December 18, 2006


Adam Siegel

Thanks for highlighting this. Coming Through Slaughter is a fantastic novel--my favorite by Ondaatje--and, in the realm of "novels about something," probably the best novel about jazz (Geoff Dyer's But Beautiful trails behind).


I have the Dyer on my TBR - was recommended by a Dyer fan and have been dying to crack it open. Maybe that will be my holiday read ...

Corey Redekop

Oh, this is just wrong. Ondaatje and Minghella? Yes. Ondaatje and the creep who backed every Police Academy movie? No, no, a thousand times, no.


okay I'm laughing at police academy but two of the movies I saw on his credits damnation alley and scavenger hunt are cult classics - maybe he won't slaughter the project --


What, you didn't like "Ski Patrol"?

Sally Maslansky

It always amazes me how people who have achieved little in their lives are so quick to criticize those who have achieved a great deal. Mr. Maslansky did indeed produce the very successful "Police Academy" series of films. This is something that he and his family are very proud of. What makes you proud of yourselves? He is a graduate of Washington & Lee University,and holds a Masters' degree in History. He produced many, many films and was nominated for an Emmy for the mini-series "King". Mr. Maslansky is a jazz muscian who started his career in film while working as a muscian in Paris in the '60's. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, and had the honor & pleasure of working with the likes of Tom Stoppard, David Cornwall, George Cukor, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Fellini himself. He is an amazingly accomplished, well educated, generous, non-judgemental, kind and good man. You would be lucky indeed to possess just one of his many exceptional qualities.

Bessie Sue Hill

I agree with Sally Maslansky about Paul Maslansky.
He is a very accomplished musician. His knowledge of jazz is extensive. Perhaps doing some research on this gentleman would help the nay sayors on this site broaden their knowledge.

I have enjoyed Mr. Maslansky's Police Academy films because they were entertaining to my young daughter. As I watched them I noticed how all the parents in the audience were enjoying seeing their children being entertained without violence.
The humor was enjoyed my all ages. The film showed social conscience by protraying masculinity with feminine interest and femininity with masculine interest. These films were harmless. I know some think of these films as successful because of all the money they made, but I also think they were successful because of the intelligent and kind conscience that created them.

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  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald


    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe


    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."