Monday, January 1, 2024

Some books I've read 61

Night by Elie Wiesel

Good book, the text cut to the bone, but after all the films and documentaries, both in books and TV (and comics, MAUS!), it has maybe lost some of its powers.

Cimino: The Deer Hunter, Heaven's Gate and the Price of a Vision by Charles Elton

Great book about Cimino's career, the high point being The Deer Hunter. Then came Heaven's Gate... That now is being revalued. Flawed possibly, but not a complete train wreck. Cimino himself remains an enigma.

White Cat, Black Dog by Kelly Link

I loved her first book, Stranger Things Happen, but her later books have gone more in the direction of fantasy and YA, the same with this one, a retelling of fairy tales. The last story, though, Skinder's Veil, has the old Link magic.

Dartmouth Park by Rupert Thomson

His later books have been a bit hit or miss, but I found this one to be quite intriguing. A bit slow, maybe? But it still works, including the ending 

Charlie Chaplin by Peter Ackroyd

A decent biography of Chaplin. It's short, luckily. I'm not such a fan that I'm gonna read the 1000 page one. Yes, he had a thing for young women. And the old Chaplin seems like a monster, with a huge ego and flying into a rage for anything, terrifying his wife and eight kids. 

Camera Man by Dana Stevens

Keaton is my man, more than Chaplin. His silent movies have aged better than some of Chaplin's. After The General tanked he lost his independence at MGM, turning him into an alcoholic. The old question then is, did he spend the rest of his years in misery? According to Stevens, the answer is no. In the 50s, there was a rediscovery of his films, and Keaton was quite happy, and busy, living with his third wife, Eleanor.

Desolate Angel: Jack Kerouac, The Beat Generation and America by Dennis McNally

Of the Kerouac bios I've read so far, this was one of the best. Just as with Hemingway you know that the last 50 pages will be depressing. For Kerouac it was living with his mother, chasing away hippies and drunkenly calling up old friends who hung up on him, writing books mostly being a thing of the past. 

Bill Sienkiewicz's Mutants and Moon Knights and Assassins: Artisan Edition

Quite good book, but should have been more from his Moon Knight and New Mutants comics. The colour pages from Elektra are a bit pointless.