Just in case you’re interested, we’ve asked various members of our staff to contribute a little cultural tidbit/random thought/funny link…we’re calling them “staff picks.” Here’s a list of what we’re into this week and stay tuned for bi-weekly updates.
Online, I’ve been reading Brand New, which covers the world of corporate logo re-designs and its sister site Art of the Menu, which is about menu design. I have no idea why I enjoy these so much, but find them oddly compelling. http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/ and http://www.underconsideration.com/artofthemenu/
Offline: Faithful Ruslan by Georgi Vladimov from Melville House’s excellent reprint series The Neversink Library. Utterly heartbreaking and engrossing so far… http://mhpbooks.com/book.php?id=543
There are hundreds of photography blogs devoted to creepy abandoned places, but no one does creepy and abandoned quite like the Japanese. They even have a word for it: Haikyo, literally “abandoned place.” http://www.haikyo.org/ . Years of neglect after periods of boom have lead to an incredible array of abandoned real estate developments, theme parks, hospitals and factories. One Haiyko photographer explains the mysterious ruins of the “Royal House” in a twisted and fascinating story here: http://gakuranman.com/the-royal-house-haikyo/.
Book: Madam Bovary – still reading it, and waiting for the big ‘thrill’ that is to be had while reading this modern novel
Movie: Picasso and Braque Go to the Movies – how the beginning of filmmaking affected these artists and their cubist movement. Interesting concept, but the movie got stale. Not sure if all those voiceovers would have been allowed, had Scorsese directed it….
I’m just starting Lev Grossman’s The Magician King, the follow-up to his brilliant The Magicians from a couple of years ago. Fantasy is a genre about which I know very little so I’m guessing that 90% of the references buried in these books fly right over my head – however, one of the best things for me about Grossman’s writing is that he finds it wonderfully difficult to resist a silly joke. In this new novel we’ve already had “Fillory Clinton” and there are dozens of fun, childish passages like this:
“Jesus Christ” was an expression the younger Fillorians had picked up from their new rulers. It was impossible to explain to them what it actually meant. They were convinced it was something dirty.
And here’s some linkage for you: Dan Kois, author of our excellent 33 1/3 volume on Iz, reviewed The Magician King for the NYT the other day: