Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Some books I've read 17

Report from the Interior by Paul Auster
A bit uneven book from Auster this time. The first part is good, the letters of the young writer are okay as well, but the retelling of two films that affected him as a kid maybe not so much.

Burt Lancaster: An American Life by Kate Buford
Interesting biography, even though you never really get a clear image of who Lancaster, the man was. Buford goes through all his films and also the creation of his early production company, giving Lancaster a certain freedom, but also a responsibility if the films didn't make any money, having then to do studio movies like Airport.

Scenes from a Revolution: The Birth of the New Hollywood by Mark Harris
A great book about the five best picture nominees from 1967, In the Heat of the Night, Bonnie and Clyde, Doctor Doolittle, The Graduate and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, marking a generational shift in Hollywood. Harris tells how these movies were made, but also gets into what else happened in American films at the time.

It Don't Worry Me: Nashville, Jaws, Star Wars and Beyond by Ryan Gilbey
Hollywood in the 70s. Gilbey writes about Coppola, Lucas, Spielberg, Malick, De Palma, Altman, Kubrick, Allen, Demme and Scorsese. Where's Friedkin, Ashby and Bogdanovich? Gilbey makes a case for his choices, and it's fair enough. Less gossipy than Easy Riders Raging Bulls.

Dune by Frank Herbert
Watched the Lynch film again, so I decided to re-read the novel. It must be 20 years since I first read it. The book is well written. I was a bit afraid it would be no style, just plot. Lots of things I had forgotten and that isn't mentioned in the film, like Harkonnen being Paul's grandfather. Not sure if I'll move on to the sequels, though, are they any good?

Invasion of the Mind Sappers
Giraffes in My Hair: A Rock'n Roll Life
Crossing the Empty Quarter by Carol Swain
I've been aware of Swain's work, and remember reading an issue of Way Out Strips once, but recently got a copy of Giraffes, and then ordered the rest of her books as well. Maybe one of the most underestimated cartoonists around, she has a unique style of storytelling, sometimes spending panels just on people walking or exchanging glances, often seen in bird's perspective, sometimes jumping back in time for a panel or two without a warning. These are comics where you have to pay attention. But it's worth it! Her stories can be moody, poetic, sometimes dreamlike, but always fascinating, and often leaving it up to the reader to find the meaning inside. Crossing is possibly her best book so far, but I look forward to the new one, Gast, out soon.

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