Tonight we kick off Episode 5 of the weekly Guest Post series: Medium Cool with BGinCHI.
In case you missed the introduction to the series: Culture as a Hedge Against this Soul-Sucking Political Miasma We’re Living In
Tonight’s Topic: What if?
Take it away, BG!
In this week’s Medium Cool, we ponder the now only half-hypothetical question, “What if you and everyone you knew were forced to stay at home for 2+ weeks and could only choose one author or filmmaker?”
The twist is that once you’ve made your choice, you get the use of one of those Men in Black Neuralyzer thingies that erases your memory of that person’s work. So you’d be reading or watching it for the first time.
What literary or cinematic body of work would you gift yourself?
Hmm. Tough one, because you want to make sure that it’s someone with a large enough body of work to keep you entertained for the duration.
I pick Terry Pratchett.
I think for film I’d choose the Coen Brothers.
Watching their films from Blood Simple all the way to the present, binge-style, would blow my mind if I hadn’t seen them.
In second place probably Wes Anderson.
There are many, many filmmakers I love (Welles, for ex.), but in terms of enjoyment the Coens and Anderson have always hit my sweet spot. Especially the first 5-6 films.
Author: Agatha Christie.
I sincerely hope that wasn’t once a good piano. It would be a wonderful place for my childhood piano (loved playing it but the actual instument sucked.) My parents bought it cheap because I was desperate for one. My sister is still stuck with it. Pretty much untunable. Good training for folk harp. So many strings, none wanting to hold a tune.
@Mnemosyne: Exactly. As much as I love the work of Lanthimos or Cuarón, there just isn’t enough. And Haneke would be too depressing.
Second vote for Coen Brothers. Probably Bukowski for written word.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Mnemosyne: I’ve been thinking I might re-read some Pratchett, though god knows I haven’t read all of him, just to ease the tension.
Having a helluva time thinking of one, exclusive auteur I’d like to spend two weeks with though.
I’m not a fast reader. I’ve got the new Hilary Mantel and Louise Erdrich so I’m set.
A bunch of years ago, I was unemployed and to distract me from my worrying mind, I decided to go back and reread all of my favorite books. I didn’t get very far. I was very disappointed with Catcher in the Rye (How could I not have seen him for the whiner he was?) and Ironwood didn’t move me half as much as it had when I read it. A couple of my friends disagreed with me strenuously, but I guess for me, it’s where I am in my life when I read the book that matters. Kind of saddening.
John D. MacDonald. Well over 100 novels, wide variety of genres, and plenty of Travis McGee. Plus, the screeds against the commercialization of Florida from the 50s, 60s and 70s are fascinating when viewed in light of all the horror that followed.
Oh, and for film? Billy Wilder.
Comrade Colette Collaboratrice
If it were a single book, I’d wish for the experience of reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time, but as an adult. For the works of just one author, I’m torn between Dorothy Dunnett (incredibly complex, entertaining, and accomplished historical fiction, discussed in a bookish thread a couple of nights ago) and Anthony Trollope – he’s only a bit lower in interest, and wrote lots more books. Two weeks? Dunnett, hands down. Two months, or years? Trollope.
Two weeks with just one auteur? That’s a lot. Pratchett is a good one; experiencing Discworld for the first time again would be pretty nice. For film, maybe Stanley Kubrick? I dunno.
One of my brothers (who fancies himself as The Dude) rewatches all of the Coen Brothers films every year.
@schrodingers_cat: I pretty much only read mysteries while on vacation.
Just read a great Laird Barron hardboiled one that someone on her recommended.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Mnemosyne: So would I. But if we’re going to spread the love around, I can leave him for you, and select Seanan McGuire. (Over Lois McMaster Bujold and Lindsey Davis.)
@debbie: Great choices!
I’m dying to read the 3rd Mantel. First two were masterpieces.
And Erdrich. What can I say. Maybe the most underrated American novelist? She just keeps putting out the work and it’s always top-notch.
With a detour into Charles Willeford.
Dorothy A. Winsor
It would be as if I were reading it for the first time? That’s hard. Austen would be fabulous, but if I read them one after the other, they might sound too much alike. Hm. I think I choose Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia series. She’s a YA author and while the books form a series, each is different. I’d need the sixth and last one too, of course, though it’s not due out until October.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Literature: Stephen King, I guess? I’d probably try to read a selection of the sci-fi greats of the last 50 or so years. So authors like Ellison, PKD, Asimov, etc. I would like to start reading The Culture series too by Banks
Film: The Back to Future trilogy
Never get tired of rewatching those films
Literature: Oh, God, this is too hard.
Dostoyevsky a strong #2
@Comrade Colette Collaboratrice: No Austen fan, but I love the Dunnett idea. Her world-building is so good. I really admire her.
That’s a tough question. For literature,Toni Morrison or Milan Kundera. For poetry I’d have to pick Rabindranath Tagore or Edna St. Vincent Millay. Picking one filmmaker is a tough one. Given that I’m holed up with my kids, Taika Waititi or Peter Jackson.
If it is was a single book it would be the Mahabharata. With 18 parvas (literal translation; era) that would last me for years.
@dmsilev: You have to decide now. Blue light special ending……
@debbie: El Duderino!
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@debbie: @BGinCHI: my goal is to listen to the first two on audiobook before reading the third. It’s a time-saver as I work through my lockdown chores, but I do miss reading the prose, especially of Wolf Hall. It (and this thread) reminds me of the line from Freaks and Geeks, when the hippie chick tells Linda Cardinelli about American Beauty, I wish I had never heard it, so I could listen to it for the first time.
@Bruuuuce: 2 Lois Bujolds!
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
Disney has just released Star Girl. I’m going to watch and hopefully not be angry that they ruined such a great book.
@Dorothy A. Winsor: Don’t know her work and will check it out for my son.
@Mnemosyne: Rock On! I love Terry Prachett.
And William Gibson and Neal Stephenson. I didn’t choose a film so I get more authors.
Hummus Where The Heart Is
Hard choice. I’d want something musical, but would probably be happier, longer term, with something visual.
How about nothing but Galen Rowell’s images. With appropriate orchestral accompaniment.
Tolstoy and Kurosawa.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Ha!
The Mantel books are all about the prose, plus they’re riveting at the level of plot.
We’ll be reading them in 200 years. Seriously. Masterpieces.
@Comrade Colette Collaboratrice:
Yes to Dunnett. And I’ve all the Lymond books twice. The Niccolo series only once.
If restricted to one screenwriter it would be William Goldman.
Tough, tough, tough to settle on one. In the running (a substantial output being a plus):
Ursula K. Le Guin
Cinematic body of work? Directors (again, going for bulk so far as output a crucial consideration):
Michael Powell (includes Powell-Pressburger collaborations)
If magically had access to a trove of stage shows, no question.
@BGinCHI: Have a root beer, on me!
@Dorothy A. Winsor:
Giant Austen fan. But they do share a lot of similar plot points.
My two would be very different from each other – miles apart. I would want Tolkien or Larry McMurtry.
Film? It’s cheating, but I would (try) to finish the Bleach saga. It’s not too terrible for a shōnen.
Books? The entire Nigella Lawson collection. Trust me: I pick apart recipes for fun.
Film: David Lynch edges out Tarantino
Author: 99% of what I read is nonfiction, I would like to say John McPhee, but as for fiction, I guess Vonnegut.
I think it’s like that for everyone. I read Wuthering Heights for the first time when I was an adult and I was like, “Wait, how in the hell is this a romance? Heathcliff is the villain who tries to ruin everyone’s life after Cathy wisely rejects him for being a terrible person!”
I am currently re-reading the works of Poe, Bart Erhman and Barbara Hambly’s Benjamin January series.
Great reads, all!
The short stories of Alice Munro. The novels of Kazuo Ishiguro. The poetry of W.S. Merwin.
It’s okay, I didn’t pick any movies!
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:
She was my second choice after Pratchett.
Though now I’m wondering if I should have said P.G. Wodehouse. Not only do I love his work, he published regularly for over 50 years, so it would take a really long time to run out of reading material.
Well, the Coens were mentioned right off the bat… Gene Wolfe’s a good choice, although to really get into it you’d need a lexicon and some help with unraveling the lies of his unreliable narrators.
Dorothy A. Winsor
@MazeDancer: And it’s only for two weeks. After that, I can read whatever I want. So it’s like a binge.
