Things We Loved in the Year 2016

Book: Flowers for Mrs. Harris by Paul Gallico

It’s been a long time since I felt such pure delight in a book as I did for Paul Gallico’s “Flowers for Mrs. Harris” (published in 1958 and also available under the alternate title “Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris”). I snagged it from a thrift store early in the year based on the cover alone. It’s thin, which initially was a draw, but ultimately left me hungry for more. The first thing that struck me about Gallico’s writing was that his observations about human nature and the details of human life felt immediately intimate, yet not cliché. I can’t think of anything I respect more as a writer and a reader.

I’ve since read another of Gallico’s novels (“Scruffy”) which was perhaps “better”, but this one had so many points of personal connection for me that it stands out in my memory. The basic story is of an older working-class woman who falls helplessly in love with the awesomeness of Chanel couture, and becomes determined to own a piece of her own for the sake of pure frivolous adoration. Indulgence without loss of wonder is something I treasure. My one criticism is that Gallico’s work tends to be a bit “precious”, wrapping up in the most perfect of bows at the end of each book. I gravitate toward realism and sadness in media, but I simply cannot begrudge Mrs. Harris a happily-ever-after, especially when I’m invited into that warmth as the reader.

–  Karissa Tucker

Book: The Well at the World’s End
by William Morris

As we sit back and reflect on the year, I can’t help but remember one of the books that took me the longest to read. The Well at the World’s End is a longer novel, but what makes it more difficult is its use of older English. I was first introduced to the work by C. S. Lewis himself, in his essay “On Story”.

The Well at the World’s End”, can a man write a story to that title? Can he find a series of events following one another in time which will really catch, fix, and bring home to us all that we grasp at on merely hearing those six words?… Morris in The Well at the World’s End came near to success, quite near enough to make the book worth many readings.”

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The story follows a young prince, Ralph, the fourth son of the king of a little land called Upmeads. When he is chosen to stay and rule the kingdom while his brothers earn fame and glory, Ralph runs away on his own journey. Along the way he hears whispers and legends of the well at the world’s end, and through many adventures, determines that he must journey to it if it exists. It’s the story of Ralph’s coming of age as he discovers love, honor, loss, glory, and that people are not always what they seem. The Lady of Abundance, Ursula, Bull shockhead, Richard, the Champions of the Dry Tree, and Gandolf all add richness to the story, showing their own characters’ and surprising the reader. As the pages turn, Ralph grows and matures in front of your eyes. At the end, I was proud of him and hope that when I have a son, he turns out like Ralph.

wweThe Well at the World’s End encourages me to continue to grow and mature. Ralph’s young heart was restless, so he went out and did the things he desired. But at the end, when he has completed those tasks, his desires shift. It’s not that those desires were bad and he needed to grow up, rather they lead him to where he needs to go. As someone who’s likely in the same stage of life as Ralph, I’m inspired to go on adventures and enter worlds beyond my own “Upmeads” with the hope of coming home some-day.

– Richie Gowin

Music: Photographs and Memories by Jim Croce

tumblr_m7lam3qhmx1qgl228o1_400According to its release date this isn’t from 2016, but that’s when I found it. This year the
music I was hearing made me feel a little like Bing Crosby’s character in White Christmas: “everyone’s got an angle.” Artists either focused on a specific subject, or a specific mood, or the intensity of a certain experience. With Jim Croce, there’s no angle. He’s what would once have been called “just folks.” It’s remarkable how comforting that can be.

I know it’s considered a bit on the nose to recommend greatest hits albums, but after listening to Croce’s whole oeuvre, this is the one I returned to consistently. It’s plain and simple about everything: heartbreak (“Operator” and “Lover’s Cross”) the defeat of local bullies (“Bad Bad Leroy Brown” and “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim”), a job you don’t want (“Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues”), love and infatuation (“I Have to Say I Love You In A Song” and “Roller Derby Queen”), hating where you live (“New York’s Not My Home”) and just wanting company (“I Got a Name”). In 2016, when I just wanted company, I turned on this album. In 2017, I’ll probably do the same.

Full album on youtube here.

