Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Movie Reading Winter 07!

Video Librarian's Nov/Dec Issue has this excellent list for upcoming movies based on books and short stories:

Books-Into-Movies: “The Golden Compass,” and More
The following films based on books are slated to open during November and December.

Coming in November:

Beowulf (Nov. 16), based on the Anglo-Saxon epic poem, directed by Robert Zemeckis, and starring Ray Winstone, Angelina Jolie, and Anthony Hopkins; Elegy (Nov. 16), based on the novella The Dying Animal by Philip Roth, directed by Isabel Coixet, and starring Ben Kingsley, Penélope Cruz, and Dennis Hopper; Love in the Time of Cholera
(Nov. 16, in limited release), based on the magical realism novel by Gabriel García Márquez, directed by Mike Newell, and starring Javier Bardem, Benjamin Bratt, and Hector Elizondo; Rockett (Nov. 20), based on Ethan Canin’s stories “The Year of Getting to Know Us” and “Star Food” (collected in Emperor of the Air), directed by Patrick Sisam, and starring Jimmy Fallon, Sharon Stone, and Lucy Liu; No Country for Old Men (Nov. 21), based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel, directed by Ethan and Joel Coen, and starring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, and Woody Harrelson; The Mist (Nov. 21), based on Stephen King’s novella (collected in Skeleton Crew), directed by Frank Darabont, and starring Thomas Jane and Marcia Gay Harden; and Tenderness (Nov. 30), based on the novel by Robert Cormier, directed by John Polson, and starring Russell Crowe and Laura Dern.

Coming in December:
The Golden Compass (Dec. 7), based on Philip Pullman’s titular first novel in his YA fantasy series His Dark Materials, directed by Chris Weitz, and starring Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, and Ian McKellen; Atonement (Dec. 7, in limited release), based on the novel by Ian McEwan, directed by Joe Wright, and starring Keira Knightley and James McAvoy; I Am Legend (Dec. 14), based on the novel by Richard Matheson, directed by Francis Lawrence, and starring Will Smith and Salli Richardson; The Kite Runner (Dec. 14, in limited release), based on the bestselling novel by Khaled Hosseini, directed by Marc Foster, and starring Khalid Abdalla and Homayon Ershadi; P.S. I Love You (Dec. 21), based on the novel by Cecilia Ahern, directed by Richard LaGravenese, and starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler; Charlie Wilson’s War (Dec. 25), based on the book by George Crile, directed by Mike Nichols, and starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman; The Water Horse (Dec. 25), based on the YA novel by Dick King-Smith, directed by Jay Russell, and starring Brian Cox and Emily Watson; and There Will Be Blood (Dec. 26, in limited release), based on Upton Sinclair’s novel Oil!, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, and starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano.

Note: movie release dates are subject to change.

Hollow Gesture

Happy Halloween! Please don't come to my house, because I don't have any candy! Sorry, I just want to watch Pushing Daisies and eat a burrito.

Also, the traditional costume parade down Solano Avenue just happened, and it was excellent! All the little white girls were done up like old-time Asian ladies, and all the little Asian girls were done up like old-time European ladies. Yeah America! I myself am dressed as an early 21st Century independent publisher's sales and marketing person. With pumpkin bread.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Obligatory Cat Photo

All crap blogs must have a picture of the blogger's cat. I don't have a cat, but my neighbor got Rex the week after I moved in, and I've been spoiling him every since. Spoiling Rex, that is.

Born in Fresno in 2004, Rex has gone on to be neutered, hit by a car, and seriously wounded by either another cat or a raccoon. Hobbies include seeing things that no one else sees and killing birds by pretending to be asleep next to bait. Also responds to the names Rexicano and Chalupa. He was once witnessed falling from a tree branch and landing on his back.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Early Halloween Video Fest!

