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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

2006 Reading List - Books #1-40

The first forty books from my 2006 reading list. 10 more to go with two months left...it's going to be close.
  1. The Dirt - Motley Crue
  2. The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil - George Saunders
  3. A Man Without a Country - Kurt Vonnegut
  4. Chance - Amir Aczel
  5. McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #18 - Various
  6. Science Friction - Michael Shermer
  7. Oh the Glory of it All - Sean Wilsey
  8. Yes Man - Danny Wallace
  9. Mother Night - Kurt Vonnegut
  10. The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003 - Various
  11. All The President's Pets - Mo Rocca
  12. Survivor - Chuck Palahniuk
  13. Less Than Zero - Bret Easton Ellis
  14. Vox - Nicholson Baker
  15. Summer of '49 - David Halberstam
  16. Galapagos - Kurt Vonnegut
  17. Don't Get Too Comfortable - David Rakoff
  18. Fantasyland - Sam Walker
  19. Airships - Barry Hannah
  20. Typical - Padgett Powell
  21. From Bauhaus To Our House - Tom Wolfe
  22. Cathedral - Raymond Carver
  23. McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #5 - Various
  24. Black Hole - Charles Burns
  25. The World Is Flat - Thomas Friedman
  26. McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #19 - Various
  27. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close - Jonathan Safran Foer
  28. In Persuasion Nation - George Saunders
  29. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon
  30. A Woman Named Drown - Padgett Powell
  31. McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #20 - Various
  32. The Revolution Will Not Be Accessorized - Various
  33. The Rescue Artist - Edward Dolnick
  34. Veronica - Mary Gaitskill
  35. Room Full of Mirrors - Charles Cross
  36. Independence Day - Richard Ford
  37. The Littlest Hitler - Ryan Boudinot
  38. Permanent Visitors - Kevin Moffett
  39. Conservatize Me - John Moe
  40. The Dead Emcee Scrolls - Saul Williams

Previously: My 2005 reading list

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The Dead Emcee Scrolls

Book #40 on my reading list this year was Saul Williams' The Dead Emcee Scrolls. I picked this one up as I'm a fan of a lot of Saul's previous work, including his first album Amethyst Rock Star, a genre bending masterpiece that would easily make my list of desert island hip hop discs.

The Dead Emcee Scrolls is a collection of Saul's poems and a biting critique of the blinged out rap game that has come to dominate MTV over the last few years. It's smart and screams out with an urgency that demands attention. The poems are solid throughout and at times spectacular, but they're even better when performed live (see links below).
"Most of my conversations with men seem to revolve around music." -- Saul Williams
Performing part of "Amethyst Rock" in Slam
"Telegram"
"Coded Language" at MOCA
", Said the Shotgun to the Head" excerpt
An extended review of The Dead Emcee Scrolls

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Zombie Flash Mob

A day of errands at the U-Village was brightened this afternoon when we happened across a gang of undead participating in an act of flash mob goodness. A little bit o' internet sleuthing linked the merry pranksters to Seattle Zombie Walk 2006, info on which can be found here, here, and here. From the look of things the participants were having a grand old time. They definitely put a quizzical look on a number of Sunday shoppers' faces.

My favorite part? Watching the late-arriving zombies hustling at a decidedly non-zombie appropriate pace to catch up with the mob of their slow moving compatriots. Awesome.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

It's Great To Be a Florida Gator

Good couple days to be a Gator. Florida is #1 in the preseason basketball polls and David Eckstein wins the World Series MVP. Now if we can just beat Georgia this weekend.


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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Conservatize Me

Book #39 on my reading list was John Moe's Conservatize Me: How I Tried To Become a Righty With the Help of Richard Nixon, Sean Hannity, Toby Keith and Beef Jerky.

I've already talked about this one a bit since we went to the launch party at the Big Picture. I could tell you more, but you'd honestly be better served by checking out the book's web site. You can also check out some of the 'conservative' movie reviews from the book on McSweeney's.

"I live in Seattle. Republicans still run for office once in a while around here but it's more of a hobby for them" -- John Moe

John Moe on NPR
John Moe's band

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Band of Horses Charity Concert @ Showbox

Tonight we saw Band of Horses play a special charity concert at the Showbox. The crowd was sparse but energetic. As lead signer Ben Bridwell put it 'we had moxie'. The thin but enthralled audience gave the show a personal vibe that's tough to find from a band capable of already selling out two shows at the Showbox this weekend.

While a lot of bands would be put off by the small crowd, Horses were exactly the opposite. Rather than playing 6 or 7 songs and calling it a night, they brought the house down playing old favorites, covers (including "You Never Even Call Me By My Name", an ELO song, and a song by The New Year) and new songs resulting in one heckuva set that lasted well over an hour. They were even gracious enough to come back out for an encore, playing the last two songs they knew well enough to perform live. All in all just a great evening with a great band.

