What Are You Reading

Discussion in 'The Reading Room' started by Lancealot, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    "Points On The Dial: Golden Age Radio Beyond The Networks," by Alexander Russo. I make a point of reading any book I come across where I'm listed in the bibliography, and I found this one an interesting, if bone-dry examination of the role of independent broadcasting versus hegemony of the networks in the Era. The study of John Shepard, impresario of New England's Yankee Network was particularly thorough, revealing that Shepard and NBC had very much an "I wish I could quit yew" relationship thruout the thirties, and that Shepard seemed to be the kind of broadcaster who relished defying New York just for the sheer contrariness of it.

    Some interesting figures also turn up in this book -- as late as 1937, nearly half of Americans had no dependable local access to NBC or CBS programming, which is quite late in the game for an industry that was constantly patting itself on the back about what a good job it was doing uniting the country like never before.

    Another solid bit of research documents just how dependent broadcasters were on recordings and transcriptions by the mid-1940s, with over half of all American radio content coming from discs by that time: the use of recordings at the local level far outweighed the networks' insistence on live programs. The myth that the rise of the disc jockey was tied to the rise of rock-n-roll is conclusively put to rest here. Not a book for the general reader, but if you're interested in the nuts and bolts of radio, it's quite worthwhile.
     
    3fingers, AmateisGal and Fading Fast like this.
  2. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    A friend gifted me "Sapiens"....so far a very good read.
     
  3. Benzadmiral

    Benzadmiral Call Me a Cab

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    Finished a collection of short stories, The Ship That Died of Shame, by Nicholas (The Cruel Sea) Montserrat, and an unusual novel of escape from Nazi-occupied France, Pied Piper, by Nevil (A Town Like Alice, On the Beach) Shute. Both are good storytellers, and I've picked up some more works by them.

    Montserrat, it turns out, wrote a fantasy novel: a retelling of the Wandering Jew story, in which a sailor branded as a coward ages only 10 years per century. The concept allows Montserrat, as I understand it, to have his single character live through centuries of English seafaring, from 1588 to 1789. He was writing a second book to bring his character into the 1970s when he passed away, but the unfinished novel is available too. If I like the first (which is a big epic), I'll check out the second.
     
  4. Just Jim

    Just Jim A-List Customer

    Enjoy your trip through Shute's works! I'm told he was one of my father's favorite authors. I tried reading some of his work when I was a teenager but couldn't force myself to finish. About fifteen years ago I plucked a book (In the Wet) at random out of a box of rummage-sale finds. Ten minutes later I was immersed, and read straight through the book. That was my "adult" introduction to Nevil Shute. I've since made it a point to read one or two "new" books by Shute every year. I dread the day when I don't have that to look forward to.
     
  5. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    Just finished No Bed of Roses by Joan Fontaine. Her autobiography is quite illuminating, but I can't help but feel as though Joan never found peace in life.
     
  6. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I don't know her life story, but the tidbits I've read are she had a lot of marriages ("a lot" of marriages is never a good sign for personal happiness) and a pretty long and public feud with her sister (also not a good sign).

    But man did she have her moment in Hollywood with "Rebecca" and "Suspicion" as my two favorites. That said, she didn't seem to be able to build a long career of quality pictures like Davis or Hepburn did. But to be fair, very few very good actresses or actors have been able to.
     
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  7. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    She was actually offered the part in From Here to Eternity but turned it down for personal reasons. During the studio system era, she did a lot of movies she hated - two of them are some of my favorites, actually - Frenchman's Creek and Casanova's Big Night. She never states the reason for the feud between the sisters other than it appeared that her mother had no problem pitting the two against each other. And speaking of her mother...what a cold fish! Never went to see any of Joan's films (or if she did, she never told Joan about it) and didn't like the thought of being a grandmother except that she could now be called "Gams" because of her great legs. I sense her mother was a narcissist.

    Some reviewers were pretty harsh on the book and I guess her ex-husbands didn't have a lot of nice things to say about it when it came out, either. I enjoyed it, though.
     
    Fading Fast likes this.
  8. Harp

    Harp I'll Lock Up

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    Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables.
    Some years back, I found Bo Derek inside Blackstone's bookshop; terminal 3, O'Hare Airport, tried to maneuver myself for an innocuous
    literary conversation while facing a stack of novels being not so deliberately obvious. Ms Derek nearby; seemingly engrossed over a coffee table display.
    A store staffer then approached me asking if she could be of any assistance-ruining the mood so to speak. I replied that I was looking for Hawthorne's
    House, which was unavailable. Bo meanwhile had moved further away across the small room. I folded the cards, made a quiet stop at the cashier
    for a paper, covering my tracks, bidding both Bo and Fate bye. So I told my tale at the office the other day, and found THSG atop my desk.:)
     
  9. DNO

    DNO One Too Many

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    I'm a fan of Montsarrat's sea stories, particularly The Cruel Sea. Three Corvettes was excellent as well. The Master Mariner was a departure for him but was a truly interesting read...the unfinished second volume, not so much. I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I have read one of his political novels, The Tribe That Lost Its Head, but it was quite some time ago and I've never had the impulse to re-read it.
     
  10. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    For real reading, I'm working my way through this book (review coming shortly, about 100 pages to go, hint - it's outstanding):

    IMG_4702.JPG

    But my copy of this (for our clothes fans) just came:

    9780847859924_p0_v2_s550x406.jpg

    I have not read one word of text yet. All I did was open it up and flip through it quickly.

