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Thread: The Book Discussion Thread

  1. #6651
    Since 1929 Morris Schæffer's Avatar
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    I'm in the middle of reading this really cool book about movies, a movie of which there is precious little information as to its conception if it hadn't been for one of the actor's keeping a diary. It's called "Spielberg, Truffaut and Me: A Close Encounters Diary" and was written by Bob Balaban. It's a very funny, insightful and informative read delivered in snack-sized bites. I can't wait to finish it.
    [+] closer to next rating / [-] closer to previous rating

    • Eternals (Zhao, 2021) ✦½ [+]
    • Raya and the Last Dragon (Estrada/Hall, 2021) ✦✦✦ [-]
    • The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (Ritchie, 2015) ✦✦ [+]
    • Luca (Casarosa, 2021) ✦✦✦ [-]
    • Sex Education (S3) ✦✦✦½ [+]
    • No Time to Die (Fukunaga, 2021) ✦✦✦ [-]
    • Malignant (Wan, 2021) ✦✦½ [+]
    • Dune (Villeneuve, 2021) ✦✦✦ [-]
    • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Cretton, 2021) ✦✦ [-]
    • Dark (S1) ✦✦✦½ [+]
    • The Tomorrow War (McKay, 2021) ✦✦ [-]
    • The Suicide Squad (Gunn, 2021) ✦✦✦ [-]
    • The Haunting of Bly Manor (S1) ✦✦✦ [-]
    • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (S1) ✦½ [+]
    • F9: The Fast Saga (Lin, 2021) ✦✦ [-]


  2. #6652
    At some point, Morris, you gotta post your top ten of all these cool film books you're reading.

  3. #6653
    Since 1929 Morris Schæffer's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    At some point, Morris, you gotta post your top ten of all these cool film books you're reading.
    I don't actually read that often, but it's true that these are my kind of books.
    [+] closer to next rating / [-] closer to previous rating

    • Eternals (Zhao, 2021) ✦½ [+]
    • Raya and the Last Dragon (Estrada/Hall, 2021) ✦✦✦ [-]
    • The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (Ritchie, 2015) ✦✦ [+]
    • Luca (Casarosa, 2021) ✦✦✦ [-]
    • Sex Education (S3) ✦✦✦½ [+]
    • No Time to Die (Fukunaga, 2021) ✦✦✦ [-]
    • Malignant (Wan, 2021) ✦✦½ [+]
    • Dune (Villeneuve, 2021) ✦✦✦ [-]
    • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Cretton, 2021) ✦✦ [-]
    • Dark (S1) ✦✦✦½ [+]
    • The Tomorrow War (McKay, 2021) ✦✦ [-]
    • The Suicide Squad (Gunn, 2021) ✦✦✦ [-]
    • The Haunting of Bly Manor (S1) ✦✦✦ [-]
    • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (S1) ✦½ [+]
    • F9: The Fast Saga (Lin, 2021) ✦✦ [-]


  4. #6654
    I read Ulysses. I've had more rewarding experiences.
    Last edited by Mysterious Dude; 03-27-2016 at 08:29 PM.

  5. #6655
    What is best in life? D_Davis's Avatar
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    I started a most delightful book this morning: The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear, by Walter Moers, a German author and cartoonist.




    First of all, the book as some of the most charming and expertly drawn illustrations I've ever seen in a novel. And there are tons of them. It's almost what I would call a real graphic novel, in that the words and pictures are equally as informative and important to the story, but it is not a comic book.





    It reminds me of a less bawdy Hugh Cook novel. It's the tale of Captain Bluebear, a blue bear, born in a walnut shell on the high seas, and all of his adventures with a group of minipirates in a fantastic land. It is very much in the tradition of Tall Tales and Just So Stories, with a ton of dry humor, nonsense, wit, and adventure. I had never heard of Moers before, but I am delighted to discover that he has a bunch of books, and it looks like they've all been translated into English and are being published by the great folks at Overlook Press.




    It's kind of weird to me how few examples there are of the illustrations in this book.

