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I've been trying once more to read Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I'm not sure why. My ex has a fair bit of his other stuff, but this was one she skipped. He's an odd bird, and I can't help but feel sometimes that the translation isn't doing it a ton of favors. I only made it about a quarter of the way through the first time before it just lost my interest, and I'm not much further than that this time.

Then again, my next-best idea for what to read right now is to hate-read some Ayn Rand (because I never touched any of her crap, and hey, know your enemy, right?), so I'm probably better off renewing this from the library and finishing it off this time. 

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A friend on mine on FB has been going through and re-watching all of the James Bond films, and it's motivated me to go back and re-read the novels. I finished Live and Let Die last night, and it only makes me hate the Roger Moore era of comedy and bad puns that much more. It's also amusing to read today, because if this were written exactly how Fleming wrote it in 1952, he'd be branded a racist and there would probably be protests and calls for boycotts.

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It's odd just how poorly Ian Fleming has aged and how well his thriller contemporary John Blackburn has held up. That there was never a film series devoted to General Kirk, Sir Marcus  & Tania Levin,  etc. remains a great missed opportunity.

Young Roger Moore was an excellent Simon Templar, old Roger Moore was a horrible Bond, but so were the scripts. Every one of those awful films should be redone properly. I'd love to see Idris Elba cast in the role, not only could he pull it off well, I like to think of Fleming spinning in his grave over the idea of a black Bond. ;-) Fuck him, the old racist twit.

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17 minutes ago, OSJ said:

It's odd just how poorly Ian Fleming has aged and how well his thriller contemporary John Blackburn has held up. That there was never a film series devoted to General Kirk, Sir Marcus  & Tania Levin,  etc. remains a great missed opportunity.

Young Roger Moore was an excellent Simon Templar, old Roger Moore was a horrible Bond, but so were the scripts. Every one of those awful films should be redone properly. I'd love to see Idris Elba cast in the role, not only could he pull it off well, I like to think of Fleming spinning in his grave over the idea of a black Bond. ;-) Fuck him, the old racist twit.

In the first few pages he's referencing the Japs, Chinamen, Negroes, and a Negroess. Live and Let Die is generally considered one of the better Moore films, but, the original novel kills it in every aspect.

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I'm pretty sure I said in the Bond thread that this next film should be a more faithful adaptation of You Only Live Twice since we're presumably getting some kind of Bond/Blofeld revenge showdown. 

Incidentally, Matt Gourley of the James Bonding podcast does a wonderfully absurd and effete Ian Fleming impersonation.

 

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21 hours ago, Contentious C said:

I've been trying once more to read Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I'm not sure why. My ex has a fair bit of his other stuff, but this was one she skipped. He's an odd bird, and I can't help but feel sometimes that the translation isn't doing it a ton of favors. I only made it about a quarter of the way through the first time before it just lost my interest, and I'm not much further than that this time.

Then again, my next-best idea for what to read right now is to hate-read some Ayn Rand (because I never touched any of her crap, and hey, know your enemy, right?), so I'm probably better off renewing this from the library and finishing it off this time. 

I love Norwegian Wood. There is something ... lulling... about the way Murakami writes. I feel like you are being gently rocked along on a boat, or something. it is hard to describe.

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I've moved on from Live and Let Die, and am now about a third of the way through Moonraker. And, it includes the most ironic quote. When M is asking Bond what he knows about Drax, Bond comments that "He's a something of a lonsdale figure."

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Recently finished Primo Levi's The Truce in a new translation as part of the splendid Complete Works of Primo Levi[/i ]box. It, [i]If This Is A Man, and The Drowned and the Saved (in a different register) are such powerful books.

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Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. One of those "Things I Should Have Read in High School Instead of Mists of Avalon" books. Dense, wordy, chewy stuff. This'll be a slow read.

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As I've said before, the coolest thing about my job is that I get to read cool things. Other editors have to deal with what is called "the slush pile", that is to say unsolicited work sent in by the hopeful. When I get something sent to me and our website specifically states "closed to new submissions" we have already established one serious problem: You are incapable or unwilling to follow directions, so please explain why I would want to work with you when much of what I do consists of issuing directions that I expect to be followed? Fortunately, I don't have to deal with that sort of stuff, the stuff that hits my desk is material that I've asked to see. It may have been pitched to me by an agent, a friend of the author or it may have been someone I met in a bar at a convention, the point being that at some stage I asked to see the material.

