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You’ll love these.
I failed to mention this great New York Magazine compilation which serenades six authors, William Gibson, Peter Carey, Kathryn Harrison, Simon Rich, Rebecca Skloot and the owner of the Mysterious Bookshop. I’m already hot to trot on some of the Gibson titles.
If you want off summer blockbuster reads; check it out.
Off her March exhibit at Deitch Projects comes Rosson Crow’s new book, Bowery Boys.
Via Buzzine: “Inspired by Luc Sante’s book Low Life, Crow decided to focus on downtown culture. To research the subject, she and several girls from the gallery roamed the city visiting restaurants, bars, and clubs. She spouted the names of many of New York’s iconic places she had read about, including The Mudd Club at 77 White Street, which closed down in 1982, the year she was born. “It probably wasn’t as exciting visually inside,” she said.
Until I actually thumb through the book, it’s uncertain what my reaction will be, but I like the premise although it’s a bit LA-ized from what I’ve seen.
K8′s choice is going out on a limb this week with book titles (on the vintage side). I pass out these three slim titles now bound into a neat little trilogy entitled: The 2 1/2 Pillars of Wisdom to avid readers with a sense of humour. Those who like something quirky, interesting and cool (read: smart). I beg and plead you to visit the hilarious world of Professor Dr Moritz-Maria von Igelfeld of The Institute of Romance Philology. Alexander McCall Smith steps out of his Lady Detective mode with this series. It’s so peculiar in a Terry Gilliam way.
The lovely, witty illustrations of series is drawn by master of the trade Iain McIntosh.
By Dan Rhodes.
Yes, more spring book reviews (this one is old school people) but worth it.
A quirky tale of a disgraced composer named Cockroft who takes to the Italian countryside in seclusion. He accepts a fair amount of male-lovers and dotes on his beloved mongrel with eyes “as pretty as a little girl’s, Timoleon Vieta. A strange, cruel man known as The Bosnian randomly appears, moves in with Cockroft and kicks the dog to the curb. Timoleon is left alone to wander from Rome, up north and back along the countryside to his master. The footsteps of the dog guide the reader down a path of disconnected stories, united only by their common themes of love lost, tragic happenings, loneliness, and the singular stark image of Timoleon Vieta on his way home. Rhode’s book is strange, shocking, honest and occasionally obscene but always digging up something hidden that turns out to be weirdly familiar. It smacks you right in the face. It’s a dangerously funny and twisted writing effort by this British writer who makes you laugh and then makes you wonder why you are laughing. It ranges in the emotion department and soon you are crying, especially when something ugly may or may not be done to a dog using a spoon.
Off the Patti Smith recommendation brings another memoir to mind, quite different in tone yet a great read. Pick up, Donald Hall’s Unpacking the Boxes. Donald Hall is a historian with a devils wit.
Once again, the New York Times pens a banner review.
“Growing up on the crest of World War II in Connecticut, Hall was warned off masturbation by his father, but found relief in Flaubert and Tolstoy: “My understanding of what took place in locked carriages was imperfect, but I knew that it was something wicked and worth dying for.” He took on Keats and Shelley. “Every afternoon, I shut the door of my bedroom to write: Poetry was secret, dangerous, wicked and delicious.”
You are certainly amiss if you haven’t picked up Patti Smith’s JUST KIDS. Since reading the banner review on the New York Times. Without sounding like a broken cliché, I’ve not been able to put the book down. It truly captures the essence of leaving your ground, arriving in New York when the place was teeming with cool and slowly by slowly succeeding. I haven’t read memoirs this good in years…truly.
The New York Magazine propped out this book, The Benefits of Looking Up, on my favorite (always hit the last page first) Approval Matrix. Sadly I cannot find a photograph to post. However, it’s entangled balloons in trees. Things with their own beauty… you know, in that American Beauty trash bag blowing in the wind variety.
Approval Matrix rewind love re-read; here.
