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misswonderly3

Somewhat Off-Topic: What have you been reading lately?

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Ok, summer's almost over. It's a time that, correctly or not, is often associated with people catching up on their reading. Not necessarily "beach" reading, either (which I associate with rubbish -I can't even read on a beach, the sun bothers me too much.)

 

Anyway, it's always struck me that the people who post on this site are a fairly literate lot. There have been quite a few threads that refer to books and films in some way, but I was thinking this one could just be a basic "What are you reading these days? What have you read lately?" kind of thread. It can be about fiction, non-fiction, books about movies, stars, filmmaking, books that have nothing whatsoever to do with film. Whatever you are or have been reading that has impressed you and you'd like to share. I'm not putting this on the "Favourites" forum because, to be honest, it seems to me that a lot of people rarely go on that forum, and I'd like feedback from lots of posters.

 

So, a book I read earlier this summer that I liked: Too Much Happiness, by Alice Munro. She's a great short story writer, I would go so far as to say she's one of the best writers of short or any other kind of fiction living today. But then, I' m a sucker for short stories.

 

Anyone else got a book they want to talk about?

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Nice thread idea.

 

I'm always game for classic literature...and especially when it relates to classic film. Since I own a copy of THE RAZOR'S EDGE starring Gene Tierney and Tyrone Power, I decided to pick up a copy of the book by Somerset Maugham. I have not begun it yet...it will probably be fall reading. I am going to wait to watch the movie again, preferably after I have read the novel. Then, I think I will enjoy the film more (who knows...we'll see).

 

I also picked up a few E.M. Forster novels. He's one of my favorite authors and I've read many of his titles (back in college) so this is a second go round with some of these. But I'm happy to own copies of A Passage to India, Howards End (probably my favorite Forster book), and Maurice. I do not have any of these films at home...and since I am a huge fan of Merchant Ivory, I will probably add them to my collection at Christmastime.

 

Another one I like a lot is The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington. I have read this one several times. As lauded as Orson Welles' film version is, I don't think it quite touches the story and the way of life that Tarkington depicts in his writing. In fact, I think Welles' ego takes the movie in a different direction and it's a shame. Tarkington is a fun author and his characters are both whimsical and ironically tragic. Plus, he sets his stories in his home state of Indiana and no other American writer quite captures the midwestern experience like he does.

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After discussions in that Hepburn/Thompson thread I decided to read another play by Shaw Major Barbara.

 

I also have been reading Conversations with the Great Movie Makers of Hollywood's Golden Age which is just a bunch of interviews taken from various AFI sessions. I have seen bits and pieces of these interviews before but it is fascinating to read the whole thing. And this is the book I have been quoting on here occasionally.

 

I also have Fahrenheit 451 on the way from the library & my friend let me borrow her copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo so I should be starting those soon as well.

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Well I finishing Red Queen by Phillipia Gregory talk about Henry VIII grandma Margret Bedufort the founder of Tudor dynasty now I reading another Queen that got movie treatment Captive Queen Elenaor of Aquitaine of Lion in Winter fame

 

MAN what a lady LOL!

 

Kate Hepburn didn't do her justice LOL!

 

She was wildcat

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I had to read "Major Barbara* in college. Then they made us watch the movie. And you'll never believe who played the title role--the same actress who was Eliza Doolittle in *Pygmalion", Wendy Hiller.

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I like "Ambersons" too. You're right. The movie is fine. But the book is much more detailed. I believe there was a mini-series as well. I bet that was a more complete, if not better, translation. I'm reading crime fiction by Ed McBain. I read BLACKBOARD JUNGLE a few weeks ago. Thought, I like his mysteries better! So...

 

Kinokima,

 

Very much do I recommend the film of MAJOR BARBARA. A clever play, extremely well acted.

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She's a great short story writer, I would go so far as to say she's one of the best writers of short or any other kind of fiction living today.

 

How short is she? Are we talking under five feet?

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There's one actor in it, Robert Newton. Hitch was high on him--wanted him to play Jourdan's role in *Paradine Case*.

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I believe you will think me odd.