@NotMax: Your “just choose one” answer is, um, maximal.
[at dinner party]
NotMax: “Can I have one of your French fries?”
[NotMax sweeps all the fries into a large sack, flees in convertible]
@Josie: I totally get this.
Author: Ooh, rough one. Cherryh, Pratchett, or (sole non-SF) Thomas Perry? Hard to choose, hard to choose. Will definitely stick with works where the Good Guys generally win. Stuck at home during a pandemic is no time to be indulging in make-believe angst when there’s plenty of the real thing happening.
Film: Also very rough; I find older films harder to take these days, with the racism and sexism and various other -isms now too obvious and abrasive to me. The MCU flicks would keep me happily occupied, I think. Or documentaries – Hey! Do they have to be theatrical movies? If I could have just one series, theatrical or TV, then it’s no contest: Planet Earth, all seasons.
Second-choice filmmaker: Ernst Lubitsch. I actually love Lubitsch more, but Wilder made more films, so it would fill the time up better.
If you’ve got a Roku, a channel for you to check out.
2 weeks? Kubrick. Enough films to get through in 2 weeks, and a lot of stuff that really packs a punch on first viewing.
4 weeks? Spielberg. More films, good spread of genres, overall good quality but less transformative, pretty high average quality (assuming we wouldn’t know which films were among the directors losers and were watching all of them equally weighted).
More than 4 weeks? Kurosawa or Ford, just based on volume and quality of output. I don’t want to run out of stuff to watch, and I’ll take 12 more generic westerns over a 3rd watching of A Clockwork Orange.
Secret choice, Ishiro Honda so I could relive watching all of the Godzilla movies, which was my favorite genre as a kid. I always admired the underlying message of kaiju as consequence for the irresponsibility of society, which seems quite fitting to the moment. Also high volume of work.
Jane Austen, Hilary Mantel, Neal Stephenson. Pick one.
Narrator: Wuthering Heights is not a romance.
It’s a brutal depiction of emotional abuse of every conceivable kind. I can’t even read it any more
ETA: I think my one writer would have to be Charlotte Bronte, even though the oeuvre isn’t that big and I’ve read it all multiple times. I’d need that memory cleanser, I guess.
@CaseyL: If I could pick MCU I would, simply because there’s a lot of them I haven’t seen, not because of any cultural or cinematic value.
James E Powell
I’m not completely clear. Are we spending the time with the author & director, or with their works?
If the former, Mark Twain and Orson Welles.
If the latter, Shakespeare and Howard Hawks.
I’m really impressed by the variety and reasoning so far. Choices say interesting things about people.
As noted, those are all in the running. Would have to resort to some sort of variation on spin the bottle for a final decision.
@Martin: A+ response.
For 2 weeks, I could watch Chinatown every single day, which is exactly what I did in the late 90s when I was house sitting with no other available film.
Author: Joe Heller
Filmmaker: Chuck Jones
You didn’t mention composers, but I’ll note that the J.S. Bach Edition would take a week to listen to if you queued up all 150+ CDs worth of tracks and listened for 24 hours a day. At 8 hours a day, it would take 3 weeks. Up until now, finding the time has been a little tricky….
Today’s music has been Forever Changes by Love (suggested by someone here) and The Visit by Loreena McKennitt.
I would probably pick either David Eddings or Robert Jordan (Wheel of Time). It would take forever for me to get through all their books. Plus plenty of discussion about the book.
@sgrAstar: Stephenson a great choice.
As is William Gibson, now I think about it.
@Van Buren: I’d go for Bradbury as author to get his collection of shorts.
@James E Powell: Their work.
Still tinkering with the time machine design.
I’m going to take this literally and assume that some subset of everyone I know would also be tied to my choice (housemates, at least, if I had any). If I had to balance popular appeal with depth, I think Stephen Spielberg would be solid for a film director.
I’d want a copy of “Gravity’s Rainbow” plus five hundred Nepalese temple balls.
@NotMax: Stay out of my fries.
Cinematic body of work by actor?
Hands down, Katherine Hepburn.
for me on the literature side, its a very tough call..
The sense of discovery watching her characters grow up makes me appreciate JK Rowling
The versatility of fantasy noir and epic fanatsy points me to Glen Cook
for her world building I would look to Bujold
for the number of simply LOL moments, I would recommend Stephen Martin’s Superchick trilogy
As for films> while i have an absolute affinity for the absurd, so I would love to experience WD Richter’s two 80s cult classic to experience Buckaroo Banzai and Big Trouble in Little China freshly… but instead would thoroughly enjoy watching MST3k for the first time (and it pained me not to put in Monty Python, but there it is)
apparently I’m not as cultured as the rest of you…
@Shalimar: Agreed. I’m reading a Travis McGee book currently.
@oatler.: I mean, if you ate only corn beef hash for 2 weeks you’d get really tired of it, even with Pynchon’s paranoid fantasy for company.
For author I’d go with Neil Stephenson. Start with The Baroque Trilogy, that’s 2400 pages (give or take) right there. Then on to Cryptonomicon, Reamde and Fall (or Dodge in Hell) if you want to stay with that sprawling cast of characters.
@NotMax: Two minutes in the penalty box.
to read: Patrick O’Brian
to watch: ehhh, I don’t really watch movies
JUST ONE AUTHOR? Terry Prachett. Second place, CJ Cherryh, Lois Bujold, Connie Willis, Ursula LeGuin
Hummus Where The Heart Is
Excellent CD. I don’t have it with me right now, but it’s inspired me to cue up “Hymns To The Silence” by Van Morrison.
@piratedan: I love these choices, because you loved reading/seeing them, and want to gift yourself that experience again.
If that ain’t art, I don’t know what is.
I thought about Rowling too. I loved the world-building and plot the first time through, esp when I read the first one and no one had even heard of it. Same with His Dark Materials.
@mad citizen: Funny, I thought of Bukowski too, but then, I’ve been rereading him a bit for the first time in a long time. He’s better than I remembered, and also just as bad in places. But since I don’t wanna think about drinking all the time, I’d probably go with Thurber (probably drank almost as much but didn’t write about it all the time) or Twain. Twain’s got more and longer stuff so probably him.
@EmanG: SNOW CRASH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Film? I’d say either Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli or Akira Kurosawa, as they have both quality and volume.
Literature? Someone who has a decent size body of work without cranking out series, and also doesn’t write books you can breeze through in two hours. Mark Twain or Michael Chabon if I had to choose a current writer. I could say Stan Lee, as he wrote an endless amount of stuff and it would be fun to rediscover the Marvel Universe.
@BGinCHI: But the real challenge would be – if you didn’t know if this would last 2 weeks or 3 months, how would you pick? So do you gamble on high impact, low volume, or high volume, low impact, or do you just admit that you could watch godzilla movies forever?
Did less than nothing for me. Gave up on it several dozen pages in. I prefer tripe as an ingredient in pepper pot soup, not served alone.
FIrst thought, Hitchcock, Kubrick, or Lynch (alphabetical order) for film/tv. All are well-represented in my discs at home, so you know what I’ll be watching a lot of in coming weeks. I could also make do with Kurosawa or early Zhang Yi-Mou plus Hero. For individual movies, I too could watch Chinatown a lot, or Il Conformista.
Books, Toni Morrison or Dostoevsky. Or gird myself with a good dictionary and brush up my Shakespeare.
At the moment, I’m enjoying Donald Glover’s new 3.15.20. Just meant to sample a track or two, …
Here’s another vote for Dunnett. I log off in early evening, so I guess I missed the discussion a few nights ago. I’m not sure what movies…maybe everything Monty Python ever did, if I can include the tv series with the movies.
@NotMax: Sam Jackson.
Seriously, you get like 20% of films made in the last 30 years.
Author: Charles Dickens
Film: everything Paul Newman was ever in
TV (bonus): all of Jacques Pepin
@JeanneT: Lois Bujold is quietly taking over this thread.
I do understand all the Pratchett fans, but I can tell you from personal experience that it is possible to OD on him. I’m down to a small set of favorites, and only once in a while.
Orange is the New Red
Shakespeare. And all of K. Hepburn’s films, but particularly the ones with Spencer Tracy. For the clothes.
For visual literature, only one name atop the pedestal: Will Eisner.
