What am I going to say about Raymond Carver that you haven't already heard/thought/experienced yourself? Probably nothing. So I'll just say, my favoriWhat am I going to say about Raymond Carver that you haven't already heard/thought/experienced yourself? Probably nothing. So I'll just say, my favorites in this particular collection:
* Cathedral (Duh) * Feathers * Where I'm Calling From * Careful * Fever...more
I originally gave this 4-stars, but I'm upping my rating to 5-stars. Not what I typically read at all but incredibly satisfying. This book works on aI originally gave this 4-stars, but I'm upping my rating to 5-stars. Not what I typically read at all but incredibly satisfying. This book works on a number of levels -- engaging plot, interesting characters, important subject matter, etc. The last 100 or so pages are completely staggering. The perfect book to read when you're laid up and on pain meds, but I suspect it's enjoyable in other scenarios, as well....more
Interesting book. For long stretches, this book felt more or less like the cinematic version of "Losing My Edge:"
"But I was there I was there when CharInteresting book. For long stretches, this book felt more or less like the cinematic version of "Losing My Edge:"
"But I was there I was there when Charles Burnett made Killer of Sheep I told him 'Don't do it that way. You'll never make a dime.' I was there in post-production on Star Wars: A New Hope. I was working on the blaster sounds, with much patience. I woke up naked on the beach at Cannes in 1988. I heard you have a print of every good movie ever made by anybody. All the Scorsese documentaries. All the Kenneth Anger shorts. I heard that you and your crew, have sold your iPhones and bought Aris I hear you're buying a flatbed and a movieola and throwing your Avid out the window Because you want to make something real. You want to make a Brian DePalma movie."
So many oblique references to filmmakers great and minor, actors and actress either legendary or mostly forgotten. But the funny thing about this book is that it manages to have a propulsive narrative despite this. I probably would have given this book 3 stars until the end, when Zazi becomes a more central figure and starts to puncture some of the hyper-masculine BS that threatens to creep out.
Recommended for film school refugees like me, as well as anybody who ever watched a movie seven times in a row and only realized they loved it on the 8th screening. ...more
My dudes, I really liked this book. Like with The Corrections, this is a family drama that gives each of its family members his/her own storyline andMy dudes, I really liked this book. Like with The Corrections, this is a family drama that gives each of its family members his/her own storyline and drama. And like with Franzen's book, it invites you to identify with each of the characters. Ultimately, I loved Charles's story -- there's something about people who had it all and lost it that turns me on -- and found myself pulling the hardest for Grace. Particularly with the Grace storyline, I give this book a lot of credit for never taking the easiest route. The last third of this book took it in all kinds of directions that I didn't see coming. There weren't exactly twists, but I never predicted what the specific outcome would be for any of the characters. And oh man, if you like reading about food, this is a great book. There are descriptions of all kinds of dishes, high and low. Some of the best food writing in fiction this side of Kate Christensen.
Disclosure: I worked with this author, and we once spent like six consecutive hours talking about brand attributes. Do with this information what you will....more
There's a part in The Nick Tosches Reader where Tosches is describing Dennis Quade, who he's just met, and he says something like "People keep tellingThere's a part in The Nick Tosches Reader where Tosches is describing Dennis Quade, who he's just met, and he says something like "People keep telling me I should hate this guy, that he's a son of a bitch. But he and I get along like gangbusters, which probably makes me a son of a bitch, too." I'm thinking of that as I write this because I see other reviews mentioning that Hamilton seems unlikeable, arrogant, maybe a little superior. But I found her to be charming throughout. Do with that what you will.
It's true that the first half of this book was an easier read for me than the second half, but in some ways, I feel like the second half will stay with me longer. Read this and then watch Hamilton's season of Mind of the Chef, which is in many ways a television adaptation of this book.
Some of the best writing about food that I've ever read. And I will always respect a memoir that opens a chapter with "I'd like to jump ahead a few years."
I'm really not sure what the hell to write about this book. It was one of the most fun, most twisty and sick books I'd read in a long time. I am a deaI'm really not sure what the hell to write about this book. It was one of the most fun, most twisty and sick books I'd read in a long time. I am a dead sucker for campus novels, and this one hit the spot. I read it in a week and would recommend to anyone heading on a vacation looking for something a little mysterious and a little dark.
And yet, I can't help but feel that it didn't quite land. At least not how I wanted it to. All of which is to say that I think Yates has some master work lurking inside him, and I'm excited to read it someday soon....more
How does one review a book like this? It's like trying to review the sun. It's huge, everything revolves around it, and there times when it seems to fHow does one review a book like this? It's like trying to review the sun. It's huge, everything revolves around it, and there times when it seems to fill up the sky.
Postwar is absolutely monumental. Not only is it a tremendous work of scholarship, but it also has a really great sense of humor. Judt throws shade on everyone from Marxists to ex-Nazis to the Sex Pistols to David Beckham. All of that and I learned a bunch of new words (autarkic! propitious! adumbrated!).
Why are you reading this review when you could be reading Postwar?...more
This is a fascinating and incredibly readable novel. First, the narrative perspective is interesting, in that it's a story of two characters and toldThis is a fascinating and incredibly readable novel. First, the narrative perspective is interesting, in that it's a story of two characters and told from one character's perspective. Second, it's a story that tackles big, moral issues around abortion and motherhood. These two aspects combine to give this novel the feeling of being very old, even though it was published in the last year.
