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Showing posts from January, 2013



The second book I read this year was In Other Worlds by Margaret Atwood, a collection of essays about SF and more. I've never read any of Atwood's famous novels; I always intended to but after reading this collection, I think I need to try and get to one this year. In these essays she makes the case for a breadth of reading - highbrow, middlebrow, and lowbrow - and the joys that can be found in all sorts of books. Sure, it may be preaching to the choir in my case but she makes some lovely points. Even more, she made me interested in some of the books she repeatedly mentioned, such as H. Rider Haggard's She (I read this book for Bookrageous's book club and they were intrigued by She too, so much so that it's their next book club pick). A smart collection by a smart writer that I will become better acquainted with.

The fourth book I read (we'll get to #3 in a moment) was the new story collection by George Saunders, Tenth of December. I've been…

Sunday Shuffle #313

This morning I woke up and felt like doing a Sunday Shuffle, so here we go...

1. On Your Own (Live Acoustic Version)/Blur (1) - Debut!
2. Beetlebum/Blur (3) - last played on 1/10/13
3. On the Way Back Home/Lucero (1) - hasn't been played since before spring 2010
4. The Look of Flowers That Are Looked at/Irving (4) - last played on 1/29/12
5. I Left U Cuz I Luft U/Admiral Radley (6) - last played on 6/7/12
6. Fire's Highway/Japandroids (12) - last played on 1/1/13
7. Quantum Theory/Jarvis Cocker (3) - last played on 8/7/12
8. Secret Session/Portastatic (3) - last played on 8/12/11
9. Paranoid Trails/Higgins (7) - last played on 12/30/12
10. Radio Bar/Fountains of Wayne (16) - last played on 12/29/12

Sunday Non-Shuffle

Last night I finished reading Bruce, a new biography of Bruce Springsteen by Peter Ames Carlin. I've been a fan of Bruce ever since the Born in the U.S.A. singles started hitting the radio in 1984; I finally got it on cassette in 1985 (maybe for my 14th birthday) and listened to it over and over again while working in the garden or doing whatever other chores my father had for me that summer. When I got the Live/1975-85 box set for Christmas 1986, I heard his older songs and fell even further in love. All of which is a long-winded way of saying that this book is for me (my brother, who knows me quite well, gave it to me for Christmas). While I did know quite a bit of his history, there was still plenty that I didn't know and Carlin does a good job of keeping the narrative flowing while also giving some analysis on the music. This is not a hagiography of  Springsteen. Rather, it presents him as an extremely talented musician who is just as messed-up and human as the rest of us …

Return to F&SF

I reached a point earlier this year where I just couldn't contemplate reading all the issues of F&SF and Asimov's I had crammed into a drawer and on top of my nightstand. I wanted to but I was well over a year behind on both magazines and my quest to read 52 books last year meant I wouldn't have much time to catch up. So, I gave the whole lot to a friend and knew they were going to a good home. After that point, I got some more issues while my subscriptions were still active and just kept them...for no particular reason. When I finished that 52nd book a few weeks back, however, I wanted something a little different and decided to pick up the oldest issue of F&SF I had on the shelf. I enjoyed diving back in so much that I went out and bought the latest issue off the stands. Anyway, here are some brief thoughts on the May/June 2012 issue...

It starts with "Liberty's Daughter" by Naomi Kritzer, who is not a writer I was familiar with. The story takes pla…

List Loopholes

If I wrote some of my year-end lists today, things would be a little different...and I'm sure that will continue to be the case. Not much to do about it, really, except maybe write about it. So...

I finally saw Lincoln yesterday. I'd meant to see it when it first came out but it just never quite worked out. Had I seen it before the end of the year, it definitely would have been on my list of the best movies of 2012. I  love how it focused on just a few months of his life- the battle for the 13th Amendment and the brief aftermath. It really is a movie about political machinations - the realities that were present back then and are still present today (unfortunately). The period detail feels real to me, specifically in the lighting and the fact everyone wore coats or blankets because there was no central heating. The movies is full of great performances - I thought Tommy Lee Jones was fantastic as Thaddeus Stevens and James Spader brought charisma and levity with his performance…

2013 Goals

I started today with a goal of reading 86 books, trade paperbacks, and original graphic novels combined. I had definite ideas about what kinds of pop culture I would consume and in what formats. As I finish the day, however, I've changed my mind.

No goals. No rules. I just want to follow where whim takes me in regards to pop culture. I want to be fully engaged with what I consume and I want to write about all of it in a more meaningful way. There's the rule, I guess.

I do have other goals not associated with pop culture, of course...

Thanks to the State Board of Education, I can now take a test and get a permit to teach middle school and high school English (provided I pass the test, of course). I plan to do that early in the year and then try to get a job where I will finally have my own classroom.

I will continue to run but I want to start exercising in different ways - swimming some laps, working out with weights, and the like - while also doing a better job with what I'…