What I’m Reading/Watching (2011)

Important Update. As of October 2011, I created an index of books I reviewed here. I will continue to list books I am currently reading here, but I will not attempt to write capsule reviews or even to link to them. For that you should check the index of books I reviewed. Movie Reviews will continue to be listed and annotated as before.

This post contains a list of books I’ve been reading recently. Starting January 2011.  See also my 2010 Reading/Watching List2009 Reading/Watching List2008 Reading/Watching List , 2007 Reading/Watching List my previous Sept 2004 to Oct 2005 reading list or my Nov 2005 to Nov 2006 Reading List , so definitely check that out as well. See also my Best of 2006 for a scoop about favorites. See also Writers who have Changed Me. A few remarks. I’m reading several books at a time, and to be honest, sometimes I don’t read all of them depending on the content or my interest. Usually however, it’s been a matter of attention span and what other projects I’ve been doing. Also, you might want to check my favorite novels, and my Amazon.com wishlist. Also here’s an annotated photo of my bookshelf Also, I haven’t read most of these books, but I’ve been setting up Amazon lists of classic Texas novels (100 novels and counting). You also might enjoy reading my Amazon list of Unforgettable Forgettable Novels. I’ve also started adding my book inventory to librarything.com (although I’m allowed to input only 200 titles). At the bottom of this page you will find a list of movies I’ve been watching.

What I’m Reading

  1. Eternal People by David Milofsky. Fascinating story about a young Russian Jew who emigrates to the US in the mid 19th century to escape the war and pogroms and finds himself living in a utopian commune in Wisconsin and threatened by xenophobia of a different kind by Americans.  An expertly told tale with lots of old world meets new world themes.  It’s worth remembering that America is a gigantic place with lots of insulated communities.  This is a cerebral tale, with not much passion or strong emotions;  the characters are struggling with ideas and ideals. I’m not sure what to make of this work (I’m 3/4 through).  The prose is simple and personal and doesn’t distract from the story and dialogue. Update. I didn’t especially enjoy the way the novel ended, although I appreciated Milofsky’s attempt to dramatize a 19th century historical incident.
  2. Drupal 7 Foundations
  3. Beginning Drupal 7
  4. Pro Drupal 7
  5. Hard Times by Studs Terkel.
  6. Cradle to cradle : remaking the way we make things / William McDonough & Michael Braungart.
  7. Miracle Game by Josef Skvorecky. Comic novel about a man with venereal disease who teaches at a woman’s college. So far, I’ve been enjoying this.
  8. Truth Book by Joy Castro. Really great book and an extraordinary tale well-told by a college friend.Highly recommended.
  9. Zombification: Stories from National Public Radio by Andrei Codrescu. Highly recommended.
  10. Evil Sparrow Dies. By Jack Matthews (unpublished). Unpublished novella about the production of a play about an imaginary encounter between Byron and Schopenhauer.
  11. O Henry Stories. started.
  12. Lay Down in Darkness by William Styron.
  13. Gambler’s Nephew Jack Matthews. Here’s my review. Highly recommended.
  14. Haunted Bookshop Christopher Morley
  15. O Henry Stories
  16. Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things.
  17. Man Jumps out of an Airplane. Stories by Barry Yourgran. Highly recommended.
  18. Jade by Robert Flynn
  19. Lots of reports about climate change, natural gas, etc.
  20. Adventures in the Screen Trade by William Goldman.
  21. Houseboat on the Styx by John Kendrick Bangs
  22. Lazarus Project by Aleksander Hemon (audio)
  23. With One Eye Open. by Polly Frost. Contemporary topical humor.
  24. Hanger Stout Awake by Jack Matthews. Rereading.
  25. Thoreau Unbound. by Michael Pastore.
  26. Invent Your Own Computer Games with Python by Al Sweigart
  27. Best Books for Middle Schoolers by John T. Gillespie
  28. Small Key Opens Big Doors (50 Years of Amazing Peace Corps Stories)
  29. Big Book of Hell by Matt Groening
  30. Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson
  31. Nasty  Book  by Barry Yourgrau
  32. 99 Ways to Tell a Story by Matt Madden
  33. There’s a Hair in My Dirt by Gary Larson.
  34. What Philosophy Can Tell You about Your Dog. By Steven D. Hales.
  35. Guinea Pigs by Ludvik Vaculik
  36. Age of Missing Information by Bill McKibben
  37. Complete Works and Other Stories by Monterroso.
  38. Pro HTML5 Programming by Peter Lubbers.
  39. With One Eye Open by Polly Frost.
  40. Lady Chatterly’s Brother by Barrett Hathcock and Scott Esposito.
  41. Definitive Guide to Drupal 7. Benjamin Melancon, etc.
  42. Treading on Python by Matt Harrison.
  43. Essential Guide to HTML 5. by Jeanine Meyer.
  44. Geek Confidential and other essays by Rick Klaw
  45. 20th Century Journey: Start 1904-1930. Memoir by William L. Shirer.
  46. Earth: The Operator’s Manual by Richard Alley.

