Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Prospect Park West
(Amy Sohn, stopped after 6 CDs)
Lots of sex, schadenfreude, and snark. Initially a guilty pleasure, but after a few rounds, the characters never become real people, the arch tone and bitchy perspective began to wear.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Changing My Mind
(Zadie Smith, 12:27 -- punted after four or 5 essays)
Some of these essays I have enjoyed immensely when I came across them in the NYRB. But for some reason, my attention was not at all held by these as an audible experience.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition
(Daniel Okrent, 9:30)
Very nice history of a bad bad time. The take away facts that really shock: The US formerly was funded almost entirely by taxes on alcohol; the idea of Prohibition was only envisioned after the income tax was established. The role of Frances Willard, Carrie Nation and Mabel Walker Willebrandt left me wishing that someone would out these amazing dynamos (but apparently, wikipedia already does document Willard's sapphic side).

Monday, July 12, 2010

This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly
(Carmen Reinhart & Ken Rogoff, 496pp)
Uh-oh, spaggheti-o. This time is the same as ever, and we're screwed.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Omega Point
(Don DeLillo, 2:47)
The last novel(la) of DeLillo's I felt I remotely understood was Cosmopolis. The Body Artist and Falling Man have wonderful sentences, but there's no gestalt there for me. This latest worries about topics such as the Iraq war, the Omega Point of Teilhard de Chardin (transformed by DeLillo's character into a desire for all life to be obliterated into mere matter), and the experience of art.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Geek Dad: Awesomely Geeky Projects and Activities for Dads and Kids to Share
(Ken Denmead, 240pp)
Not really that awesome. Not even as much fun as the blog from whence it sprung. Here's the only chapters I even thought were worth reading: Model building with cake (and puffed rice + marshmallow). Pirate Cartography. Magic Swing (folding the pages together of 2 phone books). Best Slip 'N Slide Ever (really?)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Geek Atlas: 128 Places Where Science and Technology Come Alive
(John Graham-Cumming, 544pp)
Very cool, fun, and no baloney. The book is filled out with expository essays on relevant aspects of each dweeby locale. First rate fun to page through.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Beckett in 90 Minutes
(Paul Strathern, 115 minutes)
This volume is actually worth the time it takes to hear. Unlike the 90 minute Wittgenstein, which I thought was a sham, this analysis used a very suave hand to move between Beckett's life and work, and the instances of biography all illuminated the thought and texture of his art.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Seeds : time capsules of life
(Rob Kesseler & Wolfgang Stuppy ; edited by Alexandra Papadakis)
Beautiful photos. And unlike the later published, The Bizarre & Incredible World of Plants, this actually has the photos labelled on the page. It's not quite as wide ranging, but it covers much the same ground.