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RangeRoverA1
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« Reply #475 on: April 20, 2018, 04:25:30 AM »

"A Calf For Christmas" by Astrid Lindgren. 5/5, nice tale.
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« Reply #476 on: April 20, 2018, 04:37:18 AM »

"A Calf For Christmas" by Astrid Lindgren. 5/5, nice tale.

One of the best authors of children's books around. My granddaughter is crazy about the films and TV series based on her Pippi Longstocking books.
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« Reply #477 on: April 20, 2018, 05:06:55 AM »

I'm in the throes of finishing The Great Gatsby. What have I been missing all these years? Thank you, that person, for pointing me at it. :=)

I think next up will be 1984, another book I'd be put in front of a firing squad for not reading in an enlightened society. Grin

I love Gatsby! Phenomenal book.

I like 1984 too. It's not my favourite Orwell read but, yes, I'd say it's a bucket list book.

For anyone interested, here is my book bucket list though looking at it now, I'd say it's way too short but I think I must have truncated it for the thread: http://smileysmile.net/board/index.php/topic,25110.msg610116.html#msg610116
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RangeRoverA1
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« Reply #478 on: April 20, 2018, 05:26:53 AM »

Didn't read the 2 mentioned books but by description, looks like I wouldn't like the either.
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« Reply #479 on: April 20, 2018, 05:31:52 AM »

Judaism in Persia’s Shadow, by Jon Berquist.
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« Reply #480 on: April 20, 2018, 08:27:22 AM »

Just started The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith. Many of her books, including the Tom Ripley stories, have been made into popular movies that I've somehow managed not to see. So far, so good.
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« Reply #481 on: April 20, 2018, 09:33:27 AM »

Just started The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith. Many of her books, including the Tom Ripley stories, have been made into popular movies that I've somehow managed not to see. So far, so good.

I've never read the book but The Talented Mr. Ripley movie is fantastic.
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« Reply #482 on: April 20, 2018, 11:56:01 AM »

Just started The Talented Mr. Ripley, by Patricia Highsmith. Many of her books, including the Tom Ripley stories, have been made into popular movies that I've somehow managed not to see. So far, so good.

I've never read the book but The Talented Mr. Ripley movie is fantastic.

I've heard good things about the movies. There are actually four books in the Ripley series. I have a collection of the first three from my library. All three have been made into movies, and actually I lied. I have seen one of them.

Obviously, there's the 1999 Matt Damon version of the first book, but also a 1960 French adaptation, called Purple Noon. Ripley Under Ground, the second book, was made into movie in 2005. The third book, Ripley's Game, has been adapted twice, first in 1977 as The American Friend with Dennis Hopper as Ripley (this is the one I've seen), and then in 2002 under its original title with John Malkovich.

Highsmith also wrote Strangers on a Train, which became one of Alfred Hitchcock's famous films.
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« Reply #483 on: April 20, 2018, 04:09:35 PM »

Obviously, there's the 1999 Matt Damon version of the first book
Highsmith also wrote Strangers on a Train, which became one of Alfred Hitchcock's famous films.
I'd seen "Strangers" - not bad. Matt Damon's "Ripley" is good, with cool jazz & retro music playing throughout the film. Matt's very underrated, people usually associate him with "Born" stuff but I think he's got chops to do any role. I'd like to see John Malkovich' "Ripley", really extraordinary thespian.
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« Reply #484 on: April 23, 2018, 06:20:15 AM »

I plan to check out the movies after reading the books. The American Friend is a Wim Wenders film. It's a bit arty, but worth a watch.

I agree that Matt Damon is underrated. He never really wows me, but I usually like the movies he's in. I think the most recent thing I saw him in was The Martian. That was good. I've avoided most of the Jason Bourne movies.
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« Reply #485 on: April 23, 2018, 03:24:34 PM »

I am re-reading The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia. It's the true story of people whose parents brought them to Russia in the 20s and 30s and what happened to them in the waves of Stalin's Terrors. I am a history buff, and this was particularly interesting because it is about a time and place I know relatively little about, especially that many Americans moved to Russia at that time for various reasons: They may have been true believers in Communism, Jews whose families had fled the discrimination and pogroms of Tsarist Russia and longed to return, employees of Henry Ford who were paid handsomely to serve as engineers and consultants in the plant he sent over to assist in Stalin's industrialization plan. It is long and not written in a particularly engaging style, but is one of those books that has you looking back once finished and saying, "I grew from this."

