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Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

Steal Across the Sky – Nancy Kress

In books on October 30, 2011 at 10:18 am

The central idea of this book was interesting and original – after reading a good amount of sci-fi I think it becomes common to spend the vast majority of your reading time entertained and delighted by variations of ideas that you have already been exposed to. There are certainly sci-fi books I would recommend before Nancy Kress‘s Steal Across the Sky (many, in fact…), but this book gets a 5 out of 5 for actually having (to me) an original idea – priceless.

Rating: 5 of 5
First Read Date: July 2010

Amazon – Steal Across the Sky

CM

House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski

In books on October 25, 2011 at 9:44 am

Some of the charm of Danielewski‘s House of Leaves is apparent just flipping thru the book – a number of different fonts (for different narratives), creative text flows/arrangements (often reflecting the story itself), colored text (various associations), foreign languages and appendices… This book has a number of different stories including a harrowing story about a family in a house of changing depth and size, stories about Zampanò who investigated the story of the house and Johnny Truant’s descent into madness while editing Zampanò’s work. The book is filled with puzzles and contradictions – which are made even more interesting by the seemingly contradictory and untrustworthy narratives. Good stories, puzzles and creativity really make this book an interesting experience!

Rating: 4 of 5
First Read Date: 2009

Amazon – House of Leaves

House of Leaves – Forums
House of Leaves on a Mark Z. Danielewski Fan Site

CM

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman – Haruki Murakami

In books on October 20, 2011 at 11:28 pm

I found these stories dense and sometimes impenetrable – but the relentless lack of simple plots or clear resolutions turns this collection into something to be experienced rather than read and interpreted. I think that this would be a tough introduction to Murakami – but a very rewarding read if you enjoy his writing.

Rating: 4 of 5
First Read Date: March 2010

Amazon Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

CM

Dangerous Laughter, Steven Millhauser

In books on October 15, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I nearly abandoned this book part of the way thru the first story – which I thought was clever, but rather tedious – but I am incredibly glad I persevered! The stories are varied, interesting and imaginative – while it might be a little over the top for this group of stories I think Millhauser‘s own words in Bomb Magazine (#83, Spring 2003) describe the feeling that binds these stories together – “I want [fiction] to exhilarate me, to unbind my eyes, to murder and resurrect me, to harm me in some fruitful way”. I would have to say that Dangerous Laughter – about adolescent laugh parties – and The Other Town – about a town with a replica of the town adjacent to it – are my favorite stories in this collection.

Rating: 4 of 5
First Read Date: June 2010

Amazon – Dangerous Laughter

CM

Tango: Zero Hour, Ástor Piazzolla

In music on October 10, 2011 at 11:11 pm

The first time I heard Ástor Piazzolla‘s music was on Five Tango Sensations – an album of Piazzolla’s compositions from the Kronos Quartet with Piazzolla playing bandoneón. Five Tango Sensations was an impressive introduction to Piazzolla’s music and I have no idea why it took more than a decade to find Tango: Zero Hour – my loss! Tango: Zero hour is a suberb collection of compositions by Piazzola. The performing quintet (which includes Piazzolla) is amazing and the music is incredible expressive. If you have never heard Piazzolla’s music this is a great place to start!

Rating 5 of 5
First Listen Date: late 2009

Amazon – Tango: Zero Hour

CM

The New Mutants, Issues 18-31

In comics on October 5, 2011 at 11:12 am

I read a few comics in the mids 1980s/early 1990s – and while I can recall a number of titles, characters and plots The New Mutants (Volume 1) – issues 18-31 – are really the only ones that I continue to think about and come back to. These issues feature Chris Claremont as writer and Bill Sienkiewicz as artist. The stories in these issues are good – Demon Bear, Legion… – but, for me, the combination of story and art is unforgettable. I think these covers are a quick glimpse at why these issues made impression on me:

The visual style of these issues was something new to me when I first read them and it still strikes me as interesting and amazingly expressive. My reaction to these comics reminds me of my reaction to Infinite Jest – a new and unique experience but something I immediately connected to and understood.

Rating: 5 of 5
First Read Date: Mid 1980s

CM

FLOSS Weekly

In podcast, videocast on October 1, 2011 at 7:25 am

FLOSS Weekly is a netcast on the TWiT Network. The current primary host is Randal Schwartz who works with a number of different co-hosts. The main focus is covering open source projects thru interviews with people associated with the project – programmers, coordinators, leaders, etc… I love this podcast because it often gives me a chance to hear about something completely new to me – the projects come from a wide variety of sources/languages/technologies and I am often listening to someone speak who is from a community I know little or nothing about – what a great opportunity to learn!

Rating: 4 of 5
First Listen Date: Late 2006

FLOSS Weekly

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