Nothing earth-shattering here, but still: A solidly constructed, engaging portrait of a cunning young woman who wants very badly to carve a place forNothing earth-shattering here, but still: A solidly constructed, engaging portrait of a cunning young woman who wants very badly to carve a place for herself in the money-dripping art scene of the late 20th century. Dozens of color illustrations help set the scene.
Steve Martin's fiction has always struck me as a bit arch and mannered, and some aspects of that remain here, but it's also the most natural-sounding prose of his I've read. He sets up an interesting scenario, and you're curious to see how it plays out, and there are enough surprises along the way to keep engaging your curiosity, even given the rather subdued nature of the events....more
I've never been able to get through more than twenty pages of a Dan Brown novel before, because the prose was just so gut-wrenchingly bad, so this wasI've never been able to get through more than twenty pages of a Dan Brown novel before, because the prose was just so gut-wrenchingly bad, so this was something of an improvement -- it's still not what I'd call a great book, by any means, but it's a bit more readable (although there are still plenty of rough patches).
Basically, this is two books crammed into one -- the first is a reasonably well-paced thriller about a crazy ceremonial magician with full-bodied tattoos who's finagled his way into the Freemasons because he thinks they know the secret word that can help him become super-duper-powerful. So he kidnaps a high-ranking Mason who happens to be best friends with Robert Langdon, then forces Langdon to solve the riddles of the Solomon Key, which leads to a madcap run all over Washington, D.C. with both the Masons and the CIA (don't ask) deeply interested in what he turns up.
THAT book is outlandish, but fairly entertaining as these things go, and I'll confess I didn't see the final twists coming (although, in retrospect and with an information boost from Wikipedia, this may be because I've never read Angels and Demons). The problem is that it's continually overridden by another book about a gorgeous female scientist who specializes in something called "noetics" which is basically the mysticism-laced "science" of What the Bleep Do We Know?, and if we could only grasp the true extent of human consciousness' power, why, we WOULD be just as powerful as the crazy-ass tattooed assassin thinks the Masonic password will make him. This book is good for nothing but long, boring expository passages, some of them disguised as dialogue, in which Langdon constantly says he can't possibly believe these things are real, but that's exactly what he says about all the other stuff, and THAT all turned out to be real, so there you go.
If you ditched all that flim-flam, and tightened up the crazy tattoo guy plot a bit......more
You know how some serial comics strips reveal a rich, complex backstory over time, as the gags slowly, subtly give (some) way to intricately layered pYou know how some serial comics strips reveal a rich, complex backstory over time, as the gags slowly, subtly give (some) way to intricately layered plots? Jonathan Rosenberg's GOATS is one of those strips, and Infinite Typewriters is just the first volume in what promises to be a sprawling epic. Imagine early Berke Breathed by way of Philip K. Dick, and you've got a vague sense of what's in store for you.
Note: This isn't a nice-and-friendly newspaper comic strip; one of the main characters is a satanic chicken who clones an even-more-evil son who runs away from home to blackmail Michael Jackson, and then there's several pages devoted to a concept called "Good Hitler vs. Space Hitler"... If you refuse to be scared off, though, I think you'll get a lot of laughs out of this thing....more
Thornton plunges into a full-immersion study of seven radically different environments of the art world, from a Christie's auction to an open crit sesThornton plunges into a full-immersion study of seven radically different environments of the art world, from a Christie's auction to an open crit session at CalArt, from the Japanese studios of Takashi Murakami to the Venice Biennale, and records what she sees and hears. Several sets of wonderful stories emerge, with occasional overlap as a few figures move from one scene to another, but for the most part these are highly disparate snapshots which demonstrate that there is no one "art world," but a whole range of overlapping subcultures, each with its own hierarchies and protocols.
I'd put her self-described ethnographic technique somewhere between traditional newspaper/magazine reporting and, say, the participatory journalism of George Plimpton; she's definitely not trying to be invisible, but she's not taking part in the activities she observes, either. At any rate, she's got a wonderful sense of story and of teasing out the significance of the events she witnesses, and the result is a very smart and entertaining read....more
Waxman visits some of the most famous museums in the world AND some of the countries where their most prized antiquities came from to speak with advocWaxman visits some of the most famous museums in the world AND some of the countries where their most prized antiquities came from to speak with advocates on both sides of the restitution debate....more