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Anthony Vinson

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To the consternation of some members, there have been a couple of threads dedicated to exploring some of our individual interests besides magic. A recent conversation, a hijacking really, within another thread led me to start this one. Participate if you prefer, lurk if you like, and ignore if you insist.

When it comes to recreational nonfiction I lean toward thrillers or mysteries. Among my longtime favorite series are John Sanford’s Prey novels featuring Lucas Davenport. I also enjoy his series of novels featuring Virgil Flowers.

The Pendergast novels of Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston are another favorite series. A.X.L. Pendergast is a fascinating character, and while the novels are a mixed bag, there are far more good than there are mediocre.

I also enjoy the novels of David Baldacci. Baldacci is not a great writer, but he is an excellent storyteller. His Memory Man series is excellent, as are the Wil Robbie and King and Maxwell. Warning: These are brain candy and should not be approached without a shaker of salt.

And, as in the previously mentioned hijacked thread, I am a big fan of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser novels. Spenser – no first name that we ever learn – is a hardboiled Boston P.I. with a big heart, deep intellect, and killer instinct. Parker is long dead, and his estate has authorized authors to continue his series, but I don’t recommend those. Go back to the source material.

More recently I have been hooked on Dean Koontz's series featuring Jane Hawk. Edge-of-the-seat action and adventure, conspiracy theory beyond anything Alex Jones could ever imagine, a little sci-fi, a whole lot of action, blood, gore, mind control, kidnapping, cross-country chases... Pert near everything but the kitchen sink. Each book takes us farther down the rabbit hole, and each picks up where the previous left off. The fourth of the five book series dropped in November, and the final hits in May. Looking forward to seeing how he brings it all to an end.

Anyone else?

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EVILDAN

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I like Stephen King's short stories. His first novels were good but then they started getting longer with weak endings.

I also like Harlan Ellison. First story I read by him was called "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" and I was hooked.

The most memorable book I ever read was called "The Religion" by Nicolas Condé.
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Anthony Vinson

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Ever read Harlan Ellison's story, "Repent Harlequin!", Said the Ticktock Man? Great story. Stuck with me since first reading it as a teenager.

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DJ

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Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp series. He is the only writer who could get me to not want to put the book down. After his passing, Daniel Silva's Gabriel Allon series has filled the void.
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Robin Dawes

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Fiction:

Iain Banks

Ian Rankin

Arturo Perez-Reverte

Dorothy Dunnett

Patrick O'Brien

Thomas Pynchon

Neal Stephenson

Michael Ondaatje


Non-fiction:

Steven Pinker

Bill Moyer

Farley Mowat

Bill Bryson

Malcolm Gladwell

Stephen Jay Gould

Jay Ingraham

John Ralston Saul
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Anthony Vinson

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Thanks, guys. Interesting choices.

I read a couple of the Rapp novels years back, but lost interest as, at least for me, they became repetitive.

Robin, I was pleasantly surprised to see Farley Mowat on your list. I read several of his books back in the 70s. A Whale for the Killing stands out for some reason.

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Robin Dawes

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I started reading Mowat a very long time ago - his comical memoirs like "The Boat That Wouldn't Float" and "The Dog That Wouldn't Be", and his "young readers" novels like "Lost in the Barrens".  Then I graduated to "Never Cry Wolf", "People of the Deer" and "The Desperate People" - about his experiences in the far north and the appalling effects of government interference in the lives of the Inuit.   His books "Grey Seas Under" and "The Serpent's Coil" are amazing tributes to the heroism of the sailors on East Coast rescue tugs, who go out to help ships caught in major Atlantic storms.


I'm also a fan of Harlan Ellison - he was always out there on the edge, his stories full of wild ideas.  Somehow they felt dangerous - a real contrast to the safe, "rockets and robots" SF from masters like Heinlein and Clarke.   I loved all of the great SF books by Heinlein, Asimov, Anderson, Norton, Dick, Le Guin, Clarke, Niven, Herbert, Simak, etc. ... but Ellison lives in a different category.  Plus, he wrote the script for one of the greatest Star Trek episodes ever filmed.
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Blathermist

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson

To the consternation of some members, there have been a couple of threads dedicated to exploring some of our individual interests besides magic. A recent conversation, a hijacking really, within another thread led me to start this one. Participate if you prefer, lurk if you like, and ignore if you insist.

Anyone else?


Great Idea Anthony. 

 Here’s a few.

Robert B Parker

Arthur Conan Doyle. Holmes, of course, but also Professor Challenger.

Early Stephen King

Early Graham Masterton. The horror stories.

Early J.T. Edson [Always loved Westerns]

Early Robert Goddard. I’m just crawling to the end of his latest: "Panic Room". As the saying goes, it has moments but awful quarters of an hour.