I felt it did a great job of both offering a perspective and an opinion on abortion while still telling a tremendously gripping story. I read this book in days and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a great novel that isn't afraid of weighty subject matter....more
When I was 22, 23, I lived in East Hollywood in a horrible apartment with mold on the ceiling and a ratty carpet. It was an embarrassment, but lookingWhen I was 22, 23, I lived in East Hollywood in a horrible apartment with mold on the ceiling and a ratty carpet. It was an embarrassment, but looking back on it, it was where I needed to be at the time. I worked at a bookstore and I would get home from work at 1am. But that was never the end of my night. I was too keyed up to sleep right away, so I'd get a case of domestic beer (Budweiser was my brand back then...what?), and stay up until 4, 5am, drinking, reading, and most of all, listening to albums.
The records that were important to me then were The Stooges' Fun House, Tom Waits' Closing Time, and above all else, Van Morrison's Astral Weeks. I consider the release of Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot to mark a kind of turning point for me, when I started to emerge from this weird self-imposed exile and start actually living my life. I met the woman I'd eventually marry, started taking my work more seriously, just generally got my shit together. But for awhile there, all I really had was Fun House and Astral Weeks and a lot of bad beer.
Jessica Hopper's collection of criticism took me back to that period in my life (from a safe distance, mind you), and reminded me of when music was vitally important for me. But while there's plenty of Van Morrison referenced here, this is a more modern collection. Reviews of everything from Tyler the Creator to Coughs to Animal Collective. I even enjoyed reading about acts I'd never heard before.
My favorite section was probably the "Bad Reviews" section. Who doesn't love a good teardown every once and awhile.
Side note: reading a book like this in the era of streaming music is great. Haven't heard of a band referenced? Just pull them up online. Twenty years ago, it would have been a completely different experience. ...more
About 12 years ago, I wrote an essay about how I lived in a near-constant state of panic that Pedro Martinez would get injured. You can't read this esAbout 12 years ago, I wrote an essay about how I lived in a near-constant state of panic that Pedro Martinez would get injured. You can't read this essay, because it exists solely in the literary journal about baseball pitching that I published exactly once. It's not online, and it never will be. I wrote it during a time when I was feeling especially fragile. I was trying to figure out where I was going and what kind of person I was going to be. I had just started dating the person who I'd eventually marry. I'd just settled into my first serious job which would eventually turn into a career, against all odds.
And all the sports teams I loved were star-crossed. The only two teams I really follow anymore -- the Syracuse Orange basketball team and the Boston Red Sox -- both had been mediocre for awhile. They'd both had tragic failures in the mid 80s. I didn't have a whole lot of hope. But Pedro gave me something to get excited about. Pedro started to turn it all around.
The Red Sox traded for Pedro Martinez when I was still in college. By the time I'd moved to Los Angeles and started my official adulthood (ha!), he had established himself as the greatest right-handed pitcher of his generation--historically dominant and a superstar personality, to boot. But by the time I wrote my essay in late 02 early 03, he'd injured his shoulder, and it looked like he was bound to be one of those near misses that Sox fans had come to dread.
I remember going over to my friend's house to work on the literary journal. She was publishing it with me (and really doing most of the work on it, laying it out, etc.). We'd agreed that we'd work through the night to meet some deadline that we'd decided was very important. While we were working, I watched Carmelo Anthony lead my beloved Cuse to their first and only National Championship. I credit Pedro with just a little bit of that magic.
Later that year, he pitched what should have been the winning game in game 7 of the ALCS. It wasn't, and I had to wait another year before the Sox would redeem themselves. And even though Curt Schilling and David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez probably played bigger roles in that '04 season, it was Pedro that really started it all.
So what did I think of this book? Well, first, it didn't make me love Pedro Martinez any less. He came across more or less as I expected him to -- fiery, funny as hell, a little melodramatic, sensitive, super smart. Pedro didn't pull any punches with this. Guys he didn't get along with -- from Tommy Lasorda to Joe Kerrigan to Jeff Wilpon -- get called out. And there are more than a few hints that guys he competed with or against were on steroids.
But what was best about this book were the little behind-the-scenes details. Finally, we get a real accounting of what was going on between Pedro and Grady Little during that game in '03. And we get Pedro talking to Manny Ramirez, which is, in and of itself, worth any price ("Hey Pedro, did you know that I have three midgets in my brain that are constantly talking to me?", "Hey Pedro, did you know there are guys on their way up to the moon right now?"). And the chapter on how Pedro pitched and prepared is a master class. Anybody interested in pitching will absolutely love that.
I do agree with what others have written -- that the book feels a little too polished, that it sometimes doesn't feel like Pedro's specific voice -- but for me, it was Pedro enough. I recommend it to baseball fans, fans of the Red Sox, the Expos, Dodger haters everywhere, and anyone interested in pitching.
Of course, what do I know? I probably would have paid $24.99 for a list of the various hair products Pedro used on his Jheri curl. So, you know, I might be biased....more
"He likes the warm feeling but he's tired of all the dehydration..."
A very fun book for anybody interested in booze beyond "I like how it tastes." I f"He likes the warm feeling but he's tired of all the dehydration..."
A very fun book for anybody interested in booze beyond "I like how it tastes." I found the first half of the book to be more engaging and more thorough than the second half (which is more about alcohol's effects on the body) but that's just me. My big takeaway from this book is something that came from the introduction, something that's probably already obvious to everyone else but me: being passionate about something necessarily leads to wanting to take it apart, to figure out how it does what it does. I'd never really thought about it before, but when I look at the things I'm really into -- baseball, food, books -- that rings true....more