Perhaps it's due to my mood at the moment, but "Vinyl Freak" is the best book I have read on record collecting, or to be more specific, for the love oPerhaps it's due to my mood at the moment, but "Vinyl Freak" is the best book I have read on record collecting, or to be more specific, for the love of vinyl and music discovery. First of all, I read this book due to my friend Amber Noé, who suggested to me at a bookstore. She doesn't (at the moment) share my love for the vinyl world, but still, it was sweet of her to find this book for me. Second, I may only know eight albums here that the author John Corbett writes about. All, are obscure Jazz or experimental music albums. To say that they are obscure is like saying the night is dark. I never heard of these artists or their music. So, what is the purpose of someone like me reading a book on someone's collection that is mostly, if not all, entirely unknown?
Corbett recognizes the importance of sharing one's love of a collection and showing it to someone else. He not only shows this body of work but also explains what and where they came from. It's a geek book of course, but a very generous one, where the reader doesn't feel left out of the information or more importantly, the passion of such a collection.
The book is beautifully designed in that every album he writes about we can see the record cover as well. All entries listed here are not on CD or streaming, as of the publication's date. If you're a music collector, all this will do is make one keep a list to check out later. Corbett also writes an essay on the issues of collecting and his history of his passion. There is also an excellent piece at the end of the book regarding his over-the-top passion: Sun Ra. I sense there will be a separate detailed account of that subject matter in another book by Corbett. Nevertheless, this has been a total fun read for me and made me re-think what I do with my music blog regarding my collection. Learn from the master!
Reading "Rakkóx the Billionaire & The Great Race" is like being on the planet Bizzaro in Superman comics. We on earth have our own science fictionReading "Rakkóx the Billionaire & The Great Race" is like being on the planet Bizzaro in Superman comics. We on earth have our own science fiction books, but in Bizzaro, sci-fi will be very much like these two sized-novellas. Eccentric yet very seductively pulls you into this alternative world. Rakkóx, the first story here is sort of alternate Donald Trump, a billionaire who builds an army of creatures of all sorts, who attempts to build a monument on a side of a cliff. Fantasy-like but the humor is very much feet-on-the-earth. "The Great Race" deals with a race among worm spirits against "stars" whom the winner will become gods.
Paul Scheerbart, a German architect, and the author made his own world. Perhaps thought of as the father of German Science Fiction but to me, he's more like a Raymond Roussel than anything else. ...more
Sadly Julio Cortázar is dead, which makes it unlikely for one to either have a conversation with him or being in a classroom where he's giving a talkSadly Julio Cortázar is dead, which makes it unlikely for one to either have a conversation with him or being in a classroom where he's giving a talk or lecture on literature. This new publication by New Directions will give us fans of his writing a chance to swim in his many seas of knowledge regarding Latin American literature as well as world literature. These series of talks he gave at Berkeley in 1980 is fascinating. Here you get his views on literature that took place by writers in various Latin Countries, but also, and more important to me, is thoughts on all of his published works. Not all authors can talk about their work, but Cortázar is very open to sharing his observations with this students, and the book is an excellent guide of sorts for both writers and readers.