I’ve lifted/transferred this from another thread, in order to perhaps lower the consternation level. I’ve also added a bit and reduced a lot. The thread in question is probably a bit lop-sided now.

I have all the Robert B Parker Spenser books bar "Sixkill". This is the last book credited solely to Parker, though for me it has the feel of a combination effort. A bit of Parker and some "other hands."

As Anthony notes, Spenser is a private detective based in Boston. No first name. "Spenser with an "S" like the poet. Parker was a big fan of hard boiled PI writers, Ross Macdonald, Dashiell Hammet Rex Stout and so on. And in particular, Philip Marlowe also named after a poet/playwrite.

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magicfish

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Esoteric Encyclopedia of Eternal Knowledge by Vernon Howard.
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Anthony Vinson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by magicfish
Esoteric Encyclopedia of Eternal Knowledge by Vernon Howard.


You funnin', right?

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Robin Dawes

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I've never heard of this before, but here it is! 

https://www.amazon.com/Esoteric-Encyclopedia-Eternal-Knowledge-Vernon/dp/0911203362
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Anthony Vinson

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I looked it up too. How could you not with a title like that?! Still think he's funnin'!

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #13 
Well if Vernon wrote it...

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
Well if Vernon wrote it...

M


[rofl]
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Blathermist

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A Few More:

"Day Of The Triffids," by John Wyndham.

"The Midwich Cuckoos," by John Wyndham.

"The Kraken Wakes," by John Wyndham.

"Cunk On Everything" by Philomena Cunk.

"Tearing Down The Wall Of Sound," by Mick Brown.

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magicfish

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson


You funnin', right?

Av

Not at all. This is a fantastic book. I came across it at a used book shop. It has a permanent spot on my shelf and I constantly go back to it.
Highly recommended.
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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #17 
Cress by Marissa Meyer. The third in her Lunar Chronicles
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magicfish

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12 Rules for Life- Jordan Peterson
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Anthony Vinson

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Quote:
Originally Posted by magicfish
12 Rules for Life- Jordan Peterson


Another interesting and unexpected contribution, fish. I have far too many disagreements, both in principle and philosophically, with Mr. Peterson to try and read his book, but he's selling lots of copies, so good for him.

Thanks!

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Wayne T

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***Warning Non Magic Related Reply***

A few years ago I committed myself to trying to read the classics which generally appear as a top 100 list in various media. I am about 2/3 completed. For me I certainly would like to know what makes some of them classics. James Joyce Ulysses is often close to the top spot and I found it to be the hardest, most boring, book I ever tried to read. After the first couple paragraphs I couldn't believe I still had 900+ pages left.

Generally I read non-fiction, history, biographies, science, events, etc. like:

"A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking
"A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson
"Camp X" (I forgot the author)
"Most Secret War" by R.V. Jones
"History of MI5" by Christopher Andrew
"No Time to Wave Goodbye" by Ben Wicks
Kennedy Assassination stuff (from believable to outrageous)

Recently I have been reading some stuff by Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. 

Hardly great literature but I also like things that make me laugh like:

"...and Another Thing" by Jeremy Clarkson
"Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman" by Richard Feynman
"Shit My Father Says" by Justin Halpern
"A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney" by Andy Rooney



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Blathermist

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And Still More:

"In Pursuit Of Spenser," by Otto Penzler.

"Rocky Horror: From Concept To Cult," by Scott Michaels & David Evans.

"You Kant Make It Up," by Gary Haden.

"1000 Years Of Annoying The French," by Stephen Clarke.

Guitar Books, particularly those with loadsa photos.

Anything On The Beatles.

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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #22 
Another favourite non-fiction author: Simon Winchester, among whose many books I count these as favourites:

A Crack In the Edge of the World

Krakatoa: the Day the World Exploded

The Professor and the Madman

The Meaning of Everything

The Map That Changed the World

Atlantic

The Man Who Loved China

The Men Who United the States

The River at the Centre of the World


and for the mystery fans:  anything by Elliot Pattison, including "The Skull Mantra", "Water Touching Stone", "Bone Mountain", etc.
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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #23 
And now I am reading All the Bires in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #24 
Robin, I've read three of the Winchester books you listed and enjoyed them all.

Just finished reading Holy Ghost, the latest John Sanford novel featuring Virgil Flowers. Great read! Now back to working my way through Jill Leport's These Truths...

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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #25 
Wayne, Bryson's Short History is among my faves. I have read it twice and listened to the audio book - rad by the author - multiple times.

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Wayne T

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Reply with quote  #26 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Vinson
Wayne, Bryson's Short History is among my faves. I have read it twice and listened to the audio book - rad by the author - multiple times.

