Post by Tommen_Saperstein on Aug 28, 2020 17:30:05 GMT
finished Killers of the Flower Moon. Is it just me or is this narrative pretty hard to follow? With scores of names being thrown around with only brief characterization for most of them except for the largest players (although Hale didn't feel like a proper character until the trial) in an impossibly murky investigation that was never quite solved, it was pretty hard to track how events got from A to B during Tom White's investigation, or why.
narration was hit and miss for the sole reason that Penguin Random House opted for three narrators for each of the book's main sections instead of one for the whole book, which complicated things unnecessarily. Will Patton's middle section focusing on Tom White and the investigation was the easiest on the ears but also the most confusing.
on deck: Longbourn by Jo Baker. An alternate version of some of the events of Pride & Prejudice from the perspective of the Bennett servants.
Emma is unlikable, but I think that's the whole point: she never learns her lesson and she lives a pretty great life anyway, thank you very much. It is much *funnier* than MP, which takes on a pretty dour tone throughout, which makes it much harder to care about Fanny
I am an Austen fanatic, having read the following books (ranked, because why not): 1. Sanditon (unfinished due to her death, but boy was it shaping up to be amazing) 2. Pride and Prejudice 3. Persuasion 4. Emma 5. Love & Friendship (not to be confused with the movie of the same name: that's based on Lady Susan - this one was written as a young teenager in her Mel Brooks phase) 6. The Watsons (unfinished, presumably abandoned after her father's death; she wrote MP instead) 7. Northanger Abbey 8. Sense and Sensibility 9. Lady Susan 10. Mansfield Park 11. The History of England (a very short comedic story that was clearly meant to be read aloud to an audience of her family; she was probably about twelve when this was written, so don't expect much from it) 12. Lesley Castle (an unfinished work from her juvenile period that I can't even remember)
1. Pride and Prejudice
3. Sense and Sensibility
4. Mansfield Park
5. Northanger Abbey
I have Persuasion on my book shelf at home already (which has already increased to about 30 unread novels ), and will read it with the next month I guess.
So finally got around to "Persuasion" and loved it. It doesn't quite have the range of interesting characters as Pride and Prejudice or Emma and isn't as clever built up, but it's simply beautiful and thanks to the view solely through our heroine's eye feels more intimate than any other of her works. I'd probably rank it as #3 as of now.
I actually prefer the movie I think. From what I remember the book it was a bit too distanced in tone and written to matter-of-factly.
The film is quite cold as well, but the photography is excellent and it's more tense than the book. But it's around 15-20 years I read it.
Any recommendations for books similar to this? Tense thrillers/murder mysteries? I've read most Agatha Christie's. What else?
If you liked Christie I'd strongly recommend Dorothy Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey books. They feature a similiar puzzle, but are not solely focussed on the case, but are pretty funny sometimes and have also a depiction and sometimes criticism of society back in the 1920s/30s plus her style is much better than Christie's.
Just finished In Cold Blood. Very chilling. Super excited for the movie now. What do you guys think of both?
Just to offer a counter to Jim, I actually felt the movie failed to really live up to the book. I mean, the cinematography is gorgeous, performances are great, etc. ... but I never quite felt the tension and dark, alluringly perverse nature of the book totally come across in the film. That's just me. The book is one of my all-time favorites ... I've only read it once, not sure I could read it again, but by far one of the most unforgettably haunting things I've read. Capote's prose is perfectly composed.
Post by Tommen_Saperstein on Sept 10, 2020 17:49:15 GMT
Longbourn was fine, although it lost me in the final act with a needlessly tragic military plot. The romance was solid and features a love triangle of sorts between the protagonist and two potential lovers--the initially standoffish new Bennett footman and Bingley's exciting and handsome black manservant. I liked the protagonist Sarah, although her constant lamenting the squalor of her tasks (taking out chamber pots, cleaning after the Bennett girls' periods... "smelled like a butcher shop" ugh) read a bit too much like self-inserted 21st century squeamishness--living in a world with no working toilets probably sucked, but that's only something people with working toilets think about. My final complaint is that Wickham factors much too strongly here. Austen paints him as something of a narcissistic scoundrel but Jo Baker doubles down and makes him rapey and sneery as well as money-grubbing. He feels like a cartoon villain. If I was ranking the book, I'd say 3 or 3.5 out of five. Emma Fielding's lovely narration was a plus.
next up, Capote's In Cold Blood read by Scott Brick (!)
