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AlbertV

What Books Are You Currently Reading or Read?

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I just finished reading Dostoyevskys Brothers Karamazov. I also recently watched Wu Xia with Donnie Yen, and that film conjured way more thoughts on morality for me in only a few hours as opposed to the literal days it took to finish that book.

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So far what I've read this year. I'm a little behind in pace of my goal of 50 books this year. I'm currently on Michael Crichton's Timeline.

1. Island of Dr. Moreau (1896) by H.G. Wells SLY

2. Pirate Latitudes (2009) by Michael Crichton

3. Easy Go (1968) by John Lange aka Michael Crichton

4. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) by Oscar Wilde

5. Buster Keaton Interviews (2007) Edited by Kevin W. Sweeney

6. Odds On (1966) by John Lange aka Michael Crichton

7. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe

8. Phantom of the Opera (1910) by Gaston Leroux

9. What Would Machiavelli Do? (2000) by Stanley Bing

10. The Secret Garden (1911) by Frances Hodgson Burnett

11. Scratch One (1967) by John Lange aka Michael Crichton

12. Only Time Will Tell (2011) by Jeffrey Archer

13. Drug of Choice (1970) by John Lange aka Michael Crichton

14. Sins of the Father (2012) by Jeffrey Archer

15. The Time Machine (1895) by H.G. Wells

16. The Invisible Man (1897) by H.G. Wells

17. Men in Black (2005) by Mark R. Levin

18. Best Kept Secret (2013) by Jeffrey Archer

19. Think Like A Freak (2014) by Stephen D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

20. The Venom Business (1969) by John Lange aka Michael Crichton

21. City on Fire: Hong Kong Cinema (1999) by Lisa Odham Stokes, Michael Hoover

22. Micro (2011) by Michael Crichton, Richard Preston

23. The Adversity Paradox (2009) by J. Barry Griswell, Bob Jennings

24. The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings (1848, 2005) by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Martin Puchner (Introduction)

25. Against All Odds: My Story (2004) by Chuck Norris, Ken Abraham

26. My Lunches with Orson (2013) Edited and Introduction Peter Biskind

27. Next (2006) by Michael Crichton

28. The Bible of Unspeakable Truths (2010) by Greg Gutfeld

29. John Woo Interviews (2005) Edited by Robert K. Elder

30. Pride and Prejudice (1813) by Jane Austen

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Some great stuff on that list, masterofoneinchpunch. :nerd:

Currently reading Thomas de Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1822) for school.

Never read that, but I would certainly be interested in it. Not sure what my next literature read will be, but since it is October I might start a collection of Bram Stoker short stories (I've read Dracula a few times.)

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I just finished one of the classics recently. I was rereading Great Expectations.

Going to have to re-read that myself, probably after my semester is done.

I tend to enjoy reading things more when I don't have to read them for a specific outcome.

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Well here is the book reading for the year:

1. Island of Dr. Moreau (1896) by H.G. Wells SLY

2. Pirate Latitudes (2009) by Michael Crichton

3. Easy Go (1968) by John Lange aka Michael Crichton

4. The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) by Oscar Wilde

5. Buster Keaton Interviews (2007) Edited by Kevin W. Sweeney

6. Odds On (1966) by John Lange aka Michael Crichton

7. Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe

8. Phantom of the Opera (1910) by Gaston Leroux

9. What Would Machiavelli Do? (2000) by Stanley Bing

10. The Secret Garden (1911) by Frances Hodgson Burnett

11. Scratch One (1967) by John Lange aka Michael Crichton

12. Only Time Will Tell (2011) by Jeffrey Archer

13. Drug of Choice (1970) by John Lange aka Michael Crichton

14. Sins of the Father (2012) by Jeffrey Archer

15. The Time Machine (1895) by H.G. Wells

16. The Invisible Man (1897) by H.G. Wells

17. Men in Black (2005) by Mark R. Levin

18. Best Kept Secret (2013) by Jeffrey Archer

19. Think Like A Freak (2014) by Stephen D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner

20. The Venom Business (1969) by John Lange aka Michael Crichton

21. City on Fire: Hong Kong Cinema (1999) by Lisa Odham Stokes, Michael Hoover

22. Micro (2011) by Michael Crichton, Richard Preston

23. The Adversity Paradox (2009) by J. Barry Griswell, Bob Jennings

24. The Communist Manifesto and Other Writings (1848, 2005) by Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Martin Puchner (Introduction)

