Just bringing this discussion over to ning...

What books are you reading right now that don't have a narrative driven by images as well as words?

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THE LITTLE RASCALS: By Leonard Maltin and Richard W. Bann, published 1977, revised 1992, subtitled "The Life and Times of Our Gang." I got this one in the mail just today. I expected this to be along the lines of similar trade paperbacks I have for the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges. It is, but it's even more similar to the several episode guides of several of the Star Trek series. after having watched all of the "talkies" (from 1929-1944) earlier this year, I've gone back to the very beginning and have started watching the silent films (on YouTube), in order, from 1922 on. What I would normally do in a situation such as this would be to read along as I watch, but I'm already up to the 33rd short (1924). I'll probably blast through those episode descriptions, then follow along one at a time as I watch. This will likely keep me busy for some time to come as there are 88 silent shorts. Readers in 1977 (or 1992 for that matter) don't have it nearly as good as we do today; they wouldn't have had access to actually seeing these early shorts at all. 

The 1st Munroe book is actually sitting in our Amazon cart right now. The Lad (who put it rhere) heard about it in his English class.

Currently, reading This Storm by James Ellroy. This takes place immediately after the previous novel, Perfidiia, l and the attack on Pearl Harbor. Ellroy employs his normal technique of telling the story from different POVs. And I really enjoy seeing the different cases presented here slowly tie into each other: stolen gold, murder of 2 policemen, and an arson.

I love Ellroy's writing, but in a way I'm glad he is slow as he is, because his stories are sooo dark. It isn't enough that one character is a Japanese man (forensic investigator) living in LA during World War II, he also is hiding the fact that he is gay. So, all of his characters are just carrying that little extra burden. Just about everyone is an alcoholic or junkie. That being said, his characters are also complex. Very rarely is there someone who is just straight evil. They will do the right thing from time to time, although sometimes that is just to make someone else mad. Also, a lot of people are either Commies or Nazis (well I guess most people are called that today)

I really like that he mixes his 1940s LA with real and fictional characters.

As a bonus I just found out that Chip Kidd designed the dust jackets of the past two hardback, so that's pretty cool.

Doctor Hmmm? said:

The 1st Munroe book is actually sitting in our Amazon cart right now. The Lad (who put it there) heard about it in his English class.

I hope you pushed the button on What If (either of them, both of them); I think both you and the Lad would enjoy it/them as much as I do. You won't regret it.

I'm still reading Leonard Maltin's The Little Rascals, too. I'm now caught up to where I'm watching, and discovered a section in the back of the book which provides biographies. I've been reading some cast bios online, but I thought a book would have more depth. Turns out, a lot of the Wikipedia entries and whatnot I have been reading have been taken directly from the Maltin book. 

Kim Fu's recent short story collection, Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century. If I had only read the first half of this book, I might have called it my favourite read of the season (hard and hard SF competition from Eric Choi's Just Like Being There). I should say, however, that something like that is true of most short fiction collections. The lesser stories aren't bad-- her style remains solid-- it's just that the best stories, literary posts from The Twilight Zone or dark reflections in a Black Mirror-- are so much better.

Having recently enjoyed Grand Ghosts, a play about the 1919 disappearance of millionaire and theatre impresario Ambrose Small (an infamous Canadian mystery that received commentary from the likes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Fort), I am now reading Katie Daubs's The Missing Millionaire: The True Story of Ambrose Small and the City Obsessed With Finding Him.

We watched the play itself in the theatre Small supposedly haunts.

More than a century later, his disappearance remains unsolved.



Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

Currently, reading This Storm by James Ellroy. This takes place immediately after the previous novel, Perfidiia, l and the attack on Pearl Harbor. Ellroy employs his normal technique of telling the story from different POVs. And I really enjoy seeing the different cases presented here slowly tie into each other: stolen gold, murder of 2 policemen, and an arson.

I love Ellroy's writing, but in a way I'm glad he is slow as he is, because his stories are sooo dark. It isn't enough that one character is a Japanese man (forensic investigator) living in LA during World War II, he also is hiding the fact that he is gay. So, all of his characters are just carrying that little extra burden. Just about everyone is an alcoholic or junkie. That being said, his characters are also complex. Very rarely is there someone who is just straight evil. They will do the right thing from time to time, although sometimes that is just to make someone else mad. Also, a lot of people are either Commies or Nazis (well I guess most people are called that today)

I really like that he mixes his 1940s LA with real and fictional characters.

As a bonus I just found out that Chip Kidd designed the dust jackets of the past two hardback, so that's pretty cool.

I finished this yesterday, and it was great. One thing I forgot to mention before is that Ellroy has been doing Game of Thrones type twists before George R.R. Martin, and by that I mean killing off protagonists indiscriminately. This book had a character I was nearly 100% sure would die (I was right!), yet there was another that was killed off that did completely catch me by surprise. Ellroy is trying (I believe) to tie this series, a planned quartet, into his previous Hollywood quartet and USA trilogy.

Over the last few months, I've been indulging myself in an old passion: murder mysteries. I've been reading/re-reading some of the following series:

The Martin Beck Mysteries 

The 87th Precinct novels

Inspector Morse

Just started on Dalziel and Pascoe

A couple others I tried but didn't enjoy:

The Harry Bosch novels

The Paula Maguire novels

Department Q series 

YOU'LL NEVER BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED TO LACEY by Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar:

I recently ordered two books. The first, With a Mind to Kill by Anthony Horowitz is the third in his trilogy of James Bond novels, was due to be delivered Wednesday. The second, The World Record Book of Racist Stories by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar is the sisters' second book of bat$#!t crazy stories about racism they have experienced, was due to be delivered today. The thing is, when I have two books I'm in the mood to read, I generally start with the lighter one first. So what I decided to do was read Amber & Lacey's previous book until the Horowitz book came in. Then, because I had read it before, I figured I could just put it down when the Bond book arrived. I just finished reading their first book for the second time, just minutes before their second was delivered. But I'm not going to read it before the Bond book after all; I just couldn't stand that much "fun" back-to-back. 

I am currently reading Intellectuals and Race by Thomas Sowell. Dr. Sowell took a couple of chapters from another book and expanded it to here. I think it is a great companion piece to Guns, Germs, and Steel. The book is around 200 pages, but I have to really pay attention, since it's a bit headier than what I normally read.

I'm reading a biography of Catherine the Great, inspired by the Hulu TV show The Great. It's not written particularly well, so I don't see any need of going downstairs and getting the author's name, since I'm not going to recommend it. I learned what I wanted, which is how much the TV show is historically accurate. The answer is: not much. But it's very entertaining, and I know the real story now, so on with the show.

After reading You'll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey for a second time while waiting for The World Record Book of Racist Stories to arrive, I decided I didn't want to read them back-to-back and read two other books in between. 

WITH A MIND TO KILL: Comments here.

PICARD: SECOND SELF: Comments here

THE WORLD RECORD BOOK OF RACIST STORIES: As it happens, my decision to read two other books between the other two was a good one. As Amber explains in the introduction to the second, "This one's gonna be a bit heavier." Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar are two of five siblings, and this book relates experiences of all of them and their parents, too. There was one story I truly enjoyed ("MOST RACIST PENNY-PINCHER") and another that made me not only literally laugh out loud, but howl. Lacey says: "I personally feel that by sharing these stories we are shining a light on racism, ignorance, and just some all-around hilarious shit." 

I may have to buy the audiobook (read by the authors) just to hear it in their own voices. 

A History of Russia

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