Books that someone else says you have to read, part 2: going the library.

I try to break this up into bits so that each post does not turn into a small novel, but when I embarked on my reading list I almost bought To Kill A Mockingbird.  The problem is what if I didn’t want to keep it on my shelf? I refused to finish it fourteen years before.  I decided it was time to practice what I preach, and head for the library.  

Firstly, we have to establish my motivation.  I told the part about the movie where a character is tearing through a reading list, and I read quite a bit as well, but I was at Barnes & Noble performing one of my favorite summer rituals, looking at the wall of summer reading books from the lists.  I always like to see what the state says the youth should be reading for better or for worse.  However, it makes me happy and so I do it.  Some obvious winners are seen!!!The Scott Westerfield books are something I read when they were new, and am really happy to see them suggested to a new generation

Anyhow, that’s when it was time to start the list, and when I talked myself out of buying a book I was not sure I would like.  To the library.  This is the fun part though.  I went to the Marlborough Public Library…which I was sure I took pictures of…have to get one offline. 

Now knowing that To Kill A Mockingbird is THE American Classic, and knowing that the reading lists are out, I proudly marched into the library and asked for a copy.  To be laughed at by librarians is a new experience.  Of course I should have realized that every copy was checked out by the students who actually have to do summer reading…

Luckily libraries can now order copies from each other, and email you that your book is in! However I did feel rather silly…but I got to take the miniature me to the kid’s library!

Ganger-Bjorn

Books that someone else says you have to read, Part 1.

We have not done a book part of this whole books, brass, bears thing in a while.  For a while now I have been looking at the lists of “books everyone should read.”  I watched the movie The Equalizer in which Denzel Washington’s character is said to be reading through one of those lists.

Problem one is that there is definately more than one list, there are several that come up commonly in fact.  So it takes a little detective work.  I contacted my friend who is a librarian if there was a list to beat all lists that libraries and their secret societies know about.  According to Paula there is not, but she did tell me about a book that her library contained about this subject.  However, this grand tomb is a bit much.  It is 1001 Books You Must Read Before you Die, by over 100 international critics.

Technically this is the first review, this book is a fail.  This is exacly why college professors give you word limits on papers.  These guys did a wonderful job assembling and summarising 1001 books but, even given the total number of books in the world, this was not work.  They did not have to pick something but the Bronte sisters, everything they ever wrote is in here!  It does however have a break down by time frame, so there is a list of “pre 1700,” however there is still the horrid idea of buying a 35$ book…to tell you which books you need to read.

Back to the list.  My next piece of detective work was to say ok what was Denzel reading.  He mentions The Old Man and the Sea, and one of the two main lists had that, so that is what we are going to go with.  There is a Good Reads list, and an Amazon list.  I deduced it to be the Good Reads list and so that is what we are sticking with, you can find it here.

Much to my…utter horror To Kill A Mockingbird was top of the ranked list.  You see I was put up to reading this in highschool, except I did not do it.  I am not particularly proud of the story I am about to tell as, I look back and think I would want to beat a student senseless if they had done this.  I do not know why, I got thirty pages in, gave back my copy, and took a zero for the various assignments that went along with the book.  My teacher was a bit eccentric, and I feel like she protested her way through college, so I am guessing my lack of a few letter grade drop was due to some strange part of her being excited to watch me buck the institution.

So do I wish that I had read this back when?  Not really.  I do wish I could remember why I hated it so much back then, and perhaps not been a snot.  I do not believe though that I had the capacity to appreciate this book when I was fifteen.

I may not agree that this book is “the best novel of the Twentieth Century” as purportedly said about librarians across the country, and no I do not have an immediate contender outside of The Silence of the Lambs right now, but I am not sure this is the top.

I did enjoy it though.  I feel like this type of book is the equivalent to a blog back when, have story and a need to tell it.  It offered a nice insight into the brutal reality of a situation with no way out, and no happy ending.  The race issues portrayed in the 30s, were very relevant when Harper Lee wrote this book, and despite starting this grudgingly, and partly as a show of commitment to this list no matter what I found on it, I found myself wanting to know how it ended.  Tom Robinson’s troubles were devastating and told matter of factly, in a that is life kind of way.  The only thing that can be compared to a happy ending is the death of  Bob Ewell.  I believe in justice, even if it has to be taken, and Bob Ewell got taken out the way he was supposed to whether he did it or Arthur Radley handed it to him, but that is it.  It can be good to read this kind of reality, even if it is grounded in a fiction novel, I feel it was the reality in the world and mind of Harper Lee.

