Friday, September 30, 2011

Old Jews Telling Jokes
(Sam Hoffman with Eric Spiegelman, 240pp)
Better than the website, because it's much easier to skim. I mainly jumped toward the punchlines. I loved "Two Beggars in Rome" (p37) Also, Mom's Cooking (p135), 3 Old Jews (p199)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Driving on the Rim
(Thomas McGuane, 2 out of 12:44)
Not the best of McGuane's work, but since it was read to me, for me, without me doing much effort, I gave this a spin. But the plot elements felt too tenuous to persist.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

How to shoot video that doesn't suck
(Steve Stockman, 256pp)
No way can I recommend this. It's all about staging and crafting an edited video, when what I wanted was an explanation of how to shoot spontaneous footage that will look more interesting. I just watched the video trailer on Amazon, and I'm making the head-smacking gesure right this second, because the 3 minute clip is more useful and engaging than the book was. The tips I wanted were highlighted in the video, when I found the book's tone and writing so off-putting that the message didn't sink in.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas
(Rebecca Solnit, skimmed around but couldn't possess in totality)
Love this book, and then, upon poking around, realized how many of Ms. Solnit's books are treasures of the highest order. I've read some of "A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster," and scanned "A Field Guide to Getting Lost." The SF Atlas is chock full of fascinating lenses on the city, and although she corralled others to write some of the chapters, it is a hugely fascinating work. Alas, it was called home to the library before I could finish it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Visit from the Goon Squad
(Jennifer Egan, 5 hours out of 10)
Left me cold, and it took forever to get past the opening, about a klepto confessing to her shrink her lack of agency over the way she steals from friends and casual sex partners. I tried again, and did find the thread on the soul-less record producer a tad more involving, particularly when it spun back to the Mab Gardens in SF in the proto-punk '80s. But really, I'm no hipster zombie, and I just could not care about any of the people heaped up in this book.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Where's My Jetpack?
(Daniel Wilson, 3:41)
Fun, quick tour of the nostalgia for the past's version of the future. Fine writing, about an interesting jumble of topics.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The End of Overeating
(David Kessler, 7:00)
Appetizing is a technical term, as I learned here, for any food whose consumption leads to an increase in appetite. Paradoxically (but not really), listening to this book on how to regulate the power of food unleashed a real binge of hunger for me. Good ideas, but nothing profoundly original. Still, like Weight Watchers, it would help if the ideas were pursued.

Monday, September 05, 2011

(Dubner & Levitt, 7:04)
It took 2 years for this to reach me. This book is more annoying than its earlier version, and it's not just because they touched the third rail on climate by plumping for geo-engineering. The advocacy for ideas fostered by patent troll Nathan Myhrvold's ideas exposes how their contrarian approach leads to trayf proposals. I can't get mad about their interest in escorts' earnings, but I also don't find that their need for oppositional thinking leads to great insight.