Author – Tolkien for the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Filmaker – Jackson for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy
For reading, I would probably go back and reread the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Each book is huge and very absorbing. I started reading them back when I was 16 and Jamie Fraser was my OG book boyfriend, so I am always happy to spend time in that world.
For film, I have no idea. Something fluffy and light and rom-com because I can’t handle more depressing gloom.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
the first time I read Lonesome Dove, I started it again the day after I finished it. Only book I’ve ever done that with.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
James E Powell
I could watch the first 25 Elvis movies, in order of release, though I doubt any of my friends or family would want to join me.
Once upon a time I’d have said Tolkien, but even though I still appreciate the books, the racism and sexism really grate now. I think I’d pick Roger Zelazny, because he has a pretty large body of work, and it’s varied and multilayered. I love the vast majority of what I read from him, but in different ways, and that’s a pleasure.
Stephen R. Donaldson of the Thomas Covenant series occupied the most space on my shelves before I started Kondo-izing, but I have kind of a love-hate relationship with him. Almost every book of his leaves me irritated or depressed yet I always snap up and devour the next. Although, I’ve not started his latest series. Maybe I finally know how to quit him.
@Martin: In that case, you go with someone like Kurosawa, since he made films across genres, and lots of them.
@NotMax: Wow. I’m surprised.
That’s such a beloved book by so many. I loved it and am almost afraid to reread it.
There’s nowt wrong wi’ corned beef hash!
@cain: Yes. I love the Wheel of Time series
I think that for an author I’d forego the higher realms of literature and choose John Sandford, whose Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers cop series feature flawless writing and plotting and wonderful characters. And because I’m terrible at remembering whodunnit (which is not really the point anyway), most of them will still surprise me.
@prostratedragon: All great choices.
I’m not a big Lynch fan, but I can see why people like his work.
@BGinCHI: If I spoke Japanese, I’d be there. But all of my films being translated as either dubbed/subtitled? Not sure I could handle that.
I know, but it always gets touted as this tragic romance, probably because most of the movie versions cut out the second half of the book and most people have only seen the movies.
I would love to see Adam Driver in a faithful miniseries of the book. I think he could do both the romantic/attractive aspect and the abusive villain parts.
@NeenerNeener: For an extra $1.99 a month, if you act now……..
Yeah, have had it foisted upon me by friends multiple times. And have tried more than once but just cannot get into it at all.
@dnfree: OMG OMG OMG another Merwin fan!!! My Poifick Master & Hero Of The Zeitgeist!!!
(I would type out a couple of his stunning short poems from memory, but unfortunately whoever designed the damn comment form locked in a trailing space after every carriage return, no exceptions for any reason, which makes it effectively impossible to reproduce verse here. :^p)
@TomatoQueen: Spoken like a true product of a Great Books program! Excellent.
There’s a pretty brutal one with Tom Hardy. I can’t even watch it.
Of course I love the Oberon-Olivier-Niven-Fitzgerald version. Now there’s a romance!
Big fan of Wheel of Time series.
@James E Powell: I think we all have our pet category. Mine is purely the result of being at my grandparents watching them on saturdays on the local station that reliably showed one of them every saturday.
We watched Coppola’s first feature “Rain People” last night pretty depressing flick about a pregnant woman, Shirley Knight , who leaves her husband and picks up a brain damaged college football player (Jimmy Cann) and road trips until they meet asshole bike cop (Robert Duvall). If you have to do Francis you’ll have to watch that and “One From the Heart” so it probably isn’t worth it.
@Orange is the New Red: As someone who reads around half of Shakespeare’s plays over again each and every year, I’ll tell you they only get better.
There’s maybe only one I’m legit tired of.
@BGinCHI: Bad for the glass.
@Splitting Image: Yea, I heard a funny thing, somebody said to me. . .
@mali muso: I have a friend who’s so into Gabaldon’s books it almost kind of scared me.
Her world-building must be out of sight.
My wife LOVES the TV series. And my wife is extremely smart & discerning (spousal choice aside).
@Martin: I almost prefer to read subtitles, because my brain is wired funny. Seriously. I can’t figure it out.
I think maybe it’s like reading AND viewing, or something.
Author: John D MacDonald
Travis McGee and all those fun pulp novels. A fine plotter and wordsmith
Movie: Hitchcock. Add in the TV show as a starter ?
Yeah, but on the other hand you’d get Peggy Sue Got Married.
@NotMax: I keep glancing at it furtively in my office and just can’t bring myself to see if it holds up.
I feel the same about A Confederacy of Dunces.
@Uncle Cosmo: Duh. Replace “trailing space” with “blank line.” WTF was I thinking???
Oh, and here is one of Merwin’s short poems which for my money is the best one-line description of the terrorist mentality in existence – from The Moving Target (1963):
OK< sort of OT, and probably only John will love this as much as I do, but Rita Wilson doing old school rap on her Insta is amazeballs.
For movies, I’d go with Hitchcock.
As far as literature – BGinCHI, I have you to thank for mentioning William Gay in one of your prior posts. I ordered a copy of his short story collection “I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down” and my god that man could write. I want to get my hands on his novels.
For movies, Billy Wilder.
For books, Chester Himes.
Then, after a while, hit the reset button
For movies, Kurosawa
For books, Jane Austen
For music, nothing but Duke Ellington
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: I called into work saying I was too sick to come in just so I could finish that book.
@AliceBlue: But only if I could watch it in the theater. Hitchcock is not so much fun at home.
“The film was originally going to star Debra Winger and be directed by Jonathan Demme. They had creative differences and Demme left the project, to be replaced by Penny Marshall, who would be making her feature directorial debut. Then Marshall had creative differences with the writers and left the project. Winger then quit out of loyalty to Marshall. Rastar, the production company, offered the film to Francis Ford Coppola hoping to entice Winger back to the project. In the end, Kathleen Turner became the star.”
Nothing whatsoever against those who love it, of course. It may be because my natural predilection leans to perceiving style being laid on with an airbrush as opposed to a trowel.
Be of this brightness dyed
Whose unrecking fever
Flings gold before it goes
Into voids finally
That have no measure.
TS (the original)
P.D. James. The books rather than the TV shows although most of the latter are available on youtube.
I’m re-reading “When Things Fall Apart” by Pema Chordon, the grand duchess of toilet paper!
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
I can do one better: Alex Ross
I enjoyed DC: The New Frontier and his art in it
A fun game with Hitch is finding hints in the tv shows of what his current movie projects were.
James E Powell
Too bad. I was thinking it would be fun to sit around & drink with Twain.
Or better yet, have a Steve Allen Meeting of Minds thing with Twain, Hemingway, Dorothy Parker, and an open bar.
Louise Erdrich. Ann Patchett hasn’t written enough books and Barbara Kingsolver is wonderful but can get kind of preachy.
Or Neal Stephenson.
@Uncle Cosmo: you could probably do it in text mode.
Comrade Colette Collaboratrice
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
I did that with The Thief, the first book in Megan Whalen Turner’s YA Attolia series that DAW mentioned above – probably not the first time I’ve ever done it, but the first time within memory. Lonesome Dove is terrific but didn’t stick with me.
Hear you on that. No good reason to tarnish a glittering memory.
Ruth C Wright
Terry Pratchett, but I’d have to cheat because they wouldn’t last two weeks. Second choice, all of any of my favorite mystery writers, the more prolific the better.
We watched “The Last Picture Show” Tuesday so, in a fit of brilliance, I fired up “Hud” the next night. Nothing like a movie about a virus to cheer you up.
@raven: “There’s no time to be shocked by the truth, Mrs. Mulwray.”
@BGinCHI: Yeah, her world-building is quite impressive. But there are definitely some super-fans that are a wee bit…much? Watching a new episode of season 5 tonight as soon as I put the kiddo to bed!
@prostratedragon: I’ve got the hair, I’ve got the teeth!
There’s a lot of hot Highland sexy time. I read them a few summers ago after four very different friends all recommended them. They are escapist and interesting. There’s another series of three books called Discovery of Witches with an adult take on witches demons and vampires. I really enjoyed the second book mostly because the members of The School of Night are major characters. The author is an historian and wine enthusiast.
Saw almost all of it recently — it’s one of those movies I habitually bump into midstream at about the same point. But this time, the sense of dislocation Peggy experienced stood out.
