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Author Topic: Reading anything?  (Read 132727 times)
ER
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« Reply #1140 on: June 28, 2012, 01:58:21 PM »

Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace.
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FatFreddysCat
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« Reply #1141 on: July 06, 2012, 03:24:24 PM »

Just finished: "Carnivore" by Leigh Clark - pulpy horror nonsense about scientists at a remote Antarctic outpost being menaced by a recently-thawed-and-hatched Tyrannosaurus Rex they found in the ice. (Does that plot line sound familiar to anyone else? Hmmm...) Gory nonsense that would probably make a great SyFy Channel movie.

Started: "The Grays" by Whitley Strieber - alien abductions 'n' weird genetics experiments, oh my!!
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1142 on: July 06, 2012, 04:04:33 PM »

Ye-es!

Piers Brendon's "The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1781-1997."
or from the end of the American Revolution to the War in the Falklands.

First, what must be understood is that the British Empire was fertilized with the bodies of the dead and watered with their blood. Just in those 216 years, in the Colonial Wars alone, some 3903 Brits (military and civilians: men, women, and children) and 124,896 natives (again military, some fighting for the British, and civilians: men, women, and children) died. And both of those figures are lowball figures.

Other than that there are a number of reasons to read the book.

(1) He has something good to say about most of the people in the book.
(2) But he is not adverse to point out their shortcomings, and everyone has shortcomings.
(3)Which means his writing is remarkablely evenhanded in how he treats the subject.
(4) Unlike some writers, he talks about what makes life worth living. Sex. Profanity. Sex. Nudity. Sex. The bodily functions. Did I mention sex?
(5) There is no accounting for some people's tastes, but for some odd reason, he seems to like Americans.
(6) He has a good eye for the humorous quote, which makes the subject more enjoyable.
(a) Some original. "The only test he ever passed was his test for VD." On one British colonial official who was notorious for his stupidity.
(b) Some not. "Dickie, you're so crooked, if you swallowed a nail, you'd s**t out a corkscrew." And the guy said it to Mountbatten's face.

People had courage then. They were also greedy racists, and if they had been a little less greedy and a little less racist, their problems would have been fewer, but some problems were inherent in the Empire itself. Two reasonable sides can come to a reasonable compromise, but throw in one or more other sides, who are uncompromising in any compromise with another side, and you have problems. What I found interesting was the number of countries and the number of different sides involved.

Sudan - Arabs and Africans
Rhodesia - whites and blacks
Palestine - Jews and Arabs
Malaya - Malays, Indians, and Chinese
Ireland - Protestants and Catholics
India - Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs
Cyprus - Greeks and Turks
Canada - French and English

Next time: a book with 151 reasons to check it out.


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ER
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« Reply #1143 on: July 09, 2012, 04:48:01 PM »

While I was keeping inside during our recent heat wave (109 at its worst) I read my own diary from 1991. Fifty-two pages of the politics of 7th grade society, with an aside into the apparently life threatening effects of not getting this tape I wanted at the crack of dawn on the morning of its release. Makes me smile to see how little things seemed so ridiculously important back then, but also, as I read through all those lists of homework, how hard school really could be. It was also the year of the Persian Gulf War, Magic Johnson's HIV announcement, and South Africa repealing apartheid laws, all of which I wrote about from my young perspective. It actually wasn't a bad read as well as a trip down memory lane.
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JaseSF
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« Reply #1144 on: July 09, 2012, 06:19:56 PM »



Started: "The Grays" by Whitley Strieber - alien abductions 'n' weird genetics experiments, oh my!!

I recently purchased that one as well.
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indianasmith
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« Reply #1145 on: July 10, 2012, 12:02:04 AM »

Ye-es!

Piers Brendon's "The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1781-1997."
or from the end of the American Revolution to the War in the Falklands.

First, what must be understood is that the British Empire was fertilized with the bodies of the dead and watered with their blood. Just in those 216 years, in the Colonial Wars alone, some 3903 Brits (military and civilians: men, women, and children) and 124,896 natives (again military, some fighting for the British, and civilians: men, women, and children) died. And both of those figures are lowball figures.

