Sunday, August 31, 2014

And...we're off!

I'm leaving for Greece today.

The only tech I'm taking is my phone, so if we're friends on Facebook, you'll get to see pics as they happen...or at least at the end of the day.

So...otherwise...see you in a month.

Be safe.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

T Minus 13 Days and counting

Comments? Queries? Rants? Derps?

The 50th Anniversary Edition - which the more I see it, the more I want a copy - it just seems SO strange in relation to the story.

Via The Washington Post

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lauren Bacall

“Who sat on mountaintops in cars reading books aloud to the canyons?” she later wrote. “I did.”

Via NYT

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Slate: What Will Your Verse Be?

Via Slate

The Robin Williams I may most remember, though, is an English teacher who inspired his students to seize the day. In Dead Poets Society, Williams plays unorthodox professor John Keating, who rejects the conservative culture of the elite Welton Academy and implores his students to strive for meaning in their lives. In the film’s pivotal scene, Williams tells his students that “we don't read and write poetry because it’s cute, we read and write poetry because we are members of the human race.” He goes on to quote Walt Whitman’s “O Me! O Life!,” a poem that ends by speaking directly to its readers: “the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.” Williams then turns to his students and asks the mother of all inspirational questions: “What will your verse be?”

This article reminded me of the time one of my favorite high school teachers (Ms. Messamore) read to us students a poem by Whitman - and maybe it's the mention of Whitman that is reminding me more than the loss of Mr. Williams who played an English teacher. It was a poem that Whitman wrote in response to Abraham Lincoln's death - and I remember that she had to stop on more than one instance because she would begin to cry.

I knew that words read could move you - I've known that longer than I've probably know anything. But it wasn't until then that I learned that words could move you so much that you could forget yourself in public - an adult crying in front of children - and that you didn't care. That the words and the emotion were more important than anything else that was being thought at that moment.

I knew then that I wanted to do the same - to move people to that degree.

RIP, Robin Williams

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.

From Dead Poets Society

BuzzFeed: Robin Williams: A life in pictures

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Shiny

Via NPR

Published in Britain as Joss Whedon: Geek King of the Universe and in the U.S. less cheekily as Joss Whedon: The Biography, Amy Pascale's portrait of pop culture's man of just about any recent hour may not make her title subject any new converts, but it is hero-worshipping enough to make devoted Whedonites feel they're being inducted into the Scooby Gang.

A Weekend of Books

Transgressive fiction authors write stories some are afraid to tell. Stories with taboo subjects, unique voices, shocking images — nothing safe or dry.

Burnt Tongues is a collection of transgressive stories selected by a rigorous nomination and vetting process and hand-selected by Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, as the best of The Cult Workshop, his official fan website.

These stories run the gamut from horrific and fantastic to humorous and touching, but each leaves a lasting impression.

Some may say even a scar.

An enchanting and staggeringly original debut novel about one day in the lives of three unforgettable characters

Madeleine Altimari is a smart-mouthed, rebellious nine-year-old who also happens to be an aspiring jazz singer. Still mourning the recent death of her mother, and caring for her grief-stricken father, she doesn’t realize that on the eve of Christmas Eve she is about to have the most extraordinary day — and night — of her life. After bravely facing down mean-spirited classmates and rejection at school, Madeleine doggedly searches for Philadelphia's legendary jazz club The Cat's Pajamas, where she’s determined to make her on-stage debut. On the same day, her fifth grade teacher Sarina Greene, who’s just moved back to Philly after a divorce, is nervously looking forward to a dinner party that will reunite her with an old high school crush, afraid to hope that sparks might fly again. And across town at The Cat's Pajamas, club owner Lorca discovers that his beloved haunt may have to close forever, unless someone can find a way to quickly raise the $30,000 that would save it.

As these three lost souls search for love, music and hope on the snow-covered streets of Philadelphia, together they will discover life’s endless possibilities over the course of one magical night. A vivacious, charming and moving debut, 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas will capture your heart and have you laughing out loud.

Not typically my cup of tea, but Chris Ewan is super cute.

If you're a security expert, what do you do if your fiancée suddenly goes missing, presumably kidnapped?

If you're Daniel Trent, a highly trained specialist in hostage negotiation, the answer is simple: You find out who took her and you make them talk. But what if your chief suspect is taken as well? How do you get him back quickly—and alive—so you can find out what really happened to your fiancée?

Set in Marseille, Chris Ewan's Dead Line is a fast-paced stand-alone thriller that pitches the reader into Daniel's world, as he tries desperately to secure the release of Jérôme Moreau from a ruthless gang in order to interrogate him on the whereabouts of his fiancée. When things don't go according to plan, Daniel must use all his skills and instincts to find the answers he's looking for, but will he be in time?

Ride Around Shining concerns the idle preoccupations, and later machinations, of a transplanted Portlander named Jess — a nobody from nowhere with a master's degree and a gig delivering takeout. He parlays the latter, along with a few lies, into a job as a chauffeur for an up-and-coming NBA small forward, a Trail Blazer named Calyph West, and his young wife, Antonia. Calyph is black, Antonia is white, and Jess becomes fascinated, innocuously at first, by all that they are that he is not. In striving to make himself indispensable to them, he causes Calyph to have a season-ending knee injury, then brings about the couple's estrangement, before positioning himself at last as their perverse savior.

In the tradition of Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr. Ripley and Harold Pinter's The Servant — not to mention a certain Shakespeare play about a creepy white dude obsessed with a black dude — Ride Around Shining is a striking, propulsive debut that is by turns hilarious and discomfiting, moody and thrilling, and which asks unforgettable questions about the modern tensions of race and class in America.

David is a freshly minted NYU grad who’s working a not-quite-entry-level job, falling in love, and telling his parents he’s studying for the LSAT. He starts a Tumblr blog, typing out posts on his BlackBerry under his desk — a blog that becomes wildly popular and brings him to the attention of major media (The New York Times) as well as the White House. But his outward fame doesn’t quell his confusion about the world and his direction in it.

This semiautobiographical debut is a coming-of-age story perfect for our time. In A Sense of Wonder author Gideon Lewis-Kraus’s words, “If Tao Lin had been born to Gary Shteyngart’s parents and spent his early twenties slaving for pageviews at NewYorker.com, he would have written something like this, the Bright Lights, Big City of the click-here-now generation.”

Good Saturday

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Jack Antonoff, Bleachers, and Strange Desire

Jack Antonoff from FUN (and the boyfriend of that lucky lucky Lena Dunham) has a side project: Bleachers and their first CD is Strange Desire. Right now, I'm on the 2nd track and it's fun...not the band, but the adjective. Like Blondie and the 90s had a child. I highly recommend it, especially if you, like me, think Jack Antonoff is possibly one of the cutest, nerdiest, goofiest boys ever.

The third track starts out, "Some girls, some girls just really want to hurt you. And some boys, some boys will laugh when they break your heart."

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

This Week in Books

The stunning conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy

Quentin Coldwater has lost everything. He has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams that he once ruled. Everything he had fought so hard for, not to mention his closest friends, is sealed away in a land Quentin may never again visit. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him. Meanwhile, the magical barriers that keep Fillory safe are failing, and barbarians from the north have invaded. Eliot and Janet, the rulers of Fillory, embark on a final quest to save their beloved world, only to discover a situation far more complex — and far more dire — than anyone had envisioned.

Along with Plum, a brilliant young magician with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. His new life takes him back to old haunts, like Antarctica and the Neitherlands, and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers buried secrets and hidden evils and ultimately the key to a sorcerous masterwork, a spell that could create a magical utopia. But all roads lead back to Fillory, where Quentin must face his fears and put things right or die trying.

The Magician’s Land is an intricate and fantastical thriller, and an epic of love and redemption that brings the Magicians trilogy to a magnificent conclusion, confirming it as one of the great achievements in modern fantasy. It’s the story of a boy becoming a man, an apprentice becoming a master, and a broken land finally becoming whole.

Hello, my demon lover…

In this highly anticipated fifteenth novel in the Immortals After Dark series, #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole spins a sultry tale of a mighty warrior scarred inside and out and the beguiling sorceress with the power to heal him — or vanquish him forever.

Eternal Obsession
As a boy, Thronos, prince of Skye Hall, loved Lanthe, a mischievous Sorceri girl who made him question everything about his Vrekener clan. But when the two got caught in the middle of their families’ war, tragedy struck, leaving Thronos and Lanthe bitter enemies. Though centuries have passed, nothing can cool his seething need for the beautiful enchantress who scarred his body — and left an even deeper impression on his soul.

Endless Yearning
Lanthe, a once-formidable sorceress struggling to reclaim her gifts, searches for love and acceptance with all the wrong immortal suitors. But she’s never forgotten Thronos, the magnificent silver-eyed boy who protected her until she was ripped from the shelter of his arms. One harrowing night changed everything between them. Now he’s a notorious warlord with a blood vendetta against Lanthe, hunting her relentlessly.

Can the heat of desire burn brighter than vengeance?
With their families locked in conflict and battles raging all around them, will Thronos and Lanthe succumb to the brutal chaos that threatens everything they cherish? Or will the fragile bond they formed so long ago spark a passion strong enough to withstand even the darkest doubts?

Critically acclaimed author Graham Joyce returns with a sexy, suspenseful,and slightly supernatural novel set 1976 England during the hottest summer in living memory, in a seaside resort where the past still haunts the present.

David, a college student, takes a summer job at a run-down family resort in a dying English resort town. This is against the wishes of his family…because it was at this resort where David's biological father disappeared fifteen years earlier. But something undeniable has called David there.

A deeper otherworldliness lies beneath the surface of what we see. The characters have a suspicious edge to them…David is haunted by eerie visions of a mysterious man carrying a rope, walking hand-in-hand with a small child…and the resort is under siege by a plague of ladybugs. Something different is happening in this town.

When David gets embroiled in a fiercely torrid love triangle, the stakes turn more and more menacing. And through it all, David feels as though he is getting closer to the secrets of his own past.

This is a darkly magic and sexy book that has a strong suspense line running through it. It's destined to continue to pull in a wider circle of readers for the exceptionally talented Graham Joyce.

A History of the Future is the third thrilling novel in Kunstler’s "World Made By Hand" series, an exploration of family and morality as played out in the small town of Union Grove.

Following the catastrophes of the twenty-first century — the pandemics, the environmental disaster, the end of oil, the ensuing chaos — people are doing whatever they can to get by and pursuing a simpler and sometimes happier existence. In little Union Grove in upstate New York, the townspeople are preparing for Christmas. Without the consumerist shopping frenzy that dogged the holidays of the previous age, the season has become a time to focus on family and loved ones. It is a stormy Christmas Eve when Robert Earle’s son Daniel arrives back from his two years of sojourning throughout what is left of the United States. He collapses from exhaustion and illness, but as he recovers tells the story of the break-up of the nation into three uneasy independent regions and his journey into the dark heart of the New Foxfire Republic centered in Tennessee and led by the female evangelical despot, Loving Morrow. In the background, Union Grove has been shocked by the Christmas Eve double murder by a young mother, in the throes of illness, of her husband and infant son. Town magistrate Stephen Bullock is in a hanging mood.

A History of the Future is attention - grabbing and provocative, but also lyrical, tender, and comic — a vision of a future of America that is becoming more and more convincing and perhaps even desirable with each passing day.

In the mid-1950s, America was flush with prosperity and saw an unbroken line of progress clear to the horizon, while the West was still very much wild. In this ambitious, incandescent debut, Malcolm Brooks animates that time and untamed landscape, in a tale of the modern and the ancient, of love and fate, and of heritage threatened by progress.

Catherine Lemay is a young archaeologist on her way to Montana, with a huge task before her — a canyon “as deep as the devil’s own appetites.” Working ahead of a major dam project, she has one summer to prove nothing of historical value will be lost in the flood. From the moment she arrives, nothing is familiar — the vastness of the canyon itself mocks the contained, artifact-rich digs in post-Blitz London where she cut her teeth. And then there’s John H, a former mustanger and veteran of the U.S. Army’s last mounted cavalry campaign, living a fugitive life in the canyon. John H inspires Catherine to see beauty in the stark landscape, and her heart opens to more than just the vanished past. Painted Horses sends a dauntless young woman on a heroic quest, sings a love song to the horseman’s vanishing way of life, and reminds us that love and ambition, tradition and the future, often make strange bedfellows. It establishes Malcolm Brooks as an extraordinary new talent.

The award-winning author at her storytelling best: four compelling novellas of Americans in Europe and Europeans in America.

In these absorbing and exquisitely made novellas of relationships at home and abroad, both historical and contemporary, we meet the ferocious Simone Weil during her final days as a transplant to New York City; a vulnerable American grad student who escapes to Italy after her first, compromising love affair; the charming Irish liar of the title story, who gets more out of life than most of us; and Thomas Mann, opening the heart of a high-school kid in the Midwest. These narratives dazzle on the surface with beautifully rendered settings and vistas, and dig deep psychologically. At every turn, Mary Gordon reveals in her characters’ interactions those crucial flashes of understanding that change lives forever. So richly developed it’s hard to believe they fit into novella-size packages, these tales carry us away both as individual stories and as a larger experience of Gordon’s literary mastery and human sympathy.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Quotes to Live By 1: Opportunity to Discover

A Pile of Quotes

Summer Reading just ended here and this year the theme was a sort of chemistry one. So on the bulletin board that I tend to take care of I did a table of quotes...I'm a collector of quotes, btw.

So this is the post summer reading pile of quotes, and I've decided over the course of the next bit, I will take pictures of some if not all of them separately here for your enjoyment. Before, you know, sending them off to posterity...in the recycler.

On Spending the Evening Binge Watching True Detective

As the title should tell you, I spent the evening with Matt and Woody watching the first season of True Detective which at its best was really good and creepy and at its worse kind of boring - come on, guys, can't you see that Rust is winding you up?

But I love how true the story stays to a literary mythology that is discussed here: The One Literary Reference You Must Know to Appreciate True Detective

The King in Yellow is a fictional play within a collection of short stories — a metafictional dramatic work that brings despair, depravity, and insanity to anyone who reads it or sees it performed. Chambers inserts only a few selected scenes from the play into his story collection, and all of them are from the first act. This act, we are told, is a bit of a honeypot, luring readers into the cursed text. If they read even the first few words of Act II they are driven insane by the revelation of horrible, decadent, incomprehensible truths about the universe.

I have two more episodes of the show to watch, and from reading about the finale, I'm pretty sure I'll be somewhat disappointed, but very little about TV shows tends to be in the vein of "half measures availed us nothing." They always pull up reign when they should be going for the whole hog.

Also, I ordered pizza.