Okay, sort of a weighty day, today marks the 145th birthday of Nictzin Dyalhis and a week ago his collected weird tales, The Sapphire Goddess & Other Stories showed up in the mail, published by DMR Books and available from Mike Chomko Books mikechomko@gmail.com (ask for a catalog, you'll be glad you did, Mike is your one-stop shop for all pulp-related materials. Like this swell Dyalhis collection for thirteen bucks. What's ironic is that back in 1986 I was going to publish this title. In fact, we had already keyed in three stories when I was interrupted by a telephone call from Tim Powers who wanted me to look at a story that Gardner Dozois had rejected at Asimov's. I said "I don't want to be negative, but Gardner's a damn fine editor, if he rejected it... Tim  replied, "Fair enough, now what if I told he rejected it not for what it is, but for what he's concerned that people might think it is." "And that would be...?" "An anti-abortion story, see the souls of the unborn play a part and most of his readership knows I'm Catholic, so it must be an anti abortion story, yep." So anyway, got the story, published it and poor Mr. Dyalhis went on the back-burner, I'm glad that someone has done this collection as it really is terrific stuff if you can put yourself in a 1930s mindframe when it comes to science...

So.... What am I reading? Some time back I mentioned getting the greenlight for my series "Modern Masters of the Weird Tale" which is ostensibly supposed to be newer writers, I got to expand that horizon to include folks that I felt just hadn't received their due. We've talked about Richard Gavin before, but I wanted to stack the deck with the first subset of four books by including one name who should have had a retrospective collection a few years ago, Lisa Tuttle. Lisa ranges between the horror/fantasy/sf genres so seamlessly that you're never entirely sure what you're reading, that hard sf story that you started with may turn into bloodcurdling horror at any point, that bizarre magical encounter is really a first contact story but the science on the other side of the table just seems so incomprehensible as to be magic... Well, you get the idea. While Lisa's book isn't actually due for a year, she wrote me a couple of months ago to say that she was between gigs and had time to work on it now, so if I were to toss out an arbitrary deadline, what would it be? Just at random I said 7/15/18, so what happened? She sent me the provisional table of contents on Friday! So I'm reading lots of Lisa Tuttle and enjoying myself a great deal, I have the best job in the world... 

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David Cavanagh: Good Night and Good Riddance: How Thirty-Five Years of John Peel Helped To Shape Modern Life.

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On 5/22/2018 at 11:44 PM, OSJ said:

It's odd just how poorly Ian Fleming has aged and how well his thriller contemporary John Blackburn has held up. That there was never a film series devoted to General Kirk, Sir Marcus  & Tania Levin,  etc. remains a great missed opportunity.

Young Roger Moore was an excellent Simon Templar, old Roger Moore was a horrible Bond, but so were the scripts. Every one of those awful films should be redone properly. I'd love to see Idris Elba cast in the role, not only could he pull it off well, I like to think of Fleming spinning in his grave over the idea of a black Bond. ;-) Fuck him, the old racist twit.

Never understood this weird cult that has built up around Idris Elba being cast as Bond. He's a fucking shocking actor who seems to have tricked people into believing he's good by having a ton of charisma.

On 3/28/2018 at 5:32 PM, West Newbury Bad Boy said:

I'm reading Elmore Leonard's Moonshine War. I sure don't like that dentist or his henchman. 

That was a good one, I think reading it sometime after seeing Lawless kind of ruined it for me though.

 

I'm currently rereading my way through Steinbeck's novellas, starting with Tortilla Flat

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42 minutes ago, CreativeControl said:

Never understood this weird cult that has built up around Idris Elba being cast as Bond. He's a fucking shocking actor who seems to have tricked people into believing he's good by having a ton of charisma.

I dunno. I thought he was American in the Wire before I knew better. Might say more about me though. 

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7 hours ago, Liam said:

I dunno. I thought he was American in the Wire before I knew better. Might say more about me though. 

Likewise. And he gets props just for saying , "You taking the minutes of a motherfucking criminal conspiracy?"  and keeping a straight face.

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21 hours ago, CreativeControl said:

Never understood this weird cult that has built up around Idris Elba being cast as Bond. He's a fucking shocking actor who seems to have tricked people into believing he's good by having a ton of charisma.

