Monday, December 29, 2014

Everything I Read in 2014

Doug's books
While it's a significant step down from the 80 books I read last year, I'm fairly proud of this year's list. For my best of list, check here.

Top Books of 2014

It's that time again. The Best Of Lists, which dominate your social media page with hyperbole and self-congratulation. However, all of these other lists are infinitely inferior to this list, which is, indeed, the best of all Best Of Lists, mine. It's selected from the 53 books I read this year, and is in no particular order.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Interview: We Should be Blaming Obama, Not Sony, For Caving In

Several weeks ago, I was in a movie theater awaiting a screening of Brad Pitt's Fury when I saw a trailer for The Interview. The plot seemed to be this: James Franco and Seth Rogen play a pair of middle-aged bums who are hired by the CIA to assassinate Kim Jong-Un, supreme leader in North Korea.

Oh boy, 
I thought. This is going to be good.

While I was expecting furor, I didn't realize quite how much of a stir the film would create. From The Washington Post:

Hours after an announcement that U.S. authorities determined North Korea was behind the recent cyber-attack on Sony Pictures, the entertainment company announced it was pulling the film The Interview.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Curtain: Poirot's Last Case - Episode Review

My review of the previous episode: The Labours of Hercules

I promised myself that I wouldn’t start this review with a personal anecdote. wouldn’t say that I’ve been watching Agatha Christie’s Poirot since I was around five or six, that Poirot and co. have been constant comfort food throughout my childhood. I wouldn’t say how very close David Suchet’s little Belgian was to me.

So now I haven’t said all that, I will say: AGH IT’S OVER. MY CHILDHOOD HAS DIED.

Okay, that’s done.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Upcoming British Detectives, 2015

This is an older post - for the most up to date news, check here.

2015 will get off to a great start with the U.K. premiere of a second season of Broadchurch. The first season (my review) was, by a long stretch, the best TV show I’ve viewed this year. The plot centered on the murder of a young boy, Danny Latimer. As the whodunit played out, we witnessed the town disintegrate into suspicion and betrayal. The media’s arrival, accompanied by incendiary headlines and invasive paparazzi, only exacerbated problems caused by a lengthy investigation. But while the conclusion was devastating, it was not untempered by hope from an unexpected (but appropriate) corner.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

P.D. James - The Last Victorian

If I'm still writing at the age of 90, I will die happy. I hope P.D. James did, anyway.

One thing is for certain: no one could have predicted her life would have ended here, as a world-wide respected author. At the age of 16, she left school to help support the family - her father didn't believe in higher education for women. Throughout her lifetime, she worked in a tax office, as a stage manager, as a member of a hospital board and at the Home Office in the forensic science and criminal law departments. When her husband was sent to a mental institution after World War II, she became primary breadwinner for their two daughters. 

She started to write detective novels in the 50's, and her first book Cover Her Face, was published in 1962. While it received favorable reviews, it took until 1980, with Innocent Blood (my favorite) for her career to skyrocket. After that, she seldom wavered from the adventures of her poet-detective, Adam Dalgliesh. One notable exception was The Children of Men, a fascinating religiopolitical dystopia built on the premise of an ingenious question: What if mankind stopped bearing children? In 2006, it was made into a movie, directed by Alfonso Cuarรณn (we'll be reviewing it this week on The Pilgrim's Podcast.) In 1991, Queen Elizabeth made James a Conservative peeress: Baroness James of Holland Park.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Pilgrim's Podcast

For those of you (are there any of you?) who only follow me here at Longish, you might be interested in some of my other doings about the web. The most exciting things I've gotten into recently is starting my own movie review podcast. Strictly speaking, it's my podcast, and my dad's, and C.S. Lewis's. But it's now available on iTunes, via an RSS feed, or at the website (formerly Longview), The Pilgrim's Podcast.

We have three episodes up so far:

The Godfather - Never Go In Against a Sicilian

Raiders of the Lost Ark - If You Like Your Ark...

Godfather Part II - If You Love Me, You Have a Funny Way of Showing It