–  David Shelton

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Music: We Got It from Here…Thank you 4 Your Service by A Tribe Called Quest

2016 was an amazing year for music. Hundreds of albums were released and the hip-hop, rap, R&B, soul world boomed. Beyoncé created the stunning visual album Lemonade, her sister Solange released an incredibly thought provoking a timely album entitled A Seat at the Table, Young Thug gave us Jeffery, and Gallant produced a beautiful soul album called Ology. While these are all in my list of favorite albums from this year, the top place has to go to A Tribe Called Quest (ATCQ) who released We Got it From Here…Thank you 4 Your Service. Following a rough breakup and years without new work this album seemed unlikely to be realized. The group produced 5 studio albums and are known for their forward-thinking innovations and unusual sampling choices. 18 years later they released their sixth and final album We Got it From Here. The process of finishing the album was colored by the death of one of the group’s four members, Phife Dawg, making the release a tribute to him as well.

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While musician’s reunions are often met with excitement by their fans they are also frequently disappointing. These attempts can be forced, rely heavily on nostalgia, and leave listeners thinking “they just ain’t what they used to be” (like the fourth Indiana Jones movie…ugh). This album does none of that. While the style from ATCQ’s early work shines through, the music and lyrics are decidedly fresh and piercingly relevant. Songs like “The Space Program” and “We the People” comment on racial inequality and the contradictory intolerance of America on display in the events of this year. The artists call out injustice in songs like “Killing Season”: “I swear it’s killing season / Cause killin’ is still in season” “Things haven’t really changed/ Or they’re dormant for the moment” and “Movin Backwards”: “Po puts braces on my wrists like he was clapping his hands / How demeaning y’all? Who could be blind to racism?” The music that makes up this album stands as a strong independent work in the world of rap/hip-hop and perfectly polishes ATCQ’s indelible body of work.

The album features guest artists including Kendrick Lamar, Jack White, André 3000, Kanye West, and Busta Rhymes. ATCQ continues their sampling prowess integrating audio from diverse sources including Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Elton John’s Benny and the Jets, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and Behind the Wall of Sleep by Black Sabbath.

Read more:

NPR

Pitchfork

–  Jessica Webster

A Fresh Western, A Sweeping Historical Novel, A Retro 90’s Hip-hop Movie, and a Stimulating Short Story Collection

Film: Magnificent Seven Directed by Antoine Fuqua

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I’m not a huge Western fan (I’m reading my first western book now), but I remember watching the original Magnificent Seven when I was younger and loving it. Good guys. Bad guys. And not necessarily a storybook ending. In this remake (the original itself being a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s samurai epic Seven Samurai) the owner of the local mine wants to take over the town and will do whatever he needs to in order to run everyone out. Emma Cullen’s husband is killed in the initial skirmish, and while she seeks righteousness, if necessary, she’ll take revenge. She hires a warrant officer (Denzel Washington) who puts together a motley crew to save the town.

 
The remake has several things going for it. First, it’s incredibly diverse, with an African American lead, along with white, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American supporting roles. Chris Pratt’s character is very similar to his other recent roles (Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World come to mind), so it’s interesting to see what they do with him in the end.

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While the film has been a modest success critically (currently holding a 62% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes), I believe this remake does justice to the original. The only downside is the villain who’s a little ridiculous, but hey, he’s not one of the magnificent seven, so give him a break.

– Richie Gowin

 

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Book: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi:

What a trip. When I finished reading Homegoing I felt my head spinning from the massive journey I just flew through. In her novel Yaa Gyasi creates an amazing collection of intertwined stories that begins in the heart of Africa at the dawn of the slave trade. In a perfectly comprehensive whirlwind she takes the reader through decades of oppression, romance, struggle and triumph. Through the variegated lenses of 14 separate third person narratives Gyasi weaves an integrated genealogy. Each story provides a unique perspective and through the generational progression reflects overarching socio-political evolution. The author presents issues of race and being black in a sensitive yet earnest way without ever usurping the voices of the individuals telling the stories. In exploring this issue, she writes not only about tensions between black and white people but between Africans and African-American’s (in Marjorie’s chapter she feels she is the “wrong kind of black”), and between African tribes.

