Archive for the ‘About this blog’ Category

‘The Hobbit’: Postscript

December 1, 2012

One more thought concerning the relation between The Hobbit as a book and as a movie: I also wonder how some of the humor in the book is going to be (or rather has been; the New Zealand premiere took place a few days ago) translated into the movie form, especially the names of the three trolls – ‘Bert’, ‘Tom’ and ‘William Huggins’ – and William’s speaking purse. The movie The Lord of the Rings did have humor, fortunately, but not of this kind. Orcs had suitably inhuman names, and if we had been told any trolls’ names they would presumably have been something like ‘Ugg’ and ‘Thugg’; whereas ‘William Huggins’ sounds more like a hobbit than a troll. Probably their names won’t be mentioned at all in the movie. Nor can I imagine a troll’s purse squeaking, ”Ere, ‘oo are you?’ in Peter Jackson’s movie (it’s hard to see a troll owning a purse in the first place). But I’m willing to be surprised. [I’d like to get those quote marks and apostrophes right in the purse quote above. Can someone tell me how?]

Speaking about surprises, I was pleasantly surprised how many likes and followships (‘The Followship of the Rong’; probably bloggery adepts have a pithy word for this) I garnered by my last post. Maybe I should add the tag ‘Hobbit’ to all my posts? At first, when this happened I suspected these people might be trying to trick me into reading their own blogs: I can imagine someone liking a post of mine, but when the (automatically generated) e-mail says, ‘They thought “…” was pretty awesome‘, that sounds rather far-fetched to me. But it seems to be just ordinary American hyperbole, where ‘nice’ doesn’t mean ‘nice’ any more but ‘bad’, and if you want to convey ‘nice’ you have to say ‘terrific’ or ‘awesome’. What will it be like in ten years, when ‘terrific’ and ‘awesome’ will have been devalued too? ‘Peter Jackson’s new movie was 8 billion percent godlike!’

I rarely take the time to look at other people’s blogs. It’s extremely likely that there are ones I would very much enjoy to read, but I better not start: I get little enough done in life as it is. That being so, I better close and go to bed (and a little more reading). But thanks for liking me, all who did so!

What I have read

November 9, 2012

As time passes, ‘blog’ here becomes more and more an abbreviation for ‘backlog’. I don’t find — or don’t take — the time to comment on what I am reading. Here’s at least a list of what I have read since last I posted something here:

  • Léo Malet: Stoff für viele Leichen (Des kilometres de Linceuls) — okay, but it seems that Malet’s Nestor Burma novels just don’t contain the kind of humor (or crime) I enjoy.
  • Carl Hiaasen: Native Tongue — that’s much more like it! Hiaasen writes very enjoyable funny crime novels; not as over the top as Kinky Friedman (who is, however, also very enjoyable).
  • Pascal Mercier: Nachtzug nach Lissabon (Night Train to Lisbon) — Hmmmmm … not as boring as a novel serving as vehicle for the author’s deep thoughts threatens to be.
  • Gene Wolfe: An Evil Guest — Yes! Very enjoyable, very good writing; as usual with Wolfe, full of surprises and often a little mystifying. I didn’t understand the ending at all, and that wasn’t the only thing I didn’t understand.
  • John Grisham: The Appeal — Oh well, it’s readable, and one does learn something about what’s wrong with the US law system.
  • DBC Pierre: Vernon God Little — Quite good! Funny as well as tragic. Kind of Oliver Twist in modern-day Texas.
  • Mark Fabi: Wyrm — Nice science fiction adventure, recommended to computer nerds, fans of Douglas Hofstadter and suchlike. The technology seems retro already, however, even though it’s only from 1997. (For something along these lines that’s really good, read Neuromancer by William Gibson, or his other books.)
  • Stephen King: Gerald’s Game — Good. Nothing really fantastic or supernatural here. In a sense, the book deals with child abuse, though within the framework of a thriller or horror story. (Can it be a horror story when it doesn’t have supernatural elements??)
  • Andrew Vachss: Haiku — Okay, but not as good as his Burke novels. Sometimes I wonder about the ideology implicit in Vachss’s novels. There is always this small group of, let’s say, blood brothers (or sisters) who understand each other almost without words, who have a strict notion of what is right, and where outsiders are almost always … hm … inacceptable, almost contemptible? I don’t know what that implies, but it somehow seems not modern, rational, humanist, constructive … It may well constitute some of the appeal Vachss’s novels have for me, but even if I enjoy it, it is not healthy.
  • Wolf Haas: Das Wetter vor 15 Jahren (The Weather Fifteen Years Ago) — A very strange kind of novel which consists entirely of a (fictitious) interview with the author about the very novel that can’t be read in the book. Nevertheless, quite enjoyable (sorry for overusing that word; my active vocabulary is limited, especially late at night) and even spannend in the end. I do prefer his Brenner novels, however.
  • Patrick Rothfuss: The Name of the Wind — A nice fantasy novel. I’m not yet entirely sure what to think of it; it’s only the first part of the trilogy The Kingkiller Chronicle and I’d have to see where it goes and what it does with all the material already written. But I certainly do want to read on. There are as a matter of fact numerous parallels to Harry Potter in the story, but it is still something completely different.
  • David Peace: 1980 — Another very good one, luckily not quite as depressing as 1977.
  • Rider Haggard: Allan Quatermain — Ages ago I read King Solomon’s Mines in a (translated) Reader’s Digest condensed version, and I liked the color and adventure (the illustrations were also very nice). This was nice too; reminded me a bit of the German adventure writer Karl May. I’ll certainly read more Haggard.
  • Carl Hiaasen: Strip Tease — Another very entertaining Florida crime novel. You see, I obtained the second Carl Hiaasen Omnibus (already enjoyed the first one), containing three novels, of which this is the middle one.
  • Stephen King: The Langoliers — Fun to read. From the four-novella collection Four Past Midnight. I always find King (yes:) enjoyable and not as psychologically shallow as, say, Grisham. Apropos psychological shallowness: I wouldn’t say Hiaasen is psychologically extremely penetrating, but the reader certainly does seem to get an insight into what makes run-of-the-mill criminals tick.
  • David Peace: 1983 — I couldn’t wait very long to read the last part of the tetralogy (I detest the term ‘quadrilogy’ — why are decent movies like Alien 1–4 burdened with this pseudoword?). Finally a few truths come to light and some mysteries are unraveled. Yet there’s a lot that I still don’t understand … Maybe I’m just not that attentive or intelligent a reader. I’ll reread them some day. (The film version Red Riding is also supposed to be quite good.)
  • Carl Hiaasen: Stormy Weather — Actually I’m not finished yet, but almost. The last novel in the second Omnibus. Good again. I’ll gladly read more by Hiaasen. (Although reading the latest works by Gene Wolfe and Iain Banks certainly has priority. And Wolf Haas’s remaining Brenner novels. Don Winslow also sounds interesting — maybe comparable to James Ellroy and David Peace? Oh well, there’s so much to read …)
  • Next, however, I want to reread John R. R. Tolkien’s (makes you wonder whether ‘George R. R. Martin’ is just a pseudonym chosen to embark on a fantasy-writer career; but he started out as a science fiction writer, as far as I know) The Hobbit — before the movie trilogy starts (though only the stars know when I’ll have the opportunity to see the movies — and they are only miasmata of incandescent plasma, as They Might Be Giants remind us).

Why blog?

March 8, 2010

‘Ein Leserleben’ means ‘A Reader’s Life’. For a short while I’ve been thinking about writing a blog about the books I read. Now, two books I recently read, respectively started reading, gave me the impetus to actually get going: Cornelia Funke’s Tintentod (Inkdeath) and Po Bronson’s What Should I Do with My Life?. For how they did this, see above.

Alternative titles (sadly, two of them are only comprehensible to German speakers) I considered for my blog were: ‘Leckt Türen!’, ‘The Lecturer’ and ‘Einserlesben’. — A later suggestion by Nils: ‘Praxis Bülowbogen’.