Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger
(Laurence Leamer, 8:04)
Impossible to not find fascinating. Even Gray Davis admired Arnold for his capacity to subvert the political process. The discipline he exhibited in high jacking the election is well documented. Arnold's tagged as a butt-man who had to admit to inappropriate rough housing.

Friday, January 28, 2011

(Bocaccio, read by Frederick Davidson)
I only listened to 6 of the 30 hours, intoned by an inimitable old school narrator, the man of a half dozen audio-pseudonyms. The tales were occasionally quite funny, and the images pierce, in spite of the archaicism of the translation. There's an instructive metaphor that one can bite back, either like a lamb or like a dog, which is useful for interface design. I didn't know that gossip once meant something like god-sib, a close female friend. The paramount fear of cuckoldry made over half the stories tiresome. If one removed the majority of these, the remaining tales could repay close attention.

Monday, January 24, 2011

As A Driven Leaf
(Milton Steinberg, 2 hours before I bailed)
I read this almost exactly 5 years ago, but this time I gave it a second chance because Josh Kornbluth and Rabbi Creditor included it in their current course. Only thing added in the second listen: This book appears to be the DC comic book to many rabbis, and their weakness for it traces to having devoted too much time to familiarizing themselves with the historical background of the talmud.

Friday, January 21, 2011

True Grit
(Charles Portis, 6 hours, punted after 3)
I just never cared. It seemed so clear that I was reading a book written by a man, in the late 1960s, who was ventriloquizing a girl from a century before. I haven't seen the Coen brothers film, but thought the book would be foreplay. Instead, I just decided to not see the movie.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

500 Handmade Books: Inspiring Interpretations of a Timeless Form
Unfortunately, these mostly foreground the covers and bindings of books. I am intrigued to learn more about coptic stitching, but few of the included examples gave much feeling for the love of books as objects to fondle.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer
(Siddhartha Mukherjee, 20:49)
Not that enthralling to me, although many people celebrated it as one of the best books of the year. Learned about the Jimmy fund's original mascot- he had an unpronounceable Scandinavian name, which transformed into a cute ad pitchable "nickname." The verbal trick of "radical" mastectomy has a profoundly unfortunate history. Nerve gas, from WWI, turned out to be the first effective chemo for leukemia.