The Twelve Best Books Ever Written

January 10, 2015 at 9:35 am | Posted in Daily blogs and thoughts | Leave a comment
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I ain’t no English Professor.  Don’t know a participle from an infinitive, and Word keeps telling me my writing is passive.  That’s okay, though, because I don’t think any English Professors are following me, just regular people who might like my feeble attempt at wit.  Or is that just my feeble wit?

What follows are the top twelve books that I think should be required reading for everyone. It should even be a law that you have to read these books.  In no particular order, here they go:

  1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.  If you think war is nuts, read the backstory.
  2. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut.  Not only is it a critical look at art, but it has really short (bowel-movement length) chapters and little drawings.  I know, a lot of critics say Slaughterhouse Five is his best, but I figure there aren’t many critics reading my blog.
  3. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.  Published in 1726, a million times better than the Jack Black movie of the same name.  If you can’t handle something with more than 3 pages, read Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” and then decide if you can make the time.
  4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  Answers the question, after the apocalypse, who needs punctuation?
  5. Hamlet by William Shakespeare.  I can hear you all groaning.  This play has some of the best action and inaction ever written.  Get yourself some Cliff’s Notes or Sparks Notes if you need help with the language – but it’s really not that hard if you’ll give it a chance.
  6. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.  For a good time, you can’t beat an alien invasion.   The original story takes place in England.  Sorry, movie fans.
  7. The Crucible by Arthur Miller.  Well, it’s a play, not a novel.  The Salem witch trials of 1692, brought to life with all their insantiy.
  8. Lord of the Flies by William Golding.  Great story about power, instinct, civilization and a fat kid with Asthma.  For heaven’s sake folks, read the book, don’t watch the movie.
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Americans never seem to get enough of picking on the odd guy.  I’ve never seen the movie because it’s in black & white.  Maybe one day they’ll remake it in color with some cool CG.
  10. Rise to Rebellion by Jeff Shaara & The Glorious Cause by Jeff Shaara.  One story, sold as two books to double the publishers’ profits.  A novelization of the American Revolutionary War.  History; humanized and dramatized for the “regular guy.”  If this book was available when I was in High School, I would have done so much better in Social Studies.
  11. American Tabloid by James Ellroy.  Communists, Cuba and JFK.  If you always wondered what it meant when a reviewer called something “gritty,” here’s the answer.
  12. Chasm by David Felder.  Hey, it’s my blog, I can say what I want.  And you can download this soon-to-be classic for only $4.99.

 

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Daves One-line movie reviews

March 22, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment
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I’ve seen more movies the past five months than I’ve seen in the past five years, so I figured I’d fill up this first blog entry with some one-line movie reviews.

Here’s my rule for reviewing movies.  My feeling is that movie reviews are so totally subjective as to be unfair.  Just because some hooey highfalutin’ staff writer for a newspaper says a movie is bad, doesn’t mean there’s nothing in it for anyone else.  Aside from differences in tastes, even a bad film can have some good parts. That being said, when I write a one-line movie review, I won’t say if the movie’s good or bad or if you should see it or not.  I’ll just try to come up with some clever one-line summation of the movie, intended to inflate my ego and sense of self importance.

Hey – I’m not much different than a real film critic after all.

Inglourious Basterds – Ok, saw it more than 4 months ago, but a great twisted, humorous film.  I even bought the DVD. If only it really happened that way…..

Star Trek – Hmmmmm….  I think I saw this already.  “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” with updated special effects.  At least Captain Kirk gets laid by a human this time.

A Serious Man – You have to be Jewish to get it.  Quite an alternative direction from “No Country for Old Men.”

Sherlock Holmes – I don’t care what everyone else says – very entertaining, in spite of Guy Ritchie thinking he was making a BMW commercial.

Whatever Works – Sorry, fell asleep.  Woke up to sound of breaking glass and LD jumping out of a window, so not a total loss.

The Road – A whole new level in depressing movie making.  Pretty close adaptation of the book, which didn’t have any punctuation.

Book of Eli – Remake of “The Road” with good fight scenes.  How come everyone turns into cannibals every time a few nuke’s go off?  Favorite line:  “put that hand on me again, you won’t get it back.”

2012 –  German director Roland Emmerich’s fantasy response to “Inglouorious Basterds.”    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, or however the cliche goes.  Speaking of cliche’s, see this movie – great fun for the action and effects.

The Hurt Locker – Tense movie about bomb squads in Iraq.  Liked it, but surprised it was considered Academy Award material, especially when there are so many great movie adaptations about video games and cartoons . . .

It’s Complicated –  all the funny parts were in the trailer.  If she makes you go to this, she owes you a zombie or cop movie on a Saturday night.

Avatar – It might be 3D, but you can’t fool me.  Army bad – Coporation bad – Tree people good.  Anti government, anti business film from the director of the two biggest money making movies in history.   Guess business isn’t that bad, as long as it’s lining his pockets.

500 Days of Summer – Yeah, slept through this one too.

Crazy Horse – “The Wrestler” with country music.

ZombieLand – Great flick!  Must see comedy!  Woody Harrelson deserved an Oscar.  Best enjoyed with a tin of Octopus in tomato sauce.

The Blind Side –  Kick ass football sequences with short dresses and Sandra Bullock doing the Eric Brockovitch routine a-la Julia Roberts.  Sensitive sports movie for couples to enjoy together.  Did I mention Sandra Bullock looks great in a short dress?

Up in the Air – Got to the theater late and had to sit in the front row.  Movie was a 30 foot George Clooney nostril.  Why do they even bother putting seats that close?

Love Happens – Ugh.  Never give up the remote when looking for something on pay-per-view.  But she owes me Nightmare on Elm Street next month…..

Time Traveler’s Wife – haven’t seen it yet, but she won’t let me avoid it much longer.  I feel another nap coming up . . . .

Forest Gump – I know, I know.  It’s an oldie, but cable channel AMC ran it twice a night for a whole week this month.  I must have watched it at least five times.  Momma says – you got to put the past behind you before you can move on.

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