Coffee drinkers are diabolical

I don’t like coffee. It’s far too bitter for my tastes. Though I do sometimes envy coffee drinkers their passionate love of the stuff. That look of relaxation and satisfaction on their faces when they get their hands on (and lips around) that first cup of the day almost makes me wish for another vice…but not quite. Coffee breath is right up there with smokers’ breath and coldsores on my “list of reasons not to snog someone”.

Writer Ben Obler clearly doesn’t have any such qualms. He obviously loves his cuppa-joe because he’s gone to the trouble of compiling a list of the top 10 coffee drinking scenes in literature. I mean, I’ve got to ask – is this not the unhinged behaviour of an addict?

What other top 10 literary scenes might other fanatical enthusiasts conjure up? The chicklit crowd might offer up the top 10 scenes “where the previously totally unsuitable suitor delivers a speech so moving that the heroine is rendered incapable of rebuffing him and they fall into each others arms”. Top 10 descriptions of trains (model or otherwise)? I’d like a top 10 of cheesecake eating. Truly the possibilities are endless.

What would be the subject of your literary top 10?

Silence is golden

I really like going to the movies, but often the actors ruin it for me. Maybe that’s why silent films appeal – the actors don’t speak, and I can project onto them. Also the outfits are often really good. So it was with great pleasure that I happened on Silent Movies : the birth of film and the triumph of movie culture, a stunning new collection of essays and images on the beginnings of the film industry.

Silent film wasn’t all damsels tied to train tracks. This book demonstrates the variety of work that was being created. Such a new medium naturally lent itself to considerable experimentation. The book pays homage to the work of art directors, cinematographers and directors and is lavishly illustrated with stills, promo materials and posters from the Library of Congress’s memorabilia collection. The cover photo for example of Clara Bow is beautiful.

If you are already schooled in the history of cinema, this may not offer any new information, but it does provide a nice condensed examination of the international film industry from 1893 to 1927. What I am most impressed about is the coverage of the industry outside the U.S. Author Peter Kobel examines genres such as horror, westerns and comedy. Apparently interest in the preservation of silent films has increased in recent years. Director Martin Scorsese is a big advocate for tracking down and restoring what is lost (he writes the foreword for this book). Continue reading