Av


I wish there were updates, so much new stuff to get a good primer on, from Brexit to CRISPR.

After looking at the list I was thinking I read too much war stuff, as recommended by magicfish maybe I got to get me some Esoteric Encyclopedia of Eternal Knowledge by Vernon Howard.


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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #27 
And a third vote for Bill Bryson - in addition to his hilarious collections of "travel" articles, I really enjoyed his "At Home : A Short History of Private Life"
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magicfish

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Reply with quote  #28 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne T
***Warning Non Magic Related Reply***

A few years ago I committed myself to trying to read the classics which generally appear as a top 100 list in various media. I am about 2/3 completed. For me I certainly would like to know what makes some of them classics. James Joyce Ulysses is often close to the top spot and I found it to be the hardest, most boring, book I ever tried to read. After the first couple paragraphs I couldn't believe I still had 900+ pages left.

Generally I read non-fiction, history, biographies, science, events, etc. like:

"A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking
"A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson
"Camp X" (I forgot the author)
"Most Secret War" by R.V. Jones
"History of MI5" by Christopher Andrew
"No Time to Wave Goodbye" by Ben Wicks
Kennedy Assassination stuff (from believable to outrageous)

Recently I have been reading some stuff by Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. 

Hardly great literature but I also like things that make me laugh like:

"...and Another Thing" by Jeremy Clarkson
"Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman" by Richard Feynman
"Shit My Father Says" by Justin Halpern
"A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney" by Andy Rooney



Interesting. I live very near Camp X
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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #29 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne T


Hardly great literature but I also like things that make me laugh like:

"...and Another Thing" by Jeremy Clarkson
"Surely You're Joking Mr. Feynman" by Richard Feynman
"Shit My Father Says" by Justin Halpern
"A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney" by Andy Rooney





Things that make us laugh are the best things.

A book that has made me laugh out loud, over and over, since I was about 10 years old: "1066 and All That" by Sellars and Yeatman
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #30 
Bryson makes me laugh. His book A Walk in the Woods is filled with laugh-out-loud passages.

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Mbreggar

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Reply with quote  #31 
I've been a fan of Daniel Silva since he started (before the Allon series!). I also liked the bios written by Chernow and Isaacson. Enjoyed the massive Beatles bio by Mark Lewisohn ("Tune In")!

Lately, I have found myself gravitating towards older and much older material. I love the original James Bond series (Favorites are "Moonraker" and "On Her Majesty's Secret Service"), the "New York" stories by Damon Runyon, the "Jeeves" series by Wodehouse and I have always been a softie for Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories.
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Wayne T

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Reply with quote  #32 
I forgot to mention Green Eggs and Ham.
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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #33 
Ain't nothing wrong with some Dr. S!

Some twenty years ago I decided to memorize Dr. Seuss's How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Every December I polish my memory with a read-through or two, book-in-hand, and then find a couple of places to perform the piece, complete with voices and inflection. This year I performed it at a Christmas tree lighting in a nearby town, and will perform it again next Thursday for an elementary school assembly. Always fun!

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Blathermist

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne T


James Joyce Ulysses is often close to the top spot and I found it to be the hardest, most boring, book I ever tried to read. After the first couple paragraphs I couldn't believe I still had 900+ pages left.

Hardly great literature but I also like things that make me laugh like:.....


"Hardly great literature…" Phew, deadly phrase. As you more or less noted some of the "classics" really aren’t, but those who know best insist they are. So they are. 

 

"Ulysses." One day in the life of Orlando Bloom. [smile] If only it took one day to read. It took me no time at all to decide I never wanted to see the book again.

Which  of course, in the eyes of those who know, makes me a total philistine.

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #35 
I managed to get through about a quarter of Ulysses. We do have to face the fact that scholars rate it as one of the top novels ever written in the English language. Maybe it was written with Scholars in mind. Shakespeare played to the masses.

Wikipedia says "It is considered to be one of the most important works o modernist literature."

Ulysses was originally put out in installments, making it easier to digest bit by bit. I doubt that I'd have made it to the end, though.

I liked Vonnegut. "Cat's Cradle", "Slaughterhouse Five." Got to see him at Notre Dame in 1968 or '69. Also saw Joseph Heller of "Catch 22" fame and Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest). The Sophomore Literary Festival at ND featured some greats - also saw Norman Mailer and Ralph Ellison there. 

