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What are you reading?
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renfield
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June 4, 2012 - 1:25 pm
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And do you like it and why.

I'm working my way through Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace.  I think Catcher in the Rye meets The Illuminatus Trilogy would be a fair description.  It's a monster of a book, something like a thousand pages, some Faulkner-esque dialectical stream of consciousness, footnotes that are pages long and become their own entity, sometimes footnotes of footnotes.  There's a lot about insanity and drug addiction and tennis.  Also it takes place in the future and is a science fiction novel.  They don't use terms like "2012" to represent years anymore because years have been subsidized, so instead it's like "Year of the Whopper" and "Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment". 

It's some insane shit.  Normally I'm one of these assholes who's all "just tell me a fucking story, I don't need all your philosophizing/wordplay" but I've found that you will often miss out if you stick to that too hard.

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Inspector Li
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June 4, 2012 - 10:39 pm
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"The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle".  Moving through at a very leisurely pace, but liking it.  I've become pretty jerky with books; I like discovering an author's voice, but often grow tired of it before the story has me hooked; it's one of the reasons why I'm much keener on movies, where there's a host of leaving creative fingerprints.  The thing is with Wind-Up though is that there's not yet a dynamic protagonist or powerful dominant narrative; it's full of excursions that are varied and involving, and that hold out the promise of all coming together into something more than the sum of the worthwhile parts.

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neal2zod
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June 5, 2012 - 6:03 am
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Just picked up "Meg" by Steve Alten from the library. Yes, Meg for Megaladon, the "Jurassic Shark" novel from the 90s that was supposed to be a movie with George Clooney, I believe. I like how it's been in development hell ever since and the book covers still say "soon to be a major motion picture".

 

Wouldn't it be hilarious if prestigious Oscar-winner Clooney was locked into some kind of contract back then and he was forced to make a giant killer shark movie now?

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ShootMcKay
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June 5, 2012 - 6:38 am
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Right now I started reading A taste for Death by Peter O´Donnell. Never read any Modesty Blaise novels,I picked this up very cheaply and is enjoying myself.

" I see you found my trophy room. the only thing missing is your ass."

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Mr. Majestyk
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June 5, 2012 - 9:36 am
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I'm working on Hard Candy by Andrew Vachss right now. I've been reading the Burke books out of order up until now, so I didn't realize until this one how much serial storytelling is going on here. By this one, the fourth in the series (I think), he's amassed a sizable supporting cast, both living and dead, and he's trotting them all out for what's more of a character study of what it would take to a. break Burke's cold, dead heart, and b. put it back together again. Naturally, as in every Burke novel, there are sexy ladies going out of their way to blow him. It works.

Next up I'm waiting on my copy of He Died With His Eyes Open by Derek Raymond to arrive from ebay so I can finally start the Factory series of novels that I've heard so much about. When the Brits do crime they either do it with pinky-out drawing room civility or total black as pitch nightmare gutter grunge. I hear Raymond is a progenitor of the latter school, so I'm excited. I can't wait to get to the fourth book in the series, I Was Dora Sanchez, which was allegedly so depraved that writing it made Raymond have a mental breakdown.

After that I'll probably read a Tony Hillerman book to get the funk of human misery off of me. Sure, people die, but at least there's fresh air out there on the reservation.

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Mr. Majestyk
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June 5, 2012 - 9:39 am
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Oh, and at some point I may read the novelization of Halloween II that I just picked up for a buck. It starts off with a quote from Virgil, so you know this is a real classy piece of work.

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Forrest Taft
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June 9, 2012 - 5:56 am
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Mason & Dixon by Pynchon is a difficult read. Occasionally moving, often funny, but far from my favourite Pynchon. I'm also reading a really fantastic book on Anthony Mann, written by Jeanine Basinger. Roman by Polanski is next. I was gonna check out Jonathan Lethem's book on They Live, but I think I'll postpone, and save it till the movie comes out on blu!

"I couldn't sleep well knowing I hadn't chopped off your balls yet."

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mrfalcon
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June 12, 2012 - 12:12 am
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I am currently ignoring the dark returns, cat's cradle, and geek love.

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Bob Vila
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June 19, 2012 - 1:20 pm
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I'm cruising through Assumption by Percival Everett (what a fucking name!). It's decent so far, a barren little crime story taking place in rural New Mexico. Not sure it's worth the time yet, but I'm still reading it so who knows.

 

Forrestt, have you checked out Pynchon's Inherent Vice? Really great psychedelic '60s crime story set in Santa Monica. I heard Robert Downey Jr is playing the main role in the movie, which sounds perfect.

