Archive

You Don't Have to Fuck People Over to Survive

You Don't Have to Fuck People Over to Survive

author: Seth Tobocman

name: Steev

average rating: 4.29

book published: 1990

rating: 5

read at: 1999/01/01

date added: 2014/02/21

shelves: art, own-it, politics, spirit-self

review:

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

author: Novella Carpenter

name: Steev

average rating: 3.98

book published: 2009

rating: 3

read at: 2014/03/22

date added: 2014/03/26

shelves: after-the-fall, food, fun, homesteading, own-it

review:
Yet another case of a journalist not really able to make the jump to quality long-form writing. This book is interesting content, but it just never really clicked. The author tried to go for the deep personal angle, but never really arrived at a tone that made me give much of a damn about her or her neighbors or friends.

To Kill a Mockingbird (To Kill A Mockingbird #1)

To Kill a Mockingbird (To Kill A Mockingbird #1)

author: Harper Lee

name: Steev

average rating: 4.29

book published: 1960

rating: 5

read at: 2011/06/22

date added: 2014/05/16

shelves: novels, politics

review:
Absolutely totally deserving all the praise and sales that it has received. One of the best novels ever, hands down.

The Baffler No. 24

The Baffler No. 24

author: John Summers

name: Steev

average rating: 4.00

book published: 2014

rating: 5

read at: 2014/06/07

date added: 2014/06/08

shelves: politics, fun, own-it

review:
Took me awhile this time, but the issue does not disappoint. Highlights are the piece by David Graeber about play, the Susan Faludi article on feminism, and the excellent take-down of Vice magazine.

Media Semiotics: An Introduction

Media Semiotics: An Introduction

author: Jonathan Bignell

name: Steev

average rating: 3.67

book published: 1997

rating: 4

read at:

date added: 2014/06/26

shelves:

review:

2666 (3-Volume Boxed Set)

2666 (3-Volume Boxed Set)

author: Roberto Bolaño

name: Steev

average rating: 4.35

book published: 2004

rating: 5

read at: 2009/01/02

date added: 2014/07/04

shelves: novels, own-it

review:
Pretty amazing book. Bolaño is a first-rate novelist. I almost feel like "The Savage Detectives" was better though.

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments

A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again:  Essays and Arguments

author: David Foster Wallace

name: Steev

average rating: 4.29

book published: 1996

rating: 5

read at: 2014/07/25

date added: 2014/07/28

shelves: fun, own-it, spirit-self

review:
Like all the DFW works I've read, this is, overall, excellent. Some of the pieces in this collection are better than others, but they're all worth reading. Of course the real standout is the title essay, about his week on a cruise ship, which comes at the end of the book and which is probably the most well-known and talked-about piece of non-fiction Wallace ever wrote, and for good reason. It's pure genius and also pure vulnerable and personal truth-telling, in the Herzogian, ecstatic truth sense of truth-telling - because I don't care if he made up parts of the essay or fudged some facts, as some have attested. The point is that it is a porthole (ahem) into how David Foster Wallace thought and lived, how his brain worked and the intricate inner gears of a very smart but disturbed and depressed writer. Furthermore, it's a valuable commentary on the state of the American psyche and how the American psyche deals with need, desire, luxury, consumerism, and marketing. It was written at, I think, about the same time he was finishing up his masterpiece novel Infinite Jest, which deals in a fanciful, fictional, and more extended way with many of these same issues. In short, they both ask the questions: Is constant, in-the-moment pleasure the pursuit that life is about? And what if we supposedly found that, then what? It's also interesting to see that this essay shows DFW using the phrasal tics like "And so but" and the generous use of footnotes and footnotes-within-footnotes that are so integral to the style and feel of Infinite Jest. He had arrived at a formal structure that fit perfectly the way his chattering grey matter operated.

Other stand-out essays in the volume for me are "Getting Away From Already Being Pretty Much Away From It All," about visiting the Illinois State Fair, and his brilliant examination of a great filmmaker, "David Lynch Keeps His Head."

Clandestine in Chile: The Adventures of Miguel Littín

Clandestine in Chile: The Adventures of Miguel Littín

author: Gabriel García Márquez

name: Steev

average rating: 3.81

book published: 1986

rating: 4

read at: 2009/10/25

date added: 2014/07/28

shelves: politics, filmmaking, fun, own-it

review:
This is a short but fascinating true story of a film director from Chile, exiled after the Pinochet coup, who sneaks back into the country after 12 years in order to do a documentary about the state of the nation. Despite its factual nature, Garcia Marquez narrates the book in a dramatic first person style and it is a distillation of an 18-hour interview he did with the filmmaker.

Oddly, nowhere in the book is there mention of the name of the film that Littin produced from the 105 thousand feet of footage he and his 5 crews shot in Chile over the course of a month or so. I looked it up on IMDB though and it's called "Acta General de Chile" - it doesn't look like there's an english version, unfortunately. But, it can be seen on Google Video here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?doc...#

At any rate, the book is a great snapshot at what Pinochet's regime did to Chile after just 12 years, and an empathetic look at the effect of exile on a creative and patriotic artist.

Man's Search for Meaning

Man's Search for Meaning

author: Viktor E. Frankl

name: Steev

average rating: 4.33

book published: 1946

rating: 5

read at: 2014/09/08

date added: 2014/09/10

shelves: own-it, spirit-self

review:
This book is everything everyone praises it for and more. Highly recommended. I found it highly inspiring, moving, heartbreaking, and wise. Enough said.

Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories

Where I'm Calling From: New and Selected Stories

author: Raymond Carver

name: Steev

average rating: 4.42

book published: 1969

rating: 4

read at: 2014/09/10

date added: 2014/09/10

shelves: spirit-self, own-it, short-fiction

review:
Carver was definitely a master, and well worth reading. However - and here's where my review becomes more about personal and momentary taste - I'm not sure if he will stand the test of time, or even is doing that now. To me his characters are hard to identify with, although I can sympathize with them. It's just that often, they seem stuck in a time that's thankfully past - the sort of 40s through 60s time of couples who don't really talk, men (and in some cases women) who drink too much, get in fights, play their gender roles to the hilt, and leave their families at the drop of a hat, etc etc. Generally lots of not very conscious, unhappy, low-grade jerks, sadly bumbling through their sordid lives. Perhaps there's still a lot of people like these out there, but to me this feels dated. Carver's a a step up from Hemingway in that at least he recognizes the sadness of these people and isn't just celebrating macho stoic males. Still, I'm preferring, these days at least, fiction that resonates more and is addressing what it's like to be alive now. Perhaps I'll be accused of subscribing to the dreaded "relatability" fad, but I find more spiritual sustenance in protagonists that are more modern - folks that are vulnerable, smart, dorky, and nice, but still get into trouble and have a hard time. Following the mishaps of dudes whose flaws have mostly been addressed by my generation and demographic is interesting, but not necessarily the most useful to me in my quest to become a wiser and better person.
That said, Carver was an expert at his craft, and in the context of his background and time, is worth reading - just like Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Shakespeare, etc. It's just not what's floating my boat these days.