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


misswonderly3
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16 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

That (the speed setting) is a pretty good idea...(Maybe set it low and pretend it's The Devil reading an audiobook of LITTLE WOMEN...)

 

14 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

s- or even better, play WAR AND PEACE at top-speed and pretend it's a story about battling factions of Elves.

Funny.

I think your creative use of speed settings would create audio-book "best sellers" if there were such a thing.

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

I thought of one more. CAMILLE by ALEXANDRE DUMAS as read by someone with a HEAVY NORTH CAROLINA ACCENT.

That would be a howl. (With all due respect to North Carolina, of course)

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I've been re-reading Neil Simon's two memoirs, Rewrites and The Play Goes On.  I'm enjoying them a lot, just as much as I did when I first read them right after their original publication about 20 years ago. 

I do like some of Simon's work (although I don't know all of it) and enjoyed the behind-the-scenes stories about his plays and movies.  But what I found most compelling was his focus on what it was like to be a playwright, his creative process, and, more basically, what it was like to be him, with the family, friends, and experiences he had.  I was definitely hearing his own voice telling his story -- which not every writer of a memoir achieves so strongly.  I suppose a big part of that accomplishment is that he's a writer by profession and knows how to express himself on the page.

Recommended.

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I've been trying to read 50 books a year, and have managed to do so for the past 2 years or so. I'm about to start my 27th book: "A Man Called Ove." All I know about it is that it centers around an elderly, cantankerous man and his new next-door neighbors. Hope I enjoy it. 

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The discussion about JOSEPH CONRAD made me recall when I tried to read THE SECRET AGENT a few years ago and for some reason I still can't fathom, the brief synopsis on the back cover COMPLETELY GAVE AWAY THE ENDING, which is- i daresay- where 90% of the power of the story comes from and it completely killed what impact it would've had on me.

I'm still peeved about it.

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2 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

The discussion about JOSEPH CONRAD made me recall when I tried to read THE SECRET AGENT a few years ago and for some reason I still can't fathom, the brief synopsis on the back cover COMPLETELY GAVE AWAY THE ENDING, which is- i daresay- where 90% of the power of the story comes from and it completely killed what impact it would've had on me.

I'm still peeved about it.

That's why I don't read Netflix blurbs. They will tell you that it is about the difficulties of a woman whose pregnancy complicates her life, for instance, but she doesn't get pregnant until 20 minutes before the movie is over.

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I just finished reading a volume of short stories by Margaret Atwood called "Bluebeard's Egg". 

It's wonderfully written compositions, mostly about relationships, based around men and women living in Ontario, Canada. It flows with much humor and insight.

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I ask your indulgence since I don't presume that this should be of particular interest to anyone but just to mention that the Nostromo discussion group went very well and was a lot of fun. Only 11 showed up (out of an expected 15). These meetings are RSVPed and it is more or less required to honor attendance pledges on pain of being dropped from the rolls. Everyone was is nice, etc, but seating is limited and if you say yer gonna be there, then be there, or let it be known if otherwise post haste. There are actually about 200 registered members but for most attendance is only sporadic due to time constraints as some of these book can be quite long. Sometimes there are waiting lists)

Not everyone was pleased with the book and nearly all acknowledged some difficulties. There were complaints of showboating with the prose style excesses, contrived plot, and flesh-and-blood characters that were still heavily symbolized. We held a mock vote on whether or not the novel should be declared a failed masterpiece which was a lot fun. A few rallied the novel as a genuine masterpiece though they admitted not understanding it ;) Someone had the audacity to say it would make a good opera (in the modern style) and there was some scattered laughter, including my own as I am notorious for laughing at my own jokes. There is an old, bitter, doctor, who is lame to boot, and whose signature trait (all the characters in this novel seem to have a single dominant trait which helps them to serve as symbols) is a secret love for a married woman. The absence of any possibility of rapprochement with this hopelessly unattainable love interest (actually he is not technically in love with her but rather has a genuine regard for her and her well being but with the stronger attraction being tacitly implied) would necessitate a little aria where he diffidently and sheepishly sings of his secret love, and I promised everyone that it would surely make them cry. Boy was I on a roll, ew!