 

I recently finished:

The Misenchanted Sword by Watt-Evans

Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel by Donnelly

Wheels Within Wheels by Wilson

 

I read those because I love fiction which is either funny or provokes odd thoughts. Watt-Evans has mastered fantasy humor. This is one of his best works. I think it would make great movie. I like him much better than Prachet (sp?). Donnelly writes in same style and on same topics as in Chariots of the Gods I do not believe what is written but it is fascinating to see progression of ideas. Wilson has many popular books now but I read this one from early in his career. It is wonderful mix of science fiction, mystery and understanding beliefs and customs strange to you.

 

Partway through:

Fluids and Electrolytes Made Incredibly Easy by Lippincott

Essentials of Pathophysiology by Nowak and Handford

Decision in Philadelphia by Collier and Collier

 

First two are textbooks. Other is about Constitution. It is not required but I wish to learn as much as I can about US.

 

Trying to get through without laughing too much:

Obstetrics and Womanly Beauty - A Treatise on the Physical Life of Woman, Embracing Full Information on All Important Matters for Both Mothers and Maidens by Conger and Crane.

 

It is 1890's era manual for women written: "in such language that womanly modesty is never offended."

 

Up next:

The Forty-Five by Dumas

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by Rowling

Stand on Zanzibar by Brunner

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David Peace's RED RIDING QUARTET (harrowing stuff)

Larsson's MILLENIUM TRILOGY (more harrowing stuff)

DANCING IN THE DARK: A Cultural History of The Great Depression (interesting stuff)

GALLOW'S LANE (Brian McGilloway)

MAJOR PETTIGREW'S LAST STAND

Gavin Lambert's book on NORMA SHEARER

...and a book on 'how to let go of clutter.' (It's not working.)

 

Cool thread.

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The Devil's Candy is an astute assessment (full of delicious anecdotes and keen observations) by Julie Salamon about how a bunch of artists and money folk screwed up The Bonfire of the Vanities, the Movie. It's hilarious.

 

Also, getting ready to reread James Ellroy's My Dark Places, a masterwork of non-fiction abt the author's quest for the man who murdered his mother. It all takes place in various socal venues very familiar to me.

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The miniseries (or rather, telefilm) of THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS was basically a remake by RKO (the studio is still in business, believe it or not). They were trying to film Orson Welles' script exactly as it had been written, before all those cuts were made. But the director (I can't remember his name) put his own spin on some of the scenes, making the relationship between Georgie and his mother somewhat incestuous, something Welles did not do, and certainly something Tarkington did not intend (Tarkington was not into Freudian mother complexes). So in essence, the remake is as botched as Welles' chopped up version and again unfaithful to the original text.

 

The only person I think could get Ambersons right is probably Emma Thompson. She's a noted screenwriter (SENSE & SENSIBILITY, NANNY MCPHEE, the upcoming remake of MY FAIR LADY, etc.). And I think Emma would make a great Aunt Fanny (the Agnes Moorhead role in the Welles version).

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All my reading has been technical in the past few months. Reading the Heathkit IM-22, IT-3 and IT-4 assembly and operating manuals does *create* something while reading. Trying to understand the circuit description on the IM-2250 (OMG).

 

You did say off topic :)

 

By the way since this is off topic, I went to the post office today to pay a couple of bills and was very glad to see the 2010 Katherine Hepburn postage stamp the clerk handed me. Very nice, love the design.

 

hepburn%20stamp--1160128526.grid-4x2.jpg

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SansFin, of course nobody thinks you're odd because of what you read. There appears to be a broad and varied taste in reading amongst those who read and write on these forums, and that can only be a good thing. One title you mentioned particularly intrigued me: *Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel by Donnelly*. Isn't "Ragnarok" the ancient Norse word for the end of the world? Does the book have anything to do with that, or with Vikings?

I'm filled with admiration for you for reading all those technical and textbook-y titles. I don't believe I'd have the discipline to slog through those, although maybe they're interesting.

 

What's also interesting is, how many people are reading several books at a time. I tend to read one, two at the most, before moving on. If I'm reading two, one would be fiction, the other non-fiction. Otherwise, I'm exploring (kn my imagination) too many different worlds, and I get confused when "worlds collide".

