Monday, June 27, 2011

Books Read in 2011: "Come to Me" by Amy Bloom

I liked this. These. They aren't perfect stories, but they don't especially try to be. They're just very ... good. The lives and the people depicted are complex and complicated without seeming overly so.

I'm very happy with what was an impulse purchase in a thrift store in Ventura, CA last fall.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Books Read in 2011: "The 'Jaws' Log" by Carl Gottlieb

A couple of weeks ago, Amazon had a summer sale on Kindle books, and this was one of them. Just $1.99. I'd never heard of it, but the reviews were good. While I wouldn't say that reading it was a transcendent experience, it was an entertaining one. Gottlieb was brought on as the third writer to take a whack at the script, and had a bit role as the newspaper reporter in the movie, meaning that he saw quite a bit firsthand, from pre-production through the long, long, long shoot on Martha's Vineyard in the summer of 1974, and onto pickups and looping back on the Universal City lot.

No real tales told out of school, although the ebook is the 30th anniversary edition, so there are some footnotes that explain some of the dated references, update readers on changes in movie making technology, and sets the record straight on exactly how much John Milius contributed to the script. (Answer: Not a lot. "I'll find him for five, I'll kill him for ten" is the only line written by Milius that Gottlieb says made it into the final draft. And while he concedes that Milius may have come up with the idea of the characters comparing scars on the Orca, the speech about the U.S.S. Indianapolis was the work of Robert Shaw himself, who took every draft and every version that had been done (Spielberg had apparently shopped it around to several people to try and make it work), and worked at it until he finally got the thing to sing.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Books Read in 2011: "Bossypants" by Tina Fey

Unabridged audio, and I argue that it made for a better experience.

This was kind of an impulse download last week. I wanted something shorter and lighter than some of the other stuff I had in my library, and I like Tina Fey, so I gave it a shot. I was prepared for...I don't know. I didn't think that it would be treacly semi-inspirational working mommy stuff, but I wasn't sure what it would be. I'd read reviews that said it was very funny, but no one really seemed to go into specifics. That's probably because it's funny in the strange, bizarre, absurd, sarcastic way that "30 Rock" and her "Weekend Update" tenure on "Saturday Night Live" were funny. It's sincere, but very aware of it's sincerity, and with a reluctance to convince you that there are a lot of valuable lessons to be learned, all the while teaching you valuable lessons.

Ah, in short, very good, very funny, totally glad that I got the audio version. It's something that I could easily imagine listening to again someday, and will probably buy a paper or e- copy to supplement it someday.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Books Read in 2011: "The Static of the Spheres" by Eric Kraft

A novella, really. Part of a larger ongoing work that the author has been doing for some time. OK, but I think that there were a few things going on that I would have understood better if I had read any of the other stories in the series. I downloaded it for free from Amazon several months ago, so no harm. I haven't decided yet if I want to seek out any of the other short pieces or even move onto one of his novels.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Books Read in 2011: "The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon

I'm kind of astonished that such a high-concept idea was pulled off so well.