Sunday, January 27, 2008

Reading list

Just finished reading...

The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain
Sort of odds and ends diary of Bourdain's trips courtesy of his Travel Channel show No Reservations. The book sort of takes up where Bourdain's legendary Kitchen Confidential left off with more insights into culinary culture and the hard-nosed personalities raving the kitchen for your dining pleasure. I love Bourdain's prose and can relate to so many of his stories, but that's not to say that I agree with all of his philosophies, be it disdain for vegetarians or a sort of shoulder-shrugging grinning acceptance of various countries (particularly those in Asia) rampant unchecked thirst for wild and exotic animals. And then there's his ruthless attacks on Woody Harrelson just because the actor follows a raw food diet, and his deplorable rants against people he terms "food terrorists." That said I thoroughly enjoyed the book even if parts of it pissed me off.

Reading Comics by Douglas Wolk
I've had the book quite awhile now and while I've read most of it I was sort of saving the last few chapters for rainy days (currently when my life feels like one long "rainy day" you'd think I'd have read. I tend to drag out reading books I really like the way I drag out eating food I want to enjoy. Wolk's book is a fun and terribly insightful read, but not without a few niggling lapses here and there. But any book of such critical scope is expected to create discussion or it's likely failed. I'll probably discuss or review the book at greater length here of in print eventually.

Perla La Loca by Jaime Hernandez
Collecting early Locas stories in an attractive and affordable (only $16.95 for 280+ pages) phonebook format Fantagraphics continues to milk Love & Rockets for reprint gold; and the stories are typically irresistible. I read most of these in the original pamphlet form years ago but having missed a few issues it's fantastic to revisit them in one flowing, intoxicating dosage of pure Jaime genius. The man is a storytelling machine. Although I'm loathe to suggest ayone further filling the coffers of Fantagraphics, I have no such qualms about Los Bros (Jaime, Gilbert and Mario) getting every cent of their due.

Standard Deviations Karl Taro Greenfield
From the author of the sometimes fascinating Speed Tribes. This book started hot but after a few chapters the explicit-but-jaded tales of sexual conquests and drug abuse, and Greenfield's toxic combination of arrogance and vapidity become grating; even when you anticipate that he's setting you up for self-revelation (ie. he knows as well as anyone how he's coming off and he's matured). Anyway, despite being an easy read, I had to return this library book only partially read, but I will probably check it out again soon.

Burning Book: A Visual History of Burning Man by Jessica Bruder
Actually a very entertaining history of the annual mecca of ravers, wasters, wannabe Che Guevaras and tuned-in-turned-on-drop outs.. Lots of photos of some genuinely brilliant sculptures and the requisite nude mud-people; and truly funny tales of the road to Burning Man. No matter how played out or hippy-infested you might think it is, if you read this book you'll want to go there at least once.

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