There are a few authors who write as I wish to write. One such writer is William Gibson whose earlier works rang true cyber Sci-Fi. Lucky (for me), he turned into the now-ish/recent past/near future in works such as Pattern Recognition (one of my all time favorites) but for now, I will talk about Spook Country, which is somewhat in the vein of PR. I’m not as razor sharp today, I read SC five or six months ago…still it resonates.
This fast paced piece features: bi-coastalness (LA + NY), surveillance, Union Square, former cult band singer turned investigative journalist, addictive pills, such reminders, “Secrets are the very root of cool”, Cuban Chinese criminals, ex-CIA figures. And yes, it makes me believe “the truth is out there.”
If you missed this, read it. Nothing will evolve until you do.
And, if you haven’t read Pattern Recognition, well, read that first. This little cheat sheet done by a cool site Not Good for Me lays out the principal character Cayce’s look. I like the look sans for the chick in the short black hair. I picture Cayce with long brown hair wrapped in a loose ponytail.
the novel, Twelve, is another book I wish I wrote. The author, Nick McDonell penned it back in 2002 at the ripe age of 17. gee whiz. He grew up in Manhattan and threw down at Harvard, now he’s reporter at large and just finished An Expensive Education, which I didnt care for as much as his first effort.
Read it before the film which is slated for 2010 (Kiefer Sutherland aka Jack Bauer stars in some capacity).
What it includes: White Mike (brilliant character + name), Manhattan Prep School behavior, drugs, Park Avenue (baby!), sex and violence, Camus-reading + chess playing characters. Although the ending is a bit absurd, this book should be taken in for its utter groundbreaking narrative and sharp almost crisp writing. There’s pop culture sprinkled throughout and a fair amount of name dropping labels.
It’s a fast read…I usually read it once a year. The opening line is proof enough…”White Mike is pale and thin like smoke.”
Wednesday’s mark many things, a work week hump and my Friday…it might be my new favorite day.
Today, it marks the beginning of my book reviews on New York subjects and titles. Today, I’m telling you to read John Wray‘s LOWBOY (check out the great author’s site…really cool design). Not to mention, Adrian Tomine is responsible for the cover art…another dream.
Lowboy logline: Schizophrenic teen runaway travels around New York City on the subway system looking for someone to sleep with in order to save the world.
KBD thoughts: outstanding read which includes teenage angst + uncertainty, straight sharp dialogue and fast tounges, dark subway tunnels, subterranean vibe, downtown 6 train, strangers, Bellevue, motives, mangolia bakery cupcakes, hope, alienation, global warming, hope fades, death is certain. End of the world type stuff. Hope all over again.
I wish I could write like Lowboy. Or any boy.
Read this book. Quickly.
A friend in Portland turned me onto this book after I explained (4 years back); the city hasn’t changed a bit. I bought the book; though portions of this book, comprised of essays (writers, scholars, etc) feel a bit outdated (hey we are in constant flux here). The authors still beg the question…is New York City just another town? A Mall of America? Yes, Starbucks on every corner, McDonalds, CVS’s, Urban Outfitters, Super Cuts, Barnes and Noble, Sprint Stores…it makes me think of a strip mall one might pass on a routine drive. A thinking piece to which I will draw more reference. Sewell Chan works a Q/A from an older New York Times piece: Ask the ‘Suburbanization of New York’ Editors
Maggie Wrigley, an Australian writer and artist who moved to the city in 1984 and was part of the Lower East Side squatters’ movement, wrote: “Change is inevitable — it is how the city lives and breathes. And I don’t begrudge a safer neighborhood — no one wants to dodge bullets or have to fight off a mugger with a two-by-four or a kitchen knife or a gun (as I did).” But she added:
I feel sad and angry that the only newcomers to Manhattan from now on will be those rich enough to buy their way in. No new immigrants will bring their ways and flavors and styles to our neighborhoods. No poor artists or writers or musicians will come here and fight to prove their worth. No struggle, no adventure — just pay to stay.
Maybe, New York is just another white picket fence. -KBD.