  6. #6656
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    So I've been hard at work on the third Ninja Kat book as of late, and finished a full draft earlier in the week, which is now in the hands of test readers. So it's coming along, but in the meantime, I went ahead and released the first chapter of this new novel, which is available to read now. http://cwiddop.blogspot.com/2016/08/...ming-soon.html

  7. #6657
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Just dropping by to let you all know that Velcro: The Masquerade is now available!



    http://cwiddop.blogspot.com/2016/12/...available.html

  8. #6658
    The Pan Spinal's Avatar
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    Just finished re-reading the Song of Ice and Fire books, this time using the Feast with Dragons revision. Has anyone else done this? I thought it was a huge improvement and makes the material in A Feast for Crows work a whole lot better. You aren't overloaded with Cersei and Brienne stuff like you are when you read them as published.
    Coming to America (Landis, 1988) **
    The Beach Bum (Korine, 2019) *1/2
    Us (Peele, 2019) ***1/2
    Fugue (Smoczynska, 2018) ***1/2
    Prisoners (Villeneuve, 2013) ***1/2
    Shadow (Zhang, 2018) ***
    Oslo, August 31st (J. Trier, 2011) ****
    Climax (Noé, 2018) **1/2
    Fighting With My Family (Merchant, 2019) **
    Upstream Color (Carruth, 2013) ***

  9. #6659
    Producer Lucky's Avatar
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    I'm surprised I let myself go this long without reading The Sun Also Rises, but I think it resonated with me more at this age. My favorite Hemingway.

  10. #6660
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    Lemony Snicket's new and just concluded series (All the Wrong Questions), which is a prequel series to A Series of Unfortunate Events and concerns a young Lemony Snicket the character, is really good. If ASoUE is an absurdist spin on gothic novels, this one is on hard-boiled noir detective. One great thing is that you can hear his voice becoming more and more like the adult Snicket who narrates ASoUE as the series goes on. Here are my thoughts right after I finished each of them:

    1. Who Could That Be at This Hour?

    This is my second time after back when it was released. But only the beginning of the book stays with me before this reread, because although this has the snappy pace and catchy writing of ASoUE, it doesn't have a more "normal" presence like the Baudelaire siblings to ground all the eccentricities and colorful details. Lemony Snicket as a character isn't bad, but he blends into the surroundings as part of the weirdness. So even if it's a pleasant, fun read, the case doesn't stay with me much (and the book is so open-ended that I had waited for the whole series to be available before I starts over again this time). I do love those details though, and enjoy Handler's delightful writing as usual though. 3.5/5

    2. When Did You See Her Last?

    Still kind of open-ended and still leaving quite a few questions more than individual installments of ASoUE. But now that the the introductions are mostly out of the way, the characters, their relationships, its unique world, and many eccentric details deepen, becoming more involving and fun. The joys are now pretty much in the same way as spending time in the world of an ASoUE book. 4/5

    2.5. File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

    A nice collection of thirteen little mysteries set in the main location of All the Wrong Questions series. The mysteries are not very memorable in themselves, but they are full of colorful local characters (in the best style of Snicket's quirky ones) and great worldbuilding. 3/5

    3. Shouldn't You Be in School?

    Snicket's AtWQ has always had two layers at play. First is putting his own dry, absurdist spin on hard-boiled noir detective genre (like he did with the gothic genre in A Series of Unfortunate Events) minus all the overt adultness, which still doesn't exclude stuff like violence and a recurring femme fatale. Second is playing in his own universe that has been previously established in ASoUE, with the main character the narrator of that one, and various ties and characters to them (while still having those references be accessible to new readers). And this third book is the best in the new series so far because those layers come off both strongest here. The noir-ish story is darker and more thrilling, with some real danger, an encounter or two of impactful violence, and even a dash of romance and heartbreak. And it intertwines fully with Snicket's own life and organization, with his past (as shown tantalizingly in ASoUE), various characters, and recognizable references coming into very sharp focus here, and at the service of the new story (instead of being mere fan-service) to boot. If we call the world of both series Snicket-verse, this is one of its very best. 4.5/5

    4. Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?

