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Friday, June 19, 2015

Recent Reads

After a pretty long dry spell of not finishing a book, I decided to go back to square one, and focus on shorter works (less than 200 pages or so), and familiar favorites.  In the last month, I've already had two and a half successes.

The Executioner #71: Blood Dues.
I hadn't read a Mack Bolan book in a long time, so I decided to go old school and read from the era when I actually met him first: the mid-80's.  In this book, we find Mack back in Miami, looking into some stolen weapons, and he already has some suspected players.  Namely the mafia, and Cuban national terrorists (remember, this is the Bolanverse in the 80's).  Over all, it was a solid effort.  A few little literary speed bumps here and there, but a good, well-paced story.  There are some characters and references to a previous book in the series as well, which is always cool.  As a bonus these references pointed to one of Don Pendleton's original stories, Miami Massacre (Executioner #4).  I've never read that one, but I kind of want to now.  By the end, we get plenty of dead bad guys, a couple of tragically dead allies, and a major slaughter of innocents is averted.  It was nice to revisit this universe.  It felt like spending time with an old friend I hadn't talked to in a long time.  I should read these more often, I think.

Enter the Dragon - Novelization
This past weekend I hit up HPB for a specific book (see below).  They didn't have what I was looking for, and I almost walked out empty-handed.  But, on a whim I decided to go back and look at the sadly dwindling Men's Adventure section (down to a slim, 2 shelves).  There were the standard selection of Bolanverse books, and a few random entries from other series.  But, on the bottom, wedged in between some other stuff were three books that I had to have.  First were the first two entries in a "Kung Fu Western" series called Sloane.  And next to those was the novelization of Enter the Dragon.  I grabbed all three for about $1.50.

I started reading Enter the Dragon the other day, and just finished it tonight.  It was a slim 158 pages long, and while it wasn't high literature, it was a fun and quick read.  But, I think most of the fun came from the fact that I know the story so well.  That was actually both a boon and a curse.  All of the main story elements were there.  The scenes were present as they were in the film, including a couple of cut scenes that are edited back into my 25th Anniversary DVD.  And much of the dialogue was intact.  But, a lot of the details were changed.  Some of the characters were switched around (Bolo was now a giant Turk, and a character that looked like Yang Ze, who played Bolo in the film, was a minor character on the boat, replacing the racist Australian).  However, the biggest let-down was the descriptions of the fight scenes.  Some of the maneuvers were really weird to read, and didn't match with the movie, or even seem possible.  Basically, it read like the author's only reference for martial arts was the wire-fu of Wuxia theater.  And finally, the mirror room scene was completely cut out.  Over all, it was underwhelming.  Honestly, I think I could have written a better novelization myself.  Chances are, the author was asked to write it, based on an early draft of the script, and with only a month or so to finish it.

Dragonlance Chronicles - Dragons of Autumn Twilight
This was the book HPB didn't have in stock.  I've read this trilogy four times, actually.  But, it's literally been over a decade since the last time.  So, I figured what the heck, right?  Unfortunately, I don't know where my copies are (and they're kind of old and tattered anyways), so I turned to the library.  There I found that I could "check out" the Kindle edition.  Neat!  So, I reserved it, and after a few days of waiting (the system works just like a real library book, and only a certain number of copies can be downloaded per library system at a time) I got it and started reading.  Unfortunately, in my settings for the service that provides the eBooks (OverDrive), I left my check-out length to the default of 7 days.  I'm a slow reader, so that was not nearly enough time.  Still, I did manage to make it through 51% of the book before the time ran out.  I was too late to renew my check-out, so it went to someone else.  I have reserved it again, and hopefully will get it back soon.  The cool thing is that it will remember where I was, and start me right where I left off.

My next reading adventure in the meantime will be the first of the Sloane books, "The Man with the Iron Fists."

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I tell you, I like the shorter books myself. Just usually a better overall reading experience for me.