@Fair Economist: Great big YES on Zelazny! His short stories are just astonishing. I bought the multi-volume books of his collected shorts, and I own everything he ever published (even his poetry and kids books). I have Bujold in second.
His novels are stellar.
Like Cormac McCarthy, but edited.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
I caught the last half of Dial M for Murder directed by Hitchcock last night on TCM. It was pretty good!
Apparently it was originally shot to take advantage of 3D, which Hitchcock famously hated. 3D was was an attempt by studios to get audiences away from their TV sets and back in movie theaters. Unfortunately, by the time filming was done, the 3D craze had ended and it was shown in 2D in theatres However, years later Scorcese complimented Hitchcock’s use of the 3D process
P.G. Wodehouse – Jeeves and Wooster, Blandings Castle, Mulliner series. Lot of books of short stories, lot of novels. Added bonus: there are 97 books.
Backup – Anthony Trollope. Dozens of books, two great series – Barcheser and Pallister – of 6 books each. The rest are one-offs. IMO better than Dickens, subtler, finer drawn characters, more intricate plots, less coincidence-driven plotting.
Anyone else watch “Sanditon” Austen’s last and unfinished book”. It was ok with an AWFUL ending.
@Martin: Subs grow on you. Plus it adds to the rewatchability because you’re focusing so much on the written dialogue first pass that you can focus more on the visuals next go around.
@Brachiator: From Himes to Austen.
I love this place.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist:
I have never read the novel. But I rented the laser disc version of the tv miniseries to watch over a long Labor Day weekend some years ago. I watched the entire thing in almost one sitting, not even stopping to go to bed. And this was long before binge watching became a thing.
The only thing roughly similar was the novel Shogun. I took it with me to the laundry room as I was washing some clothes. I got so caught up with it that I lost track of time and forgot what I was doing. Until a neighbor came down sometime later to do their own clothes.
@BGinCHI: “Where’d ya get the midget”?
Oh, I am so afraid to reread A Confederacy of Dunces! Isn’t that weird? I’m so afraid it’s no good.
@dexwood: I wrote Larry M. a fan letter after I read it.
An actual letter.
hmmm.. yeah. lots was said above i agree with, coen brothers, the mcu, zelazny, gibson….
i’ve the urge to go with moorcock or alan moore for text but no.
iain m. banks. culture series and sundry tales. GREAT shit.
films? while kurosawa and the mcu are TEMPTING, i’d have to go for bruce timm and paul dini’s DCAU.
@Gravenstone: When your hearing goes they really grow on you.
@BGinCHI: I wrote Pat Conroy and we wrote me back!
@BGinCHI: Confederacy holds up real good.
Sam Fuller ain’t bad.
I liked it and hated the ending, but I’ve read they ended it that way to leave the door open for a season two. The funniest thing for me was that my mom developed a wicked crush on Theo James after watching the series. She even watched the Divergent series because she likes hi so much.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Did you ever get a letter back?
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
I think Ross (primarily known as an artist) would willingly doff his chapeau to Eisner, who covered the bases as writer, artist and publisher.
@TS (the original): I love the Dalgliesh books. She’s damn good writer.
@BGinCHI: Oh man, long list- definitely the Coen Brothers at our near the top, and Wes Anderson is probably somewhere on there, but Robert Altman, Martin Scorcese, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Truffaut, Fellini, Sergio Leone, Tarantino, Coppola- I guess Wes Anderson doesn’t make my top 10.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka):
We watched it last night as well. Even though it’s “minor” Hitchcock, it’s miles better than most other people’s movies. Ray Milland is incredible.
@James E Powell: First bloody nose wins.
They seemed to think they were going to get another season, so they couldn’t end the main story. Big mistake.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Yeah, it’s just bananas how many films the man has been in. You get (almost?) the entire MCU, some Star Wars, Jurassic Park, most Tarantino, most Spike Lee, and you get Goodfellas.
@prostratedragon: oh, fun! I would hunt down the authors of the short stories. How I discovered John Collier.
@MomSense: It had to be but wtf-k?
I hope to God she’s seen the “Mr. Pamuk” episode of Downton Abbey.
@Gravenstone: Hadn’t considered the rewatchability. That’s true.
@raven: Patricia Neal. Damn.
Hud is one of my faves. Martin Ritt really underrated. His “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” is on Amazon Prime. Really good.
Comrade Colette Collaboratrice
@MomSense: I liked the first Outlander book, found the second a mixed bag (good historical stuff, annoying character-building and bad choices by those characters), and hated the beginning of the third so much I stopped and never went back. Similar experience with A Discovery of Witches – the first was fun (although, my G-d, girl, dial back on the adjectives!), and the second was enjoyable mostly for the evocation of the historical setting. The third left me thinking “WTF did I just read?!?” The author set up elaborate rules for her super-secret world, only to have her characters blithely ignore them without consequences at every turn.
I think Harkness, like Gabaldon, would really benefit from a good, ruthless editor of the old school. No ghosts, grad students, or fucking vampire yoga, for a start.
@WaterGirl: OK, let’s try. From the same volume:
Yeah, that seems to work. Filed for future reference. Thanx.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
I find Trollope calming. I finished the Barchester books a couple of years ago, and I’ve been meaning to start with the Pallisers. There’s a BBC version of Dr Thorne, I think it is, that I may dial up this week. I just googled to check which American they cast as Miss Dunstable (Allison Brie), and I see Ian McShane plays Sir Roger Scatcherd. That just moved up on my list.
@MomSense: I am also a wine enthusiast.
Bujold is good. Let’s see –
Shit, this could go on forever.
@zhena gogolia: There was a mini-series called “Island at War” about the Channel Islands and them Nazi’s. It was pretty good but they didn’t renew and it just ended!
Or I could just go with the:
Internet Sacred Texts Archive
@zhena gogolia: I wonder if that’s part of what did Toole in.
He was never, ever gonna pull that off again.
I’ve never read Wodehouse! Where would you suggest I start?
@BGinCHI: And Cloris Leachman in TLPS. Man she hurts.
About a week ago she came out of her room sort of red faced and had apparently discovered 50 shades. She doesn’t really know how to work Hulu so it must have come on after one of her NYPDSVUSCIS shows.
Cinematic body of work, by an actor.
Hands down, William Powell
For anyone who hasn’t read it, I’d recommend East of Eden. The book kept me pinned on a couch one summer I was in college (although the weed may have helped).
Also, Sometimes a Great Notion, as others have mentioned, Lonesome Dove, and anything by Cormac McCarthy, Thomas Pynchon, and James Ellroy.
@raven: That guy had a great rep for generosity.
I used to write to poets, and they all wrote back. Because of course almost no one else probably did.
Author: The neuralyzer thing makes it tough. The wonder that Tolkien’s world inspired in me as a child couldn’t be experienced again. I am not nine anymore. So something that I could appreciate as an adult… Mantel again. I was wowed by the first two. I still expect to be wowed by the third.
Pop Music: Elvis Costello
Classical Music: Beethoven, but my inner violinists still wants Vivaldi.
@Mnemosyne: I know, right? Terry Pratchett. Imagine reading Discworld in one massive binge. The only question is, in what order, because you don’t get the full effect from sampling just the very earliest books.
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Sadly, no.
No hard feelings.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@raven: you ever catch her on Bob Saget’s roast? Comedy Central took the video down, but it was clear people weren’t expecting the 80 year-old Oscar winner to set the house on fire
@BobS: I was going to just go with Altman.
I taught a New Hollywood class last year and fell down the Altman rabbit hole all over again. Nashville and Long Goodbye, esp.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: OO, no.
This is a difficult Medium Cool for me. I read fiction as if it is the air i need to live. I love movies, but not as much as I love books. I so rarely re-read a book or watch a movie more than once. I mean, there are so many to choose from and so little time. My wife, however is a part-time reader and full-time fan of movies. She will watch a movie she likes 20 or 30 times over the years. Gotta say, though, this is an interesting thread because of what it reveals about individual taste and the offered examples I’m keeping track of.
Now there’s another good angle. Most of his things seem to be literary or stage adaptations, often of writers that have a substantial body work to track down, though I haven’t systematically done so yet. There was a mystery magazine under his name from which many of the tv stories came.
@BGinCHI: Three Women?
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
Probably. I think he’s a close second imo
@raven: Oh, YES.