I uploaded a few pics from the show to my Flickr account.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Harvey Pekar and Co. @ Bookstore

Tonight we saw Harvey Pekar, Anne Elizabeth Moore, Jesse Reklaw, and David Lasky read at the UBookstore to promote the newest member of the 'The Best American..." series The Best American Comics 2006. The event was well attended drawing a large crowd of comic fans and based on a show of hands a surprising number of local cartoonists.

Moore, who agreed to edit the series despite her intial reaction that it would never sell, began the event by talking about her role in putting the book together. Basically she spent two months reading as many new comics as she could finally settling on about 150 of the best. Pekar then took that list, whittled it down to 30 of his favorites and voila a book was born.

After Moore and Pekar chatted about the concept behind the book, early sales (positive), and the state of the comic industry, local artists Reklaw and Lasky got a chance to speak a bit about their works and their contributions to this year's collection. The longest Q&A in reading history then followed with the panel taking questions for nearly an hour. The highlight of the night was definitely Pekar. His quirky wit and experienced observations were only highlighted by his aloof demeanor.

The Stranger has a bit more about Pekar in their suggestion that you attend the event, while Seattlest suggested avoiding it at all costs due to Moore's (apparently) controversial past. Man do I love a good nerd fight!

BTW, in somewhat relatedish news if you haven't already heard Fantagraphics opened a new store here in Seattle. Sa-weet!

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Sunken Treasure

It's YouTube Monday, so here's the trailer for the new Jeff Tweedy DVD Sunken Treasure: Live in the Pacific Northwest. The DVD includes tracks from five west coast dates including his Seattle show at the Moore Theater which I was lucky enough to be at.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Housekeeping Hipsters

Housekeeping is the new knitting. You heard it here first.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Departed

We saw The Departed tonight. Good stuff if you're into the gangster movie thang. Damn fine acting too.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Permanent Visitors

Book #38 on my reading list this year was Daytona Beach native Kevin Moffett's Permanent Visitors.

Holy crap this book is awesome! I've know I've been throwing out a bunch of superlatives lately, but hey what can I say I've been reading some really good stuff. Moffett's book takes things to a whole new level though. The stories here aren't just good, they're Raymond Carver/Padgett Powell/George Saunders good. Absolutely phenomenal writing and stories that cover a dazzling breadth of topics. Short stories simply don't get much better than this.

Kevin Moffett's website

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Wait In a Line

Hey, it's YouTube Monday. Here's a video from Rain King faves Now It's Overhead. While admittedly funny seeing lead singer Andy LeMaster trying to look like a bad ass, you still can't stop the rock. Listen to it thrice and I guarantee you're hooked.

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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Telling Childhood

Tonight I went to the final reading of the Hugo House's Telling Childhood series. The reading featured local literary phenoms Ryan Boudinot, Charles D'Ambrosio and Stacey Levine as well as the always excellent David Rakoff.

Highlights of the night for me were Boudinot's "Why I Like Rock", a tale of Billy Joel, pervert music teachers and studded codpieces, and Rakoff's "Shrimp". Both authors kept the crowd thoroughly entertained with works that were interesting and heartfelt while also being down right hilarious. As best I can tell, both pieces were composed for the series and are unfortunately currently unpublished.


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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair

I started off my Literary Lollapalooza weekend with a trip to the 2006 Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair at Seattle Center.

Ever seen a $75,000 book? I can now officially say that I have. In fact the show featured numerous books with sticker prices in the five digit range. Perhaps more amazing though was browsing through the countless bookshelves of autographed first edition copies of works by the likes of Raymond Carver, Saul Bellow, Allen Ginsburg, Harry Crews, and Kurt Vonnegut. There's something both exhilirating and daunting about picking a book up off a shelf and opening the cover to find that it's worth $700+. In the end, I couldn't actually bring myself to buy anything with the knowledge that I can find a $5 or less version of each with a little patience and a few trips to the local Half Price Books. After all even a cheap unsigned third edition copy provides the same amazing reading experience provided by a great book.

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Friday, October 13, 2006

The Littlest Hitler (Redux)

Book #37 on my reading list this year was Ryan Boudinot's The Littlest Hitler. Oh, have I mentioned this one before?

As expected, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It's a success on all levels. The old stories were great to re-read and the new stories are divinely unique. What else would you expect though from a writer whose book blurbs compare him to the likes of Kurt Vonnegut, Donald Barthelme, George Saunders, Rick Moody, Daniel Handler and Dr. Frankenstein (am I the only one who can't read that word without thinking of how they pronounce it in Young Frankenstein?)?