And since I'm Boris Vian's English language publisher, it's great to know that he appreciated and loved Vian's work. ...more
A wonderful Polish new wave cinema, but in book form. Well, there are plenty of film references here that would entertain Jean-Luc Godard. Beyond thatA wonderful Polish new wave cinema, but in book form. Well, there are plenty of film references here that would entertain Jean-Luc Godard. Beyond that, this is a tale of two Polish hustlers on the make in Israel and on top of that a demanding and horrible child. There is also a dog. The dialog in the novel is fantastic, which means the translator did a great job. His name is Tomasz Mairkowicz. Hłasko is a combination of Blaise Cendrers and Charles Bukowski. If you reader, know those two names, you will not be disappointed with the writings of Hłasko. Ignore the horrible book cover illustration which makes it look like a self-help book. This is a very funny with cutting remarks on culture and society. Hłasko is a humorist who can pull himself out to look at his surroundings. In real life, he wasn't so lucky, but in his words/writings, he is a master. Read and locate him. ...more
Mina Loy, a poet, and very much a major figure in European/American arts during the DADA/Surrealist era, wrote one novel regarding the relationship beMina Loy, a poet, and very much a major figure in European/American arts during the DADA/Surrealist era, wrote one novel regarding the relationship between a female and a male painter, who is a pain-in-the-ass. The book in parts is very funny, especially with Loy's character putting down the painter as sort of a drama queen. It is also very much a book of its time and place - Paris in the early 1930s, when Andre Breton ruled the landscape. This book is very much a poet's narrative. The language is deep and rich which jumps around narrative wise, yet, the strong leading characters keeps one turning the pages. A fascinating document but essentially it works on a fictional level. Most would read this as an insider's look into the world of Surrealists - but in the end of the read/day, it's really a relationship novel between these two characters. A wonderful writer. ...more
Due to my newly interest in the Polish composer/musician Krzysztof Komeda, I discovered "Beautiful Twentysomethings" by Marek Hłasko. It may be the caDue to my newly interest in the Polish composer/musician Krzysztof Komeda, I discovered "Beautiful Twentysomethings" by Marek Hłasko. It may be the case Hłasko killed Komeda in a drunken mishap in the woods near Los Angeles in the late 1960s. Hłasko was very guilty what happened to his friend, and eventually, within a week he died in Germany. Both were friends of Roman Polanski - who is a guy that seems to have bad luck as his permanent friend.
Hłasko is described as the James Dean of Polish literature, and that may be the case, but to me, he really reminds me of the French poet and author Blaise Cendrars. Both are guys-guy and there is a certain amount of charm that runs with Hłasko, even though it sounds like he was a nightmare of a person to actually know or be a friend of. "Beautiful Twentysomethings" is Hłasko's memoir, which sometimes reads like a rant and at times literary criticism on his fellow Polish authors and Russian literature as well. He was very fond of noir films and knows a lot about the cinema. His observations on Humprey Bogart is pretty fantastic. He would have made a great film critical writer/journalist. Alas, I don't think that happened.
This is a fascinating book on what it's like to live in Poland during the 1950s, and really living the life in the rough with no dough and a heavy drinking lifestyle. He wanders over to Israel and Paris, but he is a man who doesn't really have a home. He is at home in bars, the streets, and reading books. Handsome devil he was, he could have been a world literature figure, but nothing seem to connect for him. Oddly enough this is not a depressing read, due to his character in that he's funny. Hłasko writes and expresses serious issues, but it's in the style of the wise guy in the street, who's whispering devilish things to you that can be dangerous. A fascinating post-war figure, whose insight will be welcome by those who want to study European life during those times, but also a great introduction to a very interesting writer. ...more
"Fug You' is a great snapshot of New York City Political/Hippie/culture circa the 1960s. The book reads like a journal more than a memoir, but that is "Fug You' is a great snapshot of New York City Political/Hippie/culture circa the 1960s. The book reads like a journal more than a memoir, but that is perfectly fine. Full of documents, posters, and stuff like that gives the book a great flavor of its time and place. Ed Sanders was right in the middle of the 60s storm, and at the time, it seems anything could be possible. The sense of community is strong in Sanders' world, and it's interesting to note that as we read along the book, and it heads toward the 70s things turn darker, as well as the nature of New York City itself. Sanders is a terrific narrator/witness and lots of insight into the music business as well as the politic business. The Fugs were an important part of the scene, and this book covers that as well as the book business. I particularly enjoy his adventure as a bookstore owner/manager and dealing with the Yippie/Hippie/NYC life at the time. One can't go back in time, but this book in a very witty nature allows that adventure for the reader. The minus part is that it could have been edited better, but at the end of the day, it's a charming yet threatening cloud as darkness (Kennedy/King assassinations, Manson & Nixon) lurks around the scene. ...more