Glens Falls (NY) Online Book Discussion Group discussion

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message 1: by Arnie (new)

Arnie Harris | 185 comments Hi,
I'm arnie formerhigh school English teacher (sometimes felt like a Foreign language Teacher) and newspaper reporter/writer.
A compulsive reader, I must have read thousands of books in my life, Fiction and Non-Fiction.

Favorite authors: Pat Conroy, Barbara Kingsolver, Gore Vidal, Norman Mailer, Noam Chomsky, Sinclair Lewis, MARK TWAIN, Jack London, Herman Hesse, James Michener, Philip Roth,


message 2: by Arnie (new)

Arnie Harris | 185 comments Am currently reading a book about the Leopold and Loeb case of the 1920's, For the Thrill of It", by Richard Baatz (2007)---fascinating so far.


message 3: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Arnie wrote: " Hi, I'm arnie formerhigh school English teacher (sometimes felt like a Foreign language Teacher) and newspaper reporter/writer.
A compulsive reader, I must have read thousands of books in my..."


Hi Arnie! Welcome to our group! Please feel free to jump in and add comments to our topics or to start new topics. I'm sure there's a lot you can contribute to our conversations. You have an interesting list of favorite authors.

I am currently listening to an audio of the following book by Gore Vidal: _Point to Point Navigation A Memoir_. I haven't yet read any of his books.

Best wishes and welcome!
Joy
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message 4: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Arnie wrote: " Am currently reading a book about the Leopold and Loeb case of the 1920's, For the Thrill of It", by Richard Baatz (2007)---fascinating so far."

Below is a link to the book you mentioned above:
For the Thrill of It Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Chicago by Simon Baatz
_For the Thrill of It Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Chicago_


message 5: by Arnie (new)

Arnie Harris | 185 comments Thank you Joy.

I literally just finished the Vidal book you're reading right now.
There is no better essay/memoir writer to my mind.
I've read his novels "Lincoln," Empire" "The Golden Age", "Kalki" and of course many, many of his essays.

I loved his lijne in Point to Point...where he said, when Susana Sarandon named him her child's godfather: "Well, that's my story---always a godfather, never a God!"


message 6: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Arnie wrote: " Thank you Joy.
I literally just finished the Vidal book you're reading right now.
There is no better essay/memoir writer to my mind.
I've read his novels "Lincoln," Empire" "The Golden A..."


Vidal has quite a sharp wit and doesn't hesitate to use it. Which novel would you suggest for someone such as myself who has never read any of his fiction at all. I'd hope for the one that is the most compelling and readable.


message 7: by Arnie (new)

Arnie Harris | 185 comments Of the ones I mentioned, I liked the "The Golden Age" best---it covers the the years roughly from 1940 to 1955 and much of the politics , art and culture of the period.
I feel in his historical novels, Vidal tends to get a little too chatty, but this book it's down to a minimum.


message 8: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Aug 23, 2009 06:56AM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Arnie wrote: " Of the ones I mentioned, I liked the "The Golden Age" best---it covers the the years roughly from 1940 to 1955 and much of the politics , art and culture of the period. I feel in his historical novels, Vidal tends to get a little too chatty, but this book it's down to a minimum."

Thanks for the suggestion, Arnie. Below is a cover link to the book: ====>
The Golden Age A Novel by Gore Vidal The Golden Age A Novel

I took a look at the GR description at the above link. It sounds like a good choice. Among other things, the description says: "Even in its occasional longueurs, Vidal's concluding volume is packed with ironic insight and world-class gossip, much of it undoubtedly true." I think I'll enjoy the novel.

Another excerpt from the GR description:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"Since 1967, when he published Washington, D.C., Gore Vidal has been assembling an artful, acidic history of the United States. _The Golden Age_ represents the seventh and final installment of this national epic, covering the years from 1939 to 1954 (with a valedictory fast-forward, in its final pages, to the end of the millennium). As Vidal did in the earlier books, the author sticks pretty rigorously to the facts."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Looks as if I might eventually enjoy all SEVEN of Gore Vidal's American Chronicles series.

I googled and learned more about Vidal's American Chronicles series:
=====================================================
"Vidal's literary legacy rests on what is termed his American Chronicles series. These books follow the growth of America from colonial times to the 1950s. Ostensibly following the ancestors of a fictional family, Vidal's American Chronicles is historical fiction at its level best, incorporating real life people and events into the epic tapestry of the making of a country. Although written out of order, chronologically the books that make up the series are:
_Burr_
_Lincoln_
_1876_
_Empire_
_Hollywood_
_Washington, D.C._
_The Golden Age._"

FROM: http://www.associatedcontent.com/arti...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Arnie, thanks for the lead to these books!"


message 9: by Joy H., Group Founder (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments PS-Arnie, you've inspired me to create a new topic. See the following link: ====>
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...


message 10: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 75 comments Arnie wrote: " Am currently reading a book about the Leopold and Loeb case of the 1920's, For the Thrill of It", by Richard Baatz (2007)---fascinating so far."

