Sunday, May 09, 2010

The Week+ In Words

I’ll start with books today, because the OCD in me says I must cover it.

I haven’t been reading a lot for fun lately, mainly because I am working on a novel of my own, am reading more for work, and am working a lot.  So this list is relatively brief:

Thursday Next:  First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde.  Fforde’s series is unique.  I guarantee you have read nothing like it.  This one is good, though not as good as the other Thursday Next books, but the man has a great concept and if I had it, I’d be cranking out the books too.

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank:  Written in the late 1950’s during the height of the Cold War, it’s one of the early ‘end of the world’ novels, better be prepared for a big change to civilization.  Not a bad read, but some of the dialogue didn’t age well, and some of the story seems a bit quaint these days.   I’m sure it was pretty edgy fifty years ago, but only worth a ready if you are a die hard apocalypse fan these days.

Old Man’s War by John Scalzi.  I started following John Scalzi’s blog Whatever last winter when the big confrontation was going on between Amazon and MacMillan Publishing.  Old Man’s War is a GREAT science-fiction book, and a must read for anyone who is interested in the genre.  It’s a quick and easy read, but a great concept book, likeable characters and inspiring for writers like me. 

I’m currently reading Vacuum Diagrams by Steven Baxter, another sci-fi book.  I’m struggling to finish it.  It wanders through 5 million years of the history and future of the universe, with a series of vignettes that are tied together by very thin plot line.  It’s an admirable undertaking.  Pure sci-fi aficionados probably loved this book.  I’m more in the camp of “I can’t wait to be done it, and I wish I had never bought it.”  It’s not that it’s that bad, it’s just that it kills my desire to read anything else.   Kind of like having a bad sandwich at the only deli near your office.  You know you will eventually go back there, but it might be a while before you get the bad taste out of your mouth.  I’ve read Baxter’s stuff before, and it’s generally pretty good, but if I were his agent, I would have held this one back.  But what do I know?

Movie wise, if had a few clunkers too.

Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey, Jr.  Did not meet my expectations, which were probably too high.  It was okay. 2/4 stars.

Robinson Crusoe – The Pierce Brosnan version.  I’ve been watching this 20 minutes at a time for the past two weeks.  Really bad.  Epically bad. 1/4 stars – just because I refuse to give 0 stars to any movie I didn’t just delete from my queue after the first 20 horrible minutes.

To Catch a Thief:  Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.  Wonderful classic movie.  And now I understand why people loved Grace Kelly. 3/4 stars

The Informant!:  Matt Damon.  Interesting, but not great.  Felt kind of uncomfortable during the whole thing.  Kind of Fargo meets Catch Me If You Can.  2/4 Stars

Up In the AIr with George Clooney:  Good movie with good dialog.  But we have seen so many ‘talkie’ movies lately that we weren’t in the right mood for this one, and it was just not that enjoyable.  2/4 stars

Zombieland:  I loved this movie.  It’s right up there with Shawn of the Dead in the Zombie genre (did you know there was a Zombie genre?").  3/4 stars.  Brace yourself for the gore of the first 5 minutes.  After that it’s not so bad. 

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