25. Against All Odds: My Story (2004) by Chuck Norris, Ken Abraham

26. My Lunches with Orson (2013) Edited and Introduction Peter Biskind

27. Next (2006) by Michael Crichton

28. The Bible of Unspeakable Truths (2010) by Greg Gutfeld

29. John Woo Interviews (2005) Edited by Robert K. Elder

30. Pride and Prejudice (1813) by Jane Austen

31. Timeline (2000) by Michael Crichton

32. The Science of Michael Crichton (2008) Edited by Kevin R. Grazier

33. Dracula’s Guest and Other Tales of Horror (1914) by Bram Stoker

34. Tap Dancing to Work (2012/2013) Edited by Carol J. Loomis

35. The Intelligent Investor Revised Edition (1949, 2006) by Benjamin Graham with Jason Zweig, Warren Buffet.

36. The Secret Power Within (1997) by Chuck Norris

From a book count it is 12 less than the previous year (48 in 2013), but only 1200 pages less than previous (2013). I was behind and I knew it, so I took extra time with The Intelligent Investor, one of the best books I have read on investing (especially value investing, not an easy read and quite a long read.) So I definitely recommend that book to anyone interested in any type of finance matters. You will hear about the book and its author if you read anything about Warren Buffett. Buffett went to school under Graham and later worked for him. He takes his philosophy about value investing and goes even further with it in dealing with holding. I tend to love pragmatic books and it is definitely one of them.

I did finish up Crichton's bibliography last year so that was nice (including all of the John Lange books which are a mixed lot of reading -- that is a pseudonym Crichton used early on in his writing days.)

Once again I will strive for 50 books for 2015. I expect to read more on Martial arts and Hong Kong movies this year.

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The two books I have read so far this year:

1. Code of the Samurai: A Modern Translation of the Bushido Shoshinshu of Taira Shigesuke (1999) by Thomas Cleary (Translator), Taira Shigesuke SLY

2. Beyond Feelings: A Guide to Critical Thinking 4th Edition (1995) by Vincent Ruggiero

I do recommend Code of the Samurai. It is fun to compare this with Hagakure (The Book of the Samurai) by Yamamoto Tsunetomo. Hagakure is a bit darker and a little less pragmatic then the earlier written Bushido Shoshinshu. While dates are not exact, Bushido Shoshinshu is around the same time as the conversations with Yamamoto Tsunetomo which base the Hagakure (I noticed that there is a lot of bad information regarding these facts, though I do not think an exact date is known for the first print date of either book.) Both were written during the early days of the Tokagawa era.

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For those interested here are my favorite quotes from:

Hagakure (The Book of the Samurai) by Yamamoto Tsunetomo -- Translated by William Scott Wilson

1st Chapter:

“By brining shame to a person, how could one expect to make him a better man?”

“Purity is something that cannot be attained except by piling effort upon effort.”

“This person is aware of the endlessness of entering deeply into a certain Way and never thinks of himself as having finished.”

“Matters of great concern should be treated lightly.” – Lord Naoshige

“Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.” – Master Ittei

“If we were to cast aside every man who had made a mistake once, useful men could probably not be come by.”

“A man who has never once erred is dangerous.”

“A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.”

“If one perceives a person’s good points, he will have a model teacher for anything.”

