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Author Topic: 2013 books in 2013  (Read 17737 times)

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Cockney Rebel

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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #60 on: March 28, 2013, 09:59:58 PM »

1 • Bodhi Oser - Fuck This Book
2 • Neville Judd - 57 - Initial Draft
3 • Lawrence Block - Step By Step - A Walking Memoir
4 • Jeremy Greenberg - I'm Sorry I Barfed on your Bed (and other heartwarming letters from Kitty)
One of those crappy 'gift' books which MK picked up as a promo from work. $10 for flimsy nothing. (Wish I'd thought of it)
5 • Sean Tyla - Jumpin' in the Fire: A Life in Rock'n'Roll
Tyla was the driving force in one of my favourite pub rocks band from the 70s: Ducks Deluxe. He went on to form his own band, The Tyla Gang, signing deals with both Stiff Records and Beserkley. His tale is one of excess and misfortune. Sadly he can't hold the reader's attention too well either, failing to fire up the interest levels because he either leaves out details or comes across a little too bitter and twisted for his own good.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 12:20:48 PM by Cockney Rebel »
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c-lando

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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #61 on: April 11, 2013, 04:04:34 PM »

1. "Killing Floor" - Lee Child
2. "Who Could That Be at This Hour?" - Lemony Snicket
3. "Hardboiled & Hard Luck" - Banana Yoshimoto
4. "The Black Book" - Michael Connelly
5. "A Stab in the Dark" - Lawrence Block
5. "The Casual Vacancy" - J.K. Rowling - British Peyton Place. Good stuff.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2013, 03:14:04 PM by c-lando »
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Dan

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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #62 on: April 14, 2013, 06:51:18 PM »

1. Austin Grossman - Soon I Will Be Invincible
2. George R.R. Martin - A Storm of Swords

Holy crap that took forever to read. Good time. I absolutely could not believe what happened around 2/3 of the way through the book, and the whole whirlwind that followed.
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c-lando

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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #63 on: April 17, 2013, 09:08:42 AM »

1. "Killing Floor" - Lee Child
2. "Who Could That Be at This Hour?" - Lemony Snicket
3. "Hardboiled & Hard Luck" - Banana Yoshimoto
4. "The Black Book" - Michael Connelly
5. "A Stab in the Dark" - Lawrence Block
6. "The Casual Vacancy" - J.K. Rowling
7. "Hit Man" - Lawrence Block - And I'm back in the Lawrence Block reading business with Keller. Yay.
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cyclone

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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #64 on: April 17, 2013, 05:58:56 PM »

1. How Music Works by David Byrne
2. Junkie by William S. Burroughs
3. Queer by William S. Burroughs
4. Revenge of the Lawn: Stories 1962-1970 by Richard Brautigan
5. The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. by Robert Coover
6. Captain Maximus by Barry Hannah
7. Botchan by Natsume Sōsek
8. Goldfish Tears by Curtis Ackie
9. The Unreal and Real Selected Stories of Ursula K. Le Gun, Vol. 1: "Where on Earth"
10. Rumba on the River by Gary Stewart
11. Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis
12. Le Grand Meaulnes ("The Lost Estate") by Henri Alain-Fournier
13. The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs

14. Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks


15. Big Day Coming by Jesse Jarnow

I had put a hold on this through the library system pretty much the day it come out early this year, but a bunch of people had apprently already beat me to it, and when I went to pick up something else the other day I was actually surprised to see it finally came in because I had forgotten about it.  For starters, I am a huge fan of Yo La Tengo, a fandom that transcends simply loving their massive discography from the low-fi beginnings to acoustic cover records and instrumental soundtracks to the classic, seminal rock records to the latest one that just came out four months ago.  Beyond that, they were a "gateway drug" artist for me so to speak.  If it wasn't for the "Big Sky" cover on their first record, for example, there's a good chance that The Kinks are the Village Green Preservation Society doesn't become what is on many days my favorite album ever.  I might have not even yet been familiar with one of my favorite 80s records, "Crazy Rhythms", had I not once read about how YLT's Ira and Georgia actually first met at a Feelies gig.  And to top things off, aesthetically it doesn't hurt that the trio are huge baseball fans and just seem like genuinely good people, including when I met them after a show years ago in which they made a point to come up and ask my friend how his drive was, as he had just seen them the previous night in another city.  I could go on, but this is about the book.

