:46 AM
Any news about My Name is Nobody?

There's a small paragraph but I didn't spot anything significant.  Several bits about Henry Fonda and other actors Leone worked with and his other movies including Once upon a time in the West and Giù la testa.

  


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on January 10, 2016, 12:02:48 PM
Just finnished Nightwebs, Cornell Woolrich compilation

 Apparently Cigar Joe didn't remark that this collection of short stories shows that noir was born in the pulps before going to the movies. Included are some masterpieces and generally good stories with only a couple of blanks (especially the first tale, typical pulp fare).  Absolutely recommended. 9/10

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61xQyAJ3GML._SX362_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 06, 2016, 08:30:57 AM
Clint, the Life and Legend - Patrick McGilligan - McGilligan is a frustrating biographer who can be really objective and interesting (his Hitchcock book), or a sensationalist tabloid muckraker (Fritz Lang). His take on Clint Eastwood's definitely the latter, doing everything to paint Clint in the worst light possible. Some of the stuff he writes about (Clint's womanizing, say) is well-documented, but there's such scurrilous venom that it's hard to take much of it seriously. Why does McGilligan find Sondra Locke completely trustworthy, whereas he's skeptical of Tippi Hedren's claims about Hitchcock? Granted, that's not as bad as his accusing Fritz Lang of murder. I have to think it boils down to McGilligan's personal feelings towards his subject.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 06, 2016, 11:20:43 AM
Whom did he interview in Italy?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 06, 2016, 01:50:14 PM
Alberto Grimaldi and Tonino Delli Colli are the only Italian sources he lists.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 06, 2016, 02:23:02 PM
Probably the only ones he could speak with in english.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 06, 2016, 04:23:42 PM
(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NTgyWDM4Mw==/z/KKgAAOSw9mFWJpaF/$_35.JPG)

I first encountered Saki mentioned in the Mac Shane's Raymond Chandler's biography. So I was curious to know what Chandler admired in this writer but had a chance to buy this volume only a couple of years ago in Paris. Well, there is a dozen of great works but it is always a pleasure to read him even when he's not up to par. Which didn't happen to me when I read a O'Henry collection. I think his forte is depicting intellectual (and probably homosexual, like the author) characters confronting philistine relatives or superficial acquaintances and bury them with irony. Some of the plot are repetitive (especially those with evil children) but his prose is always interesting, though not always brilliant.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 06, 2016, 08:07:54 PM
Spiro Agnew and the Rise of the Republican Right - Justin P. Coffey - New and surprisingly sympathetic biography of Nixon's vice president. Not much new information for the Nixon buff, but does a better job placing Agnew in the context of the '60s conservative backlash than Jules Witcover's books.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 10, 2016, 04:20:38 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BBRES662L._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

A huge collection of interviews, essays and what else. Divided in two parts (noir in cinema and literature) plus a handful of pieces on noir in cartoons and tv. I think that the expert in noir cinema can do without it unless he's interested in the other areas as well. But even the cinema noir aficionado can find some interesting articles, especially the interviews with Heston on Touch of Evil,  Bezzerides etc. 10/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 10, 2016, 09:26:55 PM
Spiro Agnew and the Rise of the Republican Right - Justin P. Coffey - New and surprisingly sympathetic biography of Nixon's vice president. Not much new information for the Nixon buff, but does a better job placing Agnew in the context of the '60s conservative backlash than Jules Witcover's books.

What's with the Nixon fascination


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 11, 2016, 05:49:37 AM
1919: America's Loss of Innocence - Eliot Asinof - The author of Eight Men Out tries his hand at straight history. Four vignettes of America circa 1919, covering Woodrow Wilson's diplomacy at Versailles, the Red Scare and Palmer Raids, Prohibition and (of course) the Black Sox Scandal. Asinof's more ironic than analytical, though his portrait of Wilson is very good and the Red Scare stuff interesting, though better-covered elsewhere. The other chapters are superficial, to say the least.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 11, 2016, 06:00:33 AM
What's with the Nixon fascination

Because Franklin Pierce is too much work.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on February 11, 2016, 08:54:07 PM
1919: America's Loss of Innocence - Eliot Asinof - The author of Eight Men Out tries his hand at straight history. Four vignettes of America circa 1919, covering Woodrow Wilson's diplomacy at Versailles, the Red Scare and Palmer Raids, Prohibition and (of course) the Black Sox Scandal. Asinof's more ironic than analytical, though his portrait of Wilson is very good and the Red Scare stuff interesting, though better-covered elsewhere. The other chapters are superficial, to say the least.

What would Glenn Beck say about the Woodrow Wilson portion?  >:D


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on February 11, 2016, 08:58:40 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BBRES662L._SX316_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

A huge collection of interviews, essays and what else. Divided in two parts (noir in cinema and literature) plus a handful of pieces on noir in cartoons and tv. I think that the expert in noir cinema can do without it unless he's interested in the other areas as well. But even the cinema noir aficionado can find some interesting articles, especially the interviews with Heston on Touch of Evil,  Bezzerides etc. 10/10

I'll look for it.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on February 11, 2016, 09:15:58 PM
What would Glenn Beck say about the Woodrow Wilson portion?  >:D

He's very critical of Wilson, but not for the reasons Beck would be.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 04, 2016, 02:06:50 AM
(http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1439323652l/10503.jpg)

I got what I expected from this Eco's book. Which is much.  Eco builds up a novel (very much autobiographical) around the discovery of literature from a very early age to his late teens. It is very much similar to the one most of the children still had in the '60's, like I did. In fact I could have written some parts of it myself. Maybe even better 8). I only wonder what a foreign reader can get from it. and how the translator managed to render some parts of the book.  Apparently at  Amazon english readers could get into it no problems. And rightly assessed this as Eco's most easily readable book. 8/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 07, 2016, 01:09:07 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517YupO7yIL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

