Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

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


Recommended Posts

1 minute ago, laffite said:

Well, she seems to have lost a bit of ginger on the screen.

DEFINITELY.

Again, just in the 20 or so pages that she has appeared so far, SHE IS SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING AND MULTI-FACETED THAN SHE IS IN THE MOVIE!

**NOTE: while I love GARBO and I like her in GRAND HOTEL, I think her performance is a fascinating failure; at the same time, when we meet GRU, she is ON STAGE DANCING, which (with the possibility of a double) would not have been feasable.

i think 100% of the movie takes place in the GRAND HOTEL, the novel (thus far) has had other settings.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

and I like her in GRAND HOTEL

I do too, but a lot of people don't. I think the overdone facet of her performance works pretty well with her known persona (an exotic) of the time and of course this is a movie. Such treatment would have been drab in a book. 

Does "fascinating failure" have anything to do with a "failed masterpiece"? Amusing locutions, oxymoronic as they are. Orson Welles, in that interview done in the 70s, when he was as big as a walrus, got a bit kick out of "failed masterpiece," and joked extensively about it. I think he believed he heard a little too much of that from others with some of his films, ha.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, laffite said:

 

Does "fascinating failure" have anything to do with a "failed masterpiece"?

yes.

the only way i can describe either is : IT'S NOT GOOD, IT'S NOT BAD, and YOU CAN'T TAKE YOUR EYES AWAY FROM IT FOR A MINUTE.

(And both only happen by accident.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Book Club has solved the social distancing problem. We are now video conferencing using ZOOM. Works great, and it's free. Last week we used it for the first time as a trial run, though someone suggested reading E.M. Forster's early short story "The story of a panic" and so we did both. On the 29th we're discussing Kay Chopin's "The Awakening," which was originally slated for an in-person for last week, and I am now an Organizer (ooh, big deal) and have planned "Miss Harriet" by Maupassant for the next day (the 30th), a long-time fave short story of mine. Depending apparently on what device one is using, Zoom works a little different for each. I used my phone and whenever someone began to speak, that person appears on my screen with the name just below.. If I scroll sideways I can up to four at a time but others get to see everyone in a sort of Hollywood Square grid. There were about 15 present and it was thrillingly enjoyable to be able to do this. If we ever get over this C Virus, we will no doubt honor the in-person events but it is hardly likely that the vid conference will fall by the wayside.

It's interesting to note that we could do that here, if there is sufficient interest. We are keeping our attendee list at about 15 in the book club (but not necessarily the same 15 every time), but I suppose it is possible to do more.  there is an option to turn off video and still be there to enjoy, I believe your name (here by screen name, I assume) will still appear without the video. Just start talking and everyone will see you (or a blank screen) with your name at the bottom,. Has anyone ever used Zoom? I guess it's as bit like Skype, though I don't know this latter. If you have, then you'll know that this sort of activity will nave nothing to do with this site, other than we will know each other from here, of course. You can use phone, laptop, and even a desktop (if equipped with a camera). Actually, the site could be used for preliminary scheduling. Someone might announce a subject (a movie, or actor, a genre, a director, etc.) and a date chosen, the size of the attendee list, and then those interested could sign up, first come, first serve. I don't mean to necessarily push the idea in faces, actually the idea only occurred to me after beginning this post. The simple realization that what can work in one place could possibly work in others as well.  It's possible, even likely perhaps, that no one will be interested, but OTOH, it would be nice to see a bit of interest here and there ... it certainly is a lot of fun.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I just finished KIRK & ANNE from the library.  It's just love letters between the two of them through the years. Sometimes it's maudlin, pretentious and sometimes cute. Sadly, with the library closed, I have to read from my home library. 

Fittingly, I pulled out a 1000+ page copy of Stephen King's THE STAND. Let's see if it's still engaging 30 years after first reading. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I am going through Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series. They were a very long running series of 55 books spanning nearly 50 years. They are crime novels involving cases of a squad of detectives in police precinct in a fictional American city.

I am in the middle of #17 published in 1963 called Ten Plus One, about a sniper.

Some of the characters:

Det Carella is married to a hearing impaired woman Theodora or "Teddy", he is usually the main character, he often has the most bad luck,so far in the series he has been shot twice, and taken numerous beatings.  

