Thursday, December 26, 2013

Books - (Read In) 2013

** Re-read

The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
Lionel Asbo: State of London - Martin Amis
Thirty-Eight Witnesses: The Kitty Genovese Case - A.M. Rosenthal
Sugar Blues - William Duffy
Vampires in the Lemon Grove - Karen Russell
Winnie-the-Pooh - A.A. Milne
The Midwich Cuckoos - John Wyndham
The Walking Dead Compendium 1 - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Cliff Rathburn, Tony Moore
Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote
Kick-Ass - Mark Millar, John Romita Jr.
Shopgirl - Steve Martin
Mo' Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove - Amir "Questlove" Thompson
Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West - Cormac McCarthy
The Walking Dead Compendium 2 - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard
Salt, Sugar, Fat - Michael Moss
You Are All Sanpaku - George Ohsawa
The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Things Fall Apart - Chinua Achebe
Steve Jobs - Walter Isaacson
How to Win Friends & Influence People (In the Digital Age) - Dale Carnegie
Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six - Jessica Buchanan, Erik Landemalm, Anthony Flacco
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
The Time Machine - H.G. Wells**
Levels of Life - Julian Barnes
The Good Lord Bird - James McBride
The Stranger - Albert Camus

Some notes:

Steve Jobs will confound you. You'll hate him when he treats people like shit; and then be amazed and inspired by vision and passion for quality and design. This back and forth made Walter Isaacson's biography my favorite read of the year. I'm a slow reader, but I got through this book (656 pages) in about two and a half days. You've probably heard a lot about this book already, but read it anyway -- it will make you think you can do anything.

I should read more children's books. Authors are able to do some amazing things with words when they bring their thoughts and words down to the level of a child. I laughed loudly several times reading Winnie-the-Pooh, and The Little Prince (this is a children's book, right?) is a beautiful tale.

Was very happy that Karen Russell received a Genius Grant from the MacArthur Foundation. She's extremely imaginative and some of her short stories are amazing, in particular the one about the silk factory (felt Miyazaki-esque), and the one about horses.

I powered through some books I hated (Kick-Ass, Shopgirl, Gone Girl). Never again.

I teared up while reading a book for the first time. Didn't know a thing about Captain Phillips before I read Jessica Buchanan's story, so the kidnapping experience was entirely fresh to me. It frightened me; made me lose hope; and finally exhausted me by the end of the book. The rescue by SEAL Team Six is absolutely amazing.

Blood Meridian is by far the bloodiest and bleakest book I have ever read. There were times I asked myself "What is the point of all of this?"

I love this book cover. I'd also like to see an on-screen update of this story. (1960|1995)

Things Fall Apart made me very angry. Religion...

Matt and I exchanged emails on the Questlove book. We didn't get to finish our conversation because he had some real life things to deal with, but I might share some of our thoughts in a future post.

Looking forward to another year of reading. If you have any suggestions, feel free to suggest.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Prince - Wonderful Ass

"The Revolution will be heard."

During the past month, I've been exposed to a lot of Prince's unreleased material from the 80s, and this particular title stands out to me as a favorite.

From The Prince Vault:
Wonderful Ass is an unreleased track recorded in early 1983 at Prince's Kiowa Trail Home Studio, Chanhassen, MN, USA. The track is a pop-funk track with synth lead lines, a drum machine beat and rhythm guitar. The track's lyrics were supposedly inspired by Vanity. One section of the song is a list of verbs rhyming with "...ate": "educate", "tolerate", "negotiate", "communicate" etc. This was likely inspired by fellow Minnesota singer-songwriter Bob Dylan's song Subterranean Homesick Blues (from Bringing It All Back Home, 1965, also released as a single in 1965). It is unknown if Wonderful Ass was intended for any project at the time of recording. 
Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin worked on the track further in early 1986, most likely at Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA, USA, adding vocals and other instrumentation. Again, it it not known if this song was intended for any project at the time of additional recording. 
The track was later planned for inclusion on the Prince and the Revolution album Roadhouse Garden album worked on in 1998-9, but the album remains unreleased. 
During Prince: A Celebration in June, 2000, computer screens at Paisley Park Studios offered names of a selection of tracks which users could vote on for inclusion on Crystal Ball Volume II, and while Wonderful Ass was chosen by fans, the project was ultimately abandoned. The song remains unreleased.

I've heard a couple of theories as to why he disbanded The Revolution (needing to challenge himself, wanting a better trained band), all which seem pretty reasonable, but I always enjoyed his collaborative work with Wendy & Lisa. It hit that right spot of creativity and pop sensibilities.

Here's hoping they'll work together again in a meaningful way.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Vanity - Video Soul Interview (1984)

My man Donnie is sweating.

Good on him though for mostly keeping it together because...yeah...

Some have speculated that she might have been on that Rob Ford in this video.