Yeah, who’d want a Bond with tons of charisma? What a weird break that would be from the franchise’s history of casting world-class thespians in the role. 

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21 hours ago, CreativeControl said:

Never understood this weird cult that has built up around Idris Elba being cast as Bond. He's a fucking shocking actor who seems to have tricked people into believing he's good by having a ton of charisma.

Isn't this the case for most movie stars?  There are a few movie stars who are great actors, but for the most part people would much rather watch an actor with tons of charisma than one with tons of talent.  

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49 minutes ago, Control said:

Yeah, who’d want a Bond with tons of charisma? What a weird break that would be from the franchise’s history of casting world-class thespians in the role. 

Worked for George Lazenby... 

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On 6/2/2018 at 8:19 AM, JLSigman said:

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison. One of those "Things I Should Have Read in High School Instead of Mists of Avalon" books. Dense, wordy, chewy stuff. This'll be a slow read.

Finished this last night. Still processing it. On the one hand, I can see why it won the Nobel for Literature, because it is amazingly well written. On the other hand, I can see why it won, because it is the same late coming of age boy to man journey I've read a thousand times. There were parts I liked more and some I really didn't care for, and the ending left me in a bit of a  lurch. 

Next up is Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn. If I can read the tiny type of this mass market paperback copy. What was I thinking when I bought this?????

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16 minutes ago, JLSigman said:

Finished this last night. Still processing it. On the one hand, I can see why it won the Nobel for Literature, because it is amazingly well written. On the other hand, I can see why it won, because it is the same late coming of age boy to man journey I've read a thousand times. There were parts I liked more and some I really didn't care for, and the ending left me in a bit of a  lurch. 

The Nobel is awarded to an author for their body of work, not to an individual text, so if your copy says “winner of the Nobel Prize” or whatever, it’s referring to Morrison.

BELOVED is a hell of a book, though admittedly I didn’t recognize it as such the first time I read it.

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3 hours ago, JLSigman said:

Next up is Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn. If I can read the tiny type of this mass market paperback copy. What was I thinking when I bought this?????

That you wanted to read some completely soulless mass-produced fantasy product? ;-) 

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I just finished Model by Michael Gross. Its a history of the modeling industry and I cant honestly recommend it. The beginning is pretty good, but soon turn into an alphabet soup of agencies, and his CONSTANT digressions get pretty annoying. The first person chapters were the best, and he might have been better served to turn the thing into a oral histy, even if he would have to change the scope a bit. 

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6 hours ago, Kuetsar said:

I just finished Model by Michael Gross. Its a history of the modeling industry and I cant honestly recommend it. The beginning is pretty good, but soon turn into an alphabet soup of agencies, and his CONSTANT digressions get pretty annoying. The first person chapters were the best, and he might have been better served to turn the thing into a oral histy, even if he would have to change the scope a bit. 

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I follow your posts pretty closely for non-fiction recs that sound cool. Particularly as we have an area of interest in common in ancient military history. That said, I'm completely at a loss on this one, I don't think that even Cormac McCarthy could write a book about the modeling industry that I'd find readable, I mean, I just don't fucking care about the subject one iota. Glad to hear that the book was crap, if you'd said it was brilliant I might have been tempted despite knowing better. ;-)

The world really needs more even-handed bios of Attila the Hun...

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1 hour ago, OSJ said:

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I follow your posts pretty closely for non-fiction recs that sound cool. Particularly as we have an area of interest in common in ancient military history. That said, I'm completely at a loss on this one, I don't think that even Cormac McCarthy could write a book about the modeling industry that I'd find readable, I mean, I just don't fucking care about the subject one iota. Glad to hear that the book was crap, if you'd said it was brilliant I might have been tempted despite knowing better. ;-)

The world really needs more even-handed bios of Attila the Hun...

Eh, I found it for cheap at a book sale and it said it was a "shocking expose", so it sounded better than it was. Here are some more non fiction goodness I've read in the past few months.

Re-read Dynamite kid's book, as well as the history of Stampede, Heenan's book and Capetta's. All are worth reading if you get the chance, and Dynamite and Stampede are must reads. I must confess I felt like strangling Bruce Hart after reading the Stampede book.

