I've had this book for a couple of years. I kept meaning to read it, but it never got far enough up my TBR stack.
Until I saw Red Cliff. Admittedly, thI've had this book for a couple of years. I kept meaning to read it, but it never got far enough up my TBR stack.
Until I saw Red Cliff. Admittedly, the shortened international version.
Man, that movie is great. Go see it. Now!
(Strange how my top three movies are all international and not US made).
The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a Chinese medieval saga or like a Viking saga, at least if I had to compare it to works in the West. The style is very similar to all those Arthurian stories as well as the Viking sagas; however, it does appear to be more rooted in fact.
The story chronicles the fall of the Han Dynasty, and there is fight or a battle in almost every chapter. It is about honor, loyalty, and brotherhood. In short, it is like the Knights of the Round Table, without the Round Table, and the over compassing romantic triangle.
For me, the best part of the book was the section that started around Chapter 38. This is because in the movie version, I loved the character K'ung-ming (aka the Sleeping Dragon aka Chuko Liang). The actor who played him in the movie is not only good looking but made walking around with a hawk wing fan extremely sexy. K'ung-ming is a very smart man, who might be called a wizard. Regardless, the way he borrows arrows is extremely cunning and funny.
The one thing that I did find somewhat disappointing was the role of women in the book. In the movie, there are only two central female characters, yet they play important parts. There are more female characters in the book, but overall the women play minor parts. In fact, one of the women had her role greatly expanded in the film. In the book, she is non-existent. There is also a line that compares the loss of a wife to the loss of clothes. Something that can be easily replaced (yet, the man are supposed to honor their mothers).
Yeah, I know different culture and time. Yeah, yeah.
Yet, women in the book are not entirely lacking. There is Little Cicada who bravely aids the family who helped her, and her story is wonderfully told. There is the Lady Sung. Sung was given a somewhat expanded role in the film. In the book, while she is an Amazon, she is somewhat less of an Amazon; however, she aptly defends her husband.
Like most sagas, the characters are more bound by honor and type than actual living breathing people. It is a romance after all. So if you are excepting character development, there is not so much. Plenty of daring do, battles, slaughter, men swearing brotherhood, and humor. But character development, nope. But this is true of all medieval sagas.
The only problem I had with reading the book was names. I am sure this is because I am a Westerner. Each character seemed to four to six different names that would be used interchangeably. I would have liked to have had a character list or something in the book to help keep all the names straight. As it was, I had to make my own.
I'm updating this review because I saw the five hour Red Cliff (ie. Parts 1 and 2). Let me just say, Mr. Woo please next time you do this, release both versions in the U.S. It was so much better than what I saw in the theater. It ROCKED! And all that plot with the princess....more
Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies spark debate. You have the wonderful people who say, "they're too long and have things with pointy ears. YuckPeter Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies spark debate. You have the wonderful people who say, "they're too long and have things with pointy ears. Yuck!". You have people who say, "the books are better" (and these people are right). You have people who say, "the books are better and Jackson should meet a Balrog in a dark alley".
But I like to think most of us are like me. Yes, the books are better, but the movies were cool too.
We can quibble about what got left in and taken out. (No, I don't miss Tom. Yes, I miss Frodo at the Ford. No, Arwen's change doesn't bother me). Yet, I think a writer on Salon.com who knew Tolkien got it right. The movies were a remarkable testment to skill and ability, and craftmanship. (and thank god, Sting didn't look like a lightsaber).
I actually knew who Andy Serkis was before he got cast as Gollum. I mean, I actually knew the name as opposed to the "wow, that elf (or Gondor dude or Rohan dude) looks familiar. Look he was in Hercules (or Xena)". Nope, I had seen him in stuff.
Serkis is one of those British actors who doesn't really have the looks to make it in American Film, which is sad, because he's really funny and does spooky very well (he even made a good Van Gogh).
He even writes funny.
This book is about Serkis' journey as Gollum. He doesn't touch on the debate surronding Gollum that got sparked off by Two Towers and Gollum's discussion with himself (too cute vs. okay). He does, however, provided detail into the making of Gollum from the special effects to the inspiration of his cat (who deserves a credit in film). The tone is fun and the details are not techincal so anyone can read it....more
So I didn't like the Masterpiece series based on this character of Jackson Brodie, but I felt I should give the author a try. I'm glad I did. I like tSo I didn't like the Masterpiece series based on this character of Jackson Brodie, but I felt I should give the author a try. I'm glad I did. I like the inversion, the floating thoughts of the characters, the fact that Atkinson doesn't think readers are stupid. Enjoyable....more
Once upon a time, the man who created the world’s most famous consulting detective had his leg pulled by two young women. In the days before PhotoshopOnce upon a time, the man who created the world’s most famous consulting detective had his leg pulled by two young women. In the days before Photoshop, the young ladies took pictures of fairies. They posed with the fairies. They claimed to see the fairies quite often. Of course, the fairies were pasted pictures. You look at this photographs today, and part of you wonders how people could be so gullible. Yet, we have famous fake pictures today as well. Do you really think the reporter is always in front of the White House? Doyle’s defense of the photos is a collection of essays, in part by him and in part by others. It can be rather dull reading, but it does include reporters various reactions as well as other accounts from elsewhere. These other accounts show why people were willing to believe, even those who should have known better. For me, the biggest surprise was the fact that one of the girls was 16, which does present a slightly different take on the story. Still worth reading for a Doyle fan or fairy tale fan.