I'm checking movies listed here in alphabetic order with all technical details and a quite comprehensive review. Very good pictures. As it was first published in 1979 it can be considered superseded by the internet but it comes handy if you're starting from scratch. The reviews though, as usual, are quite debatable: they praise The Brasher Doubloon or The Blue Dahlia and are quite critical of The Brothers Rico. So it is better to check the reviews made on this board. Even those of dave jenkins. 8/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 07, 2016, 03:42:37 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517YupO7yIL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

I'm checking movies listed here in alphabetic order with all technical details and a quite comprehensive review. Very good pictures. As it was first published in 1979 it can be considered superseded by the internet but it comes handy if you're starting from scratch. The reviews though, as usual, are quite debatable: they praise The Brasher Doubloon or The Blue Dahlia and are quite critical of The Brothers Rico. So it is better to check the reviews made on this board. Even those of dave jenkins. 8/10

I have the first edition with editors Ward & Silver, and the latest edition, the latest edition has four editors Ward, Silver, Ursini, Porfirio, and many more contributors , the latest edition has also separate section for Neo Noir with about 130-140 listed, I agree with about a third, disagree with a third, and am working on the last third as guide. But I've found omissions in their lists.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 07, 2016, 03:56:27 AM
But I've found omissions in their lists.

Of what kind? It seems that any movie in b&w made from the 1930 up to the 60's which is not a comedy qualifies as noir nowadays because it sells. Same with neo-noir: any thriller can be included depending on how smart the  distributor is. Now, it is true that the first edition was made before homevideo, but I doubt they missed many items. On the contrary, I think that many items are included which in my book do not qualify as such. Brasher Doubloon a noir?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 07, 2016, 05:49:19 AM
Of what kind? It seems that any movie in b&w made from the 1930 up to the 60's which is not a comedy qualifies as noir nowadays because it sells. Same with neo-noir: any thriller can be included depending on how smart the  distributor is. Now, it is true that the first edition was made before homevideo, but I doubt they missed many items. On the contrary, I think that many items are included which in my book do not qualify as such. Brasher Doubloon a noir?

I was specifically referring to their Neo Noir Section List (an additional 119 pages with films treated exactly like in the Classic Noir section ). But a few classic era omissions are:

Stakeout on Dope Street (1958)
Girl On The Run (1953)
Bad Day At Black Rock (1955)
Inferno (1953)
Desert Fury (1947)
Slightly Scarlet (1956)

These I've seen, I don't consider them true Neo Noir as filmed, they are listed in the 2010 edition (but I'm more visually oriented so I weigh the cinematography heavier unless the story is outrageous enough to reach a tipping point) I'll just go down the list alphabetically, I have the 2010 edition in front of me.

After Dark My Sweet (1990)
Badlands (1973)
Basic instinct (1992)
Black Rain (1989)
The Border (1982)
Bound (1996)
Cape Fear (1991)
D.O.A. (1988)
The Driver (1978)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Femme Fatale (2002)
Fight Club (1999)
Hustle (1975)
The Killers (1964)
Miami Vice (2006)
Night And The City (1992)
No Way Out (1987)
One False Move (1992)
Out Of Time (2003)
The Outfit (1973)
Point Blank (1967)
Sharky's Machine (1981)
Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Sleeping With The Enemy (1991)
Things To Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995)
True Confessions (1981)
Twilight (1998)
The Underneath (1995)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Witness (1985)

They leave out:

The Glass Cage (1964)
Mr. Buddwing (1966)
The Pawnbroker (1964)
Aroused (1966)
The Pick-Up (1968)
The Seventh Commandment (1961)
Shaft (1971)
In The Heat Of The Night (1967)
The Honeymoon Killers (1969)
Something Wild (1961)
Satan In High Heels (1962)
Requiem for a Heavyweight (1962)
Marlowe (1969)
Across 110th Street (1971)
Get Carter (1971)
Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia (1974)
Blue Velvet (1986)
Angel Heart (1987)
Delicatessen (1991)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992)
The Wrong Man (1993)
Hit Me (1996)
This World, Then the Fireworks (1997)
Night Train (1999)




Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 07, 2016, 06:05:38 AM
Your list confirms the anything goes approach.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 07, 2016, 06:20:14 AM
Many books on political history.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 07, 2016, 06:27:28 AM
Your list confirms the anything goes approach.

which list?  I didn't hit post until after you posted the above ^


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Kurug3n on March 07, 2016, 07:33:03 PM
I got what I expected from this Eco's book. Which is much.  Eco builds up a novel (very much autobiographical) around the discovery of literature from a very early age to his late teens. It is very much similar to the one most of the children still had in the '60's, like I did. In fact I could have written some parts of it myself. Maybe even better 8). I only wonder what a foreign reader can get from it. and how the translator managed to render some parts of the book.  Apparently at  Amazon english readers could get into it no problems. And rightly assessed this as Eco's most easily readable book. 8/10

I will be reading this since Name of the Rose was checked out.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 08, 2016, 02:36:15 AM
which list?  I didn't hit post until after you posted the above ^

After Dark My Sweet (1990)
Badlands (1973)
Basic instinct (1992)
Black Rain (1989)
The Border (1982)
Bound (1996)
Cape Fear (1991)
D.O.A. (1988)
The Driver (1978)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Femme Fatale (2002)
Fight Club (1999)
Hustle (1975)
The Killers (1964)
Miami Vice (2006)
Night And The City (1992)
No Way Out (1987)
One False Move (1992)
Out Of Time (2003)
The Outfit (1973)
Point Blank (1967)
Sharky's Machine (1981)
Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Sleeping With The Enemy (1991)
Things To Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995)
True Confessions (1981)
Twilight (1998)
The Underneath (1995)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Witness (1985)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 08, 2016, 03:54:27 AM
After Dark My Sweet (1990)
Badlands (1973)
Basic instinct (1992)
Black Rain (1989)
The Border (1982)
Bound (1996)
Cape Fear (1991)
D.O.A. (1988)
The Driver (1978)
Fatal Attraction (1987)
Femme Fatale (2002)
Fight Club (1999)
Hustle (1975)
The Killers (1964)
Miami Vice (2006)
Night And The City (1992)
No Way Out (1987)
One False Move (1992)
Out Of Time (2003)
The Outfit (1973)
Point Blank (1967)
Sharky's Machine (1981)
Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
Sleeping With The Enemy (1991)
Things To Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995)
True Confessions (1981)
Twilight (1998)
The Underneath (1995)
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Witness (1985)

