Gorgeous illustrations, a revenge story with the feel of a fable. Like Into the Wild meets Rumplestiltskin. I like how the illustrations take the placGorgeous illustrations, a revenge story with the feel of a fable. Like Into the Wild meets Rumplestiltskin. I like how the illustrations take the place of text and cannot be skipped without missing part of the story. The main character is as tragic and canny as George R. R. Martin's Tyrion Lannister. Dark, philosophical, and legendary. ...more
The audiobook is fantastic! Many guest appearances, a lot of heart, laughs, and wisdom from a strong woman. I love her rants about how her phone is trThe audiobook is fantastic! Many guest appearances, a lot of heart, laughs, and wisdom from a strong woman. I love her rants about how her phone is trying to kill her. Mine is trying to kill me too....more
So I was reading Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See at a restaurant and a guy called me out for reading in public: "Hey nerd!" (he was reading too).So I was reading Doerr's All the Light We Cannot See at a restaurant and a guy called me out for reading in public: "Hey nerd!" (he was reading too). So I asked, "Well, what are YOU reading?" and he was reading some Terry Pratchett. For some reason I'd been avoiding Terry Pratchett, despite my childhood devouring of Zelazny's Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming and Terry Brooks' Magic Kingdom For Sale: Sold!. I'm always terribly interested in what other people are reading, so I decided to hop on the Pratchett bandwagon (30+ books in the series! I'll never be without something to read). I was not disappointed. Hilarious, yet philosophical. It reminded me of Zelazny and Brooks, but was also a lot like The Phantom Tollbooth. I shouldn't have put off reading Pratchett for so long. Thanks, fellow nerd. ...more
Betteredge's love of Robinson Crusoe is endearing, Miss Clack's proselytizing is abhorrent, and the love triangle is suffused with enough drama to proBetteredge's love of Robinson Crusoe is endearing, Miss Clack's proselytizing is abhorrent, and the love triangle is suffused with enough drama to propel the mystery through pages and pages of elaborate, meandering prose. I dearly hope that society never returns to speaking in the same way as those who lived in 1840s England!...more
Modern cliffhanger with the James Bond of terrorist-hunters after a brilliant fanatic. Plenty of gore and patriotism. Should satisfy those who like spModern cliffhanger with the James Bond of terrorist-hunters after a brilliant fanatic. Plenty of gore and patriotism. Should satisfy those who like spy thrillers and those who are more into murder mysteries. ...more
I think I'll keep reading the series for purely girly reasons. Will Caelena and Rowan remain good friends, or will that relationship evolve? Will ManoI think I'll keep reading the series for purely girly reasons. Will Caelena and Rowan remain good friends, or will that relationship evolve? Will Manon discover a heart of gold within herself? (view spoiler)[Can Damien be saved (hide spoiler)]?
The series follows a predictable pacing and calls to mind Hunger Games and Anne McCaffrey's Pern series. I found it predictable that (view spoiler)[ Sorscha gets beheaded (hide spoiler)].
Good for long transit trips, although I'd recommend getting an ebook. The paperback is poorly constructed. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
There are books that are entertaining and there are books that get the neurons firing. In the process of making my scribbled notes into some sort of rThere are books that are entertaining and there are books that get the neurons firing. In the process of making my scribbled notes into some sort of review, I am surprised by the range of ideas, scenes, and topics that Dylan covered. He immerses you in his flaneur-like appreciation of scenes and relationships. He studies his audience and the way people perceive him and other artists or entertainers. He lives an honest life and the adages that come from his family and himself are worthy of study. He describes places like clubs or cities by their ambience and vibe. Even people can seem like an expanse of land. The combination of high and low culture with the little details about his personality are endearing. I didn’t expect to be as into this book as I was.
There were scenes that sparked my imagination, like what would it be like to be the waitress going around a beat club, collecting money/tips for Bob Dylan? As he switches between early periods and late periods of his life, it becomes clear how he’s a product of the north country and the Cold War era, a “victim of strange fantasy” living in a “cloud of fear.” Although he may have sampled the Old Time Radio sentence about sound effects - bacon sizzling is the electric chair and crunching a Life Saver sounds like breaking bones, it is clear that listening is a soothing and engaging activity for Dylan. I identified with his thought that a voice on the radio can “lay hands” on you. A body-less voice can transform and transcend the power of imagination, as Dylan reveals in his praise of Brown Sugar, New Orleans DJ.
His appreciation of the aspects of an era is almost philosophical. Two ideas enchant me: the idea of cultural icons as fathers who leave metaphorical families behind. Although he has a kind of disdain for his typical fan, he cultivates an academic dedication to music that has had a ripple effect throughout branches of musical genres. The second idea, that of predestination as a carnival act, particularly the Leopard Girl, is hard to grasp. Are we merely put on earth to be laughed at for things we didn’t choose to be? Or are we doomed to be exploited?
Some of his philosophy transcends literary metaphor and becomes almost like a parable. The idea of putting a song across is one of many ways he conflates journeys or distance with creation, emotional growth, and/or emotional intelligence. My mind is flooded with images of a song being ferried over troubled waters, or being researched, floated as a con or heist. If a song must travel, than what territory is it traversing? Is it a person’s emotional pain and their lived experience? The way he describes the fabrications that turn a real figure’s story into a folk song indicate that pain plus some form of creative license plus truth equal an awesome song. Dylan got me thinking about the kinds of intimacy or relationships am I looking for in or with the songs, the bands, and the artists that I love or choose to listen to. How I can be “dreaming a dead dream” when listening to vintage tunes. Deep thoughts, right? I like the way he reads people. He sees if a person has momentum, can help him accomplish projects, gather a band, or amplify his message. He got me thinking about how I think of my ideal audience at work, at play, or at school. And the ways in which I assume who other people’s audiences are. Dylan gives the impression that one can change the entire course of one’s life just by numerically changing patterns, habits. Anything to do with numbers can be adjusted to have a butterfly effect on all corresponding parts of life since the universe operates on mathematical principles. If you change your pattern or sequence, it changes the story or your impact.
