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This is the strange story of a young man, a future Harvard alumnus of some note, who grows up on a remote island (in a city of eight million people, twenty-six percent of whom share his ethnicity), but is forced to attend the elite Punahou Academy on the island's Upper East Side where he experiences racial troping when he's frequently mistaken for the son of a U.N. diplomat.


Every summer he and his brother are shipped off to the family's house in the black Hamptons, where he learns to connect with what Toni Morrison, in describing Bill Clinton, called "almost every trope of blackness": working for minimum wage at fast-food joints, learning to "play the dozens," and engaging in gunplay. In fact, when he gets a job at the ice cream parlor he's required to ask each customer, "Would you like any allegorical implications with that?"


The family is extremely strange too. His father chose a career in podiatry because, and I quote, "All the black people I knew, they had some bad feet," eerily echoing the sentiments of a former Secretary of Agriculture. His mother, a New Yorker and future corporate lawyer who would one day inherit one of her parents' two summer homes, seems to recall getting on the grapevine "to spread the word" when the TV sitcom "Julia," starring Diahann Carroll, premiered in 1968, that memorable year.  


Finally, it must be said that this is The Autobiographical Fourth Novel, not The Autobiographical First Novel, however, it was once widely believed that The Autobiographical Second Novel had already been written, with its Harvard-like setting and it's main character, a young journalist who works for a (Village Voice-like?) New York City tabloid.


I give it three stars, a solid "good" rating. And thanks again to B & N and the group! 

Set on one day in 1995, Cluelysses follows the peregrinations of Tai, the high school nerd, and her counterpart, the priveledged rich girl Cher, around Beverly Hills. Using an innovative interior monologue and an ingeniously intricate doubling that mirrors the voyages of Odysseus, Joyce captures the sum total of human experience. From Dionne's closing soliloquy: "I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will...As if"

Categories: books to film
Synopsis: Journalist Schlosser argues that the slow food industry has triggered the growth of community gardening in America's landscape, widened the gap between things that taste just like chicken and actual chickens, fueled an epidemic of self-righteous epicureanism and banished American cultural standardbearers such as McDonalds and KFC to lonely outposts abroad. He discusses startling facts about food production and preparation, including the dirty secret behind "meat" (it comes from animals), the farmers' efforts to reel in young, susceptible consumers through beets and parsnips, and other unsettling facts.
Categories: nonfiction

Kevin Bacon plays a Prussian soldier turned scientist who has developed an invisibility serum that has literally erased his head. Elisabeth Shue reprises her role as Bacon’s onetime love interest, Katrina Van Tassel. Josh Brolin, who reportedly lost 60 pounds and wore lifts during filming, plays fellow scientist, Ichabod Crane. When Katrina and Ichabod fail to restore Bacon’s head, he becomes unglued and unleashes a murderous rampage on his colleagues.

Princess BridesHead Revisited


This is a timeless adventurous fairy tale of a decadent 1920’s Englishman, CharlesRyder and his fickle infatuations with members of the Marchmain family. Initiallyattracted to Sebastian, he eventually allows himself to be seduced by the sophisticated Buttercup, the most beautiful woman on earth.


In turn he is drawn toother members of this terrifying assortment of family members: a gentle giant,a swordsman, an evil Sicilian, and a sadistic Count. A universal story thatwill appear to readers of all persuasions.

Amir comes riding into Kabul wearing a fur fez just like the one Hamid Karzai wears, thinking, "I have come from California: a fur piece. All the way from Marin County a-walking. A fur piece." Now a successful novelist, Amir, in his fur piece, has returned to the country of his youth after receiving an enigmatic phone call advising him that there is a way to atone for his betrayal of his loyal childhood companion Joe Christmas, the harelipped kite runner, who in his mad flight to retrieve an imaginary kite, embraced death, entering "the street which ran for thirty years." "The whiskey died away in time and was renewed and died again, but the street ran on. From that night the thousand streets ran as one street...The street ran into Oklahoma and Missouri and as far south as Mexico and then back north to Chicago and Detroit and then back south again and at last to Mississippi..." That's one loyal servant!

