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Congratulations on your own great escape, Mac. I wish you all the best!

Congratulations on your retirement!

I may have to go to confession every time you say that.



Thank you, Paul and Craig.l I repeat, with emphasis: it feels great.

I'd rather have to work than to be an occasion of sin.

Should I try to figure out a way to block your access to this blog, for your own protection?

Congrats on the retirement, Mac!

I like The Great Escape and have seen it at least twice. But it's been a long time -- decades probably.

Tahanks! I'm not making any huge claims for the movie, but I predict you'd still enjoy it.

Congrats on the retirement, Mac! (from a long time lurking friend of Craig's).


About a year ago or so I watched another Steve McQueen movie from the 60's, The Sand Pebbles. I hadn't seen it since the early 70s (I would have been a pre-teen, an age where I watched a lot of war movies) but I thought it quite good.

I've heard that it is. I remember it being very popular at the time, but I never saw it.

I'm pretty sure I saw The Great Escape on TV in my late teens. I remember really liking it, but not much more about it. I think it inspired a sort of feeling of "good will out," that I wouldn't trust in this world anymore.

I know I saw The Sand Pebbles when it came out but I didn't remember anything about it, and then when I watched it a couple of years ago, it was completely different than I thought it would be. Funny, but I would have said I watched because Maclin had been talking about it, but I guess I must have been wrong!


"Funny, but I would have said I watched because Maclin had been talking about it, but I guess I must have been wrong!"

Maybe I mentioned it here when I watched it! Doesn't seem like a couple years ago, but I could be wrong.

Yes, Maclin posted something about the music from The Great Escape and you said you had watched that and The Sand Pebbles.

While looking for that, I somehow found the thread about the giant rooster, so now I've had my humor for the day.


Janet, I think you've become the archivist for this site. I don't remember anything about a giant rooster. Oh wait...yes I do...

I did however remember that we had at least mentioned The Sand Pebbles, and sort of thought I might have mentioned The Great Escape, or at least its music. But I'm a little distressed to find that I wrote, back in 2011, pretty much the same brief review of it that I've just re-written here. I have no memory of doing that.

Well, that's okay. I have no memory of reading it.



Good what? ;-D


Good that I'm not the only one with a bad memory, although forgetting that you wrote something is a lot worse than forgetting that you read it.

Well, I'll admit to that, too.

It's not everyday that you get to be archivist and a find out you are going to be having a 4-day work week from now on. Maybe I should whine more often.


I have no memory of yesterday.

I know I watched The Great Escape as a kid, and enjoyed it, most likely with my father, who has passed away. So it is a nice memory.

I didn't know that Maggie's Farm tolerated escapes, Mac?

I've been reading a little book titled The Year of Reading Dangerously, by Andy Miller. I bought it for an electronic reader a while back when it was cheap. The author comes up with a "list of betterment", 50 books that he will read rather than pretend he has for years. I don't know why, but it reminds me a little of you, and of me, and of people on this blog. It is amusing and fun, and he is British, so it is British too.

Maybe because he likes The Kinks? I don't know. The rest of the title reads something like "the year I read 50 great books and 2 by Dan Brown". :)

Heh. Anybody who likes The Kinks and doesn't like Dan Brown must be a person of basically good sense.

I hate to admit that I would read for "betterment" but I guess that's an aspect of what I'm doing in trying to read all the classics I missed when I was younger.

The escape from the farm is not quite complete. Going in for a meeting tomorrow morning. :-/

Stu, not long ago I picked up a somewhat similar book, also by a Brit, called Howard's End is On the Landing. It's by the novelist Susan Hill, and describes how she spent a year eschewing new books and reading only things she had in her home, books she owned but had basically forgotten about. The idea started when she was looking for a particular misplaced book, and in the course of her search was surprised by how many books she had that she hadn't read.

Btw, I've read little of Hill's fiction, but she did write one of the best modern ghost novels around, The Woman in Black.

It's occurred to me many times to count the books on my shelves that I haven't read, but it's not a happy thought, and I don't plan to do it.

Thanks Rob, that looks like a good one too, thought I don't know how much time I can spend reading about others reading.

