STARDUST


Neil Gaiman’s novel version of Stardust was published in 1999. This movie version came on in 2007. Stardust features an ensemble cast of Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Sienna Miller, Jason Flemyng, Mark Strong, Rupert Everett, Ricky Gervais, Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Peter O’Toole, with narration by Ian McKellen. Tristran Thorn: loves Victoria Forester (the most beautiful girl in the world–according to Tristran). When they witness a falling star, Tristran promises Victoria he will bring her the falling star to seal their love. Victoria agrees and off Tristran goes into a land of Faerie beyond The Wall. Tristran, who finds he has an incredible sense of direction in this new land, finds the falling star,Yvaine–who looks a lot like Claire Danes–and binds her to him with a magic silver chain. But the falling star is being hunted by others: sons of the Lord of Stormhold who seek power and The Lilim–three witches who need the magic of the falling star to regain their Youth. I read Neil Gaiman’s clever novel. This movie follows it fairly closely, but the roles of Captain Shakespeare (Robert De Niro) and his airship is greatly enhanced.

If you’re in the mood for High Adventure and fantastic Magic, Stardust has plenty of both! GRADE: B+

THE VOYEUR’S MOTEL By Gay Talese


Gay Talese’s The Voyeur’s Motel is one of the creepiest books I’ve ever read. Decades ago, Gay Talese, the famous non-fiction writer (Honor Thy Father and Thy Neighbor’s Wife, etc.) received a letter from a guy in Colorado saying he owned a motel that allowed him to observe the the people in their motel rooms unbeknownst to them. The man claimed he keeping detailed records of the sexual activities going on in those rooms. Gay Telese flew out to Denver, met the Voyeur (as he called himself), and actually witnessed a sex act performed in one of the motel rooms from the hidden vantage point.

Gay Talese insisted he could not write about the Voyeur’s experiences unless he could use the man’s real name. The Voyeur was reluctant to reveal his true identity to the world for fear of criminal prosecution and law suits. Over the 1980s and 1990s, Telese and the Voyeur kept up a sporadic correspondence. The Voyeur would send Talese his observations and sections of his detailed journal. Finally, Talese gained permission to reveal the Voyeur’s identity and The Voyeur’s Motel is the result. After reading this book, my opinion that Life and Other People are very strange was strongly reinforced. GRADE: B+

THE GOLDEN CONDOM AND OTHER ESSAYS ON LOVE LOST & FOUND By Jeanne Safer



Jeanne Safer has been a psychoanalyst for 40 years. She’s counseled hundreds of clients over those years. What struck her was that many of the problems that plagued her clients centered around love and friendship. In a fascinating series of essay, Jeanne Safer shows how the quest for love by both male and female clients led to disaster and/or happiness. Safer discusses how relationships go wrong and what can be done (in many cases, you have to just walk away). Why we do the crazy things we do when we’re in love start to make sense with Safer’s analysis. If you’re interested in relationships and how they work (and don’t work), I recommend The Golden Condom. GRADE: B+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
INTRODUCTION 1
PART I: HOPELESS LOVE
1. Leaving Unloving Lovers and Unfriendly Friends 7
2. Of Human Bondage: Obsessive Love 13
3. Vengeance Is Mine: The Dark Side of Rejected Love 57
4. Betrayal 74
5. Unrequited Love: My Golden One 89
PART II: DIFFICULT LVOE
6. The Man Who Could Not Love 125
7. The Tantalizing Mentor & the Passionate Protege 147
8. Traumatic Friendship 184
PART III: FULFILLED LOVE
9. Late First Marriage: The Triumph of Hope Over
Resignation 213
10. Love Is Tronger Than the Grave 241
11. Love Him, Hate His Politics: How a Liberal
and a Conservative Stay Married 257
12 Recovering the Good form a Love Gone Bad 266
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 271

FOOLS OF TIME: STUDIES IN SHAKESPEAREAN TRAGEDY By Northrop Fry


After considering yesterday’s Friday’s Forgotten Book “Children Gone Wrong” selection of Shakespeare’s King Lear, I decided to read Northrop Fry’s informative Fools of Time: Studies in Shakespearean Tragedy. Northrop Fry delivered thees three lectures as part of the Alexander Lecture series for 1965-19666 season at the University of Toronto. In this slim, 121-page book, Fry explores Shakespeare’s tragedies–not as a literary critic–but as an admirer of great drama. These lectures are aimed at a general audience (no deconstruction here!). In the first lecture, Fry discusses the tragedies of order: Julius Caesar, Macbeth, and Hamlet. The second lecture on tragedies of passion enlighten Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Troilus and Cressida, and Cooriolanus. Finally, in the discussion of the tragedies of isolation, Fry delivers his insights into King Lear, Othello, and Timon of Athens. If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, you’ll enjoy this short and pithy exploration of these great plays. What is your favorite Shakespeare tragedy? GRADE: A
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
PREFACE AND DEDICATION v
My father as he slept:
The tragedy of order
3
The tailors of the earth:
The tragedy of passion
43
Little world of man:
The tragedy of isolation
77

