Ok, first: the last issue's article about Cary Grant's love affair with acid is fucking hilarious. Good Housekeeping let him describe his experiences?Ok, first: the last issue's article about Cary Grant's love affair with acid is fucking hilarious. Good Housekeeping let him describe his experiences? Unreal. I definitely won't be telling my mom about Grant taking a dump on his doctor's floor, that'll crush her dreams.
The Fade Out. The ending gave me shivers. It's perfect, because in the tradition of the best film noirs, it's not hopeful and doesn't wrap everything into a tidy little bow. It leaves you unsure of what will happen next, yet sure that whatever will occur, it won't be anything nice. The lingering doom is upon every character, and some it reaches far quicker than others.
The art deserves yet another mention, because the colors and linework are just amazing. The lights of L.A., whether natural or electricity, either pop from the background or loom ominously through a window into a dark and musty room.
The movie industry is full of tragic fates, and I feel sad that there's plenty of material where you can take inspiration from. I wonder what secrets have never come to light? When you know something about what went on behind the scenes, watching even the most sweet and saccharine black and white movie from the golden age of Hollywood makes you a bit of melancholic....more
Two of my favorite things come together here in perfect harmony: archaeology and Agatha Christie. She wrote about her travels around Syria and Iraq wiTwo of my favorite things come together here in perfect harmony: archaeology and Agatha Christie. She wrote about her travels around Syria and Iraq with her second husband, Max Mallowan, as an "answer to a question that is asked me very often". That is the charm, because her archaeological memoir felt like we were sipping tea and munching cookies in one of her country village locations, enjoying our afternoon with stories from a hotter climate, and stretching our grey brain cells while waiting for someone to get whacked.
In the beginning, Christie warns her book won't entail more than everyday happenings, so don't expect a profound travelogue. The glimpses of humour you get when you read her fiction? Well, here she doesn't hold back (in her constrained English sort of way). If you enjoy hearing about the team's constipation issues or the fact that one of the last scenes includes lavatory seats floating in the water (poor Mac's first architectural job), then this is for you.
Christie tells about all the mundane things that might happen while travelling: buying dresses for the fuller form, the evil nature of zippers, dysfunctional washing facilities, uncomfortable taxis, weakness of buying shoes, struggles with a reticent member of the team, inefficiency of the post office etc. My favorite scene is when B. has trouble getting his mosquito pyjamas from the post office, and when he finally wears them and is able to relax, a mouse gets into them.
The troubles one might encounter when adventuring in a different culture where people have different concepts of dealing with things (and who regard the strange Western ways of the English very strange in turn) are told without malice and - although it's clear Christie has a special place in her heart for both countries - she doesn't engage in useless glorifying either, but tells everything as it is. There were occasions when doubting the mental faculties of some of the servants and things like that appeared dubious, but the colonial superiority could have been much worse.
What also impressed me was Christie's attitude in the digs. Jacquetta Hawkes mentions in her foreword how Christie wrote at the beginning of each season, but she wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty when her help was needed in cleaning, cataloguing, and labelling the artefacts. It could be that Christie was much more fascinating as a person than I've thought. Finding more about her belongs to another time, however....more
(A list of horror authors who have had at least one book published in Finnish.) Pätevän oloinen ja asian ytimeen menevä hakuteos, jonka alusta löytyy m(A list of horror authors who have had at least one book published in Finnish.) Pätevän oloinen ja asian ytimeen menevä hakuteos, jonka alusta löytyy myös pari kirjoitusta esittelyksi sekä suomennettuun kauhukirjallisuuteen että yleisemmin kauhun historiaan ja kehitykseen. Toki joitain kirjailijoita on suomennettu teoksen julkaisun jälkeen, mutta lista on silti varmasti hyvä alku niille, jotka aloittelevat genreen tutustumista (eivätkä välttämättä koe englanniksi lukemista omakseen). Löysin itsekin muutamia mielenkiintoisia uusia tuttavuuksia, koska tajusin että kiinnostukseni kauhuun on näemmä rajoittunut Kingiin ja muutamaan 1800-luvun/1900-luvun alun kirjailijaan/novellistiin....more
Around Christmastime, I figured it'd be nice to start a tradition and read something light and Christmasy (but not fluffy), and Christie knocked on myAround Christmastime, I figured it'd be nice to start a tradition and read something light and Christmasy (but not fluffy), and Christie knocked on my door again. Because the collections have a confusing publication history, I noticed I had actually read some of the stories before in another collection, but I couldn't remember the murderers anymore, so a reread was in order.
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding was the only one set during Christmas, and in her foreword Christie explains how her childhood Christmases spent in Abney Hall inspired the story, and why she wanted to dedicate the book to its memory. The story does feel very nostalgic prior to things starting to get awry (the description of the Christmas feast made my mouth water), and thanks to the conclusion it's also one of the best ones. It really turns on its head all the expectations one has of a crime story.
