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Archive for January, 2009

Old Books

I did a meme not long ago and one of the questions in the meme was: The Oldest Book on your Shelf.  I interpreted it to mean, the oldest book UNread on your shelf.  That would be Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.  Even that isn’t totally unread, I did read about 250 pages and set it down.  I do plan to do more in it.

When I read others blogs doing that meme and realized they wanted to know the “oldest book you own” I began to look around.  Unfortunately I don’t have any books from when I was very young.  Nor do I have any books I bought for my kids when they were very young (like Winnie the Pooh).. so.. that leaves me with: the boxed set of The DragonLance first trilogy. (see below)  You can’t read it but the set of 3 mass paperbacks cost 9.95…  Nine nighty-five!  Heh, you aren’t ever going to see that price again for three books!!

I can no longer read mass paperbacks due to my bad eyes so I have since purchased these in hardback when they were released just a few  years ago.

About the same time I received the trade paperbacks of The Sword of Shannara series. These are quite thick books and were 6.95 and 7.95 each even back then.  But again.. they are pretty old.  I think the high price was because they were rather large trade paperbacks and do have a lot of artwork in them.  My youngest son gave these two sets of  books to me for a Christmas present and Birthday present, so needless to say.. I keep them no matter how brown they will get!

One thing about the Shannara books.. it’s rare to find a book with artwork inside the book… especially if it’s an adult book.  It seems we are paying more and getting less these days.  Nothing really new in that, I guess we should be glad that the kids books still have art work in them. 

 

I wish I had the old Winnie the Pooh books I had gotten for my kids, or even to know what happened to them.  But I have no memory at all as to what may have happened to them.

For reasons I can’t even fathom I do remember an old Pinocchio book I had of my own, and again.. I don’t know what happened to it, and I’m not sure why this particular book stays in my head.  I did find this picture on the web of the exact book though.. thought that was pretty neat to find!  This was one of those books that was also filled with art work.

( Illustrated by: Frederick Richardson  1862 – 1937)

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(This post is written by both Pat and Cath)

Ok.. don’t get me wrong, some men have read Anne McCaffrey’s books.  But, Cath and I were talking on IM the other day and the topic of dragon books came up and that, naturally, led to Anne McCaffrey’s Pern books. (..and Master Harper Robinton, which both of us are going to fight over hahaha) While talking the fact came up that it seemed to us that we didn’t know any men (except m’ah babyboy Chris) who have read any of the Pern books.

They are filled with great and interesting characters, we both agreed.  Very strong men who were dragonriders and leaders of the Weyrs.  Strong women.  Nearly inhuman problems to be solved, and all around fantastic writing.

Some of the reasons we came up with about why men don’t seem to read Pern are: 

…some men don’t like to read about strong women.

…some men don’t read books written by women.

…some men don’t like fantasy’s that sound too real.

…some men aren’t “into” dragons.

…some men might see the books as too ‘girly’. Ie there is romance, not just between people but the dragons are included as well!

Of course none of these excuses have been asked of the men that we know who read fantasy books.

Apart from my own husband that is (Cath). When I asked him why he’d never read them he replied that actually he had read several. His opinion was that they’re ‘okay’ but nothing special. His reason seemed to be that there wasn’t enough action in them – not enough of the stuff men like such as fighting and war. Plus, there was too much of the kind of thing women like such as emotional and life solving problems. It seems men are not so keen on this kind of introspection.

… one more thought was that these are old books and so are not promoted or out there for some to discover anymore.

…And I also wondered if the fact that a woman, Lessa, is the most important character in the first books made a difference. Do men like the most important character in a book to be a man? Personally, I feel that McCaffrey treats men and women as equals in all the books and for me that’s a plus point not a minus.

The Pern books are among some of my absolute favorite books.  I’ve read them a number of times.  When I do I am totally lost into the world of Pern and the dragonriders with their dragons, the masterharper hall, and other lord holders and the people that live and work in them.

The planet is also very ‘real’. The map and descriptions are so precise that it feels like this place really exists. Especially the southern continent which they rediscover in The White Dragon and it’s like going on your very own voyage of exploration.