    Not as varied and rich in characters and locations as the third book, because the setting is more confined to a single train. But it's still a fun Snicket take on both Agatha Christie-ish mystery and noir detective. Also a really good ending to the series, with a great mix of unexpected revelations and nicely ambiguous questions (I loved ASoUE's The End, but I imagine the general reception to this will be better than that one, because it's such an unexpected but fitting climax). And Snicket really stays through to the form of both his noir genre spin and his increasingly grey area of Snicket-verse, delivering a conclusion that has more than a touch of appropriately strong bitterness, and some small flickers of hope. 4/5
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  11. #6661
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    Otto Friedrich's City of Nets: A Portrait of Hollywood in the 1940s. I can see the influence of this book, and there are indeed passages and anecdotes still as compelling as ever. I think Mark Harris's narrow, propulsive focus in his own two books (Pictures at a Revolution and Five Came Back) spoils me though, because this one covers a lot, and I checked out mentally a bit two or three times since I'm more interested in the film side of things. Still cumulatively an immense book that captures an era in films so well through such colorful, thoroughly researched details.
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  12. #6662
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    It (Stephen King)

    Its influence maybe makes it seems a little familiar (such as 20th Century Boys), and the adult parts' insistence on repetition of six-to-seven people, complete with so many descriptive details in their separate lives and heavy, HEAVY foreshadowing of doom, can drive me a little nuts. Not to mention those town digressions; they might grow on me later on but it can get tiresome at times, no matter how colorful or well-written.

    However, the mingling of the past and presence is superb; the kid parts are great and beautifully evocative. King really has a great, intuitive way of writing children and teens. The way their mindsets perceive the threats that are beyond their years, and directly related to their fears, is what makes this evil and its many forms still so terrifying and fresh. And despite my complaint above, the big chapter "The Reunion", and the sub-chapter "Bill Denbrough Gets a Look" in particular, is one of the best things King has ever done; the blurring of past and presence is so affectingly powerful in its dark nostalgic rush. The way he brings that kind of blurring up again around the end really brings that theme to a satisfying wistful finish; you can't go home again like when you are kids, but you can sometimes evoke them in your adulthood to drive you forward.

    It is messy, overlong, and sometimes ill-considered (you know the scene, but I think the execution pulls it off somewhat)... but also, one of the most poignant and beautiful novels about growing up I have read. 4/5

    Watership Down (Richard Adams)

    Instantly captures a strong sense of mythical power in the first few chapters, and then continues to build and build from there, so that every facet of the world, its spirituality, and the rabbits' adventure is enveloped in an atmosphere of gripping epic, the nature's and man's mundane details completely transformed. Plus just one of the most beautiful epilogues ever. 5/5
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  13. #6663
    Moderator Dead & Messed Up's Avatar
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    Listening to an audio book of Crichton's The Lost World due to a mix of nostalgia and easy listening while doing chores, etc., but came across this gem of repetition: "Diego shrugged, his expression indifferent. He was unimpressed. He saw no reason for concern."

  14. #6664
    collecting tapes Skitch's Avatar
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    I had cassettes of the audiobook for Sphere, complete with sound effects and score. I listened to it multiple times. Its why I still defend that movie. I have so many fond memories of being totally lost in that world through headphones on my walkman.

  15. #6665
    Moderator Dead & Messed Up's Avatar
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    Researching a story by reading the Malleus Maleficarum, a classic Catholic treatise on witchcraft, what it's like, how to deal with it and dispel witches and all that stuff. Apparently this boy was a best-seller second only to the Bible for the better part of 200 years.

    Which is horrifying, because the book is dull, repetitive, childish, insular, woman-hating bullshit. It's my fault for expecting otherwise; I was hoping for some exciting imaginative nonsense in the vein of The Lesser Key of Solomon, where at least they get buckwild imagining all kinds of demons:



    Hell yeah.

    But nope, just a bunch of tiresome strictures and proscriptions, and bits like "When a woman thinks alone, she thinks evil" and "...'femina' comes from 'fe' and 'mina,' meaning lesser." Shit like this burrowing into the cultural consciousness for two centuries is probably why we still can't have nice things.

    [Just noticed how the frog looks like he did not sign on for this fusion experiment.]

  16. #6666
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    DD, now that you're back, I'm on Book 5 of the Dark Tower. Currently stalled out. Book 4 really killed my interest.
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    Quote Quoting D_Davis (view post)
    Uwe Boll movies > all Marvel U movies
    Quote Quoting TGM (view post)
    I work in grocery. I have not gotten sick. My fellow employees have not gotten sick. If the virus were even remotely as contagious as its being presented as, why haven’t entire store staffs who come into contact with hundreds of people per day, thousands per week, all falling ill in mass nationwide?