The other one I liked was The Dream, where an eccentric millionaire needs Poirot's help, because he has been having a concurring dream where he shoots himself. Soon enough, the man is found dead. The whole case is a little bizarre and mystical, and the conclusion is fantastic. So much so, that this was my absolute favorite story of the collection.
The Under Dog is slightly drawn out and boring, but as for the rest, they're pretty decent with great twists. In all six stories, hints are spread throughout and some of them are even so obvious when you notice them afterwards, that you feel kind of stupid not to have seen them. Christie takes the idea of secrets behind one's demeanor even further, and it's a recurring theme of the collection. The tiny tidbits about the social realities of the era aren't absent either, as is evident from Poirot's ponderings about the butler:
"'This Parsons, then, he will have the characteristics of his class, he will object very strongly to the police, he will tell them as little as possible. Above all, he will say nothing that might seem to incriminate a member of the household. A house-breaker, a burglar, he will cling to that idea with all the strength of extreme obstinacy. Yes, the loyalties of the servant class are an interesting study.'"
We also learn that Poirot likes curvy women. Actually, "[h]e liked them lush, highly coloured, exotic. There had been a certain Russian countess – but that was long ago now. A folly of earlier days". Really? Tell me more. The fact that something this substantial is revealed about Poirot's past, or that he doesn't mind being kissed under the mistletoe by Bridget, caught me off guard. Is this the Agatha Christie Christmas spirit we're seeing?...more
The third installment in Dickens's series of Christmas books, The Cricket on the Hearth is perhaps not set during Christmastime, but it has the spiritThe third installment in Dickens's series of Christmas books, The Cricket on the Hearth is perhaps not set during Christmastime, but it has the spirit of Christmas. When suspicion is planted in our hearts, it can eat away your soul, especially when one fails to see that some people are motivated by negativity. The wounds caused to mutual trust can be healed, though, and - because this is Dickens we are dealing with - trust is eventually restored and the warmth of love spreads into even the coldest of hearts. Isn't this what Christmas is about? It doesn't matter whether it's celebrated because of its religious background, or because eating yourself conscious and relaxing at the end of the year sounds tempting - everyone should have a sense of peace during this time of year and the understanding that everything will eventually turn out for the better. The ones who use Christmas merely for financial gain or cause harm to others are the misers.
Not all misers will change, but although excess sentimentality usually annoys me, I appreciate the hope Dickens tries to instill in his readers. The portrayal of domestic bliss of Victorian times is an interesting peek to the family values at a certain point in history, but the characters felt more distant and the plot not as interesting as in the previous two. The poetic and song-like prose I enjoyed in The Chimes (1844) didn't appeal to me here, instead the story seemed a bit too drawn out and contrived. I think the general homeliness was what made this more flat and uninteresting, but there was a bit of rehash going on in terms of some plot devices as well. Unlike the first two, this was wordy in all the wrong places and seemed unpolished, and the plot manages to be a mess while being very simple and boring at the same time (the most ridiculously implausible turn of events at the end certainly doesn't help).
Some would consider the Christmas books as Dickens at his worst, but I believe the approach is so much more different than in his regular novels that comparison is futile. Although with a basis in reality, the magical realist elements in the Christmas books place them in a different world, a world of fairy tales where ghosts, goblins, and fairies come to change people's lives. The sentimentality, therefore, is not a negative thing to be rejected, but to be embraced as something innocent and pure. Joy, forgiveness, understanding, and the desire to make your loved ones feel as comfortable as possible belong to the hearths of homes. I may not have liked The Cricket on the Hearth that much, but at least the message delivers....more
A reference to a town called Vanity in John Bunyan'sThe Pilgrim's Progress (1678), Vanity Fair is an acerbic examination of superficial attachment toA reference to a town called Vanity in John Bunyan'sThe Pilgrim's Progress (1678), Vanity Fair is an acerbic examination of superficial attachment to money and societal position, in addition to generally parading the rotten qualities we humans have. A nightmare to those who seek relatable characters in their novels, but delicious if you're entertained by people's stupidity and by following what lengths they're prepared to go with their selfishness. I'd have hated to be enemies with Thackeray, because his poison pen stabs everyone on sight, even the most angelic of people.
There's the brilliance, though. Naiveté and passiveness aren't held on high regard, but instead they are qualities that create more sorrow and confusion. Even the snow queen would melt on the sight of Becky, and her skills of manipulation have no equal. However, Amelia's girlish attachment to unhealthy relationships and her failure to see the true motives of people don't bring her any more happiness. Granted, the mistakes of others aren't really Amelia's fault, but her overly trusting and kind nature didn't do her and another person any good.
