Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

High Fidelity, Er, Squared?

September 20, 2007

So, I watched one of my all time top-five desert island movies the other day: High Fidelity. It’s also a great book, and while I can’t speak about the musical from experience, it sounds interesting.

Anyhow, I was looking for a passage from the book online and came across a pretty interesting fact. Apparently, Regina Spektor’s song Fidelity was inspired by the novel.  It turns out I love the song, too.

I still haven’t found the passage; short of retrieving the book from home or watching the movie again I’ll probably have to go without. Thats OK by me, though, as both of those options are appealing. In short, go watch/read/listen to it!

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Fire Alarm!

September 7, 2007

So, last night (Ed: night before last, at the time of this posting), as I was finally falling asleep, just shy of 2:45 AM, some genius pulled the fire alarm. It’s a bizarre feeling, thinking that you are dreaming the most horrible, prolonged screech known to man, then having to crawl out of your bunk, scramble to find shoes, and then sit outside in the cold for… nothing.

Well, such is college life. As my dad said, it’s at least interesting to see who was in what rooms.

That said, I’m tired! So forgive me if I seem to be cheating a bit, but I’d like to transcribe a couple passages from Walden, which I am slowly moving through, that I especially like, and so want to preserve for my own sake.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to it’s lowest terms, and, if it proved mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.

Also, possibly the strangest fortune cookie I’ve ever gotten:

Could I get some directions to your heart?

Um, that would be a no.

News Update!

August 19, 2007

Well, a few big things worth mentioning. I picked up Walden (and Civil Disobedience – not sure a better pair of books for me exists) today so I should have lots to talk about in the near future. So far, and rather sadly, the most complete thing thought to have come out of Walden is this: with all the subtle, sarcastic tone of his writing as he describes society’s flaws in 1800’s English, it would be hilarious to hear someone like Wanda Sykes express the same thing. Not an improvement, just funny.

Actually, I can’t say that is the only thing I’ve gotten out of it. There was one passage I especially liked:

One farmer says to me, “You cannot live on vegetable food solely, for it furnishes nothing to make bones with”; and so he religiously devotes a part of his day to supplying his system with the raw material of bones; walking all the while he talks behind his oxen, which, with vegetable-made bones, jerk him and his lumbering plow along in spite of every obstacle. Some things are really necessaries of life in some circles, the most helpless and diseased, which in others are luxuries merely, and in others still are entirely unknown.

-Henry David Thoreau

See? He’s pretty funny in a refined way. And it really rings true for me. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me that a book which has remained famous this long and inspired so many people is well written or insightful. To be honest, I would like it anyway, just because I don’t have much chance to read books written in aged English that haven’t been updated or annotated in some way.

I also picked up Flight Vol.2. I read Vol. 1 recently and it was wonderful. The second has so far been mixed (two stories in) but with many artists contributing one can’t like everything. The work is still beautiful and I am excited to read more. The entire project is worth checking out. If you’d like a second opinion, here it is.

I also picked up three other annoyingly philosophical works (one really classic, one more recent classic, and a modern classic) so I can give people headaches for a long time to come.

I hope you have a good book to curl up with to. It does wonders for the soul, and might even be among those necessaries of life. At least, I think it should be.

(By the way, I just realized that I completely missed my 100th post! That was back in July. Not altogether amazing, but a light show isn’t a bad celebration. Now to worry about 150 breathing down my back!

Also, I hope everyone takes a moment to check out the About page I added to to the right hand navigation bar. It’s about time, I’d say.)

Palahniuk Doing It Again

July 22, 2007

I’m sure the reading world at large has mixed feelings about Chuck Palahniuk‘s work. No doubt, many people feel the same way about him as my mother does; they see him as going for the cheap gross out and so wasting his talent.

Me, I can’t get enough of the guy.

He’s probably best known for Fight Club, which is ironic, since I think it’s his only novel I haven’t read. His “cheap” plots, for me, fall into the wonderful space between reality and fantasy, leaving you to feel both out of your element and suspicious that maybe, just maybe, it’s a true story.

Honestly, it’s not healthy for me to read his work. When I wrote fiction a lot, I would start to write like him. I start to think in the style of language he uses.

Right now, I’m reading Rant, his newest book, and it’s so good, I’m going back to it. Chao!

Some Thoughts On Potter

July 21, 2007

Well, Moi dragged me down to borders last night (all night) for the unveiling of the new Harry Potter book. I haven’t been following them much myself, but I was willing to spend a night in a bookstore if it made her happy. Really, a night in a book store is never a bad thing.

I was impressed by the range of people who attended, reaching from the obvious (little kids dressed as Harry or Hermoine) to goths, nerds, and, yes, even a few adults and the elderly. Honestly, I was a little shocked. While it’s true that my objection to the book is purely personal (I don’t like Rowling’s writing style much), and I have been very interested in fantasy things before, I was a little taken aback by the crowd. How could so many people care so much about some kids’ books?

To be fair, I’ve c aught on to fads before. Pokemon owned me. Looking back, though, I wish I hadn’t let it. Last night, I wished a little bit the same for all those people. honestly, they’re in a book store right next to Hemingway, or Chaucer, or Wolfe, and all they care about is “he-who-cannot-be-named.” Accio good literature, people!

Right?

Well, maybe not. As the night went on, and I caught pieces of conversations here and there, I started to see something bigger happening. Discussion and speculation about the final book raged, and some of it was actually pretty scholarly. Conversations branched into the realm of books, movies, and even politics. Potter, for whatever direct good (or lack thereof) he has had, had managed to get a big group of people, even goth teenagers, to come to a bookstore. At midnight. Since when does that happen?

So, maybe Potter wasn’t all bad. I risk my book snob credentials to say that, but it may just be true. My parents used the Animorphs series to get me to read my first real literature. Wishbone made classics more available to me growing up. Some books can serve as an ends to a mean and be fun too.

That said, a few reading suggestions, now that there’s no more Potter:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia is a good start, at about the same reading level (or a little better). I know lots of people either bemoan or cheer C.S. Lewis’s writings’ Christian undercurrents, but i managed to read the entire series and never care. You can too, and I might even recommend it. After all, Christians aren’t the only ones to think of self-sacrifice and such as noble virtues. Also, bonus points for proving imagination and a wardrobe (or closet, etc.) could provide days of fun.
  • The Golden Compass and the books that follow it aren’t half bad either, and a bit more modern than Lewis. I’ll admit that I wasn’t caught by them, but really it was me, not the book. I wasn’t in such a fantasy mood. Bonus points, too, for a strong female lead. Always a good thing for our growing girls to have magical role models, I suppose. Also, time is short to read the first book before the movie comes out.
  • Finally, and best of all, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Yes, I’m sure everyone has seen the movies by now, but they never compare, do they? No. So go forth and tackle it. It’s something to brag about.

As always, don’t forget, these titles and much more can be found – free of charge – at your local library.

Wow, well, enough with the books for one night. Chao!