The book, penned by a WFMU person, is written for the hardcore YLT completest and I wouldn't recommend it for anyone but such.  It follows the standard biography format (complete with the spread of obscure photos in the center) and ultimately accomplishes what I assume the project set out to do.  But if someone were to pick it up expecting mega-chapters on the classic Matador albums, they'd probably be at least somewhat underwhelmed.  Although those do make up a big chunk of the second half, the main focus here is the formation, specifically Ira Kaplan's journey moving to New York and becoming a writer/editor (which includes some hilarious bits including that he actually had to travel to conduct an awkward KISS interview) to the eventual formation of the band in the late 70s/early 80s alternative musical landscape at the time, with namedroppings all over the place.  Although given the band's some going on thirty years of existence and that I was already aware of much of it such as hearing about the early influences all the way from Jonathan Richman to obscure 60s psych to Sun Ra, there are plenty of new interesting tidbits spread out all over the book, for example I had no idea that the band once shared the stage with the late Alex Chilton or Neil Innes of the Bonzo Dog Band. 

Finally, I was really anticipating the chapter devoted to my favorite YLT record and one that is always sure to crack personal all-time top ten list, "And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out."  Perhaps my only disappointment with the book overall was with this chapter, and that's purely subjective, as I think the author did a pretty great job on all of the material here segregated to specific releases.  I suppose I was hoping to hear more interesting insight on, for example, the remarkably personal love song ballads that make up a fraction of the record (given that they were created by a married couple) or what the state of mind and influence was on making abstract YLT formula tracks like "You Can Have It All".  However, I did come away from it a line from Georgia about describing the creation of the album's sounds as a "science experiment", which I thought was pretty great.  Overall, this was a pretty amazing job done by Jarnow, who lists the exhausting research credits in the back of the book -- just take a look at the interviewees from obviously the members themselves and their siblings, ex-employees from Matador and other labels, Maxwell's in Hoboken, The Feelies and dB's bandmembers, etc.  I wouldn't say I got a whole new appreciation or glaringly rare insights on the band's career, but then again, I didn't need to, and hopefully the opposite will happen for those who haven't been in the YLT game for as long as I have.
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Cockney Rebel

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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #65 on: April 17, 2013, 10:28:10 PM »

1 • Bodhi Oser - Fuck This Book
2 • Neville Judd - 57 - Initial Draft
3 • Lawrence Block - Step By Step - A Walking Memoir
4 • Jeremy Greenberg - I'm Sorry I Barfed on your Bed (and other heartwarming letters from Kitty)
5 • Sean Tyla - Jumpin' in the Fire: A Life in Rock'n'Roll
6 • Rowland Rivron - What the F*** Did I Do Last Night? - The Memoir of an Accidental Comedian
Very entertaining collection of tales from a comic who is probably completely unknown outside the UK
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Jen

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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #66 on: April 18, 2013, 07:58:49 AM »

1 The House of Velvet and Glass-Katherine Howe
2 The Fifth Knight-E.M. Powell
3 In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin-Erik Larson
4 Code Name Verity-Elizabeth Wein
5 Agincourt-Bernard Cornwell
6 The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest #1)-Bernard Cornwell
7 A Prayer for Owen Meany-John Irving
8 The Cider House Rules-John Irving

My first introduction to John Irving (actually reading his stories vs seeing the film adaptations) and what can I say but that I have found a new favorite contemporary author. While I did find Owen Meany slow to get into, once I got used to the style, I was well on my way to reading a well crafted novel.

What I love about his stories are the depth in which he knows his characters. I really feel he did his homework and and figured out their entire life story before beginning to write. I also really felt like I was "there," where ever there happened to be in the story because of the description and feeling he gave each place.

