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


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12 hours ago, NickAndNora34 said:

Room to Dream- David Lynch 

Is this a memoir/auto biography? How is his writing style?

While I love John Waters movies & his persona,  I find his writing tiring to read. Tough to differentiate fact from his fantasies.

I think some artistes really live in their fantasy world, making their work interesting visually, but not great with the written word.

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Having finished another re-reading of Gary Paulsen's  WINTERDANCE (which I highly suggest) I'm into another go through Robert Fulghum's  excellent EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN (Which I also strongly suggest.  

A quote from Fulghum's book,  when discussing "liberation"----

"Liberation finally amounts to being free from things we don't like in order to be enslaved by things we approve of."  ;) 

Sepiatone

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9 hours ago, TikiSoo said:

Is this a memoir/auto biography? How is his writing style?

While I love John Waters movies & his persona,  I find his writing tiring to read. Tough to differentiate fact from his fantasies.

I think some artistes really live in their fantasy world, making their work interesting visually, but not great with the written word.

Lynch co-wrote this with someone else; full of anecdotes of his childhood and his road to making movies; I've only read a bit, but it is quite engaging thus far. 

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Save the Cat! by Jessica Brody It is on how to structure your writing to be most effective.

Pibgorn: The Girl in the Coffee Cup by Brooke McEldowney. It is the story of a fairy who is tired of toting dew drops and wishes to become a stand-up comedienne. 

Bite Me by Christopher Moore. I like his work but the first chapter of this is quite disconnected and in a strong dialect. It is a bit of a slog.

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Virgil The Aeneid, translated by Robert Fitzgerald. 

I'm taking an online course offered by Hillsdale College, The Great Books 101: Ancient to Medieval. You don't have to actually read each book completely, but of course it is encouraged. 

You listen to a lecture about the work under consideration, (there are ten of them, including The Iliad, Oedipus Rex, The Divine Comedy), take notes in the space provided beside the video, then you can listen to a Q&A interview with the lecturer for some deeper background in key areas, then take a short multiple choice quiz. After passing a final exam you get a PDF of a cheesy certificate you can print and frame. 

I was always interested in mythology in my school days so I don't find it a chore. One thing I didn't know was that the story of the sacking of Troy after the Trojan Horse incident was not related by Homer in The Iliad, but by Virgil. 

It is slow going, but fascinating. 

 

 

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Currently, I am reading Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke and the newer, revised Dark City.

I also found Julie Salamon's The Devil's Candy, the subject matter for season two of The Plot Thickens, at a used bookstore in town. Going to start it when this season of the podcast ends.

 

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I just finished The Little Drummer Girl by John le Carre last night. Interesting story even if it dragged a bit in the second half sometimes. The saga of a firey young actress drawn headlong into the ever-inflammatory world of the the Palestine/Israel conflict by becoming a most unlikely spy, it was filmed in 1984 with Diane Keaton and as a miniseries with Florence Pugh in 2018. It's a challenging story for anyone, regardless of who they side with in that everlasting battle, but its smartly written, with some extremely well-delineated characters. The central character of Charlie (the "drummer girl" of the title) is an endlessly fascinating character.

As a bit of a retreat from the spy genre, I have now started a novel by Toni Morrison called Tar Baby which I recall reading a rave about in a newspaper a few years ago.....

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  • 2 weeks later...

When I was a teen I used to be really good about reading the book before the movie...but now, I'm not so good. That being said, once I finished Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, I decided to be proactive and get Robert Jordan's The Eye of the World since Amazon's Wheel of Time is coming out in November. About 150 pages in now...Not usually big into fantasy, but I am enjoying it.

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  • 4 weeks later...

the 1946 ERNST LUBITSCH MOVIE "CLUNY BROWN" is, and will always be, very close to my shriveled black heart. It literally rescued me from a deep depression.

So, a few months ago, I ordered a copy of the novel on which it was based off amazon.com.

See the source image

(NOTE: this is not the edition I read, I read a BRAND NEW REPRINT OF THE BOOK, dated 2021, alas, I could not find a photo of the edition to post.)

It was an absolute delight of a book, maybe not quite as good as the film, but it made me respect the job the screenwriter did all the more- he really fleshed out the relationship between the titular character- an independent-minded, pixelated young British orphan who goes into service as a parlor maid at a Devonshire estate and an exiled Polish Professor in the last years before WWII.