Other than that there are a number of reasons to read the book.

(1) He has something good to say about most of the people in the book.
(2) But he is not adverse to point out their shortcomings, and everyone has shortcomings.
(3)Which means his writing is remarkablely evenhanded in how he treats the subject.
(4) Unlike some writers, he talks about what makes life worth living. Sex. Profanity. Sex. Nudity. Sex. The bodily functions. Did I mention sex?
(5) There is no accounting for some people's tastes, but for some odd reason, he seems to like Americans.
(6) He has a good eye for the humorous quote, which makes the subject more enjoyable.
(a) Some original. "The only test he ever passed was his test for VD." On one British colonial official who was notorious for his stupidity.
(b) Some not. "Dickie, you're so crooked, if you swallowed a nail, you'd s**t out a corkscrew." And the guy said it to Mountbatten's face.

People had courage then. They were also greedy racists, and if they had been a little less greedy and a little less racist, their problems would have been fewer, but some problems were inherent in the Empire itself. Two reasonable sides can come to a reasonable compromise, but throw in one or more other sides, who are uncompromising in any compromise with another side, and you have problems. What I found interesting was the number of countries and the number of different sides involved.

Sudan - Arabs and Africans
Rhodesia - whites and blacks
Palestine - Jews and Arabs
Malaya - Malays, Indians, and Chinese
Ireland - Protestants and Catholics
India - Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs
Cyprus - Greeks and Turks
Canada - French and English

Next time: a book with 151 reasons to check it out.




MEMO TO SELF: Must read this!
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"Carpe Ngo Diem!" - Seize the South Vietnamese Dictator!
The Burgomaster
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« Reply #1146 on: July 11, 2012, 11:02:39 AM »

TREASURE ISLAND

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indianasmith
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A good bad movie is like popcorn for the soul!


« Reply #1147 on: July 11, 2012, 12:57:17 PM »

Currently re-reading (for the third time!) WORLD WAR Z.  Why I don't know, except that the history it envisions is so compelling and horrifying I can't get enough of it!
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"Carpe diem!" - Seize the day!  "Carpe per diem!" - Seize the daily living allowance! "Carpe carp!" - Seize the fish!
"Carpe Ngo Diem!" - Seize the South Vietnamese Dictator!
Vik
Guest
« Reply #1148 on: July 12, 2012, 08:52:09 AM »

Recently read the first two WALKING DEAD books which were awesome. Better than the show, imo. Also read SECOND FOUNDATION by Isaac Asimov, which is the most amazing, intricate and clever piece of science fiction I've ever read/seen.
Now reading a beginners-psychology book which is poorly written.
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Psycho Circus
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« Reply #1149 on: July 12, 2012, 06:12:28 PM »

Currently re-reading (for the third time!) WORLD WAR Z.  Why I don't know, except that the history it envisions is so compelling and horrifying I can't get enough of it!

That's exactly what my girlfriend is reading and for the second time.
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1150 on: July 18, 2012, 03:52:42 PM »

Ye-es!

Leonard Maltin's "151 Best Movies You've Never Seen"

Of which I have seen only 6 or 4%, but I liked 5 of the 6 or 83%, so pick out 1 or 2 titles from the book, and you may like them as much as I liked the ones I saw.

But, the strength of the book is not only in the movies listed, but the reasons they failed at the box office. Which are . . .

Wrong direction -- Wrong promotion -- Wrong release date -- Wrong star -- Wrong subject -- Wrong title.

Too ambitious -- Too atypical -- Too clever -- Too complicated -- Too dark -- Too foreign -- Too honest -- Too intelligent -- Too much story -- Too nice -- Too offbeat -- Too similiar -- Too stylized -- Too subtle -- Too unique -- Too whimsical.

Non-condescending -- Non-explosive -- Non-linear.

Bad luck -- Confusing tone -- Emotionally draining -- Ends unsatisfacorily -- Heavy handed -- Hostile reviews -- Isn't edgy -- Little promotion -- Multi-episodic --Out of touch -- Poor distribution.

