Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Civilization: The West and the Rest/ Rewritten classics

This is on my www.badcb.blogspot.ca:

Sept. 21 Civilization: The West and the Rest: I cut out the Edmonton Journal book review “Biased look at history’s ‘what ifs?’” by Richard Shervaniuk.  The review of Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson on Nov. 20, 2011.  The rest of the articles in this post are on the same newspaper and date. 

I have to type up the excerpts because I can’t find the article on the internet to copy and paste.

Sir Walter Raleigh (author of the first volume of History of the World in 1614): “As one of three eyewitnesses to the crime, he was called to testify and was appalled that each person told a totally different but equally plausible version of what had happened.  If eyewitnesses to the same event cannot agree on what occurred, said Raleigh, how is it possible to believe historical accounts?”

Here’s the book on Amazon:

My opinion: I’m not really into history so I won’t be reading this book.

The Affair: “An affair to remember, however formulaic" by Basem Boshra.  It’s about The Affair by Lee Child:

If Lee Child were to reveal that he cranks out his Jack Reacher novels with the aid of a computer-based algorithm, it would not qualify as a shocker.

Child's thrillers - featuring the taciturn military police officer-turned drifter anti-hero Jack Reacher - are almost comically faithful to formula. But it's to Child's credit that his savvy plotting, engaging characters and droll, eminently quotable dialogue keeps Reacher fans so tickled.

The Affair, the 16th book in the Reacher series, is what super hero comics aficionados would refer to as an "origin story" - fitting, in a way, since the seemingly indestructible Reacher has more than a touch of the superhero about him. Rewinding to 1997, The Affair finds Reacher still employed in the U.S. army's military police. (Child has flashed back to this era before; 2004's The Enemy was also a prequel set earlier in Reacher's MP days.)

Already disillusioned with the state of the U.S. army and his place in it, Reacher is sent further into a funk when he goes undercover to Mississippi as part of a murder investigation that reveals some much larger, uncomfortable truths about the organization he has devoted his adult life to.
The usual Child/Reacher tropes - Reacher falling for a comely smalltown sheriff, his Houdini-esque escapes from sure-death situations, his Holmes-ian investigative prowess - are all here in abundance.

But it's in finally revealing precisely how and why Reacher left the military for the wayward and hardscrabble life that has been the canvas for the Reacher saga that truly makes The Affair worth remembering.

My opinion: I haven’t read any Lee Child books.  I will watch a Jack Reacher movie when it comes on TV.

Charles Dickens: The article is titled “Celebration of Dickens is gearing up.  Great expectations for 200th anniversary of author’s birth."

Charles Dickens will be feted around the world next year in literature, film, theatre, music and art, underlining his international cultural impact 200 years after his birth.

The author of classics like Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, Bleak House and A Tale of Two Cities is considered one of the greatest novelists to have written in English. Sales of his books, which are still in print, run into hundreds of millions of copies, and during his lifetime his works were turned into theatre

Sept. 25 Rewritten classics: I cut out this Globe and Mail article “Jane Eyre and Sherlock Holmes as mommy porn?” by Russell Smith on Jul.26, 2012.  Here are some excerpts:

Were the classic novels of the 19th century actually mommy porn in disguise? That’s the premise of e-publisher Total E-Bound, which has released a new series of e-books (“Clandestine Classics”) that include the titles Northanger Abbey (by Jane Austen and Desiree Holt), Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Bronte and Sierra Cartwright) and Sherlock Holmes: A Study In Scarlet (by A.C. Doyle and Sarah Masters). What they have done is quite simple and easy: they have taken the texts of these famous books and added some graphic sex scenes.

The added sex scenes are written in a sort of pseudo-19th century language to try to blend in. The books are cheap – under $5 – and the company boasts that you are only paying for what their “authors” have added, not for the original content.

The sex scenes in the neo-Austen and neo-Bronte books are pleasingly frank and uninhibited, but still tend to climax in the clichés of the mommy-porn genre.
That’s fine for them – 19th century novels, particularly those with Gothic influences, are indeed ripe for the Fifty Shades of Grey treatment, as they already contain the building blocks of every Harlequin romance: the stern and controlling antagonist, the virginal and powerless protagonist, the subtle threat of coercion, the promise of everlasting love.

But the purists need to lighten up. Great novels are the raw material of every new writer’s work: we are always rewriting the books that influenced us. We modernize and upend them – we castrate them, some critics say – by rewriting them, we use them and conquer them and make them our own. Shakespeare took almost every story he ever wrote from some other source. The Disney corporation creates its hyper-modern comic cartoons from classic fairy tales and legends.

My opinion: Interesting.  I won’t be reading any of these books because I’m not interested in erotica or stories in historical fiction.

Oct. 7 Villians: I was reading an Edmonton Journal book review “A twisted tale with a Glagow accent” by Tracy Sherlock.  She reviews the book Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina.  She says:

“Denise Mina’s mysteries are dark.  They are chock full of psychopathic criminal characters, getting ahead using crime, violence and dark power.”

Oct. 12 Pens: In July, I found a bunch of Dixon Premium clear pens. There’s ink in them, but when I write it, after a few words, it stops working.  I looked it up to see if there are any of those pens still selling and I can’t find any.

Back in 2012, I found these 3 Papermate pens and that’s what happened.  Every time I write a few words, it stops working.  I put them down for a while, and then write a bit, and it stops working.  I don’t like throwing things out and I was going to recycle the pens when it is completely out of ink. 

However, I can’t see how much ink is in it, because it’s not clear.  I kept them for over a year and then recycled them.  I don’t like to throw things out, but recycling is good for the environment. 

Oct. 14 Veronica Mars: Did you know that there are Veronica Mars books?  This was months ago, but it was in my parking lot email.  I would read this if I was in my teens or early 20s.  Maybe if I have time.

Do No Harm: Here is the trailer to this cancelled TV show.  It’s a 3 min. trailer and it’s really good.   I want to add that Alana De La Garza who plays a doctor here, she is now on the new TV show Forever.  She plays a detective to Ioan Grufford (Fantastic Four movies) who is an immortal ME.

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