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April 4th, 2005


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01:35 pm - What I read on my holidays
I had a good time, the weather got better as the week went on, but we went out every day. I also slept a lot. Between walking and sleeping I only read three books.

The complete idiot's guide to Buddhism by Gary Gach. You know the 'complete idiot's guide' format. I picked this one because it offered a broad overview of a range of different strands of Buddhism, including Pure Land and Tantric: most of the other general reader's overviews you might pick up are written from a single perspective, or deal with general concepts without going into the variations in actual practice. This is written by an American and therefore discusses the organisations and key figures of that country, which I don't criticise, but I probably would have found a European perspective more useful. I think Buddhism is very attractive, and this book did not change my mind. However, as a sceptical person I think many of the actual approaches that are available are not that suitable for me, as they include rituals, institutions and beliefs that I can't share.

Ghostwritten by David Mitchell. This is the first novel by the author of Cloud Atlas. It is just very, very similar to that book, so if you liked it you'll like this. It isn't as formally structured as Cloud Atlas, and it has a slightly stronger forward-causal plot tendency. However like Cloud Atlas it is humane, playful, open-minded and literate. The author includes SF and fantasy without inhibition. This story is like a daisy-chain of human lives, which don't link up into a single rope, but all relate to each other, and illuminate each other. Throw-away sentences in one story allow you to retrospectively understand what was happening in an earlier thread.

Which lie did I tell? by William Goldman. This is the sequal to Adventures in the screen trade, and gives an interesting overview of Goldman's life as a screenwriter; this one including the trials and tribulations that went into the deveopment of the scripts for 'Ghost and the Darkness', 'Misery' and 'Absolute Power' among others. I think Goldman is likeable, middle-brow, conventional, quite honest, and capable of an emotional bop outside of the norm from time to time. No wonder he is a good scriptwriter. An insight into the collaborative accidents and ego-clashes that lead to films being the way they are.

(19 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:communicator
Date:April 4th, 2005 05:50 am (UTC)
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Thanks, it was great, I'd like to live in Cornwall one day.
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From:glitterboy1
Date:April 4th, 2005 06:33 am (UTC)
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Hello, and welcome back! I'm glad you had a good time. And if lots of it was spent on walking and sleeping, so much the better - I hope it's done you good.
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From:communicator
Date:April 4th, 2005 06:52 am (UTC)
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Thanks, bit of a shock to the system to be back at work today.
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From:altariel
Date:April 4th, 2005 07:21 am (UTC)
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Welcome back and glad you had a good time.
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From:communicator
Date:April 4th, 2005 07:23 am (UTC)
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Did you watch quatermass? - we got back in time to see it. I liked it, but there were a few glitches.
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From:altariel
Date:April 4th, 2005 07:30 am (UTC)
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I liked it too; a bit slow in places. I loved the London skyline filmed inserts.
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From:communicator
Date:April 4th, 2005 07:39 am (UTC)
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A bit slow - but they finished 20 minutes under time! I thought the guy who played the mutant spaceman did a fantastic job. We had a debate about whether the sky-shots were real-time or not. I hope they were
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From:altariel
Date:April 4th, 2005 07:44 am (UTC)
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Oh, it was meant to end at 10.20! I'd just assumed I'd misread the schedule! The mutant spaceman was terrific; I also thought the lead was very Quatermass-ish throughout. The chap playing the doctor (David "Casanova" Tennant) seems to be frontrunner to be the next Doctor...
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From:communicator
Date:April 4th, 2005 11:19 am (UTC)
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I thought Tennant handled the acting very well, he didn't go as over the top as some of the others, and he kept his character consistent even when he was in the background. I think he'll be Ok as the Doctor.
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From:altariel
Date:April 4th, 2005 11:20 am (UTC)
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Did you see "Casanova"? It starts tonight on BBC1, if you didn't. I thought it was smashing.
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From:communicator
Date:April 4th, 2005 11:21 am (UTC)
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I saw one episode - not really my sort of thing - but I think he's your type :-)
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From:altariel
Date:April 4th, 2005 12:45 pm (UTC)
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:-D Could be, could be!
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From:espresso_addict
Date:April 4th, 2005 09:19 am (UTC)
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Feeling particularly idiotish atm, so I'll restrict myself to writing welcome back.
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From:communicator
Date:April 4th, 2005 09:26 am (UTC)
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Thanks. Going home now - perchance to sleep again ;-)
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From:trixieleitz
Date:April 4th, 2005 02:41 pm (UTC)
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Welcome back!

That Buddhism book sounds interesting. I do find the "Complete Idiot's" and "For Dummies" series a bit off-putting, because of the titles, but it seems as though they include useful introductions to some subjects.
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From:communicator
Date:April 4th, 2005 04:47 pm (UTC)
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I thought I might try Buddhism for Dummies next, as I embrace my inner dummy.
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From:trixieleitz
Date:April 4th, 2005 05:23 pm (UTC)
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Bwa-hah!
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From:pinkdormouse
Date:April 5th, 2005 02:08 pm (UTC)
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Welcome back. Glad you had fun.

Gina
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From:communicator
Date:April 5th, 2005 05:23 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I did. The woman in the chemist said it might snow this week (how she knows I couldn't say - perhaps she has second sight :-) and so I might have picked the right week to go.

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