Monday, May 9th, 2011
I'm a big fan of The Wire, and ran into some great links today. The first was from kottke.org, talking about the character Omar Little, one of my favorites. But I have to say the twelfth most interesting character in the wire is more interesting than the most interesting character in another series, even one that I like. The second is the piece that spawned the one at kottke, an interview by Nick Hornby of the writer David Simon. Apparently many of the people on the show were based on actual people. Incidents were often composites, but many of the people were not.
I have just started watching the fifth and final season of the Wire on DVD, and have enjoyed the addition of a Baltimore newspaper into the story. This seems to have been based upon the experience of the writer. The funny thing is, the most recent episode I watched was on a round of layoffs and how one of the writers who is laid off says, "Oh, well. Time to write the Great American Novel." This is somewhat parallel to what happened to Simon: "We got the gig because as my newspaper was bought and butchered by an out-of-town newspaper chain, I was offered the chance to write scripts, and ultimately, to learn to produce television by the fellows who were turning my first book into Homicide: Life on the Street."
Then there is a little clip of Dominic West (plays Jimmy McNulty in the series) in an interview. This is good the same way an interview with Hugh Laurie is good. You get to marvel at how an English actor mastered an American accent to the point where you wouldn't have imagined it wasn't his own. (See the clip here where McNulty does a bad English accent.)
This has given me quite a few books and movies to look at. Which will be good, since when I'm finished with The Wire, it will leave a vacuum.
7:54 am Pacific Standard Time
Friday, May 6th, 2011
Since I got my Kindle, I've found my amount of reading to be going up. I hadn't realized how much my reading had been injured by eyestrain. I imagined eyestrain was something I would feel, rather than something that would register subconsciously and make me put down a book earlier than I would otherwise be inclined to. But with the Kindle I stick with reading a lot longer.
Trouble is, I'm back to the habit of reading many things at once that it had temporarily cured me of. And with reading more, I'll have several traditional-style books from the library.
I do see progress on more books than I would have seen in the past decade or so. I think this is overall a good thing. I suppose what I like best, though, is when one book is engaging enough to pull me away from all the others. I had hoped the Heinlein book Stranger in a Strange Land would do that. But I'm in the middle and it hasn't. It's engaging enough to stick with, but not enough to pull me out of the other books.
I think I expect to be more engaged by the typical book than most people do. This means quite a bit of disappointment. But I do know that there are people who really trust my recommendations. The good books get finished, and the best finished books get recommended. People who finish every book they start are often bad sources of recommendations because they're willing to put up with bilge.
3:31 am Pacific Standard Time