Becky's intelligence is unquestionable, because despite her poor background she manages to climb socially far higher than would have been possible for many others. She's also talented in many areas, so the contrast between that and lacking a conscience is striking. Through Becky, the shiny and sophisticated surface of the customs and morals of the upper class are peeled off and beaten into bloody pulp (in a very refined 19th century way).
Money is an excellent motive to pretend to care about one's relatives, and it gives one strength while patiently waiting for the inheritance. If a well-raised young woman is expected to set her eyes on money and a respected position in society, is it any wonder that an environment like that breeds beckysharps, who have absolutely no scruples about getting their way?
Becky's behavior is even more disturbing when it's clear she's in no way unbalanced, just a very determined woman wanting to make it in the world, and refusing to just lie down and take the blows as they come. I didn't believe for one second she really cares about Amelia, but she's definitely a force of nature in a cut-throat world and doesn't care whether she gains genuine friends along the way. Amazingly, she isn't the least bit slowed down by the people who manage to see through her, but her (and other's) actions become increasingly worse towards the end. All that makes her one of the most interesting and refreshing characters in classic literature.
Thackeray's novel was initially published as a monthly serial, which, as with Dickens, hints it might be somewhat laborious to plough through. Honestly, it kind of is. The labyrinthine side paths occasionally make it difficult to focus on the main point, and Thackeray's instructive tone seems unnecessary.
However, it's also one of those classics that reward the reader immensely, even if you're left feeling like a wet rag afterwards. It's the kind that revels in its satire and despicable characters without being pretentious, and offers (sadly, very brief) glimpses of the London scene with its cafés, ice cream parlours, and trips to Brighton. Thackeray himself also breaks the 4th wall several times with his forceful, sharp, and cynical thoughts. He challenges and provokes, and never enters the scene without the intention to poke someone in the stomach.
Despite its few shortcomings, Vanity Fair is vibrant, and through its incredibly detailed study of human nature (details which I think are all necessary), it also reveals something about ourselves by forcing us to look into ourselves and our behavior. Unlike Becky, we're able to develop as human beings and learn from our mistakes. Thackeray's dismal view of human kind is a chance. If it feels off-putting, you can ask yourself why.
PS. One thing that left me puzzled was the portrayal of black Miss Swartz, who reminded me of Dido Elizabeth Belle. The narrative mixed with the multilayered satire and Thackeray's commentary left me uncertain about who's the real object of ridicule, and apparently I'm not the only one....more
I managed to get addicted to the CW show, and although I knew the comic version would be different, I thought it would be fun to get some zombie actioI managed to get addicted to the CW show, and although I knew the comic version would be different, I thought it would be fun to get some zombie action. Well, this really isn't like the show. That one has a great pace, great actors, a fresh take on the topic, and interesting plot development.
The art here is fine (albeit a bit flat and two-dimensional), but there's a lot going on otherwise. It's like all possible monsters suddenly jump at you from the bushes yelling "Surprise!", not giving enough time to calmly get used to the whole idea of a town full of supernatural beings. At the same time, first nothing much is happening except the scene is set and everybody are introduced, and when things start to get interesting everything happens too quickly. The crush, the realization of the nature of his job, the save-the-world-with-me aspect...
The comic also makes the zombie thing too fluffy for my taste. There's an element of freshness, like with the show, but the latter isn't as lollipop pink. I don't have major problems with the comic, though. I was entertained and I might as well check the next volume to see how things develop, but I won't go out of my way to find it. The show is definitely still on my watchlist: simple fun but not one-dimensional. The comic is more like a stale Buffy wannabe....more
Mm, not sure about this one. I did like the discussions but very little seemed to happen in terms of plot advancement, and the relationship issues remMm, not sure about this one. I did like the discussions but very little seemed to happen in terms of plot advancement, and the relationship issues reminded me of the more soapy issues. I'm excited to see what the plans for Xander are going to be, though, and the overall future of some of the characters and their dynamics are interesting to see....more
Luin alkuvuodesta kokoelman aikuisille tarkoitettuja islantilaisnovelleja, joka oli ihan pätevä johdanto islantilaiseen mielenmaisemaan ja kirjallisuuLuin alkuvuodesta kokoelman aikuisille tarkoitettuja islantilaisnovelleja, joka oli ihan pätevä johdanto islantilaiseen mielenmaisemaan ja kirjallisuuteen, mutta nämä lapsille ja nuorille suunnatut novellit eivät puhutelleet. Löytyi töksähteleviä lauseita ja latteita tarinoita, mutta onneksi pieni valonpilkahdus tuli Peikkomuori-tarinasta, jossa peikon muotoinen kallionkieleke sulautuu ikävöinniksi isoäidin perään. Melko suuri osa novelleista on muuten aika surumielistä tavaraa ja käsittelee yllättävän aikuisia aiheita, eli kovin montaa pienelle lapselle suunnattua tarinaa en usko tästä löytyvän....more