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  1. In the end, I felt The Ministry of Utmost Happiness veered dangerously close to the category of torture porn. The first third was the most successful for me, probably not coincidentally that was the section that had almost nothing to do with Kashmir. It's also a bit interesting that 9/11 is almost a blip to these characters. The aftermath of the train burning (and riot) in Gujarat impacts several characters more, though it still is treated mostly off-screen, as it were. I gather A Burning by Megha Majumdar is not based on this tragedy (as I had assumed) but is more of a fictional composite. I've been thinking of reading A Burning and will move it up a bit on my list. I'm not really enjoying Cosmopolis either, but at least it's short. I've never been that interested in reading about people who think they are "masters of the Universe," even if their feet of clay are on display. I am a bit curious if the character, Eric, is just as insufferable in the movie (likely so) but I'm not sure I am curious enough to find out. However, I am curious if the movie of White Noise (a much, much better novel) is well-done, and I'll have a chance to watch it on Sunday.
  2. After a fairly long hiatus, I've started listening to BBC Radio 3 again, specifically to the J to Z and Music Planet programs. I've been exposed to a few interesting and new-to-me artists like Snarky Puppy (who remind me of Acoustic Ladyland) and Kokoroko.
  3. I liked Glass Onion a fair bit, in fact better than Knives Out (as I thought one of the twists in that one was silly and uncovering it would rely on knowledge that Craig's character really wouldn't have known). Maybe I mostly liked it because it was a fairly savage critique of today's tech billionaires, specifically Zuckerberg and Musk, who are venerated by millions at a level that grossly exceeds their actual talents. I do think it is unfortunate it won't be in theatres for long. Basically just one week, then on to Netflix. Same deal with White Noise, but I have secured my ticket for that.
  4. Just saw a restored print of The Lost Boys. While some of the special effects are only so-so and the "vampire rules" aren't internally consistent, it was still pretty entertaining. Made me pretty nostalgic for the 80s... Going to check out Glass Onion over the weekend, and then probably White Noise the following week (and yes it is based on the DeLillo novel). TIFF is going to screen it for one week.
  5. What did you think of this? It looks like something I might try to get to next year. After Ministry, I might read Cosmopolis by DeLillo and then probably Fall on Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald.
  6. I went ahead and bought the LP, since the CD cover (at least the version I had) is pretty terrible. This is clearly a Romare Bearden collage. Now whether it was commissioned or they just repurposed an existing collage, I am not sure. Will see if I can find out later.
  7. Enjoyed this, even if the ratio of happy to unhappy endings (for the 10 or so main characters) was suspiciously high. One might almost say Kurkov had mellowed out... Am just starting The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy.
  8. I just finished rereading Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, partly inspired by the terrible attack on him a few months back. 😢😠 I'd say I liked it more this time around (not that I can really remember my reaction from the early 90s...). Probably at least one of the subplots could have been excised, however. (No, I'm not talking about the subplot that caused all the trouble in the first place...) Currently, about one-quarter of the way through The Milkman in the Night by Andrey Kurkov. I suppose I was simply feeling that I should read some Ukrainian literature. Kurkov is best known for Death and the Penguin and the sequel Penguin Lost, which I read a while back. I'm finding The Milkman in the Night quite interesting. One of the better novels I've read in 2022, at least so far. I have this same edition. Been meaning to get to it forever... I might tackle it next year. I did manage to read some of Fante's short stories though.
  9. It was more of a general comment. Faulkner struggles with race in a way that I think will make him still relevant in 50 or 100 years. Arguably Fitzgerald has interesting things to say about social climbing, elite society and "looking in" that will matter more and more as the class divide deepens in North America. I personally don't think what Hemingway has to say about being a man are that interesting. Obviously that is a gross simplification of what he was up to, but I think with today's trends he will be seen as less relevant, but he will still speak to some. I'm not calling for banning him, by any means.
  10. Mostly reading poetry for a larger project, but I have read some shorter works. Am midway through Hemingway's To Have and Have Not. I don't have too many issues with the hard-bitten anti-hero. (I don't believe I've ever seen the movie version with Bogart, but I can imagine him in the role.) But almost every page, Hemingway tosses around the n-word plus Chinese slurs, etc. (It's something like 5 chapters in when the reader is even told the name of the Black crew member. Sheesh.) It really detracts so much from the experience. I don't think time will be very kind with Hemingway, as so many of his characters embody toxic masculinity.
  11. Have by now gone through all the Monty Python episodes in order. And the two German episodes (out of order). I had assumed I had seen them all over the years, but there were 2 I absolutely had never seen before and 2-3 more that I don't recall seeing but it may just be brain fog. So in its own way that was rewarding. Currently working through Blackadder, at pretty much the same pace. We aim for 1 per night M-Th, but sometimes things come up and we have to skip. I have not decided if the next set will be Father Ted or Fawlty Towers. Maybe leaning a bit towards Fawlty Towers. Anyway, my favorite remains Season 2 of Blackadder, but Season 1 is a bit slier and better overall than I remembered, with some quite amusing asides that are a bit hard to catch on first viewing. I completely forgot that Peter Cook was in Season 1, Episode 1!
  12. Did this one get caught up in a rights issue and yanked? It seems to be completely unavailable from Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. There may be a copy or two in some European stores, but this is looking quite rare now. Drat.
  13. I picked up Reminiscing yesterday during Bandcamp Friday. I basically was rushing (left it to the last minute) and didn't get Baltimore Jazz Loft. I may hold off until April or just order it sooner. This may depend on how quickly I listen to everything else I bought yesterday...
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