Do I believe that it should remain on the list?  Absolutely, everyone should read it.  My next trip to the bookstore will be to turn it into the next thing that lives on my shelf.

The other thing I will be doing at this time will be to at the same time create my own list, just to see how much work goes into this, and to see what I learn, and am willing to give up along the way.  It will all take years, and I hope some of you are along for the ride.  I suppose this calls for a new permanent notebook…we will see, but the first book on Bjorns list of everyone has to read it, is To Kill A Mockingbird.  I hope you all enjoy it, and if you read it back when that you will go back to it.

 

A night at the theater…and Jason Bourne **SPOILERS**

While the Ganger enjoys being outside and building fires and such, one of my many facets is that I enjoy going to the movies.  As Katie (had the heart to marry the ganger) always says, if I cannot obsess over it, I will not bother to do it.

Just a fair notice, if you do not care to read about my love of the theater, you can skip down to read about Jason Bourne.

The movie theater is one of those experiences, despite all the garbage that can be involved, I still immensely enjoy.  The cinema is a world unto itself and I enjoy being a part of it.

One of my dreams, one that will probably remain so, is to buy an old world cinema, you know the kind, they look more like an opera house than a place to watch movies.  It would have one screen, a concessions line with popcorn, candy, and some soda, end of story, and I would show old world movies for the pleasure of seeing them that way.

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Some people enjoy this whole thing, me being one of them, but beyond that movies were meant to be viewed that way.  During one of my easily top ten cineman experiences, last year Halloween was released into theaters again during October.  It included and intro from John Carpenter, in which he said that Halloween was not ever meant for home video, as they did not exist really.  If John says watch it at the theater, then do so.  It was amazing, and I still believe that even with home video, something else which I took advantage of early in life, movies at their core are meant to be seen in theaters.

There are some pros and cons though.  Firstly, the people, cell phones are awful.  I do enjoy the new theaters with big cushy reclining chairs.  My left knee, after the army, does not care for being in cramped spaces such as the seats in military vehicles, most back and passenger seats, and cinema seats.  These amazingly spacious seats come at a price, you have waitresses and waiters flitting around during your film, and as the guy whom I chucked some popcorn at learned the hard way, I do not appreciate very bright cell phone lights being used to look at menus.  Secondly, prices are fairly nuts these days, movie, popcorn, and drink, will set you back at least 20$ at least.  Lately some nut cases have chosen these wonderful places in which to unleash their one man terror acts.

I digress though, they are still wonderful places to spend an evening, even if the modern is killing some of their charm.  Myabe one day I will make the actual list of top movie experiences.

** JASON BOURNE REVIEW**  LAST WARNING, SPOILERS

Jason Bourne was my latest trip to the cinema, and I personally was not dissapointed.

What it had: Guns, spies, evil CIA,  car chases and car smashing, a fellow shadow warrior tracking Jason, techno spying, a pretty girl, a previous character who gets greased pretty early on, some flashbacks, and of course Jason himself.

Jason’s mysterious past concerns his father, which while the mystery past stuff was a bit thinner, it was made a bit more personal with daddy and the guy who killed him also being the shadow warrior who wants revenge on Jason.  It twists several times.  Tommy Lee Jones as head of the CIA is not just trying to perform a cover up, this guy was straight evil and he was good at it.  This guy was the devil, and the situation provided for it.  The movie is set post Snowden, post NSA cell phone monitoring, etc.  CIA devil is trying to spy on everyone with what is basically face book.

Part of the reason I seem less than enthused is the fact that I have a hard time accepting new things at first.  I build the timeline of my life out of the constants, be they my favorite possessions, and more often movies and music.  I connect memories and recall them easier based on what I was watching or listening to, and the more often I watched it or listened to it the easier it is to use.  Jason Bourne has been a part of my life since I was 15, and 15-20 was a pivotal time for me.  This new fangle movie almost 10 years later will have to earn its place.

The sad, Julia Stiles longtime character is killed ver early, and thus we bid farewell to the last original character who is not Jason.

Jason, Matt Damon, has aged properly, and that is good.  The hero is not ageless and that is how it should be.  He walked away almost a decade ago.  I will admit tghe underground fighting thing was cool, and fits with his being off the grid.

The larger devious plot to take over facebook seemed stretched in my opinion., had Evil Lee Jones not been willing to kill over it, in an old Cold War way I wouldnt have bought it.

The care chase was much bigger and filled with smashing in a holy crap people died way.

Without ruining it, Jason teaches the new generation not to mess with the original, and exits to Moby’s “Extreme Ways” once again.

All in all it makes up for The Bourne Legacy, its what we should have had.

4/5

Ganger-Bjorn

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