Saturday, January 26, 2013
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Monday, January 14, 2013
The Morbid Anatomy Library and Museum at Proteus Gowanus, Brooklyn.
The Morbid Anatomy Library and Museum is at first glance a contextless, odds-and-ends jumble of bones, dusty taxidermy, vintage coleoptery and lepidoptery, various Catholic and Day of the Dead iconography, dead animals in bottles, doll parts, body casts, anatomical diagrams, and assorted dental and surgical tools. What does it all mean, what can it all mean, taken separately, taken together?
But the more you take in the collection, the more you absorb the different items, it suddenly dawns on you - it's death. Death is what unites this collection of assorted strangeness. Specifically, the many ways in which we try to study it, collect it, bottle it, stuff it, draw and diagram it, classify and cubbyhole it, put little bows and ribbons on it, spin fanciful tales about it, joke about it, and yes, photograph it, all the various ways in which we ourselves attempt to deal with it (or, perhaps more specifically, to not deal with it). And if that collection is a bit messy, a bit mad, even utter nonsense... Need I say more?
We all live our lives hoping that by the end of it we'll be able to face death without fear. For some people, this means living a life of courage and loving without regret. For others, this will involve putting a little hat on a dead duck and sticking it under glass.
People are funny. We are. And that's probably why I love us, even when I hate us.
I think we're gonna be just fine.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
Saturday, January 05, 2013
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
|Singularity & Co.|
The Dog Stars - Peter Heller
The Emperor's Children - Claire Messud
Foxy: My Life in Three Acts - Pam Grier, Andrea Cagan
Little Star - John Ajvide Lindqvist
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert (trans. Lydia Davis)
1984 - George Orwell
Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory - Ben Macintyre
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
The Terror - Dan Simmons
Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green, David Levithan
Here is the full list, in the order in which I read them:
1) Scorpia Rising - Anthony Horowitz. Adieu, Alex Rider.
2) Maximum Security - Robert Muchamore. No comment on the rest of the CHERUB series that I read over the year, other than to say that they're not very good, and by book 6 or 7 I just wanted to get them over with.
3) Forever - Pete Hammill. Good premise squandered on fairly conventional/boring story. And all that "he ran his fingers through her thick, wiry, African hair" business gets way old, way fast.
4) Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert (trans. Lydia Davis). Birthday present from Matty. I had some doubts because I remember reading this in school and thinking it was really boring. I don't know if it's the new translation or just my getting older, probably both, but I loved it this time around. Breezily deadpan and really smart-assedly ironic that had me laughing out loud at points.
5) Player One - Douglas Coupland. I still feel the need to read every Douglas Coupland novel that comes out, even though I can't remember the last time I thought one was actually any good (possibly All Families are Psychotic). At least I don't rush out anymore. I wait until they come in at the library. And they are never worth the wait (anymore). Once as a gag I wrote a "Douglas Coupland random story generator" that I think worked pretty well. I should look for it sometime.
6) Foxy: My Life in Three Acts - Pam Grier, Andrea Cagan. Man, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an ass.
7) Ghost Trackers - Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Tim Waggoner. I bought this for Shannon for xmas, and borrowed it back from her to read it. When I started it, I thought I could rip through it in a weekend. Instead it may have taken me over a month. It's not very good.
8) The Terror - Dan Simmons. Xmas present from Rene. A bit long at points, but overall a really exciting and scary history-based supernatural horror novel.
9) Ready Player One - Ernest Cline. Fun, quick read, but I'm not really feeling the love that I've seen online for this.
10) Fair Coin - E.C. Myers. Decent YA sci-fi in the sci-fi-for-people-who-don't-like-sci-fi vein.
11) The Nick Adams Stories - Ernest Hemingway. Picked this up at a book store by Yale when I went up to CT for Johnny & Harlem's wedding last fall. It's taken me this long to get to it.
12) 1984 - George Orwell. Another xmas present from Rene. Haven't read it since high school. Great book. What more is there to say?
13) Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory - Ben Macintyre. Heard about this from a "Stuff You Missed in History Class" podcast. History was never my favorite subject in school and out, but I loved this book. Great "heist" story with lots of sexy WWII cloak and dagger stuff. Now I'm thinking that maybe I like history, a little bit.