I have so many books to read but am tempted to try another of his novels next. I have until 4 today to decide as I will need to start another novel on the bus ride home. ;)
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daytime drinking

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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #67 on: April 19, 2013, 10:44:30 AM »

1.  you shall know our velocity!- dave eggers
2.  the castle- franz kafka
3.  the alchemist- paulo coelho 
4.  hope: a tragedy- shalom auslander-  my non practicing culturally jewish friend lent me this book.  a man obsessed with death finds an elderly holocaust survivor alive in his attic, pursuing life.  turns out she's a bitch.  it's hilarious

5.  absalom, absalom!- william faulkner.  finally.  not a pleasurable reading experience, though i enjoyed the story.  sentences go on forever, breaks are few and far between, and i have no idea where some characters are in certain situations.  but i'm sure that's most people's complaints on faulkner.  what's bill's hangup on incest? 
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Bubba McBubba

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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #68 on: April 20, 2013, 11:28:41 AM »

10: “The Man from Primrose Lane” by James Renner

In the opening prologue of “The Man from Primrose Lane”, a police officer breaks down the door of an old recluse's house and discovers the owner tied to a chair.  The old man's fingers have been amputated, and a trail of blood from the chair to the kitchen leads the officer to find those severed fingers in a blender and mutilated beyond recognition.

For the rest of the novel, Renner throws a whole bunch of genres into a blender and the resulting work is largely intriguing.  It would be unfair to even say which genres will be explored by the book, but I will only say those who would normally be repulsed by opening scene described above will likely be pleased to learn “Primrose Lane” spends surprisingly little of its length as a conventional crime novel. 

That said, it seems I saw through the novel's set-up more quickly than I believe the author intended.  I don't believe I am especially intelligent but, from the pieces the book gives you early on, it seemed relatively easy to work out some (but far from all) of what will come, especially some of the moments Renner holds out as his big reveals.

Overall, I enjoyed “Primrose Lane” despite what I thought was an excessively convoluted and yet largely transparent plot.  With the exception of some formulaic passages involving detectives, Renner's writing was quite strong and I found myself being happily led by him down the primrose path.

Recommended?  Yes
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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #69 on: April 22, 2013, 09:08:00 PM »

11: “Insane City” by Dave Barry

I always thought Dave Barry was mildly funny in his newspaper columns, with the occasional zinger that would stick with me in the same way an unusually witty t-shirt or bumper sticker might.  So I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed his debut novel, “Big Trouble”, which took Carl Hiaasen's Florida locales, minor-league swindlers and hard-luck good-hearted losers and wrapped them up in something sloppier, though remarkably funnier, than Hiaasen's work.  I assumed Barry's writing chops would gradually develop over the course of additional novels, while maintaining the level of hilarity established in “Big Trouble”.

Then came the sophomore novel, “Tricky Business”, which was noticeably less humorous than its predecessor and was somehow even less developed.  At this point, it appeared Barry might be regressing, though that would be unfair to say so on the basis of one novel, and the expected “sophomore slump” one at that.

Now there's his third independently-scribed novel, “Insane City”, and the downward trajectory continued here after the drop between novels one and two makes this a work with a lot to be desired.  I can accept yet another ridiculously convoluted plot populated by paper-thin characters, but the most head-scratching aspect of this tome is just how dreadfully unfunny the whole affair is.  And I don't mean Barry has tried to write more high-minded fiction here--the problem is that the jokes are thrown out relentlessly, as if quantity can be an adequate substitute for quality. 

As for that plot, Barry apes “The Hangover” (an already exhausted concept), and tosses into the mix a stripper and her pimp, some refugees, pot-brownie-eating senior citizens, uptight rich folk and, well, an ape.  This material could be enjoyable in the right hands, but Barry lays out each set-up with such transparency that what should be moments of zany comedy deflate like a whoopie cushion. 

I seriously do not recommend spending time in “Insane City”.  I will even go ahead and share the only moment I laughed out loud reading this, and that concerned an elderly couple's RV, which Barry describes as having roughly the same gas mileage as the Washington Monument.