Det Meyer- a balding Jewish cop often paired with Carella.

Det Cotton Hawes- a muscular redhead with a white streak in his hair, due to being knifed there once.

Det Kling-the youngest member of the squad, a blond All American type whose fiancee was murdered in an earlier book.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I am reading the same book (Little Women) that I was reading two months ago.  I haven't been reading every day, I haven't read in awhile. 

It takes me forever to get through fiction.  Non-fiction however, I can zip through it in a week if I made an effort.

I have to say that I'm struggling getting through Little Women.  Not because I can't read (obviously), but I don't think it's all that well written? Sorry Louisa May Allcott. Or it could be that I really seem to dislike 19th century literature.  The things that the little women say in this book are so ridiculous, I just don't find it believable.  Granted, I didn't grow up in Massachusetts during the Civil War, so I don't have first-hand knowledge of the speech patterns of teenage girls of that era, but I find it hard to believe that 12-year old Amy would say things like: "You don't need scores of suitors. You only need one, if he's the right one."  Great thought. But from a 12-year old?

I should probably read something else, but I'm halfway done with this book, I want to finish it.  I'm trying to see how closely the various film adaptations follow the novel.  I have to say that the film adaptations are all over the place compared to the events in the book.   Right now, the 1994 version seems to follow the events of the book the closest.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm right there with you, speedy. I love real life stories and have a harder time engaging in fiction.  

I had dog eared a page from Kirk & Anne because I was impressed with Kirk's candid yet diplomatic phrasing describing Stanley Kubrick:

"Difficult as he was, there was no question about his extraordinary talent. That's why I was willing to put up with his less attractive qualities when I hired him for SPARTACUS a couple years later."

I've never seen SPARTACUS and luckily took it out from the library a couple weeks ago. It's my last never seen Kubrick. 😕

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, speedracer5 said:

I am reading the same book (Little Women) that I was reading two months ago.  I haven't been reading every day, I haven't read in awhile.  

I'm doing the same thing with John Huston - Courage and Art by Jeffrey Meyers.       I took the book with me on short road trip to Palm Springs (party place for folks like Sinatra , Hope etc..) where we were staying at a friend's home.     I ended read about half the book but ended up leaving it at the home.    Didn't get it back for 10 weeks!   So now I'm starting to read it again.  

Interesting read with a lot about Olivia DeHaviland,  some about your boy Flynn (they had a major fight related to Olivia),   his marriage to Evelyn Keyes,   the filming of The Night of The Iguana,   and The Misfits (where how he treated Monty was something that kind of shocked me).

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
44 minutes ago, TikiSoo said:

I'm right there with you, speedy. I love real life stories and have a harder time engaging in fiction.  

I had dog eared a page from Kirk & Anne because I was impressed with Kirk's candid yet diplomatic phrasing describing Stanley Kubrick:

"Difficult as he was, there was no question about his extraordinary talent. That's why I was willing to put up with his less attractive qualities when I hired him for SPARTACUS a couple years later."

I've never seen SPARTACUS and luckily took it out from the library a couple weeks ago. It's my last never seen Kubrick. 😕

I got Kirk & Anne from the library right before everything closed.  I think my library account has a due date of May 4th or something like that.  Hopefully I can get it together and read the books that I checked out. By then, I would have only had everything for like 4 months. Lol.

Link to post
Share on other sites

91syGRShqaL.jpg

Spring Snow - Mishima's novel about the love of Kioyaki for Satoko - a woman who chooses religious life in a convent over marriage to him. This one had beautiful prose even if translated to English and was extremely sad. The first 100 pages or so are a bit like a Yasujiro Ozu movie in book form (a common theme here like with his films is the modernization and liberalism of Japan and being torn between tradition and modernity) but it just gets much sadder and more depressing from there. This is my favorite novel.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
On 4/11/2020 at 12:34 AM, skimpole said:

Today I started reading The Dean's December.