“…one should not hesitate to correct himself when he has made a mistake. If he corrects himself without the least bit of delay, his mistakes will quickly disappear.”

“The Way of the Samurai is in desperateness.” – Lord Naoshige

“Common sense will not accomplish great things.” – Lord Naoshige

“First intention, then enlightenment.” – Buddhist maxim

“In seeking correction from others, you excel them.”

“…if you are slain in battle, you should be resolved to have your corpse facing the enemy.”

“The way of the Samurai is one of immediacy, and it is best to dash in headlong.”

Chapter Two

“One should constantly give the impression that he is doing something exceptional.”

“The end is important in all things.”

“…the Way of the Samurai is, morning after morning, the practice of death.”

“Even if one’s head were to be suddenly cut off, he should be able to do one more action with certainty.”

“With martial valor, if one becomes like a revengeful ghost and shows great determination, though his head is cut off, he should not die.”

“It is foolish to live within this dream of a world seeing unpleasantness and doing only things that you do not like.”

“A person of little merit is not at peace but walks about making trouble and is in conflict with all.”

“It is a good viewpoint to see the world as a dream.”

“Nothing you do will have effect if you do not use the truth.”

“…martial valor is a matter of becoming a fanatic.” – Lord Aki

“The Tea Ceremony will cleanse the mind when the mind is clogged up.”

“If you praise a person, people’s hearts will change and an ill reputation will go away of itself.”

“For trifling occasions it is better to accomplish things simply by yelling.”

“To put forth great effort in correcting a person’s bad habits is the way it should be done.”

4th Chapter

“…the monk pursues courage with the warrior as his model, and the warrior pursues the compassion of the monk.”

7th Chapter

“A man’s life should be as toilsome as possible.” – Kichinosuke

8th Chapter

“…a real stalwart is a man who will go out secretly, saying nothing, and die.”

“…people become imbued with the idea that the world has come to an end and no longer put forth any effort. This is a shame.”

10th Chapter

“Of people who regard water lightly, many have been drowned.”

“It is not a good idea to praise people carelessly. When praised, both wise and foolish become prideful. To praise is to do harm.”

11th Chapter

“…while ornamentation on armor is unnecessary, one should be very careful about the appearance of his helmet. It is something that accompanies his head to the enemy’s camp.”

“Among the words spoken by great generals, there are some that were said offhandedly. One should not receive these words in the same manner, however.”

“…if a person who is thought of as having a gentle disposition does even a slightly good thing, he will be praised by people.”

Vows from Late Night Idle Talk

“Never to be outdone in the Way of the Samurai.”

“To manifest great compassion and to act for the sake of Man.”

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I've read quite a few books lately,

Bruce Lee, Letters Of The Dragon

Gomorrah

Poirot

The Italian Job (nothing to do with the movie)

Tyson

& one of Chris Jericho's books, I forget the title.

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I've read quite a few books lately,

Bruce Lee, Letters Of The Dragon

... & one of Chris Jericho's books, I forget the title.

First is Letters Of the Dragon worth reading?

Funny that you mention that about Chris Jericho. I just purchased a signed copy at B&N of The Best in the World: At What I Have No Idea. Looking forward to reading that.

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Second draft (has anyone else read this?):

Chasing Dragons: An Introduction to the Martial Arts Film (2006) by David West

There is just too many issues with book to recommend. Those who are seasoned with martial arts movie knowledge will find the omissions as a major detriment more than the few errata that are more annoying than harmful to the overall read of this book. Though some of those mistakes can be quite annoying. For example he states that Run Run Shaw is born in 1918 when in fact in was 1907 and he stated he died in 1991 when in fact he would live several years after the printing of the book; he thinks the Hong Kong New Wave is in the 1990s; while he makes the very usual canard of Lau Kar-fei (aka Gordon Lau) being the adopted brother of Lau Kar-leung, he states that the adoption happened as an infant. But those very omissions which I discuss below and the films chosen to review is what makes the very thesis of the book “An Introduction” as somewhat erroneous.

