Tezuka writer's block

Wednesday reading — balls and strikes

What I've been reading

I read Armada, Ernest Cline's new book. I'm not entirely sure if I think it's objectively not as much fun as Ready Player One, or if both books just rely on a schtick so similar that whichever one I read first would seem delightful and whichever one I read second would feel like a retread. I think all the retro references make more sense inside Ready Player One's game world, which, like the book itself, is the product of a creator who can put in all the references to the things he loves that he wants, simply because it pleases him and he wants to reward other people for being into the same things as he was. Whereas in Armada, there's this bit where Zack's dad is explaining how when they were building an actual base on the far side of the moon, they cribbed blueprints from the Nostromo from Alien as a shortcut, which just makes no sense. The set design for the movie is totally visual; there's no there to crib from. It's something you can do when you're making a video game that makes no sense when you're building something real where you would make your decisions for actual practical reasons. I mean, I realize that this is the stupidest thing, but I feel like the book wasn't working very well for me if stupid things like this were bugging me while I was reading it.

I reread Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs, because I've been digitizing my parents' vinyl collection, which contains a number of the aforementioned bad songs. Fun fact: when I was twelve, I checked out a copy of the Richard Harris album A Tramp Shining so that I could actually hear the legendary MacArthur Park. I thought it was one of the funniest things I had ever heard, albeit completely unintentionally so. My parents were distressed to have their decades-long streak of successfully avoiding hearing that song ever again broken.

I reread Jane Eyre, as previously mentioned. I think my friendslist has more sense than Stevie Davies with regard to scrags.

I read Go Set a Watchman, a book I didn't realize I was interested in reading until all the unhappy reviews started leaking out, so I guess they were helpful to me. I ended up finding it really interesting. This book does a reasonably good job trying to establish Jean Louise/Scout's childhood with description and multiple fairly long flashbacks, but it's also very easy to see where an editor would have ended up prompting her to flesh that out into what became To Kill a Mockingbird. Inadvertently, since this book is all about how Jean Louise feels betrayed by Atticus as an adult, there pretty much could not be a more effective way to achieve that effect than by allowing the Atticus of Scout's childhood to be firmly established with a few generations of readers before releasing this book.

I reread Street of the Five Moons. Not for any particular reason this time, though, except that I was continuing my Vicky Bliss kick because I love them so.

I read Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, because my dad loves all of Michael Lewis's books, so when they made this one into a movie starring Brad Pitt, we saw it in the theater and it became his favorite movie of all time. He asked me to find him more movies like Moneyball, and there aren't more movies like Moneyball—the closest thing is The Social Network, the other movie adapted from a nonfiction book that Aaron Sorkin worked on the screenplay for, which he duly enjoyed, although not quite as much, so we end up rewatching Moneyball a lot. Not that I mind, because it is actually an excellent movie, which also, as it turns out, employs relatively little poetic license with the story, or at least the way that Michael Lewis tells it. The main differences between the movie and the book are the coverage of the 2002 draft, which they skip over in the movie since none of those players are going to be on the field onscreen, but which involves a bunch of names that thirteen years later are now attatched to significant careers, and the depiction of Scott Hatteberg, who is adorable and memorable as played by Chris Pratt but an even more fascinating player in real life.

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