Good luck with that. I couldn't get through it. More Die of Heartbreak, and some other of later ones are more difficult that the earlier ones IMO. I like The Victim, his second ; The Adventures of Augie March (great but finally rather exhausting). William Einhorn was the first superior man  I knew. A beautiful sentence. Henderson the Rain King (funny in a lot of ways, the opening section before departing for Africa is a fine piece of reading). As you know I'm sure, he the intellectual finally made a dent in the wider public domain with Herzog, which contains a great idea, the letter writing to anyone, anywhere, living or dead. Humboldt's Gift seems to search for spiritual meaning (If I remember correct) which was a great subject for a literary author to undertake. I had a friend who love Bellow and in the early 80s had this prototype computer where he labored on a screenplay for a 10-14 part television adaptation of Augie March. He never finished it.  I had this idea that Saul Bellow was going to do something with the novel, and answer the question that yes novels and novelists can make a difference in practical life (a real meaning, as critics, authors, and others like to talk about in an idealistic sort of way, but in a way, that will never threaten the writing and reading of great literature that will always be with us and fervently enjoyed, as we do today). My theory is a little vague and as far as I can see, nothing came of it (in that idealized way, at least).  My overall understanding of Bellow is admittedly rather shallow, he deserved study and I never got around to it. He is rather over my head in the main, but even less perceptive readers can still get a lot out of him. In the vein of the general reader (as opposed to intellectual depth), try one of his simpler (but admirable) early short stories, "A Husband To-Be." This may not be the exact title, but it's close. It's a short, tight, little slice-of-lifer (the protagonist's rather agile imagination notwithstanding). It's amusing and with a touch of wet symbolism at the end. Beautifully constructed, should be studied in a short story class.   

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been rereading my favorite Platonic dialogues lately and am on to Caesar's Gallic Wars now. I wish we had a "philosopher king" nowadays instead of the orange fool. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Orange Fool can be defined as a Philosopher King. Out of the main and with loose-cannon mentality. and who has utter disdain for standard norms. There's your philosopher King. He may not be a smart philosopher in the eyes of many, but many like him a lot. Looking back there during my French studies, Voltaire, author of Dictionaires Philosphiques and other innumerable masterpieces settled on a good old philosopher king as the best way to run a country, the masses being too stupid to choose their own. The only trouble with espousing a philosopher king is, what if he/she has a bad philosophy? A philosopher can be different to different people. M. Voltaire is famous for, "I will talk to you about anything, but ... define your terms."  (approx quote) I wonder if he ever got around to actually defining this term. But we know what he meant, a philosopher that was "enlightened." But what happens if this one is replaced by the next one who may not be enlightened, or enlightened enough to our liking. I don't know whether he ever got around to thinking about the idea of infrastructure. That's more important than all the by-and-for-the people stuff by itself, but with a constitution and a bill of rights and all that, an infrastructure so hallowed and embedded in out psyches that not the worst pain in the azz (a self-acclaimed philosopher king) for instance) could screw it up.. We used to have something like that.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

so, i picked up GRAND HOTEL by VICKI BAUM again and am about 150 pages into it....

she is a very intelligent writer, I almost wish she didn't go into SUCH detail about the business dealings of the PREYSING (WALLACE BEERY) character, but she clearly knows about many subject matters.

FLAMMCHIEN (the JOAN CRAWFORD character) has thus far not been in the book very much at all. Maybe only 5 or 6 pages.

The most interesting thing though has been the relationship between GRUSINSKAYA and HERR BARON (the GARBO/BARRYMOORE characters)- in a TOTAL 180 from the movie, The Baron is written as being VERY YOUNG while GRUSINSKAYA is not only IN HER FORTIES, but also HAS AN 8 YEAR OLD GRANDSON!!!!!!!

The scene where they meet in her room when she catches him trying to steal her pearls is quite good and they clearly make love afterwards, something which I don't think is as explicit in the movie.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

 

…A Most Unforgettable Character …

If you are as old as the hills as I am, this phrase might ring a bell. Reader’s Digest, wasn’t it, a regular feature.

This character moved me so that I found doing this a great joy. I doubt I will succeed in making anyone understand exactly what grabs me in the particular way that it did, but I hope you'll give it shot. There is a little twist about how this character's story arc was consummated, very unusual. It made it all the more interesting, albeit a little bittersweet.

w3lt8Ui.jpg

The BBC did The Flame Trees of Thika in 1981. I had seen it about 12 years ago and as I most recently reread the book, I could hardly remember the actress who played the character this is all about here, but after the book and quick revisit to the TV drama, the actress is near perfect. Nonetheless, it’s her from the book that interests me, she is so well drawn. The perennial question: What’s better, the book or the movie? If the book is really good, the visual arts will have no chance, such as it is here. IMO.

