February 2010


  • The Modern Library Giant of Dos Passos' U.S.A. Trilogy (1938)

    U.S.A.

  • Author:  John Dos Passos  (1896-1970)
  • Rank:  #94
  • Published:  1930 (The 42nd Parallel), 1932 (1919), 1936 (The Big Money), 1938 (U.S.A.)
  • Publisher:  Harcourt, Brace and Company
  • Pages:  1449 (ML Giant)
  • First Line:  “The young man walks fast by himself through the crowd that thins into the night streets; feet are tired from hours of walking; eyes greedy for warm curve of faces, answering flicker of eyes, the set of a head, the lift of a shoulder, the way hands spread and clench; blood tingles with wants; mind is a beehive of hopes buzzing and stinging; muscles ache for the knowledge of jobs, for the roadmender’s pick and shovel work, the fisherman’s knack with a hook when he hauls on the slithery net from the rail of the lurching trawler, the swing of the bridgeman’s arm as he slings down the whitehot rivet, the engineer’s slow grip wise on the throttle, the dirtfarmer’s use of his whole body when, whoaing the mules, he yanks the plow from the furrow.”
  • Last Line:  “A hundred miles down the road.”
  • ML Edition:  ML Giant #44  (1950)
  • Film:  none
  • Acclaim:  Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century (#23)
  • Read:  Fall, 2000 (more…)
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Geosynchron: the finale of the Jump 225 Trilogy

When you’re an unpublished writer and someone you know gets a book published, it’s a tough thing.  If you like the person, you should support them and buy the book.  But it can still leave you feeling a bit ambiguous, in that they are successful in a field that you have not found success in yet.  It makes it a hell of a lot easier when the book is good.  I’ve known David Louis Edelman for close to thirty years.  He has been a friend of both me and my sister and his sister is one of my dearest friends.  That said, my full-on recommendation of his Jump 225 Trilogy, which concludes with Geosynchron, has nothing to do with that connection.  It did have something to do with why I heard about it in the first place and read the first one.  But it is my enthusiasm for the series, my joy at what I have read over the course of the three novels, and the notion that this book is great fun that leads me to encourage people to read it.  And I am most certainly encouraging people to read it.  If you ask for a book at the Brookline Booksmith, I’ll recommend it.  I’m writing about it here so you can go find it.  I’ve put in an official recommendation to Indiebound, the official brochure of Independent bookstores. (more…)

My Top 10:

Three greats who would end tragically: Natalie Wood, James Dean and Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

  1. Rebel Without a Cause
  2. Mister Roberts
  3. To Catch a Thief
  4. Bad Day at Black Rock
  5. East of Eden
  6. Picnic
  7. The Man With the Golden Arm
  8. Lady and the Tramp
  9. Othello
  10. Mr. Hulot’s Holiday (more…)
  • Dracula

    The 1967 Modern Library dust jacket of Dracula

  • Author:  Bram Stoker  (1847-1912)
  • Rank:  #95
  • Published:  1897
  • Publisher:  Archibald Constable and Company
  • Pages:  382  (Signet Classic)
  • First Line:  “JONATHAN HARKER’S JOURNAL  (Kept in shorthand.)  3 May, Bistritz.  Left Munich at 8:35 P.M., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late.”
  • Last Lines:  “This boy will some day know what a brave and gallant woman his mother is.  Already he knows her sweetness and loving care; later on he will understand how some men so loved her, that they did dare much for her sake.”
  • ML Edition:  #31  (first edition in 1932 – three dust jackets – 1932, 1941, 1967)
  • Read:  December, 1989 (more…)

Congratulations to Kathryn Bigelow! First female to win the DGA and only the fourth to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Director.

So, since there are limitations on working on a free blogsite (not complaining – it’s free), and while I can put my old posts up at the top, it won’t list them as recently posted for tags and categories, I am also going to make a complete list.  My plan is to update one a day or so, leave it at the top of the page and then drop it back to its original spot.  But, here is the complete list, which should stay near the top and with which you can easily find all the categories.

I will also try to start throwing in some new posts, namely my focusing on Best Picture from each year (the posts I hope to collect into a book), but we’ll see how the next 5 weeks go.

But first, a bit of trivia.  This year was so predictable that I was able to write my article for LAMB on Best Actor last night, before the nominations were announced.  But there were a few little surprises, which I will throw up here.

  • Up in the Air just had its chances of winning Best Picture plummet.  No film has won without a Best Editing nomination since 1980.
  • Crazy Heart just become the first film to win Best Song at the Golden Globes and still manage to get a Best Song nomination at the Oscars since 2003.
  • The Blind Side was nominated for Best Picture in spite of not receiving a nomination from the Globes, PGA, BAFTA or BFCA.  It’s the first film to do that since Dangerous Liaisons in 1988.
  • For the second time in three years, all four acting categories have a nominee who already has an Oscar, though to be fair, Matt Damon’s Oscar is for Screenplay.
  • It’s also the fifth year in a row that two actresses face off in Best Actress who already have an Oscar – 2005 (Judi Dench and Charlize Theron), 2006 (Meryl Streep and Judi Dench), 2007 (Julie Christie and Cate Blanchett), 2008 (Meryl Streep and Angelina Jolie), and 2009 (Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren).
  • Maggie and Jake Gyllenhall now join Ethel and Lionel Barrymore, Eric and Julia Roberts and Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine as brother-sister combos with acting nominations. (more…)