Whatcha reading?

For the discussion of Movies, Television, Comics, and other existential distractions.

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Steve Evil
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Postby Steve Evil » Tue Jun 12, 2007 12:31 pm

My favorite is still "Remembering Needleman".

Anyone tried Mere Anarachy yet?

[/i]

Daniel Peretti
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Postby Daniel Peretti » Tue Jun 12, 2007 2:03 pm

I haven't read any of Woody Allen's stuff, though I like his movies--Crimes and Misdemeanors, anyone?

I went through a phase where I tried to read everything Poe wrote in the order he wrote it, along with Kenneth Silverman's biography. I didn't quite make it all the way, but it was good. Silverman's a good biographer; he's written about Poe, Houdini, Cotton Mather, and a few others.

I have to say that the mystery in "Murders in the Rue Morgue" shaped much of what and how I write.

As for what I'm reading now: Just finished Larry McMurtry's The Last Picture Show, Houdini's A Magician Among the Spirits. Just started For Hearing People Only, on deaf culture.
Dan

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Jan
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Postby Jan » Wed Jun 13, 2007 11:05 am

I still consider Americans and Germans criminals for how little attention they pay to Allen.

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:58 pm

Woody should start taking notes from Judd Apatow.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Mon Jun 18, 2007 10:16 pm

Oh, crap. The books editor of the Oregonian just mailed me an advance proof copy of Steven Pinker's next book, The Stuff of Thought, due out in September.

I've never read Pinker -- been meaning to for a long time -- but I hear he's pretty weighty. Anybody read any of his earlier books? Can you give me your impressions?

At least I have a couple of months to try some of his earlier work.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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markabaddon
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Postby markabaddon » Wed Jun 27, 2007 2:56 pm

Just finished The Children of Hurin, by Tolkein. Here is the shortest review I have ever written: blah. That is the best way I can describe it. Christopher Tolkein has taken his father's notes and expanded one of the key stories from the Silmarillion into a short novel. As a chapter in the Silmarillion, the story had a rapid feel and the reader saw this warrior's rapid ascension and fall.

Expanded to novel length, there is little added to the character, nothing more is truly revealed about his background, and the entire pacing of the book seems off kilter. One character, an elf-maiden, is added to the story as a childhood friend of the main protagonist seemingly for the sole purpose of having her show up and exonerate the protagonist of a crime he was accused of committing.

It was so deux ex machina, I felt like I was reading the script from a bad 1950's courtroom drama.

If you have never read the Silmarillion and enjoy Tolkein, this would be an OK read, but a better suggestion is to just read the original chapter in the Silmarillion because I think it is far superior to this work.
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Wed Jun 27, 2007 5:34 pm

Woody Allen is one of the single best essayists in America, so yes, I will be reading that. Especially with that wonderful title. Wink.

"Thought: Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage."

"His own flirtation with National Socialism caused a scandal in academic circles, though despite everything from gymnastics to dance lessons, he could not master the goose step."

"'God is silent,' he was fond of saying, 'now if we can only get man to shut up.'"

Woody Allen.

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Postby Moderator » Wed Jun 27, 2007 6:57 pm

I would amend (very humbly) Woody's comment thusly:

"'God is silent,' he was fond of saying, 'now if we can only get certain men to shut up.'"



And they be named George, Dick and Alberto.
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LarryF
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The Great Hebrew Prophet

Postby LarryF » Thu Jun 28, 2007 10:00 pm

As that Great Hebrew Prophet, Woody Allen, once put it: "Not only is there no God, just try getting a plumber on weekends." Truer words, folks, truer words.

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markabaddon
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Postby markabaddon » Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:33 pm

Just finished Henry Kuttner's Fury. Immortality as a plot device has been used in numerous stories and films but I do not think it has ever been presented in quite the way that Kuttner handled it.

He envisioned the Earth being rendered uninhabitable and humanity surviving under the seas of Venus in protected domes. While on Venus, certain families develop extremely long life (hundreds of years) and a caste system essentially emerges under the Venusian waves.

What I really enjoyed was how Kuttner showed these Immortals as having a different thoughts process from normal humans. They could take their time to acquire skills and to set in place long term plans whose effectiveness they would be able to assess.

Also, I am a sucker for a book where there are no real heroes. Everyone has their faults in the story and, while some characters have goals that would benefit humanity, they way they achieve those goals is nothing short of Machiavellian.

Not sure if it is still in print, but the book is definitely worth a look.

Just started reading Make Room, Make Room, by Harry Harrison, which was the basis of the movie Soylent Green. So far, it is even darker and more pessimistic than the film, which is saying quite a bit
Governments, if they endure, always tend increasingly toward aristrocratic forms. No gov't in history has been known to evade this pattern. And as the aristocracy develops, gov't tends more and mroe to act exclusively in the interests of the ruling class

rich

Postby rich » Mon Jul 16, 2007 12:57 pm

David Loftus wrote:Oh, crap. The books editor of the Oregonian just mailed me an advance proof copy of Steven Pinker's next book, The Stuff of Thought, due out in September.

I've never read Pinker -- been meaning to for a long time -- but I hear he's pretty weighty. Anybody read any of his earlier books? Can you give me your impressions?

At least I have a couple of months to try some of his earlier work.


I've read Pinker's Blank Slate and The Language Instinct. Truly loved Blank Slate and was shoving it under people's noses when I first read it. His stuff is kinda dense, but he's a good writer and he doesn't let the mechanics of the technical stuff get in the way of getting his point across. Trust me, if I can get through 'em, anyone can.

Try The Blank Slate first, David. There's some good stuff in there.

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Lori Koonce
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Pinker Reccomendation

Postby Lori Koonce » Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:44 pm

David Loftus wrote:Oh, crap. The books editor of the Oregonian just mailed me an advance proof copy of Steven Pinker's next book, The Stuff of Thought, due out in September.

I've never read Pinker -- been meaning to for a long time -- but I hear he's pretty weighty. Anybody read any of his earlier books? Can you give me your impressions?

At least I have a couple of months to try some of his earlier work.


I highly reccomend How The Mind Works. It's a great overview of Pinker and the amazing work he's done. It's accessible to those who don't have the kind of education that he does, which is probablly most of us.

Lori
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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Mon Jul 16, 2007 3:55 pm

You guys are too slow.

I've already read How the Mind Works and Words and Rules, and I'm a hundred pages into The Blank Slate. I even scored a copy of Elaine Morgan's critical work Pinker's List from a friend -- big relief since it was apparently published overseas and not a single American library seems to have a copy (or so my local interlibrary loan service informed me). Another friend told me Louis Menand published a critical piece on Pinker three or four years ago in the NYRB, so I'll hunt that up.

By the way, my review of that debut novel about the Jewish orphan in the Confederate Army came out yesterday:

http://www.oregonlive.com/books/oregoni ... xml&coll=7
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Mon Jul 16, 2007 4:33 pm

Roll your eyes thus, but Pinker was a student of one Noam Chomsky. Pinker is a profound, wonderful man. The brain is about as mysterious as the odd popularity of American Idol.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Fri Sep 28, 2007 8:40 am

Almost forgot to mention. Here's my review of Pinker:

http://www.oregonlive.com/books/oregoni ... xml&coll=7


Just read Bierce's "Oil of Dog" last night. WHEW! -- that's STRONG STUFF!
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus


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