Hi Arnie - welcome to the group! Thanks for reminding me about this book, I remember reading the reviews when it came out and thinking I should put it on my list, and then it went off the radar somehow. I read Meyer Levin's Compulsion when I was in my teens - weirdly, it was one of the very few books my grandparents actually owned, who knows how or why, and I found it on their shelf one summer in Florida - with what I suppose is probably the standard combination of horror and fascination. The account of Darrow's impassioned defense was a game changer for me and the beginning of a lifelong interest in his career and closing arguments. I've always thought that if I were giving one of those imaginary dinners where you could have any ten people from any place or time, Darrow would absolutely be at my table.


message 11: by Arnie (new)

Arnie Harris | 185 comments I didn't read Compulsion, but saw the movie---Brad Dillman and Dean Stockwell turned in excellent performances as the twisted pair, and of course Orson Welles was magnificent as Darrow.
The movie (and I guess the novel) stuck pretty close to the actual facts, except the homosexual nature of the pair's relationship. (you know, 1958).


message 12: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Aug 26, 2009 05:15PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments Margaret wrote: "Arnie wrote: "...I read Meyer Levin's Compulsion when I was in my teens..."

Margaret, I was curious about this and your "Compulsion" link led me to a book by Jonathan Kellerman. I found that the correct link is: ====> _Compulsion_ (by Meyer Levin)

Below is the IMDb link to the movie, "Compulsion" (based on the book), which Arnie mentioned: ====> http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0052700/

Thanks for your interesting posts.

The Netflix description says:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Compulsion(1959) NR
"Based on the 1924 Leopold-Loeb murder trial, this classic courtroom drama tells the story of two wealthy psychopaths (Bradford Dillman and Dean Stockwell) who consider themselves above conventional morality. To prove their point, they murder a boy, and attorney Jonathan Wilk (Orson Welles) is tasked with defending the unrepentant killers. Welles, Stockwell and Dillman won Best Actor awards at Cannes, and the film received a Best Film BAFTA nod.
Genre: Classic Dramas, Courtroom Dramas, Dramas Based on Real Life
This movie is: Gritty, Dark

ABOVE FROM: http://www.netflix.com/Search?lnkce=i...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


message 13: by Arnie (new)

Arnie Harris | 185 comments I'm not sure the description of the film as "gritty, dark" by Netflix is accurate

The actual murder is not recreated, only talked about and not unnecessarily graphically.---you can bet the rent that if it were made today, we'd see the crime in all its horror and gore.



message 14: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 75 comments Arnie wrote: " I didn't read Compulsion, but saw the movie---Brad Dillman and Dean Stockwell turned in excellent performances as the twisted pair, and of course Orson Welles was magnificent as Darrow.
The mo..."


From what I've read the stage play, produced in 1957 also with Stockwell and Roddy McDowall in the Dillman role, made the homosexual aspect of the Leopold/Loeb relationship a little more palpable - not in the script itself, but in the subtext the actors were able to put subtly into their performances. McDowall was apparently brilliant, and Stockwell was really upset that the film's producers passed over him for the handsomer but less versatile Dillman. Did you know there's actually now a Leopold & Loeb musical? It's a chamber piece called Thrill Me, and although it's hard to imagine a story less suited to musical theatre, it's pretty powerful, almost a little pop opera.
Have you seen Rope, Hitchcock's riff on the story with Jimmy Stewart as the Darrow figure?


message 15: by Arnie (new)

Arnie Harris | 185 comments I wasn't aware of the original stage play, nor the McDowall thing.
I thought Dillman was quite good in the film, capturing the Loeb character (but looking more like Leopold.---I did know about the musical---pretty bizarre.
Yes, have seen "Rope", which Hitchcock, as you probably know , shot it in about three unbroken takes.
These days it won't be surprising to see "Schindler's List-the Musical"!


message 16: by Joy H., Group Founder (last edited Aug 27, 2009 04:40PM) (new)

Joy H. (joyofglensfalls) | 16697 comments I've seen "Rope" on TCM. I didn't realize that it was a riff on the Leopold/Loeb story.
I found the movie very disturbing to watch.

At IMDb I found this (about "Rope"):
"Story was very loosely based on the real-life murder committed by University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, which was also the (fictionalized) subject of "Compulsion" (1959) and "Swoon" (1992)."
FROM: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0040746/t...

Below is the link to the Netflix description of "Rope":
http://www.netflix.com/Search?lnkce=i...


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