The 5-disc Blade Runner set on Blu-ray arrived the other afternoon, at the store where I'd ordered it. I'd actually gotten the 4-disc set on DVD from a friend as a belated gift, but I was able to swap it for the Blu-ray set for only a couple dollars more, and everyone went away happy.
So far I've only watched the first disc — and just the feature on the first disc, no commentaries or anything like that — but its status as legend is re-cemented in my mind. The touch-ups they've made, by the way, are so subtle and well-done that you'd never know they were there unless you were hunting for them in the first place.
On the way back I swung through a local bookstore and took a look at what was on the discounted tables. To my surprise, they had marked down the recent snazzy-looking reprints of Ian Fleming's Bond novels, so I grabbed two: Casino Royale and You Only Live Twice. I did remember reading some of the Bond adventures when I was much younger — like Moonraker, which is so far removed from the film it's not funny — but my memory of them was pretty hazy, and I had tried to read them at an age where I didn't appreciate most of what was going on.
I also snapped up a bunch of other things that looked interesting and were dirt cheap:
Pierre Guyotat, Eden Eden Eden: "Infamous" is the nicest word used to describe this verbal emetic that most people will shelve along with Naked Lunch and the rest of the books of that school of psychic and verbal assault. At $7 I figured it was worth a look, especially since I've seen copies swapping hands for as much as $30.
Hwang Sok-Yong, The Guest: "During the Korean War, Hwanghae Province in North Korea was the setting of a gruesome fifty-two day massacre. In an act of collective amnesia the atrocities were attributed to American military, but in truth they resulted from malicious battling between Christian and Communist Koreans. Forty years later, Ryu Yosop, a minister living in America returns to his home village, where his older brother once played a notorious role in the bloodshed. Besieged by vivid memories and visited by the troubled spirits of the deceased, Yosop must face the survivors of the tragedy and lay his brother's soul to rest." [*]
Yi Chong-jun, Your Paradise: "...tells the story of a leper colony, where the lepers are outwardly treated with the greatest of kindnesses. Indeed, a new director is attempting the reintegrate the leper community and their families with the world outside the leper island. But suddenly he meets great resistance-not from the world outside, but from the lepers themselves, who prefer the protection and organization of the island. The lepers want nothing to do with modern-day Korea with its numerous problems." — From the book's back jacket. I've decided to start getting into modern Korean literature, and these two seemed like good places to start.
Hagiwara Sakurato, Howling at the Moon: Poetry from an early 20th-century Japanese master of same, newly translated by Hiroaki Sato.
100 Verses from Old Japan: A Tuttle edition of the Hyaku-nin-isshiu, a compendium of classic verses that's been around in one form or another since the 7th century.
There's also a bunch of new comics in for review at AMN (soon to undergo a name change — more on that later), including the long-awaited Purgatory Kabuki, the Hell Girl manga, and a reprint of Masamune Shirow's Dominion (Tank Police). Look for all that soon.