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Forrest Taft
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June 19, 2012 - 1:37 pm
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Bob Vila said
 

Forrestt, have you checked out Pynchon's Inherent Vice? Really great psychedelic '60s crime story set in Santa Monica. I heard Robert Downey Jr is playing the main role in the movie, which sounds perfect.

Just mentioned it in the "The Master" thread. Hilarious stuff, and a really ingenious mix of noir and pure Pynchon. The main character reminded me a lot of The Big Lebowski for some reason. Should be fun seeing Downey Jr playing him, even though I'm getting a bit fed up with him and his schtick.

 

I'm halfway through Elmore Leonard's Rayland, and it's a really fun read. A great way to wet ones appetite while waiting for another season of Justified. A bit disappointed that Leonard decided to recycle a plot element from the series, but that's a minor complaint. Highly recommended.

Good student ov Vern that I am, I picked up 2 Charles Willeford books along with Rayland: Wild Wives and Miami Blues. The former I read in one sitting, and it was a hoot. Can't wait to dig into the latter, as I really love the absolutely insane adaptation of it!

"I couldn't sleep well knowing I hadn't chopped off your balls yet."

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Thursday
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June 21, 2012 - 2:26 pm
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Spent the day finishing up a bunch of books that I had half completed. 
What It Was period crime novel by George Pelecanos, Pelecanos is like Clive Barker one of those dudes who just doesn't quite do it for me. I respect where he's coming from and I like what he wants to do with the genre, so I keep reading his work hoping to find the one that will make it all click, but his stuff just doesn't hit me on a gut level. Still the period detail in this one makes it fun, although I hear he basically does the same thing better in King Suckerman

Also in crime I finished rereading the first of the Lawrence Block Matthew Scudder books Sins Of The Fathers. It's compact and brutal and Block can fucking write and it's also 99 cents on most Ereaders (at least it was). I hear the series doesn't really take off until the fifth book, but if this is it on coasting I can't wait to get there.

Finished The Bureau Chiefs Write More Good funny stuff, if frontloaded. And finished my Reread of The Whore Of Akron which has apparently failed to do the voodoo that I wished it too but is still the best book about sports, fandom and what it means to be from somewhere ever written. 

I topped it off by finishing A Princess Of Mars, which was fun, but because of the odd declaritive cadence I could not help but read in the voice of Nic Cage's narration in Raising Arizona. Seriously, try it.

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Stu
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June 21, 2012 - 6:31 pm
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Reading Game of Thrones at the moment mainly, but I also read the first few chapters of Anno Dracula, and alternate history thing where Bram Stoker's Dracula wasn't defeated and went on to marry Queen Victoria, subsequently creating a vampire society within 19th century London.

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Cassidy
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June 21, 2012 - 11:24 pm
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If you like Anno Dracula, I would recommend Supping with Panthers by Tom Holland. It's in the same vein of historical vampire novel but not so overt in creating an entire alternate history.

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ShootMcKay
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June 28, 2012 - 4:16 am
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I was browsing my library´s otherwise pathetic selection of books, when I to my great surprise discovered they had a decent selection of Jim Thompson compilations/books. 3 or 4 of them. I picked up one that had THE GETAWAY,since the Peckinpah classic is easily on my top 10 list of greatest movies ever made.

Now I am in a very happy mood to dig in to some serious bad ass reading material because of this, since I now have enough to read to last me through the summer.

Also, I picked up a H.P Lovecraft volume. I´ve always been intrigued of him from what I´ve heard about his writing, but never got around to actually reading.

" I see you found my trophy room. the only thing missing is your ass."

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neal2zod
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July 3, 2012 - 5:28 am
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Finally finished MEG. I really liked the writing style - some say it reads more like an adaptation of a nonexistent summer blockbuster than a novel, so that's probably why I found it so easy to read. I love the science stuff thrown in there, it's very Crichton-esque but also very Discovery Channel/Animal Planet. It's like science thrown into entertainment before CSI made it popular.

 

But the book REALLY falls apart in the second half - it just gets TOO STUPID. A giant prehistoric shark is one thing, I think we can all agree we'd be interested in this premise. I can even handle it jumping out of the water to bite helicopters. I mean that happened in Jaws 2. But the MEG fighting (and beating!) a freaking nuclear submarine sent out to destroy it is just too dumb. Don't even get me started on the end - the final confrontation between the hero and the shark is so dumb I couldn't believe what I was reading. Now I kinda see why the movie's been having all kinds of problems getting made - there's no way they could possibly keep this ending without the audience cracking up into fits of laughter. I know I was.

 

Now on to Meg II: The Trench!

