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About SlowRain

  • Birthday April 4


  • Location
    a Canadian expat in Taiwan
  • Interests
    Reading, watching movies

Profile Information

  • Location
    a Canadian expat in Taiwan
  • Interests
    Books, coffee, movies, straight razors, rum...and rain.

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  1. It may be just a wild goose chase. I did notice that some of Parker's books and authors were being published by Prentice now. Scott Witt was the author that I zoned in on. Also, Prentice publishes a few books with the titles of Parker Publishing Editorial Staff...yada, yada, yada. The two, combined together, make me think there may have been a wholesale purchase of Parker by Prentice. The real leg work begins to see if Prentice Hall and Simon & Schuster have the copyrights or if Pearson does.
  2. I saw something that said Parker operated from the 60s to the 80s. In your searches, did you come across anything about Parker being bought by Prentice Hall? Prentice Hall was later sold to Simon & Schuster, and it now seems that parts of it may be with Pearson.
  3. Did you think it had a rock-solid, air-tight plot? Did you think it was full of original ideas? Scotty and Bones were about the only larger-than-life characters, and neither of their parts were very large. Fun? Perhaps. My wife is not a Star Trek fan, but she's pretty sure she's seen at least a couple of the movies. She thought it was fun, too. Perhaps it is fun, but in a Michael Bay sort of way. I've just never thought of Star Trek as that kind of fun.
  4. Fictionwise is having another sale. All books have been discounted 30-50%.
  5. Star Trek I don't have much time to type right now, but: It was merely okay. Pros: - Good acting by Pine--rebellious, scrappy, shoot-from-the-hip--a much better Kirk than Shatner was, and without the bad acting - The actor who played Bones was the only actor who seemed to be playing to the original, but did he ever do a good job - great special effects - more of Uhura than we've ever seen before--and I mean that in both ways Cons: - the actor who played Spock was lifeless and had no personality. Spock has no emotions, he does have a personality - small, simple, ridiculous plot, full of conveniences and holes - not time travel...again! - other than the drill and Red Matter, there was nothing new here, just a rehashing of everything that we've seen before - the lighting. It seems there was always a light shining in the camera's/viewer's eyes - Scotty was a little over the top - too much wasted time on Kirk's birth and both Spock and Kirk when they were young This one was about establishing the characters, not about story, and it shows--much to its detriment I think. Batman Begins had a story mixed in with its reinvention, where's the story here? And, in establishing the characters, it doesn't exactly probe very deep. The script must have been written in all of one afternoon. The good thing is, the second one should be much better. I think we'll have to wait until then for something more worthy of Star Trek. This was more like tween-angst Star Trek, as they are definitely catering to a much younger audience, and not necessarily a sci-fi audience. I don't know what's worse, Revenge of the Sith or the new Star Trek. I'd say they're equally good/disappointing. *EDIT While I think Abrams is a good visual director, he can't do anything with story or character--exactly like Michael Bay. Both directors will only ever be able to produce films that appeal to either younger or less discerning viewers.
  6. IMDb says that The Spire by William Golding is in production, with a tentative release date sometime in 2010.
  7. I just finished this and thought it was good--certainly better than Snow which I found rather dreary. It does, however, share a similar dull romance sub-plot and stereotypical characters, not to mention the anti-Islam/anti-tradition tone. Comparisons to The Name of the Rose are inevitable. Although the last half of Eco's novel was very intriguing, Pamuk manages to sustain the intrigue all of the way through, making it the more satisfying mystery of the two. Pamuk is also more subtle than Eco regarding his discussions and has better characterization and language, although the latter may be a translation thing. Eco comes off as too academic, whereas Pamuk is more the novelist. (It should be noted that I don't view either of these novels as having stellar characterization or subtlety.) One of the interesting things about Pamuk's Snow and My Name is Red is the structure. I think it is probably his greatest gift. Unfortunately, it's such a small component of any novel. In this novel, Pamuk gives us first-person narratives from all of the main characters, even a couple of souls of murdered corpses. While it makes for an interesting premise, it does fail a bit in reality, especially when those two aforementioned souls, who are fully aware that they are narrating to a reader, don't reveal the identity of their murderer. My Name is Red is also a good introduction to Turkey of the late 16th century, as well as Turkish art. While Pamuk is critical of the tradition and refusal to adopt other styles within Turkish art, it is apparent that he has a deep appreciation for it. It's not a fast-paced, intriguing whodunit, but it does manage to keep the reader hooked. I'm starting to see how Pamuk is a bit predictable with his politics, but it's bearable. I do recommend it to others.
  8. I think, as a congratulatory gift and to show our appreciation, all of the members here should pitch in a few quid each and buy David a Sony eReader.
  9. I have a cousin living in Guadalajara, and I went through the SARS scare a few years back. He's not too worried, and basically says it's a lot of media hype (although he is scheduled to head home next week for his brother's wedding). We can all attest to the hype. When hasn't the media blown something out of proportion? Nevertheless, there is an uneasiness that I can also sympathize with, especially for those people living in Mexico City. It's the fear of what might happen. It's easy for me to feel safe thousands of miles away, yet something totally different when it's in your own geographical backyard. The world has safeguards in place that just weren't there even a few decades ago. SARS could have been much more serious than it was had the powers that be not been so well prepared or acted as decisively (with the exception of China, of course). It'll be the same this time. People will get sick. People will be hospitalized. There will be deaths. It will spread to other countries. It will not be a pandemic so long as everyone follows basic hygienic principles. It will, however, be tense in Mexico City. People here in Taiwan wore masks during SARS. We washed our hands more often. Had our temperature taken every time we went into a public building. There may have been a few more precautions that I'm forgetting. Long story short: it is serious, but it'll pass--just like SARS and Bird Flu.
  10. Fiction - Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout Drama - Ruined by Lynn Nottage History - The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed Biography - American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House by Jon Meacham Poetry - The Shadow of Sirius by W.S. Merwin (Copper Canyon Press) General Nonfiction - Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon
  11. SlowRain