There, now you really don't have to read this book.  You're welcome.

Recommended?  No
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cyclone

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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #70 on: April 29, 2013, 06:16:05 PM »

1. How Music Works by David Byrne
2. Junkie by William S. Burroughs
3. Queer by William S. Burroughs
4. Revenge of the Lawn: Stories 1962-1970 by Richard Brautigan
5. The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. by Robert Coover
6. Captain Maximus by Barry Hannah
7. Botchan by Natsume Sōsek
8. Goldfish Tears by Curtis Ackie
9. The Unreal and Real Selected Stories of Ursula K. Le Gun, Vol. 1: "Where on Earth"
10. Rumba on the River by Gary Stewart
11. Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis
12. Le Grand Meaulnes ("The Lost Estate") by Henri Alain-Fournier
13. The Soft Machine by William S. Burroughs
14. Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks
15. Big Day Coming by Jesse Jarnow

16. The Private Lives of Trees by Alejandro Zambra

17. Clemente by David Maraniss

Two reference-type books I treated myself to for my birthday that will be occupying my time for a while:



« Last Edit: April 29, 2013, 06:20:18 PM by cyclone »
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Jen

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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #71 on: April 30, 2013, 03:10:53 PM »

1 The House of Velvet and Glass-Katherine Howe
2 The Fifth Knight-E.M. Powell
3 In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin-Erik Larson
4 Code Name Verity-Elizabeth Wein
5 Agincourt-Bernard Cornwell
6 The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest #1)-Bernard Cornwell
7 A Prayer for Owen Meany-John Irving
8 The Cider House Rules-John Irving
9 Angela's Ashes: A Memoir-Frank McCourt

Pretty much decided that anytime I am having a really crappy day, I am going to go back and read a page from this book and my day should suddenly seem amazing. In truth though, as depressing as this story was, I appreciated the humor that was often presented but still found myself profoundly grateful for my life each time I put the book down.
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Kwyjibo

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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #72 on: April 30, 2013, 03:48:44 PM »

7. "Hit Man" - Lawrence Block - And I'm back in the Lawrence Block reading business with Keller. Yay.

Yay!  Keller and Dot are great characters.  I'm currently re-reading Hit and Run before I read Hit Me... a lot went down in H&R and I wanted to refresh my memory. 
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c-lando

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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #73 on: May 01, 2013, 01:22:24 PM »

7. "Hit Man" - Lawrence Block - And I'm back in the Lawrence Block reading business with Keller. Yay.

Yay!  Keller and Dot are great characters.  I'm currently re-reading Hit and Run before I read Hit Me... a lot went down in H&R and I wanted to refresh my memory.
"Hit and Run" is my next book when I finish "American Gods".
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trixi

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Re: 2013 books in 2013
« Reply #74 on: May 01, 2013, 11:41:42 PM »

1.  Son--Lois Lowry
2.  A Street Cat Named Bob--James Bowen
3.  Beyond Courage:  the untold story of Jewish resistance during the Holocaust--Doreen Rappaport
4.  Shadow Woman--Linda Howard
5.  In the Pleasure Groove:  Love, Death and Duran Duran--John Taylor
6.  Something Like Normal--Trish Doller
7.  On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave--Candace Fleming
8.  Talk to the Tail: Adventures in Cat Ownership and Beyond--Tom Cox
9.  The Last Dragonslayer--Jasper Fforde
10.  Boy21--Matthew Quick
11.  Underworld--Meg Cabot
12.  Private Berlin--James Patterson
13.  Midsummer Tights Dream--Louise Rennison
14.  White Bicycle--Beverley Brenna
15.  The World Must Know: The History Of The Holocaust As Told In The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum--Michael Berenbaum
16.  Wonder Show--Hannah Barnaby
17.  Jepp, Who Defied the Stars--Katherine Marsh
18.  Zero--Tom Leveen
19.  Madness Underneath--Maureen Johnson
20.  In Darkness--Nick Lake
21.  Love and Other Pershable Items--Laura Buzo
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