This is a lesser book. If you like Pratchett you will like the book, but the writing and the themes are nowhere near as fun, interesting or worked outThis is a lesser book. If you like Pratchett you will like the book, but the writing and the themes are nowhere near as fun, interesting or worked out as in some of his other books. I wouldn't start with this one, but just fill in with it if you have already read others. ...more
A personal yet very factual book from a woman who is an insider in the Hollywood film industry. This is not a "tell all." It is a seemingly honest accA personal yet very factual book from a woman who is an insider in the Hollywood film industry. This is not a "tell all." It is a seemingly honest account of how the film industry works day to day from the trenches. Obst is a successful producer and well wired, but not shy about telling the truth. Her perspective as a woman in the industry is interesting but not the center of the book. Worth reading if you are interested in the film industry...more
The second of two books that are about the history of the business of film in Hollywood. The first ia An Empire of their Own: How the Jews invented HoThe second of two books that are about the history of the business of film in Hollywood. The first ia An Empire of their Own: How the Jews invented Hollywood, which is a good, detailed look at the early history. This book is a good detailed history of the current era. It explains the changes in the last several decades and the way in which Hollywood markets and makes money. It can be very enlightening for folks who are starry eyed idealists about the film industry, which after all is about making money, not making art. Certainly worth a read for anyone interested in the industry....more
I have to be honest and say I only got halfway through this book. It is a very detailed and accurate account of the relationships of the social and cuI have to be honest and say I only got halfway through this book. It is a very detailed and accurate account of the relationships of the social and cultural and economic aspects of the Tsukiji fish market in Japan. I have been there and it is an amazing place, in many ways. The book is more of an anthropological or sociological treatise and it is very long and dry but has a lot of of very good information if you care about such stuff. I wish he had written a layman's shorter and more summary version of the book as this one is really by an academic for academics, but for that crowd it is probably a five. For me, even with a strong interest in things Japanese, it was too much rowing....more
Fiction (or quasi so). The cover has a Coppola quote about the book being eerily accurate of the film school experience. It is a somewhat contrived stFiction (or quasi so). The cover has a Coppola quote about the book being eerily accurate of the film school experience. It is a somewhat contrived story in parts and looks to be written with a screenplay in mind, but I do agree that it seems to portray the life of a typical group of film folks. Don't want to give away stuff, even if it is sometimes predictable. The book is worth a quick read if you are interested in the film industry and want a fiction piece. The writer is the UCLA chair of film writing and I kind of expected better from someone with those credentials, but it is an easy read....more
The story of an explorer named Percy Fawcett that seems to be the iconic british foolhardy explorer. The book is both a portrait of Fawcett and his obThe story of an explorer named Percy Fawcett that seems to be the iconic british foolhardy explorer. The book is both a portrait of Fawcett and his obsession with the search for a lost city of gold in the Amazon as well as the writer's own developing obsession to know what happened to Fawcett. In the process we learn more than we ever wanted to know about the jungle and its dangers, many of which come in small forms (worms, flies, bacteria, etc.) and are amazingly devastating. Ultimately the book jumps back and forth too much between Grann's quest and Fawcett's but it does reach resolution at the end. An interesting read for folks who like to hear about the old style adventurers....more
I think this is considered one of the basic histories of Galveston. It is written by Gary Cartwright, a long time writer for Texas Monthly. I was someI think this is considered one of the basic histories of Galveston. It is written by Gary Cartwright, a long time writer for Texas Monthly. I was somewhat disappointed. The book tends to ramble and tends to get overfocused on certain topics. I think it covers the subject as best I can tell, but it seems like he kind of walked casually through it instead of taking more care or trying to make the prose more interesting. There are a number of topics of interest: the karankawa indians, the 1900 flood, then three key families that ruled the island and the mafia connections, but I get the feeling that the facts are more interesting than the writing. There is another book called Galveston: A History by David McComb that may be better but I have not read it....more
Not your typical Golf lessons. Not a book for beginners either. It is really an almost scientific treatise based on statistical analysis that Pelz hasNot your typical Golf lessons. Not a book for beginners either. It is really an almost scientific treatise based on statistical analysis that Pelz has done over many years. It is dense and written almost like a scientific essay. Having said that there are many many good nuggets in here. It has the best description I have seen on how to play sand shots and it has very good information on the short game, but it is not a "fun" read. Definitely worth browsing if you are serious about learning more about golf and already have a few years under your belt. Otherwise, it is too complex for most....more
Oishinbo is the first in a series of Manga (those interesting Japanese "comic" books) about a man who is interested in Japanese food. Very interested.Oishinbo is the first in a series of Manga (those interesting Japanese "comic" books) about a man who is interested in Japanese food. Very interested. It is a Japanese Manga but it has been translated completely into English (though it reads the traditional back to front pagewise). It has all the qualities that make this "educational" type of Manga great. It wraps the educational information about japanese food (of which there is some on every page) inside of a typical story about a man who is at odds with his Father (who is an almost Mafioso like food snob) and the folks around him. There are a number of recipes and lots of detailed talk about how to cut sashimi and etc.
The whole thing reads quickly (less than two hours) and it is in segments so it is easy to read a chapter and put it down. The only reason I did not give it more starts is the soap opera between the Father and son is a bit tedious at times, but it is a nice twist on what is really a serious book about an important piece of Japanese culture, their attitudes and approach to food.
Worth having if you like Japanese culture and or Japanese food.
I got it at Kinokuniya in San Francisco (Japantown mall) Kinokuniya is that great Japanese bookstore chain and it is huge in Asia, but I think there are only a few big ones here in the USA. I have only been to the one in S.F. but I got there whenever I am in S.F. and have the time as they carry truly unique stuff for the USA. Tons in Japanese (which I don't read) but also the best books on origami, japanese art, Manga and Anime (in English and Japanese), magazines, etc.
