50 Books in 2011 for my friends around the world discussion

Andy's 50

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message 1: by Andy (new)

Andy | 10 comments Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer

1) TREE OF CODES by Jonathan Safran Foer

Concept: 5/5
Execution: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

This one isn't for everybody but if you are as intrigued by the concept as I was, I think you will enjoy it.

From the author's afterword: "For years I had wanted to create a die-cut book by erasure, a book whose meaning was exhumed from another book."

So basically the author took his favorite book and cut out passages until he created an entirely new experience that is part stripped-down storytelling and part poetry. I just ordered the original book, the sTREEt OF croCODilES, and am extremely curious and incredibly anxious to compare the two. I doubt Foer's version of the story will be what people remember about this book but I love the idea of re-imagining an old favorite in this way.

It took me maybe 30 minutes to read from cover to cover and most of that time was spent carefully turning each intricately die-cut page. I felt it was an engrossing experience trying to follow the text and also imagine what ended up on the floor (there are entire pages with no words at all!).

The book was expensive since you are paying for the unique printing technique so if anyone wants to read it just send me your address and I'll ship it to you (offer is only valid for the first person to respond and valid everywhere except Chile...just kidding).

message 2: by Andy (new)

Andy | 10 comments A Scanner Darkly  by Philip K. Dick

2) A SCANNER DARKLY by Philip K. Dick

Rating: 4.5/5

A story about addiction.

I started this a few weeks ago and just finished it. So good. The duality of Fred and Bob Arctor really resonated with me. A lot of the subject matter is relatable even for casual addictions - or, maybe it just speaks to my own twin personalities...and maybe, like the main character, I am also slowly losing my mind...

I loved the subtexts of paranoia and conspiracy. The writing style is fluid and it was a quick read but I was occasionally distracted by the 70s lingo. Otherwise it feels modern but also somehow timeless.

I have a paperback copy. Let me know if you want it and I'll send it to you.

message 3: by Mia (new)

Mia (missmiasma) | 14 comments Andy wrote: "Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer

1) TREE OF CODES by Jonathan Safran Foer

Concept: 5/5
Execution: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5

This one isn't for everybody but if you are as intrigued by the conc..."

Hey Andy,

I would love to check out this book if the loan offer still applies! I know we don't know each other but hey, we're in this 50 books thing together so we've got a forced kinship, right?


message 4: by Andy (new)

Andy | 10 comments Message me your address and I'll ship it out as soon as I can.

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I fucking love Saferon Foer. He is my fav writer at the moment. Extremely loud is such an amazing book. This 50 books thing is already getting out of hand. Best friends shipping books to ex girlfriends, crossing the streams, crossing the streams.

Mia dont let one of your 940 rabbits eat this book please.

message 6: by Mia (new)

Mia (missmiasma) | 14 comments Andy, thanks for shipping the book over!

Evan, of course my rabbits won't eat it, they just nibble. Just kidding, the book is safe and sound and almost ready to be returned. Get used to the stream crossing, Evan, you created this beast.

message 7: by Andy (new)

Andy | 10 comments You don't have to send the book back. You can keep it or give it to someone else who might enjoy it. I thought it was a fun read but it will likely just sit on my shelf.

message 8: by Andy (last edited Jan 17, 2011 08:29PM) (new)

Andy | 10 comments Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

3) EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE by Jonathan Safran Foer (audiobook)

Story: 3/5
Narration: 4.5/5
Overall: 3.75/5

Most of you have probably read this book so I'm not going to summarize it. My only problem with this book was that Oskar's grandpa was an asshole and I could not have cared less about his story. Unless the intent of the grandparents' story was to make you feel even more sorry for Oskar, his father, and his grandmother then job well done. Otherwise I didn't think it served the story much at all and just made me want to skip ahead to Oskar's story line. I mean, I get it, he had a pretty tragic past but that's no excuse to be a dick to everyone else in your life. Maybe I missed the point.

But ANYWAY, the audiobook narration was great and I liked almost every other aspect of the book.

message 9: by Mia (new)

Mia (missmiasma) | 14 comments Andy wrote: "You don't have to send the book back. You can keep it or give it to someone else who might enjoy it. I thought it was a fun read but it will likely just sit on my shelf."

Wow, thanks, Andy! That's incredibly generous, especially since we've never met. I'd be glad to keep it but if anyone here wants to read it, I'll keep the kind gestures going and send it along. Message me if you're interested, folks.

message 10: by Andy (last edited Feb 07, 2011 09:07PM) (new)

Andy | 10 comments Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg

4) NERD DO WELL by Simon Pegg

Rating: 2.5/5

Simon Pegg's autobiography.

Since I've enjoyed nearly everything in Simon Pegg's body of work (Spaced, Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz) I thought his book might be equally as entertaining. Nope. Maybe you are interested in jumbled, long-winded anecdotes about an extremely boring and uneventful childhood but, as it turns out, I am not. Even Pegg must have realized his life story was boring considering his decision to pepper in a fictional narrative that, while I admit was fun to read, ultimately went nowhere (mostly because he tried to tie it into his autobiography in the end). If you are a true nerd, you might enjoy Pegg's opinions on zombie movies, the Star Wars franchise, or various TV shows from his/your childhood. Otherwise, in an attempt to maintain his privacy (this is an autobiography, right?) he focuses nearly 3/4 of the book on his childhood, using pseudonyms to protect the innocent. At the point where he finishes college and moves to London it is as if someone told him to simply, "skip to the end," leaving us with no real insights as to his creative process or how his meteoric rise and celebrity status affected him personally (other than how rewarding it was to finally meet many of his childhood heroes).

All-in-all, kind of a lame autobiography...although, I did laugh out loud at the appendix, which just made me think how I would have much rather read a work of fiction by Simon Pegg than a 40-year-old nerd's memoir.

message 11: by Andy (last edited Feb 07, 2011 09:08PM) (new)

Andy | 10 comments Freedom is a Two-Edged Sword and Other Essays (Oriflamme #1) by John Whiteside Parsons

5) FREEDOM IS A TWO-EDGED SWORD, The Collected Essays of John Whiteside Parsons

Rating: 3/5

A collection of essays by rocket scientist and occultist Jack Parsons.

If that quick summary intrigues you, I'd recommend reading SEX AND ROCKETS: THE OCCULT WORLD OF JACK PARSONS by John Carter. I first read that book around the time it was originally published in 1999. Jack Parsons (1914-1952) was definitely an unusual character: he co-founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, actively practiced Magick and Witchcraft and had ties with Aleister Crowley, and was killed at a young age in an explosion in his home laboratory in 1952.

This particular book is a collection of his essays and, in the case of the first and most eloquent essay, was clearly a vehicle to promote his social libertarian agenda. Subsequent essays are often incomplete fragments of ideas on Magick and Witchcraft, though interesting nonetheless (especially in the context of his scientific achievements). I would not consider myself a libertarian but fundamentally many of the ideas presented in this collection are aligned with my own sense of freedom or liberty. You might even consider some of his ideas prophetic given the time period in relation to women's and civil rights movements. Sadly, I am still waiting for his religious prophecies to be fulfilled...

"We must outgrow the need for dogmas which force us into a stultified and mechanical relation with life, and live by and for a continuous and vital experience, interpreted and made significant by the creative mind." - Jack Parsons

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