Been a month and I'm still chugging along on the final book in the Dune Chronicles, Chapterhouse: Dune. This one's taken me much longer than any of the others, and I'm still not quite 2/3rds of the way through. I like the overall premise but it really doesn't seem like anything's happened yet. It's much more of a chamber (and no-ship) piece like the second and fourth books in the series, only nowhere near as good as either of them (one a fascinating if flawed sequel, the other a singular masterpiece in the sci-fi canon, both utterly subversive). Still, Herbert usually likes to cram all of the narrative momentum into the final third of his books, so it may yet have a shot of matching or exceeding the previous entry, Heretics of Dune, which was my least favorite but now I look back on with longing for its action and quick pacing.
Post by waterloobridge on Sept 13, 2020 22:16:11 GMT
Just finished. Shawshank is a wonderful story of the resilience of the human spirit.The film creates the greatest revenge scene, and improves the books ending.The Body (reread) is still one of my favourite novellas. A coming of age story that has so much heart but still has touches of King's creepiness concerning Ray Bower's ominous death.The biggest surprise for me was Apt Pupil. A cunning game of cat and mouse. So disturbing. When this was winding down, I wished it would be longer but works perfectly as it was. The Breathing Method, while the shortest, was the least compelling. I would definitely reread this annually. I bought more King short story books, and I'm looking forward to the cooler and longer nights ahead.
Post by Tommen_Saperstein on Sept 16, 2020 21:18:06 GMT
In Cold Blood is pretty devastating. Not as much as the Brooks film which had me bawling more than once, but devastating nonetheless. I was surprised to discover how closely the film mirrors Capote's structure, particularly in how the heart-stopping reveal of the details of the murder don't occur until after Perry and Hickock had already been apprehended. You can't read those portions without feeling your heart ache for the senselessness of it all and simultaneously for the fact that Perry Smith hadn't wanted to hurt anybody but a series of extreme psychological and relational factors lead him down that path of no return. I'm also glad that Capote doesn't shy away from the callous brutality of the pair's executions. Brooks emphasizes that injustice considerably more but you can certainly extrapolate such an indictment from Capote's words.
Capote struck a goldmine with this case because it galvanizes one's sense of black and white morality. Smith carried out a brutal and monstrous act but never seems like a monster, but more like a sensitive and angry kid who never had a chance and never had a place in the world. Descriptions of the little kindnesses shown to him in custody by that housewife who made him Spanish rice break my heart, because you can't help but wonder what kind of a person he might've been if his parents or those fucking awful nuns had shown him even a fraction of that kindness.
I think next I'll dive into Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher series next starting with The Last Wish. I loved the lore and world of the Witcher 3 and I hear the books are good, and hopefully they'll wash out the bad taste in my mouth I got from the horrible TV show.
The last two books took longer to read than the four previous ones put together, but after beginning in the summer I have finally finished The Dune Chronicles. One of the fascinating things about this series is that there is no real consensus among fans regarding the entirety of the saga. For example, of course everyone will have their own opinion but the general consensus among the fanbase for the Song of Ice and Fire franchise is you either love the first three and dislike the fourth and fifth, or you love all five. Simple. With Dune, a lot of readers that worship the first book despise the second (MUCH darker and subversive) installment and immediately quit the saga, a lot of readers love the first three and hate the rest, a lot of readers think the fourth is either the BEST or WORST of the series, and a lot of readers really love or hate the final two books (which begin a whole new planned trilogy Herbert was unable to complete before his death, set 1000 years after the fourth book (which was in turn set 3500 years after the third)). Now that I've read all six I find myself utterly blown away by the scope, philosophical complexity, imagination, and absolutely bonkers batshit crazy originality of the story taken as a whole. This is probably the coolest science fiction work of art I've ever encountered, and it would be a dream come true to see masterful, faithful adaptations of all six books on the big or small screen. While Westeros will always be my primary nerd haven, the sands of Arrakis have completely redefined how I view the genre.
