The BFG by Roald Dahl ~ Review
SFMOMA is simply gorgeous with large open spaces and lots of natural light. Having now worked at a museum for over two years, I understand the fascination with becoming like SFMOMA. If only …
The Munch exhibit Between the Bed and the Clock featured over 40 paintings. All of them emotional and intense. Weeks later, I’m still grappling with some of the more uncomfortable works dealing with death and great sadness. Of course, about all I knew about him before this exhibit was The Scream which has a weakened impact since becoming an icon of pop culture, even having its own emoji.
Reading the catalogue helped me some.
An Icon of Emotion – article from SFMOMA
He was constantly drawn to the theatrical, the imaginary, the fantastic. Birth, death, love, and conflict, for instance, and tensions between male and female. This artist was not one to separate art from life.
A couple of my favorites:
Night in St. Cloud (1893)
Starry Night (1922-24)
It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Van Gogh’s Starry Night is one of my favorite paintings. Van Gogh and Munch were contemporaries.
Who I Am by Pete Townshend ~ Review
What’s Auntie Reading Now? picture
Penguin Random House’s blurb:
A young man’s close-knit family is nearly destitute when his uncle founds a successful spice company, changing their fortunes almost overnight. As the narrator—a sensitive, passive man who is never named—his mother, father, sister, and uncle move from a cramped, ant-infested shack to a large new house on the other side of Bangalore, the family dynamic starts to shift. Allegiances realign, marriages are arranged and begin to falter, and conflict brews ominously in the background. Before he knows it, things are “ghachar ghochar”—a nonsense phrase meaning something tangled beyond repair, a knot that can’t be untied.
Driving home after work one evening, I caught Maureen Corrigan’s review on NPR. So taken with it, I ordered it the next day. And I was not disappointed. My summation comes to this, “Money changes everything.” And when you don’t have it, and all of a sudden get it, life changes in unexpected ways.
In 118 pages, Vivek Shanbhag spins the story of how money changes everything for one family in Bangalore. Of most interest to me were the emotional changes sudden riches wrought. From the overspending, possessively jealous women to the carefree narrator who simply doesn’t understand why his bride finds pride in earning her own money, when he doesn’t need to work at all.
The ghost of no money hovers over this family like a foul-smelling cloud. Money does not bring peace, the way many of us think it would/should. In Ghachar Ghochar, all it does is bring chaos.
I love this little book so much that when our CEO announced his departure, I knew he needed a copy. From someone who loves great stories to someone who also loves them. This is a book I wish I could buy for all my readerly friends.
Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto ~ Review
What’s Auntie Reading Now? picture
Five original tales set in a shared urban future—from some of the hottest young writers in modern SF
More than an anthology, Metatropolis is the brainchild of five of science fiction’s hottest writers—Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake, Karl Schroeder, and project editor John Scalzi—-who combined their talents to build a new urban future, and then wrote their own stories in this collectively-constructed world. The results are individual glimpses of a shared vision, and a reading experience unlike any you’ve had before.
A strange man comes to an even stranger encampment…a bouncer becomes the linchpin of an unexpected urban movement…a courier on the run has to decide who to trust in a dangerous city…a slacker in a “zero-footprint” town gets a most unusual new job…and a weapons investigator uses his skills to discover a metropolis hidden right in front of his eyes.
Welcome to the future of cities. Welcome to Metatropolis.
The reason I don’t read book reviews, or listen to book podcasts, etc. is simple. They lead to adding to my already never ending want to read list. And, as I get older I realize, I have enough books to last the rest of my life on hand. I have this same squeamishness with anthologies.
And yup, as often happens, two more authors go on to the list. It should go without saying, by now, that John Scalzi is one of my favorite authors. His name is the reason I read the book. And his story is my favorite, having to do with pigs and pig shit and politics, and a slightly lighter take on the dystopian themes that run through the book.
Elizabeth Bear‘s story “The Red in the Sky is Our Blood” about a counterculture which offers its protagonist, Cadie, a safer life caught my attention almost immediately. Then the words Ukrainian mob got me. I need more please.
I also need more Tobias Buckell. “Stochasti-city” features a bouncer who becomes a military strategist for a group of people aiming to build a better community right under the existing power structure’s nose.
My fondness for subversive protagonists and complex emotional situations was satisfied by the stories in this anthology. And, in my mind, it’s never wrong to want more.
Metatropolis edited by John Scalzi ~ Review
[My bones] ache like history: things long done with.
An elderly lady writes her memoirs, revealing dark family secrets. Within those secrets is the book The Blind Assassin, a science fiction novel. Surrounding this novel within a novel is that tale of two lovers who meet surreptitiously and spin yarns.
Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors. I often feel like there’s something just skimming below the surface in her stories, but if I look too hard it will skitter away. And the sheer perversity of this outlandish science fiction tale in the middle of a story of two mystery lovers wrapped in the memoirs of an elderly lady looking back can be fascinating at times.
This was my second read, and found it didn’t hold as well as the first.
Author: Chuck Wendig
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Author: Chuck Wendig
Publisher: Saga Press
I like my protagonists dark and flawed, and Miriam Black is as flawed as they come. I wouldn’t want to be me if my super power was being able to know how the person whose skin I’m touching is going to die and when. That’s agony.
In Blackbird Miriam earns her living by hitching rides and ripping off the drivers. Until she gets saved by Louis, a truck driver who rescues her from four college boys bent on having the good time they think Miriam is offering.
She’s convinced there’s no way to change what she sees, and that makes her even more bitter. What’s the point of knowing if you can’t do anything about it? She’s tried before. But now that she’s met Louis and knows he’s going to die in 30 days saying her name, she has to try again.
And wow, get ready for a tough ride. Blackbirds is rough, coarse and thrilling. Wendig pulls no punches in setting this world up. Miriam isn’t likeable, but she is understandable. And the questions brought up by having a power like hers is fascinating.. Then there’s the question of who is worth trying to save, and who gets to make that decision. There’s some true existential stuff going on in this book.
If Blackbird is about changing the destiny of one man, Mockingbird is about changing the destiny of many. It’s about catching the serial killer preying on the girls who go to school in what is essentially a private, upscale juvenile detention center. And the truly dark secret of this school is shocking, yet unsurprising.
Just as dark as Blackbirds, and possibly even more terrifying, Mockingbird has Miriam confronting her power, her past and the lives of others more deeply than before. How does one come to grips with all the destruction she’s had wreaked upon her and has caused?
Chuck Wendig has joined Richard Kadry in my list of favorite urban fantasy writers. They’re as terrific as their characters are bleak.