The stories carry themes of belonging versus displacement and obviously (as the title suggests) of home. Where is home and what does it look like to people who have been uprooted from their original one? How long can you be away from home before you no 12wilkerson-master675longer belong in that place? The concept of family and remembering ancestral roots also lie at the core of this book. Gyasi makes the reader feel like a fly on the wall in a time machine skipping through years in beautiful, though often tragic, snapshots. She seems to have achieved what, the final character, Marcus, aims for: “what he wanted to capture with his project was the feeling of time, of having been a part of something that stretched so far back, was so impossibly large, that it was easy to forget that she, and he, and everyone else, existed in it–not apart from it, but inside of it” (295-96).

– Jessica Webster

 

Film: Dope (2015) Directed by Rick Famuyiwa

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Dope is one of those movies that I fell in love with from the opening scene. It’s quirky and witty, and elevates the poor-kid-in-a-rough-neighborhood drama into something I haven’t seen before. The movie has style on multiple levels, helped along no doubt by producer Pharrell Williams and co-star (and model) Chanel Iman (who spends most of her scenes topless, FYI). This movie combines conversations about pop sub-cultures, race, poverty, and drugs into an intensely interesting and gripping plot, but ends with a “mic drop” comment about how the general white population views poor black people that almost made my mouth hang open. Maybe this movie, which manages to be sort of a feel-good-movie in spite of all the stuff going down, strung me along and hit all the right buttons in a Hollywood sort of way, but it was totally worth it.

– Karissa Tucker

 

Short Story Collection: Island by Alistair MacLeod

It’s a rare book that makes you feel you have something to say. There are books that enlist you or repulse you, or if they’re very clever, do both at the same time. And there are books that give clearer voice to your own tangled thoughts. “I can’t say it as well as Keillor, but it goes something like…” However, all of these books make you want to talk about them. It’s harder to find a book that makes you want to talk to it.

On my first day at home after a long absence, I finished Island, a collection of short stories by Alistair MacLeod. I haven’t the same things to say as he had, and I could only dream of writing prose as pellucid. However, the turn of each story made me feel as though I had something I might say. He was talking about his home; I might talk about mine. This is the sort of book that brings thoughts and feelings about place and heritage to the surface. It’s the sort of book that is likely to read you.

– David Shelton

Bits of Film, Adventures with a Highwayman, and Dystopian Fiction

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Website: Crossframed.com:

This website is a real gem. An anonymous cinema fan from Portugal created a website where he provides hundreds of selected film clips from classic, to foreign, to popular movies. There are clips from Star Wars, Dr. Strangelove, Fellini’s 8 1/2, and Requiem for a Dream among many more. At the bottom of the page you’ll find a link that randomly ques up one of the bits. The clips are short and sweet, some lasting up to five minutes while others are only a few seconds. This is a fantastic way to spend a minute or two, get a quick dose of cinema, and maybe find a film you didn’t know you needed to watch.

– Jessica Webster

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Book: Captain Lightfoot by W. R. Burnett

One of my good friends once told me how she spent an entire summer going to dollar book sales and filling up her bookshelves with all sorts of genres. Sometimes she would have heard of the book before, sometimes she thought the cover just looked interesting. And it was only a dollar, so it didn’t really matter. That’s what this book was for me.

Captain Lightfoot is about an Irish boy who stumbles into the life of a highway man. It’s a quick, light, adventurous read about growing up, the struggle between being a successor or your own person, and light hearted romance. If anything, you’ll at least get a few laughs over Michael and Aba’s friction. –

– Richie Gowin

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Book: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood:

Set in a future dystopia where money is scarce and many Americans struggle to find cars to make into homes, a couple finds refuge in an experimental facility named Positron. While in Positron, individuals can lead perfectly normal lives, doing normal activities for one month, but the next they are put into a prison and switch back and forth every month thereafter. As our couple escapes the cruelty of the outside world, they believe themselves blessed to have found such ‘safety’ in Positron. However, as they discover the true intentions of the facility they begin to realize the substitution of morality for obedience. Stan and Charmaine are ‘forced’ to make decisions that beckon the reader to consider the value of comfort and whether the price paid is for pleasure or just the abstinence of pain.

Atwood’s inspection of sexuality is raw and insightful; it appears nihilistic but there is overtone of ‘carry on’ that seems indicative of the normalcy of dysfunctional relationships. The author is willing to wrestle with ‘common uncommons’ and certain scenes within the book exhibit an imaginative exercise of human depravity that is not excessive. The work is often dark and even at times repulsive but it provides a geography that tests the characters like a Honda Civic off-roading. They are broken, bent, dismayed and even tortured by circumstance but by that test become the perfect setup for what I think is Atwood’s primary question of the work: How comfortable are you willing to be?

