Yes, Nabokov is more than occasionally self-indulgent, preferring to showcase his wit in direct addresses to the reader rather than concePost reading:
Yes, Nabokov is more than occasionally self-indulgent, preferring to showcase his wit in direct addresses to the reader rather than concentrating on the tiresome tedium of narrative. Honestly now, didn't you too roll your eyes just a little bit as HH pursues his nemesis across the cheap motels of the American interior only to be tormented by literary puns his adversary leaves for him in guest registers? Puh-leaze.
But I forgive him. It was a supreme achievement to take a man as loathsome as HH -- who gleefully plots drugs and murder to achieve his ends; who's perversion is but the symptom of a deeper and darker inability to relate to women (have you noticed his deep dislike of Lo's personality, or any sign of individuation on her part other than adorable petite sex-doll?); who is insanely jealous of his object's affections as he continually searches for something younger and fresher -- and turn him into someone entrancing and oddly likable. Is that because HH is so well actualized? That he doesn't angst or whine, he knows what he wants and pursues it with gusto (even though his goals are, in a word, evil) that he's so queerly admirable? I'm gonna be chewing on that one for a bit.
Anyway, for once, a so-called classic that lives up to its considerable hype. A monumental, iconic, smashing success, the confessional of a monster turned sympathetic through prose. Required reading.
OK OK OK so I never read Lolita before. Shut up.
I had almost sworn off Nabokov forever after choking through (Guantanamo waterboarding style) the hideously self-indulgent "Ada or Ardor." But Big Bad Vlad could only get away with that incoherent, masturbatory exercise in puerile wordplay knowing his thrall of blindly loyal slaves would love him for it and shower Ada with PhD theses earnestly deconstructing its dick jokes. Which is where Lolita comes in.
Like Fight Club, Thank You For Smoking (TYFS) was one of the very few books I've picked up after seeing the movie adaption first. And like Fight CluLike Fight Club, Thank You For Smoking (TYFS) was one of the very few books I've picked up after seeing the movie adaption first. And like Fight Club, TYFS was one the very few where I think the movie was better.
They made some interesting adaptions for the big screen. For one, Aaron Eckhart's "Nick Naylor" is a very different creature from the novel's. Whereas Buckley's protagonist is a morally compromised figure peddling a product he inwardly believes to be evil, Eckhart effuses with boyish enthusiasm that there's no such thing as evil at all. Which makes the movie Naylor a more interesting character, superficially lighter but spiritually darker. (I cannot wait to see Eckhart's Two-Face in the new Batman movie.) The movie's jettisoning of Naylor's dominatrix girlfriend from the plot in favor of a wholly new bit exploring Nick's role as a father also worked, although it left the film without a real denouement, a sin atoned for in one brilliant line of unrepentant kicker dialogue about cellphones.
So why, after two grafs extolling the movie as the superior version, do I give the book five stars? Simply, this book is jam-packed with lulz. Buckley is a genuinely gifted comic writer with a very incisive take at life at the politics/journalist/lobbyist Washington DC conflux. TYFS is not a timeless classic speaking to universal human truths, the book is about America during the Bush/Clinton bi-dynasty and it's dead-on. A highly enjoyable breezy read, even if you've seen the movie and already know half of the best lines. Recommended....more
The new cover with Charlize Theron is unfortunate. The original 1995 cover is really something special, and worth seeking out if you're the odd sort iThe new cover with Charlize Theron is unfortunate. The original 1995 cover is really something special, and worth seeking out if you're the odd sort into both rare first editions AND comic books.
I was a really big fan of Aeon Flux for years. Watched it and loved the original shorts on Liquid TV, waited and waited and waited all year for Aeon to get to the top of that tower and almost had a heart attack watching the final segment. Watched every episode of the series when it aired and didn't understand a thing but thought it was cool. Bought the 3-VHS(!) box set of cassettes and watched them over and over, finally "getting" it. Saw (and hated) the movie. Bought and critiqued the Directors Cut DVD set.
My fan credentials thus established, the Herodotus File is my absolute favorite presentation of Aeon in any medium. The book's central conceit that its contents are a "file" of random documents is brilliant in both concept and execution. Aeon and Trevor are both archetypically pitch-perfect throughout. The art and design are superb (get the original cover!). The writing is sharp, funny, and philosophically challenging, but the damn thing actually makes sense for once.
Every self-identified serious Aeon fan should read this.
PS: Screw you Peter Chung. Having a year to think on it I hold to my original position -- you butchered your own creation with your terrible edits to the Director's Cut DVD.
I don't know why the GR entry is wrong, this book is by John Glassco. Glassco won a "Governor General's Award" (for his poetry), which made him more oI don't know why the GR entry is wrong, this book is by John Glassco. Glassco won a "Governor General's Award" (for his poetry), which made him more or less the Canadian equivalent of an American Poet Laureate. He is an acclaimed and respected author.
Harriet Marwood, Governess, is an extraordinarily highbrow and exquisitely literary masterpiece in a genre that can only be called "bdsm pr0n."
Interestingly, there are many differences between an e-book copy available for $1 by Internet-based Olympia Press (A) and the print copy at Columbia's Butler library [Grove Press, 1967, 1st ed.] (B). They are undoubtedly by the same author, but the content is about 40% different. For example:
A. Lovel the elder specifically instructs Harriet to cure Richard of the habit of masturbation. B. No mention of masturbation
A. Harriet supervises Richard's baths, and bathes in front of him B. Scenes much reduced, Harriet never bathes in front of Richard
A. Lovel the elder leaves Richard in Harriet's care to pursue a life of pleasure patronizing the whorehouses of Paris and Constantinople B. Lovel the elder dies
A. Richard and Harriet are in seclusion B. Richard is courted by a girl he meets in London, Harriet dates a horseman
A. Richard and Harriet are in England B. Richard has a nervous breakdown, is taken by Harriet to a Paris chateau/dungeon.
A. Richard loves Harriet B. Harriet blackmails Richard into obedience with threats to send him to reformatory in Scotland, where they'll beat him even worse (as if that's possible)
A. Richard loves Harriet B. Harriet convinces Richard to sign over the entire Lovel estate to her, and then immediately threatens to put him out on the street
It would be fascinating to know how and why entire sections got altered and/or later restored. But I like the Olympia version better....more