14) The Killing - Robert Muchamore.
15) Divine Madness - Robert Muchamore.
16) Harlan's Race - Patricia Nell Warren. Didn't like it as much as The Front Runner. While that book felt like a good melodrama well-placed in an era of history, this one just felt like an era laid over a story, if that makes any sense.
17) Red Shirts - John Scalzi. See Ready Player One.
18) Man vs. Beast - Robert Muchamore.
19) The Emperor's Children - Claire Messud. Matty lent it to me because he thought I would like it. He was right! Sorry it took so long to get it back to you...
20) All You Need is Kill - Hiroshi Sakurazaka. I guess they made a movie of this, starring Tom Cruise? Weird.
21) Absolute Brightness - James Lecesne. Ehh...
22) The Fall - Robert Muchamore.
23) Mad Dogs - Robert Muchamore.
24) The New England Grimpendium - J.W. Ocker. Ocker has a great "voice", and I love his selections in this book (and his blog), but I have a few complaints about the book itself. For one thing, he really should have included a lot more photographs (not to mention COLOR photographs) of a lot of the interesting things he talks about. He actually says at points that the reader should go to his blog to see more pictures, and as a reader of said blog I've noticed that in many cases the blog entries are actually more detailed and informative than the book. So in these senses it felt like the book was an advertisement for the blog, instead of the other way around. I guess that's just how publishing works nowadays. I don't think I like it.
25) Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness - Scott Jurek, Steve Friedman. Recommended by Chris H. A book that I wish I liked a lot more than I did, and let's just leave it there.
26) The Age of Miracles - Karen Thompson Walker. I did not like this book.
27) You & I - Leonard Nimoy. Happened across this at Singularity & Co. I had never seen it before. After reading it, I've decided that it is THE SECOND MOST 70s book EVER. The first being, of course, Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Still debating on what's third (possibly Chariots of the Gods?)
28) Frozen Heat - Richard Castle. Sue me - I have a lot of fun with the Nikki Heat books, and dread a time when there will not be a new one waiting to be read every Fall.
29) The Casual Vacancy - J.K. Rowling. Trash, but entertaining.
30) The Dog Stars - Peter Heller. A bit long at points, and the ending is a little racist if you think about it too much (which, of course, yeah), but I really did enjoy this book.
31) Little Star - John Ajvide Lindqvist. Carrie + Mean Girls + Pop Idol + Heavenly Creatures + internet trolling + Bright Eyes + the case FOR child abuse. It is ugly and gross but also beautiful and I think I love it.
32) The Sleepwalker - Robert Muchamore.
33) Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green, David Levithan. Cute.
34) Love is the Higher Law - David Levithan. I like David Levithan.
35) The General - Robert Muchamore.
36) Brigands M.C. - Robert Muchamore.
37) Ghost Town - Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson, Tim Waggoner. Fair play - Shan got me this for my birthday. Again, it's a book that I thought I could have done in a weekend but instead winds up taking me a few weeks. Better than Ghost Trackers, I thought, but still plenty of cringe-worthy, eye-rolling moments to be had.
38) Shadow Wave - Robert Muchamore. And I'm done with the CHERUB series! No plans to seek out the Henderson's Boys series or the CHERUB II stuff, unless a significant number of people whose opinions I trust tell me that I'd like them better than the first series. Would like to keep my 2013 CHERUB-free, however.
39) The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky. Weeks after seeing the movie (which I loved), one morning I woke up and just decided that I needed to own this book. Reading the entire thing out loud (don't ask) took a bit longer than just reading it straight through, but it was still done fairly quickly, and I loved it.
40) Close Encounters of the Third Kind - Steven Spielberg. Another Singularity & Co. pick-up. I have not seen the movie all the way through since the 80s. Watching the movie, you kind of forget how much of an asshole Neary is to his family (at least I did - probably because I was so young and just didn't care). I put the movie on my Netflix because I want to see if the effects hold up. Also I guess there was some new "edition" that came out a few years ago?
So, that's it. 40 books finished in 2012, plus a couple more that I started and put down that I may eventually finish, maybe even this year...