Friday, February 24, 2012

100 Greatest Books #102 - War and Peace

The next book on my reading list is War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. You can find this book on the Sybervision, Norwegian, BBC, and Zane's Top 10 Book Lists.




This is often mentioned as one of those books known for just being long, and long it is (~1600 pages) but not many people can say what the main storyline is about. This book follows Napoleon's invasion of Russia during the early 1800's but most importantly during 1812. My overall impression of this book is that it feels like a typical Russian novel. The characters are a little easier to figure out than a typical Russian novel because he doesn't use as many names for the same character as Dostoevsky often does. Even so, he does has a lot of reoccurring characters. Even now I'm not sure if all of their story lines were wrapped up by the end of the novel. You forget about some of them, then all of the sudden they return. The story is a historical fiction novel with the characters interacting with historical figures. It actually felt like a history novel the situations played out so well. I would recommend this book to any history buff interested in the Napoleonic Wars, although I still don't understand why Napoleon was driven from Russian even now. The book is divided into 4 books, with 2 epilogues, and an appendix. The first epilogue felt so much like the rest of the book that I'm not sure why it was made as an epilogue. It just continued the story on from the previous section. It even has chapters. But the second epilogue is what broke me. After reading this book for 7 months you give me this theoretical musing on the purpose of war and why Napoleon did what he did. It was definitely a drudge to get through and I am convinced he wrote that last section just so people would never finish this book. The second epilogue mimicked the style used for the first one or two chapters of each book but this was just orders of magnitude worse. During the actual story, he would give an overall synopsis of the war and what Napoleon was thinking then move right back into the story but the epilogue had no place in this book and you would miss nothing by skipping it. Overall, I felt the story was good but I never felt anything for the characters. When they died, I didn't really care. And that about sums up my feelings on this book. It is over and I don't really care.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

100 Greatest Movies - Double Indemnity

This time we are looking at High Noon which is #38 on the 100 Greatest Movies List, it is also #29 on the 10th Anniversary List, #24 on the 100 Greatest Thrillers, and #84 on the 100 Greatest Romances movies list.

 The movie starts off with the killer admitting that he did it and then the movie progresses as the killer relates the details of the crime. The first part of the movie felt very dated but I soon got into it and I could see why this would be one of the greatest thrillers of all time. I didn't know what was going to happen next and I really liked it. Other than the general premise of the movie, which is why would the killer sit there and record everything instead of trying to get away, mostly everything seemed to fit nicely into place. A very good movie and one that stands the test of time, I believe.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2012 Personal Goals - Month 1 Update

1st Month is done and off to a decent start.

1. Finish first draft of my novel -
January 1st - 3rd year on the list. Lets see if I can do it this year. Starting point - 1st section first draft is done.
Month 1 Update - Nothing new

2. Drop weight to 167
January 1st - Again 3rd year on the list. I think I will have a little more time this year to get it done. Starting point - 182.1.
Month 1 Update - 181.7


3 Read 2 of the Top Ten books on Zanes book list
January 1st - 3 books are left on the list. I am currently in the middle of War and Peace and hope to finish it by March.
Month 1 Update - Finished Book 3 of 4 in War and Peace.

4. Read 7 books on the Sybervision Book List for a total of 75
January 1st - To get to a nice round number of 75 I want to finish 7 more books.
Month 1 Update - Reading War and Peace

5. Read 7 books on the BBC Book List for a total of 45
January 1st - These are generally easier books to read, especially with Annabelle.
Month 1 Update - Reading Anne of Green Gables and War and Peace

6. Update 2 Geologic Movie Reviews
January 1st - I have 1 update I need to do one one movie and a complete overhaul of the other.
Month 1 Update - Nothing new

7. Finish 1 more movie on my Geological Movie Review
January 1st - Look to do 1 more movie, most likely Earthquake!.
Month 1 Update - Nothing new


8. Watch 15 of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time (according to AFI)
January 1st - Current count 70 so 15 more will get me 1/2 way to the goal.
Month 1 Update - Watched High Noon. 14 more to go.


9. Do 1 Geological Fact for each month.
January 1st - This went over well last year so let's do it again.
Month 1 Update - I wanted to finish these early and release them as the months went by. I have 9 done so far. 3 left to go.

10. Skin the top of the Hovercraft
January 1st - I finished working on the bottom last year so lets see if I can get the top done this year. And with my new garage heater I will be able to work during the colder months.
Month 1 Update - Nothing new


11. Catalogue, photograph, and organize Star Wars collection by CVI
January 1st - With Star Wars Celebration VI coming up in August I want to catalogue and photograph my collection to get ready to know anything I need to buy when I go.
Month 1 Update - Caught up on the pile of recent stuff but nothing else.


12. Do 1 major job each month on the "Things to Do for the House" list
January 1st - With an updated list we have 20 things that we want to do to get the house in tip-top shape.
Month 1 Update - Started working on some things but nothing finished

Other items of note:
Pretty good month other than stuff on the list. I presented a poster to ExxonMobil. I finished 2 grant proposals and I went home for a week with Annabelle. Other than that I have been playing catch-up with my piles of things that got left out while I was working on the poster and the proposals.