Robin Grant and his wife, Tilly, go to British East Africa (later Kenya) in 1907 after Robin gets “a great deal” for a plot of land where they plan to grow coffee. It’s quite bare but natives built them a preliminary abode that would in time become more “opulent.” They have neighbors but some are miles away. Speculation about who will occupy the vacant plot closest to their own is answered with the arrival of Hereward and Lettice Palmer (lett-us, as in “Let us all be merry …”)

Although it is so long ago, and afterwards she changed so much, I can still remember Lettice Palmer as I saw her then for the first time: friendly, eager, and above all handsome in a stylish, natural, and entirely unselfconscious manner. Her skin was the finest I have ever seen, as fresh and translucent as the petal of a columbine. Her eyes were amber-brown and her hair an unusual colour, like a dark sherry; she had the spring and cleanliness of health about her, and a trick of tilting her head back and arching  her nostrils, almost wrinkling them, when attentive or amused. Her gestures were sometimes theatrical but to her natural; she moved her hands and head a great deal, and yet nothing that she did struck one as false or affected.

A discernible touch of class. She makes acute observations about Aftrica that Robin or Tillie (and others who are quite keen on the place) might disapprove. “Lettice, you simply must adapt to the way things are here,” admonishes Tilly. Lettice: “You mean like the natives. They’ve adapted all right. And have done nothing. Look around. They’ve lived her hundred or maybe thousands of years, yet no temples, no ruins, no history …” Despite observations like this, and others that reveal an intelligent, sane disposition,  she is apt to lose her head when a particularly disturbing event but somewhat normal for African occurs, she tends to lose herself to a certain hysteria, hence Tilly’s question above. Her better mind does most often prevail, but it is nevertheless apparent that there might an inherent inability to adapt. Robin and Tillie see it right away, though it is subtle at the beginning. And Lettice knows it too, “I don’t really belong here …

The narrator is not Robin, nor Tillie, but their daughter, Elspeth, who is just “six or seven years old.”  The two “voices” intertwine but the older is the dominent. Suddenly the younger will take over and it is often quite obvious; and with a purpose. This sort of double POV is worked exquisitely throughout,

Lettice appreciates the niceties of “civilization” and part of that is the piano. It’s been shipped and after the immense ordeal of installing it in Lettice’s “living room” a petite soiree is proposed and the invitees include a number of the households of the community. After some preliminary socializing, Lettice is called to play the piano, inevitably. She agrees of course but asks for indulgence.

I see this lovely passage as a paean to Lettice:

“It is quite enough,” Lettice observed. “I can see that I must deputise for Orpheus, without any of his genuis. You must please be charitable to me, ...”

Our ears had grown accustomed to rhythm and dissonance, to cadence and chante [out here in the jungle], but not to melody. Although Lettice may not have been a player of the first quality, the skill of her hands, darting like butterflies above the keys, in summoning from the instrument a torrent of harmony seemed to me a kind of miracle.

When she had finished her piece there was a silence no one cared to break. It seemed to have a tangible existence of its own. Lettice herself dissolved it by arranging some music and starting to sing. Probably her voice was not the equal of her playing, but it was true and gentle, and she sang lively little songs in French.

Ian jumped up and stood beside her, looking over her shoulder, as natural and easy [as a sunrise]. I suppose the music had tautened our perceptions and made me see them, together in the lamplight, as something other than they were, more handsome and accomplished, more less of the matter-of-fact --- or had woven for reality a richer garment that it usually wears … At any rate, they looked very fine, and full of laughter as they sang together songs as light as bubbles, and as gay. Ian’s voice was clear and simple and made me think of sherry poured into a crystal glass the Palmers had ---the look of it, not the taste, which I did not know.

I cannot remember any of the songs that evening except one in which we all joined, the French-Canadian jingle Alouette; and afterwards, whenever I heard this little tune, it reminded me of that evening, and Lettice at the piano with Ian by her, the others joining in with more enthusiasm than accuracy, the sense of gaiety and friendship, and the room with a spicy scent peculiar to everything that Lettice owned.