I feel drawn to the dragons in Anne’s books because they are friendly.  Because you can bond with them the way you do with your own pet dog or cat.   Of course you can’t communicate with your dog or cat.. but that isn’t because you don’t want to!

The more I thought about Pern the more I tried to think about, “what don’t I like about Pern and life there?”  Well.. besides the obvious of the “killer threads”, life there isn’t easy.  There aren’t a lot of “modern conveniences”.  But even with that, life there seems more intense.. I want to say they work harder and enjoy life harder.  And it’s not even a ‘too perfect’ world. There are unpleasant people as well as nice ones. People don’t get along, are selfish, petty, fall out, just as they do in real life.

Her characters are well developed, as is Pern itself, and you can feel the authors compassion when you are reading her books. (maybe that’s a reason men don’t read Pern?)

So.. we are writing this because we want to know why men don’t read Pern!!

If you know.. let US know! 

 

 

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Admit One

Admit One   by Emmett James.

 

 

Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Wheatmark (December 30, 2007)
ISBN-10: 1587369133

Product Description
Set in Croydon, South London, in the 1980s, Admit One details how self-deprecating writer Emmett James escaped from the pains of adolescence by going to the cinema. Through wry wit and observation, the writer reflects, obsesses, and rages about film and its correlation to our pasts. Life soon imitates art, and the narrator finds that his true calling is in transcendence from one side of the screen to the other. He decides to leave England for the only place where he can realize his dream of becoming an actor-Hollywood. We follow the narrator on his numerous adventures: as he jumps from forgery to pornography to crashing the Academy Awards under the alias of a nominated writer. All the while, the films that inspired each tale contextualize this humorous collection of stories. The narrator ultimately provides a unique insight into the fascinating industry of film, eventually himself stumbling into the biggest box-office grossing film of all time.

Mr James lists this as a Memoir… and it is exactly that.   He has taken a comical look at his life and how it wrapped around things he remembers from early childhood to grown up with movies.  It seems they have been his passion from the early beginnings of his life when his mother would take him to the movies that inevitably he slept through, to the day he left England for America and Hollywood.

It’s a quick read and, as I said humorous, and true.

The book isn’t long at 220 pages, since it is double spaced and even triple spaced between paragraphs. It looks a bit like they were trying to stretch it into a “book” .  That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the read, I did.  And the only fault I can find with the book is that the cost is a bit much for a quick read paperback.

I think I expected a little more from the story.  But that’s my fault.  It does read how the Amazon review states.  I generally think there is more descriptions and making me feel as if I were in England growing up, but instead It could have been pretty much anywhere.  The occasional mention of a town or of London, but the ambience was missing. 

But still a fun relaxing read.. which I think I needed.

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My Very Own Award

First, I want to thank everyone who commented on my “older Generation” post..  I really am not sleeping well and I know part of it is stress… the rest is probably old age!  I will be calling AARP this week and I’ll let you know the outcome.  I probably will take whatever I have to… it just means less money to be able to feel human.  But somehow I will do without this or that and still buy books and still go to my few autograph shows each year… if I didn’t do that I wouldn’t be human at all .. thank you all very much, it did help writing it and hearing what you all had to say.

Now.. on to an award that CJ awarded me!

  

Check it out!  This is my award! 

The Dardos Award is in appreciation of the merits – culturally, literary and individually- of every blogger who expresses him/herself on his/her blog.

The conditions are to:
Be tickled pink,
copy and paste the award picture to your blog,
write down the regulations,
link the blog who bestowed you the award,
and finally nominate 15 blogs for the award.

Ok, so it’s not an Oscar or SAG award, but it’s a good one just the same!!

I’ve already put the award on my side bar, and I guess I am supposed to bestow it on 15 others.. I hate doing that because if I didn’t think the blogs I read were valued I wouldn’t read them!  (and a number of people feel obligated to pass it on and have the same difficulties, and more). 

