Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Books finished in 2010:
1. Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You - Peter Cameron. Read most of this over Christmas at the parents' house, finished in the first day or two of the year.
2. The Recruit - Robert Muchamore. I liked it significantly more than the Alex Rider books. Felt more "real", if that makes any sense. Must remember to seek out the rest of the series.
3. Crocodile Tears - Anthony Horowitz. Speaking of Alex Rider. This one was a lot better than the last two or three, though.
4. American Nerd - Benjamin Nugent
5. Tunnels - Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. Took forever to read. Didn't like it. Will not be seeking out the rest of the series.
6. A Single Man - Christopher Isherwood
7. Operation Red Jericho - Joshua Mowll. Lots of fun. Love all the charts and diagrams. I have book two on my shelf, waiting to be read.
8. Once a Runner - John L. Parker
9. Rocket Boys - Homer H. Hickam, Jr.
10. Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim - David Sedaris. Weirdly, it was familiar enough that I was sure I'd already read it, yet unfamiliar enough that I knew I hadn't. Strange.
11. A Firing Offense - George P. Pelacanos. I basically only read this one because I wanted to read the sequel, Nick's Trip, which was the movie that Theresa Duncan had wanted to make starring Beck, but when Beck backed out of the project she went into this whole big depressive anti-Scientology spiral and eventually killed herself. The book was alright, not really in my wheelhouse.
12. Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer. A lot of fun, but I probably won't be seeking out the rest of the series.
13. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running - Haruki Murakami
14. Derby Girl - Shauna Cross. Movie was better.
15. The Game of Their Lives - Geoffrey Douglas
16. When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris
17. Alas, Babylon - Pat Frank
18. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn & David Levithan. Really dug it. A lot different than the movie.
19. Knives at Dawn - Andrew Friedman
20. Little Brother - Cory Doctorow
21. Nick's Trip - George Pelicanos. I didn't really care for it, actually. I liked A Firing Offense better, I think.
22. Dancer From the Dance - Alan Holleran. Loved it. Didn't think I would. It was just that the characters in here had so little to do with me, or with anyone I knew, yet Holleran's command of language is so perfect. Really looking forward to reading the rest of his books (I already read Grief a while back, loved it).
23. The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To - D.G. Pierson
24. Michael Tolliver Lives - Armistead Maupin
25. FTW - Cory Doctorow
26. When You Reach Me - Rebecca Stead
27. Driving Mr. Albert - Michael Paterniti
28. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner - Alan Sillitoe
29. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
30. Room - Emma Donoghue. Loved it. So simple and sad.
31. The Girl Who Played With Fire - Stieg Larsson
32. Juliet, Naked - Nick Hornby. Having not really loved anything that Hornby has written since About a Boy, I was actually happy with this one, despite it all feeling a bit "retready".
33. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest - Stieg Larsson
34. Not a Star and Otherwise Pandemonium - Nick Hornby. Just two short stories (not even novellas) bundled together for some reason as one eBook from the library. Awful. Both of them. :(
35. Squirrel Meets Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary - David Sedaris. I really much prefer Sedaris' essays and memoirs over his fiction.
36. Heat Wave - Richard Castle
37. Ghost Hunt - Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson with Cameron Dokey
38. All I'm Cracked Up to Be - Jen Trynin. As "rock memoirs" go, this is pretty tame. No drinking, no drugs, no trashed hotel rooms, and even the big adulterous hookup is described as nothing more than kissing and hand-holding. That's right, hand-holding! What are you, 12? The book is interesting to me because I remember (and am a fan of) Trynin's records, as well as those of many of the other bands and people mentioned. Still, even the harshest behind-the-scenes stories come off as merely catty, or occasionally bitchy, but never at all dishy. Skip it unless you are a fan of (and have an unhealthy fascination with) the American indie music scene of the early 90s.
39. And Another Thing... - Eoin Colfer
40. Mary Ann in Autumn - Armistead Maupin. They're baaaack.... All of the Tales of the City books are entertaining reads, but can all more or less be split into one of two categories: the ones where you actually learn and care about the characters, and the ones where "a bunch of stuff happens". Michael Tolliver Lives is definitely one where you learn and care about the characters; Mary Ann in Autumn is definitely one where "a bunch of stuff happens".
41. Let the Right One In - John Lidqvist. Sooo much more messed up than either of the movies.
42. Naked Heat - Richard Castle
If you sat me down and MADE me pick my 10 favorites, I guess I'd go with (unranked):
Alas, Babylon - Pat Frank
Dancer From the Dance - Andrew Holleran
FTW - Cory Doctorow
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
Let the Right One In - John Lindqvist
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Once a Runner - John L. Parker
Rocket Boys - Homer H. Hickam, Jr.
Room - Emma Donoghue
A Single Man - Christopher Isherwood
Who Can Save Us Now? - ed. Owen King and John McNally. Been picking at this one so long I don't know why I just don't sit down one weekend and finish it.
The Gone-Away World - Nick Harkaway
The Best America Short Stories 2010 - ed. Richard Russo
Started, couldn't finish (may revisit):
Zodiac - Robert Graysmith
The Shroud of the Thwacker - Chris Eliot
I am Number Four - Pittacus Lore. They really ought to have called it...wait for it...I am Number Two. Truly awful, I gave up halfway through. I'm not saying it's the worst thing I've read in my life, but it's almost definitely the worst book I read this year.
And, this year, I read quite a few. Finished 42 of them, in fact. Not bad. In 2011, I'm trying for 52.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Java Girl on E.66th near 1st Ave. is my favorite coffee shop in the city, not least of all because I used to live right up the street when I first moved here many years back. A cool, laid back, friendly and cozy place to get a good cup of coffee and just sit for a spell - it had (to me) a very L.A. feel to it, something I'd been sorely missing, and something that I'd been rather shocked at how hard it was to find here in the city. My only complaint about the place was that they closed so early in the evening.
Even after I moved downtown I still made it a point to stop by whenever I was in the area, which was not often as there isn't especially any reason to be in that part of town unless you lived there. Once the Schwartzes moved from E.57th to Central Park South, I really was never in the area at all.
This afternoon I go to see The Illusionist at the Paris. It's not as cold as it has been and I'm in no particularly rush to go home afterward, so I take a walk. As I slowly make my way higher uptown and further east, I suddenly think about Java Girl for the first time in at least a year, and wonder if it's still around. Probably not, I think.
Wrong. Not only is it still there, but it still looks, feels, and sounds exactly the same, the coffee is still good, and the place is as busy as it's ever been.
I need to not wait so long before coming back here again.
Monday, December 27, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Monday, December 06, 2010
Everyone who lived in NYC in the early 2000s remembers these uber-sketchy subway ads. Anyone remember the name of the lawfirm?
That baby with the gasmask freaks me the hell out.