Monday, November 10, 2003


A trip to the local Half-Price Books (a national chain that does exactly what it says on the tin) led to a spiffing Hellboy calendar for 2004, with lots of lovely Mignola art. Yum. I also finally picked up a battered old copy of Dune, acting on the orders of Rad. Actually, I'm looking forward to reading it, as I enjoyed both the TV series and the 1984 film (of which Rad disapproves). Also, since sound quality on the dvd of the series was so bad, I'll be able to find out finally what this "Pspssmss" thing they kept mentioning is (it's a "pre-spice-mass" apparently).
Also on my to-read list, in no particular order:

  • Scion: Conflict Of Conscience. I'm rereading this, as I rattled through it rather too quickly first time.

  • Batman: The Long Halloween. Ditto. This is a murder mystery story that I was a little unimpressed by, so a second reading may reveal more.

  • Grant Morrison's Marvel Boy. Bought very cheaply on eBay and greatly enjoyed, I'm going to have another crack at it, just for fun.

  • Vital Lies, Simple Truths? Meg's mum let me borrow this book about the psychology of denial. I often wonder how people can sometimes believe things that are patently untrue (a lot of that happens over here), and this book sets out to examine the phenomenon.

  • The Tale Of Despereaux. Another one from the mother-in-law. I suspect this one is her surreptitiously giving me research material for my on-off plans to get into children's book illustration. It's something to do with a mouse and a silver spoon.

  • JRR Tolkien: Author Of The Century. I'm rereading bits of it, as author Shippey says some interesting things about Tolkien's views on destiny and free will, and I'm musing on those subjects at the moment, for some reason.

  • RA Salvatore's The Lone Drow. Shameless D&D-related pap, but I love it.

  • A Clockwork Orange. Liam wants me to read it and do a visual treatment, tying into our graphic novel project in some way, I think.

  • The Gormenghast Trilogy. I've been meaning to read this for ages. It's the other big fantasy trilogy, and apparently stands up to Tolkien's epic quite well.

  • The Count Of Monte Cristo. A classic, but I picked it up because it's a big chunky book that'll last me a while, and I've never read it.

  • The Sword of Shannara. Tom Shippey, author of the Tolkien book above, says this is shameless plagiarism, and I'm interested in seeing how similar to Tolkien this really is.

And I'm going to rattle through The Lord Of The Rings again sometime this month, in preparation for the adaptation of the third book. I haven't read the trilogy (one of my favourite books ever) since before the films were even announced, and I kick myself every Christmas for not keeping up.

We went to see love actually last weekend. I'm not normally a fan of Richard Curtis' smug middle-class film-making, but I enjoyed this a great deal. It's a bit uneven in places, and the "happy" plotlines are rather conventional, but it's all done with such genuine good humour, and the performances are so good, that you can overlook any small flaws. The American press has given it a rough time, mainly because of the rather obvious anti-Bush sentiment at various places in the script, and have largely ingored the film itself, which is on the whole, very successful. It's very much like Magnolia, but without the overbearing pretentiousness and cynicism so popular with film students.

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