I wish I could’ve known Bob Dylan’s grandma, who told him “Happiness isn’t on the road to anything,” that happiness is the road. Other sayings worth repeating are “the worth of things can’t be measured by what they cost but by what they cost you to get it” and “A conceited person could be set up easily and brought down accordingly”. We all have some form of fake self worth and authenticity is the only true way to avoid manipulation. Finally, “You live with what life deals you. We have to make things fit.”
I like how he struggles with his status as a legend, but still has the ego to say things like destiny was looking right at him, or to say that MacLeish said he “inherited something metaphysical from a bygone era.” I agree that he has to be an old soul, ‘cause “A folk song has over a thousand faces and you must meet them all if you want to play this stuff.”
I think his narratives are more interesting and memorable when tied to a location. One image I won’t forget is that of him slipping into a phone booth sanctuary. It offered him the privacy, cleanliness, and quiet that couldn’t be found on the busy city street. Some things were eye-opening simply because I’d never heard of them before, like The King and His Court who’d do fast pitch softball tricks. They were like the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball. I never knew there was a Terraplane car. There are places I want to visit, just because Dylan described them so well, like Bull’s Head Tavern, a cellar tavern, where he felt John Wilkes Booth’s ghost. And King Tut’s Museum. I’m trying to figure out where he dropped in to hear the old jazz singer on Front St. in San Rafael? Maybe Pier 15? I liked how Dylan noticed the cemeteries in New Orleans! He raved about magic, night, and ghosts. I recommend Unfathomable City if you want more about New Orleans. Perhaps the most heartbreaking story is the inspiration for “Dark Eyes” - I’ll never forget the way he described the call girl at Plaza Hotel in New Orleans.
Even people are described vividly. Van Ronk is made of frosty silence, like the wind was blowing him Dylan’s way. And Johnny Cash, he “could have been a cave dweller. He sounds like he’s at the edge of the fire, or in the deep snow, or in a ghostly forest”
I could pontificate more about how he reshaped the way I think of songwriting as song architecture or how there were so many quirky details about him, but I’ll end with things I’m going to read or research or listen to as a result of this book:
To Read: Balzac: Luck and Leather, Le Cousin Pons Evan Jones (playwright) T.S. Eliot biography of Stephen Crane Gregory Corso, “Bomb” poem Guthrie, Bound for Glory art by Red Grooms
To Listen: Judy Garland, “The Man That Got Away” Frank Sinatra, “Ebb Tide” Charlie Daniels, The Jaguars (surf/rockabilly) Derroll Adams (who played with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott) - is he from Portland? Ramblin’ Jack Elliott Mason Ruffner Jim Dickinson, who played on “Wild Horses” Sweet Kitty Wells - queen of Country Robert Johnson, “Terraplane” The New Lost City Ramblers John Jacob Niles from the Dylan catalog of songs: “Everything Is Broken” “Dignity” ...more
There's an index in the back of this despairing meditation. This book inspired me to make more time for sketching. I like the way he draws trees, mythThere's an index in the back of this despairing meditation. This book inspired me to make more time for sketching. I like the way he draws trees, mythical creatures, and the pipe-like maps or root systems. Sadness, travel, and politics abound. I'm more excited about the feel of the work than the content. ...more
Schwob’s descriptions in The Fat Man make the fable’s structure into a mirror of the plot. A fable lacks, it must be left a skeleton for the reader toSchwob’s descriptions in The Fat Man make the fable’s structure into a mirror of the plot. A fable lacks, it must be left a skeleton for the reader to flesh out. The Dom brought tears to my eyes. I wondered if corpse sinkers were real.
Here’s a list of words I learned from The Amber Trader: massif, burin, and moraine. A friend recently told me that there will be software that could translate a book from one language to another, taking into account my preferences. But in this hypothetical translation, isn’t much of the benefits of reading lost, that of keeping an open mind and seeing a new perspective? The story provokes thoughts of how the changes to the Earth’s terrain may mimic changes in human culture. Also, forget Gatsby’s light. I’m more interested in the uncertain light coming from lanterns covered in raindrops (from “The Flute’).
I liked how Schwob depicted how a researcher can be immersed, consumed by a question in The ‘Papier Rouge’. Also, grottoes are awesome. Take a moment, do an image search for “grotto.” You won’t be disappointed.
The Embalming Women was perhaps the most creepy. I could definitely cast Bela Lugosi in this. I had no idea “Ophelion” could be a name. I thought it was just Ophelia, no other versions allowed. Silly me. The author sets the scene beautifully, glaucous seas, a city of cupolas. I think the story very easily makes a fantasy from what’s problematic in modern times - the idea of caring for the dead or dying. I think this concern shifts the tired premise of “he’s dead now no one can have him” into “he’s dead, now we can care for him forever”. Milesian Virgins had the same modern quality to it, dealing with issues of body shaming and dysmorphia.
I was less enthused about the biographies, however, I think the goal he set out in them is laudable, “Were we to practice the art [of biography] we should, beyond doubt, not have to describe in minute detail the characteristics of the most celebrated men of the past but, with the same minuteness, tell of the unique existence of men, be they dine, mediocrities, or criminals.” There are biographies where the high point is farting or other lapses of personal hygiene. There’s a whole interlinked set of biographies dealing with the Children’s Crusade. They weren’t for me. Maybe they’re for you....more