Glens Falls (NY) Online Book Discussion Group discussion

457 views
ABOUT BOOKS AND READING > What are U reading these days? (Part Five) (begun 3/12/09)




Comments (showing 950-999)    post a comment »

Arnie Harris | 185 comments Can't improve on your description, Jackie!

Like you said, it's hard to describe.

I was interested to read that Cameron was working on the script before "Titanic", and wanted to make it right after, but decided he needed the CGI technology to advance even more before he'd try it.


Mary JL (MaryJL) | 370 comments Jackie: I am looking forward to The Avatar!


Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments It was the best movie I've seen in a long time. I think it's going to win all sorts of awards. Or, it should.


message 996: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Jackie wrote: "The scenery I was referring to was CGI. It was a jungle/forest of a sort; there is nothing like it on Earth. It was so wonderfully imaginative. The scenery was part of the story. I can't describ..."

Thanks, Jackie. I have to say that you've made me very curious. :)


message 995: by Jackie (last edited Dec 21, 2009 07:36PM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments The scenery I was referring to was CGI. It was a jungle/forest of a sort; there is nothing like it on Earth. It was so wonderfully imaginative. The scenery was part of the story. I can't describe it without telling the story, you'd really have to see it for yourself. But I'd have to say it was both, the scenery itself and the overall interwoven effect of the story too. Maybe Arnie can do better in describing it.



message 994: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Dec 21, 2009 05:48PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Jackie and Arnie - I've been thinking about what you said re the scenes in "Avatar" being so beautiful. Was it the scenery or the entire effect? If it was the scenery, what types of scenes were they? From what I've read, I'm imagining jungle scenes.


Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments Yeah, I don't recall any DVD's being in 3D, but that doesn't mean anything. As it is, not too many movies are done in 3D so I can't even think of any offhand to try and check on.
It would be awesome, though! My son has a big screen HDTV in his room, I'd definitely watch it there.


Arnie Harris | 185 comments That's a good question--- I don't think it's been done yet---but maybe this time!!


Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments Arnie, you're so lucky being able to see it in 3D! I'm envious. When it gets released to DVD, do you think they can do the 3D version?


Arnie Harris | 185 comments Hey Joy and Jackie,

Yeah, I was thinking that if it's that dazzling in 2-D, maybe 3-D would total our retinas!! LOL!!


I'll find out tomorrow!!




message 989: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Thanks, Jackie.


Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments Arnie, I also saw it in 2D, which is all we've got around here. I thought it was breathtakingly beautiful. I'm looking for it in 3D because I've read from people who saw it in 3D that it's even better. If it's close enough, then I'll go see it again. I'd still see it again in 2D though, it was that good.
Joy, My eyes never hurt from 3D, so I can't really comment on the tired eyes thing. I'm guessing that's an individual experience.


message 987: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Dec 20, 2009 12:25PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments PS-Here's the link Jackie gave us to the trailer of "Avatar":
http://www.worstpreviews.com/trailer....

From Wiki: "The film's title refers to the remotely controlled, genetically engineered human-Na'vi bodies used by the film's human characters to interact with the natives."
FROM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatar_%...

In other words, an avatar, in this sense, is a new personification or embodiment.
See definitions at:
http://www.onelook.com/?w=avatar&...


message 986: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Arnie, I'll be interested to hear how the 3D affected your eyes. At the following link, the reviewer complained about it:
http://www.cinephilemagazine.com/2009...
Excerpts from above link:
====================================================
"I’ve yet to see a film that benefits from 3D. Instead of focusing on the story, I spend the running time blinking to ease the strain on my eyes..."
"... Never have my eyes been so tired, so soon. Scour the discussion section of any film site, and you’ll come across talk of the dastardly things Avatar’s cinematic revolution will do to our eyes. I suppose this is that dastardly thing."
=====================================================


Arnie Harris | 185 comments < saw Avatar yesterday---once again Cameron, like with the masterpiece Titanic, shows had it's done---my wife and I saw it in 2-D ---tomorrow we're goin' back to see it in 3-D (although, even only in 2-D it was such an overpoweringly beautiful visual experience)!!


Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments There is no one in the wings that will ever take his place.
That's the truth!


message 983: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Jackie wrote: "I finished Next and it was good, brings up lots of ethical problems in genetic research and biotechnology. ... I like his research and ideas. I think I have one more Crichton book on my shelf and that's it, there'll be no more. Kind of sad, I like his thought provoking stories. "

From GR: Michael Crichton "died on November 4, 2008, after a long battle with cancer."