"It's occurred to me many times to count the books on my shelves that I haven't read, but it's not a happy thought, and I don't plan to do it."

This has been on my mind lately, as I've been selling off a fair number of books -- mostly things I've read once and have decided I will probably not reread, or things I've acquired along the way but which I doubt I'll be reading anytime soon, if at all. I'm doing this primarily because I need the space, but it's still a little depressing.

Related to this, I'm also trying to break myself of the habit of buying a book because "I think I might read that someday." I've gotten much better at this as I've grown older, but the practice still rears its head from time to time. As I've told one of my local booksellers, it's a matter of my bibliophilic eyes being bigger than my stomach.

The worst instance of this was when I bought an old used set of the complete novels of Sir Walter Scott (45 vols.) back around 1985. Never read a one, and eventually they ended up in boxes. For the longest time I couldn't sell them, but I finally found a local bookseller who was interested. Amusingly enough, he paid me exactly what I had bought them for 20 years earlier -- $100.00

I am seriously ready to get rid of some books, and I having quit frequenting library sales. This is partly because the libraries have already sold off all the kinds of books I want and there is mostly junk there now.

I have several sets of books like that and some of them are going to go. For one thing the really old ones make me sick. If the paper is really decaying, pretty soon I can't breathe very well and I'm sick to my stomach. I doubt if anyone is going to want to pay me for them. I have most of a 30 volume set of the Church Fathers that I got free at the seminary because no one wanted them. I had the whole set, but three mysteriously disappeared while my house was being put back together. I ought to call the guy that I think stole them and ask if he wants the rest.

I really enjoyed many of the Waverly Novels, Rob, but I wouldn't want to give them shelf space now.


This is why that book made me think of all of you. I have similar problems to what Janet and Rob G are discussing. One time I even thought that if I have had a book for 10 years and never done anything except happily buy it and place it on a shelf it should go! Not sure I acted on that, but it was a nice thought. My latest idea is to just get rid of a bulk of the contemporary lit that I've read and will not re-read, or never read. The classics and collectors classics occupy their own shelf. Theology and most non-fiction is here in my office. My wife loves to point out our book problem and frown if she sees an Amazon package that I am trying to slip into the house...

My shelves are full of books I think the children might want to read one day. If I live 10 more years I'll know how optimistic or over-optimistic that was, and whether I could have had a lot more room a lot sooner.


You make me think about the day my husband retired from his job where he had been working for 28 years and had three offices and all the contents of the three offices came home. All I can say is, your poor wife because sooner or later those books are coming home. ;-)



Well, you've seen my children's books, and of course, I have to have them for the grandchildren.

And I do hope that my children will read some of the others sometime.


the film makes the Americans the main players, while in reality most of the participants were British and Canadian. I suppose the American film-makers did this to appeal to the American

Did we see the same film? The officer in charge was played by Richard Attenborough. See here:


Of the 15 actors listed, two are Germans, four are Americans, and nine are British (of whom one, Donald Pleasence, would be readily confused with an American).

Yes we saw the same film. I mean "main players" in the escape itself. Importance of role, not number. I mention Attenborough and Pleasance in the post.

Rob, re your Walter Scott purchase: on the other side of that, I still regret *not* buying the used set of Yale Shakespeare that I saw in 15 or more years ago (the Friends store, Stu). I think about it every time I pick up my 5-pound Pelican Shakespeare. People have many opinions about which edition is The Best, but those individual Yale volumes are great from the ordinary reader's point of view.

I think I have a few Unreads, or Only Glanced At, that go all the way back to college. I.e. 45+ years. Probably all non-fiction that I wasn't really all that interested in.

Maclin, There's a huge used bookstore in downtown Chattanooga called All Books. They had shelves in shelves of stuff like those Yale classics when I was there. Granted that was a while back but I can't imagine they've changed much. Maybe you could check it out some time when you go see your family. They were expensive though.


Thanks, but I probably wouldn't buy it now. At the time I didn't have a complete Shakespeare, but I do now, and although it's not the most convenient it'll do.