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I read a LOT, mainly fiction and biographies/memoirs, most of the non-fiction that I read is either theatre or film related or self-help kinda stuff. The last couple of years have been very stressful with the some personal matters, and because of that, I find that I have been gravitating towards lighter choices in my reading, and re-reading some childhood favorites, like Trixie Belden mysteries (anybody else remember those?).

 

The last few things I read that were film related were Joan Blondell's novel, Center Door Fancy (thinly disguised autobiography about her childhood as the daughter of a vaudeville performer and her own start in show biz), and the novel The Gorgeous Hussy which is the source material for the Joan Crawford film. I really liked The Gorgeous Hussy--I enjoy that kind of historical fictionalized account of real people.

 

Someone upthread mentioned Howards End--one of my favorite books. Emma Thompson's performance as Margaret Schlegel in the film version was superb.

 

Sandy K

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

> SansFin, of course nobody thinks you're odd because of what you read.

 

I believe it may be only fair if people on this forum think I am odd since all who know me in real life already think so. :)

 

Ragnarok has to do with destruction of Atlantis. It posits advanced civilization destroyed by comet.

 

Do not admire me for reading textbooks. They are not by choice. My schooling was long ago and in other countries. I can not be qualified here until I pass courses. I thought it would be easy but many things are new or have changed in years since I have been active. Times when things are easy because of what I already know are offset by times when what I know is now wrong.

 

I separate 'worlds' in books by having them in different places. I know many other people also do it. Textbooks are on my kitchen table in my apartment where I study. Other non-fiction is by my chair in my living room. Most fiction is by my bathtub to read while I soak. Funny fantasy is by chair in my esso's living room. Dumas is always by my esso's bathtub. Deep fantasy and science fiction is by bed. I associate place with book to keep them separate and I always know where to look for particular book because I do not have to remember where I was last reading it.

 

I have not heard of Alice Munro but I also very much like short stories. What genre is she?

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}{quote}

>

> What's also interesting is, how many people are reading several books at a time. I tend to read one, two at the most, before moving on. If I'm reading two, one would be fiction, the other non-fiction. Otherwise, I'm exploring (kn my imagination) too many different worlds, and I get confused when "worlds collide".

 

I used to be a one book at a time person too but lately I've just become very impatient so while I am reading one book and I hear about another one that sounds really interesting I want to start that one too.

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I semi-periodically reread Hellraisers: The Inebriated Life and Times of Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, Richard Harris & Oliver Reed and Peter O'Toole's Loitering With Intent: The Apprentice because they never fail to make me laugh, even on horrible days when the thought of writing yet *another* hellish term paper loom over my head. Right now I'm trying to work through Lady Chatterley's Lover, Lolita and Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

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Appropriate subject since I usually read books related to film.

 

After seeing too many books I can't afford in the bookstore, I decided to read library copies first to see how I like them.

Good thing, as I absolutely hated "Singin' In The Rain" by Hess & Dabholkar. It almost seemed if each author wrote a chapter independently because it was just rehash after rehash of the same material. The absolutely ONLY things I learned from the entire book is the jalopy Debbie Reynolds drove in the beginning was Andy Hardy's old car and Lina Lamont wore the same dress & wig Norma Shearer wore as Marie Antoinette. Not worth $30.

 

In contrast, I'm about halfway through "A Hundred More Hidden Things" by Mark Griffin, a biography on Vincente Minelli. I'm not crazy about the writer's style, he too often interjects personal opinions in his descriptions and occasionally uses confusing jargon terms. But the story is so compelling I can overlook these flaws.

I'm enjoying learning more about Vincente (& Liza) and understanding what made him tick.

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> {quote:title=redriver wrote:}{quote}

> She's a great short story writer, I would go so far as to say she's one of the best writers of short or any other kind of fiction living today.

>

> How short is she? Are we talking under five feet?

 

Actually, red, they refer to Alice Munro as a "short" story writer because it's a little known fact that with writers of a certain status they serve strawberry SHORT cake at all their book launches.

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> {quote:title=greenkneehighs wrote:}{quote}

> I semi-periodically reread Hellraisers: The Inebriated Life and Times of Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, Richard Harris & Oliver Reed and Peter O'Toole's Loitering With Intent: The Apprentice because they never fail to make me laugh, even on horrible days when the thought of writing yet *another* hellish term paper loom over my head. Right now I'm trying to work through Lady Chatterley's Lover, Lolita and Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

 

So you must be looking forward to Peter O'Toole day. Hey, that's today. I hear Mr. O'Toole can be quite the rabble rouser. But I think I'll skip *Laurence of Arabia*.