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #411: KING LEAR By William Shakespeare


When Patti first proposed an FFB about “Children Gone Wrong” I immediately thought of Goneril and Regan, King Lear’s vicious daughters. King Lear, old and tired of ruling his kingdom, decided to divide it among his three daughters. But, Lear says he will give the biggest part to the daughter who loves him most. Goneril, the eldest, flatters the old man with sweet talk. Regan follows Goneril’s lead and praises her father lavishly. Only Cordelia, the daughter who truly loves Lear, declines to play this phony game. And, as a result, earns the anger of her father who thinks, falsely, that Cordelia doesn’t love him enough. Goneril and Regan slowly steal Lear’s kingdom and reduce him to a a madman. Then, not satisfied with the kingdoms they now rule, Goneril and Regan start a civil war which sends the kingdoms into misery. So there are my candidates for “Children Gone Wrong”: the greedy and violent Goneril and Regan.
King Lear by William Shakespeare at The National Theatre
Director Sam Mendes

ARCANUM UNBOUNDED: THE COSMERE COLLECTION By Brandon Sanderson


Brandon Sanderson writes Big Fat Books. Most of his latest books weigh in at nearly a 1000 pages. This short story collection, Arcanum Unbounded: The Cosmere Collection is a mere 672 pages. It includes Sanderson’s Hugo Award winner, “The Emperor’s Soul.” And I’m found of “Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell.” Sanderson mentions in his “Preface” that he was impressed by Isaac Asimov who tied up his Foundation novels and his robot novels into one coherent story line. Sanderson is trying to weave all his many series together in such a fashion. Some of these stories are part of that effort to fill in the blanks and provide a backstory for some of his characters. If you’re a fan of high adventure and science fantasy, you might consider giving Aarcanum Unbounded a try. And, if you enjoy Sanderson’s style as much as I do, you might want to read one of his longish novels. GRADE: B+

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Acknowledgements
Preface
THE SELISH SYSTEM
The Emperor’s Soul, a novella originally published in 2012, Hugo Award winner
“The Hope of Elantris”, originally published as an e-book in 2007
THE SCADRIAN SYSTEM
“The Eleventh Metal”, originally released in 2011 as part of the Mistborn Adventure Game
“Allomancer Jak and the Pits of Eltania, Episodes 28 through 30”, originally released in 2011 as part of the Mistborn Adventure Game
Mistborn: Secret History, a short novel originally published in 2016 as an e-book
the taldain system
“White Sand”, an excerpt of the graphic novel originally published in 2016
THE THRENODITE SYSTEM
Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, a novella originally published in 2013 in the Dangerous Women anthology
THE DROMINAD SYSTEM
Sixth of the Dusk, a novellette originally published in 2014 in the Shadows Beneath anthology
THE ROSHARAN SYSTEM
Edgedancer, a new Stormlight Archive novella

EPIPHANIES By Matthew Hughes


I’m a big fan of Matthew Hughes’s faux-Jack Vance stories. And I’m very fond of Hughes’s clever scoundrel, Luff Imbry. Imbry is approached by a young woman who claims to be his relative. This is news to Imbry who was under the impression he had no relatives. But, sure enough, Imbry finds himself in a convulsed scheme involving mining interests and double-dealing family members. Epipanies is only 71 pages, but I enjoyed the story thoroughly and recommend it to all lovers of Jack Vance and his best acolyte. I also like Ben Baldwin’s wonderful cover for this book. GRADE: A

STORM IN A TEACUP: THE PHYSICS OF EVERYDAY LIFE By Helen Czerski



Helen Czerski is a physicist at the University College London’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. In her spare time, she produces BBC science programs and writes books. Storm in a Teacup tells you why popcorn pops, why ducks don’t get cold feet, and how waves work. Helen Czerski’s writing style is engaging and clever. She uses a lot of personal examples (many of them humorous) to explain a scientific principle like the conservation of energy or gravity. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on nanotechnology and its promising future. If you’re a fan of science, Storm in a Teacup will brighten your day and expand your mind. GRADE: B+

TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Introduction
Popcorn and Rockets
What Goes Up Must Come Down
Small Is Beautiful
A Moment in Time
Making Waves
Why Dont Ducks Get Cold Feet?
Spoons Spirals and Sputnik
When Opposites Attract
A Sense of Perspective
References
Acknowledgments
Index

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER TWO


Keanu Reeves returns to play a “retired” contract killer, John Wick, who keeps getting pulled back into his old profession. In John Wick (2014), Wick was grieving the death of his wife when the Russian mafia kill his dog and steal his car (why they didn’t just kill John Wick remains inexplicable). John Wick gathers some weapons and starts killing dozens of members of the Russian mob. In John Wick: Chapter Two, a blood contract that Wick made years ago is enforced on him. The target is in Rome and John Wick slays an impressive number of bodyguards. Much of the action is fast and furious (to coin a phrase) so you don’t want to think too much about the plot aspects. But if you’re looking for a stylish action movie, John Wick: Chapter Two will get your heart pumping. GRADE: B