The older I get, the more I’m keen on Mrs. Robinson and don’t notice the daughter.
@Jim, Foolish Literalist: Dr. Thorne isn’t bad. There’s also an old BBC version of the Pallisers that was great but you have to deal with a huge orange Trollope head in the opening credits and 1970s British production values – sound issues mostly. It’s a many part series that ran on Masterpiece Theater I think.
(wide eyed) “I am Heathcliff!”
@BGinCHI: I didn’t get a chance to read the comments, I’ve been tied up having virtual cocktails with distant friends, but I was struck that my answer here at the end was almost the same as BGinCHI’s right at the beginning. I would go with Wes Anderson first, because I just find all his films so much fun, and the Coen brothers next. Many many hours of pleasure and enlightenment with those guys.
Funny thing about distant friends, of course, is that friends across the ocean and friends on another floor of my building are just the same: one FaceTime call away. It reminds me that when we were courting, my wife and I used to have dinner together over FaceTime. I was often in a restaurant, but I completely got over any self-consciousness about setting up the iPad and talking to someone in Indianapolis. We were ahead of our time.
Haven’t read all of them but I love the sci-fi novels of N.K. Jemisin. She’s great at creating alternative worlds and histories. Would love to see her Broken Earth series turned into several movies.
@BGinCHI: Good attitude, but still, a reply would have been so cool.
@BGinCHI: I know I’m in the minority about this, but I finally read A Confederacy of Dunces a couple of years ago, Hated it. Had to force myself to finish it and then donated the book to the library at my mother’s assisted living community.
@Omnes Omnibus: This was my thinking in putting the memory wipe thing in there.
So many things don’t age with us. And some things are amazingly, freshly magical later on.
Reading Dr. Seuss to my kid was mind-blowing, to see what he’s doing with language, the seeming effortlessness.
@BGinCHI: Those, and McCabe & Mrs Miller.
@BobS: I’m back in the Steinbeck rabbit hole with “Travels With Charley” and “Log From the Sea of Cortez” that got me into “The Western Flyer” about the boat they took. I didn’t realize that Ricketts was listed as co-author the first edition of “Log” but the publisher took him off after he died. Have you read “The Other Side of Eden” by JS IV? Not a happy story.
No one else here’s a fan of Dorothy Sayers?
@debbie: I’ll jump in here and suggest a short story collection. Blandings Castle is a good one. I believe there are a number of Jeeves short story collections too but the names escape me at the moment. It’ll give you a sense of the style.
So much great stuff to choose from, but if it had to be a single series, I choose Taxi.
@BGinCHI: There is a woman (who you probably know) who used to waitress at the Grit. I remember her when she was in high school and she played MRS ROBINSON at the Town and Gown!!!
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
The acting back then was very different than acting after the New Hollywood directors and actors took over imo in the 70s and on. I have a greater appreciation for older movies now and have been watching some on TCM within the last week or so, but delivery is just a lot different than a more modern delivery. Characters in a 1940s movie just don’t act like real people as compared to a more contemporary movie
He’s been one of the most in demand Af American actors within the last 25-30 years for sure, although I think he’s been heavily typecast as the “angry black man”
@BGinCHI: Titus Andronicus? Pericles? King John? Oh, I know – Timon of Athens!
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Ever see “A Decade Under the Influence”?
@dexwood: I hear you.
I’m a rereader by profession, but before I went to grad school I bet I never re-read anything. I didn’t have to for school as I have a sharp memory for things I’ve read.
But with film I’ve always been a re-viewer. Not for everything, but for something I wanted to learn and, most of all, to spend extended time in that built world.
Re-reading Shakespeare for the last 20ish years, closely, over and over, and teaching it, is the deepest experience in art I can describe. I can feel his mind working in the plays and poetry. I can feel him there. No exaggeration. The most uncanny feeling. There are insights into complexity, human feeling, narrative design there that aren’t even remotely approached by anything else, apart from just a few things (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Keats, Wallace Stevens).
Re-reading is, for me, about something other than entertainment, or the slither of plot along the axis. Some day I’m gonna write something on that.
@raven: Only seen it once. Need to remedy.
Spy is another single movie I could make do with if necessary. With Ritt you also get The Edge of the City, The Long Hot Summer, The Molly Maguires, The Great White Hope, Norma Rae, and Stanley and Iris among others, so not bad indeed.
Which reminds me, John LeCarre’s Smiley novels. I haven’t got to the post-Smiley ones except A Perfect Spy and The Night Manager, so there’s another project for me sometime soon.
@raven: Actually “The Other Side of Eden” is by JS IV’s widow Nancy and him.
@grandmaBear: Sure, I am a fan, but, based on the parameters listed, Sayers isn’t going to make me say “holy shit, this is amazing.”
I still remember the NPR review for 50 Shades. He starts out explaining Internet fiction and how it’s published for free on the Internet. “In a better world, it would have stayed there.”
Geisel for a time took in income from providing blue cartoons to what were referred to in polite society as gentlemen’s magazines.
While on the subject, Sid & Marty Krofft first made a big splash with an adult-rated puppet show.
@BGinCHI: Really weird but Sissy and Shelly Duvall are awesome.
@PST: My brother from another mother.
I love the long-distance dinner. Now that’s romantic.
Recovering Hoosier here, btw.
@zhena gogolia: I hated that book. Couldn’t finish it. And that was back in theday when I *always* finished books!
@Patricia Kayden: I read the New Yorker piece on her and am going to read her ASAP.
@AliceBlue: A LOT of people hate it. And I get that. It’s an odd, odd book.
Like Pynchon: it ain’t for everybody.
@raven: I hadn’t heard of it- the reviews on Good Reads make it sound interesting (especially one review, that sounds like a reading list from my teens and twenties- Burroughs, Kesey, Kerouac, Laing, Ram Das, et al).
@grandmaBear: Great writer.
Only read one of her books, alas.
Thanks for the suggestion! I remember watching Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry’s Berty and Jeeves on Masterpiece Theater. Loved it.
When Neko Case was assembling her piano orchestra she found an unlimited supply on Craig’s List that could be had for simply picking them up. The usable ones went into the barn and those not, went into a field to journey back to nature.
I’ve been lurking & spending time on BJ since Cole lost his mustard, but never commented before. I love hearing people’s suggestions about authors—many I love (bujold, Austin, Trollope & others) or hated (wheel of Time got so tedious & stupid that the 5th in the series is the first time I bought a book and actually gave myself permission to stop reading). I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Barry Ungar—his historical fiction is exquisite & varied.
I dont watch movies much, so I’ll passing that one.
I * really* appreciate this place and am glad you are here!
@raven: Now you’re just provoking me.
I miss that place and all the desires & conflicts I was full of then. Not that I’d ever want to go back to that state of being…..
@Omnes Omnibus: Am I the only one in the world who liked Mantel’s book on the French Revolution – A Place of Greater Safety – more than the Wolf Hall books? Probably.
I ask my students a similar question on day of class every year. It alternates between which movie you would bring and which artist’s discography you would bring. I do it in part to tell some jokes, in part to help remember students, in part to see what the kids are up to these days. Fascinating results each year.
I like the neurolizer twist. It rules out John Hughes for me. I love the movies but it is at least half nostalgia. For me, Spielberg, hands down. Agatha Christie maybe for the author.
@trollhattan: One of the reasons I asked her to marry me like 58 times.
I mean, if she’d ever met me…..
@Miss Bianca: Midsummer Night’s Dream.
I have reasons.
@raven: Highly recommend.
Wallace Stevens is the one poet I remember from school. “And nothing himself, beholds nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.”
E.F. Benson’s Mapp & Lucia’ books. Endless delight.
@Miss Bianca: I have not read it, but I mean to remedy that soon.
There’s a Blandings series for TV which had its moments but overall was just okay. Except for the pig, who shone. Still available on Prime, I believe.
Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)
I haven’t but it looks very interesting
@BobS: It’s pretty sad since he overdosed. He was a grunt in the Nam and John Sr was weirdly pro-war at that time and even wrote a book about it. Jr went back and hung out with the Coconut Monk, here’s the write up from Tricycle.
@grandmaBear: I was wondering if I would be the first to mention Sayers!
As it is, a lot of people have volunteered a lot of my faves: Austen, Patrick O’Brian, Dickens, Rowling…Shakespeare…Gabaldon…Bujold
If I had to go out on a limb and go with another series that no one has yet mentioned, it would be the Oz books – all of L.Frank Baum’s, then on to Ruth Plumly Thompson’s.
