TV on the Radio

Our video upload attempts got me thinking about video on the web. With the writer’s strike stalling new television shows, I recently read an article on shows designed with internet viewing in mind. It also seems that users (myself included) have come to expect a smorgasbord of free entertainment (including television) on the web. While most networks have jumped on the bandwagon, usually providing a few episodes of their most popular programs online, they hardly offer an exhaustive season catalogue. This past week, I spent a fruitless hour trying to find episodes that I had missed.

Until I purchase a TiVo or DVR, is this a hopeless exercise? Or is the possibility of a complete television canon, free and readily accessible online, in the near future? Or, have users come to demand far too much in the way of free content, and will they be forced to pay for it, one way or another?

Gift-giving

I love to read, and make sure to do it on a regular basis, and one stumbling block I occasionally run into is that I imagine all of my friends and family are as excited about it as I am. When it’s time to give a gift, the bookstore lures me in, and I always think that the perfect gift will be a special book that I enjoyed and want to pass along to someone I love. However, experience has taught me that after a point, a gift-recipient will say “Enough! They look good, but I’m never going to finish all of these.”

I try and pick out something that I found interesting and enjoyable, but different enough so I’m not just thrusting my specific taste onto someone. Some of my most successful selections have been Fasting, Feasting by Anita Desai, The Passion by Jeannette Winterson, and If on a winter’s night a traveler by Italo Calvino. I’ve learned that shorter works best!

Are there any books that you think make particularly good gifts?

Adaptation: Books versus Movies

The earliest silent films often used books as their source material, from F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, to D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation taken from Thomas Dixon’s The Clansman. Gearing up for Oscar season, late fall and winter releases seem to regularly adapt popular or acclaimed literature. Beowulf, The Kite Runner, I Am Legend, Love in the Time of Cholera, Atonement, The Golden Compass, No Country for Old Men, Persepolis, and P.S. I Love You are all adapted from novels or short stories. Of those, I’ve only seen Atonement so far. I enjoyed it and would recommend it, but I certainly didn’t think it measured up to Ian McEwan’s novel (which I loved). But at the same time, if I love a story enough, I’m happy to see it in almost any version.

What adaptations are you most eager to see this winter? Which book do you think would make a great movie? (Who would you cast?) And are there any movies which you think have blasphemed the books they were based on?

 

Holiday Reads

At this time of year, the holiday spirit can be infectious. And if, like me, you thoroughly enjoy that spirit and are a book-lover, give in to temptation and immerse yourself in it with a few choice holiday reads. There are rightfully beloved classics such A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, or Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. But there are also a host of others that touch briefly or indirectly on the topic and still seem imbued with that festive spirit. L.M. Montgomery is one of my favorite authors to suit that purpose and her Anne of Windy Poplars fits the bill nicely. Anne invites her curmudgeonly fellow teacher, Katherine Brooke, home to Avonlea for Christmas and the season and Green Gables conspire to work their transformative magic on Katherine. Even though it’s a familiar outline, it still always makes me wish I too, were spending the holidays on Prince Edward Island!

Do you have any favorites? Plus, any grinches out there who have their own alternative or anti-holiday picks?

 

Let it Snow!

Snell Library Friends (SLF), I hope you are all some place warm-- perhaps under a blanket with a good read or in sunny Mexico drinking a cerveza. As for me I trekked home in the snow with my little black heels but luckily only fell down once, maybe twice. Am happy to report am now in bed with fluffy white cat, laptop, and a Sam Adams cherry wheat beer (an offering from my roommate-- don't want you to think that I would buy the stuff on my own-- negro modela or an IPA for me thank you very much). So, wherever you are during this blizzard and over the holiday break, if you are looking for a good read I recommend Catfish and Mandala or The Last of Her Kind. Catfish is about a personal journey back to Vietnam as an adult after the author departed on a boat when he was 10 years old. Last of Her Kind is a novel that follows the friendship and heartache that occurs between two women as they experience the late sixties and beyond. What are your recommended reads for a wintry day?