RangeRoverA1 and a few other posters noted their affection for Agatha Christie books. Me too! I'd always liked  them as a child, but really got into the Tommy 'n Tuppence series (a young couple - different for a Christie book) when I was in England as a teenager. It was fun going to many of the places where they went to solve murders, etc.
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« Reply #486 on: April 23, 2018, 03:40:36 PM »

I am re-reading The Forsaken: An American Tragedy in Stalin's Russia. It's the true story of people whose parents brought them to Russia in the 20s and 30s and what happened to them in the waves of Stalin's Terrors. I am a history buff, and this was particularly interesting because it is about a time and place I know relatively little about, especially that many Americans moved to Russia at that time for various reasons: They may have been true believers in Communism, Jews whose families had fled the discrimination and pogroms of Tsarist Russia and longed to return, employees of Henry Ford who were paid handsomely to serve as engineers and consultants in the plant he sent over to assist in Stalin's industrialization plan. It is long and not written in a particularly engaging style, but is one of those books that has you looking back once finished and saying, "I grew from this."

That sounds really interesting!
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« Reply #487 on: April 23, 2018, 03:43:18 PM »

Daniel Ellsburg's "The Doomsday Machine," which is terrifying.

To help mitigate the depression caused by the above, I started Steven Pinker's "Enlightenment Now." I'm going back and forth a few chapters at a time. We're all going to die. Everything's fine. We're all going to die. Everything's fine. And so on.
Trying to finish up the Pinker book, due back to the library today. But I started and am really enjoying Judaism in Persia’s Shadow, too. Getting some of both in while enjoying the 70-degree weather on my patio. To think, last weekend we got nearly 20” snow!
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« Reply #488 on: April 23, 2018, 04:17:54 PM »

It really is. Not just the story, but an interesting deep dive into the psychology of Stalin, the society, the gulags, and the prisoners. People can argue about who was worse, Stalin or Hitler, but he was certainly no better in terms of terror and death (although Mao was responsible for more than either, another story... BTW, America's cowardly lack of effort to protect the Americans is embarrassing. Like you, I have to kind of alternate attention between really dark and more cheerful reading, and this is dark, told from the POV of the very few American survivors.     
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« Reply #489 on: May 01, 2018, 05:27:16 AM »

2Buckethead: Didn't read "Tommy & Tuppence" series. Hope there's many interesting cases with cool witty investigation just like in "Ms. Marple", imo best sleuth created by Christie.
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« Reply #490 on: May 01, 2018, 05:51:01 AM »

RRA1 - There aren't as many books in the T and T series. IIRC, there are four plus a number of short stories. It all begins in the 1920s when the characters are in their 20s, and ends when they are in their 70s. There is a bit more emphasis on the "times" during which each mystery played out.
What I like also is that T and T are from very average English backgrounds, so they are very down-to earth. Tommy is a more literal thinker who sees things from a factual perspective, whereas Tuppence has a finely honed sense of female intuition. Like the Marple stories, these are good mysteries, but I found that they were more fun to read.
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« Reply #491 on: May 10, 2018, 05:05:17 AM »

2Buckethead: Which book do you like the best, big favorite? Which genre do you like - mystery, science fiction, history? Is fave book in the genre you like the best, i.e. the 2 meet?
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« Reply #492 on: May 10, 2018, 03:24:44 PM »

I really don't have a favorite book, but tended to favor mysteries growing up. I have now lost my taste for fiction, and only read biographies, history, sociology, and anthropology.  I tend to read in themes, so a few years ago I read a book on the role of Nazi psychiatrists and the Holocaust, women and the Holocaust,  a nasty French rescuer of many Jews (no one suspected!), and the art/writings of children kept in Theresienstadt concentration camp, etc. The last couple of years began with a book on the familial relationship between Wilhelm II, George V, and Nicholas II and its  influence on WWI, which led me to a book on Americans in the USSR under Stalin. I've just completed a dozen or so readings on Nicholas I through Nicholas II, and made many detours into the British Royal family, then back to the Romanovs and German royal families in order to make full sense of it all. European Royalty, it seems, was even more inbred than I ever imagined! And we make fun of southerners here in the US....
What about you? What do you like to read? 
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« Reply #493 on: May 11, 2018, 06:03:38 AM »

Interesting thing to do - to read in themes. Did you read Solzhenitsin's "Archipelago gulag" (not sure what's the English title)? To me, best books would be adventure, horror, mystery, detective, film history. Faves - Charles Dickens' "Old Curiosity Shop" (sweet, rife with adventures, hilarious at times, cool sinister villain with crooked legs), Robert Stine's "The Scarecrow Walks At Midnight", Gillian Rubinstein's "Space Demons" (uber-cool), Rex Stout's Perry Mason series, Agatha Christie's Miss Marple, "Ten Little Indians", Edgar Poe's "Black Cat", Bela Kaufman's "Up The Down Staircase", A. Chekhov's funny short stories, Alexander Grin's "Pink Sails" (again, what's the English title), I. Turgenev's "Asya" (aloof heroine who I pictured to be very beautiful girl, hate love tales but this is bizarrely good), "The Cat Who..." detectives by Lilian Jackson Braun. You read these?
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« Reply #494 on: May 11, 2018, 10:31:16 AM »