The book is set-up into three main sections: Japan, Hong Kong and Hollywood and the USA. Each of those sections then gets split into a specific topic like a director and then after some detail on it there are several movie reviews. For example for Gosha Hideo he reviews Three Outlaw Samurai, Sword of the Beast, Tenchu (aka Hitokiri) and Goyokin. His strongest section is the Japanese one which he refers back to throughout the book. His love of classic Japanese cinema shows through and it is my favorite section of the book. His background in martial arts, as he has written for several martial art magazines, does make his analysis worth reading on several of the films and he does use particular Japanese phrases I will appropriate in later writings. Though he does not make as much effort with the Chinese films because I do not think there is even one mention of wuxia or jianghu.

Be warned that his reviews of the films do contain spoilers that you might want to skip if you want to be surprised for a particular film. He takes a humanistic approach to his reviews so you will find him particularly harsh on exploitation films like the Lone Wolf and Cub series and Kill Bill. I have no issue with these and in fact agree with much of what he says in that regard. However, later on his contrarian review on Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon seems misplaced. He cites the facts that since it was not popular in Hong Kong and that many western reviewers wrongly stated it was unique as a huge knock against it: “Much of the praise given to the film reflects the critics’ unfamiliarity with Hong Kong cinema, for Lee’s film is formulaic to the point of redundancy.” Now given the fact that Lee is a Taiwanese director and personally I do not consider it a Hong Kong film (though HK money was involved), he misses the salient fact that many Asian critics value the film quite highly (it made a very high listing on Golden Horse’s 100 Greatest Chinese-Language Films as well Hong Kong Film Awards The Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures.) So his statement seems it direct contrast to those critics who are very familiar with Hong Kong cinema.

But the omissions seems to me the most conspicuous issue with the book. For Japan he sagaciously mentions the book Hagakure. But the book was an idealized account of bushido written in a peaceful time. It is not the only book on the topic (see Bushido Shoshinshu by Taira Shigesuke) and he seems to use it like a guiding force (like a person with a hammer who sees everything as nails) much like the protagonist in one of his favorite films Ghost Dog (a film I like very much.) For Hong Kong he only has two reviews for Chang Cheh: Men From the Monastery and The Chinatown Kid. While he only gives a perfunctory description for One-Armed Swordsman, he does not even mention Five Deadly Venoms or Crippled Avengers. For Lau Kar-leung he does not even mention The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (while he does mention the third film in the series.) But what is very telling that he only has seem a small amount of Hong Kong films is where he states “Shaw Brothers films were prudish…” in comparison to Golden Harvest. Huh? Has he not seen the horror films like Black Magic, the exploitation films like Killer Snakes etc…? Also, why have a section on John Woo’s gun films and ignore so many martial art films from Hong Kong and Taiwan. For American film he starts off with Bad Day at Black Rock (1955). Not a bad choice, but one might wonder why no mention of the Jiu-jitsu in the Moto films (late 1930s) or the Judo in Blood on the Sun (1945).

Overall an OK book, but too many issues keep me from recommending this. Too many small errors and too many omissions. While I do not know of a great book on the more abstract area of “martial arts film” there are several more concise books I can recommend like Bey Logan’s Hong Kong Action Cinema (1996), David Bordwell’s Planet Hong Kong 2nd Edition (2011) and Donald Richie’s A Hundred Years of Japanese Films (2001). It looks like there is still a good opportunity for someone to write a book that introduces a neophyte audience to the wonderful world of martial arts cinema.

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First is Letters Of the Dragon worth reading?

Funny that you mention that about Chris Jericho. I just purchased a signed copy at B&N of The Best in the World: At What I Have No Idea. Looking forward to reading that.

I enjoyed 'Letters Of The Dragon', I would definitely recommend it to Bruce Lee fans. I might have to get the other 2 Jericho books, The one I read was Undisputed.