  17. #6667
    What is best in life? D_Davis's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    DD, now that you're back, I'm on Book 5 of the Dark Tower. Currently stalled out. Book 4 really killed my interest.
    Book 4 is my least favorite. Skipped most of it the first time I read it. Skipped the entire flashback. Book 5 is my favorite. It's the best.

  18. #6668
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Shit well I better get back on my horse then.
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    Quote Quoting D_Davis (view post)
    Uwe Boll movies > all Marvel U movies
    Quote Quoting TGM (view post)
    I work in grocery. I have not gotten sick. My fellow employees have not gotten sick. If the virus were even remotely as contagious as its being presented as, why haven’t entire store staffs who come into contact with hundreds of people per day, thousands per week, all falling ill in mass nationwide?

  19. #6669
    What is best in life? D_Davis's Avatar
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    I re-read the series in 2016. Skipped most of book 4 again. The stuff with Blaine is great.

  20. #6670
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    That's book 3 and also my favorite.
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    Quote Quoting D_Davis (view post)
    Uwe Boll movies > all Marvel U movies
    Quote Quoting TGM (view post)
    I work in grocery. I have not gotten sick. My fellow employees have not gotten sick. If the virus were even remotely as contagious as its being presented as, why haven’t entire store staffs who come into contact with hundreds of people per day, thousands per week, all falling ill in mass nationwide?

  21. #6671
    What is best in life? D_Davis's Avatar
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    Book 3 is fantastic. For a long time, it was my favorite. It is the most quest-orientated one, and I love a good quest/traveling/adventure story.

  22. #6672
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    Cloud Atlas

    My opinion/love for the film adaptation will color this a lot, but here goes. While I admire, am engrossed and occasionally moved by the book, I feel like the structure and the style, while highly ambitious, need to be a bit more rigorous. The reincarnation motif and each story referencing one another, in which the film pours all in with cross-cutting and big feelings, stands out and feels more cutesy in the context of this more high-minded gambit. Remaining with a story for a long chunk means that some stories will have to be compared, sometimes in inevitably unfavorable light, when we are cut off from the last one or move forward to the next (for me, Adam Ewing and Timothy Cavendish are lacking). Also, the struggle in reading through the (otherwise engaging) post-apocalyptic story with shredded dialect is just too real.

    Still, for the most part Mitchell's total control of each stoy's pacing and style suck me in. Surprised by how pretty faithful the film turns out to be, except the last two stories, and the film's best bits are only magnified in the book, especially Robert Frobisher's characterization and arc, the fun pulpiness of Luisa Rey's investigation, and the catharsis of Adam Ewing's story, which closes out the book most wonderfully. Sonmi-451's story remains my favorite of the lot like in the adaptation, despite being vastly reconceived. The core of her character's journey is just too involving, whatever deviations each version has from each other. 4/5
    Midnight Run (1988) - 9
    The Smiling Lieutenant (1931) - 8.5
    The Adventures of Robinhood (1938) - 8
    Sisters (1973) - 6.5
    Shin Godzilla (2016) - 7.5

  23. #6673
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Cross posting here, because why not? But I just released the synopsis and cover reveal for the upcoming fourth Ninja Kat novel, VELCRO: POLLUTED WAR. Check it out. http://cwiddop.blogspot.com/2017/08/...ming-soon.html

  24. #6674
    Portnoy's Complaint - this guy sure has a lot to say about his own penis.

  25. #6675
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    So just finished Release by Patrick Ness, and it was another mostly solid read. There's two stories going on, and I thought the main story was really great stuff, while the other kinda felt a bit flimsy at times, and by the end, perhaps a bit overly-obvious. Doesn't ruin the book by any stretch, but felt a bit misplaced, particularly compared to Ness' similar incorporation of fantastical elements in his other books.

    But like I said, the main story was outstanding, and has a very real and genuine feel to it, something that most anyone can really relate to, not only people dealing with the specific problems brought to light, and it's well worth the read on its own.

    Do we have to start ranking Patrick Ness novels? I think so...

    A Monster Calls
    Chaos Walking
    The Rest of Us Just Live Here
    Release
    The Crane Wife
    More Than This

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