Tuesday, December 09, 2008

2008-the year of not quite so many books and some travel, part 1

Well, I guess I've started my yearly summary a little late this time. But that's OK, because I haven't really read all that much this year. I guess that's Doris Lessing's fault. She cursed my reading-year. Maybe. Or maybe it's because this year didn't suck nearly as much as last year so I didn't need to take refuge in the wonderful world of books in the same way.

Let's see, I already wrote a post about the books I read in January and February, so I guess I'll jump right into March. Right... March. I was super sick with a fever and reading a Swedish book called Myggor och Tigrar (Mosquitos and Tigers) by Maja Lundgren. When it came out it caused quite the stir because she wrote about all these sexist male journalists and authors, exposing their affairs and strange maneuverings. Put their names in there and everything. It was really "inside" and I didn't get a lot of the references, just enough to enjoy the gossip. At first I thought she was making a really good point and sort of standing up for women authors, but sadly through the course of the book I started to doubt her truths about these people. And the second half of the book was just about her living in Naples, spying on some mafia guys on the street corner and it was super duper boring. I want to read Saviano's Gomorrah though, because apparently it's the shit right now. Every fifth book I sell these days is Gomorrah...

I think I tried reading This is Your Brain on Music by Daniel Levitin right about here. But I didn't even make it half way through. I guess I don't care enough. Or, wait, no that's not it. I think it was these long chapters about the basics of music, like pitch and timbre and stuff like that, which he excused all musicians from reading. And me not being a musician, dutifully read them, and it was interesting, but I still somehow got restless and stopped reading. Hmm..

So after that, I went back to Vonnegut and Breakfast of Champions which I really liked. I'm trying to remember stuff now, but it's really hard for some reason. I liked the short descriptions of sci-fi stories that Kilgore Trout was writing, or ideas for stories. Sometimes you don't need more. Just "well , it's like, in this future world, you can just put like a remote control, or any object, on your head, and then you appropriate it's um, skills. So, with the remote control you'd actually be able to change the channels by blinking!" (Yes, that was lame, but it's the best I can do. I'm not made of sci-fi you know!)

Oh, and then there was The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. And it was wonderful. The language was so perfect, especially the descriptions. ( "Her voice is full of money" is something I underlined with a pink pen). And the love story. Jesus Christ.

And then I started Welcome to the Monkeyhouse when I went to Taiwan, and I didn't really get a chance to read much there. But I loved it and I think that except for Slaughterhouse Five it's my favorite Vonnegut book so far. I definitely liked the story about how the body is just a parasite on the mind. I tried to wow people with that a lot, with very little success. I'm guessing I probably told the story enthusiastically enough, but somehow... wrong. Everybody should just read the damn story.

Chronicles vol I, by Bob Dylan came next. This was in China, on trains. There are several pages with praise for his Chronicles, "the book nobody thought he could write", " Dylan's voice is almost as good as his singing voice" etc. Someone even said it takes it's place next to Woody Guthries Bound for Glory, and On the Road. Yeah. But it's actually not that good, and I don't really think he can write books. Ok, ok, the first part was fine, it was interesting. But then, a huge chunk of it was all about some late 1980's recording of some album I have never heard. I couldn't believe it, I kept mumbling, god damn it Bob Dylan, not now. You see, I was really sick on the train right (stomach problems, but I wont get into the details, I'm sure you can imagine the horror), and we had folded ourselves into a very small area, right by the leaking train bathroom. We were sitting on cardboard and maps. There was pee everywhere and a man with 2 thumbs was chain smoking over our heads. And I was really sick. And it was a 7 hour train ride. And Bob would only give me stuff like " We listened to it later on the big speakers with the bass jacked up and Danny said we should leave it alone, that it's right the way it is.' Think so?' ' Yeah, it's got something.' And talk about it raining on and off. I don't care Bob, I don't care! Why did you have to be so boring?!!!

That's it for this week. There will be another installment shortly. Like on Monday maybe. Here, enjoy some songs.

A song that's quite possibly about aluminium

I don't know the name of the song or the artist. Kristoffer (the Agent Side Grinder guy, who also wrote String Strikes) sent it to me from up north. This song is guaranteed to put a giant smile on your face.

Impressions- I'm loving Nothing

It's pessimistic, but really pretty.



Blogger i just love stuff. said...

i just came across your blog and i love it. give levitin's "brain on music" another try--i've read through three times and i love it more with each read. but i do heartily agree that the sections on timbre and music theory are thick bogs to get through. the end is where it's at.

also, old bss is the best. keep posting and i'll keep reading!

August 23, 2009 9:53 PM  

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