One looks at the reasons they failed at the box office, and one realizes the problem is not so much with the films, they may not be out there in the number they once were, but they are out there. The problem is with today's audiences. Of which I am one. And till this problem is solved, we will continue to have problems.

The strength of the book also lies in the fact like most good books it serves as a mirror to the reader. I look at the book, and I see the 145 films I have not seen, and I see that I am part of the problem.

He is also one of the few film critics to take on his fellow critics, stating . . .

(1st) Critics are for the most part powerless. Whereas, a negative review can cause someone NOT to see a film. A positive review canNOT, for the most part, cause one to see a film.

(2nd) Critics often disagree about a film.

(3rd) And when they disagree, they are sometimes wrong, especially, if they disagree with him.

And I am sure the lst is a mutual feeling from his fellow critics.

Next time: 2nd verse. Same as the 1st.
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JaseSF
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« Reply #1151 on: July 18, 2012, 04:25:20 PM »

I like Maltin's reviews. I don't always agree with him but still he often likes a lot of the same stuff I do.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 04:33:32 PM by JaseSF » Logged

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ChaosTheory
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« Reply #1152 on: July 20, 2012, 04:43:10 PM »

I like Maltin's reviews. I don't always agree with him but still he often likes a lot of the same stuff I do.

Same here.  He can usually justify his opinions pretty well even when I don't agree with him. Plus, he was a pretty good sport with the MST3K crew, so that's in his favor.  I'll have to check that book out  Cheers


Just started CRISSCROSS by F. Paul Wilson, book 8 (I think?) in the Repairman Jack series.  I started reading the series a while back but it fell by the wayside, so I'm returning to it.
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Zapranoth
Eye of Sauron and
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« Reply #1153 on: July 21, 2012, 10:15:01 PM »

I'm playing through the Steve Jackson Sorcery! series again.

Ah, such middle school memories.  :)  What an awesome set of game books these are.  Awesome, awesome. awesome.     If you never played them, they're a takeoff on the Choose Your Own Adventure type story, but with the twist of some basic RPG elements (combat scores, stamina, dice rolling, spellcasting).   Ingeniously done, great story, excellent and creepy art.  Many ways to be just abruptly snuffed out. 

There's an actual spellbook for the game system that details the spells -- which have three-letter codes.  You can study the book until you start the adventure, then you are supposed to not refer to it (because your character would not risk taking the book into enemy lands).  There are material components for some.  There are bogus spell entries as choices in the book, and if you choose a false spell you just lose stamina for no reason.

I most highly recommend them if you're into this kind of simple game at all.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sorcery!
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BoyScoutKevin
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« Reply #1154 on: July 27, 2012, 03:21:44 PM »

Ye-es!

Nathan Rabin's "My Year of Flops"

Is Leonard Maltin Jewish?

This author's Jewishness bleeds into his reviews, but, of course, there is not much you can do, when your name is Nathan Rabin.

More problematic is that his politics also bleed into his reviews.

He does say at least one thing that makes sense. That the more profanity is used, the less impact it has. I just wish he had practiced what he preached. The profanity he uses in his reviews just grates on my ears.

But, he does confirm a couple of things Maltin said.

(1st) That just because a film is a financial failure at the boxoffice, and here a critical failure as well, does not make that film a bad film.

(2nd) Also that critics are sometimes wrong in their opinions, but he puts a more personal spin on it than Maltin. At one time and place he gave a negative review to a film, but at a later time and place, looking at the exact same film, he thought it was not so bad after all and gave a positive review to the exact same film.

Also . . .

The first two volumes, in graphic format, in the "Daniel X" serues by James Patterson.

Earth has become a haven for alien criminals, and two alien bountyhunters are sent to earth to capture or kill these criminals. But, when they themselves are killed by one of the criminals they are seeking, their son decides to take over for them.

In. v. 1. he goes after #6 in the Pacific Coastal area.
In v. 2. he goes after #5 in the midwest.
In v.3., which I have not yet read, he goes after #3 in London, England.

The lower the number, the more difficult and dangerous his task becomes.

Next time: a book 7 years in the making.
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