For some reason this year I've started using Goodreads in earnest to track what I read. I'll try to do so here, as well. Predominantly, but not exclusively, science fiction.
1. Central Station - Lavie Tidhar - Short story collection all set around a space port located in the Middle East. 4/5
2. The Medusa Chronicles - Stephen Baxter & Alastair Reynolds - Inspired by an Arthur C. Clarke novella. 3/5
3. Stories Of Your Life and Others - Ted Chiang - All good stories, but I walked away feeling like Chiang is a shitload smarter than I am. 4/5
4. Darwinia - Robert Charles Wilson - I discovered this author by trying his amazingly well written Spin, and while I love his writing, this wasn't his best book. Interesting take on alternate history, kind of. 4/5
5. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft - Stephen King - I haven't read anything of King's since high school, but damn he's one good writer. The whole thing just flowed like a Mark Twain river. 5/5
6. The Elements of Style - Strunk & White - Every grammar book needs this kind of humor. It was fascinating to read Strunk's rant-like diatribe about using "they" in the singular to avoid gender-specific pronouns. 5/5
7. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life - Anne Lamott - Not as engaging as King's book on the subject. 3/5
8. Speaker's Meaning - Owen Barfield - Dry series of lectures put to paper. Not what I was hoping for. 2/5
9. 1Q84 - Haruki Murakami - Sometimes fascinating, sometimes boring as hell. When I was 300 pages in -- roughly one quarter of the way through the book -- I realized not much had actually happened yet. 3/5
10. Revenger - Alastair Reynolds - Pirates in space. Maybe cheesy, but written for a YA audience, I think. I liked it. 4/5
11. Mars Prime - William C. Dietz - Complete garbage. The protagonist is a journalist who's had an eye replaced with a video camera. At one point the author, in trying to portray him as a bad-ass, describes him, without irony, as a one-eyed monster. 1/5 (because Goodreads doesn't allow zeroes)
12. Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew - Ursula K. Le Guin - The exercises were both fun and challenging. Her discussion on the various topics covered within were wonderful to read. 5/5
13. Astrophysics: A Very Short Introduction - James Binney - Not that helpful for a layperson like me, what with too much math and assumptions about knowledge of physics. The unusual amount of typos didn't help, either. 2/5
14. Coyote - Allen Steele - Short stories collected into a coherent novel of colonization. I picked it up thinking it was a standalone book. Turns out it's the first part of a trilogy. I'll happily read more, it was so well written. 4/5
15. The Telling - Ursula K. Le Guin - Not her best work. Seems to break the rule of "show, don't tell," ironically enough. Or is it intentional? 3/5
16. Gifts - Ursula K. Le Guin - YA fantasy about people with special powers and the rules for using them. 4/5
17. Voices - Ursula K. Le Guin - Follow-up to Gifts. It's hard to put my finger on why, but I couldn't put this down. Builds nicely on the previous one. Looking forward to starting the third book. 5/5
on: Today at 02:26:30 PM
|Started by daytime drinking - Last post by luisterpaul|
on: Today at 12:35:44 PM
|Started by daytime drinking - Last post by MissKitty|
Timothy Snyder is coming to the downtown library for a lecture and book signing for his most recent book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. It's May 13 at 7 p.m.
Among his points:
1. Do not obey in advance.
2. Defend institutions.
3. Beware the one-party state.
4. Take responsibility for the face of the world.
5. Remember professional ethics.
6. Be wary of paramilitaries.
7. Be reflective if you must be armed.
8. Stand out.
9. Be kind to our language.
10. Believe in truth.
12. Make eye contact and small talk.
13. Practice corporeal politics.
14. Establish a private life.
15. Contribute to good causes.
16. Learn from peers in other countries.
17. Listen for dangerous words.
18. Be calm when the unthinkable arrives.
19. Be a patriot.
20. Be as courageous as you can.
I am beyond excited to meet one of my favorite authors. Totally fangirling over here.
on: Today at 10:21:35 AM
|Started by Cockney Rebel - Last post by Dan|
Movies seen in 2017 (new movies in bold):
1. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
2. Assassin's Creed
3. Die Another Day
4. X-Men: Apocalypse
5. Star Trek Beyond
6. Hidden Figures
7. We Bought A Zoo
8. The American President
9. The 'Burbs
10. Suicide Squad
11. Miss Peregrine's School for Peculiar Children
12. Ella Enchanted
13. Hell Or High Water
15. Pete's Dragon
16. The Nice Guys
18. Money Monster
21. Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman
22. The Running Man
23. Major League
24. Spring Breakers
25. The Fate of the Furious
26. Jason Bourne
I used to love this series. Now I just...am fine with it. I don't really care, but I don't hate either.
The film itself is fine. It's good action sequences with very little else. Not much plot, not much character development, not much that makes me want to talk about it.
I did realize that most of those good action sequences involved lots of shots of people walking. That's it. Just walking. One guy is walking after another guy. One guy walks quickly around a corner. One guy walks up to someone else and plants something. Lots of walking. And yet...it's very effective!
on: Today at 09:55:06 AM
|Started by Cockney Rebel - Last post by Butter|
You can see him doing serious roles. In THE END OF THE TOUR and THE DISCOVERY. I think I've covered that fully.