No, it's not just Mark's rendering of a happy marriage, but the artwork for the Halloween party invitation! Every year a bunch of us sit down and eat ghoulash and enjoy drink whilst enjoying foreign horror films or just the merely disturbing films. Some come in elaborate costumes and later leave for San Francisco's Saturday night street parades, official or unofficial. I'm usually too full of cookies to join them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hallyu Surf

One of my favorite media contacts, Jeff Yang, recently covered Korean cinema for the SF Chronicle column Asian Pop. It reminded me that my Classic Book at Bedtime (sad, but true -- I read a classic for 10 minutes before sleep) is Les Liaisons Dangereuses and the Korean adaptation, called Untold Scandal in English, is refreshing after years of repeatedly watching the American version and Valmont with Colin Firth (I prefer the latter).

And, of course, the best bit is that Stone Bridge is coming out with a book on Korean pop culture next season! See the pretty cover...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fine, here's my Dumbledore thing

After a bunch of emails from people regarding the outing of Albus Dumbledore (the late Hogwarts Headmaster in the Harry Potter series) and then seeing a few comments on news sites, I thought I'd add this bit.

No, it's not about Dumbledore being gay (so what if he doesn't care for the Golden Snitch?) and if you were too sugar-fueled past midnight to read through the entire final book on its release date, it's your problem for not picking up on it! (Okay, I can point it out if you need...) And those who have an issue with the team for which Dumbledore Bludgers probably have issues with Lupin's 'condition' and that time the girls were ogling the centaur instructor, probably less for his long hair and more that he was...wait for it...hung like a horse.

It reminds me of a Stephen Colbert intro to his show, "Hey, Reading Rainbow! Cut your homoliterate agenda!"

My complaint is with the complaints regarding JK Rowling acknowledging Dumbledore's sexual preference after the books are done. She could have easily made it obvious at some point in the series since she hasn't needed any more of our money for some time now, and a huge majority of people wouldn't have minded.

A character often has far more backstory in an author's mind than what gets put to paper, which has underlined lively discussion in author interviews since some reader first cared to ask questions. No one's yelling at Philip Roth for discussing Nathan Zuckerman, right? At least I hope not!

Plus, the Harry Potter series is also now a PROPERTY. Movies, merchandise, and more add to the books. Fan fiction and dojinshi are all over the Internet, and Rowling herself has a precedent with her two 'textbooks' (Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages) that she wrote for Comic Relief UK several years ago, expanding upon Harry's reading material at Hogwarts. Heck, if she wants to write Dumbledore's Vitae Sexualis for charity, I'll buy it.

Original series have been expanded on officially and unofficially before. Think Dune, Gone with the Wind, the current wave of Jane Austen-related materials. I'm currently reading Huck which has expanded on a few scenes regarding Huck's father from Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Oh, and I know it's not for the little ones; there's some unsightly BBQ in this river tale!

Which reminds me that there's a book out there about Tom Sawyer being older and his wacky adventures as an adult. The stories never really end if they're popular enough to be so widely read in the first place.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Archers!

Okay, I must have this book when it hits America...

The Archers is a radio soap opera on BBC Radio Four. I think I love it because it could easily be set in Central California with its heavy agricultural theme. Also, it's only 15 minutes long, six days each week, with an omnibus on Sunday. And thank goodness for Listen Again!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Cookie vs. Socks, or That Darn Cat

Fans of BBC Radio (with which I'm obsessed) and especially 6 Music should check out last Saturday's Come Together hosted by one of my favorite music nuts, Phill Jupitus. Try to listen to the show before checking the list, and enjoy Phill's rantings over what people voted for in terms of best collaborations. It's how a countdown show should really be! If a countdown show has to honestly reflect the listeners' votes, then the host should be allowed to express how crap it is, and I was with Phill on nearly every comment. This follows in the last few weeks of British TV shows coming out over tweaking audience participation, even down to naming a kitten on Blue Peter. Crikey.

No, Crikey is not the cat's name.

Also, someone please write me a story called "The [new] Bionic Woman Visits Albert Square" because it will comfort me for having that show back on the air with Jaime played by EastEnders' Zoe. Ugh! At least I was named after Lindsay Wagner's, ugh, Jaime, only I don't know my sleep number...

