28 October 2008

Kat is totally in trouble...

...for making, er, suggesting I read Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. I can't stop!!!!

She's got this really interesting endcap up with the unofficial title of "Books Kat Wants You to Read" - the official name is something like "Noteworthy Fiction." Kat tends toward offbeat, different authors (not different as in "so post-modernist you'd rather shoot yourself in the eye than read it," but more quirky than the norm) and she's never recommended anything that I thought was uninteresting. I've always been able to quit and go to bed on my own.

However, this one has its hooks into me - I was just innocently picking it up to peruse while the computer and I were having a disagreement (I said it was going to delete an unused program and the computer demurred because it kept thinking a portion of the file was in use - it totally was not) and 130 pages later the damn thing is acting like book-heroin (Pessl has a little bonus for all us little book freaks: all the chapters are headed with the title of a work of fiction and citations for books the main character references are included parenthetically).

Oh, by the way, I won. The program was eventually deleted.

27 October 2008

So why must it go in the "music" library?

I spent much of last week downloading all the back episodes of the Filmspotting podcast from the website starting all the way at the beginning with Cinecast #1. That would be about 196+ episodes that iTunes didn't have in their podcast library. I had to download them all individually. Oy.

And then iTunes imposed its will on me and uploaded the files into the music library. I can't get them out. I created a playlist and ordered all the episodes sequentially. Ha! Now I have two years of Filmspotting to listen to.

While I worked on all the downloads I watched Becket and Smart People. Smart People was good, very funny, especially Thomas Hayden Church and Ellen Page (who does the scariest robotic, psycho, "must-get-all-As" high school senior). Dennis Quaid was OK, better than he has been. Becket blew me away - is there a good reason why Peter O'Toole didn't get the Academy Award that year? I've seen My Fair Lady a number of times while growing up and Rex Harrison does a good job (I wonder if he'd have looked as good if they'd cast Julie Andrews as Eliza like they should have) but now that I've seen Becket I think Peter O'Toole got robbed (he's been robbed a lot because I guess he's becoming the Susan Lucci of Best Actor nominees) - he was perfect as King Henry II. I always knew Henry was a piece of crap but O'Toole just made it very real. I think we should have watched this in AP English (it is an adaptation of a play, after all) instead of that unbelievably bad version of Oedipus Rex we had to watch. Oh, yeah, and Apocalypse Now. Yuck.

What probably happened is that O'Toole and Richard Burton* (who played Becket) cancelled each other out. Bummer. Now I have to go bump The Lion in Winter up in the Netflix queue so I can watch O'Toole in another Oscar-nominated (but non-winning) turn as Henry, in company with Katharine Hepburn and Anthony Hopkins. I watched the TV movie version of TLIW with Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close a few years ago (Stewart=good, Close=whoa scary) so I should watch the 1968 motion picture again.

Current book-in-progress: The Mysteries of Udolpho for LbW December/January (I have The Castle of Otranto on order so I can get to the beginning of the Gothic craze)
Current knitted item: one yellow secret item (I grabbed the wrong needles, oops)
Current movie obsession: M (in the original German with subtitles - I really can understand about half of it)
Current iTunes loop: Filmspotting!

*I love to listen to Richard Burton, I do not like to watch him act. He looks stiff as a board in pretty much everything I've seen him in but I love his voice. Mmmmm.*

24 October 2008

Oh really?

Sarah Vowell, who I happen to like and whose The Wordy Shipmates I just finished reading, is scheduled to appear at the Englert Theatre tonight as part of "Live at Prairie Lights" on WSUI.

It's a ticketed event, which isn't unusual for popular authors at the Englert, but this one has a catch. One can only acquire tickets by purchasing a copy of The Wordy Shipmates at Prairie Lights; two tickets are included in the purchase.

Now, I like Sarah Vowell, but that policy is utter crap and I'm pretty sure it's not her fault. I know people who come to "Live at Prairie Lights" events from other towns and a number of times have already acquired the book (because they wanted to read it) at whatever bookstore they choose to patronize. I don't know what Prairie Lights wants to prove but I'm pretty sure requiring attendees to purchase the book at that establishment will drive some patrons away.

Like me - I've never been to a signing anywhere that didn't let you bring your own copy along with to be signed.

22 October 2008

Good things sometimes come early

The "Literature by Women" group is reading The Mysteries of Udolpho for December and January so I went ahead and pre-ordered the new revision of the Oxford World's Classics edition. It was originally scheduled for release in the middle of November.

But to my surprise, there it was, sitting on the table in the break-room last night when I came in for my shift at the bookstore. A whole month early.