It was a good read and there are so many great sentences and paragraphs that even if the story was not compelling it would still be worth a pass over. Enjoy 🙂

– Christopher Rodriguez

 

A 70’s Japanese Film and a Pop Culture Podcast

 

Film: Belladonna of Sadness (Kanashimi no Beradonna)

This psychedelic, swirling, animated film was lost since its original production when the Japanese Mushi Pro company went bankrupt. It’s being re-released this year and I stumbled on it purely by accident at the Alamo Drafthouse. Directed by Eiichi Yamamoto the movie depicts a medieval world where a happy couple (Jean and Jeanne) is violently disrupted when the king rapes the woman. Her once innocent world changes forever and she soon enters a pact with the devil to save her and her new husband. Through beautiful sometimes shocking art, inspired by western artists such as Klimt and Mucha, backed by undulating progressive rock tracks the film explores themes of witchcraft, sexuality, woman, and society. While incredibly beautiful, this film is definitely not for the little ones. The imagery is explicit and intense. I left this screening feeling at once disquieted and speechless from the striking beauty and searing pain it portrays hand in hand.

– Jessica Webster

 

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Podcast: Pop Culture Happy Hour, by NPR

I know, I know, NPR is by definition nationally available for free and easily accessible, even with old technology. BUT, did you know that they have some programs that aren’t on the radio? Pop Culture Happy Hour (PCHH) is a web-only show covering the week in – you guessed it – pop culture! I know I’m getting kind of meta here (I hope I used that term correctly) because the purpose of the Conversation Collective is to offer note-worthy cultural-media tidbits as well, but so far, I’m just not as smart or funny as the hosts and guests on this show. Also, there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing when it comes to recommendations by people with excellent taste. Sure, maybe good books will pile up even higher beside your bed, but there are worse problems to have. Considering that it’s their job to review every new piece of media that comes their way, these ladies and gentlemen have a host of recommendations and commentary on every genre and subject imaginable. Need a graphic novel for girls between the ages of 8 and 12? Want to know why “guilty pleasures” aren’t real? Unable to articulate all the things you did or didn’t like about the latest superhero movie? Look no further than PCHH. Each week, the show covers a recent popular movie, show, book, conference, celebrity etc. (something making a buzz), a topic of conversation (such as the Bechdel test) and personal recommendations from each panelist. There’s also the occasional trivia quiz or other segment. I have to be honest, it’s been a while since I listened to this podcast because it’s really hard to pay attention to anything for more than 5 minutes with two young kids running amuck, but I long for the day when I can get back to taking furious notes and cackling over what PCHH recommends or bashes.

– Karissa Tucker

 

High Fantasy, A Suspenseful Road Trip and a Comic Book

Book Series: The Dagger and Coin Series, by Daniel Abraham

Let’s be honest. We all have our favorite classic books, and we would love to be the person who reads only deep, “impactful” literature that appears in the Atlantic (or whatever). But sometimes you just need a story to hold your attention for a little while. It’s like food. You can only eat so much filet mignon and red wine before you need some beer and pretzels. If I had a nickel for every light fiction book I’ve devoured because I just needed five hours to not think, I could buy my next book.

That next book will be The Spider’s War, the final volume in Daniel Abraham’s five-part high fantasy saga, “The Dagger and the Coin,” just published this past January. With this series, Abraham has demonstrated deceptively masterful craftsmanship. The books read like any other light fantasy you might pick up off the shelf, but without the syntax errors and formulaic plot-lines that usually plague the fantasy genre. The characters are rich and complex, and Abraham treats startlingly relevant themes (such as the hidden power of a bank) with nuance and grace. Bottom line: if you just want a distraction, this series can give that to you. And if you want food for thought, you can have that too.