How is that possible?, when I hit post I got the warning that somebody already replied, then I hit post again and saw your reply. Are you clairvoyant?  ;D

Anyway the various contributors add films that they think qualify to the list but I agree, with you that anything goes it seems. I've only been adding the films to my list that either have very strong visual Noir cinematography, or are outrageously Noir in storyline.  The others I call NIPOs, Noir In Plot Only Crime Genre films.

I watched another on the not seen list from this book Out Of Sight (1998), It's not a contender, lol.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 08, 2016, 04:32:10 AM
The fact you do not seem to realize is that the noir or neo-noir label is nowadays a bait that seems to be working more effectively with consumers  than the more undefined crime or thriller ones. So it is only to be expected that the more large those list are the more undependable they are. Your criteria too are quite subjective, like mine or somebody else's.  I'm leaning to dub a noir by different elements, like the trurning wrong of the plot, the lead dying iin the end (that cuts off most of detective stories), the double scheming female lead and so on. Cinematography is not enough, per se. But of course I grant exceptions (few ones, though).   


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 08, 2016, 03:32:23 PM
The fact you do not seem to realize is that the noir or neo-noir label is nowadays a bait that seems to be working more effectively with consumers  than the more undefined crime or thriller ones. So it is only to be expected that the more large those list are the more undependable they are. Your criteria too are quite subjective, like mine or somebody else's.  I'm leaning to dub a noir by different elements, like the trurning wrong of the plot, the lead dying iin the end (that cuts off most of detective stories), the double scheming female lead and so on. Cinematography is not enough, per se. But of course I grant exceptions (few ones, though).   


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 08, 2016, 03:34:25 PM


Exactly what Is Noir/Neo Noir. This is a question that continues to draw debate. In the recent TCM Summer Of Darkness, Noir was defined as all these, a Style, a Genre, a Series, a Movement. Here is my take.

"A thought to throw into the equation of what makes a Noir/Neo Noir is an individual internal factor. It's subjectivity. Noir is in all of us. Think of us all as having an internal tuning fork, these tuning forks are forged by our life experiences which are all unique. When we watch these films their degree of Noir-ness resonates with us differently, so we either "tune" to them or we don't. The amount of "tuning" (I'm appropriating this term from the Neo Noir Dark City (1998)) to certain films will vary between us all also."

and from -James Ellroy
Novelist, L.A. Confidential

“Here’s what film noir is to me.  It’s a righteous, generically American film movement that went from 1945 to 1958 and exposited one great theme and that theme is you’re ****.  You have just met a woman, you’re inches away from the greatest sex of your life but within six weeks of meeting the woman you will be framed for a crime you did not commit and you’ll end up in the gas chamber and as they strap you in and you’re about to breath the cyanide fumes you’ll be grateful for the few weeks you had with her and grateful for your own death.”



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 15, 2016, 06:31:15 AM
Besides my historical/political readings (too many to list), I'll give a shout out to Havana Nocturne by T.J. English. Basically the backstory for Godfather Part II, with lots of material on the Mafia's dealings in pre-Castro Cuba, Meyer Lansky and Lucky Luciano and the Kefauver Hearings.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 15, 2016, 08:14:41 AM
Exactly what Is Noir/Neo Noir. This is a question that continues to draw debate. In the recent TCM Summer Of Darkness, Noir was defined as all these, a Style, a Genre, a Series, a Movement. Here is my take.

"A thought to throw into the equation of what makes a Noir/Neo Noir is an individual internal factor. It's subjectivity. Noir is in all of us. Think of us all as having an internal tuning fork, these tuning forks are forged by our life experiences which are all unique. When we watch these films their degree of Noir-ness resonates with us differently, so we either "tune" to them or we don't. The amount of "tuning" (I'm appropriating this term from the Neo Noir Dark City (1998)) to certain films will vary between us all also."

and from -James Ellroy
Novelist, L.A. Confidential

“Here’s what film noir is to me.  It’s a righteous, generically American film movement that went from 1945 to 1958 and exposited one great theme and that theme is you’re ****.  You have just met a woman, you’re inches away from the greatest sex of your life but within six weeks of meeting the woman you will be framed for a crime you did not commit and you’ll end up in the gas chamber and as they strap you in and you’re about to breath the cyanide fumes you’ll be grateful for the few weeks you had with her and grateful for your own death.”



Started 1945? That's a bit late. Wasn't Double Indemnity 1944? And The Maltese Falcon and I Wake Up Screaming 1941.

Speaking of which IWUS is never mentioned as the first noir, but it may be. As i recall, it came out around the same time as The Maltese Falcon, but TMF does not have the noir visuals like IWUS does


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 15, 2016, 11:42:12 AM
Started 1945? That's a bit late. Wasn't Double Indemnity 1944? And The Maltese Falcon and I Wake Up Screaming 1941.

Speaking of which IWUS is never mentioned as the first noir, but it may be. As i recall, it came out around the same time as The Maltese Falcon, but TMF does not have the noir visuals like IWUS does

Yea 1941, but some also include Stranger On The Third Floor and The Letter from 1940


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 15, 2016, 11:51:12 AM
Yea 1941, but some also include Stranger On The Third Floor and The Letter from 1940

also Rebecca



Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 15, 2016, 01:54:43 PM
Rebecca's a melodrama with dark photography. I wouldn't consider it a noir.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 15, 2016, 02:13:11 PM
Rebecca's a melodrama with dark photography. I wouldn't consider it a noir.

