Holiday Book Club

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  • Graeme Edgeler,

    On 'The Wire' vibe...does anyone know if we're going to get 'Generation Kill' out here? Or is that something I'll have to look elsewhere for?

    PAS DVD addict to the resuce! Generation Kill will be available in NZ later this year.

    Also be aware that after series two I think, it was not produced in zone 4 format so you have to get creative about getting hold of the rest of the series.

    I'm pretty sure it was (though not season 5, yet), they just took their sweet time about it. So long in fact, that I finally succumbed to Amazon.com. Haven't looked back. Well, okay, I have (i.e. I'm going to wait for Generation Kill ) but still...

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I got the first half of series 4 for Christmas, and watched the series 4.5 webisodes on youtube, so I'm more or less caught up.

    Well, you can start watching the back ten on line. Sometimes A Great Notion and The Disquiet That Follows My Soul are... well, definitely best seen spoiler-free so you can get the full effect of your head being fucking with by professionals with no conscience whatsoever. But I will say this: If there's not some kind of slackening of the tension and utter despair and various tethers being snapped soon, I think BSG fandom is going to be putting a few therapists' kid through uni.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Helga Arlington,

    No-one has mentioned Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. Kim Hill interviewed him before Christmas which changed my mind - I found The Tipping Point very simplistic. Outliers is a sort of cumulative summary of research about success, and how especially the American dream notion of success is flawed logic - unexpected successes all got help - from all sorts of factors.

    And I listened to it - do others like audiobooks? Now that you don't have to be stuck in one place like my mother was with her Blind Foundation talking books, it's so great! Bleak House was great, Persuasion was great - all while driving - in New Time! My patience for 'classics' is so much greater hearing them. But actually Little Women... well...

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I found The Tipping Point very simplistic.

    That's what I thought too, reading the reviews... but being simplistic is not good, right? I'm asking because I already discovered that prevaricating was a false friend this week.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Barbara,

    The books I've been reading are not really worthy, but great easy reads.I think there is a real skill and talent in writing well crafted easily read novels. "When will there be good news?" by Kate Atkinson is a case in point.

    I also loved " The vanishing act of Esme Lennox" by Maggie O'Farrell. Really good insight into expat life in India in the 20's, and then the social mores of Scotland subsequently.

    Also very much enjoyed "Opportunity" by Charlotte Grimshaw. I think she writes with the same sort of skill as her father, which maybe seems to damn her. But I think it is high praise. C K Stead is a master of prose.

    After hearing from an established author (although not a household name) how little she made from each novel I feel a need to support NZ writers, and have been urging others ot do likewise.

    Sandringham • Since Mar 2008 • 33 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Many thanks to everyone for the advice about The Wire . I have seen some of Generation Kill --indeed, even before it went to air in the USA. Andrea Calderwood, the producer, was one of the guests at the Wintec 'Spark' festival last year. Pretty impressive but the gung-ho politics and obsession with image put me off a bit.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    I read Jorge Sandoval's book Surviving Pinochet over the holidays. (The author is a Chilean refugee, tortured by the Pinochet regime as a young man, and now a Wellingtonian and prominent in the cycling world).

    I found it affecting and irritating in equal measure. There are aspects of Sandoval's personality which I do not find simpatico. On the other hand, these stories need to be told, I approve in principle of warty self-portraits, and there is no doubt that his is a story of great determination in overcoming a series of setbacks that would have thwarted many other people. Certainly a bloke who uses his experience in a Chilean prison camp to help counsel prisoners at Rimutaka is someone with considerable strength of character.

    When I visited Dad in Hamilton I reclaimed my copies of Volumes 2 and 3 of Larry Gonick's incredible Cartoon History of the Universe . These books comprise a marvellous and insightful illustrated precis of world history. Lots of good gags too (eg, in the chapters on the rise of Islam, the prophet is always just out of frame...)

    I holed up with a Portuguese dictionary to read Abreu's O Barracau do Mestre Waldemar, which is about the early days of capoeira angola in Bahia. Not exactly gripping stuff for the lay reader but you know, it's good to tax the brain when it has spare capacity.

    At Scorpio Books in Christchurch, which must be one of the top 5 bookshops in the country, I bought Nicolas Ostler's A Biography of Latin . It had just a little bit more Latin in it than I'm capable of unaided, but it was a jolly good read anyway and perfectly accessible for the non-Latinist.

    On the video front, I got the Fred Dagg DVD set for Christmas, which I am greatly enjoying. It strikes me now that either he captured a certain kind of New Zealand male speech absolutely perfectly, or that we have all used him as a model, but perhaps it's both.

    That'll be the phone.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Re Malcolm Gladwell - I heard him speak in Boston last year. Fascinating to hear and not at all what I expected he would look like - sort of a cross between Sam Hunt and Jimi Hendrix. His ideas sound simple, and that's because they are, but no one has put it like that before.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3227 posts Report Reply

  • Kerry Weston,

    Also very much enjoyed "Opportunity" by Charlotte Grimshaw.

