Haven't come here in a while, though no one has but I haven't come here in a loooooooonng time.
things I read in 2016
Shakey Neil Young's Biography
by Jimmy McDonough - I've read a lot of good rock autobiographies - Anthony Keidis, Mick Fleetwood's and Shaun Ryder's stick out the most atm but this was one of my favourite books I've ever read and it wasn't even an autobiography. The fact that someone like Neil would allow someone to catalog so much of his life on the road and within the music making and the turmoil of his working relationships (particularly strained with Crosby Stills and Nash); there's some ugliness to the whole thing, sure, but it's brutally honest and I like that and I think that's why ol' Shakey himself took to Mr. McDonough. The reason why I didn't read much of anything last year was because I actually read this twice, which I've never done in a consecutive fashion but the second time I did flip back and forth more. Amazing reading at any rate.
The High Mountains of Portugal
by Yann Martel. 'ho hum' I can hear you say if you read Life of Pi in high school like we had to. Despite not being religious at all I read this one in grade 10 or 11 and actually thoroughly enjoyed it. The protagonist was right; I was won over. I became a Yann Martel fan though with his next book which was controversial in a sense and sold a fraction of the copies. I still consider Beatrice and Virgil to be one of my favourite reads and a good darker edge tale. This one is three short stories and while the first one had me engaged, it ended on a bit of a simple note, a bit too preachy perhaps or at least a cliche message. The second is the one that got the most attention and while well written I think the gruesome peeling of the body was done better by my man Murakami. The third was perhaps the least memorable, I wouldn't really recommend this reading unless you enjoyed Martell's early works.
by Bryan Lee O Malley - This was lent to me by our very own Keiroshin and it's a slightly dizzying tale but a charming dece little graphic novel. I've only read Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth when it comes to graphic novels so it was nice to give this a shot because Scott Pilgrim always interested me since watching the movie (I enjoyed it, okay?!!) and I think I read just a little bit of one of the books most likely at Keiro's pad. Anyway, the narrative sort of reminds me of Inception except instead of layers upon layers of dreams the protagonist can control her destiny by writing in her notebook ("Dear Log.."), eat a mushroom and fall asleep. Also reminds me of a cutesier version of say Memento, not that this is backwards mind. I love O Malley's art, I was taken with his work on the Fez box art and always liked the style of Pilgrim so this was a really cool little read and I like the girl Katie a lot and a lot of the supporting players esp Hazel.
Can I Say: Living Large, Cheating Death, and Drums, Drums, Drums
by Travis Barker - This one was lent to me by link470 and it really opened my eyes to where Travis actually came from. I must say when I was a kid and that I actually always just pictured Trav being from the same block as Mark and Tom. Not literally, but they seemed to have pretty average suburban upbringing; nothing to write home about, I mean sure divorces and such but a lot of us see those and you don't see a Mark or Tom book coming out or rather not a non-alien related one in ol' Delonge's case. Anyway I know Trav wasn't Blink's original drummer, I've always known since I heard What's My Age Again but I never pictured the tough shit Travis describes, like the barbed wire fence to the face or people stealing his car GTA style when he went out for a joyride in his parent's ride. I really thought all his young life was super interesting and it's admirable that such a miscreant ADD-bound child disciplined himself with music and really perfected the craft to now be known as one of the best drummers, even admired by peeps outside of the rock and roll set (rappers, IDM artists, etc). I must say the whole Meet the Barkers section bored to tears
but fear not read on and the tragedy of Barker and AM and reformation of Blink sets in.
Baron in the Trees
by Italo Calvino - Italo Calvino has always fascinated me but never mesmerized me. I tried Cosmocomics but despite the majesty of the first story in that collection, the rest of the short stories became increasingly convoluted like a neverending math equation that never ever does end and goes on for infinity and what a mess some of those stories were. Anyway I decided to persevere with the author and try another endeavor and I'm glad I did; I took this one with me on a fishing/camping trip and I tell ya - I can sum up this story in one sentence:
"boy climbs up to the treetops and lives out the rest of his life independently, never coming down*"
*not a spoiler, even look on the back of the jacket, anyway despite this seemingly simple story, the fluidity of the writing and the brother's musings on the matter is quite riveting actually. Calvino has a penchant for this kind of fluidity is really the best way I can say, redundant I know but that's my best word for describing this kind of writing. So glad I gave Italo another shot, I will read another of his this year.