Monday, July 26, 2004

It's been a while since I've posted, but here's my summer reading so far:

Two books by Geoff Dyer -- Out of Sheer Rage - a book of musings on D.H. Lawrence and Dyer's inability to finish his book about Lawrence. Not bad, though it'd be hard to say it beat's Henry Miller's Book of Lawrence. Dyer is good essayist - see Yoga for Those Who Can't be Bothered to Do It (reviewed earlier). I also read Dyer's Paris Trance, which is an okay romance for would-be exiles, but not as good as his essays. His penchant for clever philosophistry is more suited for essays.

Remembering Denny by Calvin Trillin (a sad but interesting nostalgia piece about a Yale classmate who was the BMOC who ended up failing to live up to expectations and committed suicide in his exploration of why.)

The Bushwhacked Piano by John McGuane is a phenomenal short novel. Best I've read all summer. This guy's riffs are intense. A master.

And a few books about the Right (rather than just Bush):

First, The Right Nation by two writers from the Economist is basic overview of the right-wing in America, though it's sometimes a bit off and sympathetic to the Right. And gives too much of a sense of irreversibility about the right-wing takeover of politics.

Banana Republicans by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber (the editors of PR Watch, whose first book on the PR industry is still their best: Toxic Sludge is Good For You). By the way, if you want to research dirt on corporate front groups, go to their site. Their weekly newsletter is excellent.

Regime Change Begins at Home by Charlie Derber is the best answer to the question: after we get rid of Kerry, what's next. I.e. how should we who see the problem not as Bush the person (though he's obviously a problem) look at the 2004 election and the long-term challenge to free America from Corporate Rule.

And I'm slowly plowing through Ulysses -- with help from the unabridged spoken CDs (42 hours) recorded by Irish actor Jim Norton. If you wanna read Ulysses, but think it will be too hard, here's a hint: use this unabridged CD set, it will really help. (Of course, you should also read some of the criticism to understand the styles he's using, structure of the novel, etc.). It's really helped me appreciate it as a comic masterpiece this time.

Monday, July 19, 2004

The summer of documentaries.

Fahrenheit 9/11 is the blockbuster, of course, but there are other great docs you shouldn't miss:

Orwell Rolls in His Grave

The Corporation

The Yes Men

"Le Monde Selon Bush" (The World According to Bush)

Poetry in Wartime

Also, be sure to watch JibJab's "This Land is Your Land" short online. has a new 2004 campaign piece that beats the hell out of any political commercial you'll see this year.