What I’ve been reading and viewing

1. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather.  A knockout, and oddly neglected these days.

2. The Dinner, by Herman Koch.  It sold millions in Europe, but I don’t find snark about rich Dutch people that interesting.

3. Wave, by Sonali Deraniyagala.  Smart reviewers love this memoir of a woman who lost her family in the tsunami, but it didn’t have enough structure to grab my attention.

4. John Stuart Mill, Autobiography and Bentham and Coleridge.  Of course these are re-reads.  Especially when read in conjunction, they are two of the best books on how to think, as well as gripping stories in their own right.

5. Amour, the new movie by Michael Haneke.  I can’t review it without introducing spoilers, but it’s one of the two movies this year I have been recommending.  The other is the Chilean film NO, a fantastic account of how, even in the strangest of circumstances, democracies filter policy outcomes, as indeed autocracies do too (in different ways).


5. By 'spoilers' you must mean things like getting old and sick.

At the link, I noticed this summary for another movie (Wild Strawberries):

"After living a life marked by coldness, an aging professor is forced to confront the emptiness of his existence."

Which for some reason reminded me of the musical version of Robert Burns' "Green Grow the Rushes Oh"


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How can one who recommends movies recommend two? "Movies for people who hate movies." And yet, are those the kind of movies for people who actually hate movies? Or, why is it that people who love movies end up hating them? It took me 5 years to get my dad to watch The Dark Knight and only after I told him it was the best film ever made. He said "you already told me that." No, I said it was the best movie of the last ten years. I've upped my standard.

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#5. I didn't quite catch part of the ending in NO, but I think that The General of the Ar Force going to tell Pinochet that it was over publicly signified the end f the regime. The protagonist and his boss always with dead pan exact role played seriousness telling their clients whether it be for the political NO campaign or a new soap opera that 'this looked at Chile in the reality of its social context and was (insightfully perceived by them) how it wanted to look forward' was a funny bit.

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