This is what happens when you read Sedaris. You start paying attention to your thoughts and reactions to mundane, little experiences. And he writes wi...moreThis is what happens when you read Sedaris. You start paying attention to your thoughts and reactions to mundane, little experiences. And he writes with such ease, he makes you think you can do it too. You don’t need big subjects or grand ideas. You don’t need cataclysms, heroism or much or a story plot. And that is refreshing. As Kalin Terziyski – a popular Bulgarian writer – put it “Ordinary life ought to be heavily advertised”. Through literature, the insignificant and trivial events in everyone’s life become valuable and noteworthy as in fact they are. They take up so much of our time anyway, they are universal and thus a part of the human condition. Of course the banal should be explored and glorified.
Interesting and of course well written. On the other hand, it is very particular in time and as opposed to Orwell's other works, it is outdated. Factu...moreInteresting and of course well written. On the other hand, it is very particular in time and as opposed to Orwell's other works, it is outdated. Factually that is. The bigger points are still there but they are nothing you already didn't know. (less)
The last episode of season one of House of Cards ends with Francis J. Underwood (FU) sitting at his desk in his cabinet conspiring with the audience...more The last episode of season one of House of Cards ends with Francis J. Underwood (FU) sitting at his desk in his cabinet conspiring with the audience in the style of Richard III, and on the table there is a book lying. The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. IV by Robert A. Caro. For someone watching the show that is familiar with Lyndon Johnson’s bio, the parallels between him and the protagonist in House of Cards, played by Kevin Spacey, are obvious. Both FU and LBJ are savvy politicians and master strategist; both are obsessed with power, skilled at manipulation and ruthless in their approach (e.g. the infamous "Johnson treatment"); both men are aiming at the highest office in America and arguably – the world; both unbelievably smart and combinative, but most importantly – capable of passing bills through Congress.
The season of House of Cards ends in the tense moment where, after a series of hard scheming and morally (and legally) reproachful actions on behalf of FU, he is on the verge of becoming vice president. That is if an article exposing those actions doesn't come out first. In comparison, a sizable part of Passage of Power is dedicated to a piece of investigative journalism about LBJ’s money that was on its way to be published if it wasn't for the sudden assassination of Jack F. Kennedy that led to LBJ becoming the new president. Moreover, weeks after ascending to the presidency, he cleared his way from critical journalists in his typical manner - concealed transactions, blackmail, bulling.
Whether the book is suggestive of how the story in House of Cards would develop, we’ll have to wait and see.
As the show is gripping, provoking and revealing more than some would like to admit, so is the book. The Passage of Power is written with such immediacy, with so much skill, that one gets so involved and impatient regardless of their general familiarity with the events and their outcome. Gosh, I think to myself, here is another reason why I love this country. I mean the Anglo-Saxon tradition of writing about history in a fashion that compelling and humane.
Поръчах я през нета за подарък, междувременно я прочетох и честно казано ми стана неудобно да я подаря. Не е хейт по дифолт. Просто книгата има прекал...moreПоръчах я през нета за подарък, междувременно я прочетох и честно казано ми стана неудобно да я подаря. Не е хейт по дифолт. Просто книгата има прекалено много претенция, до която не успява да се изгидне. Безконцептуална ми е и не особено забавна. Хартията е хубава и рисунките са готини, но е някак претрупано и в крайна сметка не се е получило сполучливо. Според мен. (less)
Economy, health care reform, tax politics, gay rights, ecology, social security, Newt Gingrich, Murdoch, China, gun control, birth control, Syria, Nor...moreEconomy, health care reform, tax politics, gay rights, ecology, social security, Newt Gingrich, Murdoch, China, gun control, birth control, Syria, North Korea, Osama bin Laden compared to a Bond villain, even judge Sotomayor gets mentioned. It is like during the 8 Bush years everything stopped and Obama picked up from where Clinton left.
It is very rewarding to re-examine recent history and events I more or less remember and to share it today is symbolic. Taylor Branch, the author of The Clinton Tapes, got the Pulitzer Prize for history for his work on Martin Luther King and today Americans celebrate the 50th anniversary of the I Have a Dream speech.
To be honest when I picked up the The Clinton Tapes I was hoping to get an impartial account of Bill Clinton’s Presidency and I was surprised to learn in the course of the book that Clinton and Branch were old roommates. Clinton was already my favourite US president (or let’s say he is in my top 3) and I didn't need more convincing. After all he is the first US president I remember and I tend to romanticise a little. At the same time I didn't want to go to the other extreme and begin with Christopher Hitchens’s book on the Clintons. This one I’ll leave for desert.
The Clinton Tapes may be not what I have hoped for – independent, balanced and critical analysis, but it is engaging and I deem it factual. However not even terribly revealing, and I understand it couldn't be, I got more from it than let’s say Mr Clinton’s own autobiography – My Life – which I am almost through with. I wish presidential autobiographies were more like what I imagine rock stars’ autobiographies are – less diplomatic, with a little more emotion, passion and edge. Something like “…and I told the motherfucker to piss off and I stand by my words.”
