Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Some book and DVD reviews

Books

Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to British Birds: An excellent volume in which Bill discusses a number of British Birds.  The presentation of the book is 'different' as it's set up to look like a tatty used version (coffee rings on one page, text appears to be typed, photos reveal the durex holding them in place).  It is very amusing and while humour is the thrust does have a lot on interesting information.  Recommended 

Blake Charlton Spellwright etc.  The etc refers to this book being the first in a trilogy of fantasy books.  I read the 3rd volume first and it was comprehensible but would have been a lot easier if I had read them in the order written!  In part this is because the story is about casting of spells and knowing how they are created etc is rather useful.  To some extent the process reflects the authors life where he had severe dyslexia, but has overcome it such that he is currently a cardiology Fellow at UC San Francisco. Recommended 


Lionel Shriver "The Mandibles"  I was attracted to this author after hearing her talk about cultural appropriation.  I agreed with her and not the shrill squawkers who attacked her.  Unfortunately I found the book annoying rather than amusing.  Somehow it reminded me of many modern US books described as 'a novel' which are full of cleverness and preciseness but bore me witless (shades of the Brontes and Jane Austen)..

DVDs

Frances read a book by Clive James in which he burbled about really great TV series, most of which we hadn't seen because they were carried by commercial stations in Australia.  However the ACT Library service can lend DVDs so we have done some catch-up.

Game of thrones: Had some redeeming qualities (eg cast were mainly good looking). Unfortunately the plot seemed to be basically there to string together nudity and/or violence so we lost interest after a couple of episodes.

The West Wing: largely brilliant.  Very well acted and with a plot that moves right along.  My only reservation is that on a few occasions people overachieve when playing a role - typically Senator or Representative - that requires stupidity (but that is probably simply reality).  We have got to the end of the first season and can't wait to get into season 2. Recommended 

Sopranos  Well, we nearly made it through an episode.  In contrast to the West Wing where we like all the on-going characters, in this offering they were all either hateful or stupid (or both).  Pass (in the sense of we passed on the opportunity to watch more, not that this pot-boiler achieve a grade higher than F.
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Twin Peaks I'm not sure if this made it into Mr James' tome.  However it was certainly well chattered about so got on to the list.  I found the set-up of the discs hard to navigate which was annoying but could live with that.  To begin with I like the look of the photography and was waiting for the weirdness to start.  After the pilot (90 minutes) and  episode 1 (45 minutes) we decided it was rather like a soap opera but all the characters were unpleasant and/or nuts.  Life is too short for this - I'll read a synopsis on Wikipedia..

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