I did read what was called here The Gulag Archipelago a few years after it was published. It's neat that you like RL Stine - my three sons loved all of his books, and I enjoyed reading the books to them until they could read them themselves. the "choose your scare" ones were  especially fun. I've also read most of Agatha Christie's books after I graduated from reading all of the Nancy Drew Mysteries. (She was a rich girl who was finished high school, but did not have to work, so she drove around in her sports car solving mysteries as she waited for her boyfriend to finish college and marry her. LOL.) I never knew that Up the Down Staircase was based on a novel. It was one of my favorite movies! As a young teacher, I felt just like the main character, actually, still do.
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« Reply #495 on: May 13, 2018, 07:58:20 AM »

What's your fave R. Stine goosebump? I did read "Nancy Drew" - must say it's impressive as computer game, not when you read. Cool music too. Btw, the books mentioned previously - the faves list - I usually skipped "character's thinking", "street/ weather/ place/ descriptions" (except appearance which could be funny like Daniel Quilp's description in "Old Curiousity Shop") & the other narrations. It's boring - dialogs, many people talk is favorite bits in books. "Up The Down Staircase" is written by veteran teacher Bel Kaufman - it's mainly letters between teachers (Beatrice to Sylvia, Sylvia to Henrietta, vice versa etc.) & "Attention, pupils!" type speeches. Sandy Dennis looked like teacher, well played Ms. Barrett. Ditto Mr. McHabe, btw, he's funny & cool. But big time annoyed by that girl who developed crush to ugly brash Mr. Berringer. Ditto her friend Carol that did the speech as if Alice couldn't do it without help plus interfered & cared about Alice waaay too many times. Didn't like the nurse who gave tea - bizarre as hell. Didn't like Ms. Friedenberg "guildance counsellor" as well, due to fact she reluctantly gave to Ms. Barrett the pupils' Personality Profiles & said "but bring them back". Dumb. Why would Ms. Barrett keep pupils' cards? Clearly, she'd bring them back, she's disciplined. Anyhoo, glad you like it, I said in Movies thread it's favorite too (but not in past time like you said, "was", but is).
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« Reply #496 on: May 13, 2018, 08:59:07 AM »

I am laughing at your reactions to Up the Down Staircase! You have a very funny perspective on people. Because of the places in which I've taught, I've met many bizarre school staff. I think that those who work with troubled people are often as much troubled themselves, but blend in better in the odd atmosphere. I loved Sandy Dennis in her role, the perfect balance of clueless and not at all clueless.

My favorite Goosebumps story was Ghost Beach, where a brother and sister stay with older relatives and meet other kids from their extended family. The problem is, as they discover, everyone is actually a long-dead ancestor.

As for what you like in a story, I really get into everything, including what characters are thinking, details of the setting, etc. This is probably because I mentally "go" to where the story takes place and feel part of everything while I am reading. I get really p----d when I'm interrupted for that reason - I don't have to just take my attention away, but come all of the way back to real life. It better be for a good reason!
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« Reply #497 on: May 13, 2018, 08:04:00 PM »

Again about the movie - Ms. Barrett says "homeroom". Shouldn't she say "classroom"? Doesn't make sense to dub school cabinet which teacher teaches in "home". F.ex. "homework" isn't "task pupils do at school". Could you explain? To be back to topic, people usually stand up to heroes, positive characters. But, is there fictional villain you really like?
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« Reply #498 on: May 14, 2018, 06:16:29 AM »

In the US middle schools and high schools kids move all day from class to class. But typically, they start the day with "homeroom," when attendance is taken, the pledge to the flag is done (not always), kids give teachers excuse notes for absences and permission slips for trips,  someone makes general announcements over the intercom for the whole school, votes are cast for things like prom king and queen. Then kids sit and talk and waste time, or there is occasionally some kind of social activity to build a sense of community and belonging (this is where the "home" part comes from). If there is an assembly, kids usually sit in spaces according to homeroom. They are normally assigned to one based on their last name in the alphabet and are together throughout their years in the school. (So, for example, my last name started with K, so I was with kids whose names also started with K until we graduated.)

As for villains in literature, I can't say that I actually liked any. I hate the bad guy, mostly because I've had too much experience with them in my own life.
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« Reply #499 on: May 14, 2018, 09:09:42 AM »

The pledge to the flag still happens in US schools?
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