House of Games by David Mamet

Reading the original script of David Mamet's debut 1987 movie is a delight. A brilliant playwright and a brilliant filmmaker, Mamet's con men story keeps you glued to the pages, on the tip of your toes, anxious to move forward. A short 60+ page masterpiece.

A perfect read on a bench in the park. I need to watch this movie again – and soon.

 


This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

A brilliant meditative growing up story, written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by her cousen Jillian.

Soft, gentle, developing slowly around feelings rather than actions, it's like a short long-form prose, повесть in Russian literary terms. A girl feels awkward, in doubt, happy, sad, light-hearted, in love, naw, she has a crush, jealous, disappointed, snappy, mean.

Good book, all in all. A perfect read on a bench in park, when the sun is finally heating up the air from this year's cold late spring.

 


Roughneck by Jeff Lemire

A beautifully composed and well paced a small town tough guy story written and drawn by Jeff Lemire, high contrast black and white colored in various shades of blue.

A short gripping tale, this one. Artistic merits outweigh complexity of the story 3 to 1. Yet, for me, it was a total page turner for one hour. No wonder some call Lemire the Stephen King of comic books, all thanks to the way he keeps you glued to the pages.

Like 'em when they're like this.

 


China Doll by David Mamet

Now, man, what are the chances? After a long biography of Marc Rich which I had finished just yesterday, when I picked up China Doll, David Mamet's last play, to read it queitly in the park this Saturday morning, I had absolutely no clue that it was a book about a local governor using the vast power of US federal government to strike a crushing sledgehammer-strong and disproportionate blow against a retired billionaire/adversary of his over a tax saving scheme that turned sour.

Not David Mamet's best play, but I would interested to see it on stage, Al Pacino playing Mickey. The Premiere was in November 2015, it got a lot of poor press – but is it still on? I'll check it out.


The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich by Daniel Ammann

Quite an interesting story about the rise and a near fall of Marc Rich, the financier commodity trader and founder of Glencore-Xtrata who lived and died in exile, fugutive from “justice” in the United States.

Mr. Ammann makes a very brazen comparison between Rich and Ayn Rand's very own Hank Rearden, a prominent industrialist in the perennial Atlas Shrugged who obstructed prohibitive and burdensome government regulation and then went in exile. Well, Rich might have been no less defiant in his actions, but definitely much more cautious in trying to make sure he's not breaking the law. And which law apllies internationally. Well, Rudy Giuliani thought differently, and made a career out of it.

The more details I read about this case, the less I like it. Rich has been clearly singled out, mistreated by the NY state prosecutors, who abused their powers in forcing him to plea guilty over a supposed tax evasion – which I'm 100 per cent certain had 155 various tax opinions by the most reputable accounting and law firms that Marc Rich + Co. ain't breaking the law. I see quite some relsemblaces between this case and the unfair treatment of our very own Mr. Khodorkovsky, who as well was singled out, mistreated, tried and jailed by the state on the back of tax evasion charges. Different reasons, but in quite similar fashion, it looks like. Saddens me.

In general, it's a good tale of putting together one of the largest and quite successful trading operations in modern history, a child who now tries to purge its founding father's name from history books. Oh well.

If he was indeed innocent, as he claims, I interject, why was he branded the greatest tax fraudster and an enemy of the state? Rich tilts his head to one side, and the red birthmark on his left cheek seems to glow brighter than usual. “I believe it was a combination of political problems and that a scapegoat was needed at the time,” Rich says. “I was an easy target, one individual, very successful, making a lot of money, and Jewish. I stood outside of the establishment.”

“I was singled out by individuals. Individuals with a clear personal interest in self-promotion,” Rich believes. “Mr. Giuliani escalated the case because he saw a chance to achieve more publicity for himself,” he maintains. “Personal interests and feelings on their side got into the way of a fair solution.”

 


Barolo by Matthew Gavin Frank

Man, I don't get it.

Seems like a great book, and on a most intriguing and lovely topic – yet somehow, Matthew Gavin Frank's gastronomic adventures in Barolo, stories of illegal grape picking for the venerable Luciano Sandrone, standing a shift as apprentice chef at Locanda I Cannubi, walking the same hills that I like so much – all of it made me sleepy every frigging time after just a few para's. Spent months plowing through those barely 200+ pages.

Yet, to make sure – if you're somehow into Barolo, Monforte d'Alba, Serralunga, Castiglione Falleto, la Morra, Verdunho, all this special Piemontese wine, air and culinary delights, read the book.


Манарага Владимира Сорокина

Не самая мощная книга Сорокина, но все ж ничего, эдакий короткий типический для автора фантасмагорический экзерсис на тему конца литературы, Fahrenheit 451, рукописи горят и все такое. Вспышки и всполохи тревожного будущего. Тьфу-тьфу-тьфу, лишь бы большинство его предсказаний не сбылось, ох.

Конец оживляет, отличный, да. Now, where are my fleas?

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В полночь самолет ждет дозаправка в Санкт-Петербурге, красивом городе, построенном царем Петром на костях русских крестьян. Блоха сообщает, что крестьян в то время целыми деревнями сгоняли, вываривали в огромных котлах, кости дробили, мололи в муку, добавляли образовавшийся во время варки клей, гальку и получали так называемый русский бетон. Из этих бетонных блоков сложен фундамент Санкт-Петербурга. И надо сказать, город стоит до сих пор.