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Michael Cockrell Recommends
Oryx and Crake
Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey-with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake-through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.
What I Talk About When I Talk About Running
Call Number: 796.2 M9723
Murakami's latest is a nonfiction work mostly concerned with his thoughts on the long-distance running he has engaged in for much of his adult life. Through a mix of adapted diary entries, old essays, reminiscences and life advice, Murakami crafts a charming little volume notable for its good-natured and intimate tone. While the subject matter is radically different from the fabulous and surreal fiction that Murakami (The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle) most often produces, longtime readers will recognize the source of the isolated, journeying protagonists of the author's novels in the formative running experiences recounted. Murakami's insistence on focusing almost exclusively on running can grow somewhat tedious over the course of the book, but discrete, absorbing episodes, such as a will-breaking 62-mile ultramarathon and a solo re-creation of the historic first marathon in Greece serve as dynamic and well-rendered highlights. Murakami offers precious little insight into much of his life as a writer, but what he does provide should be of value to those trying to understand the author's long and fruitful career. An early section recounting Murakami's transition from nightclub owner to novelist offers a particularly vivid picture of an artist soaring into flight for the first time.
A Dog in a Hat: An American Bike Racer's Story of Mud, Drugs, Blood, Betrayel, and Beauty in Belgium
Call Number: 796.62 P2472
"A Dog in a Hat is the most authentic book ever written on making a living as a pro cyclist in Europe." --Bob Roll, Versus TV cycling commentator -- Bob Roll, cycling commentator
The Way Through Doors
Starred Review. The search for a stranger's history leads down a narrative cul-de-sac in Plimpton Prize winner Ball's accomplished and clever second novel (after Samedi the Deafness). When pamphleteer Selah Morse witnesses a taxi run down a young woman, he takes her to the hospital and, in telling the staff that he is her boyfriend and that her name is Mora Klein, is given custody of her. She is amnesiac, and his orders are to reconstruct her memories through story. The book then begins anew, and the narrative folds in upon itself again and again, launching in new directions and each time leaving the earlier story incomplete. Throughout, Morse searches out Mora Klein's identity, picking up other travelers along the way, among them a Coney Island mind reader; a doting husband who may or may not have made a deal with the devil; a love interest for Morse fascinated by the pamphleteer's opus; and a fiddle-playing dog. Though literal-minded readers may struggle to follow Morse's arc as the stories converge and he slips deeper into layers of story, Ball's skill with language and delight in comic absurdity make this an immensely enjoyable, brain-busting experience.
The Clash: Strummer, Jones, Simonon, Headon
Call Number: 782.42166 C6141
Twenty-eight years after imploding, the Clash late frontman Strummer, lead guitarist Mick Jones, bassist Paul Simonon, and drummer Topper Headon finally offer up their autobiography. Like other hallowed rock tales (e.g., The Beatles Anthology), it employs a chronological oral format, beginning with brief profiles of each member and continuing with close-ups of albums, singles, and tours. Because the band and its entourage contributed to this "official Clash product," fans will understandably expect the mother lode juicy insider commentary; hundreds of never-before-seen photos and memorabilia. Unfortunately, the oral history sorely lacks drama, depth, and color, maybe because the guys already aired their grievances and regrets in earlier biographies and Don Letts's 1999 documentary Westway to the World. Thankfully, Strummer's jaunty voice comes through, yet the editors would've done well to incorporate the viewpoints of outrageous supporting characters like Bernie Rhodes, the band's controversial manager. There are scrawled set lists, backstage passes, newspaper clippings, and new images, sure, but nothing that amounts to the blast of eye candy you expect from this visually striking foursome. Add some misprinted pages in Italian, and the result is a rushed book that is just too late in coming. Fans will demand it, but they'll get a more entertaining story via Pat Gilbert's Passion Is a Fashion: The Real Story of the Clash. For larger popular music collections.
The heart is a lonely hunter
When she was only twenty-three, Carson McCullers's first novel created a literary sensation. She was very special, one of America's superlative writers who conjures up a vision of existence as terrible as it is real, who takes us on shattering voyages into the depths of the spiritual isolation that underlies the human condition. This novel is the work of a supreme artist, Carson McCullers's enduring masterpiece. The heroine is the strange young girl, Mick Kelly. The setting is a small Southern town, the cosmos universal and eternal. The characters are the damned, the voiceless, the rejected. Some fight their loneliness with violence and depravity, Some with sex or drink, and some -- like Mick -- with a quiet, intensely personal search for beauty. "From the Paperback edition." (Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.)
