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Comment Re:Let's see how it works out (Score 3, Interesting) 106

Anecdotally as well, I have had the opposite experience.

Admittedly, I don't see complex spreadsheets or macro-heavy documents in my library, but patrons bring in old doc, docx, MS Works or WordPerfect documents, as well as a variety of simple spreadsheets and presentations--LibreOffice opens them all, with only minor formatting problems. Libreoffice will even open a large number of Office templates.

The only persistent problem I have is that whenever I do a LibreOffice upgrade, Windows switches all the open/save preferences from Libreoffice back to MS Office.

Comment The Lone Gunmen could have been good... (Score 2) 166

...if they had respected the characters and the world.

It should have been a darkly comic thriller with a team that only managed to hold together because of the importance of what they were doing. Instead, "they" derailed the cast with Jimmy Bond (and also with Yves Harlow--what, they couldn't find a woman ANYWHERE who could become a functioning part the team?) and turned The Lone Gunmen into a shallow, slapstick-ridden mockery of its X-files version.

Still disappointed after all these years.

Comment Re:In school: BAN EVERYTHING outside public domain (Score 1) 410

I wish the one here inspired kids to read. I get boys from the remedial class with letter jackets boasting that they haven't read a book since junior high, and who check out the same books on which they have been writing reports since grade school (Gary Paulsen). The girls check out either A Child Called "It" or Ellen Hopkins' poem-novels. Every year. Apparently the teachers don't compare notes or just are there to keep them eligible to play.

I am of the opinion that if you can find the right book, you can get a reader for life, but I must confess that, while I can generally match adults with "their" books, I often have trouble with engaging younger readers, and in maintaining their interest on the rare occasion that a book happens to catch them unawares. It's a problem.

Comment Re:His Dark Materials? (Score 1) 410

Thanks! Of the above, I've only ever read Shibumi and Vampire Hunter D, and I'm always looking for new materials. Of my recommendations, KJ Parker writes intricately plotted, low-magic fantasy that usually ends with the fall or destruction of society, while Kay writes fantasy based on real-world cultures.

Comment Re:His Dark Materials? (Score 1) 410

Mack Reynolds was a sci-fi author who, among other things, wrote a series of novels based around the concept of a Universal Basic stipend. As far as I am aware, the books are long out of print, but they were the first sc-fi I remember reading that used economic theory as the basis for the societies depicted, and looked at the effect it had on various individuals. The series started with Looking Backward from the Year 2000, an updating and examination of Bellamy's utopia of the same title.

He wrote quite a bit around the areas of social, economic or utopian theory. I haven't read him in years, and I don't know how well his books have held up, but I enjoyed reading them at the time.

Incidentally, he also wrote the first licensed Star Trek novel, though I.m not certain if that's to his credit or not. :)

Comment Re:In school: BAN EVERYTHING outside public domain (Score 1) 410

Sorry I'm so late replying...

I'm torn. On the one hand, 20+ years later, I'm glad they made me read The Scarlet Letter, Of Mice and Men, Cry the Beloved Country, etc., and tried to get me to see the point of them. On the other hand, I'm not so sure I benefited at the time, given my level of maturity and lack of interest. On the gripping hand, OH YE GODS--Grapes of Wrath and Return of the Native WERE MIND-NUMBING!


Sometimes I think a good teacher makes all the difference--some of them can make any book, no matter how boring or irrelevant, into a magical experience; while others could could turn reading The Scarlet Pimpernell into weeks of slogging through Russian mud.

Sometimes I think it would be interesting to take those classics again, with a group of adults and a reasonably good teacher, and see how we would react now.

Comment Re:His Dark Materials? (Score 1) 410

Sorry I'm so late in reply.

The Gap Cycle? Any of Brandon Sanderson's work? Your Memory: How It Works and How To Improve It? Moonwalking with Einstein? Any books about the game of Go?

Yes (or at least I'm almost finished)--I've found it more readable than Thomas Covenant, of which I've never made it past the third volume; Yes--I hope he doesn't die before finishing The Cosmere--I love the concept; No, and No--the library has Memory Fitness, Don't Forget, and Double your Brain Power, but both of your suggestions look promising--I'm adding them to my "review-to-purchase" queue and I just ordered Einstein through interlibrary to read (thanks!); and Yes--I play (terribly--my 10 yr. old nephew beats me routinely) and the library has Go books, a game set, and even a good portion of the Hikaru No Go manga, which I donated in the (forlorn) hope of attracting people to the game.

...and in the interest of conversation, have you read any K.J. Parker or Guy Gavriel Kay? I also would recommend The Professor and the Madman, Bill Bryson's At Home, or the Flavia De Luce series by Alan Bradley, just 'cause they're delightful reads.

Comment Re:In school: BAN EVERYTHING outside public domain (Score 1) 410

Sorry I'm so late in reply.

I entirely agree--There were valid reasons for the 14 year term and for requiring manual renewals. (and it wasn't so Disney could hold onto Steamboat Willie for eternity). Aside from an adjustment for increasing lifespan, I'd like to see it revert. Alas, much of copyright is now bound by treaty.

Comment Re:Rage (Score 1) 410

Sorry to be so late in reply

--Yes, if a film is based on a book (Blade Runner), or the other way around (Star Wars) both are shelved together. It encourages discoveries (for instance: Planet of the Apes and Bridge on the River Kwai were both written by Pierre Boulle), and hopefully, also encourages reading the original books (not so much, I've found).

Unfortunately, as of yet, our catalog doesn't allow book and film records to link to each other, but I'm hoping--It would also allow me to link books and/or films in series. (Die Hard is based on Roderick Thorp's Nothing Lasts Forever, which is a sequel to The Detective, filmed under the same title with Frank Sinatra, while Die Hard 2 is based upon Walter Wager's novel 58 Minutes, etc.)

Comment Re:Book Bans (Score 1) 410

No, because ratings as they are practiced are neither objective nor open.

real world violence is not cartoon violence is not comedic violence is not offscreen violence is not bloodless-gunshot violence (think old cowboy/war movies) is not television violence is not stylized violence is not realistic violence is not gorn. My cutoffs for each of these is likely different to yours.

Jessica Rabbit starred in an eight-pager in Gary Wolf's original book. Would knowing that change your rating of the film? (it is at least part of the reason WFRR was released under Touchstone rather than Disney, so it did affect someone's opinion).

Unless a ratings system is open and explicit, too much is left up to the panel judging--it can not be trusted as objective, and if it is open and explicit, the system will either stifle creativity or will be gamed. Based on past performance, I certainly do not trust the judgement of the MPAA ratings board on film; the Comics Code Authority screwed the US comics industry for decades; and the rulings of the Hayes Commission were adhered to in form, but not substance by anyone with ingenuity.

Why would I trust ANY body's judgement in place of my own?

Comment Re:Every book we read in school (Score 1) 410

All banned books means is that the someone was offended by the book. Not to be glib, but I agree this definition is way to broad. We should be looking at books that were really banned, not just subject to some letter writing campaign by wimpy jerks that don't make any real contributions to society.

It is overly broad--and inaccurate. " Banned" means it was actually banned, though it doesn't reference to the length of time or geographic area.

What you are referring to is a "challenged" book. Challenges happen significantly more than actual banning, and there are, unfortunately, several organizations devoted to recruiting participants to the "letter writing campaign[s]."

Nothing recedes like success. -- Walter Winchell