That, or all of Georgette Heyer. She’s a great old comfort read!
Movies? I dunno…Hitchcock? Kurosawa? No…I think Charlie Chaplin, actually.
@Brachiator: What does a yellow light mean?
@Victor Matheson: I still like the Hughes films, but it’s harder, for sure.
One film I loved and now can’t stand is Albert Brooks’ Lost in America. The class stuff just doesn’t work for me at all. The 80s stuff goes one way or the other. Beverly Hills Cop? Super fun to watch again….
@Goku (aka Amerikan Baka): Oh, certainly. But he’s said he does 3 films per year, and so he’ll simply take the best 3 offers he has. If that’s Avengers and some garbage, then he’ll still do the garbage.
But that means you just get a fuckton of stuff to watch, much of which he may only have a cameo in. He has a fairly Michael Caine attitude – when interviewed about his role in one of the Jaws sequels: “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”
And he’s far and away the actor with the highest grossing box office haul, by virtue of being in nearly the entire MCU, Star Wars sequels, Jurassic Park. You get a Clancy film, a Die Hard, 2 Pixar films, a Scorcese, etc.
The guy simply wins through volume, despite not really getting into acting until he was a bit older.
@Miss Bianca: Chaplin and Keaton!
Thomas E. Barden’s Steinbeck in Vietnam offers for the first time a complete collection of the dispatches Steinbeck wrote as a war correspondent for Newsday. Rejected by the military because of his reputation as a subversive, and reticent to document the war officially for the Johnson administration, Steinbeck saw in Newsday a unique opportunity to put his skills to use. Between December 1966 and May 1967, the sixty-four-year-old Steinbeck toured the major combat areas of South Vietnam and traveled to the north of Thailand and into Laos, documenting his experiences in a series of columns titled Letters to Alicia, in reference to Newsday publisher Harry F. Guggenheim’s deceased wife. His columns were controversial, coming at a time when opposition to the conflict was growing and even ardent supporters were beginning to question its course. As he dared to go into the field, rode in helicopter gunships, and even fired artillery pieces, many detractors called him a warmonger and worse. Readers today might be surprised that the celebrated author would risk his literary reputation to document such a divisive war, particularly at the end of his career.
@BGinCHI: “How much did you lose””
In some ways, Albert Brooks is an acquired distaste.
@prostratedragon: there were lots of them and were really great stuff.
Good taste. I mean you. Okay, maybe her too, I just wouldn’t know. :-)
Recently learned of “Truckdriver Gladiator Mule” and after poking around finally sourced a copy in the UK. On it’s way–boat or plane I have no idea. #CoronaShopping
I did NOT know that.
@BGinCHI: Ah. Well then. That one does get a little fey after a while, doesn’t it?
Am working on cuts for Much Ado, right now, and praying that this lousy plague will be corralled enough that the show will be able to go on as scheduled in June.
@trollhattan: Her voice. Just…..damn.
@Omnes Omnibus: fabulous. Highly recommended.
TS (the original)
My only criticism – I don’t think she does well at the romance part of the spectrum. I listened to her speak about wanting to make sure Dalgliesh was happy & settled before she could write no more – but I think she could just have easily let him move into old age a widower, with his poetry & music, it would better have suited the character.
@Miss Bianca: Where? Are you directing? Dramaturg?
I put that back into my Comedies class the last two years. I love its savagery, and want to see its teeth and not the fucking dancing and the banter rendered as light comedy.
What they do to Hero, and what Hero does to herself….now that’s sharp stuff. Akin to what Wilder is doing in The Apartment.
Yup. Funnily enough, I don’t think New Pornographers have any idea how to mix her into the group in a way that highlights her instrument without stealing every song.
The box set will be my first go listening to her on vinyl, plus content I’ve never heard at all. My housemates will all be compelled to walk the dog, I’m sure. “Her? Again?” Philistines.
@raven: Nice story- thanks for the link. I was hoping it wouldn’t end the way it did.
@Miss Bianca: If you’ve never read this article, I HIGHLY recommend.
Harry was/is my mentor (he’s in his 90s!).
Great minds…or just a coincidence – I wrote a friend today that I have a big capacity for rereading books. So which play of Shakespeare’s grates now? Agree about the impact, and yet for two weeks, I’m taking PG Wodehouse and for movies Preston Sturges
@raven: wow, I had no idea Steinbeck was a Vietnam war correspondent! The things I learn on this yere blog!
@TS (the original): This is the correct take.
J R in WV
For sheer poundage of great interesting books, McPhee is wonderful. I have all of his books that I know of so far. Another guy who wrote a lot of non-fiction that’s great is Steven Jay Gould.
For fiction, wow. Heinlein wrote a lot of good thick books, I first read his juvenile books in Jr High in the early 1960s. Which may explain a lot about me…
Lois McMaster Bujold is great. David Webster wrote a huge volume of pretty good space opera. I’m just glad I can down load a big crap load of fiction as eBooks to my tablet!
Another one that might be timely is Kurt Vonnegut. I went on a spree of his work just after college which happened to be during the immediate post 9/11 run up to war and recall his writing to be painfully funny and incisive.
@trollhattan: Exactly. I love them for trying, though. And when it hits, it hits hard.
My first music crush was Kim Gordon, Sonic Youth.
It creates some terrific female characters, then drops them. Rude mechanicals are the draw.
@BGinCHI: I fell in love hearing Linda Thompson sing Dimming of the Day.
@BobS: Oh god yes.
Have a big thing for Jenny Lewis. Nuff said.
@Van Buren: I left a copy of A Man Without a Country in my 89 year old dad’s cottage- he read it about a month ago, was blown away, wondered who this guy was and why he had never heard of him.
Player Piano and Slaughterhouse Five were both required reading by my ninth grade English teacher. I had a bunch of teachers like her that I didn’t appreciate enough at the time.
Mine was Chrissy Hynde.
@Omnes Omnibus: Good crush. That accent too.
Medium cool on artistic crushes? Or too stalky?
@BGinCHI: Oh, wow, The Apartment…I got into such fights with my friends who love that movie, I *hated* it and couldn’t get through it, because I hated the premise so much. (That toxic early 60s sexist vibe almost made me give up on Mad Men…but I got through it and started to dig it. I might have to give The Apartment another try!)
I am directing, here, where I work, and yeah, poor Hero…I really hope that the intern who is coming out will be able to bring a bit of fire to her. Just that little, little sense at the end that she *may* choose to forgive, but she’s never going to forget. I know my Beatrice gets it – *she’s* not about to forgive Claudio and the Prince!
THo’ I think I freaked her and the artistic director, who will play Benedick, just a little when I opined, quietly, “I’m not sure I actually want people to see this as a happy ending.”
I think I’d have to go Dickens for sheer volume (there’s not enough Austen) but Pratchett and Shakespeare are tempting . . . as are Jasper fforde, Dorothy Sayers (!!) and Conan Doyle.
Can’t think of movies, although Sherlock and Doctor Who would be tied if tv counts.
She came back from completely losing her voice for a good period, which is a horrid thing for a singer. Has some lovely solo albums.
She and Richard’s son Teddy has a gorgeous voice, an adjective I rarely apply to a male singer. Harvested talent from both parents, he did.
I could easily make Richard my desert island musician. His catalogue is yuge and varied, plus he’s equally good as a performer and songwriter. Elvis Costello is up there for the same reasons. Van Morrison probably has a bigger catalogue than those two combined, by now. He’d at least be a finalist
@BGinCHI: I think it might be interesting. What combo of looks, style, and talent does it take to create an artistic crush?
@J R in WV: perhaps you meant David Weber? (if you’re thinking about the Honor Harrington/Manticore space opera series)
Mine was Annie Haslam, of Renaissance (carrying forward the discussion from the other day of prog rock, while we’re at it). And she was/is gorgeous, too.
@Omnes Omnibus: Debbie Harry for me… but the late 70’s early 80’s gave you a lot of choices too
@trollhattan: You named the two guys I’d have to flip a coin to decide- Richard Thompson and Van Morrison. Actually, maybe a three sided coin- Miles Davis, too.
@Omnes Omnibus: I like it.
A crush, properly executed, only hurts the one who has it.
