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[personal profile] petronia
Haven't posted on DW for a while! (Did make a couple of posts on LJ.)

Not holding myself to this on a weekly basis, clearly, but it's still a useful exercise when there's something to report.


* Close to finishing The Old Ways: A Journey On Foot. This was my main reading during the holiday season -- an Indigo staff pick obtained on a whim while buying presents. ("Oh, this is Glen's pick," said the cashier. "I want to read Glen's pick!" "Is Glen very outdoorsy?" I asked. "Well, he's one of our managers and a bit of a hippie.") Highly recommended, though if you're as sedentary as I am it will make you feel like pre-Adventure Bilbo Baggins. In fact it makes one realize Tolkien didn't just make up all that mysticism of the road going on and on, he was writing a value set he would have expected his original readers (adult, if not child) to be able to contexualize easily... Tezuka Kunimitsu would enjoy this book.

* Read Red Dragon, since I've never watched either of the film adaptations. Actually, I've never read any of the Thomas Harris novels. Not sure why -- sometimes, with bestsellers, one unthinkingly assumes they can't be any good, though I usually read one or two completely random airport paperback thrillers a year so that's no reason. XD; Anyway, as paperback thrillers go, this was solid: good plot with twists, not infrequently beautiful language/imagery. (It turns out that Hannibal basically strip-mined this book for all the bits of memorable writing it contained, Sherlock-style.) The pacing is sometimes kind of weird -- the narration jumps around inconsistently in that shoulda-been-a-movie 3rd omniscient style, and sometimes suffers for it. But all in all it holds up OK, considering it's reached the Mad Men stage of awkwardly dated (both the plot-specific eg. no wily serial killer would leave that much DNA evidence now, or be that hard to catch on camera; and the interstitial social stuff eg. apparently in the Southern states in the 1980s, people still said "Negro" a lot and drank martinis in moving vehicles).

I will probably read Silence of the Lambs after? I did watch the movie, but I never felt like I got it. Like there seems to be some "holy shit" thing that people get from this story or character interaction that never struck me. Regular people treat this canon in a really fannish way, yanno?


* Her. This is one of those movies where you will quite likely watch a different movie from the person who accompanied you into the theatre, depending on your respective attitudes toward gender relations, technology, alternate visions of LA that look more like Shanghai (+commuter trains -black people), and so forth. I will say that a full decade after Lost In Translation, one finally feels like one has both sides of the Spike Jonze-Sofia Coppola marriage story.

* Sherlock S3. Jumping the shark a bit but there's enough good stuff to keep me interested. In the other column, there is ASSASSINS?!? but from a fannish perspective, I have yet to find a canon that isn't improved for me in the long run by ASSASSINS?!?, that is like dinosaurs.

* Hannibal, earlier in the month, obviously. I keep thinking, maybe once they finish season 2 or whatever they'll publish a cookbook. XD;;; Someone on Douban wrote one of those insta-classic reviews that was just a massive cookery treatise on the preparation and consumption of the longpig, in traditional Chinese. (Rather, classical references are to the "two-legged goat". #themoreyoulearn)

Date: 2014-02-06 09:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Read Silence Of The Lambs a couple of decades ago and recall thinking it was Clarice more than Hannibal who made the book really good, and what was most interesting was her dealings with her wise but cagey boss and with an obtuse and malignant asylum director. The scene I remember vividly is Clarice needing to meet with Hannibal, and the asylum guy petulantly telling her to be quick while showing her a ticket he's got to a concert* that evening to which he doesn't want to be late, then suddenly realizing that by showing her the single ticket he'd let on that he's going alone (i.e., is not the sort of guy who's got a date), and feeling cut off at the knees by the fact that he'd just revealed this to an attractive young woman, and hating her for it, all of which Clarice perceives as it's happening. I think Harris used that very phrase, "cut off at the knees."

*Or opera, or show; I don't remember. And maybe he merely told her he had the ticket, though my memory thinks he showed her, which would make it more definite that there was only one single ticket.

Date: 2014-02-10 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
(back from NYC)

Co-sign that. Red Dragon is, I think, a classic of its genre (in the sense that it reads like an excellent but unsurprising forensic procedural now if you don't know it pioneered a lot of the modern forensic procedural cliches), but SotL rather transcends its genre, which is entirely due to Clarice -- in large part, due to Clarice being a woman. As [ profile] dubdobdee noted there's a quality of wisdom there, which isn't pushed in the first book and gets lost in the third.

All the asylum director did was accidentally use the singular "ticket"! But Clarice noticed, he noticed her noticing, and she noticed him noticing her noticing. (Harris must have been a sharp observer as a journalist; he makes all his POV characters very perceptive, so he doesn't have to hold back the perceptiveness of his narration.)

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