Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Review: The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism

The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism by Ross King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a terrific representation of the story of the Salon of mid-to-late 19th c. Paris, starring Messonier, Manet, Baudelaire, Nadar, Napolean III, Pissaro, et al. King interweaves remarkable overarching observations about culture, society and aesthetics with fascinating factoids about the artists and other cultural innovations. It's a strong audiobook presentation, a smooth listen. To be honest, I did not know that one of Manet's great, technical innovations was the white ground for oil paintings, rather than the darker grounds used since the Renaissance. I also did not quite realize the central role Pissaro played as an organizer of collective exhibitions and more than Monet. Saxophone invented in 1840?!

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Review: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another great audiobook that I had a tough time getting through as a real book. Dion Graham hit it out of the park...and good on Eggers to have a gifted African American actor be him, I guess. The work is very self indulgent and self aware of that. Early parts of the novel cut a little too close to home being so near to my own mother at her terminal stages of the cancer, then it was sweet to hear him tooling around the Bay Area. For Eggers's writing, I am more a fan of other later works, and I am glad my commute facilitated getting through his strong, lengthy, freshman opus.

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Monday, May 02, 2016

Review: Siddhartha

Siddhartha Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just "read" this for the second time, now as an audiobook. It was so satisfying to explore life's rich pageant; and to see one's life made up of changeable moments: chapters, moving from void to void. And in the end one of your oldest and dearest friends can lean forward to kiss you on the head, and you are Nirvana when you least expect it.

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Friday, April 08, 2016

Review: Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu

Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu by Osamu Tezuka
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Enjoying my forays into Manga, especially with a master of the medium ;), and digging in alongside my son. Though this one, on completion, I kicked out to my dear, old friend in Wisconsin. My boy's still on the Dragon Ball Z, One Piece and lighter fare. Hoping maybe to get through the following volumes. In this one, From my ignorance, i am still not even sure whose gonna be Buddha ;)

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Review: East of Eden

East of Eden East of Eden by John Steinbeck
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like a second degree in literature, I have been doing a great number of classic works on audiobooks as part of my commute. East of Eden was just about as epically intimate as intended. It felt so satisfying to touch a classic work like this in auditory format, listening is different than reading. In fact, it can be trusted better, right?

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Review: Introducing Derrida

Introducing Derrida Introducing Derrida by Jeff Collins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This précis was a good read, and helped my thinking around Derrida who I have read a decent amount of, but outside of any academic context that might have framed his thinking more broadly for my benefit. This work did not really do that but I enjoyed a few of the anecdotes it draws out, like Derrida's interpretation of the story of Pharmakon and the development of park outside Paris with Peter Eisenman and Bernard Tschumi.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Review: Hunting Badger

Hunting Badger Hunting Badger by Tony Hillerman
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

Fun to read/hear really good detective fiction on the ride. Makes me think of my mom <3

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Friday, February 05, 2016

Review: Out of Africa

Out of Africa Out of Africa by Karen Blixen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a beautifully crafted story, but it's hard to read at the same time as The Song of Dewey Beard. Dinesen writes so evocatively about her colonial role in Africa as a benevolent force, but it's tough to stomach concurrent with stories from the perspective of a 90 year old Lakota. I do want to see the movie again now, and Julie Harris reading was clear and evocative.

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