March 2010

  • A scan of my Bantam Classic Edition of Joseph Conrad’s 1904 novel, Nostromo.


  • Author:  Joseph Conrad  (1857-1924)
  • Rank:  #89
  • Published:  1904
  • Publisher:  Harper & Bros.
  • Pages:  404  (Bantam Classic)
  • First Line:  “In the time of Spanish rule, and for many years afterwards, the town of Sulaco – the luxuriant beauty of the orange gardens bears witness to its antiquity – had never been commercially anything more important than a coastal port with a fairly large local trade in oxhides and indigo.”
  • Last Lines:  “It was another of Nostromo’s triumphs, the greatest, the most enviable, the most sinister of all.  In that true cry of undying passion that seemed to ring aloud from Punta Mala to Azuera and away to the bright line of the horizon, overhung by a big white cloud shining like a mass of solid silver, the genius of the magnificent capataz de cargadores dominated the dark gulf containing his conquests of treasure and love.”
  • ML Edition:  #275 – two dust jackets (1951, 1968)
  • Film:  David Lean died before making his version.  A BBC version was made in 1997.
  • Acclaim:  ML List (#47)
  • Read:  Summer, 1998 (more…)

Thomas with Ariel and Lisa

Thomas has been progressing quite nicely in school.  He’s been going through a different letter each week and his interest in numbers is beyond belief.

A few weeks ago we had lunch with a couple of his teachers from last year, which we all enjoyed greatly.

Also, each of the last two weekends, he has played with Ella, the daughter of one of Veronica’s co-workers (the second time actually allowed the two of us to finally go see a movie for the first time since last July — Alice in Wonderland, which suffers from some of the same problems that plagued the Narnia films, namely filling out the story with an enormous battle at the end — but we saw it in the Somerville theater, which is also now home to the Museum of Bad Art, so that was enjoyable).

Next up for all of us is a trip to Washington D.C. next month during Thomas’ Spring Break, to see Erik’s sister and mother and a chance for Thomas to play with his cousins.

The haunting final shot of All Quiet on the Western Front, easily the best film of 1930.

The 3rd Academy Awards for the film year of August 1, 1929 to July 31, 1930.  The nominations were announced on September 19, 1930 and the awards were held on November 5, 1930.

Best Production:  All Quiet on the Western Front

  • Disraeli
  • The Big House
  • The Love Parade
  • The Divorcee

Most Surprising Omission:  Anna Christie

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  City Girl

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #76


  • The 1st U.S. Edition of If on A Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino (1979 / 1981)

    If on a winter’s night a traveler (Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore)

  • Author:  Italo Calvino  (1923-1985)
  • Rank:  #90
  • Published:  1979  (tr. 1981)
  • Publisher:  Secker & Warburg (Italy)  /  Harcourt Brace & Company (U.S.)
  • Pages:  259  (HB paperback)
  • First Lines:  “You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler.  Relax.  Concentrate.  Dispel every other thought.”
  • Last Line:  “And you say, ‘Just a moment, I’ve almost finished If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino.’ “
  • ML Edition:  none
  • Film:  none
  • Read:  Spring, 2001 (more…)

One of the magnificent shots towards the end of The Bridge on the River Kwai - the film that swept all the awards in 1957

The 30th Academy Awards, for the year 1957.  The nominations were announced on February 18, 1958 and the ceremony was held on March 26, 1958.

Best Picture:  The Bridge on the River Kwai

  • 12 Angry Men
  • Witness for the Prosecution
  • Sayonara
  • Peyton Place

Most Surprising Omission:  Wild is the Wind

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  Paths of Glory

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Nominees:  #53


My Top 10:

the main title for The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) - the Best Picture choice for pretty much everyone, including me

  1. The Bridge on the River Kwai
  2. Paths of Glory
  3. Smiles of a Summer Night
  4. Sweet Smell of Success
  5. 12 Angry Men
  6. Nights of Cabiria
  7. Witness for the Prosecution
  8. Tin Star
  9. A Face in the Crowd
  10. Order (more…)

My Top 10:

A common sight for a Kurosawa film: Toshiro Mifune out in front with Takashi Shimura leading with quiet grace. The Seven Samurai (1954, US. rel 1956)

  1. The Seven Samurai
  2. The Searchers
  3. The Killing
  4. Richard III
  5. Forbidden Planet
  6. The Ladykillers
  7. Diabolique
  8. La Strada
  9. Baby Doll
  10. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (more…)
  • The 1st Edition of Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle (1963)

    Cat’s Cradle

  • Author:  Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)
  • Rank:  #91
  • Published:  1963
  • Publisher:  Holt, Rinehart and Winston
  • Pages:  191  (Laurel paperback)
  • First Lines:  “Call me Jonah.  My parents did, or nearly did.  They called me John.”
  • Last Line:  “If I were a younger man, I would write a history of human stupidity; and I would climb to the top of Mount McCabe and lie down on my back with my history for a pillow; and I would take from the ground some of the blue-white poison that makes statues of men; and I would make a statue of myself, lying on my back, grinning horribly, and thumbing my nose at You Know Who.”
  • ML Edition:  None
  • Film:  None
  • Acclaim:  Hugo Award Nominee
  • Read:  Summer, 1994 (more…)

The 29th Academy Awards, for the year 1956.  The nominations were announced on February 18, 1957 and the ceremony was held on March 27, 1957.

Shirley MacLaine, David Niven and Cantinflas in Around the World in 80 Days, the Best Picture for 1956

Best Picture:  Around the World in 80 Days

  • The King and I
  • Giant
  • Friendly Persuasion
  • The Ten Commandments

Most Surprising Omission:  Baby Doll

Best Eligible Film Not Nominated:  The Seven Samurai

Best Eligible U.S. Film Not Nominated:  The Searchers

Rank (out of 82) Among Best Picture Years:  #78


  • my first scan: my actual copy of Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence (1920)

    Women in Love

  • Author:  D.H. Lawrence  (1885-1930)
  • Rank:  #92
  • Published:  1920
  • Publisher:  Thomas Seltzer
  • Pages:  541  (Penguin)
  • First Line:  “Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen sat one morning in the window-bay of their father’s house in Beldover, working and talking.”
  • Last Lines:  ” ‘You can’t have it, because it’s false, impossible,’ she said.  ‘I don’t believe that,’ he answered.”
  • ML Edition:  #68  (three dust jackets – 1938, 1950, 1967)
  • Film:  1969  –  ***.5  (dir. Ken Russell)
  • Acclaim:  Modern Library Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century  –  #49
  • Read:  Winter, 1996 (more…)

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