Some people do. Me, I don't care. Eddie Muller would probably put this movie in his "woman in peril" category.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 26, 2016, 08:36:02 PM
The Canfield Decision - Spiro Agnew - After escaping jail, Agnew became perhaps the only Vice President to dabble in fiction writing. And what a book! An incomprehensible mishmash of Robert Ludlum and Alan Drury, complete with block-headed prose and awful sex scenes.





Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on March 27, 2016, 04:42:35 AM
Los Angeles's Bunker Hill, a nice little history of the Bunker Hill neighborhood in LA that was used quite a bit by Hollywood for Film Noir's Ground Zero. It lasted until the early 60s then was knocked down and bulldozed away. It was a convenient stand in for the hills of San Francisco.  All that's left are the Second and Third Street tunnels and a relocated Angels Flight, sad. I would rather go to Bunker Hill than Disneyland.

here is the link: http://www.electricearl.com/labh/index.html (http://www.electricearl.com/labh/index.html)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 27, 2016, 08:23:15 AM
The Canfield Decision - Spiro Agnew - After escaping jail, Agnew became perhaps the only Vice President to dabble in fiction writing. And what a book! An incomprehensible mishmash of Robert Ludlum and Alan Drury, complete with block-headed prose and awful sex scenes.





Uhm, sounds like ghostwritten by Howard Hunt.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 27, 2016, 08:58:25 AM
I can't imagine Agnew would pay a ghostwriter money for something so wretched.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 27, 2016, 04:20:47 PM
I can't imagine Agnew would pay a ghostwriter money for something so wretched.

Who said he paid him? Probably they only split the royalties. And why do you consider Hunt as only "someone"? He wasn't just "someone", one out of a million ghostwriters who could have been picked up by Agnew to write something marketed under his name (which was the only reason one would have bought the book), but one of the "plumbers". If Agnew was asked to write something the easiest option was to turn to Hunt. Or maybe it was Hunt who proposed him to market a spy under his name. Apparently, you never read anything else by Howard Hunt. Well, don't: but I did. And the description you make of the plot and "style" checks with my experience. I may be wrong, of course, but I'd bet $1000 that it went like I said. Expecially considering that Agnew's dabbling in thriller fiction ended here. And that Hunt wrote spy fiction since 1950. And kept on doing it until the new millennium.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 27, 2016, 04:55:38 PM
Because Agnew had nothing to do with the Plumbers and probably didn't even know Hunt. Like all VPs he was, at best, on the periphery of the President's inner circle. Considering how many Nixon officials wrote their own novels and memoirs (seriously, you could fill a library with Nixon literature), it seems like a stretch to assume Hunt ghostwrote Agnew's.

What I've sampled of Hunt's work (The Coven and a few others) is bad, but in a different, formula way. He was a hack novelist with a paranoid streak. Agnew's novel is the pathetic groping of an amateur, matching the non-style of his equally bad memoir (not to mention his bizarre, alliterative speech patterns).


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 27, 2016, 05:38:20 PM
OK, I trust your judgment. It was your naming Ludlum who made me do the connection: as bad as Hunt.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 27, 2016, 05:53:28 PM
Ludlum sucks? We can agree on that. O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on March 28, 2016, 07:23:31 AM
Charles Fort: The Man Who Invented the Supernatural - Jim Steinmeyer - Good, relatively brief biography of Charles Fort, the pioneer of paranormal research. I used to enjoy Fort's oddly written collections of oddities and it was interesting to learn about the real man. He was a mild-mannered crank who never took his work more than half-seriously; I most enjoyed early chapters about his prolific career writing short fiction, his world travels (including time spent in South Africa during the Boer War) and his friendship with novelist Theodore Dreiser. If there's a criticism, it's that Steinmeyer doesn't explain what drew Fort towards the supernatural in the first place. Maybe he was just strange.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on April 22, 2016, 09:07:45 PM
Reading On the Track of Unknown Animals by Bernuard Heuvelmans, one of the earliest cryptozoology books. This book taught me that not only do leprechauns exist, but they live in Africa! Who knew?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: moviesceleton on April 27, 2016, 12:55:54 PM
I recently finished Infinitine Jest by David Foster Wallace after more than a year of reading (and in English!). Mostly enjoyed it (huge chunks of it enormously) but apparently you can't write a 1000+ pages long novel without including some seriously unnecessary parts.

I guess next I'll try to finish Walden by Henry David Thoreau (in Finnish, though). I don't actually find it that good but I have this stupid habbit of not leaving books unfinished, and I'm over halfway through it...


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 27, 2016, 03:12:12 PM
I guess next I'll try to finish Walden by Henry David Thoreau (in Finnish, though). I don't actually find it that good but I have this stupid habbit of not leaving books unfinished, and I'm over halfway through it...

Read it more than 30 years ago. Not as dull as Two Years before a Mast, which I just couldn't read (and I have that same habit as you), but irritating for that patronizing tone of the one who teaches people things.  As we know he let friends pay for his release from prison after his act of civil disobedience. He had little to teach.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 28, 2016, 02:02:36 PM
One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson (2013)

Great fun to read. Though I probably couldn't describe it any better than these two reviews

WSJ: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304066404579125211316924906


NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/24/books/review/bill-brysons-one-summer-america-1927.html?_r=0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 15, 2016, 07:56:26 AM
Beethoven: The Man Revealed, by John Suchet.