 

RXigyqr.jpg

The making of Ian and Lettice’s rapprochement had already been under way. Ian is a safari driver (as a sort of avocation, he is, in truth, a free spirit.) He has come to the Palmer’s as a guest. There are a couple of innocuous scenes when Ian and Lettice are in each other’s company (but not alone). The first chance he gets he takes her hand and says, “You have me at your mercy.” “I never gave you aught.” “You exist, that’s enough.” “That’s not doing much” “It’s enough for me.”  “Your’re being indiscreet.” “It’s too late for discretion.”  “My husband and I are not perfect together, you know, but he gave up a lot for me and he hasn’t had it easy, if you really want to know.” “My heart does not bleed for your husband.” “Still, it would be an awful waste of your time to wait for me.” “I’ll waste my time in any way I please.”

Over time Lettice is forced to reach a decision. Hereward or Ian? Later on she speaks of Ian to Tilly: “… we are at ease together, and even when he is not there, all my thoughts are shaped to fit his mind, and I think his fit mine also without our intending it … and sometimes, when he isn’t there, he seems more real to me than people who are with me, even Hereward; I can see him there and almost touch and smell him, and I know that the same thoughts are in our minds.” Case closed.

But it’s Africa, Kenya, and the village of Thicka that continually plague her. For instance, the alouette song had been interrupted by a commotion that one soon learned was one of her Pekinese being killed and hauled off by a Leopard and right at their very gates. A few days earlier there had been a feud between natives and a man was murdered and Lettice goes off the deep end feeling that she might have helped the man, to say nothing of the horror of the act. Some of the things that happen might tend to disturb anyone, but Lettice tends to run amok exhibit signs of some sort of anxiety disorder. She manages to recover herself and maintain her better more adaptive side more often than not, but an attrition had taken hold. As time goes on, something is going wrong:

Lettice we found pale and tired; her eyes looked huge and dark, a peaty brown. She kept patting her hair and making other nervous gestures, and she had taken up smoking. The smell of heliotrope was still there, but almost overlaid by Turkish tobacco.

And:  

In a way I could not define she had changed; her life seemed no longer to bubble up in her, but had died down. She was thinner and her arms looked brittle, her rings were loose, shadows had come into her face, and whereas before she had possessed the quality of repose, she fiddled now with things and did not pay attention, and moved in a curiously leaden way.

 

 

SmP5q7o.jpg

Lettice (played by Sharon Maughan, 1981 BBC)

Years pass and the drums of war are heard---(1913). There’s a flurry of harrowing confusion, suspense and uncertainty, everyone’s fate is at stake. Robin must fight and Tillie will return to England with Elspeth. The return to the farms are the plan; that is, if everything turns out all right with the war.

Ian shipped out early and was killed on his first mission. The reader first learns this when Tillie somewhat in a flutter impatiently drops the news on young Elspeth. “Oh, about Ian, well … if you must know, Ian has been killed. Now Elspeth, go on to bed. I’ll come and read you the story I promised.” Oh I love that story sings out Elspeth. Yes, she’s just a child but later in bed young Elspeth thinks seriously and has dreams about Ian, ending the following:

The Kikuyu believed that when a man died, his spirit could enter an animal, and it seemed quite likely that the spirit of Ian, who was so much a part of the wild and silent places, would find the appropriate forest creature for a habitation. As for his body, I knew it would be eaten my maggots and hyenas; but if in time its remnants turned to dust, as the funeral service said, his dust, I thought, would not be quite the same as other people’s, but would shine like those little specks of brightness that sometimes glitter in the sand.

It is important to know that those dire quotes above about Lettice’s demise in spirit were made BEFORE Lettice learned of Ian’s death. The implication is what friend Tillie always maintained, namely, that “it’s Africa…” But near the end of the novel, Lettice makes trips to Nairobi to have it out with Hereward, no doubt about Ian.

The novel has about 20 characters and is episodic. Seven of the main characters though are followed throughout the novel and have their own stories (each touching the others). Of the seven, it is Lettice who is somewhat of a loose end. Although there is more to know than I have revealed, there is something nonetheless indubitally sad and incomplete about her, and there seems no firm resolution.

