Thursday, September 30, 2010

#259. Reading List: On Writing


Next up on the Reading List:

On Writing by Stephen King, someone I have been inadvertently chasing most of my life. I attended the same high school, the same college, moved to Colorado, ended up reading after years of believing he wasn't for me. I had the teacher who famously told him he couldn't write. Well, this book probably explains, or makes that belief, all the more baffling, because here he finally gets to explain what he thinks writing is all about. So far, I've been able to ascertain that perhaps Mr. King and I have a few different ideas about that. I still think he's a pretty good writer, but maybe this book helps explain why he isn't perhaps a little better, or more consistent. I now believe he's as motivated by all the B-movies he watched growing up as by a desire to write legitimate fiction. I don't mean to sound like I'm knocking him, because The Stand, among the many things he's written that I've loved, is among my all-time favorites of any author.

Anyway, that aside, I have to report having given up on China Mieville's The City & The City. Turns out he had a far better concept than he could write.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

#258. Reading List: The City & the City


Moving right along, the next book in my
Reading List is:

The City & The City by China Mieville, which just won a Hugo. Given this and Sacred Games a few months back, you might think I read a lot of detective fiction, but I really don't, only when it has literary or historic (The Maltese Falcon, which is another one I read recently-ish) value. Anyway, I work at Borders, and the biggest perk is the occasional advanced reader I get to put my grubby little hands on. Usually I read those at work, on my lunch breaks, but this one I've been saving, and more than a year later, have finally gotten around to.

Age has only made it appreciate in value, thank you very much.

Monday, September 13, 2010

#257. Reading List: The Great Snape Debate


Up next on my Reading List is:

The Great Snape Debate (Orson Scott Card, Amy Berner, Joyce Millman), a collection of essays probing the character of the famous anti-hero from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books. (Strangely, Borders printed it exclusively, but only has it available at its Marketplace, while Amazon has it available, and I could have used that page, which I typically do in these entries.) I don't read a lot of scholarship on literature, possibly because in school, even though the teachers were always pretending that they wanted my thoughts, they really wanted a reformatting of some other people's, which I never understood. But I do like essays, and this one is a pretty ambitious collection, one of the great artifacts of the craze over the boy wizard that by all rights should only be in its infancy. I'm of the mind that Harry is a creation for the ages, and something like this is an early testament, beyond the fan commentaries and reports of all the initial enormous sales, that his world has plenty of critical merit as well.

#256. Fan Companion, PWI Female 50, Snape


Fixed Fan Companion's format a little. For some reason, the archive links had looked terrible previously, but now they're at the bottom of the page and look better there. It may prove pretty interesting once I begin the Film Fan in a few weeks. I plan to detail 50 movies a week, broken into 25-block intervals, with a total of 500, plus (as I'm currently planning) a few spotlight posts for particular trends within the list.


So I missed the PWI 500 issue with my subscription, officially. It shipped last month, and I got my first issue a few days ago, which has the Female 50 (Michelle McCool deserves the top spot, and she did last year, too, even though she didn't get it). But I finally took a look at the ranking, and I'm pretty pleased with the names I was looking for. AJ Styles, as I noted a few months ago, certainly deserved his top spot as well. In addition, CM Punk, John Morrison, and Mr. Anderson also got some pretty good spots, which I was happy about. This is weird, because usually I don't end up agreeing with just about any of the rankings (I could provide links for the posts in years past where I've talked about them, but I'm lazy).

I will have to acquire the issue at some later date.


Having finished Jerome Charyn's brilliant Johnny One-Eye, I've now moved on to the Borders compilation The Great Snape Debate (which this post will be below very shortly in my usual Reading List entry), which has gotten me thinking. (And this is also pretty neat timing, because I'll be reading this shortly before the first half of The Deathly Hallows movie is released in a few months, just as the book was released in anticipation of Rowling's final effort.) I think I actually think better of The Little Book however conveniently Selden Edwards ended up tying his story up, because it still calls to mind some pretty deep ideas about the meaning of impressions. Snape turned out to be a good guy after all, but this book reminds its reader that some people weren't as convinced as others that this would end up being the case. Like The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (or even All Star Batman and Robin, Frank Miller's extreme, polarizing take on the early Dark Knight), "when the legend becomes fact, print the legend." People like to hold onto their impressions, because it's far easier to accept things in simple terms than to consider their complexities, no matter what they may be.


Anyway, that's all for now. I can understand the allure of writing everything you think when you're on the web; even though I've maintained this blog for eight years, and have a Facebook, I still don't see the point. If I wanted to do that, I'd keep a journal, and let history judge it...