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I just finished A Clash of Kings, the second installment of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, by George R.R. Martin. I will begin reading A Storm of Swords, soon!

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Done reading this:

cover_va_dc_comics_golden_age_foto_f_1212211329_id_646896.jpg

Actually been having this (big) book for some time now, but I started reading it recently and finished it last night. A very interesting book, but the (pretty badass IMO) cover art may fool you into believing it's essentially a superhero-oriented book. It has a lot of references to them, but also addresses horror comics, girl comics and aspects related to comics such as a more sociological aspect of the media - the comics during World War II, censorship, audience... A very in-depth study of the genre. There are 4 other volumes dealing with the Silver Age, the Bronze Age, the Modern Age and the more contemporary comic, but I've only seen copies of the Silver Age book (which has a silver cover with a picture of Barry Allen as The Flash) and I'm considering buying it as well cause the Silver Age is probably my fav' eras in comic books.

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220px-HeatNovel.jpg

Heat by William Goldman. Pretty good novel that would be made into the Burt Reynolds movie with the same title in 1985 and Goldman himself remade his own screenplay as the 2013 film Wild Card (aka Joker) starring Jason Statham, changing the central character from Nick "Mex" Escalante to Nick Wild; but the core elements of the novel is still there. Just finished this one over the weekend.

51gJApB7FhL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

When the Cobra Strikes by Sebati Edward Mafate. This is the novel that would become the 2012 martial arts action film Black Cobra, starring TJ Storm as South African martial artist Sizwe Biko, who goes to Los Angeles to make a deal in selling diamonds only to get double-crossed by his one-time best friend and student, and deals with the Yakuza in the midst. The novel so far from what I read has a few key differences than the movie (which Mafate co-starred and co-wrote himself), including his father (who is dead in the novel but much alive in the movie version). I began this one after I read Heat.

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Peppermint Twist: The Mob, The Music, and the Most Famous Dance Club of the 60's by Joel Selvin and John Johnson with Dick Cami.

This is the story of the hottest New York City nightclub in the early 1960's, the Peppermint Lounge, which was originally a cover for mob activities run by Johnny Biello, who was attempting to retire and go legit, which he eventually did. Through the account of his son-in-law Dick Cami, when Biello and he were living in Miami, they heard how popular the club was and they opened up a 2nd Peppermint Lounge, which was all legit, in 1962. However, Biello's enemies did eventually catch up to him and assassinated him in 1967.

Reading this book, I think Martin Scorsese would be perfect to do a movie adaptation of this story.

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My Wonderful World of Slapstick (1960/1982) by Buster Keaton and Charles Samuels, intro by Dwight MacDonald.

This was a fun autobiography from Keaton. Like most autobiographies it has a stronger childhood recollection than later day exploits and it has its share of canards as well. Keaton was in the industry so long and add in that it was much more difficult to revisit material than it is today so it is easy to forgive them. For example he repeats the story about John Gilbert’s squeaky voice dooming him in the sound era. Not true as what doomed him was his drinking, arguing with Louis B. Meyer who would later fire Keaton and his declining profits of his movies, but it was repeated enough that it is understandable that he might believe that (plus Gilbert died young in 1936 and had only a few sound movies.) Some were told to him like the story of how Houdini named him Buster. I am sure that it was told to him from his dad (or else he just heard the story too many times) and who actually knows if it is the truth or not. His dad did work with Houdini so it might actually not be a canard. It is amazing how many later famous personalities would work the various vaudeville circuits. I am not always interested in the early years of stars, but since Keaton was acting quite young he has so many interesting things to say. His dad put him into the act and they were later known as The Three Keatons. The act often was a combination of various bits with the wife playing an instrument, the dad using his son as a human mop or having various fights between the two. One anecdote I loved was when the dad got angry with a person in the audience for heckling his wife he through Buster at him breaking his ribs and some teeth of the person next to him.

