I keep browsing past that one in the bookstore and I've come -this close- to buying it several times. Maybe next time I'll pull the trigger.
Current reading - Page 118
Man, I never buy books right out of the New Release displays but, more Philip Pullman? Yes please. I've already made gifts of two copies of The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage and am quickly finishing my own. It's a seamless reintroduction to the Jordan College world, with a couple of new wrinkles.
In one of the Dark Tower books Roland meets someone and asks what Kings writing us like.
"He has a tin ear for dialogue" is the reply.
Fuck, does he ever. It stands out in the back third of the book like dog's balls.
Funny, since Willis is the right age now to play the original character.
Nakatomi is commemorating a wing dedicated to McClane. Lucy is there, either working for the company or helping to put on the event. Someone not even necessarily connected to Gruber is there, and throws John into the same shit.
I don’t know, wishful thinking probably but I hope for the best with Willis. Nothing Lasts Forever was a holiday read about 15 years ago, need to give it another whirl. That and the book Die Hard 2 was based off of.
I recall reading a review of the way it was handled in the movie and the reviewer essentially saying that s/he sighed in relief amd thought "well, it certainly could've been worse"
A quick update: the first few chapters of this are drivel - over-written, macho nonsense. Once the heist starts it picks up and you can see why they mined it for an action movie. With lines like this though...this is Leland talking to the old timer security guard who gets popped.
“No, the party's around the other side of the building.”
"Something special. They put something over on the Arabs or somebody. The place is full of young cunt, kids, everything. I gotta make that call before that turkey out there goes gobble, gobble, gobble.”
I haven't read many, so maybe I didn't expect it.
To be honest, I wasn't feeling charitable at that point given how poor the storytelling was in the of the previous chapters. Every time you hear his inner voice, Leland is tediously explaining some technical detail which clearly represents the research the writer had done but could neither find a way to integrate into the dialogue or story nor leave out. Leland's point of view is also written habitually as expressing unequivocally the reason why another character is doing something, not because that is necessarily why the other character might be acting that way but because the author can't think of any more sophisticated way of communicating that other character's traits.
It does remind me of the guy who writes the Dirk Pitt novels - his name escapes me for a moment. Contrasted, say, to Maclean or Fleming, both of whom were old fashioned writers with values and attitudes I don't share, but each could write well and handle character without sounding turgid or clumsy (not always, in Fleming's case).
As I say, it picks up considerably when the action starts, and the author can focus on movement, event and narrative rather than psychology or insight.
I know that I'm in the vast minority in preferring the book to the movie. Thankfully I'm in good company...I think it was three or four years ago I sent Mr. Beaks a copy of Nothing Lasts Forever and after reading it he went out and bought his other books. Thorp was a private detective turned journalist turned crime writer, an arc similar to Don Winslow, and while his books have been described as 'turgid' (in the wonderful Martin and Porter video guides), and he lacks the literary polish of some, their merits to me certainly far outweigh their shortcomings. I'll try to pluck some of my favourite passages from the book a little later, lines no one would expect given the subject material. I think it's in the first chapter the narrator warns of the militarization of the police, for example.
Still, Thorp wrote one of the best novels about terrorism, what is probably still the most progressive novel about the police (The Detective), and as a side note, he's probably written the greatest novel about serial killers (if you are unfortunate enough to have the kind of mind to rank such things, which I apparently do). Thorp reminds me of Michael Mann in that his books can either teach you to be a great police officer or a great criminal.
I agree with you about his prescience - there were a number of lines or thoughts that read as accurate foresight; the crack about how old tech brought people out to meet each other but modern tech encourages them to themselves and away from each other, for example, was interesting. It’s overlaid with a certain macho posturing and a slightly smug misanthropy, but there is no doubt he was a well informed and thoughtful guy.
Despite how much I loved the Dragonlance books, I had to tap out and throw in the towel on Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman's deathgate cycle. Just a boring slog of some of the most tired, overused tropes of fantasy genre. You guys can do better, damnit!
Man, I read the DeathGate cycle when I was a kid. Yeah, I remember that being a real pain to get through. One or two of the books had some good ideas, but it's just the classic Fantasy trap in that they are making the story epic by just adding more words, as opposed to just telling a grand story.
I do remember enjoying Rose of the Prophet and DarkSword, but I think Deathgate was the final straw for me with those two... you could kind of see the 'template' they cribbed from, and whilst it was professional enough, there were more interesting Fantasy writers to explore.
Edited by flint - 11/27/17 at 7:37am
Pretty good, though part of me was thinking about how it kind of reads like a point and click game. Not a negative, but kind of was picturing that while I was reading it. Really not sure how they are going to make it into a movie but, from seeing the trailer, there seems to be at least one major thing that has already been altered from the novel, which I won't mention here. Also, dug how the meaning of "annihilation" is explained in the context of the novel. Wasn't really expecting that. Interested in checking out the sequels.
Tooooo many booooks in my to-be-read pile.