    Agreed. I've read most of her work and I think she gets better every time. I also try and read masses of kiwi fiction, albeit from libraries. And I read everything Kate Atkinson writes, she's a superb storyteller and characteriser. Is that a word? Oh well.....

    Have you read the ones with the detective character, Jackson Brodie? They're good, too. Ah, I just checked, When Will there Be Good News is one of them. She is so clever - i never twigged to Reggie's brother and the Latin books. And i cheered for Joanna.

    Manawatu • Since Jan 2008 • 494 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Well, you can start watching the back ten on line

    I'll almost certainly wait until they come out on DVD. One good thing about all this piracy and general hi-tech 21st century jiggery-pokery is that the studios have been forced to reduce their release dates to a few months from first broadcast, so it shouldn't be too long a wait.

    Pretty impressive but the gung-ho politics and obsession with image put me off a bit

    I thought that was kinda the point? That's how soldiers are. As impressive as 'band of brothers' was, it did kind of gloss over the fact that soldiers get pretty damn feral in combat operations.

    As far as books go:

    Clive Barkers 'Imajica' (all 1100 pages...). Only the second Clive Barker I've ever read. Dunno if I'll bother with any others.

    The Maurice Shadbolt 'Maori wars' trilogy. Probably wasn't a good idea to read them all back-to-back - as good as they were, his distinctive writing style started to grate a little by the end of the third one.

    A couple of books about 'Mr Asia' (getting up to speed on my local history, y'see).

    And by not entirely happy coincidence, this - a fairly cheap and nasty SAS-type cash-in, but does give a good insight into the mentality and triaining of the police firearms guys (from a UK perspective).

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    And wrt 'Watchmen' - this is the first film in a long time that I've been anything close to excited about. Not being a rabid fanboy,
    I'm entirely comfortable with filmmakers changing elements of the storyline and structure to make the film 'work' (what I call the Tom Bombadil effect). As long as my intelligence isn't insulted in the transition.

    And...thankyou, lord, thankyou - Dr Manhattan: A superhero with genuine powers who works for the U.S. government. The role was once pursued by actor Keanu Reeves [but isn't actually being played by him]

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I'm entirely comfortable with filmmakers changing elements of the storyline and structure to make the film 'work' (what I call the Tom Bombadil effect). As long as my intelligence isn't insulted in the transition.

    Neither am I, Rich. I can't stand the much-ballyhooed television version of Brideshead Revisited, which isn't so much an adaptation as an interminable and miserably self-indulgent transcription. (I don't want to come across as pissing on a fresh grave, but what exactly did John Mortimer do to earn his writing credit?)

    Brian Helgeland's screenplay for L.A. Confidential, on the other hand, is masterly. A literal reading of James Ellroy's trademark labyrinthine double double crosses played out by a cast of thousands of seriously screwed up people would have been an unwatchable mess.

    But. to end the digression, I just hope the 'squid-free' ending really works; because I not only think the original ending was damn near perfect, but I don't see why it wouldn't have worked in cinematic terms. For someone who has fanboys squeeing over every shot that looks identical to a panel from the book, it just seems a pretty damn strange place to decide to get creative.

    As you say, if it plays out without insulting my intelligence, I won't be too upset. But it sure has the whiff of reaching for spurious "contemporary relevance".

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Clive Barkers 'Imajica' (all 1100 pages...). Only the second Clive Barker I've ever read. Dunno if I'll bother with any others.

    Don't know if I'd recommend 'Imajica' as an entry point into Clive Barker -- in many ways, it's a rather atypical piece of work. I'd suggest 'Weaveworld', which is a more successful exercise in big baggy epic fantasy, or 'Cabal'. And there's always 'The Books of Blood' -- six volumes of stories (currently available in two omnibus volumes) of which an envy-inducingly high proportion are flat out classics.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    I just hope the 'squid-free' ending really works; because I not only think the original ending was damn near perfect, but I don't see why it wouldn't have worked in cinematic terms. For someone who has fanboys squeeing over every shot that looks identical to a panel from the book, it just seems a pretty damn strange place to decide to get creative.

    From what I've heard, the ending isn't the only place there's varition. The beginning credits summarise some parts that were covered in the comic; obviously some stuff is just left out; some parts of the extended material at the end of the comics becomes live action in the film somehow or other; some fight scenes are extended (eg, Comedian puts up a bit of a fight at the beginning). What other changes are made/needed, and how much all this matters - well, we'll see.

    But it sure has the whiff of reaching for spurious "contemporary relevance".

    Yeah, I'm a bit worried by the global environmental concerns riff. On the other hand it was Snyder who brought the adaptaion back from being set outright in contempoary times and back in an alternate 80s.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    I'd suggest 'Weaveworld', which is a more successful exercise in big baggy epic fantasy, or 'Cabal'. And there's always 'The Books of Blood' ...