From Wiki:
"Crichton graduated from Harvard, obtaining an M.D. in 1969..."
"'Michael was a gentle soul who reserved his flamboyant side for his novels. There is no one in the wings that will ever take his place.' -Steven Spielberg on Michael Crichton's death"
FROM: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_...


message 982: by Jackie (last edited Dec 19, 2009 05:21PM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments I finished Next and it was good, brings up lots of ethical problems in genetic research and biotechnology. The only thing I didn't care for was too many characters, and quite of bit of time would go by before they'd resurface. The name was familiar, or not at all and I'd have to go back and see what their story was.
I like his research and ideas. I think I have one more Crichton book on my shelf and that's it, there'll be no more. Kind of sad, I like his thought provoking stories.

Now I'm starting City of Night by Dean Koontz.


message 981: by Nina (new)

Nina | 2447 comments Thanks, Joy, good explanation of both icons and symbols. nina


message 980: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Dec 18, 2009 07:20PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Nina wrote: "What is the difference between a symbol and an icon? We recently had a homily at church about icons and I dont' know the difference between them. Do any of you? nina"

Good question, Nina. Well, we could start with definitions:
=====================================================
ICON:
▸ noun: a conventional religious painting in oil on a small wooden panel; venerated in the Eastern Church
▸ noun: (computer science) a graphic symbol (usually a simple picture) that denotes a program or a command or a data file or a concept in a graphical user interface
▸ noun: a visual representation (of an object or scene or person or abstraction) produced on a surface
FROM: http://www.onelook.com/?w=icon&ls=a
-------------------------------
SYMBOL:
▸ noun: something visible that by association or convention represents something else that is invisible ("The eagle is a symbol of the United States")
▸ noun: an arbitrary sign (written or printed) that has acquired a conventional significance
FROM: http://www.onelook.com/?w=symbol&...
=====================================================

From what I can deduce from the definitions above, depending on which definition you use, an icon can be a symbol and a symbol can be an icon. It all depends on which definition you use.

PS-Below is a link to a webpage which explains the difference further:
http://www.iicm.tugraz.at/thesis/ahol...
NOTE: The article at the above link makes the following distinction between an icon and a symbol:
"...the drawing of an icon is similar to the shape of the object depicted and is thus instantly recognizable. Symbols, on the other hand, may have no visible resemblance of the object at all. Their meaning has to be learned."



message 979: by Nina (new)

Nina | 2447 comments What is the difference between a symbol and an icon? We recently had a homily at church about icons and I dont' know the difference between them. Do any of you? nina


Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments Thanks Joy! I added the book to books I want to buy. And just spent an hour combing through the online encyclopedia; I can see me spending a fair amount of time there.


message 977: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Jackie wrote: "I like ancient symbols. At a time when most everyone was illiterate, symbols were very important. They are a language of their own. You would not believe how many symbols we see right now in daily life that are actually ancient symbols, with completely different meanings than to what we think they mean now. ... Same goes for etymology,..."

The following Etymology Dictionary is interesting:
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php
Here's a sample display:
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?s...

I also found the following website just now --
"Online Encyclopedia of Western Signs and Symbols":
http://www.symbols.com/
They advertise the following book: _Symbols -- Encyclopedia of Western Signs and Ideograms by Carl, G Liungman.

Here's a random sample page showing lots of symbols I've never seen before:
http://www.symbols.com/encyclopedia/3...

Gee, it's a whole new world for me!


message 976: by [deleted user] (new)

Jackie wrote: "I'm pretty much where you are Jim, I don't go in for the mythos surrounding Jesus. I do agree the coincidences were astounding! I mean, this was supposed to be this big secret for over 2000years ..."


That may have been the reasoning of some, I agree, but even though I am Christian, I couldn't care less what an author makes up in that vein.....I just have to agree with Werner's oldest daughter in her estimation of the book. :)

Joy, that quote sounds exactly Liberace! :) What a talent and showman he was.



message 975: by Jackie (last edited Dec 16, 2009 07:21PM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments I like ancient symbols. At a time when most everyone was illiterate, symbols were very important. They are a language of their own. You would not believe how many symbols we see right now in daily life that are actually ancient symbols, with completely different meanings than to what we think they mean now. Same goes for etymology, what a word originally meant is not what the word means now. Symbols and words undergo evolution. It's very fascinating to me. I like to trace their path, see the gradual changes over time.



message 974: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Jackie wrote: "Like I mentioned earlier, I'm into symbology and etymology, so the puzzles in Brown's books were a challenge to me. Langdon's job was symbology so I had to try and beat him to the punch.
I think ..."


I see. "Symbology" is a new word for me. Of course the definition is: "The study or the use of symbols and symbolism." They probably used the word in the book, but I've forgotten it.

