Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Pothunters: Review

It's probably a misnomer to call this a review. That I would be able to properly review anything is unlikely having neither the expertise, experience, or inclination to do it right. With that disclaimer out of the way, onward!

The biggest problem with The Pothunters is that it's rather disjointed. There are a few plotlines and they never quite mesh fully. They're related and they interact, certainly, but there is a distinct lack of that seamless weaving of the threads of multiple subplots that will be such an important feature of Wodehouse's later work. There are amusing moments here too, but this book isn't written to be as comedic as most of his works and the jokes here are indicative of his later mastery. It's raw ore waiting to be refined; you can see the potential, but it's not realised.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Movies, Lists, and Greatness

Nearly 20 years ago (time flies) the American Film Institute made a list of the top 100 American movies for the centenary of American film. They made the list by
[inviting] more than 1,500 leaders from across the American film community – screenwriters, directors, actors, producers, cinematographers, editors, executives, film historians and critics among them – to choose from a list of 400 nominated films compiled by AFI and select the 100 greatest American movies.
Which is okay, I guess. This is a pretty good crowd to ask about movies; they should know a fair bit about them. But they limited them to a pre-culled list of 400, which is not so great. But the really interesting thing was that 9 years later, in 2007 they did it again.

The brief text on their site makes it sound like they asked all the same people again, thought I would have expected at least a few of them to have been unavailable. Perhaps some of them had died in the intervening years, or were out of town, disinclined to participate, something. Be that as it may, the differences between the lists are what really caught my attention. And there are some significant differences. Hit that jump and let's discuss.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

The Pothunters

First up on the tour through the works of PG Wodehouse is The Pothunters. This was originally published in 1902, according to the information on the copyright page. Before it was a book, however, it was first published as a serial in Public School Magazine in January-March of the same year. This is one that I've read before and, if I recall correctly, much of the style and mannerisms that are a source of humor in Wodehouse's later works are taken more seriously in this one. According to the back text and my own memory, this is a quasi-mystery story about stolen cricket trophies and a noble youth unjustly accused who seeks the real culprit in order to remove the stain from his honor.

He started out writing these kinds of mildly amusing, earnestly moral stories for magazines aimed at boys in their early teens. Wodehouse himself was a young man not far removed from these school days; he was about 20 when this story was written. I'll check in again when I've finished the book with some more detailed thoughts.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Just Like for Grown-Ups!

So, while you may have noticed that I have a widget there to the right (left, if you're facing away from the screen) which rotates through a sample of my books catalogued over at LibraryThing, if you'd rather peruse them in a way that feels more like a library's online catalogue (and who wouldn't, really?) then you can also check out this link. It's a software service that LibraryThing makes available to its users for free (if it's for personal use) or very cheap if you're more of an organization. Why do I have it when I don't really let anyone "check out" my books from my house? It was free, so why not?