Mike



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ianmcrawford

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Reply with quote  #36 
There are some fantastic titles and authors on this post, thank you all.  I have expanded my Christmas Wish list. I offer another vote for Bill Bryson. I won't bore you with all my favourites, but some of the books on my night table (that I haven't given up on) include:
- Complete Charles Dickens (The Netflix series Dickensian got me interested in upping my Dickens).  And the language, characters and history are SO compelling
- Steven Pinker - Enlightenment Now, because I need a little optimism in a world of, well, you know.
- Douglas Adams - All of the books in the "trilogy" because I was moving some stuff and found it and thought, I haven't read these for a very long time, worth a re-read to find the answer to life, the universe and everything.
- Leon Uris - Trinity and Redemption.  Great writing and I now understand a little bit more about the origins of the Irish / English conflict
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #37 

Good points Mister Powers and well made. Meanwhile a couple of observations.

"Maybe it was written with Scholars in mind."

The days when I thought scholars knew a thing or two are long gone. But that’s by the way and not why we’re here.

Maybe it was aimed at scholars. Though Doctor Johnson is credited with saying something to the effect that "No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money".

Meanwhile….

"Shakespeare played to the masses".

I think you’re right. I also think that maybe Shakespeare wrote for the masses because he needed to eat. And he had a theatre to upkeep. And just maybe, he was smart enough to understand that the masses were not as thick as some of his contemporaries and scholars seemed to think.

Meanwhile yet again….

"Maybe it was written with Scholars in mind."

Magic for magicians anyone?

[smile][rolleyes][smile]

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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #38 

Meanwhile yet again. A couple more:

"ISMS AND OLOGIES": 453 Difficult Doctrines You've Always Pretended To Understand"

By Arthur Goldwag.

"I Am, Therefor I Think."

By Alexander George [Editor].

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #39 
Don't put Descartes before the course!

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Anthony Vinson

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I think, therefore I am appreciative of puns!

And speaking of wordplay, including a pun or two, here's a locally (Atlanta, GA, USA) broadcast program from a few years back in which I spin an old folktale using Spoonerisms. Groan if you got 'em! (I am the first performer, beginning at 00:46)

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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #41 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
Don't put Descartes before the course!

Mike

Tee Hee. Nice one.

Wasn’t at all keen on "Dickensian," mentioned earlier. Watched several episodes when it was first broadcast on BBC. Too much of a soap: The Havisham Saga and The Cratchit Saga. Not surprising really, the guy who came up with the idea had much to do with "Eastenders". If you’re ignorant of "Eastenders," take my tip: Stay that way.

The sets and costumes and acting were good, but the lather was too much and spoiled it for us. An old acquaintance and Dickens aficionado, Ian Keable, did like it, so what do I know.

I always reread that Dickens Christmas book, whatever it’s called, at this time of year. And watch a couple of the films. Alistair Sim, George C. Scott and, on my wife’s insistence, Albert Finney.

Here’s a bit of Dickens whimsy currently doing the rounds.

As many know know most (all?) Dickens books started out as magazine serials. But not "A Tale Of Two Cities". That first appeared in two English newspapers. In fact:

It was the Bicester Times, it was the Worcester Times.

It struck me as funny.


Edited to adjust a couple of typos. Probably still missed a couple.

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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #42 
That's awesome, AV!
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Wayne T

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Reply with quote  #43 
Catch 22 brought back some memories! Major Major Major and the soldier in white LoL.

I also remember reading an Isaac Asimov book of limericks, it was witty, funny and sometimes filthy. I long lost it but always keep an eye out for it at used book stores and flea markets.



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Anthony Vinson

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Reply with quote  #44 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
That's awesome, AV!


Thank you, sir!
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magicfish

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Reply with quote  #45 
the Untethered Soul - the journey beyond yourself
- Michael A. Singer
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magicfish

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Reply with quote  #46 
Morals and Dogma - Albert Pike
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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #47 
The Power of Myth - Joseph Campbell
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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #48 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
The Power of Myth - Joseph Campbell


In the same vein, I received ‘Mythos’ and ‘Heroes’ by Stephen Fry for Christmas. His re-telling and insight into the Classic Greek Myths, fascinating reading. My education rarely touched on these but I remember being captivated by the movies with the stop-motion Cyclopses and Minotaurs, Golden fleeces and looks that would turn you to stone, Gods on Olympus falling out over us mere mortals!

Huge fan of anything Stephen Fry conjures up, a member if the Magic Circle I believe.
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Robin Dawes

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Reply with quote  #49 
My fiancee and I saw Stephen Fry on stage this summer, performing one of his three one-man shows based on those books.  It was absolutely fantastic, a tour de force of story-telling.
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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #50 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robin Dawes
My fiancee and I saw Stephen Fry on stage this summer, performing one of his three one-man shows based on those books.  It was absolutely fantastic, a tour de force of story-telling.


Wonderful!

If you haven't already seen it Robin, and off-topic I know, I'd wholeheartedly recommend his Netflix special. 'More Fool Me'.
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