So how did the last book fare? Chapterhouse: Dune took the longest to read. I think I was a little burnt out after the somewhat less-than-satisfying fifth installment, Heretics of Dune. I wasn't as into the plot or new cast of characters as the previous books, and I felt as though the saga was probably best remembered concluding with the (INCREDIBLE) fourth entry, God Emperor of Dune. My copy of Chapterhouse is 609 pages, and the first 400 took over a month to get through. It felt endless, with very little plot momentum.
I read the last 200 pages in one sitting today. It'd be an understatement to say I was happy with the finale. In fact, it was so fantastic that it made not only Chapterhouse but Heretics before it completely worth the read to get there. While it is plainly obvious that Herbert leaves events purposefully unresolved, teasing future threads and clues for the unwritten seventh (to be final) novel, what ends up happening is this: the saga ends on a narratively precarious note that COMPLETELY serves the themes running present from the first entry to the finale. In the never-ending galactic feuds that cover eons of time throughout the series, the unresolved ending feels absolutely note-perfect. But beyond that, the climax of Chapterhouse is absolutely thrilling and wholly unpredictable, with scenes of shocking violence, twists galore, and a (temporary) resolution to the central conflict that frankly blew my mind. After a rough start, these final two novels paid off in grand fashion. Absolutely, 100% could not recommend this series highly enough. 8
Final ratings for The Dune Chronicles: Dune 10 Dune Messiah 7.5 Children of Dune 9 God Emperor of Dune 10 Heretics of Dune 7 Chapterhouse: Dune 8
Watership Down by Richard Adams: Really cool concept here, essentially a retelling of the Aeneid with the story of talking rabbits. It's a nice fusion of epic storytelling with storybook fantasy. I definitely loved the world-building and lore, and also its elements of commentary. That said, it's a long book and I definitely became a bit less interested as it went along ... books with thirty-something characters, only five of whom actually have distinguishable personalities aren't really my thing, most of those just become names cluttering the page ... and it became a bit exhausting after awhile, though the ending picks up again. The good parts of the book are really great and make it worth it.
I followed it up with watching the film adaptation just tonight. I thought the animation was freaking stunning but it kinda has the exact opposite problem of the book ... felt waaaay too rushed, I actually couldn't believe 90 minutes had passed by the time it was over. I barely feel like I just watched a whole movie
Last Edit: Sept 18, 2020 2:44:44 GMT by DeepArcher
Stoner (1965) by John Williams. I found this to be quite a commanding read, it's like a polite storm of a book, looking at a whole life (that of Stoner's) that gains so little, and its very sad, very wry, low-hum way of writing is flawlessly sustained.
Casey Affleck was lined up to star a few years ago and probably would've been terrific in the part. Shoutout Viced for the recommendation.
This Brilliant Darkness: A Book of Strangers - Jeff Sharlet
This book is pretty remarkable - photographs and accompanying essays that focus on things that often happen really late at night - dead end jobs, too much coffee, overdoses, people who don't sleep because they can't or won't and who may not wake up.........the people in the daylight have a darkness of their own or its forced upon them.
I don't read new books much but I can't imagine there's been a more up to the minute book or a more Punk Rock book - all people who are on the fringe and the photos are haunting alone......feels like an instant classic and a unique one........and it spans the globe too.....it feels simultaneously hopeful.......hopeless......dangerous.......prophetic.
Post by Tommen_Saperstein on Sept 27, 2020 9:43:54 GMT
The Last Wish was ok. A decent introduction to the Witcher but doesn't really feature any worldbuilding, just a series of episodic stories. Writing/dialogue is fine, a bit clumsy at times. But my PTSD from watching the show prejudiced me unfortunately because practically all these stories were lifted for the show so I knew what was going on and often found myself recalling the show (and how shitty it was).
next up, Ronan Farrow's Catch and Kill. Very much looking forward to this one.
How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime (1990), Roger Corman. Only halfway thru, mainly compiles Corman's recaps on his directed movies, with a lot of humorous on-set stories, and I like how the book drops in first-hand memories from his collaborators, even Nicholson and Coppola write up some stuff here. Just got to The Intruder chapter - I didn't realize just how dangerous the filming of it was, and it's too bad the movie is known for being his only project that lost money bc it's better than its receipts. Corman admits that its "failure" may have kept him from other projects like it or bigger mainstream efforts. I think he was a better filmmaker than he ever realized of himself...