    Those are the only Barker I've ever read. They are really good, especially Weaveworld and Books of Blood. Yet somehow, I've never felt a strong desire to read more Barker.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • David Hamilton,

    This

    The role was played by actor Keanu Reeves

    and this

    whiff of reaching for spurious "contemporary relevance"

    amongst other things really killed The Day the Earth Stood Still. I'm really looking forward to Watchmen but I'm sad about the lack of large squid, I'm sure we could even supply one from our southern waters. Also an animated 'Tales of the Black Freighter' was apparently originally going to be in the movie but cut due to length considerations. According to Wikipedia they may release a DVD extended version with it spliced in again as per Zack Snyder's original vision. Hope so.

    Hamiltron • Since Nov 2006 • 111 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The beginning credits summarise some parts that were covered in the comic

    Snyder's said he's got studio backing for a near-four hour director's cut and (NOT including animated 'Black Frieghter' side project), so I'm assuming he's trying to out-Jackson Jackson. Or he get a tasty bonus for every fanboy head he makes explode. :)

    And someone should tell Jeffrey Dean Morgan to stop being so damn flippant ("this film is rated R for a reason") about reports that the Comedian's violent rape of Sally Jupiter (which was only strongly implied in the book -- the comic book industry has some standards) is a lot more explicit.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    In the comic it was an attempted rape. The report I saw that covered the allegedly more expicit version of that scene switched from "rape" to "attempted rape", so I'm a bit unclear as to whether they were saying the film changes it to an actual rape. If so, that would be gratuitous and in really poor taste. But I think it quite likely the report was just confused.

    Snyder's said he's got studio backing for a near-four hour director's cut and (NOT including animated 'Black Frieghter' side project), so I'm assuming he's trying to out-Jackson Jackson. Or he get a tasty bonus for every fanboy head he makes explode. :)

    This is their plan:

    - First release a dvd version of theatrical cut. All the fanboys buy this.

    - Release WATCHMEN: "Stop Watch". The Director's Cut version. All the fanboys buy this as well.

    - Release WATCHMEN: "Stop Watch: Ultimate Package". The Director's Cut with additional animationed "Tales of the Black Freighter" featurette. All the fanboys buy this as well.

    - Release WATCHMEN: "Stop Watch: The Ultimate Package Redux". The Director's Cut with the 'Tales of the Black Freighter' spliced in to the the original feature , as Snyder originally intended!! All the fanboys who don't die of nerdileptic shock buy this version as well.

    - Release WATCHMEN: "Stop Watch: The Ultimate Package Redux Extended Really This Is The Best And Final Megatastic Version!" version. Same as previous version, but with outakes of the crew laughing at the Billy Crudup's CGI penis. Alternate cover versions are also released. Fanboys buy this as well. Many get it slabbed.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Good God, you mean The Corporate Man has realised geeks are fools with far too much disposable income and no impulse control? We're doomed.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    It's important to not only own every copy, but to own every copy all packaged together, still in the wrapper, with the 'complete package cover redesign'.

    If you market it right, you can make a bunch of people buy everything at least twice.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    I'd suggest 'Weaveworld'

    Hmm, good point. The other Clive Barker I've read is 'Sacrament'.

    As 'Weaveworld' is probably his most well-known, I really should give it a go. It's been on the must-get-round-to-reading-that-sometime list ever since a friend explained the plot to me while I was viewing reality from a different plane of reference (euphemistically speaking....).

    And back to 'Watchmen': I've just stumbled across the trailer on flicks.co.nz while looking for a local cinema release date, and MILD SPOILER WARNING there are two reference to nukes - one explicit (we see a mushroom cloud) and one slightly more implied (a character says 'nuke' just before there is a cut to a large explosion in a city centre).

    Looks pretty good, actually. I don't really have the same problem with '300' that a lot of people do. Given that Zach Snyder has explicitly stated that part of his film inspiration/motiviation was 'The 300 Spartans' (a 1960's anti-commie film), I took it more or less at face value. Yes, it's a stylised fantasy, but Spartan culture was pretty damn bleak and unforgiving. In tone, if not reality, I think it probably got that across pretty well. I mean, would you like to live like that?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Bob Munro,

    I'd be a fan of a permanent book thread if that were possible?

    Christchurch • Since Aug 2007 • 418 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    I'd be a fan of a permanent book thread if that were possible?

    As it happens, it is. Keep posting comments to this thread and it will certainly stay on the front page!

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3215 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Parks,

    ...geeks are fools with far too much disposable income and no impulse control...

    I don't have too much disposable income.

    Wellington • Since May 2007 • 1165 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    After today I can recommend the New Dowse. I took the eight year old and her ten year old friend. They stayed interested for more than fifteen minuets!

    ITA, even though I was the kind of Wellingtonian for whom the Hutt Valley might as well be Mars. :) It's the kind of place that straddles the fine line between being a serious 'art practitioner' and accessible without dumbing down to a patronising degree. And that's hard to do.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

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