When the movie adaptation of "Q & A," Vikas Swarup's picaresque novel about Mumbai street urchins strikes gold at the box office, he and his publisher are lured to Harpo Studios in Chicago, ostensibly to participate in a panel discussion entitled "Truth in India," but really for the purpose of slicing, dicing, and forcing him to confess to a bunch of NY Times book critics just how he "cheated," because, after all, they had dismissed his novel three years earlier in a perfunctory one-paragraph review by Elsa Dixler.

The Grapes of Wrath of Khan

California... the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the Joad family. Their mission: to escape strange dust, to seek out new work and fight for the oppressed, to boldly go where no man has gone before.



Message Edited by PaulH on 03-11-2009 03:44 PM
Categories: books to film
The most memorable section of this experimentally structured musical is narrated by the idiot governess, whose relentless singing of scales is tolerated by the rest of the family out of deference to her mountain-fixated mental illness.  Meanwhile, Friedrich, obsessed with the loss of Liesl's virginity to a craven Nazi messenger boy, commits suicide by throwing himself into a tub of wienerschnitzel.  The practical Louisa cynically looks after the rest of her increasingly insane family, eventually conspiring with an unscrupulous theater manager ( "Uncle Max" ) to pack them off on an exploitative tour of Switzerland.
Message Edited by Jon_B on 03-06-2009 06:43 AM
The story of a young, broke, and funny Haitian immigrant whose rising star on the L.A. stand-up comedy scene plummeted during The Great Comedians Strike of 1979. 

A group of American expatriates settles in a quiet Mexican village, where they enjoy spacious adobe houses and the tolerance of the natives but eschew the larger crustacean food sources after investigating the ethics of boiling a creature alive in order to enhance their own gustatory pleasure.

A quadriplegic World War I veteran lies in his hospital bed pondering how geographical factors provided the means by which European nations conquered the world and maintained their dominance, despite being vastly outnumbered.

At the Mountains of Madison County

William Dyers, a professor of geology from Miskatonic University, warns of the grave danger of further scientific expiditions into the vast and mysterious Midwest, citing the traumatic and distrubing events of his own previous expedition.  Originally intending to study the alien of bridges that have been built over the rivers in this desolate, uninhabited place, Dyers' team soon discovers the region is indeed inhabited and makes contact with a strange living organism called Francesca.   He attempts to bring Francesca back with him as a sample but she chooses to stay with her family.   Upon being re-united with his camp he discovers some of the others on the expedition have been murdered and others dissappeared.   Together with one of the survivors he gets in an airplane to look for them and, upon surveying the landscape from above, realizes that this desolate land is in fact a vast civilization known as "Iowa".
Categories: title to title

Through the Pothole: Further adventures of Alice Not in Wonderland


As it had been a very bad winter, Alice had many snow days from school. Quoting from the original story with certain changes and apologies to Lewis Carroll: Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the snowbank. They were done up from head to toe with hats, scarves, mittens, parkas, snowpants and boots. Alice could hardly move as she stretched to stand up.Suddenl;y a brown rat with red eyes ran close by her. Her sister was looking the other way and didn't see it. Alice thought she heard the rat say, "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" Burning with curiosity, Alice ran down the street after it, only to see this large rat fall down a  huge pothole in the street in a polace where the snow had been plowed. In another moment, down went Alice after it. Alice never knew potholes could be so deep. She kept falling and falling and falling. At the bottom of the pothole, there was a tiny rusty key floating in a dirty puddle. Near the puddle was a tiny door that had the message: City Sewer System. Authorized Personnel Only. Alice thought, "Who could fit through a door so small?" Suddenly she noticed on the damp ground  a can of soda, unopened. "Don't people know how to recycle?" exclaimed Alice. She was very thirsty and as the can was unopened, Alice decided to risk drinking it.



I will leave Alice at this point. If anyone else wants to continue this story, be my guest!