Good book. Suchet is a British radio host and Beethoven scholar. Wrote this book specifically for non-musicologists like me who have no idea how to read music; he doesn't go into any analysis of musical notes. This is a good read for someone like me, a layman who enjoys Beethoven's music. Suchet specifically says there is no new groundbreaking stuff in here, but says that there is some stuff that has never before been printed in English. He seems very knowledgeable, though of course, since the subject died almost 200 years ago, there's a lot we can't know, and Suchet therefore has to start some sentences with words like, "Beethoven must have felt ..." Or, "We can imagine how Beethoven must have felt, ... " etc. That can be  somewhat irritating, but I give credit to the author for being honest. During the times he veers from hard facts into speculation, he clearly says so.
Thankfully, Suchet does not waste endless discussion on the possible identity of the legendary Immortal Beloved; he dedicates one chapter to discussing the possible candidates and that's all. (By the way, though Suchet does not mention the movie IMMORTAL BELOVED, it seems that the movie is complete bullshit - Beethoven did have a sister-in-law whom he despised and he fought her for control of his nephew after the boy's father died, but Suchet does not mention that anyone has ever attempted to say that the sister-in-law is the Immortal Beloved, or that the nephew was really Beethoven's son - although he does say that Beethoven, who largely raised the child as his own, encouraged the boy to call him "Father." So my assumption is that the movie is complete bullshit.)

Also, Suchet does not make Beethoven out to be the maniac that others may, but he is no apologist - on things that Beethoven deserves criticism for, like his battle to take his nephew away from his sister-in-law, Suchet does not withhold criticism.

A good book.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Cusser on May 15, 2016, 08:03:39 AM
The Greatest Generation, by Tom Brokaw.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 15, 2016, 08:26:00 AM
Among other books, I've been going through a bunch of Watergate memoirs, truly the most dismal literary subgenre ever. I'll give high marks to Leonard Garment's Crazy Rhythm and Bill Safire's Before the Fall, because they weren't directly involved in the scandal and aren't trying to exculpate themselves or their boss.

There's also Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, which was lots of fun.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 15, 2016, 06:11:07 PM
The Greatest Generation, by Tom Brokaw.

This is a very famous book but I don't like Tom Brokaw (surprise surprise) and I never read the book and don't plan on it.

Anyway, are you gonna tell us about it or are you just going to write the fact that you read it and that's all???  ;)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 15, 2016, 07:05:55 PM
I'm sure you'll love that I just finished a book by Dan Rather. O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 18, 2016, 11:39:01 PM
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte - What is there to say? Beautifully written, superbly crafted characters and a surprising amount of humor. The horrible awkwardness of St. John proposing to Jane remains most vivid. I could complain about Rochester's mad wife being a silly plot contrivance but that's not fatal.

I just saw the 1943 film, with Joan Fontaine and Orson Welles. What'd ya think of it?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 19, 2016, 06:10:39 AM
Haven't seen it. I did enjoy the more recent version with Fassbender and what's her face.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 19, 2016, 07:41:38 AM
Haven't seen it. I did enjoy the more recent version with Fassbender and what's her face.

Mia Wasikowska? It's an easy name  ;)

I have not seen that one.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on May 20, 2016, 05:59:41 AM
Been re-reading Allan W. Eckert's Wilderness Empire, and now The Conquerors, a good narrative style history of The French & Indian War and Pontiac's Rebellion.  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 20, 2016, 07:55:35 AM
Sadly I haven't read any of Eckert's books. Thanks for the write-up. O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on May 20, 2016, 08:42:24 AM
I just bought two coffe-table sized books about Edward Hopper, on Amazon. Each was printed just a few years ago, the official publication of a major Hopper retrospective:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1935202871/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1463754626&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=hopper+ottinger&dpPl=1&dpID=51Jh1YwVWPL&ref=plSrch

"Hopper" is the publication of a major retrospective in Paris and Madrid



http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0300181493/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1463754744&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=hopper+drawing&dpPl=1&dpID=51kSOh1fdpL&ref=plSrch

"Hopper Drawing" is the publication of a major retrospective at the Whitney Musuem focusing on Hopper's drawings (drawings, etchings, and preperatory sketches for paintings). I was at that exhibit at the Whitney. I don't have that much interest in the drawings per se, but the exhibit showed lots of his major works alongside their preperatory sketches. So I went and pretty much ignored the preperatory sketches and enjoyed the paintings. I posted lotsa pics from that exhibit in the Art thread.

The price of the books has, of course, gone down since they were first released. I got each book for a little over $40.

Along with Peter Hanley's GBU book, that makes three coffee-table books for me to delve into this weekend. I don't have a coffee table. Maybe Peter shoulda done it like Kramer, make a coffee table book about coffee tables, which turns into a coffee table. Furthermore, I rarely drink coffee. Am I allowed to read these while drinking soda?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on May 27, 2016, 12:36:36 PM
The Leopard - Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa - A pleasant, engaging and surprisingly easy read, though I'm sure some nuances of Italian politics zipped over my head. The last chapter is ponderous, though.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Kurug3n on May 29, 2016, 03:43:31 PM
Got around to reading Melville on Melville and there's a mention of Leone and Gian Marie Volonte. The first quote is the last question asked in the Le Doulos section

Quote
What about the Western? Isn't that an ideal form for transposing tragedy?

All my original scripts, without exception, are transposed Westerns. But I don't think you can make a Western outside America. That's why I don't like Sergio Leone's films. I've already had offers to make Westerns in Spain...but although I'm a 'European' who would love to make Westerns, I shall always refuse to make phony ones. The really crazy, amazing thing is that the Americans themselves like these Spanish Westerns. They prefer Once Upon A Time in the West to the real thing. At the moment we are going through a period which is madly destructive of one of the finest forms of cinema. The 'spaghetti' has killed the Western!

This is the last paragraph to the question You have drawn up a sort of critical balance-sheet for your technicians; Would you care to do the same for your cast? in the Circle of Red section.