Reading this reminds me of my reaction of reading George W. Bush’s Decision Points. You expect more anger but instead get a congenial presence with quite a forgiving attitude both with others and with himself. This is not to say he does not share his opinions about others such as Charlie Chaplin as he explains the different between the two as well as the difference with Harold Lloyd but he has the utmost respect for both.*

This is by no means is a complete biography of Keaton as it was published in 1960 and he has six more years left of acting before he died, plus it does gloss over his second marriage and many films. But it is a fascinating book on a unique individual. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of this individual.

I consider Keaton as my favorite silent movie actor/director. Orson Welles had mighty high praise for him and he would influence Jackie Chan. Read below for my feelings on other silent comedians.

-- below is a response I had to a friend on another site on the MGM situation.

Oh the losing control of his situation at MGM was what he considered part of the worst decision of his life (notice that he does not even say that about his first two wives.) But trying to keep Talmadge happy was a tough thing. She really seemed to be money grubby (or at least was so used to living that lifestyle.) But it would be interesting to hear her side of it. Most biographers of Keaton that I have read are less kind to her than Keaton is.

Now here is where we have to be careful with both facts and hearsay. What I believe is true: Keaton was interested in the sound era. He wanted to make sound pictures. In fact the first several sound pictures he made were successful, some like Free and Easy were quite popular and made Keaton and the company lots of money. However more and more Keaton was getting annoyed with his thoughts being ignored, his staff being taken for other films and being paired up with comedians such as Jimmy Durante who he did not fit particular well with (also there is the possibility that they were propping Durante up while sacrificing Keaton -- though it just might be fair to state that MGM had the attitude that they knew better than the individual comedians.)

Now what may or may not be true: Keaton's drinking did get steadily worse. Keaton states that he missed one day of work because of it (no more than that.) However, he states he was fired for a different reason that he refused to go to a party on Louis B. Mayer's behalf and perform (Mayer did have his actors do lots of freebie material for groups of people.) He went to a ball game (St. Marys vs. UCLA) instead. He states he was fired because of this.

He does state that Thalberg offered him a job back at MGM. He refused and his drinking steadily got worse to 1935 when he quite cold turkey for five years.

Here is where it gets even more interesting. He had two different terms for short films: one for Education and the second for Columbia (which he ended up hating.) However, he was hired as a gag man at MGM in 1940 and for years was responsible for helping the comedy films out from gag work to actual directing. I'm not sure how much will actually be known.

But I would have loved for him to get back on the horse and get back to fully directing a picture. The problem was that Harold Lloyd found was that it was too expensive of a process. Add in the fact that there was much theater collusion going on that it was doubly hard for independents to prosper.

* I found it fascinating that he often wrote of himself, Charles Chaplin, Harold Lloyd and Harry Langdon together as some other writers have considered them the big four comedians of silent comedy. I personally do not put Langdon up with the other three (though for a couple of years he was very popular, but his popularity waned rather quickly.) In fact it would probably be safe to add Laurel and Hardy, though many people remember them today for their sound films not their silent. I am a big fan of Charley Chase but his popularity while high was never as big as the others. He just remained constant and was hugely influential on silent and early talkie comedies. Now one might put Keaton’s friend and mentor Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle (his friends never called him Fatty) up there and indeed for several years he was almost or as popular as Chaplin. His unfortunate and unfair decline due to a bogus trial and newspaper coverage hurt his career. It did not quite kill it as he kept working as a director for several years and slowly started to get back in front of the camera in short films when it fact he had signed a contract with Warner Bros for feature films and had a fatal heart attack.

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I just started reading Disco Bloodbath by James St. James. It was later adapted into the film Party Monster with Seth Green as the author and Macauley Culkin as Michael Alig, who was once a club kid who was convicted of killing a drug dealer in 1996 and had a relationship with James.

