good autobiographical information about Penn and Teller and their journey into limelight though book is predominantly about Penn of course. very honest and "unvarnished" at times perhaps a bit too much but I like Penn & Teller and ultimately I agree with most of his views about reason & logic versus religion and superstition. but it is not a book like Dawkins God Delusion which is what I was expecting, though there is some of that type of thing. as far as Penn's reading it is very animated and honest.
first i have to say that I do enjoy this type of thing more than some, not just the Moby connection ( best novel written, with Lolita close 2nd ) but the critical essay type thing. though this is not a critical essay as such it does touch on many aspects of various interpretations and origins etc., but mainly uses the chapter structure and headings of Moby for jumping off places to talk about some aspect of the novel regarding the chapter and it's contents or the novel as a whole, focusing in general on how pervasive Moby is or has become in society ( art, comics, film etc ). Much of it I am already aware and there is much that he has missed, though it would be hard to be all-inclusive, but I do have to say that while there are aspects that started me thinking along new lines regarding a topic, his overall veracity is undermined by 2 questionable chapters, one of which is ridiculous. 1st, in chapter 84, Pitchpoling, he draws what can be at best a tenuous connection between Flaubert and Melville and I suspect that Cotkin simply wanted an excuse to include Flaubert and Madame Bovary because he likes them. But the most egregious error occurs in chapter 89, Fast Fish and Loose Fish, wherein he recounts the use of Moby in (one of many films he could have discussed) Star Trek: Wrath of Khan (valid). He completely fouls up the end of the film to the degree that either he didn't watch it, or he's relying on someone else's recounting without double checking and how this glaring error got by him, his editors, a proofreader, a fact checker etc. without anyone catching it is befuddling. And as such an error exists, it calls into question the validity and fact checking of all of his contentions for all the chapters. In reality much of the info is familiar to me but details and new areas now require validation. and the narrator is completely uninspired in his readings of quoted passages and sections from other works.
sorry but this is not very good. the narrator is rather bad, slow ( i speeded up and had no trouble following ), monotonous etc. the style of the writing is not very literary and though author may know the physics behind his ideas ( hard to say, though there is much polysyllabic word dropping ) the overall story is very derivative of a much better novel, LeGuin's Lathe of Heaven, for it's overall story, plot etc., ( structurally it even shares many elements with Lathe ) and the ending reminded me of Clarke's Childhood's End. I would have to say get those 2, much better written and carrying more symbolically than this.
though this is the novel from which the American with Clooney came from, it is rather different. in the film they tried to slow things down from the conventional bullet ridden films and to show a more quiet, meticulous, thoughtful man without a lot of dialogue and it almost works ( i like the film ) but there is more inner monologue in the novel that of course couldn't come out in the film without the often hamfisted "voice over" which is hard to do well, especially for this much soul searching. I like the novel very much though be warned it is not a run around shooting things up type of novel. it reminds me of Graham Greene, especially if you combine his Catholic novels (there is some religious discussion with a priest) with his serious thrillers, like Human Factor.
i read this long ago as a kid, it is in fact one of the earliest things i can remember reading and it stuck with me but it took many years for me to find it again. this is a great story, funny, touching, very visual. it is a story i always recommend to others, (after i re-discovered it years ago) and it is in my list of best short stories.
this is very much a pre-Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy novel. it has much in the way of the odd ball events and satiric jabs at society etc. that pop up in Adam's work. while i found it very much like HGG and enjoyed it, i did find myself wishing for a little more of the manic Adams movement and wordplay etc. Hodgman is passable as a narrator but could have read with a little more gusto. still all in all good and i do like the ending but a couple scenarios perhaps go on a bit too long. can't give it more stars simply because it is done better by Adams.
While I have to admit the narrator was rather stiff and even mispronounced a few things and didn't read the quoted passages from the shows with much ability or gusto, I still found myself giggling in remembrance of the show and the skits. I did like the personal history info to see where the Pythons came from etc., and while some of the "academic" interpretations of Pythonesque elements may have been pushing it at times, it did give me some ideas of things to look for on next viewings. All in all, probably more for MP fans and narrator doesn't help.
While the classic film is slightly different, in general it follows rather closely. but I was struck this time through by some of the literary/symbolic strengths that i had not noticed previously when i listened to it and it will add greater depth to the film as well upon next viewing. I think a nice "paper" could be written on the novel and perhaps a comparison piece. I've read/listened to almost all of Greene and have enjoyed them all and look forward to revisiting a couple of favorites. Similar to LeCarre in the sense that the novels are well written stylistically, and that there is more going on with the language and characters and symbolism than in run of the mill pop thrillers. Hope for Travels With My Aunt someday, very funny and a favorite that should be available.
Roald Dahl is a great writer, period. While he may not be a literary giant like Hemingway, Melville, Nabokov etc., his works are always well written and extremely entertaining. A lot of his short stories are available or at least they were and I always get one when a new one shows up. You never know where the stories are going to go, always unpredictable, always twists on expectations. But his shorts are not in the same vein as his children's books, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory etc., the short stories are often at their best when they are very lewd and ribald but never crude and tasteless. Can't wait for more, hopefully eventually the complete shorts will be out.
the episodic structure made me think of Kosinski and there is something a little Hemingway-ish about it. It is a quick listen, a tapestry type effect that builds together and not everything is explained away. life is messy and some people get a little lost and the main woman, Mariah, has lost her footing. there are a lot of bits that you have to add up for yourself and the whole mosaic is puzzling, a little of the nature vs. nurture thing maybe, and the user atmosphere of relationships, and the disconnected bonds of relationships. interesting.
i must preface this review by saying that I came to this straight after listening to the entire Smiley series and thoroughly enjoying all of its intricacies and Smiley himself is a great character and so I didn't quite enjoy this as much as i should perhaps. it is again well written, well narrated, well plotted etc and I enjoy the more cerebral spy novels without all the shooting and blowing things up. the mystery aspect and chess game maneuvering is great in LeCarre, but this one is a touch reminiscent of Forsythe's Odessa File near end, which came first i don't know. still enjoyed it but maybe i need to break from LeCarre for a bit and come back and get a little distance from Smiley, as I keep hoping he will somehow pop up in one of his cameo's.
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