It's a very pretty paperback.

I was reminded, while reading the introduction, that I really ought to read Walpole's The Castle of Otranto, too, since I will be focusing on early Gothic novels for a few months.

20 October 2008

I watched a whole movie....wow

Embarassingly enough, I've had the same three DVDs from Netflix for the past month. Or more. I can't remember when the most recent one arrived but it was definitely a month ago. I just didn't have enough time to sit down and watch a movie, particularly a movie I've never seen (this was complicated by my having purchased both Slings and Arrows Complete Set and Criminal Minds Season 3 - being television shows they are easier to watch on a time crunch).

So.

Sunday evening was the perfect time to finally sit down and watch a movie (I returned home from NCDC in Indy and had all the laundry in the washer). I had three to choose from: Velvet Goldmine, Withnail and I, and Penelope.

I chose Velvet Goldmine mostly because I'd tried and failed to watch it before - I was distracted by a vomiting feline previously and didn't have the attention required to follow the shifting storyline. Now, I did really like the movie and I thought the casting was excellent (both Christian Bale and Toni Collette had wonderful roles) but I got a bit confused toward the end.

THIS IS A SPOILER ALERT IF YOU'VE NEVER SEEN THE MOVIE!

Did Brian Slade re-emerge as Tony Stone (hence the name change that Stuart couldn't access)? The one good close-up of Stone didn't look very much like Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (Slade) but that was the only point on which I was confused (even the whole Oscar Wilde - Jack Fairy - Curt Wild sideline didn't mess me up).

But overall I thought Velvet Goldmine was awesome and wish I'd seen it in the theatre when it came out. The movie also has a bit of a bonus - if you ever had a wish to see what Ewan MacGregor looks like minimally clothed, you get your wish.

I also started Withnail and I - about 30 minutes in - and Richard E. Grant is hysterical (lighter fluid!).

Current book-in-progress: The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell (I listed to the audio recording of Assassination Vacation on my way to/from Indy and it is rediculously funny)
Current knitted item: one yellow secret item
Current movie obsession: Withnail and I
Current iTunes loop: Of Sorcerers and Men: Tolkien and the Roots of Modern Fantasy Literature (Portable Professor)

10 October 2008

Booking Through Thursday

Looks like a pretty interesting weekly meme.


What was the last book you bought?
Nicky Epistein's Knitting on Top of the World

Name a book you have read MORE than once.
Ummm, there are a lot. I'll cop out and say Pride and Prejudice.

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?
And The Band Played On
by Randy Shilts
How do you choose a book? (eg. by cover design and summary, recommendations or reviews)
Usually by recommendation or by review, although cover design can catch my eye when I'm just browsing.
Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?
Fiction all the way
What’s more important in a novel - beautiful writing or a gripping plot?
Writing
Most loved/memorable character (character/book).
Winnie the Pooh

Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?
Too many to name.

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson and The Green Knight by Iris Murdoch - last week. I'm reading Brick Lane by Monica Ali right now.

Have you ever given up on a book half way in?
Yep.

Current book-in-progress: Brick Lane, The Millenium Problems, The Elegant Universe
Current knitted item: Rachel's baby booties - must be done by Sunday and I've procrastinated long enough (and I have to re-knit a secret item because I boo-booed on it)
Current movie obsession: Slings and Arrows complete box set
Current iTunes loop: East Village Opera Company Olde School
*edit: you'll need to forgive the line spacing - Blogger randomly decided not to recognize carriage returns*

09 October 2008

Is it November yet?

I have had five (count 'em - FIVE) phone calls to my mobile from various political groups since noon. It's only 4:00pm right now. There was pro-Obama, pro-McCain, pro-McCain, pro-Democrat, and some idiot who "just wanted to get people to go vote." Really? And I even have an unlisted number.

I hate election years. I really, really do.

Oop, and I just got one on my office phone - that one was a live human who got threatened with a call from the UI General Counsel about telephone solicitation within the UIHC.

GAHHHHH!

02 October 2008

Could I feature your book on my blog...

(This is in response to a comment recently left on an old post)

Dear self-promoting author,
Let's see....You didn't identify yourself, you didn't tell me what book you wrote, and your Blogger identity was hidden. Because you lacked the courtesy to even ask me if I would like to read your book, let alone feature it on my blog, I'll make my answer short and sweet.

No.

Sincerely,
Me

Just for the record, I have an extreme aversion to being "spammed" by self-promoting authors. If you want me to consider reading your book (I don't do free advertising here) then you'll have to ask nicely, tell me what the title is, and why I might like to read your book.

Note that I have italicized read many times.