Friday, October 07, 2016

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

Sailed through this, enjoying it all.   That said, the first 150 pages are best: something about his childhood and adolescence, and the Freehold/Jersey Shore years rings more true than his professional narrative.  Maybe he's more guarded, since he became very famous very quickly, and was plagued by fame (without riches) for the first ten years of his celebrity.

I liked his splendid summary about legendary rock stars and their early deaths - "Aging is scary but fascinating."  His summary?  "The exit in a blaze of glory is bullshit."(p. 214)  His analysis about learning the limitations of his own singing voice and transcending them was also great (p.  494)

His wise decision to seek analysis to help him through depression does not make the most interesting reading:  there is a lot of inner-child speak and other junk.

Later in the book, he assumes his more bloviated gospel-preacher voice, and tends to philosophize generally and use some of his more obvious song metaphors, rather than provide details. Still, for a notoriously private individual who perversely gives so much of himself publically in performance, the book showed me important stuff in his life.

the "Chapter and verse" spotify playlist is great - not as much for the Springsteen songs themselves (who hasn't heard them? and a million times?) as for the 100 or so songs by other artists that were crucial to him.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

A heavy book-- the second half really picks up.

It's heavy because it threatens to be so many other books -- an immigrant experience book, a war book, a spy book -- on the way in the end to be a much more philosophical book about existence and doubleness and memory.

And a truly pentrating look at the past fifty years from inside a Vietnamese mind.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Straight Man by Richard Russo

Funny as ever fourth time around.  Well, perhaps a tad more painful.  But maybe that makes it more funny? William of Occam would probably disagree.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

great sprawling multigenerational novel of the Ghosh family of Calcutta.  Mukherjee writes brilliant, close description of both the natural world and the inner emotional lives of his characters.

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

great worldview but a little lame on characters and plot.   teeming with great ideas.  quick and easy to read.  easy to see why it's a favorite of adolescents.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Heat & Light by Jennifer Haigh

Exceedingly well-written, burnished totally boring novel about fracking and its effect on persons, peoples, communities.  There's something about that evenly-spread "American" third person omniscient narrator voice that I loathe, mixed in with pious liberal journalistic info.