If I were to “name some names”  I would surely give one to my newly discovered “sister” Cath, who resides across the pond.  The more Cath and I talk/ comment in each others blogs the more I find myself writing “me too!” and it escalates from there.  Of course we have our differences but I do so enjoy her blog and especially when she treats us to photos she has taken while on holiday.  I do enjoy seeing the England that I will never get to see in person.   ok, never say never.. that I doubt I will ever see in person.

I’d, of course, include my “adopted son” Chris for his joy and enthusiasm he brings to his blog.  It’s been a long time since I have met anyone who so enjoys the books he reads, and life in general.  He’s one of the few who can make me smile despite myself.

And Carl, who through his wonderful book reading blog as broadened what I read!  Yes, yes, Carl , who really got me back on the road of reading would have to have the award!!

Of course Nymeth would get one.  Her blog is a joy to read.  Even when she talks of books that I know I wouldn’t read, her writing makes me read her blog!  She’s also to blame for many books I’ve sent for on Amazon! :o)

And then there would be LadyTink, who single handedly is trying to get young people to realize that the old movies are worth watching!  I love to hear her joy when she writes about discovering an old movie or talks about the actors that mainly only the elderly know.  It does my heart good to know the old movies are not forgotten.

Then there is Debi.  She juggles home schooling, and  a husband and still manages to read books other than those she has to for the schooling!  I remember once, being able to juggle so many things at once, but know I couldn’t do that anymore.  It amazes me, but at the same time I hope she takes some time for herself, because no one should totally give up their life for their family.. there needs to be a little time to recognize your own self.

Kailana (Kelly) is a young lady from Canada who reads well above the norm.  I think I met Kelly through Carls Challenge and have enjoyed her writings ever since.

And I couldn’t forget Becky… she’s a reading machine!  It’s incredible to me that anyone can read as many books as she reads!  She’s great! Her reading is very diverse and you can always find something she has read that leads you back to Amazon LOL !!

There are many others, and many that are not book related blogs that I read, like My Everyday Life (Helen) and My Country Life (Donna) These ladies talk about their everyday life. Their trials and tribulations and happy times too, and I’ve read their blogs since I first started in aol .

Ok so those are just a few.. I read so many more blogs that it would take all day to list them!  Those I did list do not have to accept the award or pass it on.. but know these are some of the reasons I continue to read and blog.. thank you one and all.

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Inkheart: the Movie!

Inkheart…..

Brendan Fraser …  Mo ‘Silvertongue’ Folchart
Eliza Bennett …  Meggie Folchart 
Paul Bettany …  Dustfinger
Helen Mirren …  Elinor Loredan
Andy Serkis …  Capricorn

It’s not often I get to the theater to see a new movie, but occasionally the impossible happens.  (of course it helps that I’ve been waiting nearly a year and a half for this movie to be release!)

Yessssss!  Finally !  Inkheart the movie!!

 

Most people know, that the movie seldom is “better than” the book.  And I don’t go see a movie with the hopes that it will be better.  After all, I must have really liked the book to even want to see the movie version!

But I do go for a number of other reasons. 

For one, I find it interesting to compare my visions to those of the movie makers.  For another I like to see how they see the characters, the personality they have given them.  And yet another reason should come as no big surprise to anyone who remotely knows me.. it will generally contain actors that I admire, and this movie is no exception.  I very much admire Andy Serkis, I have enjoyed other movies with Brendan Fraser and Helen Mirren, so.. I like the movie even before I step foot into the theater!

 

Ok, now..here’s what I thought about it…

The best first:  I am really sorry they waited so long to release the movie because I would love to see the other two books made into movies and now the young girl Eliza is two years older and the books run in succession without years between them.

Brendan Fraser was really good in this movie!  And there is probably a reason for that… in an interview Cornelia Funke who wrote the books states that the character of Mo was fashioned for Brendan!

Paul Bettany never looked so sexy! lol and he was excellent as Dustfinger!…

And then there was Capricorn… Andy, Andy, Andy!  I wish there had been more of him!!  Such great memories of meeting him and talking to him about his part in this movie came flooding back to me.  Andy does “evil” quite well…. but I’d love to see him do stage!

