Thursday, April 11, 2024

Absolution by Alice McDermott


Liked this, although there's a cautiousness and a certain smugness to (both) the narrator's voices that I dislike. The first half of the book feels like it's heading toward a more dramatic ending that I got, and the switching of narrators between the older woman and the younger woman does not yield significant unveilings of meaning or narrative.

Monday, April 01, 2024

Deliver Me from Nowhere: The Making of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska by Warren Zanes


Great book! That rare thing, penetrating writing about music.

Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut


Must have read this before but don't really remember it. It's interesting but seems to be an early (1963) experiment in Vonnegut's more mature and radical books Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions.

The fantastical human-based religion of Bokonism, the short chapters that always end with a flair (if not much narrative oomph), the sci-fi flirtation of the doomsday weapon ice-nine, are all elements to be perfected later.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles by Geoff Emerick


Good but not great. It was a different time - and certainly, just the placement of the microphones and crude primitive physical sound manipulations were enormously important in the 1960s in pop music studios. Emerick is a bit gushing (but it's the Beatles, so who wouldn't be?) and he has a way (as does anyone outside the Beatles who is writing about them) of desperately trying to take credit for something that was most obviously a result of the group's own creative effort and genius.

His recounting of the recording of Revolver -- and especially Abbey Road -- are the highlights.

Some of his anecdotes - John and Yoko dragging a bed into the studio during the recording of Abbey Road, Lennon high on acid being rescued by the other three from the roof of the studio, George Martin's chilliness - are great. But barely registers against Lewisohn's stunning biography.

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Time for the Stars by Robert A. Heinlein


Pairs of twins on earth are trained as telepathic modes of communication: one will embark on space travel and the other will stay earthside, and together they will transmit news and updates instantaneously across a trillion miles. Time, however, will pass more slowly for the twin travelling through space at a speed just below the speed of light, making for uneasy relationships between twins who started out the same age but end up vastly separated by time AND space. Interesting although not much happens.

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