Cloud Atlas, brought to you by the Wachowskis

Cloud Atlas has been made into a movie by the Wachowskis! When I heard there was going to be a movie made of this book I was SERIOUSLY skeptical, but also intrigued. My first reaction was that it’s undoable, so the result is going to be completely divorced from the book, but I knew I would be compelled to watch it, and then I was going to be devastatingly disappointed. But I wondered who was so wonderfully ambitious to even make the attempt.

Then I saw a preview. When Tom Hanks’ face appeared, I allowed a feeling of cautious optimism. When in same said preview the Wachowskis were mentioned, I clapped my hands in glee, because Cloud Atlas the movie needs imagination galore in both storytelling and moviemaking. And THEN I read in The New Yorker that David Mitchell loves the script! And he’s making a cameo.

I may have to break my rule and see this opening weekend.

Posted in Book into movie

Huh? Take 2

amazonian

The New Yorker has excellent coverage and analysis of the ongoing saga of the DoJ suit against Apple and publishers Macmillan and Penguin, the two publishers that decided not to settle. Again, I love lower prices, but do I trust Amazon to actually not use monopolistic power? Um, nope.

(The link takes you to an abstract of the full article, which is in the 6/25/12 issue.)

Posted in Bookish Thoughts, News and Announcements, eReaders and eBooks

The Name of the Wind: The Kingkiller Chronicle Day One and The Wise Man’s Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle Day Two, both by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind

Normally I wouldn’t have chosen to read this book, but a good friend, whose reading taste overlaps with my own to a large enough degree, highly recommended it and, in fact, urged me to read it. She’d never urged me to read anything. Plus I only get to see her a couple times a year since she moved to the other side of the country several years ago. So all that combined, I thought why the heck not and downloaded it onto my Kindle. That was over a year ago, but since I had a backlog of reading, I never got around to it until my last vacation. I finished Arthur a couple days into the vacation, so I thought, why not.

So, my niece is the cutest toddler. Ever. Relevance? you ask? I’ll get to that, but back to my niece. I mean, she’s CUTE. And I have 2 daughters of my own. She lives on the opposite coast from me, so I don’t get to see her much. Thank goodness for iPhone4Ses that can magically send me videos of her singing the alphabet while spinning until she falls from dizziness. Ok, ok, relevance. We were on vacation with my sister and her family, including said adorable niece. And once I started reading Day One, I ignored her. I was absorbed. Sucked in. My niece was confused. Hurt. Not really. Her attention span is really really short. I finished Day One in 2 days. At some point I realized this was the first in a series (yes, “Day One” in the title should have tipped me off). I went online to amazon, downloaded Day Two, and I was off!

The Wise Man's Fear

Day Two was…not as good. Parts of it dragged. The worst draggy part had to do with the main character’s extended stay with a faery, which in this world is a siren crossed with a nympho, and it made me think that Patrick Rothfuss is perhaps a slightly sad (albeit talented) geek who fantasizes about having sex with fantasy characters. It reminded me of this guy I knew in law school who had a SERIOUS crush on Ariel, as in The Little Mermaid, the Disney cartoon. But it was still mostly a page-turner, and I finished it in a couple days as well. So I went back to amazon, and…I’m going to kill my ex-friend. It turns out Day Three isn’t out yet. One was published in 2007. Two, in 2011. Three might not be out until 20-fucking-15. The momentum will be lost.

Should I actually say something about the books (other than the faery-sexcapade)? The characters are compelling. Kote is an innkeeper, a hardworking, tired, small business owner. He’s a newcomer in a small community of hardwoking, tired farmers who come to his inn at the end of the day to drink and tell stories. The world is becoming dangerous. There are tales of demons attacking travelers. Kote knows more than he tells. Kote is more than he tells. But he wants to be an innkeeper and nothing more. Fortunately Chronicler stops by, having heard a rumor that the great hero Kvothe may be laying low, as an innkeeper.

Most of Days One and Two is flashback of Kote/Kvothe’s story from his carefree days with his parents’ troubadour band to his days at the University where he mastered the science of magic faster than any other student and Imre where he earned his pipes. He’s definitely a Renaissance man – educated and well-read, a musical genius, an impressive fighter, a lover (at least with faeries), and even a poet (but only when strictly necessary). The mystery is why he is now an innkeeper trying to blend in to the background. Luckily he still has enough of an ego to want to set the record straight for Chronicler. Meanwhile, the roads are getting more dangerous….

Someone tell me when Day Three comes out.

Tagged , , , , Posted in 3 rating, 4 rating, Fantasy, Fiction, First Date, Reviews

The Tragedy of Arthur, by Arthur Phillips

The Tragedy of Arthur

What if your dad gave you a MegaMillions lotto ticket when the jackpot had been ramped up to a bjillion dollars? What if it was the only winning ticket? What if your dad is a master forger?

That is just the superficial set-up. Arthur, our narrator, is a writer, and he is writing the introduction, as is his contractual right and obligation, to The Tragedy of Arthur, by William Shakespeare. What? you say? There is no such Shakespeare play? It wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility for the Bard of Avon to have written a play about the medieval King Arthur and his defense of Britain against the Saxons. But even among the list of possible, disputed Shakespeare plays, there is no even whisper of a King Arthur. This is An Important Discovery.

