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Tonight while watching the Olympics why not...

Truth Partisan's picture

scribble down a book review for Sunday morning?

Tell us why to read a book--or not.
Tell us your best book memories. Why did that book change your life?
Give us a list of everyone-should-reads.
And I was thinking two things:
1) How about book-to-movies, books made into movies? Which books are good? Which movies are good? Which ones have nothing to do with each other?
2) The Vinge Reviews: when do y'all want to do this together?

Everything else, old or new, long or short, welcome.
See you tomorrow.

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Comrade Rutherford's picture
Submitted by Comrade Rutherford on

Really? Approving of the Chinese government and NBC's butchered coverage?

Not in my house. Olympics are banned here. Modern media's coverage is so horrible, I can't stand it. If I were to watch it, I'd watch the CBC version, which isn't quite so jingoistic. (Because we are 50 miles from Canada, we get CBC.)

But I am not about to display any approval of China, either. So no Olympics for us. Maybe next time...

PS, do you know how hard it is to find products that AREN'T made in China? No thanks to Bush, for selling out our country to a brutal dictatorship, and no thanks for turing the US into one too.

Submitted by ohio on

made the best entrance in Hollywood movie history in THE THIN MAN.

With Asta on a leash and Nick Charles (William Powell, second-best pencil moustache after Claude Rains) at the bar, Nora Charles is dressed to the nines and loaded down with packages, when she does a face plant in the middle of the crowd. Nice bit of technique and a great close-up of a wonderfully expressive face. Didn't hurt that the dog was cute and Powell was pretty damn good in his role as well.

It's a good series, but the first one is the best one. Well shot, excellent art direction, good directing, top notch performances by two actors with chemistry and palpable affection. And good looking. Loy is a gorgeous dame; Powell is handsome, charming, and rippling a very attractive good humor. Dammit, you wnat to by his Nick Charles as many martinis as he wants.

It's interesting to compare the movie with the book by Dashiell Hammett. Hammett was an ex-Pinkerton detective who gave up that racket after the lynching of IWW Frank Little (1/2 white, 1/2 Indian, all Wobbly is what they said about him). His creation, Nick Charles, also gives up private detecting after marrying up.

But while Nora may be sheltered, she's not delicate. When the daughter of an old client begs for Nick's help, he's hesitant to get dragged into it. But Nora seems to love the seamy side, maybe because she wants to look at the dark side, maybe because she's afraid Nick will get bored drinking all day and fondling their money. Whatever the reason, she's interested in getting him interested in solving the mystery.

But where the movie is charming and pretty, the book is grimy and sordid. And even better than the movie. It's more complicated. The villains aren't moustache-twirlers; they are bad guys, but most of their bad is venial and understandable. Same with the good. Their goodness so often seems accidental. But still, for a book that is unreal, the author knows people and it undergirds even the most unlikely twists.

And the dialogue crackles. My recommendation: ask your significant other to read it aloud at night, maybe five or ten pages a go. In exchange you promise to...well, that's your business, toots.

mojave_wolf's picture
Submitted by mojave_wolf on

Really terrific recent release; probably my favorite nonfiction book of the last several years; a great travel guide to Belize, a great bio of a truly interesting woman; a political eco-thriller and environmental manifesto that gets to the heart of so many things that are screwing up the world, full of information and a great read.

A quote I jotted down months ago for a book review I still haven't written:

"The forces driving the 6th extinction possess so much money and power that fighting them requires a willing suspension of disbelief. The odds are so long that if you look at them too hard you'll lose your mind. Every once in a while, though, I meet a rare subspecies of human who offers hope."

The book is about a woman belonging to that rare subspecies, known to locals as "the zoo lady", and her backstory and the history and current atmosphere of Belize are as much a part of the book as her efforts to save the only population of Scarlet Macaws in that particular part of the world, and the obstacles therein. All of it tied in to how things are going in the rest of the world

There were a horde of other good quotes on pages I marked before I turned the book back into the library . . .

mojave_wolf's picture
Submitted by mojave_wolf on

Sorry to make two comments in a row, but I can go on forever about books . . .

For nonfiction, I'd include the book above and Susan Wickland's "This Common Secret" and Paul Krugman's "The Conscience of a Liberal" from things I've read this year,

here's my list of favorite non-fiction from last year:

and historically, I'd go w/these off the top of my head:
Leo Buscaglia's "Love" -- it's probably not fashionable, but this is one of my favorite books I've ever read and had a huge positive impact on my life, in many ways.

Susan Faludi's "Backlash" -- along w/my wife and Marilyn French's "The Women's Room", probably the single biggest factor in me becoming a feminist.

Starhawk's "The Earth Path"

I can't recall the authors off the top of my head, it was several, I think Dee Brown was one? -- Loving to Survive (an examination of societal Stockholm Syndrome among women)

Susan Okin, "Why MultiCulturalism is Bad for Women" -- generally hated by 3rd wave feminists, but I think she's correct in her thesis, and nearly half the book is devoted to essays by people who disagree with her on various points, which makes this one of the fairest and most open examination of an issue I've seen

For fiction, again off the top of my head,

Les Miz, Victor Hugo
The Women's Room, Marilyn French
The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison
Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas, Hunter S Thompson
On the Road, Jack Kerouac
Gatsby, Fitzgerald
The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway
Farthing, Jo Walton

mojave_wolf's picture
Submitted by mojave_wolf on

The Plague Dogs, by Richard Adams. And this one probably had a huge influence on me, when I read it way back in the 8th grade.

The other book I read at that age which impacted me equally was Lord of the Rings; I really should reread that again, and not just because I now go back and forth on whether I'd call it a must-read.