Her last scene in the novel is saying goodnight to young Elspeth, who produces a keepsake that was given to her by Ian before he shipped out, and who (Elspeth) was savvy enough to know it was really meant for Lettice. It was a bracelet made from the tails of two lions, something that had meant something to Ian and Lettice during a safari, the only time when they were truly together (if you get the drift).

Upon seeing it Lettice got to her feet and tried to speak, but her throat had dried up, as I imagined the throats of men who die of thirst must do. Her hand now shook so much that she could not hold the bracelet; at any rate, she dropped it on my bed, put the hand to her face, and hurried away. I picked up the bracelet feeling dazed, as perhaps a beetle does when, all the scorched against a burning lamp-glass, he tumbles our of range and lies there, half stunned, to recover. Now the bracelet was truly mine. [this last sentence is the sudden appearance of the six year old version of Elpseth, obviously].

Tilly had advance notice and had searched in vain for a moment to break the sad news herself to Lettice but could not find the right moment. The scene above is an unexpected meeting in which we do not fail to realize that this is the first time Lettice gets the news, from the back door, so to speak. Later we learn that Lettice is called away by a telegram (from whom, not known) and Humphrey Crawfurd, Ian’s brother, asks Tilly, “Will you see her again?” Tilly says yes and is given a watch to to pass on to Lettice.

***

ytlPP2x.jpg

The war is over and here they come back to Africa. It is 1917. The Mottled Lizard was written in 1962, three years after The flame Trees of Thicka, and wasn’t as gripping, but I couldn’t put it down until I found out more about Lettice. After all, it was indicated that Tilly would see Lettice again. But aside from that, yes, she is traumatized at the end but that is not a resolution. Instead, she seems to have been thrown into Limbo. Her story arc seems incomplete.  I don’t suppose things boded particular well for her, but I had hope. Did she and her husband come back to their farm in Africa? Perhaps she has recovered herself and found someone new? Back in England perhaps, trying to summon sweet memories but more often thinking of the bad ones? I desperately wanted to find out anything about her, if there was anything, and I decided to be a gentleman about it and resisted the temptation of rifling through the book for mentions of her. Instead, I just started reading from the beginning keeping a sharp eye for news of Lettice.

The first paragraph of Chaper 5 of the The Mottled Lizard begins this way:

 

 

 

kc1OwLL.jpg

GAAAAA!

A passage like this makes me wonder about the the rights of authors. To lay this on us? Does an author relish a bit of sadism when confronted with a delicious way to trash someone?  With all the uncertainty about the truth of any of the above, it is a clever device nonetheless. My ninth grade English teacher (as well as yours probably, and certainly James Thurber’s immortal Miss Groby) admonishes us that one must learn to “read between the lines.” To wit, is there any doubt that Lettice died in this paragraph? Probably a suicide. And what is one to make of a dog attacking an antelope, accompanied by that somewhat dubious statement about wisdom and love (Wisdom is more use when unhappy; who needs it, or even wants it, if you’re already happy!). We can, however, guess her state of mind when she sent those things (“impulsive writing”). And now we know that despite all the problems adapting to Africa, it was Ian’s death that probably wrecked her (among other factors perhaps).. A particularly sad end for a rather appealing and vibrant character, and to end it with a relatively obscure passage in a sequel. I find that fascinating as well as disappointing, certainly unusual … and to think that those who might not know of a sequel and if they do have no desire to read it, will never know.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just finished THE STAND, wow. Big, too long build up to a few pages of climax in the last 80 pages. At least it kept me busy.

On 3/26/2020 at 12:27 PM, jamesjazzguitar said:

John Huston - Courage and Art by Jeffrey Meyers. 

Just requested this from my library-thanks for the recommendation!

Link to post
Share on other sites

i HAVE BEEN (oops) really interested in the work of R. CHETWYND-HAYES, a British horror writer, for some time, but I am having the DAMNEDEST TIME finding anything of his in print (I dislike Kindle.)

I ordered THE MONSTER CLUB, but the seller cancelled saying it wasn't in stock.

