Saturday, March 18, 2023

Some books I've read 57

The Feral Detective by Jonathan Lethem 

Another detective story, like his masterpiece Motherless Brooklyn. but unfortunately not one of his best. He can be a bit up and down, Lethem, from Motherless or Gun with Occasional Music, down to You Don't Love Me Yet, his worst book?

The Hustler by Walter Tevis 

Great noirish novel. The film with Paul Newman was pretty faithful, so I'm not sure it adds that much. But well written, as always with Tevis. I should maybe read the sequel, Color of Money as well, since in that case the film is quite different. And anyway, I haven't seen it.

Solaris by Stanislaw Lem 

Hmm... A bit disappointed in this book. Some of it went completely over my head, I must confess.  So it's probably my fault. The Soderbergh film version is pretty good, actually (with a great soundtrack). I don't remember much from the Tarkovsky version seen many years ago on TV.

Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert

It's quite different from the first volume, mostly being palace intrigue. Actually, the book reminded me a bit of Jane Austen, in the way the characters never say directly what they mean, it's rather between the lines - they're fencing with words. Will read volume 3 and then decide if I will go for all six. 

La mort de Spirou by Abitan, Guerrive and Schwartz 

Great drawings by Olivier Schwartz (in a style completely stolen from Chaland, but anyway), and working better as a comic than previous books by him, I think. The story is only so so, not close to Spirou at its best back in the Franquin days. Interestingly, the story is set in modern days, Fantasio reading the news on an iPad. And ending with a To be followed. 

Daredevil: Alone Against the Underworld

A bit boring stories, but great art by John Romita, before Gene Colan takes over in the last couple of issues.

The Amazing Spider-Man: The Goblin Lives

Not Stan Lee at his best. Or was it Steve Ditko that had the good story ideas? The whole soap opera part of the early issues is often missing. And the art is weak as well. Several of the issues have final pencilling by Don Heck, and if it's John Romita, it's inked by Jim Mooney, not a favourite. Plus they give Mary Jane an awful new hairdo. Yukh!

Currently reading:

Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Some books I've read 56

Strange Things Happen by Stewart Copeland 

The least interesting of the three Police memoirs, unfortunately. Andy's is best, then Sting. A lot about the reunion concerts, not that much about the early days of the band. So, him and Sting fought a lot, apparently. Yes, we know.

Mockingbird by Walter Tevis 

A sci fi novel by the author behind Queen's Gambit. He also wrote The Man Who Fell to Earth. Describing a future where the few people left are mostly drugged and where showing emotions is not cricket. Pretty good.

The Queen's Gambit by Walter Tevis

I haven't seen the TV series, but wanted to read the novel. A girl orphan grows up to be a chess champion. Great book, it helps if you like to play chess, I suppose, and it makes me want to read The Hustler and Tevis's other books. 

Five Decembers by James Kestrel 

Great novel that starts in Honolulu before the attacks on Pearl Harbor. A policeman is investigating two murders. The solution seems to be in Hong Kong. And then... Written in a sort of no fuss Hemingwayesque style that fits the story.

The Affirmation by Christopher Priest

Well written, but with a distance that possibly works against the novel. I enjoyed the book, but was maybe a bit disappointed by the ending. No matter, I've already ordered more books by this writer.

Dylan Goes Electric! by Elijah Wald 

The famous night at Newport where Dylan, yes, went electric. Did Pete Seeger try to cut the cords with an axe? Apparently no. But that's two thirds into the book. Dylan's backstory I mostly knew, Seeger's not so much.

Macanudo: Welcome to Elsewhere by Liniers 

Brilliant, as usual by Liniers. I used to buy the French editions from Pasteque, but it seems they stopped publishing those for some reason. Good to see him back.

Doctor Strange: The Eternity War by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko 

The last Strange stories by Steve Ditko, leading up to a final confrontation between Dormammu and Infinity. A bit sudden, maybe. Possibly Ditko no longer wanted to work with Lee? He did the plotting and the drawings, so if he was unhappy with the narration and dialog, that's understandable. But... I'm buying the new Mighty Marvel Masterworks books, and Dr Strange and Spider-Man are the ones I enjoy actually reading.

Currently on my bedside table: 

The Hustler by Walter Tevis 

The Feral Detective by Jonathan Lethem

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Some books I've read 55

Stamboul Train by Graham Greene 

So, different people on the Orient Express, spies and stuff. I found it a bit hard to get through this book, taking breaks in the reading that made it even worse, having then trouble remembering the backstory of each character.

Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene 

Ah, much simpler! A pretty easy premise and plot to follow. A slightly disappointing ending, possibly.

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene 

Pretty good, about a man and a woman having an affair, apparently somewhat autobiographical, but since it's Greene there's a lot about religion and catholicism, that I find it hard to relate to.

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

"Please allow me to introduce myself..." Okay! Pretty far out, this novel, about the devil creating havoc in Moscow. Possibly I'm losing some of the meaning. And humor. The usual problem with the Russian names. But absolutely worth reading.

A Ballet of Lepers by Leonard Cohen

A short novel and then short stories by Lenny, mostly from before he moved to Hydra. The novel I liked okay, none of the stories really stand out that much. You can see some of the typical Cohen concerns. Good to have next to Favourite Game on the shelf, but not really essential.

Cinema Speculation by Quentin Tarantino

Q.T. goes deep into 70's cinema, going through his favourite movies and directors. A fun read and a well written book. If he decides to stop after ten films, maybe it's not a tragedy, he can go on writing more books. Do the 80's next, Quentin!

Surrender by Bono 

He's a bit of a rambler and likes to hear the sound of his own voice, Bono. I finished the book, but skipped parts about his activism. Possibly, just reading the wikipedia article about U2 is better. And faster. I still haven't found what I'm looking for - a decent U2 biography. 

Huit heures à Berlin by José-Louis Bocquet, Jean-Luc Fromental and Antoine Aubin 

A decent Blake and Mortimer story, now moved into the early sixties, with some influence from The Ipcress File, great ligne claire drawings by Aubin, the best since Ted Benoit, and the writers don't overdo the classic Edgar P. Jacobs thing of having the text describe what we can already see in the images. Only in the climax of the story do they stumble a bit. 

Currently reading:

The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp by W.H. Davies