I am likely going to get more of the Oishinbo series. They are a bit pricey (for my taste) at $13 a book new, but new books are all pricey these days....more
Good, chatty, casual book about screenwriting by someone who has done very well at it. The book may seem a bit long but it is actually sort of 3 booksGood, chatty, casual book about screenwriting by someone who has done very well at it. The book may seem a bit long but it is actually sort of 3 books. One about Goldman's history with screenwriting. One that is the Butch Cassidy screenplay and one that is an actual effort to adapt a short story to a screenplay and then get it critiqued by film folks.
Goldman wrote Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Marathon Man, All the Presidents Men, etc. etc. He is an insider and has very good insights and anecdotes on screenwriting and film in general. He also includes an example small screenplay based on an example small story, and critiques by several folks (director, cinematographer, etc.) on how to turn it into a movie. These are very direct criticisms and good examples of how the writer and other do and don't see the same thing in a screenplay.
Goldman is clearly human. He is pretty open about his problems in the business and he is also open enough for us to see his faults and good qualities, even when his is not pointing them out himself.
I don't know if it is a must read for film folks, but it is definitely a good read for anyone and a good followup to books that are more specific about how to write screenplays.
I will say it is not encouraging. Even with his status and success, Goldman gives more than a few examples where things have gone wrong, where he has been replaced, where various players in the business have ruined good ideas and where he himself has lead ideas down the wrong path....more
British mysteries. Well written. Very short stories. Some five or ten pages. Lots of detail and interesting deductions for very brief tales. If you haBritish mysteries. Well written. Very short stories. Some five or ten pages. Lots of detail and interesting deductions for very brief tales. If you have not read Edmund Crispin, any of his mysteries are good. This one is a set of short mysteries....more
Larry McMurtry essays on film. He has a good pedigree to talk about it, since he has many years as a writer and as a screenwriter. He has some good thLarry McMurtry essays on film. He has a good pedigree to talk about it, since he has many years as a writer and as a screenwriter. He has some good things to say about the craft of screenwriting. The book was from 1987. The essays start well and gradually peter out. He even has an essay near the end which is called The Last Movie Column and pretty much says he is tired of writing about film. Then we get several more essays.
Nonetheless, here are a few gems from the earlier essays (and remember this is 1987):
"An industry that seems to have concluded that its best hope is to dramatize the comic-strip literature of an earlier and more vigorous era is one whose fevers have finally destroyed its nerve."
"I believe to this day, that the creation of accurately motivated characters is apt to be the most important contribution a novelist-screenwriter can make to a movie script."
"By and large Hollywood is a town with a good sense of humor. Everyone jokes about sex, and a few of the more rebellious types joke about fame, but noone I know in Hollywood ever jokes about money."
"... The Last Picture Show was exactly the kind of book from which good movies are made -- that is, a flatly written book with strong characterizations and a sense of period and place."
"...working in Hollywood is like working in a city filled with immensely attractive children .. who .. also have the attention span of two year olds."
"The screenplay is only secondarily a written thing; it is an elaborate notation... a kind of codified visualization."
"...in our time TV has replaced the oral tradition, upon which, for so long, the transmission of myth depended."
"I would hate to see popularity pushed too far as a criterion for significance."
"Obviously, where art has it over life is in the matter of editing."
These are good nuggets, from the highly readable first half of the book. ...more
Glanced through this short book at a used goods store and decided it was worth a couple of bucks used. It is one of those self-help positive living boGlanced through this short book at a used goods store and decided it was worth a couple of bucks used. It is one of those self-help positive living books probably for women, written by a woman. It has (I think) 55 little sayings and a one or two page discussion on each. I liked a lot of the sayings, they were things I have said to my daughter or others at times. The essays vary a lot. Most are not great writing, but they are straightforward and useful things in many cases. Some of the more useful sayings include: Find work you love that supports you financially; Its easier to get into things than to get out of them; Don't feel guilty about your feelings toward your Parents, stepparents inlaws etc.; and Don't save the best for last.
Its a fast read and catches a number of things that are worth remembering, even if you already know them.
I don't agree with everything she says and I don't think all of her quotes actually fit the chapters she puts them in, but overall the book has good advice.
Read this many years ago. Great book by Oliver Sacks (a well known neurosurgeon and a very good writer). Really interesting set of individual essays aRead this many years ago. Great book by Oliver Sacks (a well known neurosurgeon and a very good writer). Really interesting set of individual essays about people with interesting psychological problems caused by neurological problems. Includes a chapter on some savants and some other examples like the title story. Well written and easy to read. Amazing insights in how our brains work, don't work and how we compensate....more
Oliver Sacks, neuropsychologist, best known perhaps for his books on various folks with brain problems and adaptations, wrote this book on on neurologOliver Sacks, neuropsychologist, best known perhaps for his books on various folks with brain problems and adaptations, wrote this book on on neurological abilities and disabilities related to music. He is a good writer and the book has some very good parts and I would have given it a very high rating except it is much too long (over 380 pages) and gets a bit tedious in spots. He gives many case studies and at times they are personal and interesting and other times they get very clinical and somewhat repetitive. Nonetheless, there are many interesting insights here. Example cases of music savants, perfect pitch, the loss of music, musical hallucinations, the value of music in treating autism and alzheimers, etc. Very interesting stuff about how musical memory is not seemingly tied to conscious memory. Lots of well founded background on the physicological causes of musical ability or its lack. If you like his other books you will love this one. If you only like soome of his books (e.g. The Man Who Mistook his wife for a hat) you may find this one long and tedious bewteen the insights. Amazing information about the brain nonetheless. ...more