The next book meeting is Aug 17 and we're looking at Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. This group is for literary classics. The September book has been announced, 100 Years of Solitude, by Marquez. Any comments regarding these two books? I don't know much about the Marquez and so for I am holding my RSVP, until I learn more about it.

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On 7/20/2019 at 9:06 PM, laffite said:

1. I ask your indulgence since I don't presume that this should be of particular interest to anyone but just to mention that the Nostromo discussion group went very well and was a lot of fun....

2. The next book meeting is Aug 17 and we're looking at Portrait of a Lady by Henry James. This group is for literary classics. The September book has been announced, 100 Years of Solitude, by Marquez. Any comments regarding these two books? I don't know much about the Marquez and so for I am holding my RSVP, until I learn more about it.

1. Rule #1 of the messageboards: NEVER assume that there is something NO ONE here will find interesting. Sometimes I make the most esoteric reference to something REALLY OBSCURE thinking "NO ONE is gonna get this" and then three or four people will reply mentioning it and we'll derail the discussion, which is always such fun!!!!!!

2. FORGIVE MY NEGATIVE NANCINESS here, but since you asked: I don't tend to focus on books that i dislike, I usually forget them or (in my old age) just either quit halfway through or skip to the end....but, if someone asked me to list some of my least favorite books ever, I would without hesitation cite PORTRAIT OF A LADY. I DESPISE that book...it is glacial, remote, pretentious, DULL, unrewarding and- most importantly- the author HATES the main character (and all women, it would seem)...it's kind of like reading TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES if it were 140 pages longer, near-plotless and called "THE B**** DESERVED IT."

Also not a fan of 100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE, but since I can't make it more than 20 pages into it without flinging it across the room, I can't make any overall definitive statement on it.

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I FINISHED rereading THE HIGH WINDOW by RAYMOND CHANDLER...It's the third CHANDLER that I have re-read.

My opinion of THE BIG SLEEP vastly improved reading it the second time, my opinion of THE LONG GOODBYE stayed the same...and with THE HIGH WINDOW, it went down.

I recall once upon a time thinking this was my favorite of the CHANDLERS and I have to wonder why...not that it's bad by any means, but a lot of weaknesses lept out to me this time.

One thing I love about RAYMOND CHANDLER is that his books are always filled with very accurate reference to PLANTS and WILDLIFE in the LA Area, he is all the time referencing JACARANDA TREES, DEODAR CYPRESSES, the manzanita in the hills...

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6 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

One thing I love about RAYMOND CHANDLER is that his books are always filled with very accurate reference to PLANTS and WILDLIFE in the LA Area, he is all the time referencing JACARANDA TREES, DEODAR CYPRESSES, the manzanita in the hills...

It's funny you mention that, as I was pondering something along those lines recently, after someone posted something about plants or flowers in some movie or TV show. I'm not sure if it was on this site or another one, but anyway...

Please take no offense at this, but I have to preface this with the comment that personally, I can think of few if any aspects of a film, TV show, or written work that I could care less about than the flora of the setting, excepting of course when that is a central issue of the story. Do you have any idea why this is a thing for you, as in, do plants figure into your life in some way that's profound, or just something you notice and you're not sure why, or what?

I'm the same way about architecture, cars and background art work (paintings/sculpture) in movies or books, all of which have inspired threads on this message board. I just never pay much attention to those aspects. I'm sure that's another of my many failings, but that's me.

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i'VE HAD A (oops) lifelong fascination with plants; and I worked at a commercial nursery in southern california (before the drought restrictions went into effect)- and the thing about SoCal is, if you water it, pretty much anything in the world will grow to its biggest size and last forever; it's like a giant indoor shopping mall where it's never too hot or too cold...so i got to see THOUSANDS OF VARIETIES of plants in their (more or less) prime setting.

i'm drawn to plants the way some people are drawn to cars or carpentry or gambling...you know compulsive behaviors/hobbies.

added on: and there is just such an interesting contrast to PHILLIP MARLOWE referring to the blooming jacaranda trees (which i got to have a CAPTAIN AMERICA "I GOT THAT" GIF reaction moment to) in one paragraph and a dead body he finds on the floor of a house on said street in the next.

