Sunday, February 5, 2012

Non-Theater Catch-Up

Inspite of my recent crazy-busy theater schedule, I have been able to read and watch a few other non-theater things:

I rewatched the film Cowboys and Aliens, which stands up well to a second viewing.  (Earlier POST.)

I also watched for the first time the art film Toast, based on an autobiographical novel by food writer Nigel Slater.  A young teen boy, a budding foody, lives in a household where dinner might be - seriously! - three cans heated in a pan of boiling water.  He loves his mother, but she can't cook.  After her death, his unsympathetic and bullying father hires a cleaner (played by Helena Bonham Carter)... who eventually becomes his hated stepmother.  But boy can she cook!

Enjoyed it.  Terrific performances all round and Bonham Carter is just mesmerizing.

On the book front, I finally finished Thinking Fast and Slow (earlier POST) which was fascinating and, I think, important.  It's written in layman's language (barring a few "heuristics" etc.) with the ideas presented from an economist's view (natural, what with that Nobel Prize), but if you can tease out smaller fragments from the dense argument, the facts of how humans make decisions are vitally important to anyone who wants to be persuasive: salesmen, artists, designers of all kinds, writers of prose or poetry... everyone basically.  Read!

As lighter fare, I started rereading the Chalionese series by Lois McMaster Bujold, starting with The Curse of Chalion, which features one of my all-time favorite heroes.  Also rereading an early Georgette Heyer, The Black Moth.  I'm enjoying it (and it's the only Heyer on my NOOK), but my real favorites are her later books like Frederica, Venetia, A Civil Contract, or Friday's Child whose paperback copies I've read to rags.  I'm not usually a ROmance reader, but Heyer is witty, frothy, and seriously researched.

Heyer, Austen, Wodehouse, and Pratchett - Public domain images messed with.

When life gets difficult or harried, Heyer's books are in my short stack of refreshing breaks, along with P. G. Wodehouse, Terry Pratchett, and Jane Austen.  These disparate writers all share the knack of creating engrossing characters and worlds where there exists a wryly humorous (and sometimes inky-dark) view of human foibles...  Their unembittered laughter can polish up my own smudged perspective.

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