Quote
But, if you want me to talk about Gian Maria Volonte, that's a very different story. Because Gian Maria Volonte is an instinctive actor, and he may well be a great stage actor in Italy, he may even be a great Shakespearean actor, but for me he was absolutely impossible in that on a French set, in a film such as I was making, he never at any moment made me feel I was dealing with a professional. He didn't know how to place himself for the lighting - he didn't understand that an inch to the left or to the right wasn't at all the same thing. 'Look at Delon, look at Montand,' I used to tell him, 'see how they position themselves perfectly for the lights, etc. etc.' I also think the fact that he is very involved in politics (he's a Leftist, as he never tires of telling you) did nothing to bring us together. He was very proud of having gone to sit-in at the Odeon during the 'glorious' days of May-June 1968; personally, I did not go to the sit-in at the Odeon. It seems, too, that whenever he had a week=end free he flew to Italy to spent it there in what I would call a sort of super-nationalist spirit. I once said to him, 'It's no use dreaming of becoming an international star so long as you continue to pride yourself on being Italian - which is of no consequence, any more than being French is.' But for him everything Italian was marvelous and wonderful, and everything French was ridiculous. I remember one day we were setting up a back-projection scene and he was smiling to himself. I asked him why, and he said, 'Because...you've seen Banditi a Milano? There are no back projections in Banditi a Milano. Everything was shot direct from a car.' 'Really?' I said,' And did you have night scenes like this? You were inside a car filming the action going on outside at night?' 'Well no,' he said, and it seemed to sink in that we weren't using back projections just to amuse him. He's a strange character. Very wearying. I promise you I won't be making any more films with Gian Maria Volonte.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 29, 2016, 03:59:18 PM
I read it 30 years ago and remembered his comments on Volonté. I didn't though his scarce appreciation of SW, which is paradoxical if one thinks about his filming Manhattan in Paris. But still he doesn't explain what is it that irks him about the genre.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Kurug3n on May 31, 2016, 09:56:10 AM
I read it 30 years ago and remembered his comments on Volonté. I didn't though his scarce appreciation of SW, which is paradoxical if one thinks about his filming Manhattan in Paris. But still he doesn't explain what is it that irks him about the genre.

Maybe there is some mention in Jean-Pierre Melville: An American in Paris that touches upon the subject. Don't know when I'll get to it but I'll report back if there is anything of interest. Last two I've been reading back to back are Out of the Past: Adventures in Film Noir and The Cavalry Charges; Writings on Books, Film and Music both by Barry Gifford. The criticisms in the Film Noir book might be interesting to those in the forum.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on June 18, 2016, 04:49:45 PM
Donald Rayfield Stalin and His Hangmen. Excellent excursus on the main 5 sidekicks who helped the tyrant to exterminate millions. One of them had totally passed under my radar. So far I hadn't realized what had happened between S.'s and Beria's execution, the motivations leading to his demise being completely different from what I had read in the past. 10/10.   

(http://cdn-ae.pricena.com/files/images/products/original/241/Stalin-and-His-Hangmen_3307662_fbb9cabf436789df1d4b20829934a6a1.jpg)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 18, 2016, 10:45:30 PM
"The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book," by Peter Finn and Petra Couvee (2014)

https://www.amazon.com/Zhivago-Affair-Kremlin-Battle-Forbidden/dp/0307908003

Groggy, put this book on your list to read, if you haven't already.

Incredibly well-researched book, about how Boris Pasternack wrote "Doctor Zhivago," snuck the manuscript out of the Soviet Union to a Communist publisher in Italy, was persecuted in the Soviet Union, hailed in the West, won the Nobel Prize for literature and was forced to decline it, the CIA secretly printed and smuggled copies of the book into the Soviet Union ....


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 18, 2016, 11:10:06 PM
"Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and Its Private Consequences," by Catherine Pelonero (2014)


https://www.amazon.com/Kitty-Genovese-Account-Consequences-Hardback/dp/B00IVM9GQS/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1466317291&sr=8-2&


Very good book about one of the most infamous murders of the 20th century: The murder of Kitty Genovese, which occurred on a nice street in a middle class neighborhood in Queens, after 3:00 a.m. one night in 1964. 62 people heard her cries for help, 38 of them also saw her (staggering around after she was stabbed, etc), but people figured that she must just be drunk, or that "someone else must have called the police," etc. so nobody called the cops for half an hour, and she slowly died - none of the dozens of stab wounds she received were fatal on their own, if she had received quick emergency care.

This infamous case has been studied endlessly and cited by psychologists for the phenomenon of bystander indifference, how in a big city nobody cares about anybody else or pays attention to anyone else; or about how everyone assumes that the other guy will do something, and that if you're going to be attacked, you're better off in front of one witness than 38.

The report about 38 witnesses was first written by Martin Gansberg in the NY Times shortly after the murder. In recent years, some have questioned its accuracy. But Pelonero adamantly believes the initial report is correct and dismisses the recent attempts at revisionism.

At times, Pelonero can be a little sloppy, like when she dismisses the revisionism without actually going into an in-depth discussion about the other side's arguments. In response to those who say that Gansberg's story was inaccurate, Pelonero spends much of a page with an argument that basically boils down to things like, hey, this is the legendary NY Times and a legendary reporter, they didn't get that way by making up lies. That is one particularly sloppy page in an otherwise very good book.

I have not researched the Genovese murder like Pelonero and others have; I can't state a firm opinion about whether or not Gansberg's 1964 article was correct. He always stood by it, as did his editor, A.M. Rosenthal. And nobody really questioned it for decades afterward. Although recent articles in the Times itself have.

This is  generally a very good book; Pelonero does a very good, chilling job recreating the murder.

This is a very famous, horrific case; whether it's this book or another, read about it if you haven't yet. Plenty of stuff available online as well.

By the way, Winston Moseley, the man who murdered Kitty Genovese (as well as one or two other women), just died two months ago; he was more than 80 years old, and one of the (if not THE) longest-serving prisoners in New York State prison system.