 

– David Shelton

 

Movie: Joy Ride, directed by John Dahl (and co-written by J.J. Abrams)

Ok, am I the only person who didn’t see or hear about this movie (came out in 2001)? I’d never heard of it before watching it with friends on New Year’s Eve a few years ago, and they put it on right after forcing me to watch Labyrinth for the first time. Sorry if you love Labyrinth, but after that, I didn’t have a lot of faith in their movie-picking choices. At this point, my husband had fallen asleep and I had drunk 3/4 of a full-size bottle of Martinelli’s by myself because as a nursing mom, I wasn’t drinking booze like everyone else (for the record, I finished the bottle, and it wasn’t my brightest moment). Anyway, this movie starts out kinda 80s/90s with two brothers on a road trip, and maybe it was just because I was expecting so little of it, but it was gripping the entire time. It’s perfectly suspenseful without being horror-y. The basic plot is about the brothers messing around on their radio making fun of some truckers, who may or may not decide to kill them for their pranks. It’s funny and believable, and you keep wondering, “are they actually in danger”? That’s the genius of this story. It really creeps up on you. It sounds like a ridiculous premise, but this movie really just impressed the heck out of me and continues to. I did not see it coming. At all. Also, cliffhanger ending, so you have been warned.

 

-Karissa Tucker

 

Graphic Novel: Daytripper, by Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon:

I’m admittedly pretty embarrassed about how I used to look at the graphic novel. I thought comic books were a waste of time and a bunch of fluff. How could I not recognize the potential for amazing art used to tell poignant, gripping, and funny stories? blind reader snobbishness. Well, my eyes are opened to a whole new world. I’ve read several graphic novels recently including The Underwater Welder and The Gigantic Beard that was EvilThis genre is rich and rewarding, somewhere between literature and film.

Daytripper is a beautiful book. To begin with the art is stunning and beautiful. The artists are genius at using gesture and progression in each frame to tell a story in such a way that you almost feel you’re watching a movie. The story itself is about an obituary write, Brás, who aspires to become a “real” writer. His obituary writing naturally provides a theme of death and, necessarily, the life (quantity, quality, and content) leading up to the end. Each section/chapter is imaginative, profound and thought provoking. The only thing I regret is how fast the book went by, but it was an amazing experience and I’m sure I will re-read this one.

 

– Jessica Webster

A Guide to Life-enrichment, Some Outsider art, and a Supernatural Novel

 

Kind-of-a-book: Experience Passport by Alex Egner:

This little diary-pamphlet was designed to mirror a system of learning offered to students in the Communication Design program at the University of North Texas. Think of it as providing the growth experienced in art school without the price tag. Yet it covers more than fine art – it’s “part life coach, part Sherpa guide, part itinerary of amazing activities.” It’s “how not to be boring”, wrapped up in a cute slightly-larger-than-passport size book, complete with passport-like stamp stickers to mark completed experiences and page margins with those nifty patterns you find on real passport pages. Two examples of prompts in the book are as follows:
1. Watch three Academy Award winning films made before 1945. What stood out most about the film making compared to today’s cinema styles?
2. List three of your most strongly held convictions. Choose one, and using a minimum of 500 words, try to persuade yourself to change your mind.
I would love it if someone blogged their way through this entire book. I’m fascinated by how we change as people if we allow ourselves the opportunity to do so.
Karissa Tucker 
Artwork: The Electric Pencil Drawings by James Edward Deeds: 
An unlikely and lucky thing happened when a someone happened to stumble on this lost notebook filled with drawings. The drawings, most of people with cavernous, staring eyes, were colored onto pages of an old ledger from State Hospital No. 3 Nevada, Missouri. These drawings were found and eventually revealed to the art community as the “outsider art” of James Edward Deeds. Deeds was a patient at the State Hospital which housed mentally ill people at a time when electro-convulsive-therapy was coming into vogue as a treatment option.
Deeds drew obsessively during his time at State Hospital No. 3 and these remaining pieces are what is left of his work as a self-taught artist. The pieces themselves are fantastic. Mainly flat, colored, portraits mixed in with some animals and buildings, the images draw the observer in with their mystery. Several have words like captions such as “Why Doctor?”, “Look Out”, and the most emblematic from the collection “ECTLECTRC” with a picture of and the word “pencil” to the right.
I’m very interested in this idea of self-taught original artists who can create such incredibly imaginative work. Deeds was considered mentally ill, perhaps schizophrenic, and spent his life in an institution, yet he drew these pictures which are considered great and valuable works of art today (each two-sided drawing sells for ~16,000$). To see some of the pictures click here, a more in depth article can be read here.
– Jessica S Webster

