The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Devil's Advocates) by James Rose
This is one of the latest of the Devil's Advocates series that critically analyse classic horror films. I'm writing the Devil's Advocate book on The Blair Witch Project as we speak so thought I'd give this a read for inspiration. I've also read Benjamin Poole's Devil's Advocate book on Saw and both are insanely detailed and wonderful to read. I studied TTCSM as part of my dissertation and there was still plenty of material that I found fascinating in Rose's lively, detailed and thoughtful analysis of the film. Highly recommended for fans of the film or anyone with an academic interest in horror. It's a quick read too if you like little books!
Are You Talking to Me? A Life Through the Movies by John Walsh
This was much more biography than I expected with Walsh detailing his youth in London as he was growing up and the films that helped him make it through to adulthood. It's full of the the stuff of youth which should be terribly boring such as Walsh's first kiss but the author mostly keeps it lively and entertaining and he has made me want to watch all the films he discusses in the book from Cabaret to Mutiny on the Bounty. It reminded me a bit of The Film Club which I read on holiday last year but that book was much more emotional. However both made me want to seek out old films that I have not yet seen.
Green Zone: Imperial Life in the Emerald City by Rajiv Chandrasekran
Meticulously researched account of the first year after the (mostly) Americans occupied Baghdad and tried to rebuild it in their image. Made into a film starring Matt Damon and directed by Paul Greengrass, this book is all non-fiction and therefore is filled with facts, figures, names and places being recited by an author who clearly did his research. For the most part it does not overwhelm in detail and Chandrasekran has found a way to tell his story fluently and clearly. People call it a black comedy but I often failed to see the funny side. It made me frustrated and angry mainly despite not being completely unsympathetic to the occasionally noble causes of the Americans flown in to sort out the new Iraq. Still, a depressing look at what happened tainted by the infrequent promise of what could have been.
I never thought I was going to get through the above 3 books but I did with about a week of holiday left so I wandered into a used book shop on the island of Ko Lanta and found they had weathered copies of the first two books of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series so I snapped them both up despite them adding an enormous amount of weight to my already stuffed backpack. But boy was I glad I did. I got gastroenteritis towards the end of the holiday and so spent even more time sitting around the pool or on the beach reading. Despite the fact I have already seen series 1 of HBO's Game of Thrones, I loved every minute of this book which covers the same ground. The dialogue is so brilliantly written that I found myself wanting to talk like the characters all the time. I swear the writers of the show must have it pretty damn easy as the book is so well written with the characters being so clear from their wonderfully crafted dialogue. I'm now about 100 pages into the second book A Clash of Kings and will soon be catching up with where I am in the TV show. I can't wait to get ahead so I won't have to worry about spoilers any longer!
What have you been reading recently? Any recommendations for a fellow film buff?
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