Archive

Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, "Found" Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts

Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, "Found" Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts

author: David Shields

name: Steev

average rating: 3.46

book published: 2012

rating: 4

read at: 2013/07/18

date added: 2013/07/19

shelves: art, fun, own-it

review:
Like with many anthologies that are collected around a specific formal practice in writing, this book varies in quality. Some selections are really top-notch, but others are almost worthy of skipping. The idea behind them all is creative writing that is in the format of some non-creative text: for-sale listings, book indexes, wills, police logs, etc. Where these work the best is, I believe, not dependent on the the form the writer chose to cleverly lampoon, but on the actual content. When the story, the situation being portrayed, is powerful and touching, the piece is powerful, regardless of whether it's written in the form of a glossary, colophon, or set of story problems.

Some standouts I particularly liked were "Permission Slip" by Caron A. Levis, in which a problem student hijacks her school's intercom system and rants at the entire school; "Officer's Weep" by Daniel Orozco in which a romance between two cops blooms in the form of a police blotter; and "National Treasures"by Charles McCleod, a heartbreaking life story told via an auction listing of the narrator's possessions. The key in all of these, and all the others that are best, is the depiction of a realistic and poignant human life, not the cleverness of how it gets bent into a weird type of writing.

Rad Dad: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Fatherhood

Rad Dad: Dispatches from the Frontiers of Fatherhood

author: Tomas Moniz

name: Steev

average rating: 3.97

book published: 2011

rating: 5

read at: 2013/07/21

date added: 2013/07/21

shelves: children, spirit-self, own-it, politics, homesteading, to-re-read

review:
This is a great book, if you're in the situation to benefit from it, that is, if you're a father who is looking for inspiration and ways to raise kids and be a husband and father according to feminist, anti-patriarchal, anti-establishment values. Not all of the pieces in this anthology are that useful. Some are rather banal pep-talks. But some are highly moving and wise statements that reach to the core of what's wrong with our culture and offer alternatives. Hardly any of the pieces are highly good writing; most are simply competent journalism/opinion pieces and don't qualify as any kind of Harper's-level essaying. But this is made up for by the personal nature of the pieces, and, for me, the way in which many of the questions and issues are exactly what I'm looking to explore as I embark on the long journey of fatherhood. I think several of my friends who've already been on this path for years might get considerably less out of this book; also, the rest of my friends who don't have kids and don't plan to won't get much of anything of it. But if you're somewhere in the middle, this book will be good for you too.

¡Ya Basta!: Ten Years of the Zapatista Uprising

¡Ya Basta!: Ten Years of the Zapatista Uprising

author: Subcomandante Marcos

name: Steev

average rating: 4.15

book published: 1994

rating: 5

read at: 2005/06/01

date added: 2013/07/22

shelves:

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How Should a Person Be?

How Should a Person Be?

author: Sheila Heti

name: Steev

average rating: 3.22

book published: 2010

rating: 4

read at: 2013/08/21

date added: 2013/08/21

shelves: fun, novels, own-it, spirit-self, art

review:
An odd book. A novel that reads a lot like a memoir and probably partially is one, in which the narrator blunders around her life as a young white privileged playwright in Toronto, making friends and enemies and vaguely struggling to reach some vague profundity. It reads a little bit like something I wish were a female version of Sam Lipsyte's "Homeland" - or maybe it is, but I'm just too male to get it. It doesn't have a clear narrative arc and character development resolution that I kind of instinctively want, and would expect from somebody like Lipsyte or Franzen or the author of How I Became a Famous Novelist, whose name I forget.

In other words, it has that flavor of the modernday creative outcast bumbling around gradually learning stuff, and it's weird and sorta funny, but it doesn't ever... gel as much as I wanted it to.

Probably should be 3.5 stars but I'm generously rounding up.

The Baffler: Vol. 2, No. 1

The Baffler: Vol. 2, No. 1

author: Thomas Frank

name: Steev

average rating: 4.27

book published: 2009

rating: 5

read at:

date added: 2013/09/01

shelves:

review:

The Baffler No. 20

The Baffler No. 20

author: John Summers

name: Steev

average rating: 4.17

book published: 2012

rating: 5

read at:

date added: 2013/09/01

shelves:

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I Want My Hat Back

I Want My Hat Back

author: Jon Klassen

name: Steev

average rating: 4.39

book published: 2011

rating: 5

read at:

date added: 2013/09/03

shelves: children, crime, fun, own-it

review:

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: The Experience of Modernity

author: Marshall Berman

name: Steev

average rating: 4.27

book published: 1982

rating: 4

read at: 1999/01/01

date added: 2013/09/08

shelves: politics

review:
This book really blew my mind and influenced my thinking for a while when I read it, and I got into a big argument about it with a friend who is sort of too capitalist, over exactly what I don't remember what. I remembering thinking the book really explains a lot about why the U.S. is the way it is. I remember thinking I should go read Max Weber, whose work Berman refers to a lot.

Bonsaï

Bonsaï

author: Alejandro Zambra

name: Steev

average rating: 3.82

book published: 2006

rating: 4

read at: 2013/09/09

date added: 2013/09/09

shelves: fun, novels

review:
Kind of like a latino Tao Lin, only not as good. That same sort of opaque narrative voice where you don't get any, or very little, inner monologue of the characters, just kind of a ghostly relation of events from the outside. Somehow Tao Lin makes this work and often be hilarious and profound, but Zambra can't pull this off as well.

The Baffler No. 23

The Baffler No. 23

author: John Summers

name: Steev

average rating: 4.16

book published: 2013

rating: 5

read at: 2013/09/20

date added: 2013/09/20

shelves: fun, own-it, politics

review: