Archive

Dictionary of the Khazars (Male Edition)

Dictionary of the Khazars (Male Edition)

author: Milorad Pavić

name: Steev

average rating: 4.16

book published: 1983

rating: 5

read at: 1998/01/01

date added: 2013/12/27

shelves: politics, fun

review:
I forget if I read the male or female version. Anyway, it was incredible, easily one of the most innovative and fascinating works of fiction i've ever read.

Shaking the Money Tree: How to Get Grants and Donations for Film and Video

Shaking the Money Tree: How to Get Grants and Donations for Film and Video

author: Morrie Warshawski

name: Steev

average rating: 3.43

book published: 1994

rating: 4

read at: 2009/04/03

date added: 2013/12/13

shelves: filmmaking

review:
I sort of skimmed this, I must admit, since I'm trying to quickly raise just A LITTLE more money so I can finish a film. A lot of the book is about organizing your filmmaking career in the process of trying to raise funds for a new socially-conscious film. I'm actually toward the end of making a documentary, and just need a few grand to finish editing.

In fact, if you want to help support the film, which is about war and taxes, please see http://deathandtaxes.detritus.net

Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way

Three Cups of Deceit: How Greg Mortenson, Humanitarian Hero, Lost His Way

author: Jon Krakauer

name: Steev

average rating: 3.66

book published: 2011

rating: 5

read at: 2013/12/27

date added: 2013/12/27

shelves: crime, own-it

review:
Krakauer is always a good muckraker. In this slim volume he turns his skills to bear on someone who he once trusted, Greg Mortenson, whose charity organization Krakauer had donated lots of money too, only to start doubting Mortenson's work and honesty. My cynical, pessimist side wishes there were a book like this for every feel-good heartwarming pop-memoir of miraculous altruism and supposed world-changing vision, because I'm sure way more of this goes on all the time than we ever see or suspect. This book just methodically rips to shreds all the smoke and mirrors that Mortenson employed over years of pretending to do good. It's pretty satisfying, though saddening too.

Eat the Document

Eat the Document

author: Dana Spiotta

name: Steev

average rating: 3.60

book published: 2006

rating: 5

read at: 2012/06/28

date added: 2013/12/03

shelves: novels, fun, politics

review:
This novel is really fun and enjoyable to read, but also quite moving and full of important questions of our time about society, rebellion, identity, commodification of subcultures, and more. I think Dana Spiotta should be considered right up there amongst the pantheon that includes such notables as Franzen, Lethem, Lipsyte, Foer, etc. You know, those dudes. Maybe it's because she's not a dude that she's not considered up there. At any rate every time I read something by those dudes, and many other dude novels, I don't really trust them when they try to portray female characters in first-person. So it's really nice to read something that sort of covers some of the same contemporary existential and emotional ground, from multiple female (and male) viewpoints, written by a female. Plus, the fact that this book is tackling very serious, relevant stuff about "radicalism" and social change makes it super compelling. If you're a progressive activist, or somebody that hangs around in anarchist bookstores and coffeehouses, or have ever lived in a commune, or are music-obsessed hipster, this might be something you'd really like. Or it might really disturb you and piss you off, depending on how seriously you take yourself.

Stand Up to the IRS

Stand Up to the IRS

author: Frederick W. Daily

name: Steev

average rating: 3.20

book published: 1992

rating: 4

read at: 2011/04/01

date added: 2013/11/02

shelves:

review:
I'm as done with this as I think I'll get. Not the kind of thing to read cover-to-cover, it's a practical manual for a variety of situations. I used it to learn how to send an Offer In Compromise to the IRS upon deciding to stop being a war tax resister after 10 years. I'm still waiting to hear back from them, but this book definitely gave me a lot more confidence, although it also helped to talk to a good tax CPA.

Bright Shiny Morning

Bright Shiny Morning

author: James Frey

name: Steev

average rating: 3.80

book published: 2008

rating: 5

read at: 2013/12/04

date added: 2013/12/05

shelves: novels, fun, own-it

review:
This book proves that Frey was not a flash-in-the-pan with "A Million Little Pieces." Here he takes the same intense and emotional style turned to focus on the city of Los Angeles and a variety of fictional but very realistic inhabitants. I kept wanting the various little story threads to somehow intersect, which is one thing that drives the book forward. The structure is a neverending alternation between various historical and statistical factoids about the city and various characters, mostly newly arriving in the city and trying to set up a life for themselves. Some of the characters Frey keeps coming back to and building a plot, others you only see once and then never again. It's a bit dizzying and sometimes frustrating but ultimately forms an experience that is gripping and wise. It makes me glad I moved away from L.A. as soon as I did, although the book also makes me kind of want to move there.

Rainbows End

Rainbows End

author: Vernor Vinge

name: Steev

average rating: 3.76

book published: 2006

rating: 4

read at: 2014/02/01

date added: 2014/02/01

shelves: own-it, fun, novels

review:
Vinge is always one of the best writers at realistically depicting what the near future will really look like, at least in terms of information technology. This book posits a 2025 that seems pretty plausible to me. Given that Google Glass will be rolling out now, in 2014, and will probably get super popular pretty promptly, I don't think it's too outlandish to predict that we'll have information displays built into contact lenses in another 10 years, plus wearable computers controlled by minute gestures. Add to that extrapolations of the trends in entertainment, social networking, surveillance and nationalistic security apparati, and you get a future that Vinge paints as the world a famous poet finds himself in after he comes back from Alzheimer's, cured but not quite, by medical breakthroughs. As usual, this isn't great literature, but the writing isn't as bad as most science fiction, and there's some interesting and touching character development that makes it a bit more than a futurist manifesto.

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.

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:

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.