Murakami's "Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki" "Men Without Women" and "Absolutely on Music"
B. B. King, John Landis and Tom Sizemore biographies and autobiographies
The Fran Liebowitz Reader
four books by and about Hunter S. Thompson
eight or nine by Henry Rollins
eight or nine by Elmore Leonard
a half dozen by David Mamet
a pile of biographies of Keith Richards, Dennis Hopper, Edward Hopper, Dexter Gordon, Kurosawa, Lucas and ILM, Syd Mead, Struzan, Michael J Fox, Bogart and Bacall
dozens more by Kerouac, Bukowski, Burroughs, Willeford, Hammett, Chandler, Spillane, Hemingway, MacDonald, Ellroy and Clarke
and at least a couple dozen books about writing and keeping focused, film screenplays, movie making-of books and analysis collections
on films like CE3K, 2001, Blade Runner, Back to the Future, Chinatown, The Third Man, The Seven Samurai, Taxi Driver, etc...
Where do I apply for a winter cabin with no internet?
I tried reading The Shadow of What Was Lost, touted in blurbs to be the 2010's version of The Wheel of Time (which is a dubious honor at best).
I made it maybe 40 pages in and just. Could. Not. The writing is....passable? Pretty amateurish but no egregious grammatical or quality errors but also no flavor at all. He's outright stolen Jordan's magic system as far as I can tell; just substitute "Essence" for the Source. Everything is incredibly generic, down to the Proper Names for Important Things. It reads like a weird mashup of Harry Potter and The Wheel of Time, minus anything at all that might distinguish them from other tropey fantasy epics.
I turned to Louise Erdrich's Future Home of the Living God, which at the very least has some personality, and seeing about Stephen R Donaldson's The Seventh Decimate.
Finished It. Did not enjoy the last 100 pages, but up to then it was as great as I'd remembered.
Onto Laundry Files Book 4 (The Apocalypse Codex).
Also ordered The Fall of the House of Cabal and After the End of the World by Jonathan L Howard to add to my "I'm doing nothing over Christmas except reading" pile.
Finally finished Haruki Murakami's COLORLESS TSUKURU TAZAKI AND HIS YEARS OF PILGRIMAGE (2013). At first it seemed decent but less than a day later it's already growing on me further. Both identifiable and challenging in that there's something here that rings very close to home. One of his more realist and less fantastical offerings, while it's something I may not revisit often, there are characters and moments to savor.
Recently read The Stars My Destination for the first time. HOLE-EEE-SHIT! What a talent Bester was in the 50's. The novel is barely over 200 pages yet packs in ideas and action that today would most likely be spread over 5 300 page novels.
It's also bleeding edge for it's time, with it's Anti Hero protagonist and beyond cynical approach to politics and society. Also interesting that Bester thought the scions of major corporations would become a new Aristocracy, with Great House names like RCA, etc and other companies that are now, sadly defunct.
Also recently re-read The Time Machine by HG Wells (you can tell I'm delving back into the oldies here). What strikes me after this reading, esp after mostly completing my Complete Fiction of HP Lovecraft, is that the Wells novel could well have been written by Lovecraft!
The mood, the melancholy landscape with the ruins of past civilization, inhabited by the simple childlike Eloi, who are literally cattle for the degenerated Morlocks (who could have come right out of Lovecraft's Lurking Fear).
The difference lies in the protagonist's approach to the world. HG Well's Time Traveler is incessantly curious, always trying to figure this world out, always proposing a hypothesis and discarding it as soon as new information is found. A Lovecraft protagonist would simply withdraw in terror, maybe lashing out to kill some Morlocks (which Well's character does as well), but essentially being repulsed by the whole exercise.
Just started The War for Late Night, about the Jay Leno/Conan O'Brien fiasco. Late Night peaked with Letterman in my opinion, but it's kind of fun to read about all the NBC Execs being assholes.
Onto Laundry Files book 5 (The Rhesus Chart). Really quite liking them now. Len Deighton by way of Lovecraft and a pinch of Pratchett. Also picked up the novella Equoid which is set in the Laundryverse. If you want an entertaining genre mash up, with a long arc, recommend these. They're not life changing, but very readable.
I would have got out book 6 as well, but let the person that has hidden that book, which the catalogue says is on the shelf, somewhere else in the library burn in hell.
Also got out two Ray Electromatic books by Adam Christopher - Killing is My Business and Standard Hollywood Depravity.
Reading Black and Honolulu Blue, a memoir by 80s' Detroit Lions guard Keith Dorney. I love a good sports memoir; problem is, 99% of them are ghost- or heavily co-written. This is one of the exceptions. Great read by one of those good players on a team that never went anywhere.
Finished IF WE WERE VILLAINS today. It's the debut novel of a 25-year-old author, M.L. Rio, and it takes place over the course of a single senior year at a fictional conservatory in Indiana. The conservatory's theater wing is almost dedicated entirely to the study of Shakespeare, and the focus is on the interlocking friendships and romantic relationships of the seven remaining seniors. And there's a murder, of course.
To say much more is to spoil the pleasures of the book, but it's very highly recommended - a novel as much about obsession and youth as it is about Shakespeare. If you're a Shakespeare fan, you'll get a kick out of this - not just the way Rio is able to describe the pleasures of seeing, performing, and reading him, but also the many, many dense references throughout. But you don't need to be one in order to enjoy the book.
What I also found noteworthy about the book, is that, while it was published in the spring of this year, it wound up being very relevant to a lot of the discussions that are happening in Hollywood and the world today about sexual assault, harrassment, and bad behavior- what we're willing to accept, how far we're willing to let ourselves be pushed by the geniuses among us, and what happens when lines are crossed, when people go too far.
It's a tragedy, full of passion, emotion, pain, and wishing that things could have been differently. Very high recommend.