“The days of the digital watch are numbered.”—Tom Stoppard
Maybe it’s watching David Ulin’s piece at the Los Angeles Times on the rise of the ebook traffic through the internet, or maybe it’s nostalgia for the numbered days of all sorts of products: Tom Stoppard’s digital watch; Nike’s limited edition, Marty McFly-inspired, self-lacing shoes; or the CD boxed-set of Mariah Carey’s Memoirs of an Imperfect Angel, Collector’s Edition. In any case, it is (afterall, or we jest in the style of our esteemed distributed journals, Afterall) the season of giving.
Is your Dance card full? Are you a cinephile in the vein of Jonathan Rosenbaum or do you side with Roger Ebert’s take on Groundhog Day? Do you wring your hands with anxiety about the sensibilities of Mr. and Mrs. Adams? Holidays have you feeling down? Probably not as down—or as pathos-driven—as Last Words of the Executed. Did you know that all of these books, along with many more Chicago favorites, are available in (highly portable! low cost!) electronic editions?
And now, through December 31st, enter the promotional code EBK2010 in your shopping cart to receive a 30% discount on any ebook published by the University of Chicago Press.
. . .
Read more »
Did anyone else watch Patti Smith on the Colbert Report Monday night? We’re Luddites without a TV, we admit, and this pales in comparison to her insanely gracious impromptu live appearance with the Tiny Cover Band at Columbia College in Chicago, but. . . . Sigh. Ms. Smith. May all of our cultural heroes continue to inspire with such ferocity. Speaking of: if you haven’t read Just Kids yet, why are you waiting? In the book’s opening, Robert Mapplethorpe is dying—going, going—and then (heart wrenches): gone. Smith wakes up, knowing and undone, to “Vissi d’arte” from Puccini’s Tosca: “I have lived for love, I have lived for art.”
I admit to having read Just Kids three times over within 72 hours of purchase. I admit to my own repeated listening to the music that informs the work, Smith’s own life: Puccini; Tim Hardin; an awkward, failed reevaluation of the Doors; Radio Ethiopia again and again. But the Puccini—there must be something in the air.
One-hundred years ago, this past Friday, Puccini’s la Faniculla del West (adapted from David Belasco’s play, The Girl of the Golden West) premiered at the Metropolitan Opera. From the New York Times‘s recent centenary commemoration:
. . .
Read more »
Three-day weekend: fin! We’re back with a vengeance today: and by vengeance, we mean filled with admiration and applause for Robert K. Elder’s piece on the approaching 150th anniversary of the largest mass execution in US history, which appeared in this morning’s New York Times. Elder, author of Last Words of the Executed (a sample of excerpts here), profiles the fate of the thirty-eight doomed Dakota Indians executed that day, including one story of mistaken identity, and updates us with the possible case for federal pardon. Spot-on narrative coverage of a historical issue with lingering repercussions for our own heated debate on capital punishment, we say. Congrats, again, Mr. Elder.
In other news, we’ve been poring over the 124-page transcript from Senator Bernie Sanders’s filibuster this past Friday. Galleycat already ran with a well-researched piece on all of the references Sanders made to books in his eight-and-a-half-hour-long speech (plus excerpts!) filibustering the tax deal shaped by Congressional Republicans and President Obama. With that post as inspiration, we thought to Top Five or Ten this, in tribute to Senator Sanders’s verbal endurance and in spirited promotion of books we think he might squeeze in as holiday reading before the next . . .
Read more »