Admittedly the script writers did quite a bit of “creative license” and changed things around, but not so much that you couldn’t follow the story or that it changed the outcome in any way.

I think Helen Mirren’s part as Elinor was shortened from the book, but she still did well in the part.

I was happy to see the theater had more people in it than I expected.  Quite a few new movies began this weekend and many are Oscar nominated and so I didn’t expect many at the Inkheart movie.   The other surprise was that they were all adults at the movie!  Not a kid in site!  And yet Inkheart is a YA book !!   (love it!)

I don’t know if they will go on to do the other two movies.. but I sure hope so!

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Huckleberry Finn 1960

 

Huckleberry Finn

Tony Randall …  The King of France
Archie Moore …  Jim
Eddie Hodges …  Huckleberry Finn
Patty McCormack …  Joanna Wilkes
Neville Brand …  Pap Finn
Mickey Shaughnessy …  The Duke
Judy Canova …  Sheriff’s wife
Andy Devine …  Mr. Carmody
Sherry Jackson …  Mary Jane Wilkes
Buster Keaton …  Lion Tamer
Finlay Currie …  Capt. Sellers
Josephine Hutchinson …  Widow Douglas
Parley Baer …  Grangeford man
John Carradine …  Slave catcher
Royal Dano …  Harlan, Sheriff
Dolores Hawkins …  Riverboat singer
Sterling Holloway …  Barber
Harry Dean Stanton …  Slave Catcher (as Dean Stanton)

Yeah, you know I love the old movies. 

And love when one that always blows me away comes on TCM.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn came on TCM and blew me away… again.

No, it’s not as old as most of the movies on TCM, but then they show greatness no matter what the year of the movie.

What is it that makes me smile so and takes me away?   It’s movies like this with multiple stars in them.  Some of the parts not really all that big, but they are there anyway!

I love it !  I love it !   I love it !

   

  

  

I put these pictures in just so you can put a face to the names.  I know many of you don’t even know who these people are, but trust me…  they are fantastic actors one and all!

So, as always TCM had some great movies on this Saturday.. but this is the one that really stood out for me.  I know it’s because  of the many memories these actors have given me over many many .. *gulp*.. many years.

I wish everyone of you knew these people and enjoyed their movies as much as I do.  Everytime I feel as I do about a certain old movie I turn around and wish the same thing, and then feel sad knowing so many people don’t know them .. and probably never will.

This movie deserves all 5 boxes of popcorn!!

    

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Now and then I really enjoy a biography, or autobiography, or memoir.  Over the years I’ve read a number of them.  Not a lot by any means, as I only read the ones I think will interest me.

And so I noted when Christopher Plummer released a book called “In Spite of Myself“, and immediately put it on my Amazon Wish List.  

(I mean, what’s not to like? He’s gorgeous!)

(… well.. most of the time!.. )

Now, for the most part, I do note the dimensions of a book before purchasing it (if it’s not hardback, as my eyes aren’t very good) and generally I note how large the books is, page wise.

When my son and daughter-in-law sent me an Amazon gift Certificate for Christmas, I, naturally ran right off and spent it!  Among what I received from them was the Christopher Plummer book.  What better then to receive a book when someone else is paying right?  :o)

Upon lifting the book to my lap to look at it closer for reading I couldn’t help but notice how heavy the book was.  Wow, I thought, how many pages IS this book?   OMG! it’s 656 pages long!!!  Just how much do I like Christopher Plummer to want to read a chunkster like this about one person????!!!

After I got over the shock, and trust me it WAS a shock!, I thought: Ok, I’ll start this but the minute it’s not interesting or the minute it begins doing nothing but listing movies and what the movies are, I’ll quit.  Knowing he was more a stage actor than a movie star I thought it might be interesting to learn about the theater, especially since I have never seen a professional play.

(Anthony & Cleopatra: still gorgeous!)