Heh, before we get all carried away by musical crushes, The Rotters.
@scav: My daughter was feeling a little freaked out by current events, so my son quoted her Frank Herbert from Dune, “Fear is the mind-killer”. I love that one, but I also like Peter Capaldi’s Dr Who send off, “Never be cruel, never be cowardly”.
Richard & Linda Thompson – A Heart Needs A Home
Tongues talk fire and
Eyes cry rivers
Hearts of stone
Paper ships and
The world’s no place when
You’re on your own
A heart needs a home
@BGinCHI: Looks interesting, thanks! Kind of gave up on the registration process to sign in, tho’ – “what academic institution do you belong to?” “Uh…none…ABD from Northwestern, does that count for your purposes?”
@raven: Yeah, that’s one of my fave raves. Hard to get tired of Richard and Linda.
@Miss Bianca: OK, I’ll have to compress my loooong answer to this.
The Apartment offers that sexism, proto-Mad Men stuff only to fiercely blow it to pieces. It’s a send-up of the petty, destructive desires of men, esp those with power in the business world. It’s also a finger in the eye of the film business that forces an art form to make sex (which is about desire, and is messy, and often harmful) into sappy romance, which is only skin deep. It’s a masterpiece and requires many viewings for all its little cuts to turn into a bleeding.
MAAN, similarly, wears the patina of romance, but is about the way men can get away with anything, while women can get away with nothing (hence the much ado). It’s a spear aimed at the heart of the patriarchal construction of family, marriage, and father-daughter (parent-child) relations.
I highly recommend the article I linked to, and I’m, always happy to talk more at length about it.
@Miss Bianca: Too bad they got tired of each other.
@Miss Bianca: If you want a copy, ask watergirl for my email.
When I read it (many moons ago), I hated it three times, stopped reading. Then when I finally persisted and read the whole thing I thought it was hilarious, brilliant, incredible.
But I’ve never read it again.
@LuciaMia: I have read those several times over the years, as well as the non-Benson sequels. Less good but still fun.
I toured Benson’s (and Henry James’ before him) house in Rye several years ago. Makes all the stories come more to life.
Oh, I was right! When you said that, for some reason MSD popped into my mind. How neat.
ETA: I mean MND.
@Trapped Lurker: this me , the new-old lurker. I don’t see how to edit a comment (need to figure that out), but the author of exquisite and varied historical fiction is Barry Unsworth.
Sorry to introduce myself to BJ with a mistake, but can you just imagine an embarrassment emoji please ?
Dr. Dreyfus, The Apartment
Thank you, all. Thinking about books and films and music was a nice diversion.
You have 5 minutes to edit a comment after you have posted it; after that you are out of luck. So I imagine the edit window had run out by the time you thought about editing?
If the edit window is still there, you will see this below your comment but above the reply button for your comment. Just click on it to edit.
@piratedan: Susanna Hoffs.
@WaterGirl: thank you. The first comment was in moderation for awhile; I see that I can proof new comments now. This thread has been great. I’ll be checking out new authors I’ve not heard of. I’m currently in Maryland in “grandma jail” trying not to go bonkers.
No one on Balloon Juice ever, ever makes a mistake.
@zhena gogolia: I thought I did once, but I was wrong.
@BGinCHI: To me, it’s also about the breakdown of every institution that is supposed to protect this young woman – political as well as personal – which happens, almost casually, as a result of a powerful sociopathic man who spreads ‘fake news’ with no regard for the lives he destroys in the process, as long as he gets back at the ‘right’ people, and it’s only through a combination of sisterly solidarity and the actions of a barely competent set of whistleblowers that we don’t descend into full-blown tragedy. (Interestingly, the only ‘official’ institution that comes off in a sympathetic light is the church – Friar Francis is having none of this shit, thank you very much.)
I see it, inevitably, as an allegory for our times. (Tho’ I’m planning to set it just post-Civil War – going for a kind of “Deadwood” look and feel.)
I wondered if anyone would dare mention RAH. I discovered him in 4th grade, when my elementary school finally got a library (two classrooms knocked together during the previous summer). Rocket Ship Galileo; Between Planets; Red Planet; Farmer in the Sky. His juveniles were just outstanding in large part because he never never never talked down to his readers. You could almost hear his voice in the background saying, This concept might be a mite difficult to grasp, but I have faith that you’re smart enough to figure it out. And they share with his stories for adults an unmatched (at least for many years) ability to toss readers into a totally unfamiliar setting to discover (after a couple dozen pages) that they understood & believed it. That is absolutely the hardest part about writing high-quality SF – and he made it look almost effortless. It took me years to figure out his secret: Heinlein approached his imaginary worlds from the POV not of a scientist but an engineer. He rarely spent many words telling you why something worked, or was the way it was; he would show us how it worked – & that was all we needed.
Of all the SF I’ve read I would pick Heinlein’s body of work, in spit of all his cranky attitudes & posturings – but only if I could forget not only having read the stories before, but also all the later science that kicked the pins out from under a lot of them.
(Queue the brickbats.)
@BGinCHI: Will do. Thanks!
@Miss Bianca: Will people say cocksucker a lot?
@Martin: Are you familiar with her ‘Under the Covers’ collaborations with Matthew Sweet as Sid n Susie?
Vol 1 is covers of 60’s songs, Vol 2 the 70’s, and Vol 3, the 80’s.
@Trapped Lurker: Welcome!
@Uncle Cosmo: Why would the brickbats get in line?
@Miss Bianca: I’m here now if you think you want whatever it is that BG offered to send you. :-) Just let me know.
@zhena gogolia: that’s why l love it so much. Been reading for years & feel like I know many of you, though I haven’t ventured much into the conversation. When I didn’t see Barry Unsworth’s fiction mentioned I had to jump up & tell you all about it, but jumped into the room after watching forever & promptly tripped. A well, learning to accept my imperfections & all that. Isolated, not drinking. ???
@WaterGirl: Oh, yah, please! You need me to send you an email, or can you pluck my email addy out from the thickets of the Baka Beyond?
@Omnes Omnibus: *snerk
@BobS: No, but I’ll poke at it. Thanks.
@Uncle Cosmo: Stranger in a Strange Land was one of the influential books of my youth, and one of my all time favorite science fiction books, along with Dune and The Sirens of Titan.
For their body of work, I kind of like Theodore Sturgeon and Phillip K. Dick.
I kind of have a crush on her and the fellow she sings with. She’s so attractive and his voices is amazing.
I love their cover of a Linda Ronstadt song. I wish I could remember the name of it, would love to listen to it now.
edit: Different Drum!
@Splitting Image: Read Something Happened in , um, 1980 and haven’t been able to get completely up from the curb since. Good As Gold was good but didn’t pull me back from the precipice.
@WaterGirl: It is part of what BobS is talking about. And it is here.
@WaterGirl: That’s Matthew Sweet she’s singing with- it’s from Vol 1 of Under the Covers.
She does a great job covering Kirsty Macoll’s They Don’t Know on Vol 3.
Oh, goodness – how could I have forgotten about Mel Brooks for my “memory wiped clean” theoretical watching??
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Miss Bianca: oh man, to see The Producers or Young Frankenstein for the first time….
Shut up! I’m having a rhetorical conversation!
@Omnes Omnibus: I missed what BobS said – my ears (eyes) perked up when I saw Martin’s “Susanna Hoffs”.
I wonder if their music is available on iTunes. I could use some happy music right about now.
@Trapped Lurker: Morality Play! One of my favorite novels ever, but I don’t know his other work. Just checked Amazon–there’s so many I’ll have to check out.
@Omnes Omnibus: Thanks for the link. The first comment under the video is great:
“I love her voice; I love the rasp. I love her hair and eyes, especially the sideway glances. I love the set, the chairs; I love her posture, her short dress, her legs and the placement of her hands. I love the instrumentation and Matthew’s backup. Other than that it was just O.K.”
J R in WV
I read “Log from the Sea of Cortez” before we took our cruise around the end of Baja to watch whales with Nat Geographic / Lindblad February before last. It was a great book, but spoke of its era loudly — simple natives, etc. The book before the trip was good, it was part of the reading list they recommended. Our only cruise, maybe ever, now !!