    Based on that, the book has a ton of beautiful Trad / Ivy pictures (see below). Also, the cover shot looks incredible on the book itself; whereas, I was underwhelmed when I saw pictures of the cover on-line.

    There are also many modern pictures with some of the more "fashionable" BB clothes of today, but the book is not dominated by that.

    Hopefully, the text has something to offer, but if not, the Trad / Ivy pictures I saw made me glad I own it.

    IMG_4778.JPG IMG_4779.JPG IMG_4780.JPG IMG_4781.JPG IMG_4782.JPG

    They snuck the cute shot of Audrey in under the guise of her wearing a Pink BB Oxford button down shirt (sure, that's the reason).
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2018
    AmateisGal likes this.
  11. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    I think I need to find a copy of The Mortal Storm! I love the movie. Looking forward to your review, FF.
     
  12. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    I am really, really, really enjoying the book - it is the movie times two (and I love the movie). I've already bought another book by the author. I've been slow-reading the end as I don't want to finish it as I know my next book will be a let down.

    Plenty of reasonably priced copies available on ABE: https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?sts=t&an=bottome&tn=the+mortal+storm&kn=&isbn=
     
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  13. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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  14. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Fantastic, we can compare notes after you've read it.
     
  15. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    Well crap. I just looked at my two go-to sources for used books, Amazon and Thrift Books, and neither has a cheap copy. I'll try the link you posted.
     
  16. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    ABE is a fantastic resource - basically, it's an on-line site comprised of a massive number of second-hand book dealers. I've been buying books there for many years and have only had good experiences. In general, my experience with second-hand book dealers is that they are people in the business because they have a passion for books.
     
    AmateisGal likes this.
  17. Re-reading Tony Hillerman's "Leaphorn/Chee" series. Apparently I've forgotten the mysteries after nearly 20 years (I can also hide my own Easter eggs).
     
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  18. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    IMG_4702.JPG


    "The Mortal Storm" by Phyllis Bottome, 1938

    A close and loving German family is torn apart when members choose up side as the Nazis come to power and Germany's Republic morphs into a police state.

    If Herman Wouk, Ayn Rand and Karl Marx collaborated on a book, "The Mortal Storm" would be the result (or two of the three authors would be dead with the third standing trial for double murder - my guess, Rand shoots them both).

    Bottome brings history alive in a Wouk-like way by dramatizing and personalizing events through the experiences of a single family - like the Henrys of "Winds of War -" but with characters that are heroic or villainous representations of different philosophies as in Ayn Rand's novels; however, instead of Free-Market Capitalism as the ideal, here it is an untainted-by-Soviet-reality Communism.

    Like in Rand's "We The Living," the hero here is young girl - Freya Roth - a beautiful, passionate and brilliant medical student. Her Jewish father is a Noble Prize winning biologist - a "hero of The Germany Republic -" and her Ayran mother is from the "right" family with two sons from an earlier marriage who love their Jewish step-dad who raised them as his own.

    All is love, work, study, honor and good when we meet the Roths just as Hitler comes to power. But the two older boys - heroes to Freya - embrace Nazism while the rest of the family "respects their choice" but remains neutral. From here, it's the story of an encroaching police state and divided loyalties slowly tearing a family and each member apart.

    As the boys advance in the Nazi Party, their family loyalty is brutality tested especially when Freya falls in love with a young peasant Communist boy. This serves to set up a triangle - yes of love (Freya's childhood friend - now, a Nazi - wants to marry her as does the Communist) - but also of philosophies.

    Freya's parents represent a mishmash of good will, old values and acceptance of different views (but no clear philosophical governing system); the boys represent Fascism's belief in the state before the individual while the Communist peasant represents an ideal Communism of voluntary sharing without the need of state enforcement (the Soviet model's failings and brutality is acknowledged and dismissed as not true Communism - interesting for 1938).

    From here, with all the elements in place - conflicts and struggles emerge as the Nazis begin their systematic brutalizing of the Jews and other non-conformers. Family loyalties are tested again and again. To avoid any spoilers, I'll leave the plot here noting that love, loyalty, beliefs and passions all get twisted, pushed and pulled through arrests, escapes, sex, love affairs, marriages and betrayals.

    If you've seen the outstanding movie based on the book, know that there is much more here and it's much better as the movie had to compress the story, bend toward the movie-production code and the norms of the time and get it all done in less than two hours. With the time and freedom of a novel, a richer story with greater nuance and more complex characters emerges.

    Written in 1938, this book shows that at least some knew of the horror going on in Germany. Sure, it's one book and plenty of propaganda was out there countering it, but at least this side of the story was also being told.

    Even as a passionate Libertarian and believer that Communism can only result in the state crushing the individual, I still enjoyed this pro-Communism book as a time-capsule from the period (also, it's always good to read intelligently-written books with views you disagree with). Nothing is all true / no one book or movie or story will "teach" you everything about 1938, but "The Mortal Storm" is a wonderful, of-the-period, window into defining events of the 20th Century - and it's a heck of a fun read.
     
    AmateisGal likes this.
  19. Fading Fast

    Fading Fast

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    Any luck finding it yet? I'm glad to help.
     
  20. AmateisGal

    AmateisGal I'll Lock Up

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    I'm waiting for payday tomorrow. :)
     

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