Sunday, June 05, 2005

CANADA: PERFIDIOUS DOMINION

Shattering Rose Colored Glasses, a blog acquaintance, has shanghai'ed me into participating in some unspeakable blogging ritual that my tender pink ears had to this moment been unsullied by it's mention. Alas, her home is Canada, a thin ribbon of settlement set against vast unknown wilderness full of oozing things and beavers, home to many strange and vile customs.

I guess I have to talk about books or something.

Number of Books that I own:
Books move in and out of the house semi-regularly. I guess there are about 500 or so books in various state of accesiability. There are a few dozen in the garage lost to mold. The kids have a bundle scattered throughout.

Last Book I Bought:
We the Mediaby Dan Gillmor.

It's a very comprehensive look at how blogs, RSS, SMS and cheap digital media tools are (hopefully) decentralizing and democratizing media. Really good. All three of you reading this should pick it up.

Last book(s) I read:
What's Welsh for Zen by John Cale.

Cale delivered the feedback and drone part of the Velvet Underground equation. It's an interesting story: he was a straight up avant garde musician with only a tangential interest in Rock and Roll. He just wanted to rock the viola with LaMonte Young (who apparently dealt a lot of pot). Very maturely written. Talks about his feuds with Lou Reed and Eno among others. He was married to Betsy Johnson, the clothes lady. Neat!

A Stroll With William James by Jacques Barzun.

Henry's brother coined two useful phrases: the stream of consciousness and my favorite, the Bitch Goddess Success. He's also the father of modern psychology and neurology and general a bad ass. Barzun wrote a gushy sweetheart letter that is also a very engaging caspule of James' work. I'm taking my time with this one. The concepts are thorny but man alive, is it worth it. I suspect I'll read again.

Five Books that mean a lot to me:
Open Society and Its Enemies by Karl Popper.

Popper's whole deal is that an open society, one that allows for a mulitude of voices and ideology, serves it's citizen best. Tolerance and transperancy is ultimately more just and workable than strident social engineering, however well intended it is.

Master and Margaritaby Bulgakov and Pale Fire by Nabokov. Two novels that I can still point to a yell "goddamn". Both set my teeth on edge. Master & Margarita, besides inspiring Sympathy for the Devil, busts just about everyone. The Devil, Christ, Stalin, artists, bureaucrats. No one gets let off the hook. Pale Fire makes you sick from the perfection of it. Some folks think it's a cold book. But I don't see it. The character of John Shade'll break your heart.

Real Frank Zappa Book by Zappa hisself.

Zappa managed to become ZAPPA through sheer force of will. His music was difficult mixed with stupid. He was an anti- and hyperHippie, his influences include Stravinsky, Varese, Guitar Watson and Doo-Wop. He made being an outsider weirdo work and he did on his own terms. Well alright. It's a very funny book.

And a magazine MAD. Did wonders in elementary school. It really is all bullshit.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Crackpot Press said...

Ever read Nabakov in his original tongue? There is so much you miss in the translation.

8:00 AM  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

Since he wrote in English, I'm not that worried about it.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

great list. Very enlightening. Mad Magazine. I read it all through school. And Cracked, too. They should have made my list. If my parents only knew how influential those mags were in developing my anti-authority attitude they never would have let me buy 'em. Thanks for playing, Lil Bobo.

12:30 PM  
Anonymous wifey said...

What about these books on the shelves?

1. Green eggs and ham
2. Pig Won't
3. Daddy's New Roomate

12:07 AM  

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