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gopherprairieexile has commented on (10) products.

Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin
Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down

gopherprairieexile, August 3, 2015

I love the title of this, so when I read that it's supposed to be hysterically funny, I went for it. I should have gone somewhere else. I haven't any doubt that the author is moved and bewitched and entranced by Paris, but he didn't communicate that to me in any way except to tell me so from time to time, like if he were telling me he had a headache or he was out of milk. I found so many of his metaphors self-conscious and cringe worthy, and I guess all the tales of vanity, provincialism and stupidity were designed to knock the fairy dust out of the eyes of people who want to go to Paris to dance with Gene Kelly while waiting for the paint to dry. I think it was supposed to be profound (OK, that part's funny.)This is an author who acts like the most mundane conclusions are some fascinating insights that he is the first to uncover. Really, who has to be told that an ad agency is a cesspit? Getting idioms wrong is really old hat when going for a laugh; I prefer Ricky Ricardo ("the cast is dead"). I just don't see what all the fuss and enthusiasm are about.
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Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman

gopherprairieexile, July 22, 2015

This didn't feel like a sequel to me at all, as far as I was concerned, this hadn't anything to do with To Kill a Mockingbird, except that the quality of writing wasn't as strong and compelling. What really struck me about this book -- for me the racism and hypocrisy are a very old, very real story that hasn't improved all that much during my lifetime, which feels even longer than it is at this stage of the game -- is what people do so they can be part of the "tribe," how they sell themselves out, let injustice reign, how cowardly people are, just to be accepted. They never consider the kind of people from whom they want acceptance. I was also struck by how many of the phrases in this book could have been uttered today by people opposed to gay rights in general and gay marriage in particular. Seems the mechanics of willful ignorance, stupidity and a mean spirit never change, just the spark for it -- skin color, gender, sexual orientation, painting your house lavender...anyway, I didn't take to my bed crying because Atticus is a racist in this, and I remain unconvinced that a child with Scout's sensitivity and perception would grow into the woman portrayed in this book. This is a curio, and leave it at that. Harper Lee, like Margaret Mitchell and Margaret Walker, had one great novel in her, and for that, we should all be grateful.
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Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, the Faces . . . by Glyn Johns
Sound Man: A Life Recording Hits with the Rolling Stones, the Who, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, Eric Clapton, the Faces . . .

gopherprairieexile, November 20, 2014

The two ARMS concerts at Madison Square Garden in 1983 were two highlights of my life for so many reasons, one of which is that the second show was the last show of this incredible mini-tour and Glyn Johns was brought out to take a bow, and I finally got a chance to applaud a man whose work I loved and whose "way" I had admired for years. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves great music and the people who make it, and who enjoys spending time, if you will, with someone of wit, intelligence and a marvelous aversion to BS. Glyn doesn't go into any great detail about things that you'd really wish he'd go into detail about, this is more like a skate through his life than any kind of formidable journey; there are people who are going to be annoyed that he spends less time talking about the Stones so he can spend time talking about Steve Miller, for example, but it's Glyn's book and his story, so to coin a unique and highbrow phrase, if you don't like it, you can lump it. But having said that, he wusses out of addressing a number of things, such as the controversy about how he believed Zeppelin ripped him off after working on their first album -- in fact, I don't think he and Jimmy Page made amends until rehearsals for the ARMS concerts. And the chapter on the Small Faces and Faces is a joke -- Johns has said that he considered Steve Marriott to be the most objectionable little p***k he's ever been in a room with, but you wouldn't know it by this book. And he's called Stewart out, and to my Faces-loving, egomaniac-despising heart's delight, on more than one occasion, but you won't find that in here. And his work with Band of Horses elicits one bland paragraph that's almost written as if he's being forced to write something by his parents. His personal life is all but absent here, and while I don't want to pry, it seems strange that his two wives barely rate a mention and that his two kids' births are marked, but he doesn't tell us anything about them except for when Ethan is grown and becomes a musician and producer like his father. And the way he avoids talking about his brother Andy, a great engineer/producer in his own right, who passed a few years ago after years of battling substance abuse of one kind or another, left me very unsettled -- I really couldn't tell if it was out of pain or shame. And I have to say this -- this book has a horrible cover, I used to see better efforts than this on bootleg VHS tapes at record conventions. But if you don't know about Glyn Johns, you should, and if you do know of him, but not much about him, ditto.
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So, Anyway... by John Cleese
So, Anyway...

gopherprairieexile, November 20, 2014

There's a LITTLE bit of a fast shuffle going on concerning the marketing of this book. I bought and read this because I love John Cleese's work, and I'm interested in him, period, end of sentence. But I assumed, yes, I know, I know, that this book would take in a number of things, and if nothing else, the whole run of Monty Python and Fawlty Towers. Yes, that's what happens when you assume -- the book ends with the first episode of Python. I was wondering why we seemed to be running out of pages! Now I've seen interviews where Cleese said his publisher said it would be a death knell if he called this something like, My Memoirs, Part One, and Cleese wants everyone to know, NOW, that this book doesn't cover Python or Fawlty Towers, and he's terribly sorry if you were mislead. There must have been some backlash, and well-deserved, that was disingenuous at best. HOWEVER, it's not a reason to skip this book. If Cleese had never heard of dead parrots or Siberian hamsters, this is a life and a career worth reading about, and he retains a sense of humor that I, frankly, thought had lost its edge as a result of too much therapy. It's full of people whose work I love -- Graham Chapman, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Spike Milligan, Marty Feldman, and so on. So it is something completely different than you might expect, but read it anyway.
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Lila by Marilynne Robinson
Lila

gopherprairieexile, October 21, 2014

I believe we are all spiritual beings temporarily occupying (dare I say, being held captive by?)a body, and Marilynne Robinson is the embodiment of that concept brought to its highest possible level. Gilead is a life-altering book if you're paying attention at all, and with Home and now with Lila, Robinson is piecing on to that story, and creating a humble world of decency, thought, acceptance, kindness, depth, intelligence, everything that is missing from a society where people actually have to be told not to text while driving, and still do it anyway. In Home, we learn the story of a character discussed in Gilead but from only one perspective. In Lila, we learn about a character from Gilead who we really didn't know at all. Robinson shows us that each person's story is a novel to be told, even if they only make a modest appearance in someone else's story. If you've read Gilead and then Home and are wondering whether Lila is worth it, wonder no more. If you haven't read these books, what are you waiting for? And don't tell me idk!
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(1 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)



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