Here's the first of my summer reads (which may not be as many as in previous summers, I think)... Jonathan Lethem's The Fortress of Solitude. He spoke at a library author's panel a few weeks back, so I bought and had him sign this one. It was billed as the following: coming-of-age, gritty and realistic, comic book, superheroes, sci-fi, urban slice-of-life, first-love, magical realism. Well, it was 509 pages long. There were some interesting parts (I almost would've recommended it to El Chuxter, with its frequent comics and early classic American music references), but too graphic and "mopey;" left me with no emotional connections to the characters, aside from scorn or apathy. I had no idea how it would end, and when I got to the final chapter, I still wasn't even sure. Weird shifts in point-of-view (that confirms when/if I write my own book, I cannot do that and expect to hold readers' attention).
Peter Benchley's Jaws, even though I still haven't seen the whole movie straight through. I can see how this became a movie so quickly, and why so many kept coming back to see it (plus sequels). Brief descriptions, scenes that come to a close quickly, and an ending that's both abrupt and appropriate. A little more profane than I'd have expected, but when it's literally life-or-death, you say what needs to be said. A good one.
Kenny Rogers' autobiography Luck or Something Like It. He was one of my favorite musical artists when I was younger. He just tells you what happened in his life; from growing up in Houston's projects to jazz bands, the First Edition, and his solo career. He seems happy now, despite multiple failed marriages, and the simple writing style reflects that. No expose' material; just what occurred, with a few of his feelings here and there.
In the biography/autobiography category:
And Nothing But the Truthiness by Lisa Rogak. A nice chronological bio of Stephen T(yrone; really) Colbert, from his family's moves around the country to his own show. I learned quite a bit about him, and I have more respect for his dedication to his craft and those he sees in need. Not as funny as I expected, but it was very informative and detailed.
Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox. I didn't realize this was his second book; now I guess I'll need to find that one. It traces his views of his own life from 2000 when he left Spin City and regular TV roles for good (just some cameos and guest appearances since then) based on the four chapters in the book: Work, Politics, Faith, and Family. Obviously, he focuses on Parkinson's frequently, but he uses more profanity than I'd expect (and from a Canadian, eh?). A very nice, uplifting book of optimism.
Been getting through You Only Live Twice, it's good but I've not given it a lot of time so it's been slow going. It's not been a ton of action, instead it's more intrigue-based and even diplomacy-based at the foundation, but the big twist on the bad guy was telegraphed even without having seen the film (which doesn't really convey much of this story anyway). It's frustrating to see this series really getting to a stronger place, knowing there's not much left to the series.
Two classic authors:
In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck. A sort of "prequel" to The Grapes of Wrath, this deals with fruit pickers in a fictional CA valley, and how the threat of a strike affects them. Not as poetic in style as many of his other works, but the message is still clear.
The October Country by Ray Bradbury. Hard to believe it'll be a year since his passing. This was a darker tone than his other works, to me, as some of his stuff is fairly dark. I thought it would be a series of short stories, like a compilation of stories, but towards the end, I realized there was a connection (made even clearer by the last couple chapter stories). Nice twists, as he's known for, but also some straightforward plots that still shock.
It took me one or two attempts to get through YOLT and Live and Let Die. Definitely different than the movies.
Originally Posted by JediTricks
Scavenger, David Morrell. A mystery where people are acting out a real-life video game, and the hero is trying to track them down. It's a fast read.
Another Man's Moccasins, Craig Johnson. One of Walt Longmire mysteries involving a dead Vietnamese girl in Wyoming. I read another one of Johnson's Longmire mysteries last year, and this latest one was a quicker read for me. The first one had been turned into one of the episodes, but AMM hasn't...yet so it was new and fresh. I recommend it.
Live and Let Die was a bit challenging because in some ways it's quite connected to its movie as well as a couple others, and in others it's very different from both and from the rest of the Fleming series.
I've really enjoyed YOLT so far, the scenes on Karo island did bring things to a slow place but there is something interesting there too. Still haven't finished it yet.
I prefer the Bond books to the movies, except for the endings, a lot of Fleming's endings are a bit "and then it ends" abrupt and anti-climactic, except for OHMSS.
You just know that someone is doing a parody and calling it You Only Live Once, with a supervillain named YOLO...
You need to get away from those awful school kids. :p
Originally Posted by Bel-Cam Jos
Maya Angelou's Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, a continuation of her autobiography. I was not aware she was a performer beyond her writing and occasional acting in TV shows. Apparently, she was a dancer/singer in the 1940s and '50s, as a nightclub singer and dancer, even touring Europe with the Porgy and Bess opera cast. It's an interesting view of race relations abroad, family needs and dynamics, and how a person can express his/her own creativity. I brought it with me on vacation, but only read a few pages at a time, finishing it after returning home.