Im listening to Innocent Mussion on pandora. She is singing Edelweiss and I realize it is this version that opens and closes the episodes on The Man in the High Castle

I haven't heard that but I would think the effect might be sort of sinister in that context.

It's funny that a post about a movie has quickly turned to books!

Yes, it is.

A couple years ago I bought a complete works of Hawthorne set from the early 1900s, but when I got it home and actually looked at it closely, some of the volumes were in pretty rotten shape. I ended up returning it.

Until recently I had what I thought was an old set of Hardy's complete fiction, but it turned out I was missing a couple volumes. I ended up keeping the better known works, but selling off the minor stuff, which I'd probably never read.

The only "complete set" I have, really, is the Oxford Dickens.

I just bought a new modem that I think will fix the problem I'm having with my Wi-Fi. I f Paul's excellent post for the 52 Saints does not show up tomorrow, it didn't and I'll see you Monday.I'm in town on my cellphone now, but it won't work at home without Wi-Fi. AMDG

I'm feeling inspired to get rid of some unwanted books.

Anyway, I think I will have to add this movie to my list of things to watch.

I'd be surprised if you didn't like it. I don't make huge claims for it, but it's good.

Good luck with your wi-fi, Janet. I just installed a couple of those gizmos that use your house wiring as an Ethernet cable. I knew that technology existed but figured it was some kind of gimmick that only half-worked, or something. But a friend said he was using it and it worked fine. So far mine does. Roughly $50 expense, half an hour to set up (and it was only that long because I wanted to use a security feature that was not clearly explained in the installation instructions). And so far (several days) it's working great and is very noticeably faster, not to mention more stable.

Well, after getting home and finding out that the one I bought was not for DSL but cable. So Bill picked up the right one on the way home from the movie with our grandson, and just before he walked in the door, the wi-fi started working.


Okay. The Saints post will appear tomorrow morning. I've never had a guest post on my blog before. It's kind of nice.


I went to see the new Macbeth! It was on at an art theatre near Lincoln Center. I thought it was good. I know quite a bit of Macbeth by heart, and so it's a matter of listening to things one knows but Shakespeare is still infinitely surprising in the beauty of his language

I'm honoured to be the first guest contributor to your blog, Janet!

"infinitely surprising in the beauty of his language" captures it perfectly.

Yes, it does. I've just been re-reading Lear and having similar thoughts. I'd really like to see this in the theater but will probably have to wait for dvd. Macbeth might be my favorite Shakespeare play.

Here's a link to Paul's post at Janet's blog.

You guys are inspiring! Maybe I'll make a New Year's resolution to read the classics I own but haven't read. Maybe one a month?

My father, who is 82, and my daughter, who's planning to enter a convent, are both divesting themselves of books. They both feel very aware that they have limited time left to read what they have.

I'm also aware of having limited time left, but not so far along as that, so I'm still acquiring certain books that I've always meant to read, such as War and Peace. Though I suppose I should check the library first in those cases--no real need to own it, probably.

That's touching about your daughter.

"That's touching about your daughter."

Yes, it is.

"I'm still acquiring certain books that I've always meant to read, such as War and Peace. Though I suppose I should check the library first in those cases--no real need to own it, probably."

Our library allows 3 weeks for books to be checked out, so I generally use the library unless it's something I doubt I'll finish in the allotted time. I don't like being under pressure to finish a book, so when it comes to big books like W&P I usually buy a used copy.

Yes, that, and the possibility that I want to have it available either to read again in its entirety, or just to refer to a favorite passage or refresh my memory about something.

One exception: I've been slowly acquiring the really nicely done Overlook Press editions of Wodehouse. I don't plan to get all 100 or so novels, but all the Jeeves & Wooster ones, the Blandings ones, and some of the others that are considered among his best.

As I have alluded to ... this is a problem for me. Getting rid of books, that is. Sometimes I think I need to be standing up in an AA type meeting saying my name and that I am a book hoarder. :(

I was finally able to see this film, and I really enjoyed it! Re-reading your comments about it, I am pretty much in agreement. I liked the humour of the film, and its willingness to tell the story despite its not fitting the Hollywood mould very well.

Thanks for the recommendation.

You're welcome. Glad you liked it.

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