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Buster Keaton: Tempest In A Flat Hat (2005) by Edward McPherson
 
Given the high rating that the reviewers on Amazon gave this I thought it was going to be a bit better than it was.  It is a fine introduction to Buster Keaton, but for those more knowledgeable on the topic it is sometimes a bit too repetitive.  For example, if you have read Keaton’s autobiography My Wonderful World of Slapstick it is referenced a lot here.  In fact that is the main issue: there are very few sources used for this and the majority of these come from Rudi Blesh’s Keaton (1966), Mario Meade’s Buster Keaton: Cut to the Chase (1997), the autobiography, and Eleanor Keaton & Jeffrey Vance’s Buster Keaton Remembered (2001).  The bibliography has a total of 14 books and a few Los Angeles Time and New York Times references.  The rest is plot description mixed with his opinions.
 
His opinions are harsher than I agree with.  He loves the early silent films and is quite fawning on Sherlock Jr. and The General, but gives mediocre or underplaying comments on the later ones like with Seven Chances, College, Steamboat Bill Jr. and The Cameraman.  He confuses underperforming with being a dud.  He calls Steamboat Bill, Jr. a dud and one might wonder why if Keaton was doing all these late silent “duds” why would MGM want him.  He also does not write enough about the post-silent era of Keaton.  He completely dismisses the Educational films with the asinine statement “…despite what the diehards tell you, are really just for diehards.”  Of course when you write something like this it makes it easier to ignore it and not have to go over them in the book.  It seems lazy to me.
 
While not knocking him on the following point: I would have added some comments from Orson Welles and others on Keaton that are missing here.

 

The Hollywood Posse (1975/1996) by Diana Serra Cary
 
A fun read with this hagiography on the author’s father Jack Montgomery by former silent child star Baby Peggy (Diana Serra Cary is a pseudonym and she has written several other books.)  Unfortunately most of Baby Peggy’s films have been lost to a fire at Century Film years ago.   It is less about the “Hollywood Posse” and more about her Dad.  Jack Montgomery was a cowboy first then later an extra and bit actor during Hollywood for many films working with Tom Mix to Cecil B. De Mille.  There are a load of stories with her father at the center from early silent Hollywood through several decades.  Most telling is an episode where she recounts a story she was told of several cowboys planning and almost killing De Mille during a makeshift stampede during the filming of The Crusades (1935).

Now you have to take everything she states with some skepticism.  Many of the stories are told second-hand and often seem mythical in scope.  She constantly talks about “The Cowboy Code” as if it were concrete in nature like the Ferengi’s rules of acquisition.  She admires her father and her father’s friends very much and takes their Tall Tales as matter-of-fact.  Her writing is fun and peppered with cowboy idioms.  Now she does get some facts wrong here and there.  The most obvious one is that she states several times that Raoul Walsh’s The Big Trail as this big success which is was not.  Both Walsh and a young John Wayne were hurt by it, forcing John Wayne to work in B westerns for many years (she states that he would go from B to big budget after this which was not true.)

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Seven knights and Five gallants (Judge Bao) : it talks of Judge Bao's birth and the various adventures which lead him to become a famous Judge.

 

Temeraire 7th volume (Naomi Novik) : An historical fantasy about Dragons being the air force of Napoleon and his enemies. Very interesting, with a little bit of everything : humour (the dragon's caprices, his thoughts and remarks), adventure, loyalty, honesty, mercy and so on...

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Chain Saw Confidential - Everyone's talked about what happened on the set of the 1974 classic horror film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. This book tells everything on the set from the viewpoint of Gunnar Hansen himself, who originated the role of Leatherface. He uses parts of an unpublished autobiography he had written combined with his take on everything that happens on the set of TCM. I'm up to chapter 3 so far, where he breaks down the film's story and relishes on things :)

 

Plus, never before seen is the only photo of Hansen on the set of Texas Chainsaw Massacre without the Leatherface masks. 

Edited by AlbertV

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