Thursday, May 12, 2011


Title: Casino Royale
Author: Ian Fleming

The James Bond of the movies, as anyone who has read any of the books knows, has surprisingly little in common with the Bond of the books. Movie Bond is a suave, smooth ladies' man, ever cool and unflappable. Book Bond is... kind of a douchebag. Harder-edged, with no regard for anyone else. At least, he is in this first book. I've read a couple of the later Bond books, and he softens a little from what I remember, but in this... still an ass.

However, I have to give the Daniel Craig version (there have been at least three other Casino Royale movies, one of them entirely unauthorized, another a farce/parody) credit: it follows the source material almost exactly, right up to the line "The bitch is dead," but BookBond really means it. MovieBond seems to try to hide throwing up a wall and using his hard edges as a defense against any pain he might otherwise feel at Vesper's betrayal. That, and there's no sinking Venetian building scene.

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posted by reyn at 11:08 AM



Title: The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones
Author: Henry Jones, Jr. (OBVIOUSLY)
Bookmark: built-in

Yeah, I know he's not real, and I know someone else filled the book with made-up stuff as some distantly connected movie tie-in for The Crystal Skull, but I don't care. It didn't even matter that I never got to see the Young Indy Chronicles TV show. The book has bits and pieces of the entire Indy legend, referring to episodes of the show and key points of all three original movies (before TCS, but with allusions to its beginning), depicted in "handwriting" and drawings that improve with Indy's age and experience and illustrations made to look like taped-in photos, maps, cocktail napkins, and plane tickets. I can admit that it's a gimmick, but it's a very well-done gimmick, filled with sly humor (there is a pro/con list for the shrill femme of Temple of Doom which includes pro: not afraid of snakes and con: loud) and clever references.

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posted by reyn at 10:58 AM


Saturday, May 07, 2011

Three Stories for the Price of One

Title: The Shadow Rising (a.k.a. the longest book in the Wheel of Time series)
Author: Robert Jordan

Well, this book was so long (and I lost the first part of April to doing our taxes) that I didn't finish it in the month allotted. I'm only a week behind though, and ready to start flying through The Fires of Heaven (which is almost as long).

So, let's see, what happened in this massive book....


Word reaches Rand, Mat, and Perrin that Whitecloaks (devout hunters who root out followers of the Dark One - in the extreme) are besieging their hometown, Emond's Field. Rand has other plans to follow through, and Mat is drawn to follow him, which leaves Perrin to journey to the Two Rivers and defend their town. Perrin feels it is his fault that the Whitecloaks are invading - they are looking for him because he killed several of them and they have concluded he is a Darkfriend (follower of the Dark One). Faile, Loial, Gaul, Chiad, and Bain go with him (the latter 3 are Aiel).

Rand and Mat travel to Rhuidean, the sacred city of the Aiel located in the Waste (a dessert where only Aiel reside). Rand goes to prove he is the Aiel's long-awaited "He Who Comes with the Dawn" and Mat goes because these weird people whom he spoke to when he went through a ter'angreal (magical thing that uses the One Power - in this case, kind of a portal) told him he had to.

Nynaeve and Elayne head to Tanchico where they suspect that thirteen Aes Sedai of the Black Ajah are up to no good. Along the way they run into Egeanin, whom they befriend before discovering that she is a member of an enemy people. Realizing she is not that much different than they are, they stick together and she helps them out of a tight spot.

The book ends with climax after climax after climax as first Perrin, then Elayne and Nynaeve, and finally Rand work to accomplish what they set out to do.

All in all, another excellent book. Jordan jumps between the different plot lines, but not so much so that I can't remember what is happening in each. I remember this becoming an issue in books 5 and 6, so we'll see how that goes.

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posted by Kate at 7:12 PM


Thursday, May 05, 2011

Strong, silent typecast

Title: Night Passage
Author: Robert B. Parker

Ever see one of those CBS mystery movies with Tom Selleck as Police Chief Jesse Stone? Yeah, me either. Maybe part of one, a very long time ago, but that was it. And it's too bad, because Tom Selleck is pretty fantastic, and not just because the man knows how to wear a Hawaiian shirt. However, I'd seen enough commercials for the movies that while reading this book (the first of many Jesse Stone stories), I always pictured the protagonist as portrayed by Selleck, even though there's about thirty years difference between them. That's ok. Selleck is ageless.

Stone starts in LA at the bottom of a deep hole: his wife cheated on and left him, which led to him drinking way too much and often on the job (as an LAPD homicide detective), which got him kicked off the force. Then, somehow, things get worse. When he looks for a law enforcement job Anywhere But LA, he eventually interviews for a job as Chief of Police in Paradise, Massachusetts while completely blotto. He gets the job because Hasty Hathaway, the man running Paradise doesn't want a good cop at the helm of his force; he wants someone he can control. That's why he fired the last chief when he discovered what Hasty was doing.

On the surface, Paradise is a sleepy little New England seaside town. This surface is mere angstroms thick. Underneath is corruption, murder, money laundering, a nutty militia group, and a local psychopath who has an early confrontation with Jesse which leads to an eerie dance between the two for the rest of the book. By the way, it seems that the only people with whom the good citizens of Paradise do not have sex are their own spouses. Especially Hasty's wife. Wow.

Lately I've wondered a lot about the definition of a "mystery" novel. I usually think those are the stories in which enough information is provided for a clever reader to solve the mystery themselves. However, it often seems as though books labeled "mystery" just give the reader a ride: the story is fed out, and you just accept whatever you are handed, then the ending is revealed. There's never any question of who's guilty in Night Passage, but it's fun to watch Jesse make all the connections. Especially if you picture him with a thick mustache.

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posted by reyn at 10:48 AM