Saturday, December 05, 2009

On Some Faraway Beach: The Life and Times of Brian Eno
by David Sheppard
-disappointed in this, but dutifully finished. Would have liked more ideas to chew on. Instead mostly a rundown of "then he did this, then this, then this" with few interesting insights into the whys and wherefores.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Reading a lot, as always, but not finishing anything.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Entre Parentesis
La Pista de Hielo
Putas Asesinas
Una Novelita Lumpen por Roberto Bolaño
Eleven Kinds of Lonelines by Richard Yates
Anton Chekhov's Short Stories (Norton)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet
by Oliver Morton
-Really enjoyed this.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Little Lulu Vol:19
by John Stanley

Bourbon Island 1730
by Lewis Trondheim and Olivier Appollodorus

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

On Deep History and the Brain
by Daniel Lord Smail

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Desire of My Eyes: the Life and Work of John Ruskin
by Wolfgang Kemp

Monday, June 08, 2009

Herbie Vol. 2

Monologues for Calculating the Density of Black Holes
by Andrew Nelson

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Angels and Ages
by Adam Gopnik

Herbie Vol. 1 and 2

skimmed/didn't finish

A Biographer's Notebook
by Hector Bolitho (good, funny)

The Scramble for Africa
by Thomas Pakenham (good, not funny)

Breaking the Headache Cycle
by Ian Livingstone and Donna Novak
(I don't get migraines, but I was curious the relaxation exercises)

There's a few more but I can't remember offhand.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll
by Alvaro Mutis
-I can only recommend the first 3 novellas, which I really enjoyed...but considering what came after, I now doubt my reaction to those stories. As the book goes on, the interesting structures and adventure gets dialed way down, and the cliches and fake world-weariness and self-regarding bullshit gets to be too much, and it turns into almost a self-parody. By the end I was rolling my eyes big time! and almost quit reading, but kept with it. Sorry Katie.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

(These are the interesting and noteworthy articles and essays I read this month.)


The Last Book Party
Gideon Lewis-Kraus

Invisible Hands
Ken Silverstein

Curtain callsLinkBy Edward Hoagland

Fatal Distraction
by Gene Weingarten
-Overwhelming. Be sure to read to the end.

The Unfinished
by D.T. Max

A Devil Obsessed Conglomeration of Christian Misfits
by William Giraldi

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Six Walks in the Fictional Woods
by Umberto Eco

Last Evenings on Earth and By Night in Chile
by Roberto Bolaño

The Dubliners and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
by James Joyce

The Odyssey
Robert Fagles translation
Difficult Loves and Marcovaldo
by Italo Calvino

The New Sun
by Taro Tashima

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I'm going to start keeping track of noteworthy articles, essays, and longer blog posts I read on month-by-month basis. I'll add to this entry until Feb. is done.


Speaking in Tongues
Zadie Smith

Wow, Fiction Works!
Colson Whitehead

Sick in the Head
Why America won't get the health-care system it needs
Luke Mitchell

The war on telephone poles
By Eula Biss

A brief personal history of altweekly comics in America
Tom Tomorrow

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Dolphin Reader
ed. Douglas Hunt

-This is 1000+ pages, an anthology textbook of essays, 1986 edition. There are several editions of this anthology. From what I can tell by a quick look around the Internet, different editions have sometimes very different content. I think it's pretty great; at times it felt like reading a great issue of a giant magazine--a lot of it is magazine-style writing.

It goes high on 2 of my lists: "Books That Give You a Decent Liberal Education w/o Going to College" and "How To Write."

These were some of the highlights:

"Twins" and "Progress and Change"
by EB White
"Lord Bacon"
by Thomas Babington Macaulay
"On a Greek Holiday"
by Alice Bloom
"Why Paul Fussell Thinks He's Better Than You"
by James Fallows
(The section on "Art and Sport" contained the highest number of essays that I really enjoyed:)
"In the Country"
by Roger Angell (I was surprisingly moved by this, about loving baseball, of all things!)
"Georgia O' Keefe"
by Joan Didion
by Ernest Hemingway
"Art for Art's Sake"
by EM Forster
"Benefit of Clergy"
by George Orwell
"Las Meninas"
by Kenneth Clark
"Holy Dying"
by Jeremy Taylor
by Walker Percy
"Writing and Typing"
by John Kenneth Galbraith
"Examsmanship and the Liberal Arts"
by William G. Perry

(Left off this list are some classics which "go without saying," like "Civil Disobedience," "Letter from Birmingham Jail" or "Once More to the Lake" etc. Also Jessica Mitford's muckraking journalism makes a couple of inspiring appearances. She is new to me.)

As a service to future generations, I also kept track of what the LAME! essays, which I thought were either written in a weak or annoying style, or full of bad thinking, usually both:

"The Abolition of Man"
by CS Lewis (I have read this essay/book probably 4 or 5 times over the years, and I grow to despise it more and more. Someday I hope to write more about it...)
"Hugh Hefner" and "The Right Stuff"
by Tom Wolfe (These confirmed for me why my spider-sense has told me to avoid Tom Wolfe over the years. I don't like reading the way he writes.)
"The Middle Class"
by Paul Fussell
"In Defense of Snobs"
by William Manchester
"Going Home Again: The New American Scholarship Boy" and "Mr. Secrets"
by Richard Rodriguez (Not really that offensive...just mediocre navel-gazing.)
"The Poetry of Edwin Arlington Robinson"
by Robert Frost
"Suburbia: Of Thee I Sing"
by Phyllis McGinley
"Sunrise with Seamonsters"
by Paul Theroux (I have liked some of his writing in other places, but this was like being told a long anecdote by a person you wouldn't want to hang out with.)
"The Faith"
by David Bradley (skippable memoir)
"No Essays, Please!"
Joseph Wood Krutch (What a name! Not that bad, just particularly skippable.)
"Enlargement of Mind"
by John Henry Newman (This one has some meaty ideas to think about, but Newman is one of THE classic versions of my arch-enemies, the Disingenuous Intellectual Christian Krusader, whose schtick goes something like, "here's an argument showing how I'm right and you're wrong...but by the way, just so you know, also you're going to burn eternally in there's that to consider as well...")

Six Walks in the Fictional Woods
by Umberto Eco

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Wolf Whistle and
Music of the Swamp

by Lewis Nordan
Savage Detectives (in English), Amulet, and Nazi Literature in the Americas
by Roberto Bolaño

The All Girl Football Team
by Lewis Nordan