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review 2018-03-25 20:44
Magic
Magic - William Goldman

Corky continued to breathe heavily.

“You can talk now, say whatever you want, as long as I want you to, when I’m bored, we’ll play some more.”

“Lis—”

“—I’m bored, let’s play, get the knives.”

“Knives?”

“The Duker’s, go get ’em.”

Corky went to the kitchenette, brought out the knives.

“What do you think we ought to do with ’em?” Fats said.

“Want me to whittle something?”

“Maybe.”

I vividly remember watching the 1978 film based on this book starring Anthony Hopkins for the first time in the 1990s, and the second time about ten years later, and it is incredible that it has taken me this long to read the actual book. 

 

There is something odd about the book. It is as creepy and gripping as the film, but I can't say that I enjoyed the writing. The writing seemed somewhat choppy. However, this is a pulp fiction novel and it does fit in with my expectations of what a mid-1970s pulp thriller / horror novel would read like. It would be interesting to read Goldman's Marathon Man at some point just to find out if his style varies in a different story of a similar genre.

 

Still, despite the disjointed narration, it was a pleasant surprise to find that Peggy, the "love interest", was an interesting character that had more to her than physical attraction. I liked how she got a voice in the book, even tho she was not the focus of the story. 

“Get this please: I’m leaving, and you’re leaving, so it happens we’ll go together but I’m not running out on Duke because he’s at the bottom, I’m going because I’m at the bottom, so it happens by coincidence that you and I are heading the same direction, out, and if it works that we stay headed that same direction, terrific, but if it doesn’t, the world’s not ending for me, which is what I was afraid of, going off and leaving one guy and then getting dumped by another and not having the first one around to take me back but that’s no problem, not anymore, ’cause if I get dumped, I’m not coming back.”

I am not even sure why I was so surprised to find that her character had a mind of her own. Maybe it was my bias with respect to books written in the 70s, maybe something else, but I enjoyed the little sub-plot that Peggy's thoughts created.

“… huh …?”

“… it was you all the time …”

“… you sure …?”

“… trust me for a while …”

 

 

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text 2018-03-23 13:20
Reading progress update: I've read 3%.
Magic - William Goldman

"Trust me for a while."

What an opening line!

 

I started this last night to bleach away the ending of The Man in the Brown Suit. It's been sitting on my kindle for ages and I am very excited to finally read this book. 

 

One thing I have noticed before dropping off to sleep last night is that I cannot read this without hearing Hopkins' voice in my head. 

That is not a bad thing at all.

 

Also, I need to find the film again.

 

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text 2017-05-15 16:29
The Princess Bride - William Goldman

This is a literary treasure and one that I can not recommend more highly. Let me start by saying that prior to reading this book I had probably seen the movie version a dozen times or so and ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!! I only mention this so that you know where I'm coming from in case you are not a fan of the movie as I think if you like one you will like the other and, conversely, if you didn’t like the movie, the book may not appeal to you as much.

As for the book, I was AMAZED at what a superb adaptation of the novel the movie was. Along with the Lord of the Rings trilogy and No Country for Old Men, this may be the best adaptation of a classic novel that I have ever come across. This may lead you to ask whether it is even worth it to read the book given that much of what is in the book is on the screen. My answer to that would be a resounding YES!!

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review 2017-04-16 02:00
Review: The Princess Bride
The Princess Bride: An Illustrated Edition of S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure - William Goldman,Michael Manomivibul

The Princess Bride is yet another one of those classic books that “everybody” has read but that I have just now read for the first time.  I don’t think I’ve seen the movie either, although it’s possible I saw it when I was very young and just don’t remember it.  A few of the lines in the book were familiar, but that may just be because I’ve heard people quote from the movie over the years.

 

I really enjoyed this although I think, maybe a little oddly, I enjoyed the framing story the best.  I did enjoy the main story, and it held my interest, but its satire gave it a tendency to cross the line into ridiculousness.  In many ways it was like reading Pratchett’s Discworld books: entertaining and clever, but not usually the kind of story that I would get completely wrapped up in. 

 

The framing story, on the other hand, felt a little more serious, if less fantastical, and added a couple layers on top of the main story.  It was those layers that I particularly enjoyed.  I have a little more to say about that, but I’m going to put it in spoiler tags.  If there’s anybody else in the world who knows as little about the story as I did, I don’t want to rob them of the fun I had. :)

 

 

When I first started reading the book, I was worried that I’d somehow gotten the wrong book and was reading an actual abridgement.  I was reading in my Kindle, so I touched the name of Morgenstern on my screen and was immediately informed that he was a fictional author created by Goldman.  So that undoubtedly saved me some frustration in trying to find the “real” book.  :)  After that, I was completely absorbed by trying to figure out which parts of the framing story were real and which parts were fake.  I laughed several times for no other reason than because I was so confused about what (if anything) was real and what wasn’t.  Then, on top of that, there’s the implication that the main story itself was based on true events and places.  I just loved that whole aspect of it, the layer upon layer of fiction made to appear real and written about so seriously that I started to wonder if parts of it were real after all.  Google helped clear up the last of my confusion after I finished reading the book.  Assuming the info I found on Google was real, of course, and not a cleverly planted framing story for the framing story! ;)

 

(spoiler show)

 

For anybody who does read this for the first time, I have some pieces of advice:

  1. If you start the book and think you’re reading the wrong book, don’t worry, you’re not.

 

  1. If possible, get a more recent edition that includes the 25th and 30th anniversary introductions. I thought they were worth reading, and I think one or both editions may have added some material at the end also.

 

  1. But do not, under any circumstances, read those 25th and 30th anniversary introductions before you read the main book. Especially not the 30th. It’s full of spoilers, and I think it would be harder to appreciate it without having the knowledge gained while reading the book.   In particular, it answers a question you won’t know you have until you get to the end of the book, by which time you may have forgotten you were given the answer because it didn’t mean anything to you when you read it.  Fortunately, past experience has taught me to avoid reading introductions for classic books until after I’ve read the book itself.  They so often assume the reader already knows the story.

 

I’m normally reluctant to spend time watching movies, but I think I’ll watch this movie, probably tonight.  It helps that I’m on vacation this coming week, so I can surely manage to spare the time for one movie.  I always hear such great things about this one.

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review 2017-02-15 04:43
The Princess Bride, by William Goldman
The Princess Bride - William Goldman

Even though I’ve seen the movie a dozen times, it wasn’t until last week that I picked up The Princess Bride, by William Goldman. I needed something purely escapist (because I live in America and am a frustrated liberal and I read the news) to read and I couldn’t think of anything better than this book. Fortunately, the magic of The Princess Bride still works even if you already know the story back to front...

 

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.

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