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The Book-Club Books > February 2011 - Maltese Falcon

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message 1: by Mary-Jane (new)

Mary-Jane | 14 comments I just love hardboiled detective fiction, but as usual, don't be surprised if I read it at the last minute and swoop in at the end of the month.

message 2: by Brad Theado (new)

Brad Theado I'm a new member to this group but I was also excited when I saw this as the read of the month. I made it through an entire english degree without ever having read it. I love the classics so I am looking forward to reading this one.

message 3: by Mary-Jane (last edited Jan 25, 2011 05:44PM) (new)

Mary-Jane | 14 comments I have an English degree, too, and we never read any crime fiction, not even the stuff like Hammet that's indisputably an important example of 20th century American fiction. I tried to make up for it by teaching a course called "Crimes and MsDemeanors: Women in Crime Fiction," but I'm afraid more than a few of my students thought that "MsDemeanor" was a typographical error and that they were taking a criminology class.

message 4: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (last edited Jan 26, 2011 04:58AM) (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
I'm excited about this one too; and I picked the book. I really enjoy reading hard boiled & noir; from Raymond Chandler to James Ellroy but not read Hammet yet

message 5: by Mary-Jane (new)

Mary-Jane | 14 comments If you like Chandler and Ellroy, after Hammet I recommend Chester Himes and Richard Stark.

message 6: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
Currently I'm enjoying a great collection of short noir stories called The Best American Noir of the Century

message 7: by Mary-Jane (new)

Mary-Jane | 14 comments I haven't seen that anthology. Any Walter Mosely or Ross Macdonald there?

message 8: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
No, but here is a list of people who are;

Tod Robbins, James M. Cain, Steve Fisher, Mackinlay Kantor, Day Keene, Dorothy B. Hughes, Howard Browne, Mickey Spillane, David Goodis, Gil Brewer,Evan Hunter, Jim Thompson, Cornell Woulrich, David Morrell, Partricia Highsmith, Stephen Greenleaf, Brendan Dubois, James Ellroy, James Lee Burke, Harlan Ellison, Ed Gorman, James Crumley, Jeffery Deaver, Lawrence Block, James W. Hall, Dennis Lehane, william Gay, F. X. Toole, Elmore Leonard, Scott Wolven, Thomas H. Cook, Andrew Klavan, Chris Adrian, Bradford Morrow, Lorenzo Carcaterra

message 9: by Mary-Jane (new)

Mary-Jane | 14 comments Hey now! that'll getcha started. You know F.X. Toole wrote the story that inspired Million Dollar Baby, yes? And Elmore Leonard is FIERCE - I'm attaching a link to his 10 Rules for Writers - forgive me if you all have seen it already:

message 10: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
I'm really enjoying it, James M. Cain's short story was in typical Cain style. I'm keen to check out more from Steve Fisher, Day Keene, Howard Browne & David Goodis (this list will get bigger, i'm sure).

message 11: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
How is everyone enjoying The Maltese Falcon?

I'm about a quarter through it so far and I really have been liking this book, looking forward to see where it goes.

message 12: by Kim (new)

Kim I thought it was ok. I won't say more at this stage, I'll wait til others have read it.

message 13: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
I enjoyed the book and am keen to read more of his works. Though at times I thought it dragged on a bit, in the end it wrapped up nicely.

I think I prefer Raymond Chandler as a Hard-Boiled writer but Dashiell Hammett's writing style seems to be more skillfully plotted and has a real feeling of grittiness

message 14: by Viktor (new)

Viktor I found this book quite banal. The character development was minimal and this didn’t allow me to like any of the individuals in the book. It felt like reading a movie script: what the characters looked like and their actions were described well but it was hard to deduce who or what these people were! Some emotions but no feelings were portrayed. There was a feeble attempt to develop something in the end but it was too little too late… Only two stars from me.

message 15: by Kim (new)

Kim Unfortunately I didn't have my computer when I finished reading this so I can't quite remember how I felt. But I do remember being disappointed. I like a good detective novel and I do like noir but this book just didn't seem to hit the mark much on the detective side of things.

I will have a go at some of his other books to see if I like any of them better.

message 16: by Mary-Jane (new)

Mary-Jane | 14 comments I finished it over the weekend, and I'm really impressed with how it's held up over the years. The plot is tight as a drum, and it's interesting to note that some of the conventions - the detective as cynical loner who is nonetheless irresistable to women, the whole good-cop/bad-cop routine - were not conventions at the time, but were more or less singlehandedly invented by Hammett: his influence is all over every good or even halfway good crime narrative, to this day. My copy is an anthology of MFalcon, The Thin Man, and Red Harvest, so I'm looking forward to reading Thin Man next.

message 17: by Mary-Jane (new)

Mary-Jane | 14 comments Speaking of Cain, are you a fan of "Mildred Pierce"? The book is fun in a dated sort of way, and the movie w/Joan Crawford even more so - it's not a detective story (even though there's a murder early on,) but rather a sort of noir melodrama. HBO is remaking it as a miniseries with a really interesting cast:

message 18: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
Sounds exciting

message 19: by Mary, Quiet Observer (new)

Mary (fruity) | 128 comments Mod
i've almost finished the Maltese Falcon. its pretty much everything i expected it to be for this genre. every action seems to be described in great detail. I often find myself trying to make the expressions on my face as described in the book. Like Stony face and dreamy eyes. I don't know how to make that one look. Its probably really easy to act in a movie based on a book like this, because the actions have so much detail.

Bridget drove me crazy. What is with these women? were women really that annoying in that decade, or is that just how they've been depicted (or maybe we are still just an annoying). She would make up these lies then get all defensive when Sam showed the slightest bit of mistrust in her. She'd get all melodramatic at the slightest thing.

I liked Effie alot more. I've spent most of the novel trying to work out if she's in love with Sam or in love with Bridget.

message 20: by Mary-Jane (new)

Mary-Jane | 14 comments I don't think women were particularly like that in that decade, so much as male writers invented the scheming, manipulative, gold-digging femme fatale type character back then so that readers who were struggling during the Great Depression would have something to distract them: men who were unemployed or underemployed could pat themselves on the back, thinking "at least I'm too smart to get involved with a sneaky broad like her!" and women who were broke and living in crummy tenements could think "yeah, but at least I'm not a snake like her!"

I think Sam and Effie were in love but didn't know it.

message 21: by Mary, Quiet Observer (new)

Mary (fruity) | 128 comments Mod
When I got to the end, I think that Effie hot for Bridget.
I think that Sam probably does love Effie but knows she doesn't deserve his crap. Kind of reminds me of Don draper and Peggy olsen in mad men.

message 22: by Mary-Jane (new)

Mary-Jane | 14 comments Bridget's a true femme fatale - men AND women are hot for her, even if they know she's no good. Sam does have sort a weird integrity -if he's going to sleep with a woman and then ignore her, he prefers it to be somebody duplicitous like Bridget or Iva's wife - not a good soul like Effie.

message 23: by Kim (new)

Kim Seems like I'm the odd one out then :P Maybe my reading was coloured by the fact I read it while waiting for the cyclone and then afterwards while we had no power :D

message 24: by Michael, Mod Prometheus (last edited Feb 25, 2011 06:33AM) (new)

Michael (knowledgelost) | 1255 comments Mod
That does make things feel different, but I read about half of it during Yasi, but not the ending so could be a difference

message 25: by Mary, Quiet Observer (new)

Mary (fruity) | 128 comments Mod
I find that things that happen while reading a book can influence how you feel. I read The Book theif while I was sick once and hated it. Everyone else seems to have loves it

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