Monday, September 06, 2010

#255. Mr. Anderson, Film Fan


Really pleased that Mr. Anderson emerged as the only winner of the semi-finals at No Surrender last night, which means he is technically the headliner of Bound for Glory next month. If he faces Kurt Angle or Jeff Hardy, there are already built-in possibilities for both, so that's all the more awesome. This is by far the closest he's ever gotten to a company building itself around him.

I was reading an anecdote in a recent WWE book where Santino Marella remembers Anderson and Randy Orton (who would later go on to put the final nail in Ken's career in that company) hilariously sing along to "Bohemian Rhapsody," which reads so more interestingly and funny when you consider where that particular relationship ended up (read that other parenthetical phrase again).

And so it's all the better knowing that he's finally made it, and unlike Christian or Angle, he's not a former WWE star who was hopscotched to the top (Hardy is the only other one I can think of right now, and there are some big reasons why that would be), so his ascension would truly be earned, not just from his prior accomplishments and popularity, but for what he's been doing all year long.

I understand that there's lots of controversy around him, some of which explains why he's in this kind of position to begin with, the injury and drug issues (which might be tied up as cleanly, the former anyway, as he sometimes insists, and which might explain the latter as well, which he would be stupid to try and explain, one way or another, because right now, no one would really want to hear it in any kind of positive sense), but I've always stuck behind him. He just seems like an all-around nice guy (despite being an Asshole), who has long deserved success in the ring.

Hell, if anything, any obvious comparisons to The Rock are only intensied in that regard. WWE tried to push him so hard so fast, the fans had little time to adjust, and neither did he, which I think is what really screwed him over. But because he absolutely knew his character, there was no way of outgrowing that original resentment by becoming his own version of The Rock. WWE gave up, focused around a few of the guys they had already been working with, and so he had to look for other opportunities.

Thank god for TNA.

And thank god...for Miiiisterrrr Anderson.



Sorry, got a little carried away with that one.

Anyway, I finally finished ranking the 500 movies that will be featured in the Film Fan Companion, the follow-up project to the Star Trek Fan Companion I've been doing since June. I had the top hundred ranked for a while, but when it came to the next four hundred, even I was a little daunted, and I've been doing a version of this list for about the last five years. 500 will be the biggest yet, but I feel pretty confident about it. But there'll be more information on that later.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

#254. Reading List: Johnny One-Eye


The latest in my Reading List:

Johnny One-Eye, by Jerome Charon, who appears to be another of the wildly unappreciated literary greats working today. The book itself is an irreverent look at the Revolutionary War from the perspective of George Washington's bastard son, who happens to call a brothel in Manhattan known as Holy Ground home. It's such fresh writing, whatever you may find offensive about that, you really shouldn't care, because this book is wickedly good.

The Little Book by Selden Edwards, meanwhile, was pretty good, but probably was better at one of the many drafts ago. Edwards buffed the whole thing into such a streamlined product after decades of working on it that he simplified everything to unbelievable proportions. Or at least that's my working theory. Still worth a look, however.

#253. Modern Woe, A.C. Hall, Paperback Reader?, Mr. Anderson


I recently completed the "official" tally for Modern Woe, at a hundred poems, but I recently learned that a "lost" poem was posted at the Fan Companion in error, so that makes it 101, and then I'll be writing one more, "Being 30," to complete the "Pulling 30" sequence, after I reach, well, 30 years old, next Wednesday to be precise.

So that's pretty awesome. My adventures trying to convince A.C. Hall to publish me in his new venture weren't completely for naught. I decided I liked writing the style I'd adopted for the two attempts so much that I will probably be doing more of that in the future. My latest one, Bound by Blood, can be found at the Comic Book Resources forums, where I post as Tekamthi. I don't get there often, unfortunately, but recently figured it'd be good exposure for my writing.

I may start writing for Paperback Reader again soon. Bart Gerardi's long-standing comics site recently converted to Wordpress, and I've been mulling going back for a few weeks now. I already like Wordpress, because that's what Lower Decks uses (where I'm currently posting the Fan Companion simultaneously, which is only about eleven Star Trek films away from completion; I'll be working on my 500 Film Fan Companion afterward).

Now that RVD is no longer TNA champion, Mr. Anderson is in a good spot to finally get the big belt. I hope it happens.

Summer Slam looked like a really good PPV, so I'm looking forward to seeing that when it hits DVD. Chris Jericho's set is due about the same time, so I'll have some fresh wrestling to enjoy.

Did I mention how glad I am that Daniel Bryan is back?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...