celticman's blog

Erik Larson (2015) Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.

Before I read this book, I thought like Erik Larson there was a direct line between the sinking of the Lusitania and the United States joining the war on the side of the Allies, much the same as happened at Pearl Harbour. But the Lusitania was sunk by German U-20 7 th May 1915. But the United States maintained a policy of neutrality despite German U-Boats sinking tens of thousands of tons of shipping and killing American citizens until the...

Saltburn (2023) written, directed, and co-produced by Emerald Fennell.

Saltburn wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Upstairs Downstairs, Brideshead Revisited, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Murder on the Dance Floor can go and take a good fuck to themselves as far as I’m concerned. What did you think? Notes. It’s a bit of a mishmash. Plot (2008 Film) for example follows Charles Ryder's relationship with the Flyte family, particularly his close friendship with the charismatic but troubled Sebastian Flyte, and the...

John Vaillant (2010) The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival.

I’m going to read John Valliant’s latest book, Fireweather an account of how we’re destroying our planet. Before going forward, I looked backward to Valliant’s account of how an Amur tiger, sometimes known as a Siberian tiger, killed and ate a hunter Dmitri Markov in the Primorye territory in Russia’s Far East, near the Chinese border were temperatures plummeted to 40-below zero Centigrade during the winter of December 1997. Few or any of us...

Nomadland (2020), Channel 4, Film 4, written, produced, edited and directed by Chloé Zhao. Based on the 2017 nonfiction book Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century by Jessica Bruder.

https://www.channel4.com/programmes/nomadland https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nomadland https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/02/nomadland-living-in-cars-working-amazon ‘I’m not homeless, I’m houseless,’ Fern (Frances McDormand) corrects a young girl she’d tutored after a chance meeting in a superstore, who’d heard she was homeless. In other words, Fern had gone from being one of us to one of them. A person to be feared and derided. ‘...

Carl MacDougall (2023) Already, Too Late.

I read all of Carl MacDougall’s books apart from his short-story collection Elvis is Dead . Reading is what I do. But I had ulterior motives. I was sponsored by Scottish Book Trust and mentored by Carl MacDougall for an unpublished novel The Cruelty Man 2018, which belatedly is being published by Spellbound Books as Beastie in 2024. I wanted to meet the man on the page before meeting the actual man. I knew far more about him than he knew about...

Our Friend, (2019) Prime, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, screenplay Brad Ingelsby, based on Matthew Teague's 2015 Esquire article 'The Friend: Love Is Not a Big Enough Word'..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Friend A feel-good movie where everybody knows the star is going to die isn’t a good premise for a movie unless it involves Jesus Christ. In the Saviour’s case, there’s always a chance of a follow up with Resurrection 2. Based on a true story, but where everybody is pretty and glittery as a disco ball. Actress, Nicole Teague (Dakota Johnson) has terminal cancer in 2013. She lives in Fairhope Alabama. She tells...

Robert Kolker (2020) Hidden Family Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family.

I once asked my cousin, Wullie, how they managed at tea time. He said they ate in shifts. Big ones and wee ones. Six and six. Another cousin, Paul, said when he was growing up (one of the youngest) he believed his mum, my Auntie Cathie, never slept. She was there when he got up and also there when he went to bed. Their dad died when they were young. Mum plugged the gap as typical Catholic working-class mothers did in the baby boom years after...

Matt Rowland Hill (2022) Original Sins: A Memoir.

Matt Rowland Hill (2022) Original Sins: A Memoir. I failed to appreciate the cover of the book. That’s no sin and not much of a joke either. I pay more attention to book covers than most. Being in the writing game with millions of other writers trying to sell books covers is the best chance of grabbing what we crave—readers’ attention. The book cover has an apple with a bit taken out of it, obscuring the words in gold lettering: Holy Bible. Matt...

Amsterdam (2022), Prime, Written and Directed by David O. Russell.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amsterdam_(2022_film) Amsterdam screenplay claims to be based ‘mostly on true events’. What it means by that is there was a first world war and a second world war and there is a place called Amsterdam. Hokum stretched thinly over two-and-a-quarter hours. Anyone that watched Scooby Doo knows how this film will end with those industrialists plotting against American democracy unmasked. It had me thinking there may be...

Jan Murphy (2023) The Psychic Fairy Queen.

I’m blessed enough to have a roof over my head. Blessed enough to have light and warmth on Christmas Eve. Blessed enough to be able to sit and read The Psychic Fairy Queen from start to finish without interruption, other than the necessary gallons of tea. I used to love books like this. I was brought up in a big Catholic family. There’s a joke in there about a small Catholic family not being Catholic enough. Not much call for Gwyneth Paltrow’s...

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