Gee, Jackie, speaking of symbols, I'm just becoming accustomed to the simple symbols they use on tech devices such as || for pause and stuff like that. LOL Even on street signs I sometimes wish they'd use old-fashioned words instead of symbols. But I digress... (g) I do see what you mean. I love etymology.


message 973: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Jim wrote: "Fiction has to be believable to work, Joy. Too many coincidences, although they can happen, shouldn't be used in fiction. Credulity only stretches so far & they tend to break it. ..."

Jim, I guess I can forgive a lot if the story grabs me. Sometimes, having a refined critical eye can work against you. :) (... as in "spoiling one's palate for cheap wine"!) (I once heard that somewhere and I think there's a lot of truth to it.) Not that I'm advocating cheap wine or poor literature, but that's the way life is.


message 972: by Jackie (last edited Dec 16, 2009 06:57PM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments Like I mentioned earlier, I'm into symbology and etymology, so the puzzles in Brown's books were a challenge to me. Langdon's job was symbology so I had to try and beat him to the punch.
I think the symbology/etymology angle is what interested me most and probably why I liked the books. They're subjects you rarely find novels about.


message 971: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Dec 16, 2009 06:00PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Jackie wrote: "That's what I liked, the puzzles, I like to try to figure them out before the characters do. I got them all except one!
I recently read DB's The Lost Symbol, more of the same for..."


Jackie, I don't enjoy mind-puzzles dealing with specifics. So many of them frustrate me. However, I do enjoy tossing abstract ideas around in my head. Even though they're a puzzle, they interest me. The difference must be in the interest they generate in me. Who knows why different things interest different people! THERE'S an abstract puzzle for you! I doubt if anyone can answer that. :)


message 970: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 3971 comments Fiction has to be believable to work, Joy. Too many coincidences, although they can happen, shouldn't be used in fiction. Credulity only stretches so far & they tend to break it. Real life, on the other hand, is very often stranger than fiction. I've had a fair few odd circumstances in my life, too.


message 969: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Jim wrote: "... I thought the plot was basically interesting, but a little too full of coincidence & forced in places. ..."

Jim, about coincidences in plots in general, I often find them hard to swallow, but I accept them if I'm enjoying the story. On the other hand, there have been some real coincidences in my life and I can't deny they happened. So that's probably another reason why I can accept a reasonable amount of coincidences in a good story.


message 968: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Jackie wrote: "... I also think some of the hatred for it is by those who cannot tolerate their beliefs challenged. ... Religion and politics are touchy subjects and people take them very personally. ..."

Hmmm, Jackie. I never thought of that angle. So true!


message 967: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Arnie wrote: "Reminds me of the joke about the author telling his friend ... ...
Yes Joy, I think the reason for the book's phenomenal success has everything to do with its controversially heretical ideas---plus, Americans love the idea of conspiracies. "


Good joke, Arnie. You also made a good points about how people find it interesting to read about conspiracies and heresies.


Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments That's what I liked, the puzzles, I like to try to figure them out before the characters do. I got them all except one!
I recently read DB's The Lost Symbol, more of the same format. Hidden clues, run and chase scenes.


message 965: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 3971 comments Still, it was a fun paper chase with some cool gadgets. I liked DaVinci's puzzle box & stuff. Lots of action too.


Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments I'm pretty much where you are Jim, I don't go in for the mythos surrounding Jesus. I do agree the coincidences were astounding! I mean, this was supposed to be this big secret for over 2000years and Sophie and Robert just find all these clues, one after the other. I know this would be the end to the story, but if this was such a big secret, why were they any clues at all? If I were hiding it, I surely wouldn't leave clues peppered all over the place.


message 963: by Jim (new)

Jim (JimMacLachlan) | 3971 comments Maybe that's why I was lukewarm about the book since I don't believe in the Christian myths. Where it impacted believers by enraging or engaging them on the religious level, that blew right by me. I thought the plot was basically interesting, but a little too full of coincidence & forced in places.


message 962: by Jackie (last edited Dec 16, 2009 09:40AM) (new)

Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments I think that's true, Arnie and Joy, why it was so successful, people love to read/hear about controversial issues, whether they're true or not. And conspiracies/speculation has always been gobbled up like candy. Know that I'm not trying to offend anybody but I also think some of the hatred for it is by those who cannot tolerate their beliefs challenged. I'm sure there's some who genuinely didn't like it, but I can't help thinking how much overall dislike is due to the subject matter more than anything. I'm not saying any of people here, I'm basing that on the people I know personally and it was their only objection to the book, so I naturally wonder how many others feel the same.
Religion and politics are touchy subjects and people take them very personally.
Maybe I liked it because I don't care if Jesus was married or not, it does not change his teachings for me at all.



message 961: by Arnie (last edited Dec 16, 2009 06:42AM) (new)

Arnie Harris | 185 comments Reminds me of the joke about the author telling his friend,
"Jim, I gotta tell you, I've been writing for 10 years and I finally realize I have no talent".
His friend asks "Why don't you quit?"
He answers, " I can't!! I'm too popular!!