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caruso_stalker217
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July 9, 2012 - 8:24 pm
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neal2zod said

But the book REALLY falls apart in the second half - it just gets TOO STUPID. A giant prehistoric shark is one thing, I think we can all agree we'd be interested in this premise. I can even handle it jumping out of the water to bite helicopters. I mean that happened in Jaws 2. But the MEG fighting (and beating!) a freaking nuclear submarine sent out to destroy it is just too dumb. Don't even get me started on the end - the final confrontation between the hero and the shark is so dumb I couldn't believe what I was reading. Now I kinda see why the movie's been having all kinds of problems getting made - there's no way they could possibly keep this ending without the audience cracking up into fits of laughter. I know I was.

Right, doesn't it involve-SSSSSSSSPPPPPPPPPPPOOOOOOOOOOOOOIIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRRRSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS----

 

--SSSSSS----

 

--SSS---

 

--the protagonist ramming a submarine into the shark's mouth and then, like, getting out and cutting through the shark's innards until he reaches its heart?  It has been many years since I read it, but that's what I remember.

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neal2zod
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July 11, 2012 - 5:26 am
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Caruso - yep, that's the ending. Have you read any of the sequels? (I think they're up to 5 now)

I wonder if publishing houses have bigwigs the way movie studios do, to do focus groups and test endings and tweak things and change endings and stuff. I know everyone thinks those guys are evil, but they could have come in handy here. 

And I wonder if the author is so attached to this ending, that this is why the movie has been stuck in development hell for 15 years. It's not only silly but practically unfilmable.

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Jam
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August 12, 2012 - 2:05 am
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TWILIGHT by William Gay.

It amuses me no end to think of the folks that might have bought this thinking it was something else, something involving spangly vampires and anaemic love-triangles. Then they get this Faulkneresque slice of Southern Gothic necrophilia. Actually, it's not just about the necrophilia, but that forms the basis for a blackmail-gone-wrong and a chase across rural Tennessee that's a little like NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (the film, haven't read the book yet).

I'm almost finished it and it's pretty good. 

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RBatty024
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August 12, 2012 - 8:38 am
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I'm rereading E.L. Doctorow's The March, about Sherman's march to the sea.  The book is incredibly cinematic.  It moves along at a fast pace like a film would, and it has a huge cast of characters.  It also plays around a little with perspective.  There are also moments that probably wouldn't work well in a film.  Doctorow will introduce a character just to kill him off a page later.  I don't often have time to reread books, but I'm glad I did so in this case, because I completely forgot how awesome this book is.

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Jam
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September 6, 2012 - 6:41 am
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Just finished A CONGREGATION OF JACKALS by S. Craig Zahler.

 

You might know Zahler's name of late, because it was recently announced that OLDBOY director Chan Park Wook was going to be having a crack at Zahler's unproduced western script THE BRIGANDS OF RATTLEBORGE. That particular script is notable for its near-unfilmable violence and peculiar structure, in which the titular brigands use a thunderstorm to ride into the wealthy town of Rattleborge and go on a rob/murder/rape spree, for which two of the survivors try to track them down and kill 'em. Thing is, it takes about 60 pages before the brigands even make it to Rattleborge, which is a little odd for the genre; generally, you'd have the nastiness out of the way in the first twenty minutes and then spend the rest of the movie enjoying the hero's revenge.

 

JACKALS is a very similar kettle of fish. Four men; a rancher, his overweight brother, a handsome gambler and a gentle giant were once infamous outlaws known as the Tall Boxer Gang, a fact they've kept successfully hidden for decades. Now that one of them is getting married, however, it turns out that a former acquaintance who was 'betrayed' by them has discovered their identities and wants blood. But instead of going after them one by one, he sends a note to the prospective groom saying that he was going to be attending the wedding, to "settle accounts".

 

Now, the first two thirds of the book is a build-up to this wedding, and Zahler has a sweet time slowly building up the tension. Little by little, you learn more about the Tall Boxer Gang's exploits (a sharp contrast to the relatively respectable men they are now) and the extent of the threat facing them. The villain - an Irishman called Quinlan - is one of the nastiest creations ever to step into Wild West story, and the henchman he's got are almost as bad. Not only that, but the man is damned clever and has spent at least ten years planning this, so no matter what the four men do to prepare (and not let anyone know about their past identities, for which they would be hanged), you get the feeling that it's all going to be in vain.

 

Zahler has a nice clean style. Simple, but drifts into poeticism. Has a good sense of the 'man's gotta do what a man's gotta do' trope but puts a lot of weight and sadness behind it. The rancher character definitely owes a debt to Clint's character in UNFORGIVEN, and the sheriff (also the bride's daughter) is a quiet, ageing badass... Made me think of Richard Farnsworth, for some reason.

 

Anyway, I liked it.

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