    You Londoners apparently have access to some pretty good coffee and pretty talented baristas. The UK contestant won the World Barista Championship this year. The last three years have all been dominated by Square Mile Roasters and their friends. This year was Gwilym Davies, who has some sort of stand/cart in a market on Whitecross Street and Columbia Road.
  12. The Golden Mile by Martin Cruz Smith, December 2009 - looks like another Arkady Renko novel.
  13. The Humbling by Philip Roth, autumn 2009 - (according to fantasticfiction.co.uk) Everything is over for Simon Axler, the protagonist of Philip Roth's startling new book. One of the leading American stage actors of his generation, now in his sixties, he has lost his magic, his talent, and his assurance. His Falstaff and Peer Gynt and Vanya, all his great roles, "are melted into air, into thin air." When he goes onstage he feels like a lunatic and looks like an idiot. His confidence in his powers has drained away; he imagines people laughing at him; he can no longer pretend to be someone else. "Something fundamental has vanished." His wife has gone, his audience has left him, his agent can't persuade him to make a comeback. Into this shattering account of inexplicable and terrifying self-evacuation bursts a counterplot of unusual erotic desire, a consolation for a bereft life so risky and aberrant that it points not toward comfort and gratification but to a yet darker and more shocking end. In this long day's journey into night, told with Roth's inimitable urgency, bravura, and gravity, all the ways that we convince ourselves of our solidity, all our life's performances - talent, love, sex, hope, energy, reputation - are stripped off. (guardian.co.uk says it'll be 112 pages) Nemesis by Philip Roth, 2010 - about "a wartime polio epidemic in the summer of 1944 and the effect it has on a closely-knit, family-oriented Newark community and its children." Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby, September 2009 - (from guardian.co.uk) "Fans of Hornby's High Fidelity will doubtless be delighted to learn that his next novel takes him back into the music world, though nowhere near the north London of Fever Pitch. His protagonist is a reclusive 80s rock star who is forced out of isolation when the re-release of his most famous album brings him into contact with some of his most passionate fans. Set in America and Lincolnshire, the novel tell the story of two lonely people finding each other across decades and continents." Invisible by Paul Auster, October 2009 - (according to fantasticfiction.co.uk) Sinuously constructed in four interlocking parts, Paul Auster's fifteenth novel opens in New York City in the spring of 1967, when twenty-year-old Adam Walker, an aspiring poet and student at Columbia University, meets the enigmatic Frenchman Rudolf Born and his silent and seductive girfriend, Margot. Before long, Walker finds himself caught in a perverse triangle that leads to a sudden, shocking act of violence that will alter the course of his life. Three different narrators tell the story of Invisible, a novel that travels in time from 1967 to 2007 and moves from Morningside Heights, to the Left Bank of Paris, to a remote island in the Caribbean. It is a book of youthful rage, unbridled sexual hunger, and a relentless quest for justice. With uncompromising insight, Auster takes us into the shadowy borderland between truth and memory, between authorship and identity, to produce a work of unforgettable power that confirms his reputation as 'one of America's most spectacularly inventive writers.'
  14. SlowRain


    For those people who said that coffee is bitter, there are probably two reasons for that: brewing method and the beans. I suggest using either an AeroPress (the all-round greatest coffee making device ever invented; but it doesn't make espresso) or else a pour-over method. Also, since many on here are from England, you could check out Square Mile Coffee Roasters (<--link) in London or Has Bean Coffee (<--link) in Stafford. Has Bean also has a Coffee 101 course (<--link) by email (I've tried it: you don't get any spam). It's informative and really good for beginners. * Use good water. * Buy fresh, good quality beans (within a few days of roasting; try to use them up in less than two weeks of roast date). * Grind just before brewing (use a decent burr grinder for best results, maybe an inexpensive hand grinder if you don't want to pay too much for a grinder). Also, there's no crime in using sugar and milk/cream in coffee.
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