Late as usual. Although I am a major Austen (sorry,BG) and Wodehouse fan, I think I would opt for Carl Hiaasen and Elmore Leonard, especially the former. I just enjoy their Over-The-Topness so much.Likewise, Pat Conroy and Donald Westlake, Patrick Dennis etc.
Movie-wise, Spielberg because of his diversity.
@BobS: East of Eden I have read numerous times
That’s really interesting to me. I still remember catching ’30’s movie version (Mickey Rooney as Puck!) in the early ’70’s and it is the female characters that stay with you.
@debbie: The Idea Of Order at Key West –
She sang beyond the genius of the sea.
The water never formed to mind or voice,
Like a body wholly body, fluttering
Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion
Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,
That was not ours although we understood,
Inhuman, of the veritable ocean.
@Trapped Lurker: LOVED Morality Play and Sacred Hunger.
Reminds me how much I also love Jim Crace.
@prostratedragon: That guy nearly steals the film, along with the woman in the bar.
I’d go with Kurosawa (although Billy Wilder and the Coens are good choices, too). His work spans genres, and starting with Seven Samurai, his movies tended to run 150 minutes+, so you could plan your day around them (even Red Beard). And I believe I already have the Blu-rays of all his movies that are available in that format, and the others I have on DVD (although some of the early ones are from Hong Kong and not as good of transfers as the Criterion Eclipse versions of the same titles). And I even have the Criterion laserdisc of Dersu Uzala, which is a good thing, because the Kino DVD of it is an abomination.
Thanks everyone for a splendid thread!
My single favorite work of fiction:
Two Two One Bravo Baker on AO3 by abundantlyqueer
WARNING: explicit, violent, tragic thriller about covert investigation into a war atrocity committed by UK forces in Afghanistan. Don’t start it unless you’re willing to risk ending up heartbroken.
Fan fiction for an alternate-universe of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.
There is also an amazing podfic (audiobook) downloadable, about 13 hours of mesmerizing listening. First chapter, here.
I’ve read this several times, and have listened to the whole podfic three times through; I’d love the chance to have my memory erased and to come into this AU with fresh eyes and ears.
I saw Richard Thompson with Fairport Convention back in 1971 and have loved everything he’s done, but damn, he was a dick to Linda.
@BGinCHI: Inescapable, somehow.
James E Powell
One of the top ten scenes in the history of television. It’s up there with Lucy & Ethel at the chocolate factory.
@Patricia Kayden: N.K Jemison is great. I think the Broken Earth needs a TV series. Too much and too involved for movies.
I think turn off all music, cinema, TV, shut all books and just sit, think and hopefully write about the book I started some time ago when I also had nothing but time on my hands. The story is involved, inside the mind of one guy, his travels, interactions and visions over his life. (and none of it is about me!) Isn’t that what retirement is for?
@alquitti: I second kurosawa
I think for variety Dickens might be the choice.
My first choice would be Sir Terry Pratchett. If, for some reason, his works weren’t available, I think I’d go for Elmore Leonard. I hadn’t known that John D. McDonald wrote so much — I only knew about the Travis McGhee series. I’ll have to see if I can find some of his other works. By the way, Elmore Leonard wrote some great westerns.
@tokyokie: The action ones are great, but Ikiru is my favorite.
Now I think of it, reminds me of Proust – another candidate for 4 weeks of reading.
J R in WV
Yes, my bad. I have a huge problem with names and faces.. Weber, Webster..duh. I have most of both series. Could reread them for much of the quarantine.
I don’t know why they don’t use that term? People know it, would respect what it means, I think. But I’m not a Republican…
Late to the party. I see Pratchett has already been taken so I choose Margery Allingham’s Albert Campion series of crime novels. From the light hearted adventure stories of the earlier books to the more serious later ones. Even a science fictiony entry. There’s something for every mood. Second choice, John Creasey’s The Baron series. Nice easy to read caper stories.
As for films, I’m going to cheat and say Doctor Who. Again, lots to choose from. Classic to modern. Various Doctors etc
For some fine SF:
Kim Stanley Robinson
@J R in WV: I camped and fished north of Guymas in 73.
To put in some things that haven’t been mentioned
writing — Phoebe Atwood Taylor under all her guises is excellent for many humorous mysteries (Asey Mayo and Leonidas Witherall series’) set in the Boston area in depression/WW2 era
movies/TV — John Rogers work (I had Mel Brooks all cued up but then Bianca got there first). Leverage, and The Librarians amongst much more
J R in WV
Woah, that’s a great sunset picture.
We stayed in Cabo for two nights, then bused to San Carlos on the west coast of Baja, then spent two days in the bay inside the barrier island where the gray whales mate and birth calves.
Then we sailed out into the Pacific (some folks had some motion sickness that night) around the south end of Baja and up the east side of the peninsula. It was a great trip. We spent two nights at Cabo because the ship had an outbreak of norovirus, and they worked 24 hours on sterilizing everything, which worked oK, we didn’t have any problems.
There was a doc on board for 80 or 90 passengers and the crew, he seemed very professional. We loved it, don’t know now if we’ll get another shot at that. It was like summer camp afloat for grownups. Open bar to make up for the lost day afloat. Swam with seals!
@BobS: Damn it. I wasn’t!
I love Matthew Sweet, too.
J R in WV
Those are all favorites for me but for Hurley, whom I will look up right away, will add A E Van Vogt, for a great old timer.
@suezboo: Have you read Charles Willeford?
A bit more restrained, but maybe you’ll dig the lower boil.
@marv: They succumb to the male bullshit at the end, and if not for the play-within-the-play, which is fabulous, it would be a clunker.
Since all the Coen and Kurosawa are checked out, I think I’ll go with Werner Herzog. Gotta love his classics with Klaus Kinski – Fitzcaraldo, The Wrath of God, Cobra Verde. Also “Where the Green Ants Dream” has always been one of my favorites although it’s been years since I saw it last. Lots of great cinematography. If I can’t have Herzog then maybe Fellini.
for reading I agree Stephenson would probably be high on my list. But I’ve always wanted to try reading “The Tin Drum” in German. I need a good German dictionary and some text books and about a year probably!
@artem1s: I can’t let the thread end without another European director I adore: Jean-Pierre Melville.
He made nothing but amazing films his whole career. What a visual stylist.
Without seeing what people have written before, I’d say for film:
OMG yeah! There are so many directors I just adore!!
Oh shit, yeah. Him too. Way too many great directors.
Now, music (the five albums for a desert island thing)?
Fiction – George Eliot
Nonfiction – Barbara Tuchman
Film – Barbara Stanwyck (maybe not the clunkers of her later years)
@Omnes Omnibus: Point taken. I was thinking of the scene in Airplane! attempting to “calm” the hysterical passenger… Also of artillery, which “adds dignity to what would otherwise be an ugly brawl.”
@BobS: And yet SIASL is arguably the least impressive SF Heinlein ever wrote, up to The Number Of The Beast (or maybe I Will Fear No Evil), with all his philosophical & cultural crotchets hung out in full view on a rickety plot frame. Ah well…
@hotshoe: Oh yes, I think Two Two One Bravo Baker was my intro to Ao3! Pratchett was my first answer to the original question, quickly followed by the thought – how about all of Ao3? Once upon a time I would have said Heinlein but since I’m no longer a very sheltered Midwestern 12 yr old girl, his female characters no longer seem as edgy and feminist, more Hugh Hefner style ‘feminist’ – women can do anything they want as long as they are sexy and willing.
Thought of a set of movies: Almodovar!
Stephen King with Tolkien thisclose in 2nd (not sure my teenage mind could be replicated on 1st discovering Middle Earth)
Stanley Kubrick with Hitchcock just missing out (It’s the misogyny, or does that memory get wiped too?)
Dostoevsky and The Wire
Late to this party, but I wanted to get this on record. Miyazaki film festival. I would watch everyone of Miyazaki’s films, gladly, and would watch My Friend Totoro, Laputa Castle in the Sky, and Kiki’s Delivery Service twice. Maybe three times each. No problemo. At all. If you have not watched Miyazaki, I urge you to do so. Fill in the gap in your life with extraordinary beauty and story telling.
@bmoak: Your choice of film is excellent. I came to this thread late, and posted, then searched to see if anyone else felt the same way. In fact, I have Totoro and Castle in the Sky lying by the DVD player right now, planning to get to them. Again. I have lost count.
Glen Cook. Chronicles of the Black Company.
Hoo boy. What a story.