Yes Joy, I think the reason for the book's phenomenal success has everything to do with its
controversially heretical ideas---plus, Americans love the idea of conspiracies.


message 960: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments It's interesting to read all these different takes on Dan Brown's books. When he hears the criticisms of his work, I'll bet he cries all the way to the bank.

(Wasn't it Liberace who first used that line?)

One time I heard the following true story:
A business manager went on vacation. His employees decided to play joke on him and sent him a telegram saying the company's building had burned down. He sent a telegram back expressing his sorrow. It said: "I cried all the way to the pool." :)


Werner | 1541 comments Joy, I haven't read Angels and Demons, either. But my oldest daughter read it through, without prejudging it. Her one-word summation was "Crap." :-)


Linda (goodreadscomlinda_p) | 227 comments Read _The Da Vinci Code_, when it first came out - my boss (who went to Catholic school and was an alter boy) said it was a must read. Lots of hype. The book was passed on to many people in the office.

I enjoyed the book - fast reading - interesting.

Thought the movie would be good. Wasn't so hot. I tend to agree with everyone - that it was probably because of the miscasting of Tom Hanks. (He was excellent in The Green Mile).



message 957: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Dec 15, 2009 06:34PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments PS-I tried reading the book Dan Brown wrote after (or before) _The Da Vinci Code_, but when I realized that it seemed to have the same endless twists and turns, I decided not to continue reading. I believe the book was _Angels & Demons_.


message 956: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Dec 15, 2009 06:25PM) (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Arnie wrote: "The writing, such as it was, was cookie-cutter, cliched, prosaic prose with no elan or life to it. The way the first victim, the priest, left an arcane message for Langdon... ... just strained credibility to the breaking point. ..."

Arnie, I see your point. So how do you explain the success of the book as a bestseller? If I had to guess, I'd say that the mysterious plot, as convoluted as it was, appealed to many readers. Also, it dealt with the subject of religion which is an interesting mystery in itself. In addition, perhaps some readers enjoyed the way the book seemed to challenge certain popular religious beliefs and institutions, at the same time hinting that the true female role in religion has been hidden for centuries, an idea that may have appealed to many feminists.

As for cliched writing, I've always maintained that, if a person is unfamiliar with a cliche, it isn't a cliche to that particular person. Therefore the identification of cliches can be subjective. A more experienced and well-read person might recognize a cliche, but to some readers the supposed cliche may be a brand new exciting expression or theme. In such a case, ignorance can be bliss. :)

OR ... Perhaps some readers are willing to overlook the cliches as long as they're enjoying the story.

So, the above explanations might explain the phenomenal success of the book, despite its alleged low literary merit.


message 955: by [deleted user] (new)

Clichéd about covers it. It's been a couple of years since I read it, so it's been mercifully expunged from my brain. To me it was a hodgepodge of cliché, unimaginative language, and just plain boring.
I can't find my copy, and I vaguely recall giving it to a friend that was curious about it. Otherwise I would fish for examples of the above.

Taste in books in general is such a subjective and personal area that I almost hate to throw such large stones at something, but for whatever reason, Dan Brown in general brings out the viper in me, a bit like nails being dragged across a chalk board.

Egads, are there chalk boards in school anymore? :)


Werner | 1541 comments Arnie, I've never read The Da Vinci Code either. So there are at least two of us on the planet! :-)


Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments That victim was the curator of the museum, not a priest. It was left as a message to his granddaughter because it was his favorite DaVinci work of art. In the scheme of the overall plot of hidden knowledge, it wasn't that unbelievable because he could not come right out and leave a more obvious clue.


Jackie (thelastwolf) | 3921 comments I'd like to know what 'bad' writing is too. Mainly because I've been hearing it about Stephenie Meyer, and I enjoy her writing, so I don't know what's so 'bad' about it.
Or is it unique to each reader, each author?


Arnie Harris | 185 comments The writing, such as it was, was cookie-cutter, cliched, prosaic prose with no elan or life to it.

The way the first victim, the priest, left an arcane message for Langdon, arranging himself into DaVinci's Vitruvian Man and drawing and writing with his own blood just strained credibility to the breaking point.
There's only so far a reader can be asked to suspend disbelief.



message 950: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (JoyofGlensFalls) | 11789 comments Jackie wrote: "Don't bother with the movie, it sucked big time. Tom Hanks as Robert was their first mistake and from there it went downhill."

Jackie, I didn't think Tom Hanks fit the part in "The DaVinci Code" movie either. He was miscast. IMO, the book was better than the movie as far as the mysterious atmosphere is concerned.


back to top