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle
"Magnificent. . . .(Murakami) has taken a pre-millennial swing for the fences a la David Foster Wallace and Don DeLillo" ("Newsweek"). "A surreal, sprawling drama . . . that marks . . . Murakami's most ambitious work to date"
The City in Mind : Meditations on the Urban Condition
In the Geography of Nowhere, James Howard Kunstler declared suburbia "a tragic landscape of cartoon architecture, junked cities, and ravaged countryside" and put himself at the heart of a fierce debate over how we will live in twenty-first century America. Now, Kunstler turns his wickedly mordant and astute eye on urban life both in America and across the world. From classical Rome to the "gigantic hairball" of contemporary Atlanta, he offers a far-reaching discourse on the history and current state of urban life." "The City in Mind tells the story of urban design and how the architectural makeup of a city directly influences its culture as well as its success. From the ingenious architectural design of Louis-Napoleon's renovation of Paris to the bloody collision of cultures that occurred when Cortes conquered the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, from the grandiose architectural schemes of Hitler and Albert Speer to the meanings behind the ludicrous spectacle of Las Vegas, Kunstler opens up a new dialogue on the development and effects of urban construction. In his investigations, he discovers American communities in the Sunbelt and Southwest alienated from each other and themselves, Northeastern cities caught between their initial civic construction and our current car-obsessed society, and a disparate Europe with its mix of pre-industrial creativity, and war-marked reminders of the twentieth century
Human smoke: the beginnings of World War II, the end of civivilization
Publishers Weekly Review - "Burning a village properly takes a long time," wrote a British commander in Iraq in 1920. In this sometimes astonishing yet perplexing account of the destructive futility of war, NBCC award winning writer Baker (Double Fold) traces a direct line from there to WWII, when Flying Fortresses and incendiary bombs made it possible to burn a city in almost no time at all. Central to Baker's episodic narrative- a chronological juxtaposition of discrete moments from 1892 to December 31, 1941-are accounts from contemporary reports of Britain's terror campaign of repeatedly bombing German cities even before the London blitz. The large chorus of voices echoing here range from pacifists like Quaker Clarence Pickett to the seemingly cynical warmongering of Churchill and FDR; the rueful resignation of German-Jewish diarist Viktor Klemperer to Clementine Churchill's hate-filled reference to "yellow Japanese lice." Baker offers no judgment, but he also fails to offer context: was Hitler's purported plan to send the Jews to Madagascar serious, or, as one leading historian has called it, a fiction? Baker gives no clue. Yet many incidents carry an emotional wallop-of anger and shock at actions on all sides-that could force one to reconsider means and ends even in a "good" war and to view the word "terror" in a very discomfiting context. (Mar.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From: Reed Elsevier Inc. Copyright Reed Business Information
Makers of Modern Architecture
Everyone knows what modern architecture looks like, but few understand how this revolutionary new form of building emerged little more than a century ago or what its aesthetic, social, even spiritual aspirations were. Martin Filler offers insights into this unprecedented cultural transformation. From Louis Sullivan, father of the skyscraper, to Frank Gehry, magician of the post-millennial museum, Filler emphasizes how their force of personality has had a decisive effect on everything from how we inhabit our homes to how we shape our cities." "Surveying such current urban design sagas as the reconstruction of Ground Zero and the reunification of Berlin, Filler also trains his sharp eye on some of the biggest names in architecture today, puncturing more than one overinflated reputation while identifying the true masters who are now building for the ages.
New York look book: a gallery of street fashion
Since 2004, "New York" magazine has been celebrating New York City style in a feature calledThe Look Book?: a centerfold?with its subject shot at random anywhere and everywhere across Gotham?along with an interview about the subject's personal style. "The New York Look Book" collects more than 200 of the best Look Book features, and a specialWhere to Find It? section offers readers not only store listings, but also an insider's guide to New York's distinctive neighborhoods. (Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.)
Our band could be your life: scenes from the American indie underground 1981-1991
As an alternative to mainstream rock, the "indie" movement in the 1980s reshaped American music with a revolutionary do-it-yourself credo. This is the definitive history of the bands that made it happen. 13 photos.
Please kill me: the uncensored oral history of punk
A Time Out and Daily News Top Ten Book of the Year upon its initial release, Please Kill Me is the first oral history of the most nihilist of all pop movements. Iggy Pop, Danny Fields, Dee Dee and Joey Ramone, Malcolm McLaren, Jim Carroll, and scores of other famous and infamous punk figures lend their voices to this definitive account of that outrageous, explosive era. From its origins in the twilight years of Andy Warhol's New York reign to its last gasps as eighties corporate rock, the phenomenon known as punk is scrutinized, eulogized, and idealized by the people who were there and who made it happen. (Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.)
The Darjeeling Limited
Having not spoken to each other in a year, three American brothers set off on a train voyage across India with a plan to find themselves and bond with each other. The brothers wanted to regain their friendship of each other. Their "spiritual quest," however, veers rapidly off-course - thanks in part to over-the-counter pain killers, Indian cough syrup, and pepper spray. Eventually the three find themselves stranded alone in the middle of the desert with eleven suitcases, a printer, and a laminating machine. From this point forward, an unplanned journey begins.
Set against the conservative early 80s political landscape, this film chronicles the homegrown hardcore scene that was a swift kick in the head to corporate rock and mainstream complacency, as disaffected teens adopted the same collective credo--harder, faster, louder. Features live concert footage and interviews with people involved in the scene.
Ghost Dog is a samurai disciple and for ten years the devoted retainer to an aging mafia foot soldier named Louie. When one of Ghost Dog's contract murders goes wrong, the don's daughter is a witness. Her father decides that to save face, he must have the killer "neutralized." The rest of the film follows Ghost Dog's calculated efforts to survive, as he takes out gang members while attempting to maintain his ceremonious, mutually respectful relationship with Louie.
The Big Lebowski
"The Dude" Lebowski is mistaken for another Lebowski who is rich and owes some thugs a lot of money. After Dude comes home one day to find that the thugs have broken in and ruined his favorite carpet, he vows to get even.
The Academy Award winning comedy about an idealistic young man and his friends and their pursuit to find jobs and a purpose to life in their hometown of Bloomington, Indiana.
Down By Law
Two innocent men and one semi-harmless Italian tourist are thrown in jail, only to break out and attempt to find their way through the Louisiana swampland.
When a mysterious pink letter informs Don Johnston that he may have a 19-year-old son, he travels to the homes of four former lovers, where he comes face-to-face with the errors of his past and the possibilities of his future.
The Black Keys
Features several bonus tracks, including covers of Beatles, Neil Young, Captain Beefheart, and Mudhoney songs, plus live versions of every track on the original studio release.
Exile on Main St.
The Rolling Stones
TV on the Radio
TV on the Radio's third album follows on the same path as previous albums, but with some fine-tuning and an awesome rock symphony that portrays art to the ears. Named 2008 Album of the Year by Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Spin, and Paste magazines.
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