* Read "The Sofa" it's not in the book, but it's still an old fave.
* Check out the UBookstore's new interview with Ryan on their blog.

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And Now That I'm In Your Shadow

Oh happy day. Finally made it to the Boom tonight to pick up Damien Jurado's new one. I've been listening to it all night. Classic Jurado. Highly recommended.

Also picked up Cursive's Happy Hollow and The Gothic Archies (the Stephin Merritt & Lemony Snicket collab). How's that for a Friday the 13th haul?

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Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Independence Day

Book #36 on my 2006 reading list was Richard Ford's Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award winning Independence Day.

Although you might be thinking "Oh, Indepedence Day. You mean that terrible movie with Will Smith and the aliens?", I'm not gonna kid you you're not even close (and you'd probably say awesome instead of terrible). This Independence Day is the sequel to Ford's previous work The Sportwriter. Ford does look a little like Tommy Lee Jones though.

Anyways, in this novel Ford follows ex-sportswriter now real estate agent Frank Bascombe through a Fourth of July weekend. Over the holiday, the now divorced and middle-age Bascombe begins to break out of what he has deemed his 'Existence Period' into a whole new epoch in his life. We get to meet Bascombe's ex-wife, his possibly crazy son, his new lover, a husband and wife struggling to come to terms with the price of new homes, the propieter of Bascombe's hot dog stand, and a large ensemble of other crazy characters. Expanding the three days out into 450+ pages, Ford digs deep into Bascombe's psyche creating a character study whose level of detail is reminiscent of other great literary characters such as Bellow's Henderson (whom this site was named after).

Although I really enjoyed Ford's writing style, it took me awhile to really get into this one, fortunately it's one of those novels that grows on you the further and further you get into it, so by the end I didn't want to put it down. By sheer coincidence it looks like I managed to read this one just in time, as Ford has just published a new novel titled The Lay of the Land which picks up as the third installment of the Frank Bascombe story. Ford will be in town reading from the new novel on October 25th at Town Hall.

Interview in Salon

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Monday, October 09, 2006

John Moe @ The Big Picture

On Wednesday we went down to the Big Picture to the official launch party for John Moe's new book Conservatize Me: How I Tried to Become a Righty with the Help of Richard Nixon, Sean Hannity, Toby Keith, and Beef Jerky.

You may know Moe as the genius behind the Pop Song Correspondences on McSweeney's, a slew of excellent lists on Amazon, or through his public radio persona as host of KUOW's The Works.

Hosted by Seattle Magazine as part of its Book Salon series, the party was much different from your typical reading. The salon series shoots for a less formal atmosphere including a pre-reading cocktail time where readers can mingle with the author and one another. The main event was an interview between Moe and a KUOW compatriot (maybe Ken Vincent?). As expected Moe was very funny though the book seems to be a bit more serious of a study of conservatism than the title might suggest. As Moe explained it, he put a real effort into listening to valid conservative view points and to only make fun of the 'really stupid ones'. Despite coming from a city made up 'entirely of liberals', Moe admitted to having conservative leanings, so it sounds like we can expect a nuanced position that's bound to be more fair and balanced than a certain TV station. Definitely should be a good read.

Conservatize Me site
John Moe's blog
Seattle Weekly review

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Life Inside Me Killed This Song

More Subrosa-y goodness. Travis & co. are looking mighty young. I must be getting old :-(


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Monday, October 02, 2006

Buzzard

I can't even tell you how excited I am to have found this. Here's the video for Subrosa's lost classic "Buzzard". I doubt this ever saw any air play since Sony 550 screwed Travis and the boys over, dropping them from the label without ever releasing a real single. You can tell the video was pretty low budget too, but it doesn't take a big budget to bring the rock.

Gotta love the YouTube.

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Ryan Boudinot @ UBookstore

On Thursday we saw Ryan Boudinot read from his new book 'The Littlest Hitler' at the University Bookstore.

Ryan read a dark-comedy piece titled 'My Mother Was a Monster'. The story is in his new book, but was also previously published in Black Book (and available in The Revolution Will Not Be Accessorized). In addition to the excellent story, he also gave out home-grown tomatoes (which tasted mighty fine in the burritos we made tonight), mouth-guitared the solo from Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love", and noted the strikingly similarity of his recent mug shot in The Stranger to that of Kim Jong-il. Needless to say, good times were had by all.

You can read more about the reading in Seattlest's Review and on the UBookstore's new blog. Ryan will be reading again soon as part of the upcoming Telling Childhood benefit for the Hugo House. It's a great lineup that also includes local talents Stacey Levine and Charles D'Ambrosio, and the always hilarious David Rakoff.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006

Ft. Worth Blues

This has always been one of my favorite Steve Earle songs. Here Earle plays it on the Townes Van Zandt tribute on Austin City Limits.

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