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Just now, LornaHansonForbes said:

i'VE HAD A (oops) lifelong fascination with plants; and I worked at a commercial nursery in southern california (before the drought restrictions went into effect)- and the thing about SoCal is, if you water it, pretty much anything in the world will grow to its biggest size and last forever; it's like a giant indoor shopping mall where it's never too hot or too cold...so i got to see THOUSANDS OF VARIETIES of plants in their (more or less) prime setting.

i'm drawn to plants the one some people are drawn to cars or carpentry or gambling...you know compulsive behaviors/hobbies.

I always notice teeth. It's weird, but I find myself looking at everyone's teeth in a film or TV show, although I have neither a hobby nor a professional interest. Someone once told me that they always notice feet and shoes, and another hairstyles, often trying to guess if something is a wig or not.

The only thing I routinely notice outside of the characters are dogs and cats. Or how when, depending on the time period, when a group of people on horseback, or people in vehicles, ride into a small town, causing chickens to scatter, I always look to see if someone trampled or ran over one of those chickens.

Of course, none of that happens in books, so...sorry for the digression.

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8 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

I always notice teeth. It's weird, but I find myself looking at everyone's teeth in a film or TV show, although I have neither a hobby nor a professional interest. Someone once told me that they always notice feet and shoes, and another hairstyles, often trying to guess if something is a wig or not.

The only thing I routinely notice outside of the characters are dogs and cats. Or how when, depending on the time period, when a group of people on horseback, or people in vehicles, ride into a small town, causing chickens to scatter,always look to see if someone trampled or ran over one of those chickens.

Of course, none of that happens in books, so...sorry for the digression.

NO, BUT- HAVE YOU SEEN THE PHILIPINO PRODUCTION WONDER WOMEN STARRING (I THINK) NANCY KWAN???

IT'S GOT A CHASE SCENE I THINK YOU'LL LIKE!

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I read One Hundred Years of Solitude a long time ago, though not 100 years ago. I give it a

thumbs up and nothing more because I don't remember much of the details of the book. I

should get a new copy because I have a cheap paperback copy complete with the slightly

erotic cover drawing. It's been a while since I've read The Portrait of a Lady. It is one of the

easier to read novels of the master. Lots of discussions taking place on expansive, well

maintained English lawns. I remember that my mother used to make me go on shopping

trips with her and while she was shopping I would read a book. Portrait was one of the

books I recall reading this way, another was a volume of The Gulag Archipelago. Some

of those shopping trips definitely had echoes of the latter.

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14 hours ago, Bogie56 said:

The Mueller Report.  Now I'm primed to see the movie on Wednesday which probably won't be as good as the book.

Uphill battle on this one. The villain and the storyline are so over-the-top that it’s going to be hard for a lot of people to find plausible. 

Maybe if they got the PAN’S LABYRINTH guy to direct....

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On 7/22/2019 at 1:16 PM, LawrenceA said:

so...sorry for the digression.

You shouldn't be sorry, that was kind of interesting. What catches our attention in movies that are not germane or simply incidental nondescript details. Especially if there are patterns. Certainly a mirror of our likes or perhaps even dislikes. I'm trying to apply this to myself and not coming up with much. So you and I have something in common probably. Just thinking that in my group's discussion of Nostromo there were a few people who were enthusiastic about the descriptions of nature in the book. I didn't even remember any. Someone popped up and was visibly troubled because she didn't remember any either and jokingly said that she feared reading the wrong book. In truth, I remember them a little but I tend to skim them because I am bored. I like to be out in nature and can enjoy that but I don't like them in books. This is wrong surly but I tend to see them as fillers or dividers of scenes or a little relief from other aspects of the story. Try reading the first few pages of The Return of the Native (i believe this was the one). On and on and on. Lorna said she throws books against the wall (e.g., 100 years of Solitude) I tend to kick them like footballs. With Native I must have made an 80-yard punt.

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For a change of pace reading Liz Renay's My Face For The World to See, an autobiography she was a "V" Girl, a 52nd Street "the Street" stripper, mob gal pal to NYC mobsters and L.A.'s Mickey Cohen, TV actress, was an extra in Noir Sound of Fury, starred in late Film Noir  Date with Death (1959) with Gerald Mohr, served time for perjury at Terminal Island, and then starred in Exploitation Noir The Thrill Killers (1964) and later John Waters' Desperate Living (1977). 

I'm at the point just before she is incarcerated. 

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