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

List of Unread Books on the Shelf

Also posted on my skimpy website, here is the list I promised the folks in my book group. Any matches? An asterisk marks Stone Bridge titles that I still haven't read through from start to finish, only dived into for work, sadly.

Age of Innocence by Edtith Wharton -- Anahita's Woven Riddle by Meghan Nuttall Sayres -- Anna Karenna by Leo Tolstoy -- The Armageddon Project by Tom Sangton -- Ash* by Holly Thompson -- Astrid & Veronica by Linda Olsson -- The Astro Boy Essays* by Frederik L. Schodt -- The Book of Tea* by Kakuzo Okakura -- The Blonde Geisha by Jina Bacarr -- Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh -- Broken Bridge: Fiction from Expatriates in Literary Japan* ed. by Suzanne Kamata -- The Cape and Other Stories from the Japanese Getto* by Kenji Nakagami -- Casino Royale by Ian Fleming -- Christopher Unborn by Carlos Fuentes -- Consciousness at the Crossroads by HH The Dalai Lama -- Consequences of Sin by Claire Langley-Hawthorne -- Cork Boat by John Pollack -- Courage by Gus Lee -- Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson -- David Copperfield by Charles Dickens -- Death March on Mt. Hakkoda* by Jiro Nitta -- Diamonds are Forever by Ian Fleming -- Diary of a Mad Old Man by Junichiro Tanizaki --Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe -- Dr. No by Ian Fleming -- Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes -- Dracula by Bram Stoker -- Evening Clouds* by Junzo Shono -- Finn by Jon Clinch -- From Russia with Love by Ian Fleming -- The Future of the Wild by Jonathan S. Adams -- Goldfinger by Ian Fleming -- The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard -- Hojoki: Visions of a Torn World* by Kamo-no-Chomei -- The Inland Sea* by Donald Richie -- The Inugami Clan* by Seishi Yokomizo -- Interludes by Miguel de Cervantes -- The Island of Lost Maps by Miles Harvey -- Japan Journals: 1947-2004* by Donald Richie -- The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan -- A Lateral View: Essays on Culture and Style in Contemporary Japan* by Donald Richie -- Lend Me Your Character by Dubravka Ugresic -- Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos -- Life in the Cul de Sac* by Senji Kuroi -- Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming -- MacNeils of Tokyo by Jack Seward -- Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert -- Maggie Darling by James Howard Kunstler -- The Mathmatics of Love by Emma Darwin -- Milky Way Railroad* by Kenji Miyazawa -- Les Miserables by Victor Hugo -- Mobile Suit Gundam: Awakening, Escalation, Confrontation* by Yoshiyuki Tomino -- Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe -- Naikan: Gratitude, Grace, and the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection by Gregg Krech* -- The Name of the Flower* by Kuniko Mukoda -- Napoleon's Pyramids by William Dietrich -- One Hot Summer in Kyoto* by John Haylock -- Part of Me by Kimberly Willis Holt -- A Perfect Mess by Abrahamson & Friedman -- The Power of One by Bryce Courteney -- The Road by Cormac McCarthy -- The Salmon of Doubt by Douglas Adams -- Salt by Mark Kurolonsky -- Samurai William by Giles Milton -- Small Island by Andrea Levy -- Still Life and Other Stories* by Junzo Shono -- A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth -- A Thousand and One Nights by Lara Tupper -- Three Dollars by Elliot Perlman -- Tokyo Fragments: Short Stories of Modern Tokyo by Five of Japan's Leading Contemporary Writers* -- Tokyo Zodiac Murders: Detective Mitarai's Casebook* by Soji Shimada -- Torch by Cheryl Strayed -- The Turn of the Screw by Henry James -- Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray -- Vinnie's Head by Mark Lecard -- Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers* by Leonard Koren -- What Would Murphy Brown Do? by Allison Klein -- Wife by Bharati Mukhergee -- Wind and Stone* by Masaaki Tachihara -- Witnessing History by Jennifer Zeng -- The Woman Who Knew Gandhi by Keith Heller -- You Can Say You Knew Me When by K.M. Soehnlein -- You Gotta Have Wa by Robert Whiting