There are only a few of his stories read aloud on YOUTUBE, and, somewhat in the spirit of LIBRAVOX and their lifeless readers, they are all done by the same woman- who in addition to her stilted reading, cannot pronounce a hard "r" to save her GD life, and I'm sorry for mocking someone for something that they cannot help, but it weewy, weewy undawcuts the tewah.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I too have been reading THE STAND by Stephen King.

Nothing like reading a story that kills 99 percent of the world while in real life a real epidemic, Covid-19,  has hit us, huh? (Though the death toll, while high, still nowhere near the billions of death that are caused by Captain Trips, the name of the deadly virus in the story).

It is a long book but totally worth it. I'd avoid the mini-series though, a lot of good story and character development ended up get sacrificed, even with the 8 hour running time, and despite the fine cast in it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the very first year that I am not going to Paris for the last two weeks in June because of COVID-19.

I usually do not go there because I am poor and can not afford it but the pandemic provides a much less ego-crushing excuse.

It has long been my habit to compensate by reading French novels during June. I choose this year to concentrate on the works of Alexandre Dumas because we have a nice set and I do not have to scramble for inter-library loans nor settle for reading off the computer. 

I actually began in early May and eased into it with: The Black Tulip and went on to: The She-Wolves of Machecoul and finally: The Vicomte de Bragelonne before settling down with: The Count of Monte Cristo. It was due to my having that novel at hand that I was able to quote from it about soporifics in a different thread. I have now finished that and am set to begin: The Forty-Five which is one of my favorites. I will then probably move on to: Marguerite de Valois which is a favorite also. I will likely end with: La Dame de Monsoreau because that is the one for which I have the most love. I had a very mad crush on Chicot when I was younger. I am very sorry to say that all of the other novels in the set which we have are not nearly as interesting to me.

I know that the reading order does jump around considerably from century to century but Dumas was not himself obsessed with chronology.

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, laffite said:

 

Does an author relish a bit of sadism when confronted with a delicious way to trash someone?

 

My insignificant duther is an author. I can assure you that he finds great joy in occasionally being sadistic towards his characters. I believe it is emotional compensation for the times when he must nurture a character which he hates to write. 

I will say in his defense that he at all times presents it as not being definite and is firmly in the hands of Fate. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, SansFin said:

My insignificant duther is an author. I can assure you that he finds great joy in occasionally being sadistic towards his characters. I believe it is emotional compensation for the times when he must nurture a character which he hates to write. 

I will say in his defense that he at all times presents it as not being definite and is firmly in the hands of Fate. 

I felt that Lettice Palmer's "fate" was tacked on by the author, and not determined by a realistic fate, but by her own hand.  I will grudgingly admit, however, that what happened is not altogether inconsistent with Lettice in the novel.  But with a character you love, it hurts. And the fact that her fate was decided later at the time of the sequel (three years later) makes it sound arbitrary. I would have liked a better end for her. I was actually depressed for awhile. That concluding paragraph in the sequel is so dark. Lettice was a major character and you can see that she is somewhat idealized from excerpts I quoted. (see the closing comment about the piano playing, for instance) A very sympathetic person, and was written as if the author liked her. But she may not like the type. She did spend her childhood in Africa but later became quite literary with degrees, though she essentially was not like Lettice. Maybe the author (an explorer type, etc.) thought she was a bit prissy, or, God forbid, based her character on a real person she despised. My surmise is that the author wasn't sure exactly what to do with her at the end of the novel, and that the later paragraph might have only occurred to her while writing the sequel. I was thinking that the paragraph (if she had thought of it at that time) might have been included in an Appendix (of the first novel, of course) so that her whole story would be known to readers. Still, the final word on Lettice, though disappointing to me personally, still passes as an obscure little gem that will not be seen by many readers of the first book. And though I may weep for Lettice, I must realize that it's Elspeth Huxley's story and she gets to decide the fate of all who who move and live in it.

 

///.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

My grandmother was big on Reader's Digest. I think the name of the feature was My Most Unforgettable

Character. I just finished family by Ian Frazier a while ago. It's part boomer memoir, part family history, and

part general reflections on different topics. Interesting and well written. There is a fairly lengthy section on

certain Civil War battles as some of Frazier's ancestors fought in the war on the Union side. 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2021 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...