Kitty's brother just released a documentary about her murder, called THE WITNESS, playing now at IFC Center. I hope to see it at IFC Center, or to eventually watch the DVD.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Groggy on June 19, 2016, 08:13:55 AM
I have read the Zhivago book, but not Kitty Genovese. I am currently reading John Heilpern's bio of John Osborne again


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on June 19, 2016, 10:24:33 AM
"The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle Over a Forbidden Book," by Peter Finn and Petra Couvee (2014)




Does it say anything about how Feltrinelli dealt with the widow who was bugging him for her share of the copyrights while he tried to persuade her to leave everything to him?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on June 19, 2016, 11:47:08 AM
Does it say anything about how Feltrinelli dealt with the widow who was bugging him for her share of the copyrights while he tried to persuade her to leave everything to him?

After Pasternack dies, there is some brief discussion about the settling of the estate/royalties, though I do not remember offhand much of what it says about that. I think that some deal was worked out a few years later by the widow with Soviet officials - of course, the gov't had to be involved with money transfers from abroad, and probably took a hefty cut. Also, Pasternack's mistress claimed that before he died he had signed a document leaving things in her hands, but the person who was supposed to bring the document from the USSR to Italy lost it and the document was never entered into the record. The mistress ended up receiving a small portion of the money.

btw, I see on Amazon another book,, written one year before the Finn/Couvee book, about the publication of Doctor Zhivago. It's called "Inside the Zhivago storm: The editorial adventures of Pasternak's masterpiece," (English and Italian Edition) by Paolo Mancosu

https://www.amazon.com/Zhivago-editorial-adventures-Pasternaks-masterpiece/dp/8807990687

Mancosu has a website here https://zhivagostorm.org/




Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on June 21, 2016, 12:41:52 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vqGSAQJgL.jpg)
It reads well, though it suffers from having been written in 1991 when the russian archives were just starting being accessible. But Conquest is a good narrator and especially when  dealing with  the pre-IIWW years his portrait of Stalin is still valuable. 9/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 03, 2016, 12:40:11 PM
(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51K8dIE6HgL.jpg)


Euro Noir: The Pocket Essential Guide to European Crime Fiction, Film and TV (Pocket Essential series) - Barry Forshaw

A personal tour in state- of-the-art continental crime fiction. Mainly devoted to Italian and French contemporary writers the author throws some historical hints and reviews some movies and tv series he considers worthy of note. Well, if one likes reading crime fiction he can find some reading hints here, but this is a very idiosyncratic book. I give it 8/10 because I presume it is the only book dealing with rumenian, polish, dutch, greek and portuguese crime fiction, which I doubt though  I'll ever read. But oddly, it leaves out russian crime fiction, an important one.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on October 30, 2016, 07:13:24 PM
(http://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1281763972i/640592._UY309_SS309_.jpg)

Good anthology of stories of alternative history. The level is generally good, though I do not think there's a masterpiece among them, but most are coming up with a sly approach. Oddly Hitler himself doesn't share the limelight.   7/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on November 18, 2016, 11:23:46 AM
Dan Brown The Lost Symbol and Inferno

(http://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1348146824i/2548559._UY200_.jpg)
(http://vignette2.wikia.nocookie.net/davincicode/images/1/1f/Inferno-inglesa2.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20130804204102)

Brown's ability lies not so much  in his russian dolls enigmas but in his chases and how the chased ones manage to find a way out. He also gives many anectodical informations on many locales (in these cases Washington, Florence, Venice and Constantinople) and organisatons (masons).  7/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on November 18, 2016, 03:46:53 PM
Reading three at the moment

(http://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1398130996i/3184761._UY200_.jpg)

(http://images.gr-assets.com/books/1337403410l/8070273.jpg)

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2BRJhd06nL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Kurug3n on November 22, 2016, 10:06:49 AM
If you like Barry Gifford then you should check out his writings on Film Noir. If you haven't already that is.

(http://i.imgur.com/lDcSQAA.jpg)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on February 02, 2017, 03:37:21 PM
(http://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/hostedimages/1380445445i/1525580.jpg)

A good collection of crime stories, some from not specialist in the field. With one exception all quite good and some very good. Published in 1950, roundin' up stories from the '20's on.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on March 12, 2017, 07:05:34 PM
Five Came Back - Mark Harris - Really excellent book about five directors (Capra, Ford, Huston, Stevens, Wyler) who served in World War II.

I also read Harris's Pictures at a Revolution recently, chronicling the 1967 Best Picture nominees and their role in ushering in the New Hollywood. So far as I know these are his only two books, but even on that basis I'd rank him among the best film writers out there.


I just got Five Came Back from the library (Ben Menckeweicz mentioned on TCM recently after a showing of THEY WERE EXPENDABLE).

I'm only a hundred pages in, but it is indeed very good  O0 O0 O0 O0 O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on March 14, 2017, 07:08:35 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51hGHmAlK5L._SX404_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg)

Filled with quotations from Ventura and his colleagues plus a ton of photographs make this indispensable for this actor's fans, like me who consider him the best french actor ever...were it not that he kept his italian nationality till the end:"You can't stop being italian" runs a quotation in the book. So much so that he played in italian in Rosi's Cadaveri eccellenti. But what results from the book just confirms what the audience perceived: he was in real life what he appeared to be in movies. The book is on the man and his art, little is told of his movies. That is why i give it only 9/10.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: drinkanddestroy on April 13, 2017, 12:25:07 AM

I just got Five Came Back from the library (Ben Menckeweicz mentioned on TCM recently after a showing of THEY WERE EXPENDABLE).

I'm only a hundred pages in, but it is indeed very good  O0 O0 O0 O0 O0

I finished FIVE CAME BACK. Very, very, very, very, very good book.