So why does Arthur get to write the intro? The copy of the unearthed play, of which exhaustive testing was unable to disprove a late 1500s provenance, was in the possession of his father. How did his father come to have the only copy of a heretofore unknown Shakespeare play? That is an excellent question, and the question that Arthur (son, not King, but the identical monikers are not a coincidence. not by a long shot.) contends with in his introduction. He also contends with father-son issues, twin sibling issues, failed marriage issues, parenthood issues, self-worth issues, and identity issues. On top of ALL of that, the name of the main character is the same as the author. This book is jam packed.

And yet, it moves quite blithely along. The first half of the novel is about a dysfunctional family, which is always entertaining. Arthur and his twin sister, Dana, adore their artist father, who’s driving purpose in life is to bring a little magic to the humdrum world. Unfortunately his brand of magic includes criminal activities but little income. So, what’s a failed artist to do? Why forgery, of course. Arthur becomes disillusioned. Dana keeps the faith. Dana is helped by her shared love for Shakespeare with their father. While Arthur appreciates Shakespeare, he wonders, what’s the big deal? He whines about the knee-jerk literary worship of all things Shakespeare, positing that the only difference between the fates of Shakespeare and Marlowe was luck and rich friends. And then his dad gives him the winning lotto ticket, and the second half of the novel is Arthur’s struggle of what to do with it.

Like I mentioned, Arthur is writing the introduction, and the introduction is the novel, which is only half the book. The second half of the book is The Tragedy of Arthur, by William Shakespeare. You decide.

Tagged , , Posted in 3 rating, 4 rating, Fiction

Huh?

I’m so confused. I know I want to pay as little as possible, but I don’t want to kill the publishing industry. I don’t like that these publishers colluded with Apple, but I’m still afraid of Amazon and their monopolistic tendencies, so I feel like the DoJ/FTC should be looking at Amazon as well. I think it’ll eventually sort itself out…right?

Posted in News and Announcements, Uncategorized, eReaders and eBooks

Literary Living


Sigh. Another reason to move back.

Tagged Posted in Uncategorized

Against the Day

Against the Day, by Thomas Pynchon

If you were a vector, mademoiselle, you would begin in the ‘real’ world, change you length, enter an ‘imaginary’ reference system, rotate up to three different ways, and return to ‘reality’ a new person. Or vector.

The Anarchists and Socialists on the shift had their own mixed feelings about history. They suffered form it, and it was also to be their liberator, if they could somehow survive to see the day.

…for we’re only passing through, we’re already ghosts.

This book is brilliantly imagined and written and is a monsterous, glorious mess. There’s material enough for 3 novels covering the time period between the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 to the deceptively idyllic years between world wars, but there’s also a consistency of theme, so maybe Pynchon said, what the hell, and wove it all into one. I hope he got his editor a really really nice thank you gift.

Science fiction, historic, crime thriller, pre-war comic books are part of an incomplete list of genres Pynchon plays with while ultimately converting into Pynchonian. The cast of characters runs into the hundreds, but each is unique and complete:

Professor Heino Vanderjuice, inventor and nemesis of Nicola Tesla; Lew Basnight, lost soul working off his unknown (possibly unknowable) debt with White City Investigations, a p.i. firm tasked with guarding Francis Ferdinand during a trip to Chicago; Scarsdale Vibe, a stand-in for the robber barons, and Foley Walker, his bodyguard and alter ego; the Traverse family, Webb and Mayva and their children Frank, Reef, Lake, and Kit, not to mention the explosive family business/destiny/curse, a character in its own right; Neville and Nigel, twits and members of T.W.I.T., a secret society that may be bent on world domination, based on tarot cards; Yashmeen Halfcourt, who may or may not have the supernatural powers that T.W.I.T. seeks to coopt for its own gains…

Floating above them all in their skyship Inconvenience, the Chums of Chance, Rudolf St Cosmo, Lindsay Noseworth, Darby Suckling, Miles Blundell, Chick Counterfly, along with Pugnax (literary cousin to the talking dog in Mason & Dixon) keep uneasy watch on Earth/not Earth. (I love Pynchon’s names: Deuce Kindred, Wren Provenance, Clive Crouchmas, Wolfe Tone O’Rooney, Merle Rideout, the Reverend Lube Carnal, just to list a few more.)

The structure of Against the Day is rooted in history, but Pynchon, playing off the dualities ever present in history, keeps shifting the plot a half step into another dimension, which is related to but not quite reality, which to Pynchon is simply one of any number of possibilities which may or may not have happened. Most of us exist in the everyday, unaware of any alternate. But some folks, like the Chums of Chance, slip in and out of visibility, “aeronauts of dual citizenship of the quotidian and the ghostly.” Some, like Lew Basnight, accidentally fall into this bifurcated existence, and some, like Yashmeen Halfcourt, may have the ability to go in and out at will, bending space along the way.┬áDepending on the character (and plot line) these shifts are explained scientifically, mathematically, spiritually, or supernaturally, but always with one foot relatively firmly in history.

Their motto was “There, but Invisible.”

Tagged , , Posted in 4 rating, Fiction