He is terrible in THE DISCOVERY.
on: Today at 09:32:46 AM
|Started by Cockney Rebel - Last post by Kwyjibo|
You can see him doing serious roles. In THE END OF THE TOUR and THE DISCOVERY. I think I've covered that fully.
Yeah, I get it. For some reason I'm not compelled to follow through, though.
on: Today at 07:41:14 AM
|Started by rva - Last post by Butter|
Chicano Batman. They're good. Nothing great in there. I really enjoyed Freedom is Free and the other one. But nothing I am like just hitting on repeat over and over or anything.
on: Yesterday at 06:30:20 PM
|Started by rva - Last post by Zafer Kaya|
Chicano Batman frustrates me. The concept is better than the actual music. I want to love them... I only like them.
They sound like an obscure 70's album that has remained obscure for a reason. A couple of almost-there good tracks, a bunch more with some seeds of something good, but in the end just too much mediocrity.
Friendship (Is a Small Boat In a Storm) is sooo close to being really good that it filled me with hope that it would grow on me, or that that new album would take the next step. So I listened Freedom is Free a bunch of times one day and... nope. I still think they've got it in them, though. I think they need to maybe stop being so schticky with the 70's latin soul thing and branch out a tad, but maybe this is what they want to do.
on: Yesterday at 06:00:08 PM
|Started by trixi - Last post by euro60|
Bottle & Basket, Over the Rhine.
My lawyer buddy and I had lunch "at" Bottle & Basket. When I say "at", I don't mean we ate lunch inside. Technically you can eat inside (there are a few bar stools near the window), but the place really isn't conducive for it. It's essentially a take-out place and also does a lot of catering apparently. This is from the same ownership that also runs Melt, Japp's, Neon's and Myrtle's.
My buddy went for the roasted vegetable press Panini sandwich ($7), with a side order of vegetable chili ($4) to boot. The sandwich is served in 2 parts: the basic sandwich, and then in a separate carton cup a bunch of vegetables (red peppers, zucchini, yellow squash) for you to eat as you desire (on the sandwich or separately). He loved it.
I went for the Captain Cobb salad ($12), which is a very generous serving of spring mix and chopped romaine, with bacon, chicken, blue cheese, tomato, egg salad, and a few other things I don't remember. It was delicious and fresh.
The place is stocked with tons of wine bottles, and if it weren't a work day, I'd be tempted to follow the advice to "bottle and basket".
We walked half a block to Washington Park, and enjoyed the beautiful weather. Didn't know this, but there are now small lunch tables with chairs set up on (if you wish to be out of the sun) and near (if you want to be in the sun) Washington Park's main stage.
In all, a delightful lunch, and we were sorry to have to go back to the office..
on: Yesterday at 04:31:55 PM
|Started by Cockney Rebel - Last post by euro60|
1. North By Northwest (1959 - TCM)Catching up on the last 3 weeks (movies seen in the theater in bold)
56. The Belko Experiment (AMC Newport on the Levee)
57. Anesthesia (Starsz)
58. The Devotion of Suspect X (AMC Newport on the Levee)
59. CHiP (AMC Newport on the Levee)
60. Queen of the Desert (AMC Newport on the Levee)
61. Star Wars - The Force Awakens (Starsz)
62. Raw (Esquire Theater)
63. Frantz (Regal Belltower Stadium, Ft. Myers, FL)
64. Tommy's Honour (Regal Belltower Stadium, Ft. Myers, FL)
65. The Lost City of Z (Regal Belltower Stadium, Ft. Myers, FL)
66. Free Fire (Regal Belltower Stadium, Ft. Myers, FL)
The Devotion of Suspect X was the latest Chinese movie opening at the Newport on the Levee (it seems just about evry week now there is a Chinese movie playing there). I was the only non-Chinese (or Chinese-American) in the audience. This is an adaptation of a well-known Japanese crime novel, a peculiar thing given the Chinese disdain for most things Japanese. But as it turns out, none of that mattered. The movie was easily the WORST movie I've seen all year, and in fact I left after an hour, I simply couldn't take it anymore. I could tell from the Chinese crowd's reaction to certain scenes they didn't care much for it either. I ended up walking into the last hour's screening of the theater next door, which was playing ChiP. Plain bad, except it was a relief as compared to The Devition...
Think of Queen of the Desert as a bio-pic of the "female Lawrence of Arabia". It has been universally panned and completely bombed at the box office. And yet... I somehow enjoyed it (and not just because of Nicole Kidman in the title role). Werner Herzog directed.
Raw is a French-Belgian production (shot entirely in Belgium) about a female vegetarian student at a veterinary school who during "initiation week" gets hazed and forced to eat some meat. Then strange things start happening... I was completely taken aback by the brutality of certain scenes (I literally could not watch the screen). Very graphic and at times disturbing. Imagine my surprise when in the end titles I see this is directed by a woman. I could see this movie becoming a "cult classic" over time...
The Lost City of Z was a better than expected bio-pic of the British explorer from the early 20th century who wants to find a "lost city" in the Amazon. Gorgeous photography, rich score, lush production all around.
on: Yesterday at 02:32:55 PM
|Started by rva - Last post by daytime drinking|
sure. i knew it was maggie something. but no, there's no more to that question. slyvan esso has been mentioned in this thread priorly