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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 14 February 2018 at 4:24pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Interesting about James Ellroy. I might check with the library on him at the very least!

I was getting into Babylon Berlin recently (a Sky TV series based on some books by Volker Kutscher), it doesn't seem the series is available in English yet. So... I dragged out a non-fiction book titled Before The Deluge by Otto Friedrich which I've had for a long time to re-read. It's about Weimar Republic era Berlin in the 1920s. Like Mark Twain is supposed to have said, history rhymes, and you can see some rhyming going on these days (in my opinion, 'ymmv'). "Twas ever thus." sez Mr. Narural?
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James Best
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Posted: 14 February 2018 at 5:10pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

While very different, all 3 authors describe the interior and exterior so well that it doesn't seem to matter that I know how they end. They also have such intricate plotting that it's simply impossible to remember it all! 

********************

Charles:

I remember when I read L.A. CONFIDENTIAL in the late 90's. After I finished it I had to take some time for my brain to fully digest it because of all the layers that Ellroy had stacked on top of one another.

The book had been published in 1990 but the plot and subplots were so dense and complex that it took Hollywood seven years before they could streamline the novel into a workable screenplay. I can't help but wonder if some of Ellroy's other books have failed to be adapted for the silver screen for the same reason.

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Charles Nelson
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Posted: 14 February 2018 at 8:52pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

James, 
His Black Dahlia was translated to film, but in a streamlined version of the book. On several occasions over the last few years (decade?) American Tabloid has been pitched (and maybe a little further along) as a cable mini-series. Obviously, that hasn't happened, although in this long-form TV series age, I cannot understand why. 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 15 February 2018 at 11:34am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

About to start THE JUNGLE BOOK. I hope it's as good as the original Disney film. ;-)
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James Best
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Posted: 15 February 2018 at 7:40pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Charles:

I have heard the same rumors about AMERICAN TABLOID and agree that it would work well as a long-form TV series. But I think the real problem is that Ellroy's novels (as Hollywood properties) have "cooled off" a lot from his peak of popularity in the late 90's and early 00's.

While L.A. CONFIDENTIAL did very well at the box office, garnered positive reviews, and earned an Oscar for Kim Basinger, the same can't be said for THE BLACK DAHLIA... I think Hollywood moved on once it perceived that Ellroy was no longer bankable and has little interest in revisiting his stuff.

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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 18 February 2018 at 12:10pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Reading TARZAN ON THE PLANET OF THE APES (Dark Horse).

Not sure the worlds mesh that well, to be honest. I commend it for the effort, but it's not quite working for me. May as well finish it, though, as I bought the trade.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 18 February 2018 at 1:16pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

I wish I could read all the Mike Ploog Planet Of The Apes comics. I could even disguise the purchase as a gift for the BF as he is a fan of it (even the new ones I'm not into). I was looking at the British ones hoping they might be affordable (and because that's what I had one of), but I'm too skint. If I spent on a book right now it'd be that Kurt Schaffenbeger's life book I didn't know about at the time.

I read some Rudyard Kipling and H. Rider Haggard as a kid, but Edgar Rice Burroughs was easier to find thanks to Ace paperbacks. I still have a lot of those Ballantine Adult Fantasy books with Victorian era Haggard, William Morris, Lord Dunsany etc. somehow Kipling like Mary Shelley fits in with that for me.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 19 February 2018 at 3:57pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

It's hard to define what Special Branch are within UK policing. They seem to overlap with other units and do tasks such as protection of royals and VIPs, but I suppose they are best known for counter-terrorism duties.

This book is well worth a read:


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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 22 February 2018 at 9:20pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

SPACE TEAM: RETURN OF THE DEAD GUY
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 24 February 2018 at 10:17am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Can't wait to get stuck into this, let's hope my non-scientific brain can get a grip on it:


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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 24 February 2018 at 12:43pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Is that about the discovery of the concept of nothingness Robbie? Lots of ramifications to that but we take if for granted now.

I had some buddhist 'education' as kid and everything in the branch of that we were taught about seemed to eventually lead to nothing, and I'm still struggling with it.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 24 February 2018 at 12:49pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Hi, Rebecca, I think the Barnes & Noble synopsis can explain it better than I could:

The Babylonians invented it, the Greeks banned it, the Hindus worshipped it, and the Church used it to fend off heretics. Now it threatens the foundations of modern physics. For centuries the power of zero savored of the demonic; once harnessed, it became the most important tool in mathematics. For zero, infinity's twin, is not like other numbers. It is both nothing and everything. 

In Zero, Science Journalist Charles Seife follows this innocent-looking number from its birth as an Eastern philosophical concept to its struggle for acceptance in Europe, its rise and transcendence in the West, and its ever-present threat to modern physics. Here are the legendary thinkers—from Pythagoras to Newton to Heisenberg, from the Kabalists to today's astrophysicists—who have tried to understand it and whose clashes shook the foundations of philosophy, science, mathematics, and religion. Zero has pitted East against West and faith against reason, and its intransigence persists in the dark core of a black hole and the brilliant flash of the Big Bang. Today, zero lies at the heart of one of the biggest scientific controversies of all time: the quest for a theory of everything.


