Friday, April 1, 2011

Best of the Week - Fourth Week of March

I've been super busy this week so this should be a short update since I did not see much TV/movies this week of note.

Best TV show I saw: I always enjoy my Showtime shows and the season premieres of both Nurse Jackie and United States of Tara were decent. I especially love Toni Collette in Tara because the woman is effortless in her acting.

Best movie I saw: The only movie I can even remember watching a piece of was seeing athe first 30 minutes or so of Ghostbusters on Nick at Nite last night. I was laughing at scenes I've seen 100 times. It really may be Bill Murray's best work. Every piece of dialogue is simply perfect with his deadpan delivery. I highly recommend everyone rewatch this if it's been a while.

Best thing I read: I read a lot this week again and the best of the bunch that I read was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Funny enough, this is the second time I read this book, but during my reread I only really remembered the first fifty pages or so. This is my newest book for my book club, but I have a ton of books I want to read on my own so I knocked it out in two days. This is a sad, but uplifting book whose narrator is a fifteen year old English kid that has some sort of developmental problem. They never fully say what that issue is but since he has tons of systems and ways of seeing the world, is super organized and is a math genius we can assume he's got some sort of Autism or Asberger's. Since he is the narrator, the author does a fantastic job of letting the reader see through the eyes of someone that sees the world in such a simple black and white way. There is only good and bad, and if you lie you are bad. The writing is super-simplistic (even more simplistic than yours truly) with tons of run-on sentences and explanations of what he is doing and why.
I do not want to ruin the plot to this book at all since what happens is not really the point. It is more about how this kid sees the world.

I also read: On Writing by Stephen King is his non-fiction account of himself and his writing. It isn't an autobiography, although the first 100 pages or so are how he started writing and stories about writing his early stories as a teenager. He always wanted to write and he was always sending magazines his stories. He tells how he was rejected a billion times and it only made him work harder.
The second part of the book describes his process. He explains how he is strict in his schedule and recommends anyone serious about writing to carve away some time to just do it. He even gives some exercises in how to write and how to edit.
The third part discusses his accident in 1999 where he was hit by a truck and almost killed. He happened to be writing On Writing when this happened and since this is a non-fiction book, he decided to exercise his demons about the trauma this accident has caused him. Longtime King readers know this story very well since he mentions it a lot in prefaces as well as incorporating a bit of it in his novels.
Overall, this book is a great insight into how one of the best selling authors of all times does his job. Anyone interested in writing (whether it be the process or wants to be a writer themselves) should definitely read this book. After all, just hearing how King threw away the first 50 pages to Carrie and the only reason he came back was because his wife decided to pull those pages out of the garbage and then told him he may have something here is something I'm sure anyone that is unsure of their work can understand.
Also, this book really humanizes the Master of Horror and shows his fans and his detractors what a good guy he actually is.
I also read: Ultimate Comics Avengers - A fun little book about a different look at the Marvel Universe. This series tries to make a world where Super Heroes exist, but they are more human people and they are around in present day society. They are able to take classic characters and stories and update them for today's audience. For example: this story tells the origin of the Captain America villain the Red Skull. In regular continuity the Red Skull was a Nazi crazy man that is still alive today. In the Ultimate world, we find out the Red Skull was Captain America's unborn son when he was frozen in a block of ice during World War II. Since the government couldn't redo the Super Soldier program that created Captain America, they took the child from birth and brought him up in a government complex. The kid trained to be the peak of physical specimen and then turned on his 'captors' and became an international terrorist. Now, 65 years later, he meets his father in battle. It was a good little story.

Best thing I heard: I listened to two WTF Podcast with the comedian Marc Maron. I listened to both interviews with Joe Rogan and Michael Showalter. I have listened to at least 15 of the WTF podcasts and his abrasive style has grown on me. After listening to some, I understand more of why he does the show. It is a) to get people on the show that he has had issues with in the past and confront them/apologize for his past abrasiveness and b) to work out a lot of the crazy inner demons this stand-up comic seems to possess. Maybe it's because I've listened to a bunch now and like his style more because of it, but I enjoyed these two podcasts and they were the best thing I heard this week.


Jenn from Much to My Delight said...

Mitch, you are a fast reader! How do you get through two books a week? I'm very impressed.

I wish I had Showtime to watch the United States of Tara. The premise sounds really interesting and I also really love Toni Colette. I bet she rocks that role.

MitchyMitchyMitchy said...

I've been on a tear recently, but I have about 2 hours a day via commute and I read while I walk and anywhere I have to wait. So it just so happens that the books I've been reading lately are very fast-paced so I've been reading a ton.

My next book - House of Leaves- that I will be starting on Monday is HUGE. So I think it may take me longer than a week.