(3.5 stars) I haven't read many novels aimed at "young adult" or teen audiences since I was a teen so it's hard to evaluate "The Hunger Games" and Suza(3.5 stars) I haven't read many novels aimed at "young adult" or teen audiences since I was a teen so it's hard to evaluate "The Hunger Games" and Suzanne Collins against other authors of similar work. This first book of a trilogy moves at a brisk pace with its plot and character development. Collins drops really effective cliffhangers at the end of each chapter, which reminded me of serialized fiction, superhero comics, and manga. Having said that, I found myself wanting a little more stylistic flair, given that this is a dystopian science fiction tale set sometime in the future. Collins sets forth many great ideas and establishes a mood of realistic cynicism that is surprisingly refreshing. To me, the ending was rather predictable once the outcome of the Hunger Game was determined. Does "The Hunger Games" live up to the crushing weight of the hype? Yes and no. Was this book compelling enough to encourage me to continue on with the trilogy? Yes, but with some reservations.
Random notes: 1. This is a rare instance where I actually read the book before I watch the movie. 2. Poor, poor Peeta....more
Music journalist Simon Reynolds examines mainstream pop music's seemingly relentless revivals and revisitations of past eras. Like many other critics,Music journalist Simon Reynolds examines mainstream pop music's seemingly relentless revivals and revisitations of past eras. Like many other critics, he wonders, and worries about, whether or not America and Britain are stuck on repeat. Is it possible to innovate when the past and the near-past are ever present, especially with the easy accessibility to the obscure and the well-known that the Internet affords us? How can we be nostalgic for a decade that just ended? Reynolds also looks at different forms of art — architecture, fashion, movies, TV, and more — to find out how they are afflicted with retromania. Toward the end of the book, Reynolds seems to argue that the music circles of the 2000s and of today are not saying much about the present day nor will they contribute much to the efforts of future revivalists because there was nothing original about them. At best, what musicians, singers, DJs, and producers did during this decade was reveal how seemingly disparate sources of music can fit together into a song. But can you create something new with this mosaic? At a time when critics and commentators argue that we live in an age of "atemporality," maybe it's time to forget the past so that we can move on with the future. Well worth reading....more
The majority of what's collected in this book are reviews, but they sometimes read like essays. Because of this, Bierut's writing refers to controversThe majority of what's collected in this book are reviews, but they sometimes read like essays. Because of this, Bierut's writing refers to controversies and hot topics at the time and they occasionally show their flaws in the light of the passing years. Some are remembrances of influential designers, artists, photographers, and creative persons who have recently passed away and played some role in shaping Bierut's life. But the best work comes in the form of the more recognizable essays, that is, the writings that transcend time while capturing it. A shining example of Bierut's congruent power of writing as a designer can be seen in "On (Design) Bullshit." Bierut recounts one of the major confrontations between architect Richard Meier and artist Robert Irwin in the 1997 documentary, "Concert of Wills," which chronicles the construction of the Getty Center in Los Angeles. He finishes the piece with an example from his years working as a designer with Massimo Vignelli. What is evident in reading these 79 articles is that designers are influenced by any and everything, even falling off a treadmill at the gym.
Given that this is a book on design written by a notable designer (Bierut is a partner in renowned international design agency Pentagram), the content and how it is packaged are presented in a clever manner: each article is presented in a different typeface, most of which is connected to or referenced in the article. (See "I Hate ITC Garamond.")...more
If you like B-horror movies in paper form coated with Japanese cliches and stereotypes on top of plenty of nudity and fan service, then you might enjoIf you like B-horror movies in paper form coated with Japanese cliches and stereotypes on top of plenty of nudity and fan service, then you might enjoy this somewhat extreme take on the zombie plague story. Unfortunately, the lettering and the translation can look and read awkwardly, and are marred by the occasional editing error, e.g. unnecessary commas or misspelled words. This all rather distracts from the story and art....more