Tag: books

2017 reading

I guess I don’t need my reading list to be public, but I’m fairly convinced no one reads these posts anyway. That said, I’m tired of keeping so many files on my harddrive, so I figured this is a good alternative. I’ll be adding these as I go (unlike last year, when I posted about my reading for the year in August), so I’ll also include short reviews/summaries. I may go back and do the same for some of the books I read last year. Here goes:

Bright Lights, Big City by Jay McInerney – I like slim books. This one clocks in at 182 pages. This is McInerney’s first novel, from 1984. It takes place in New York City and features lots of cocaine (as any book set in New York in the 80s should). It is written entirely in the second person and somehow this is not at all annoying to read. The main character (a ‘you’ who is definitely not you) works in The Department of Factual Verification for an unnamed but prestigious magazine. He is a married to a model. He is 24. We learn very quickly that his model wife has left him with a phone call, after which he doesn’t see her again for quite a few months. During the course of the book, his life spirals out of control. He parties more and more, does lots of cocaine, hides the fact that his wife has left him, loses his job… And yet he doesn’t seem like a total asshole. This could be any 24-year-old guy who took a wrong turn. Thing is, it turns out his life isn’t spiralling for the reason the reader is led to believe. I don’t really like authorial tricks like that. Had we known sooner, had McInerney taken the time to create layers within the story early on, it would have made the read meatier. Regardless, it was a quick and worthwhile read.

So on to my next read. I picked up Infinite Jest by Steven Foster Wallace again today after a long hiatus. I’m at page 187.  The book is clearly a work of genius, but it’s just not holding my attention. Even if it wasn’t over a thousand pages (with footnotes), I wouldn’t feel very motivated to finish it. I’m not convinced I haven’t already gotten everything out of it that I can. Even though I’m starting to embrace the idea that time is not linear, I don’t like feeling my time would be better or more enjoyably spent doing something else. I want to do what I want to do because I’m 35 goddammit and I want to make the most of this stupid thing called life. I’ll likely switch to Winter Journal by Paul Auster or M Train by Patti Smith.

2016 reading

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This isn’t so much a post for anyone else as it is a running tally (in no particular order) of the books I’ve been reading/read this year. I have already forgotten a bunch of titles, so these are just the ones I’ve read recently and do not include art technique books. I’ll keep updating this post throughout the year as I remember/read more. Let’s get things started:

The Invention of Solitude by Paul Auster

Things the Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett

The South by Colm Toibin

On Despair by Elie Wiesel

Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel

Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Oreo by Fran Ross

I Love Dick by Chris Kraus

fin

i made a book

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Years ago, my mother sent me some beautiful paper she had made. I wasn’t sure what to do with it at the time as it just wasn’t meant for letter writing, but when I rediscovered the paper about a month ago it was so obvious what I needed to do. It was time to make a book. I couldn’t use the pages for signatures, and the paper I had chosen for the covers was too thick for stab binding. After a bit of thinking, I decided to make an accordion-style book (but it’s also not quite an accordion book).

 

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To begin, I measured and poked six holes along the tops and bottoms of the papers. (I took the photo at night, so apologies for the poor lighting.) Then I picked out some contrasting embroidery thread from my stash.

 

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Then I stitched the pages together, leaving a bit of thread between the pages to allow room for folding. First along the top, then the bottom. I applied a tiny bit of super glue to the end knots for extra security.

 

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Next, I made some wheatpaste (heating up one part flour, four parts water) and applied it to the inside of the covers, then affixed the first and last papers. I took two white sheets of paper (to protect the books) and then placed heavy books on top to keep things together and flat while the glue and paper dried.

 

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Once the papers and covers were nicely stuck together, the covers weren’t quite as flat as I liked, so I put the book together and placed a heavy book on top again for several hours.

 

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And done.