Sex is a complicted subject. Sometimes, literature doesn't make it easier. Neither do movies or television. There is something to be said for this; hoSex is a complicted subject. Sometimes, literature doesn't make it easier. Neither do movies or television. There is something to be said for this; honest truths about sex and embarassment would lead to less children; however, it is rare to find a book that looks at sex and actually has something to say besides the words "drenched in her honey".
Heller does examine sexual issues in this book, and the phrase "drenched in her honey" doesn't come up at all. She takes a hard look at conset, age, and desire.
The story is told from the viewpoint of Barbara, who if you've seen the movie, Judi Dench captures to perfection. The books is a little kinder on Barbara than the movie. Barbara tells us about her friendship with Sheba and about Sheba's relationship with a young student, who at 16 is a year younger than Sheba's daughter.
The original title, What Was She Thinking? is far more apt, for it is hard to understand what extactly Sheba was thinking. It is far easier to understand Barabara's interest in Sheba, even if Barabara hids that knowledge from herself. Heller writes lonely extremely well and extremely accurately. This contributes to the reader's conflicted response to Barbara. The reader doesn't pity her, doesn't really like her; but the reader doesn't hate her. It's a complicted reaction, but it is rooted in understanding. In part, this seems to be because Barbara is more honest than Sheba.
Heller does tackle the question of sex and how society looks at sex in this novel. The major issue is, of course, Sheba's relationship with her student. While Barbara doesn't approve of the relationship, she raises some intersting questions. While is it okay for Prince Charles to have married 19 year old Diana? Why sixteen as the age of consent when some 16 year olds have more sexual knowledge than 40 year olds? The questions are reenforced by the fact that Richard, Sheba's husband, seems to have a thing for younger women. The age difference between him and Sheba, for instance, is as great or greater than that of Sheba and her student. Less obivious is the sex sitution and comments around Barbara, yet in some ways these are more interesting. Is she a prude because she doesn't have sex like Sheba and all the students in the novel? Is she more healthly? Heller leaves it up to the reader to answer these questions. Her job is to simply get the reader to think.
Heller goes further for it is hard, extremely hard, to see Sheba's student, Connelly, as a victim. In fact, the only victim seems to be Sheba herself. This puts the reader in to an uncomfortable position. Like Barbara, we know the relationship is wrong, but we also know that Connelly is manipulating Sheba and he isn't as innocent as Sheba thinks. Sheba is the one who stands to lose more.
It is a book about people you want to dislike, but can't help to feel something for....more
After reading this book, I've come to the conclusion that if we are going to have an intelligent discussion about the war on drugs, everyone in AmericAfter reading this book, I've come to the conclusion that if we are going to have an intelligent discussion about the war on drugs, everyone in America should read this book....more
Unless you have been living undera rock (and if you are, can I join you?) there is whole primary election thing happening here in the U.S. In short, tUnless you have been living undera rock (and if you are, can I join you?) there is whole primary election thing happening here in the U.S. In short, the media tells everyone who to vote for, and every so often a group of people vote for someone different. This person is usually strange and makes the media know it allsstupids plundits scratch thier heads. This is done so the chances of electing someone who know what he/she is doing is small.
At the very least, it does lead to debates that are as amusing as they are depressing or shocking in the stupidity of talking heads. In one of the more recent debates, the moderators, in particular, and, therefore, the candiates seemed obessessed with the idea of homosexual marriage. I'm not sure why, maybe so the homophobic jerk candiate would say something insulting to remind everyone why they voted him out of office in the greatest landslide in history. (They were also focusing on birth control for some reason).
The point here is that dispite all our advances as human beings, when you read something like this book, dated from over 100 years ago (the trial not the book), you realize we haven't really come that far.
It's enough to make you take to drinking.
Wilde declared his brillance, yet like all brillant people he fell due to a huge step in stupidity (perhaps making up for something). It is hard not to read this and keep quiet. You want to shout "Objection" "Stop talking!" "Let Stephen Fry do it". "Shut up Oscar!" "I don'care if he looked like Jude Law, be quiet".
Sadly he doesn't listen.
If you like Wilde, you should read this transcript of the first trial, the starting point for his jail time and the destruction of his life....more
There is an almost leisurely pace to the book. The descriptions are wonderful, but at times the plot feels a little too slow. In some ways, I think thThere is an almost leisurely pace to the book. The descriptions are wonderful, but at times the plot feels a little too slow. In some ways, I think the plot would've worked better as a poem than as a novel, if that makes sense....more