What I’m Watching .

  1. Wall Street 2. A stylish film and with good premises, this is a trainwreck of a film. Too many cliches and stereotypes, and although Stone may have meant the film’s glitz to be ironic, instead it shows just how out of touch directors are to the lives of ordinary Americans. This film should have been a lot better.
  2. Starship Troopers 3. Once I got in on the joke of the ST 1’s jingoism, I can appreciate this film for what it is. This film could have been a lot worse. Instead, it was watchable and dealing with interesting characters and plot twists.
  3. Harold Lloyd 2. Harold Lloyd can do no wrong (almost). The Freshman and the Kid Brother were great fun. The talkie Feet First has some great moments (and Lloyd was passable as a talker), but he tries to reenact the acrobats on the tall building which he did in Safety First; its predecessor was brilliant, but this version was one of the dullest thing I’d ever watched. It was painful.
  4. Cat and the Canary
  5. Larry Sanders Show. Seasons 2-6. Highly recommended.
  6. Red vs. Blue Seasons 3-5. This brilliant series of comic skits based on video game characters has a lot of inside jokes and complex plots. The main problem with the movie (which I don’t fault the directors for) is that machinima animation can become tiresome to the eyes very quickly. I fell asleep several times during the middle of it (but to be fair: I always rewound to where I dozed off and laughed my head off at what I missed).  Highly recommended, but only in small doses.
  7. Revanche. A movie with interesting locales and characters and even an interesting premise. Then, 2/3 of the way through, there is a plot development that is so ridiculous and manipulated that I turned off the movie immediately.
  8. 9.99. Clever and engaging animation about a man who tries to find the meaning of life by buying a book advertised in a magazine.
  9. Conversations with other women.
  10. Cheers. TV Show
  11. Dr. Who. 2009 Season.
  12. Host
  13. Smokey and the Bandit (again)
  14. From Here to Eternity
  15. Lady from Shanghai. Orson Welles
  16. Coming Home
  17. 9.99
  18. Defending your Life
  19. Franklyn
  20. Kicking and Screaming
  21. Dr Who 2009
  22. Bowling for Columbine
  23. Cheers. The complete series from start to finish!
  24. Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.
  25. Hellboy
  26. Last Night. Don McKellar’s apocalytic film “Last Night” is one of the most interesting films I’d seen in a long time..and also really funny. Reminiscent of After Hours or Gareth Edward’s 2010 mysterious sci fi film, Monsters. Highly recommended.
  27. Jerry MacGuire. For the third time.
  28. Ulzana’s Raid. Directed by Robert Aldritch
  29. Curious Case of Benjamin Britton
  30. Pipe Dream by John Walsh with Martin Donovan
  31. A Film Unfinished , documentary by Yael Hersonski.
  32. Tender Mercies, Bruce Beresford, screenplay by Horton Foote
  33. Peggy Sue Got Married by FF Copolla
  34. Monsters
  35. The Host Joon-ho Bong
  36. Golden Boys dir
  37. Eyes on the Prize, Volumes 1-6
  38. Globetrekker volumes: New York, Argentina, Brazil, Indian Ocean Islands, Canada, Ukraine, Morocco
  39. TV show Cheers (from start to finish) . Also original Star Trek, Georgia, Star Trek Enterprise, Frasier. Lie To Me.
  40. What would Jesus Buy? Documentary.
  41. Last Night.
  42. Slumdog Millionaire
  43. Elf
  44. Flashforward.
  45. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
  46. Mad Dog and Glory
  47. The Snapper
  48. Summer Lovers
  49. Copyright Criminals
  50. Crude
  51. Educating Rita
  52. John Rabe
  53. What would Jesus Buy?
  54. Unfaithfully Yours
  55. Nights of Cabiria. Fellini’s classic.
  56. L.I.E.
  57. Family Guy (several seasons)
  58. How I met your Mother (2 seasons worth)
  59. Back to the Future (parts 2 and 3)


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