Book: The Place of the Lion by Charles Williams: 

Williams is known for his ‘supernatural thrillers’, stories that take place in contemporary England, which is then filled with the supernatural. My friend said Williams, “wrote his doctrine in novels.” While Descent Into Hell is mostly contained within the mind, The Place of The Lion is a physical invasion of the Platonic forms, or the Celestial hierarchy, into rural England. Anthony and Damaris, both philosophers in the novel, find the things and ideas they have studied are coming from the ethereal into physical manifestations.
It’s certainly not the lightest fiction I’ve read. I found it helpful to be familiar with the Platonic forms and the celestial hierarchy of Dionysius, though without having read them, one can still appreciate Williams.

Richie Gowin

The Conversation Collective

The idea for this website began developing on a long scenic drive from Phoenix Arizona to El Paso Texas. After the wedding of a friend where I talked with both familiar and new people I began thinking about the way people recommend things in conversation. It begins with a common interest and like wildfire you start volleying back and forth. “Have you heard of…?” “I think you would really like…” “That reminds me of this other thing” and so on and so forth. I was reliving some of those conversations and reveling in the feeling of finding something I’d never heard of. These referrals build on one another infinitely. In a world where people are constantly creating it’s exciting to share in discovery and learning with those around you. One problem was that I am separated from so many people I have, or could have, these experiences with. This collective will be an experiment in an effort to bridge gaps of distance and time, to build community, and to share life.

Recommendations will encompass a virtually limitless spectrum. From a new book you’re reading to an old one you’ve loved, an article that sparked your interest, music you wish the whole world could hear, art that moves and inspires you, a story you wrote, a website that needs to be shared, a business worth patronizing, an activity someone else should try, an idea sprouting in your head, or anything else you want to share.

To begin:

Music album: b’lieve i’m goin down by Kurt Vile:

This record was perhaps easy to miss, but easily could snuggle its way into anybody’s ‘best-of 2015’ list.  Do you know Kurt?

Kurt Vile:  Likeable Kurt Vile:  Father Kurt Vile:  Unheralded anti-prodigy Kurt Vile:  Sophisticated Funnyman Kurt:  Vile

I first saw the man whilst he was opening a set in the Hollywood Cemetery for Connor Oberst’s Bright Eyes (Don’t even trip dog! Bright eyes ruled and you know it.)  He was hidden behind long dirty locks of hair but the sound he offered that night made the tiny hairs on my neck give up any notion of getting distracted.  Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t run out and snatch up every record he’d ever made (and there’s a grip I tell you) in fact I listened to relatively little of his songwriting after that.  Listening to this album felt like catching up with an old friend: The friend that never judged you The friend whose face never changes but that you can’t quite picture The friend who will be there 20 years from now even if you don’t speak until then. The songs on ‘B’lieve I’m Goin Down are the perfect companion for road trips, airplanes, soundtracks and bedroom corners.

(also see: Feel-good-not-feeling-good-tunes)  

– David Webster

Book: If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino:  Not a new book, but a great one. Calvino’s postmodernist narrative explores the idea of beginnings by never losing sight of them. The reader finds herself questioning the relationship of the reader to a text, of the text to it’s author, and to other writing.  In reading this book I am at once distanced from the story, and forced to relate to it more intimately than with most books where I am simply the observer. Since starting this book I’ve been challenged to be a more responsible, aware reader and freaked out a little by how Calvino seemed like he was in my bedroom watching me read it.  – Jessica S Webster

Anime: Code Geass: Rightly so, Anime has a bad rap of being something that is hyper sexualized, primarily constructed for the geeky inclined and a place for adults to prolong that season of their lives consumed with cartoons.  Though I believe a majority of anime can rightly be criticized for the above, Code Geass stands apart. It is the story of a boy on a quest for vengeance, against a malicious father. The boy, Lelouch Lamperouge, attempts to remake the world in his vision of justice through what we can safely call magic and wit. I love this story because it is a classic “strike against the heavens in self-righteous disdain”. It has awesome robot fights, scorned love, and asks freakin huge questions like can justice be brought about through power and is hope the final opponent to peace. 50 episodes, 19 mins each, total time 16 hours.  justchris