(portraying Barrymore)

Hardcover: 656 pages
Publisher: Knopf (November 4, 2008)
ISBN-10: 0679421629

The first 130 pages went rather quickly! (hmmmm) and I found them very interesting!  Plummers family history up in Canada reads like a “who’s who”.  For instance, his second cousin is Nigel Bruce of Sherlock Holmes fame!  And a little piece of trivia is that he worked on radio with John Colicos and Bill Shatner. (someone he would work with again years later) 

An actor you don’t forget if you ever saw him, Edward Everett Horton, was the person to first get Mr Plummer work in America.  Soon after he found an agent and worked on televisions shows such as: (an unless you are of the older generation you’d never heard of these)  Kraft Television Theater, Robert Montgomery Presents and Philco Television Playhouse. (see, I told you you wouldn’t know them unless you are ..well.. old.)

Seeing as the first 100 pages went so fast I decided to continue on…

Something I found intriguing was reading about actors I know as “movie actors” but now they were stage actors.  It was a whole new view of them, especially when Mr Plummer was talking about them “off stage”.

Shortly after getting back into the book I learned that Roddy McDowell would become a lifelong friend, after they worked on stage together.  To give you an idea of what was going on about this time in  his life I will copy a paragraph from the book:

The top 10  new plays of the year were: Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, Giraudoux’s Tiger at the Gates, The Diary of Anne Frank, which made a star of Susan Strasberg at seventeen, and No Time for Sergeants, which marked the debut of that charmer Andy Griffith.  The Ponder Heart by Chodorov, The Chalk Garden by Enid Bagnold, Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker with a towering comic performance by Ruth Gordon and a pixie performance by Robert Morse… and Bert Lahr, equally brilliant in the American premiere of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. There was a little known musical that snuck in called My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison and a young newcomer from Wimbledon named Julie Andrews and lastly, the first big success I was ever in.. The Lark.

During one of the times Christopher was doing Henry the Fifth, his understudy who, when Christopher became sick, went on in his place and was a smash hit was William Shatner. (my eyebrow raised, a bit like a certain Vulcan!)

Mr. Plummer doesn’t hide much in the book.  He tells of his lovers and wives but not so much that he obsesses on the topic.  He talks of many of the plays he did, as other actors list their movies, and I have to say I found it more interesting because I had not seen any plays and so as he talked about them I felt I did learn something of the theater as the years rolled by.

Mr Plummer drops names about as fast as raindrops fall during a storm.  Or actually, I should say, the man never forgets who he works with, their name, or things that happened while working together!

I had some delightful surprises when I read where some of the people he worked with, such as when he did Becket, he worked with someone I adore, Roy Dotrice.  And when he was in the movie Fall of the Roman Empire, he worked with Stephen Boyd and Maggie Smith! Be still my heart, as he worked with many people I admire!

He was 36 when he made The Sound of Music. A movie that in the beginning, he was not happy about.  He had changed his mind before the movie was done.

I would tell you that if you like Christopher Plummer’s body of work, especially if his stage work interests you, that you should get this book.  He has not lost a bit of his memory of every play he has ever done, nor who he worked with, nor how they effected his life.  I may have set the book aside at some point if he went on and on about the movies he did.  Too many have done that already.   Although he does recall all the plays in much the same way, he has a way about his writing that also lets  you know where he is, and what it’s like at that time and place.  He’s in Canada, he’s in Europe, he’s in America.. he’s everywhere an actor of his caliber should be.

It’s a long book.. so if it interests you, be prepared for it to take some time to read.

He was quite the ladies man, quite a drinker for many years.. and quite an actor!

I’m glad I read his book.  He is a most interesting fellow!  And now I think I shall write him a letter and tell him so!  I will send the photo I have next to the book in the first photo, in hopes that he does autographs.  He may well not, but I’ll take the chance.

 TCM (Turner Classic Movies) did an interview with Christopher Plummer about his book that’s just fantastic.  If you want to read it please go  HERE.

Here’s something odd… I just noticed that Christopher Plummer’s daughter, Amanda Plummer, has signed to do the Chiller Autograph show that I always go to!

 

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