Saturday, October 12, 2013
Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief- Lawrence Wright
In the case of Scientology, a fast-growing religion with a stigmatic reputation, the phrase "truth is stranger than fiction" is especially accurate. It's hard to summarize the contents of Going Clear, a captivating piece of investigative journalism that covers church-founder L. Ron Hubbard's life, Scientology's beginnings, the church's strange relationship with Hollywood, and more. I highly recommend this!
Just Kids- Patti Smith
Aside from being my favorite read of the last month, this is one of the best books I've read all year. This book is not just for those familiar with the works of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, but rather anyone with an interest in the New York art/music scenes during the 60's and 70's, the Chelsea Hotel, or Warhol's Factory. The special relationship between Smith and Mapplethorpe is always at the heart of Just Kids, and it should be, as the memoir marks the fulfillment of a promise Smith made to her dying friend that she would one day tell their story. Smith's testament of love to Mapplethorpe is touching and magical, a really wonderful read.
B is for Bad Poetry - Pamela August Russell
The title of this book of poetry means that it tends to be mistaken for actually bad poetry, a joke book. Instead it's a collection of cynical, funny, and witty poems reminiscent of Richard Brautigan's work. I finished this in one sitting on the metro.
Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn
I don't typically read the latest crime novels, but there seemed to be so much buzz surrounding Gone Girl (and the forthcoming film) that I decided to check it out spur of the moment one day. I read this pretty quickly but it was mostly just because I was ready to be done with it. There wasn't a single likeable character in this novel and the ending was lackluster. Not terribly written, but definitely nothing to write home about.
Blue Nights- Joan Didion
Blue Nights is a companion piece of sorts to Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. In 2003, the author unexpectedly lost her husband, John Dunne. TYOMT is an account of Didion's grief and, unfortunately, is not the only tale of loss she would come to write. In 2005 Didion's only daughter, Quintana Roo, died at the age of 39. In Blue Nights Didion shares memories of Quintana and reflects on her own mortality. I wanted to like this book, but I found it lacked the emotional depth I expected. Rather than explore her grief through her memories, Didion covers it up with the material aspects- the Chanel suits and the Payard cakes and the room service. At times Didion reflects on her performance as a parent, but I felt that she was too self-conscious to really analyze herself. It feels like giving this book a negative review dismisses Didion's grief, which I don't mean to do by any means, but I wish she had used this work to really talk about Quintana, rather than use Quintana as a means to talk about herself.
Handmade Marketplace- Kari Chapin
I've been thinking a lot lately about opening up a little webshop to sell my goods. It's always been something on my mind, a faraway goal, but this is an area in which I struggle a lot with confidence. Even though I feel best when I'm making stuff, I usually don't feel like the things I make are good enough to ask someone to pay me to make them. It's a strange and scary step to take, but I'm ready to start exploring my talents and finding products I'm passionate about. A close friend gave me this book for Christmas and I finally got around to finishing it. It had a lot of useful information and I think I'm ready to start putting all that good advice to use!
What are you reading?