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Aug 28, 2010 11:14 AM

 

Edited by: misswonderly on Aug 28, 2010 11:35 AM

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> {quote:title=SansFin wrote:}{quote}

> I believe you will think me odd.

>

> I recently finished:

> The Misenchanted Sword by Watt-Evans

> Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel by Donnelly

> Wheels Within Wheels by Wilson

>

> I read those because I love fiction which is either funny or provokes odd thoughts. Watt-Evans has mastered fantasy humor. This is one of his best works. I think it would make great movie. I like him much better than Prachet (sp?). Donnelly writes in same style and on same topics as in Chariots of the Gods I do not believe what is written but it is fascinating to see progression of ideas. Wilson has many popular books now but I read this one from early in his career. It is wonderful mix of science fiction, mystery and understanding beliefs and customs strange to you.

>

> Partway through:

> Fluids and Electrolytes Made Incredibly Easy by Lippincott

> Essentials of Pathophysiology by Nowak and Handford

> Decision in Philadelphia by Collier and Collier

>

> First two are textbooks. Other is about Constitution. It is not required but I wish to learn as much as I can about US.

>

> Trying to get through without laughing too much:

> Obstetrics and Womanly Beauty - A Treatise on the Physical Life of Woman, Embracing Full Information on All Important Matters for Both Mothers and Maidens by Conger and Crane.

>

> It is 1890's era manual for women written: "in such language that womanly modesty is never offended."

>

> Up next:

> The Forty-Five by Dumas

> Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by Rowling

> Stand on Zanzibar by Brunner

 

 

Watt-Evans is better than Pratchett? Hmmm. I'll have to look him up, as I am a HUGE Pratchett fan. (Not to attack him--but I'm always looking for soemthing as good as Pratchett, as sadly, Mr Pratchett is ill and we probably won;t have him for too many more years)

 

RE: _Goblet of Fire_ It wasn't the best of the books by a long shot--It's about 150 pages too long and desperately needed the attentions of a good, strong-willed editor...I also feel like Rowling probably should have abandoned her school-year-long book format at this point. It would have made much more sense.

 

I'm reading _The Moonstone_ by Wilkie Collins. I've seen this book maligned in books set in the Victorian period too much, so I wanted to see if it's as vapid and silly as modern (and some Victorian) authors seem to think it.

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I like to read history and see points of interest when I can. Earlier this summer I saw the home of President Taft in Cincinnati. I bought a book on Taft and one on 1912, about the election year when Taft lost his bid for a second term. Woodrow Wilson won the election when Teddy Roosevelt ran as an independent canidate and split the Republican vote. Reading "1912" right now, will read the Taft book next.

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> {quote:title=misswonderly wrote:}

> > {quote:title=greenkneehighs wrote:}{quote}

> > I semi-periodically reread Hellraisers: The Inebriated Life and Times of Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, Richard Harris & Oliver Reed and Peter O'Toole's Loitering With Intent: The Apprentice because they never fail to make me laugh, even on horrible days when the thought of writing yet *another* hellish term paper loom over my head. Right now I'm trying to work through Lady Chatterley's Lover, Lolita and Seven Pillars of Wisdom.

>

> So you must be looking forward to Peter O'Toole day. Hey, that's today. I hear Mr. O'Toole can be quite the rabble rouser. But I think I'll skip *Laurence of Arabia*.{quote}

 

I have been in heaven all day, lol! I'm spending it in front of my T.V. watching my favorite movies while I pack to go back to school tomorrow! Sheer bliss! And he was (and still is, from what I heard) quite the hellraiser; the stories in those two books are nothing less than epic. Lawrence actually happens to be my favorite movie, but none of my friends ever want to watch it with me (well, we were going to have a Lawrence of Arabia drinking game, but we figured we'd all be dead by the end of it). Seven Pillars of Wisdom is actually what Lawrence is based on. :D

 

Edited by: greenkneehighs on Aug 28, 2010 2:03 PM

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