Saturday, December 30, 2006

Things that have been making me happy lately...

The Knight & The Wizard, by Gene Wolfe - At first I didn't like them because they felt very video-gamish in plot and because Wolfe likes to kill off a lot of minor characters that you've grown attached to. But then about a third of the way into the first book, the main character thinks out loud to himself " was like a big video game, except I was on the screen. Or virtual reality maybe. I sort of felt at my head for the gear, but there was not any..." Once I read that I felt better. I decided to read it as if it were just a glorified video game plot made into a book (or a glorified TV- show-to-book...*cough* Neverwhere *cough*) and then the plot and the sometimes forced-sounding dialogue became more acceptable. And now - part way through The Wizard - I've actually let myself start to like some of the characters and I'm finding myself reobsessing over medieval concepts of honor and 'knightliness.' (As for the minor characters - well, a bunch were killed in the first half of book one but now things seem to have calmed down. Some minors even made it into book 2 - wow!)

The Fellowship of the Ring, the movie* - No, not the entire series because, though it pains me to say it, I think The Return of the King was just slightly less good then the others. I think that Fellowship was the best. It might be that I feel this way because 1) I just rewatched the extended version of Fellowship for the first time in over 1.5 years and 2) in the Fellowship, the Quest has just begun and so there seems to be more light then darkness to it, whereas Return of the King is so very dark in places, especially the Mordor bits with Sam and Frodo and 3) the Fellowship seems to capture the perfect combination of humour and heart-wrenching emotion (as well as splendidly showcasing the archetypal human flaws, but then, that's more Tolkien's doing then Jackson's).

However, I haven't rewatched The Two Towers lately so perhaps tomorrow I'll be rambling on about how The Two Towers is the best of the three! I do seem to do an awful lot of mind-changing!

Battlestar Galactica, the 'reimagined' TV series - I love how its grittier and darker then any Star Trek series ever was. (Actually, I think the only series that I could compare it to somewhat would have to be Buffy - but only to certain seasons, particularly 6 and 7.) And I like how I can sometimes predict what's going to happen in an episode not because the plots aren't well-written or challengingly tricky enough but because the writers/producers aren't big on soap opera storylines - the kind that drag on and on, where nothing is ever resolved.

I could say more about BSG... Much more. Oh, and about FFXII too! But another time...

*Colin and I started watching the extended version of Fellowship on December 25 with E & M and tonight we finished it up with J's kids. Good grief! Little kids sure can be distracting! Over the course of an hour and a half I lost count of how many times I had to say "Shush!" to A and of how many tumbles and somersaults and yoga positions she went through on the carpet as she tried to find the Perfect Movie-Watching Position.


I'm not complaining, really. (Well, maybe just a little teensy bit.) I think its good for me to be around Real Children and not just the ones who are tiny perfect figments of my imagination. Its very... educational. And cautionary.


zandria said...

Great list! I've read a few of those myself. The one about Rwanda, by Philip Gourevitch -- I read that a few years ago after another blogger mentioned it. Quite a moving book, no? I agree with its placement on your list. :)

Anactoria said...

Hi Zandria! Thanks for your comment (and your earlier one - which I responded to in the post above this one).

It was a very moving book, yes. At the time I read it I was doing two projects on the genocide and so for a few months there I was reading about nothing but that. I'm glad that time has passed. I don't like to think I avoid the harder truths of the world, but at the same time... its not good to immerse oneself in horror for months on end.

When/if I turn again to non-fiction (and I probably should *sigh*) I'd like to read 'Shake Hands With the Devil' by Romeo Dallaire and 'Hope In Hell: Inside the World of Doctors Without Borders.'

I also keep meaning to finish up 'Greenpeace: how a group of ecologists, journalists, and visionaries changed the world.'

So much to read, so little time!

If you've read any of the above, you should let me know if you liked them. :o)