I then read ROUND UP THE USUAL SUSPECTS: THE MAKING OF CASABLANCA: BOGART, BERGMAN, AND WORLD WAR II, by Aljean Harmetz. Good book about the making of one of the greatest movies of all time.

It was completely  coincidental that I read those two books back to back. But of course, some of the material they cover relates to one another.

FCB focuses on the military film work that five famous filmmakers did during WWII: Fors, Capra, Stevens, Huston, and Wyler.

As RUTUS is set during World War II, it also has some discussion of the military film work by Hollywood studios - specifically Warner Bros.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 18, 2017, 08:43:28 AM
(https://pictures.abebooks.com/isbn/9782711203550-us.jpg)

A biography come out right after the actor's death, concentrating more on the man Gabin than on his movies. To be read at a half-sitting. 8/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 23, 2017, 10:30:14 PM
If you like Barry Gifford then you should check out his writings on Film Noir. If you haven't already that is.

(http://i.imgur.com/lDcSQAA.jpg)

A couple of heads-up to little known movies, which I doubt though are worth the efffort. The most interesting snippets are those involving some autobiographical happenings. The reviews of the noirs themselves are generally not particularly deep, may be useful to beginners. 6/10


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jessica Rabbit on April 24, 2017, 08:31:23 AM
Quote
A couple of heads-up to little known movies, which I doubt though are worth the efffort.

But they ARE worth the effort. I can't even count the times when I stumbled on some (unjustly) forgotten little gem. Sure, there are lots of disappointments along the way, but it's great when you hit the jackpot.

I agree that Gifford's reviews aren't particularly deep, but he's an extremely gifted writer. It's joy to read his prose.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: XhcnoirX on April 25, 2017, 06:55:45 AM
I can't even count the times when I stumbled on some (unjustly) forgotten little gem. Sure, there are lots of disappointments along the way, but it's great when you hit the jackpot.

Indeed... I've not heard of the Gifford book before, so I'll have to find me a copy. It sounds great!

For obscure poverty row noirs, I can recommend 'Death on the Cheap' by Arthur Lyons. Love it, the first half of the book focuses on the rise & fall of the poverty row studios and how they operated, the second half contains small reviews of hundreds of obscure noirs & thrillers.

(http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSNvHThJO1uG6RiJbBPZwVOZkg0lXSXe-0MZQhC3quPKyNbnpmC)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Jessica Rabbit on April 25, 2017, 09:08:01 AM
Xh, I have Death on the Cheap and like it too. Another one I like is Eddie Muller's Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/513zXoiv5zL.jpg)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: XhcnoirX on April 25, 2017, 11:30:42 AM
Another one I like is Eddie Muller's Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir.

I've not read it, but heard good things about it (and of course Eddie Muller knows his noir). One to add to the ever-expanding 'to get' list!  :)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on April 25, 2017, 12:03:58 PM
(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/ISF_zpspvmadj1n.jpg)

Some strange and interesting stuff.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on April 25, 2017, 12:35:52 PM
(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/ISF_zpspvmadj1n.jpg)

Some strange and interesting stuff.
Bah. I gave it away. What about the above mentioned two on noir? i seem to remember you reviewed the Muller but can't find the post. Anyway I ordered both.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on April 25, 2017, 04:24:51 PM
The Muller is very good, the reason we can't find them maybe I just posted the image and didn't identify the title or author.

The Re Strange Films has some interesting info about the rise of Grindhouse Cinema from the late 50s from the interviews conducted within. I got some value out of it.

The other two are on my wish list.  O0


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: titoli on May 17, 2017, 04:34:14 PM
I'm halfway reading both the Lyons and the Muller. Both are very good. Lyons is able to give a very complete though succinct view of the rise and fall of the genre, pointing up the most important productive conditions and stylistic traits of the movies. Not a word wasted. 10/10 Muller defines the genre by going through themes and personalities while describing the movies, with the help of great pictures. (Still I don't understand how he can apparently ignore that The Big Heat was based on a novel by McGivern). Though I like his style, I don't agree with his attitude to read more in the movies than what is actually to be found therein, so I give it 9/10.   


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: stanton on May 18, 2017, 02:20:51 AM
(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/ISF_zpspvmadj1n.jpg)


The name of the film?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: greenbudgie on May 18, 2017, 02:33:37 AM
I am currently reading 'The Mugger' by Ed McBain. It is one of his 87th Precinct novels from the 1950s and his street dialogue is very much like the noir and crime films of the time. I don't think that this story got filmed like some of his stories. Most notably 'The Blackboard Jungle.'

He went on to write for Hitchcock 'The Birds' under the mane of Evan Hunter which I think may have been his real name. 'The Mugger' is good pulp-type writing with some little bit of poetic comparisons. He compares the city streets of the 87th Precinct to a wild woman and all her changing moods. So I think I will look out for more Ed McBain books.


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on May 18, 2017, 04:13:03 AM
The name of the film?

The one on the cover?


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: stanton on May 18, 2017, 05:19:19 AM
The one on the cover?

Of course.

(Which one else?)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: cigar joe on May 18, 2017, 05:10:27 PM
(http://i841.photobucket.com/albums/zz337/cigarjoe/ISF_zpspvmadj1n.jpg)

The Mask (1961) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055151/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_3 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055151/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_3)


Title: Re: Last Book You Read
Post by: Novecento on May 18, 2017, 10:08:06 PM
The Mask (1961) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055151/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_3 (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055151/?ref_=fn_tt_tt_3)

There's an interesting note in the IMDB trivia section Slavko Vorkapich was once linked to this:

Quote
According to a piece on the film in "Filmfax" (issue #25), Slavko Vorkapich's ideas for the 3-D sequences were ultimately too expensive to be used, and director Julian Roffman did much of the conceptual work himself. Vorkapich's name remained in the credits because of a "pay or play" option in his contract.