God is not great by Christopher Hitchens. An indictment of religion, but well reasoned. Worth seeking out it you are into that sort of thing. ****

Columbus the four voyages by Lawrence Bergreen. Outstanding biography that fairly describes the man, while neither demonizing, not glorifying him. Well worth seeking out.*****

Over the edge of the world by Lawrence Bergreen. Describing Magellen's voyage around the world. Well the surviving crew any way. Magellen, being an arrogant ass, got himself killed in the Philippines. *****

Six Frigates by Ian Toll. The Founding of the US Navy, complete with all the poltics and bullshit surrounding the war of 1812. Highly recommended, and it shows that while Madison and Jefferson played a great role in founding the country, they made for less than great Presidents. **** 1/2

Nelson love and fame by Edgar VIncent. On the one hand Horatio Nelson was a bad ass, and its a perfectly competent biography, he focus quite a bit on Nelson's love affairs. That isn't bad on its own, but he seems to lose the forest through the trees a bit and you can tell the author is not a professional historian. Not bad, per see but a bit of a slog.*** 1/2

Trafalgar by Tim Clayton. An account of the famous battle that is very readable and accessable. Well worth your time if you like that sort of thing. ****

The Bounty by Caroline Alexander. A factual account of the Munity on the Bounty. Poor William Bligh's reputation has been smeared for centuries, partly due to the need to save Peter Heywood from the rope. He was connected and fell under the spell of Fletcher Christian. Fuck them both, though they have been dead for at least a century and a half. Well worth tracking down. *****

Cochrane, the real master and commander by David Corridingly.  He was a commander in the early Napoleonic period, who matched naval exploites with being a pain in the ass to authority. Readable, but misses greatness by a wide margin. ***

Superfreakanomics by Steven Leavitt. The second one, actually and its the same a sthe first: readable, with interesting ideas about problems that tend to the fantastic, but it sucks the dick of economics hard, as if it were some kind of super science. Quick read that worth picking up super cheap. ** 1/2

Amy Schumer and Anna Faris' books. Both super readable in the celeb bio genre, competant and interesting if not high art. *** each

The baby boom by PJ orourke. semi autobiographical account of the aby boom generation. Entertaining enough, but don't go out of your way.  ** 1/2

Confederates in the attic by Tony Horowitz. A superb journey around the modern south(late 90's) exploring the culture of the Civil War. He follows hardcore war re enactors, goes to small town museums and explores the culture in a entertaining way. Well worth seeking out. *****

The Comedians by Kliph nesteroff. Exploring the history of 20th century comedy. The first part, from vaudeville to early tv is very good, but he loses his way in the 70's and after that its just a sequence of names and little blurbs about each.  Mixed read to say the least, but its not bad. ** 1/2

The Hot House, life inside levanworth. Written in the late 80's its a great exploration of prison life in maximum security prison. Very recommended if you like true crime. ****

Betty and Joan by Shaun Considine. If you are interested at all in Hollywood, you owe it to yourself to read this book. Betty Davis and Joan Crawford didn't like wach other, and its a full account of their rivalry. Bette hated Joan much more than vice versa, and its full of great gossip and a fun romp through the era. *****

 

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On 6/13/2018 at 6:11 PM, OSJ said:

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I follow your posts pretty closely for non-fiction recs that sound cool. Particularly as we have an area of interest in common in ancient military history. That said, I'm completely at a loss on this one, I don't think that even Cormac McCarthy could write a book about the modeling industry that I'd find readable, I mean, I just don't fucking care about the subject one iota. Glad to hear that the book was crap, if you'd said it was brilliant I might have been tempted despite knowing better. ;-)

The world really needs more even-handed bios of Attila the Hun...

I'm not really interested in the modeling industry either, but I would definitely read a well-written account of the modeling industry.  Seriously, it is one of those things that is looked at as glamorous, but has to be as sleazy as any industry in the world.  There is a book there, and a good one if someone can actually get all of the info.

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2 hours ago, supremebve said:

I'm not really interested in the modeling industry either, but I would definitely read a well-written account of the modeling industry.  Seriously, it is one of those things that is looked at as glamorous, but has to be as sleazy as any industry in the world.  There is a book there, and a good one if someone can actually get all of the info.

There  quite a bit of sleaze in the book, but its main focus is more on the modeling agencies. He sort of skims over controversies, and that would probably be a better book, focusing on any one, rather than an over arching approach.

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