Edited by Robbie Parry on 24 February 2018 at 12:53pm
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Steve Coates
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Posted: 24 February 2018 at 6:45pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Just Finished Lee Child's newest Jack Reacher novel, "The Midnight Line". I wouldn't recommend it, at 368 pages, it is 258 pages too long.
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 26 February 2018 at 9:35pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply


Very light reading:

Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross


Image result for rough justice book


and

STAR TREK: The Original TOPPS Trading Card Series


Image result for star trek original topps series




Colorful, breezy fun!



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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 27 February 2018 at 3:18pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

I'm around half way through Trina Robbins' non-fiction biographical vignettes book Last Girl Standing (Fantagraphics). She was probably being generous or something when my asking her about The Byrds in '65 a few years ago sparked a desire to do a book like this. I only asked because she was quoted in a Byrds Day-By-Day (Jawbone) book I had gotten. In any case I'm very glad to see and read it; lots of great photos and vintage underground comics. Behind the scenes of L.A./NYC/San Francisco scenes touching on SF, Fashion, Renaissance Fairs, Folk-Rock, Undergrounds and papers, San Diego Con.

One of her best comics is The Silver Metal Lover, an adaption of the Tanith Lee book. If you see it around (I think there were two editions) at a good price grab it as I think it's one of the best adaptions from text fiction to comic story (graphic 'novel') I've ever seen. If you like stuff like Zot or the Wheatley-Hempel Mars comic I would think you'd like this too.

Also enjoying the heck out of X-Men v.2 #93-95 by Alan Davis. So glad to find it is almost all characters I know from when I did follow X comics. I'll probably look into getting some more from this turn of the millennium period to set alongside the 22 1/2 Hidden Years issues and Avengers #1 1/2.
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James Best
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Posted: 27 February 2018 at 3:46pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

I have enjoyed reading the long running comic strip Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller but over the years I have only managed to read it only once in a while in my local newspaper. I decided it was time to sample some of Miller's collections, starting with this gem from 2005.
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Matthew Chartrand
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Posted: 27 February 2018 at 6:14pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply



  HIS MAJESTY'S DRAGON: Temeraire book 1 by Naomi Novik.

 Stephen King declares it "terrifically entertaining", and I agree.
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James Best
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Posted: 28 February 2018 at 9:32am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Now starting:
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Robert Cosgrove
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Posted: 28 February 2018 at 10:37pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

I've been falling behind on this thread, so I'll double up in my next few posts.  Finished The Last Lion:  Winston S. Churchill, Defender of the Realm, the final volume in the trilogy by William Manchester, this one largely finished by another author after Manchester's death.  I'd read the first two years ago, but eleven years passed between volume two and volume three, and in the meantime, I lost momentum.  Finally I picked this up and enjoyed it, although it took me a few months, with various intervening books, to work through it.  Especially good, I think, on the relationship between the Americans and the British.  Harry Hopkins comes off very well, FDR less so, in my opinion.

J. D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy, an interesting look at what's happened to a segment of America, told by means of autobiography by an author who in some ways is atypical of the people he represents.  Picture L'il Abner succeeding in the Marines and at Yale Law School . . . 
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 03 March 2018 at 8:59am | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Got so many books on the go right now (I used to read one at a time), so I'll be starting FRANKENSTEIN IN BAGHDAD tonight:





Here's the synopsis:

From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi—a scavenger and an oddball fixture at a local café—collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them proper burial. But when the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps the city, and reports stream in of a horrendous-looking criminal who, though shot, cannot be killed. Hadi soon realizes he’s created a monster, one that needs human flesh to survive—first from the guilty, and then from anyone in its path. A prizewinning novel by “Baghdad’s new literary star” (The New York Times), Frankenstein in Baghdad captures with white-knuckle horror and black humor the surreal reality of contemporary Iraq.
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James Best
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Posted: 05 March 2018 at 8:46pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Now continuing my review of the Non Sequitur comic strip collections...
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James Best
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Posted: 06 March 2018 at 8:41pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Now starting a collection of short stories in the Hap & Leonard series by Joe R. Lansdale...
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Shaun Barry
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 5:21pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply


PLANET OF THE APES: The Evolution of the Legend [2014]
  by Jeff Bond & Joe Fordham


Image result for the evolution of the legend


Wonderful coffee-table book (bought used & cheap, still in great shape!), mostly about the 1968-75 era of POTA, filled with gorgeous behind-the-scenes & promo photos... roughly the last 1/4 of the book is dedicated to the nonsensical Tim Burton remake and the reboot/Prequel films--so those pages I can just easily ignore!



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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 5:42pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

Walter Mosley’s DOWN THE RIVER UNTO THE SEA
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 5:55pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

Shaun, I bought that book from Forbidden Planet about three weeks ago. Can't wait to get stuck in.
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