Tuesday, January 24, 2012
He says this stuff at the beginning about making sure you're ready to read his book. I reckon he's probably serious, and I haven't really felt up to it before. In any case, it keeps falling off my shelf.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Paul Nelson's life narrative is too good and too tragic. A man who didn't compromise, and paid the price for his stance in the world - nor could he really take care of himself as well. in other words the dark noirish side of being a professional rock n' roll critic.
Nelson was one of the first important figures in Bob Dylan's professional life and eventually signed the New York Dolls to Mercury Records, where he worked as an A&R man. A job for sure that wouldn't last forever. The great aspect of Nelson's work as a critic and even as a human being is his ability to see through the artist's work and really define it on a very personal level. That I think is a critic's job, and Nelson nails it to the written page.
The painful thing about reading this book beautifully written and edited by Kevin Avery is a lot of people are going to identify with Nelson's love for culture and what it means to him/us/them. Any person who loved Jackson Browne as well as the New York Dolls is able to see beyond the veil of pop machinery and just focus on the work on hand. The fact that he went all out to get the Dolls signed is an amazing narrative. No one in the music biz liked the Dolls except for a handful of critics - and Nelson was the one who really stopped at nothing to get them signed and that alone we can be really grateful for Paul Nelson.
But here is a man who didn't drink alcohol, but consistently had two cans or bottles of coke with his daily hamburger (he is sort of a Popeye Wimpy figure) and led a life devoted to his interests and nothing else. Also the fact that he ended up working at a video store is both tragic and great at the same time.
The tunnel vision that made him unique is also what killed him in the end. And again, that is the scary part of someone who is so devoted to comment on music, film (a huge film fanatic as well as music) and living on the side of noir despair. A very sad book. But the interviews with his fellow critics and friends (most love him to bits) is quite moving and a tribute to those who write to expose how 'their' feelings are attached to the shine or the mirror-like image of pop culture.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
If you do not want to read this book after reading these first few lines, you might want to check your pulse:
"Cannery Row in Monterey in California is a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream. Cannery Row is the gathered and the scattered, tin and iron and rust and splintered wood, chipped pavement and weedy lots and junk heaps, sardine canneries of corrugated iron, honky tonks, restaurants, and whore houses, and little crowded groceries, and laboratories and flophouses. Its inhabitants are, as the man once said, "whores, pimps, gamblers and sons of bitches," by which he meant Everybody. Had the man looked through another peephole he might have said, "Saints and angels and martyrs and holy men," and he would have meant the same thing."
I have never read a Steinbeck novel, so I am not a complete person yet; in other words, I have never understood certain truths and attitudes about people and places and this weary earth, things that only Steinbeck can teach me.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Whenever I think of reading "Don Quixote" by Miguel De Cervantes I feel like J. Alfred Prufrock ("'Do I dare?" and 'Do I dare?'"). But, since almost every Spanish language writer seems to write in the shadow of Cervantes, (Borges' "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote," made me want to read it more than anything), it's time to stop being such a Prufrock, eat the peach, unroll my trousers, and shut those damn mermaids up.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Morrissey's Upcoming Memoir
It hasn't been officially announced yet, but it will come. Morrissey wrote a memoir and Penguin Classics will be publishing it. Sometime either the end of this year or the beginning of the next year. Without a doubt this book will be a classic, due to Morrissey's character and very strong opinions on the pop music world, animal rights, politics, but also his very special sensibility that makes him one-of-a-kind. The fact that his written words will be part of the Penguin Classic series is a perfect marriage.
After a bit more urging, Tosh also provided a book that you can buy at Book Soup:
"The White Album" by Joan Didion
By all concern a classic book on non-fiction writing and one I have never read. First of all I always thought it was clever to name this book "The White Album." It is sort of like taking the Beatles thunder and making it into your own lightning. Also being bred and born in Los Angeles it is the essential book for a citizen to read - but again, it is something I have passed on and I am not sure why?
Yet the book lingers on my brain, and I actually even bought it, but I have put it off like a fantastic dessert that you are saving yourself for. I don't know if "The White Album" is that dessert, yet it lingers on my brain and I do see it in front of me as I write.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
New Year’s Book Resolutions 2012:
Who needs to lose weight when there are books to be read? Certainly not the employees of Book Soup. If you are like us, you are haunted by the books that you haven’t read. Looming over your nightstand, taunting you from bookstore shelves, leering at you from the hands of attractive people at cafes—Who are these people reading interesting books at cafes? Are they really so attractive or is it just the allure of seeming to know more than you know? And if you had read The Master and Margarita, for instance, would you have some opening salvo, some witticism to offer that would translate into a lasting, fulfilling relationship?—Anyway, in these coming weeks, the employees of Book Soup will be bringing you the books they always wanted to read, always meant to read, and this year will definitely read. If you, dear reader, read these books, then you will impress all the attractive people at cafes that you want.
From Dan, our Assistant Store Manager:
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
I have never read Murakami. I find him intimidating, but I am ready to do it. This is the year! My hand is shaking. Is the room spinning?
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
TUESDAY, JANUARY 3, 2012
"The Map and the Territory" by Michel Houellebecq
There are major plot turns that makes this narrative into a policer. The twists in the plot makes this a really fun read. "The Map and the Territory" is the best novel of the year and its January 3, 2012.
Old BBC interview in English
Iggy Pop and Michel Houellebecq
"Paris" by Michel Houellebecq and Bertrand Burgalat
Houellebecq pop singer 4:33