The screenwriter softened the edges of the Professor a bit, and added more scenes between the two characters- wisely introducing THE PROFESSOR in the first scene of the movie. He also added a hilarious bit where CLUNY is mistaken for a proper guest on first arriving at the estate and is invited to tea with the lady of the manor...but besides that, they are very similar and I was delighted to see that some of the funniest lines are in the book itself (although the famous "nuts to the squirrels" is not.)

just like the movie though, the book has one Hell of a touching ending and is LIGHT YEARS ahead of its time on matters of class and a woman trying to "find her place in the world" when the odds are against her, and that very world itself is fast falling apart.

Just a delight, and one I highly recommend.

 

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On 7/23/2021 at 2:49 PM, LuckyDan said:

Virgil The Aeneid, translated by Robert Fitzgerald. 

I'm taking an online course offered by Hillsdale College, The Great Books 101: Ancient to Medieval. You don't have to actually read each book completely, but of course it is encouraged. 

You listen to a lecture about the work under consideration, (there are ten of them, including The Iliad, Oedipus Rex, The Divine Comedy), take notes in the space provided beside the video, then you can listen to a Q&A interview with the lecturer for some deeper background in key areas, then take a short multiple choice quiz. After passing a final exam you get a PDF of a cheesy certificate you can print and frame. 

I was always interested in mythology in my school days so I don't find it a chore. One thing I didn't know was that the story of the sacking of Troy after the Trojan Horse incident was not related by Homer in The Iliad, but by Virgil. 

It is slow going, but fascinating. 

 

 

Talk about fascinating :

I picked up a translation a long time ago at a book store, by E Fairfax Taylor, 1902. What interested me is the use of the Spenserian Stanza that I learned about in College (for more information, please google it). Briefly, the Spenserian Stanza is nine lines with a uniform rhyme scheme and seem a rather ambitious choice of verse.

I noticed a prose translation by the same author and on Amazon the Look inside! feature shows the following translation of the second stanza of the The Aeneid :

Tell me, O Muse, the cause; wherein thwarted in will or wherefore angered, did the Queen of heaven drive a man, of goodness so wondrous, to traverse so many perils, to face so many toils. Can heavenly spiirts cherish resentment so dire?

Here, also by the same author, his verse translation is the second (Spenserian) stanza, the same material just quoted:

O Muse, assist me and inspire my song,

The various causes and the crimes relate,

For what affronted majesty, what wrong

To injured Godhead, what offence so great

Heaven’s Queen resenting, with remorseless hate,

Could on renowned for piety compel

To brave such troubles, and endure the weight

Of toils so many and so huge, O tell

How can in heavenly minds such fierce resentments dwell ?

The relative lengths of each pair of stanzas are not so disparate as this one, which makes this one a dramatic example. If you're into verse (as opposed to prose for epic treatment) the Spenserian Stanza is quite a thrilling ride.

//

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

i just finished reading

See the source image\

which is from the author of CLUNY BROWN, which I enjoyed very much.

It is the story of a life as told through four different gardens to which the heroine tends over her lifespan- from her childhood tending to a neglected knot-garden on an abandoned  estate in Victorian times to her becoming a wife and mother to the Great Wars...

At least that's what it says on the back of the book jacket (yes, i read a paper copy), but i'll let you know something: that's a gotdamm lie, it's only 20% about ACTUAL GARDENS and the rest of a sort of polite drawing room scenes of life during WWI, which, in spite of moments that work, have more moments that taxed my patience greatly.

I still note though that had the book in fact been MUCH MUCH MUCH MORE ABOUT GARDENING and the TITULAR FOUR GARDENS, one of which is barely given mention, the other in which she grows peas during the war and that's all.

i absolutely love the idea of telling someone's story via the gardens they tend to in their life, or even multiple gardens at the same time (as i have done.)

might steal it someday

 

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here is the write up of FOUR GARDENS from the back of the book:

In Four Gardens, the most emotional and nostalgic of Margery Sharp's brilliant novels, we meet the lovable Caroline Smith (i>née Chase) and glimpse the stages of her life through the gardens in which she digs. There's the lavish abandoned one in which she has no right to dig; the tiny one in which she has no time to dig; the extravagant one, complete with stubborn gardener, in which she's not allowed to dig; and one final garden, hers and hers alone, in which she finds quiet, wise contentment

(end)

THAT would make a great story, yeah? But honestly, THAT is NOT what this book is largely about.

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