What I passionately recommend is getting the audio version. Byrne reads it himself. When an author does that with his own work it is usually an advant...moreWhat I passionately recommend is getting the audio version. Byrne reads it himself. When an author does that with his own work it is usually an advantage as he stresses where he intended to be stress making it in a way more authentic. Not only that. He put all those background sounds – traffic and people, original music (of course), noises that set the right mood. They are not excessive and don’t overwhelm. Just the proper amount to get the atmosphere and keep your attention. They prevent your mind from floating away as it usually happens when the speaker’s voice is monotonous and dull or when the recipient is not particularly used to this type of medium. (I’ve listened to such an amount of audiobooks that I even find radiolab too dynamic and chaotic, though still wonderful.) Still, if you are not a fan of audiobooks I urge you to trust a man who has received a Grammy award and an Oscar and a Golden Globe for film music. Good hands to fall into.
So many people died the last couple of years, one might well feel a whole generation of masterminds has been wiped out. Christopher Hitchens was so hu...moreSo many people died the last couple of years, one might well feel a whole generation of masterminds has been wiped out. Christopher Hitchens was so huge in the end of his life that the question where were you when you heard the news? is almost appropriate. Well, I was sitting in His apartment in Cologne with a couple of guys and waiting for more people to show up for a small gathering. He came back from work and said that some famous writer died today. He had been reading obituaries and quotations on His phone and thought he was pretty cool. He was excited about the discovery and annoyed He could not remember the name. “Oh no, is it Christopher Hitchens?”, I said.“ Yeah, how did you know?” To acknowledge the occasion we did not pray – we cheered.
Ironically, ever since He is a big fan of Christopher and I.. I always had problems with him. To put it simply, I love the way he talks but I don’t always like what he says.
I don’t want to advocate Hunter S. Thompson but he has always worked for me. He is also wonderfully suitable character for a comic book. In this one we...moreI don’t want to advocate Hunter S. Thompson but he has always worked for me. He is also wonderfully suitable character for a comic book. In this one we briefly follow big parts of his conscious life as well as big parts of American history. To be able to fully enjoy and appreciate it you have to be a fan of either one. You see not only Hunter with the drink or his typewriter or both or sniffing or on a motorcycle or holding his wife, you also see Kennedy and Jacqueline and the Hell's Angels, the Beatniks and him hanging out with Allen Ginsberg at Haight and Ashbury, Bob Dylan and, God bless him, Nixon.
- Have I failed you as a mother, Sylvester? - It's Sebastian, Mother.
Do you remember that 80s movie – Sid and Nancy? Watching it is a bitter-sweet expe...more- Have I failed you as a mother, Sylvester? - It's Sebastian, Mother.
Do you remember that 80s movie – Sid and Nancy? Watching it is a bitter-sweet experience. You try to sympathize with the characters and you do for a fragment of a second there until they do the most shockingly repulsive thing, far beyond anyone’s expectation, leaving you all confused and in disgust. Well, “Dandy in the Underworld” puts you through a similar whirlpool of emotions.
As far as the style of writing is concerned, most of the book consists of aphoristic expressions in the manner of Oscar Wilde - sharp, controversial, entertaining and some of which stolen. Furthermore, Sebastian Horsley designed a similar end for himself to the ending of Dorian from “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. After all a dandy does not enjoy art, he lives it. ... http://slpssm.blogspot.com/2012/12/da...(less)
A prerequisite to fully grasp an enjoy this book is either to be an American, or to have some background on this country's history. It is compulsorily...moreA prerequisite to fully grasp an enjoy this book is either to be an American, or to have some background on this country's history. It is compulsorily so that it would enable you to figure not the particularly revolutionary stuff but the contradictory. The facts hidden from contemporary education, politics and overall consciousness that Vidal is willing to share. I say “facts” because Vidal is one of those people which I accept with no criticism at all. His views for me are not opinions but truths.
.... One day later Mr. Vidal passed away... (less)
For someone who has at least some affinity towards art, “An Object of Beauty” will reveal many of the ambiguities in the art world. And it seems to me...moreFor someone who has at least some affinity towards art, “An Object of Beauty” will reveal many of the ambiguities in the art world. And it seems to me the form of the novel is the most befitting means for this to be delivered. "Who the #$&% Is Jackson Pollock?" is a documentary which brings some light on how the market works but is a sad and uninspiring story as a whole. Here the world of art is communicated on several levels. First, it shows how the auction houses work, then the collector’s fever, then the pure appreciation of art for its sake but also how the price of it distorts its aesthetics. It shows how artificial this world is and simultaneously how important. It shows the business side and at the same time how art influences people and steers their conversations. It captures NYC in the height of this trade, during 9/11 and in the current times of financial crisis.
The protagonist, Lacey Yeager, is overall luring despite of her actions. Opportunism is evermore justifiable and in that context I don’t find her really appalling. Her character made me reflect on something from a Philip Roth’s novella - The Dying Animal - when he wonders what a woman could actually do with her beauty, what is she supposed to do. (less)