Thursday, December 29, 2005

Measuring up to TIME...

Even though I am a voracious reader, there's something in me that just rebels against the norm... I don't like reading books "expected" of me; neither have I ever felt the need to read "critically acclaimed classics"...

I remember a friend of mine being totally shocked that I had yet to read Pride & Prejudice: this was in high school; 15 years later, I still haven't had the urge to, and probably won't ever.

It didn't help, I guess, that "English Literature" as taught during my high school days involved reading abridged versions of things like Little Women, Silas Marner and Shakespeare's works, which probably didn't bring out the true richness of the literature in question. And I doubt that the teachers I had any true appreciation of what they were "teaching" either, and therefore did a crummy job at passing on any appreciation for these works....

But if I stumbled upon a book, or series of books, on my own, I would probably go all out and explore the whole thing. For example, I know that at pretty young age, I already owned almost the entire series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (yes, there were many more than the one Little House On The Prairie), and while I don't remember details, I know I also explored all those Oz books by L Frank Baum (again: yes, there were many more than the one The (Wonderful) Wizard of Oz!)

Anyways ... a few weeks ago I stumbled across TIME magazine's list of all-TIME 100 novels and all-TIME 100 movies.

While I'm not too worried about the results, seeing as I know my tastes differ from the average Joe/Jane, I took a look at them to see how many of these works I have actually read / seen.

And the result? Not many, LOL!

In fact, of the 100 movies, I've seen 10.5!
  • E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
  • The Fly
  • A Hard Day's Night
  • It's A Wonderful Life
  • Kandahar
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  • Psycho
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Star Wars
  • Unforgiven
  • the 0.5 = The Purple Rose of Cairo which I watched with one eye when it was on PBS some time ago
And of the 100 novels? Only TWO "true" reads:
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • 1984 by George Orwell
Whoa... both by George Orwell??? I never realised that till now! Cooool!!
And the "untrue" reads?
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding (err... well... I *started* reading it... I don't even remember how far I got...)
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (ugh... another thing I *started* ... it was just too verbose for me... pages and pages and pages devoted to the description of the shire??? aarrrgghhh!! I know I stopped just after Frodo and friends get feted in the mountain by the elves... figured I'd be more appreciative of the scope of the tale via Peter jackson's movies, and I was right)
  • Does it count that I've seen a cartoon version of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis? And I *am* going to see the movie that just came out...
  • And I think A Passage to India by E.M. Forster was made into a tv mini series which I vaguely remember watching in Malaysia (hopelessly censored, of course...
  • And I've seen Stanley Kubrick's excellent movie version of Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange.
I'm totally amused at the "low" rating I got... but I'm not concerned: I've read so many other books that I thought were excellent, that have affected me deeply, that have helped me become the person I am today...

But since I have the lists, I figured I'd identify some books & movies from there that I have been meaning to read/watch:
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
    I know what a "Catch-22 situation" is, but I'd like to read about it in its original appearance...
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    a reference made in the movie Conspiracy Theory, about this being the book of choice of presidential assassins or what is used by the authorities to identify subversives, has always amused me and I'd like to read for myself this "subversive" text
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    I keep hearing the author's name mentioned here and there.. maybe I'll give him a try... the description sounds good
  • The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carre
    I keep hearing about this book/author too... I've never been much into this spy/intrigue genre (Clancy? Ludlum? never read 'em! I *have* read Forsyth's Day of the Jackal, tho..) but maybe I'll give him a try...
  • Blade Runner
    I can't believe I still haven't gotten around to see this movie!
  • Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
    The movie's been mentioned in Jeopardy a few times recently, AND I'm kinda wanting to explore Kubrick's works (have seen Clockwork Orange and The Shining already)
  • Goodfellas
    If I have to sit through one mafia movie, let it be this one... I've been told it's one of the best, rivalling the Godfather. Wonder how it stacks against Once Upon A Time In America?
  • Lawrence of Arabia
    Just one of those classics that I actually do want to see one day...
  • Schindler's List
    Didn't watch it when it came out cos I was in Malaysia and even though it was finally allowed to be shown I think there were so many cuts made that the film was essentially ruined. Also, I dunno if I am "strong enough" to watch it without getting too emotional...
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
    Kosh has the movie on VHS - I may just go ahead and finally watch this one...
So there you have it... 10 books & movies that I am going to keep in mind for reading/watching next year... perhaps this is my pseudo-resolution for 2006? ;-)


  1. You gotta see Dr. Strangelove lynne,it's a joy watching the late Peter Sellers play three different characters in that Anti nuke movie made in the early 60's.It's one of my all-time favorite.Also,check out Kubrick's "Lolita" Sellers was in that too. :D

    Gawd,talking about those movies made me feel real old! Hahaha :D

    Have a Happy New Year lynne :D

  2. Hmm....5 books...and 13 films....I haven't heard of quite a few of both lists...does this mean I'm culturally illiterate?

    Personally...who cares.

  3. ML: culturally illiterate? Not at all... after all, no matter how much they try, I'm sure the list is still biased towards the compilers' own preferences and own exposure.

    And yeah - I'm not bothered that I "didn't do well" : I think it just proves that we're non-maintream: and I like being non-mainstream :D


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