Message Edited by Jon_B on 03-06-2009 06:50 AM

The Man in the Iron Mask of Zorro

"True, the mask did deflect a rapier thrust or two", Diego de la Vega mused, "but the weight of the thing makes head fakes nearly impossible."
Message Edited by PaulH on 04-14-2009 03:28 PM
Categories: books to film
Now, I need not tell the faithful Reader of my works how many times my faithful Friend and steadfast Butler Jeeves, a Chosen man in any concievable sense, has saved my Preterite hide in one sticky situation or another.  But allow me if you will to examine the one such incidence for which I am perhaps the most unspeakably grateful for his seemingly divine intervention - a matter which went beyond petty trifles such as life and Death.

It was just a nice dinner at first, or at least as nice as they get during War times, and I was having a halfway pleasant shore leave, excepting certain incidents you may recall involving, among other things, giant octopi and beguiling temptresses on the beach.  These are however other stories, and during this one I was just attempting to sit down and have a nice spot of port over my evening meal. The conversation, however, started taking a slightly unsettling turn over the course of our dinner towards, of all things, Rockets.  Now don't get me wrong, I've nothing against a nice long-range explosive projectile now and again, but over the course of this stay I'd heard quite enough of the valves and propellents and what-have-you and I was starting to get a small bit piqued. When one hears such talk in London, for example, it seems par for the course, the city being a veritable missile magnet, but on shore leave one usually prefers and expects a more relaxed subject, more along the lines of mixed drinks or cigarette brands. One Mr. Bloat struck me as particularly interested in this topic, however, and kept returning specifically to the innovation of the German V-2. Aside from a general exhaustion on the subject I was a bit troubled by a personal reaction I seemed to have to this specific piece of equipment, something my psychoanalyst friends would certainly have a ball with and which would be a real reputation-ruiner if word got out, but which the Reader of the less delicate sex may understand better when he considers his own attachments to certain items of no inherent allure.

The old Wooster nerves were getting progressively more stressed over the course of the evening and my steadfast Jeeves must have noticed, because at one point came a subtle cough from a corner of the room which seemed to have sprung up as suddenly as the man who now inhabited it. I would know Jeeves's subtle coughs anywhere, and I grasped immediately that my Salvation was on the way.

'Do excuse the interruption, sir, but do you perchance remember the game we played with Aunt Agatha and the other guests at Bimsly manner during our last stay?'

I got the trick of it immediately. Wanting to cry out, 'Jeeves, you're a genius!' I instead opted for the old Wooster subterfuge, telling him loudly what a wonderful memory that was and how much fun it would be to play with this fine group around the table.  Soon we had the requisite champagne, the waiters were on alert to refill any empty glasses, and the festivities could begin.

I introduced then the concept of the night's entertainment, a traditional Wooster family drinking game (so I said) which involved accusing others by name of having stolen some trifle from a certain royal personage and then the next in line denying the accusation in turn. As it was so prosaically explained to me by an American colleague, 'You mess up, you drink up.'

We being military type chappies, it didn't take long for this to become quite the little competition. Within the hour we were through fifteen bottles of the House's finest and I, having been somewhat more reserved in my play, slipped unnoticed out the back door with Jeeves following tight but silent behind, a nice new suit awaiting him as soon as we got to a place where we could buy one.

Charlotte's Web Cam



There's a big hullabaloo going on over at Zuckerman's farm. It seems that his pig Wilbur is no ordinary pig. To check this out without having to get through the throngs of people at the farm, just get on your computer and take a look at Charlotte's web cam!


 Slaughterhouse 751


Kurt Vonnegut’s recollection of the events he witnessed as a prisoner of war when the Allied “firemen” staged a massive book-burning in Dresden during World War II.   Vonnegut’s characteristic dry style: “Over 1.2 million volumes were destroyed that day.  And so it goes.” 



 Les Misery


The classic horror tale of Jean Valjean wrongly imprisoned and tortured by his most devoted fan.   A rousing ending where the citizens of a small New England town take to the streets armed with pitchforks and ski poles provides the needed catharsis for this epic novel.  This publication coincides with the film release starring Gerald Depardieu and Kathy Bates.   


Message Edited by CIG on 02-28-2009 01:11 PM

Portrait of a Lady as a Young Man



Henry James’ comedy of manners follows a cross-dressing prostitute in the streets of Dublin.   Inventive stream-of-consciousness writing style marked the beginning of a new genre in literature and made the words “moo-cow” and “girlyman” part of the modern lingo.   



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