Saturday, May 31, 2008


One major reason for my lack of posts the last few weeks is that I've been reading. Now, it's not unusual that I've been reading in the least. I love to do it and most days, I'd rather do it than write about doing it. But as I logged in the book I finished a short while ago, I realized just how much I've been reading - I've read 8 books since April 20. That's 8 books in 42 days. And those 8 books have brought my total on the year to 23, well ahead of pace for my goal of 48. In fact, I could only read 1 book in June and still be on pace. Naturally, I won't do that. I have 2 books checked out from the library and another 7 on reserve. It also looks like I'll be working more than I thought I would be during the first summer session too but I'll still have time to read.

Anyway, I thought I'd tell you what I've been reading...

The View from the Seventh Layer by Kevin Brockmeier - Highly recommended!
Dangerous Laughter by Steven Millhauser - Good short story collection
So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Leif Enger - Highly recommended!
Devil's Cape by Rob Rogers - Solid super-hero fiction
The Martian General's Daughter by Theodore Judson - Solid SF and another winner from Pyr
Wit's End by Karen Joy Fowler - It was decent but I almost stopped reading
The Lazarus Project by Aleksandar Hemon - Depressing and good
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith - A thriller set in Stalinist Russia that kept me turning pages

Warren Ellis asked everyone on his e-mail list with a blog to mention his ongoing webcomic Freak Angels, so I'm doing just that. There was a period where I was in awe of all things Ellis but I haven't kept up with his work too well over the last number of years. The ease of following this project helps and I've also found it interesting, even if I'm not quite caught up. So, go here to check it out.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Just a short while ago, I finished my reading of the first Asimov's double issue of 2008, all 240 pages of it. I've been on a real book kick of late but thought it was time to dive into some short SF goodness and this issue really brought the goods. There wasn't a bad story in the bunch, though as usual I found a few more to my liking than others...

Can I mention again just how good and how underrated Robert Reed is? I really hope we get some big fat collections of his stories down the road; he's put out a couple through Golden Gryphon but they don't begin to cover his amazing output. This time around, he gives us "The House Left Empty," set in a future that is different from ours in ways both good and bad. The story is a love letter to those days of the dream of space exploration and how we shouldn't let that dream die.

Matthew Johnson wonders what life would be like for people of earlier times (mainly Roman) who are transported to the present in "Another Country." These new members of society have usually escaped hardship but long for their lives and not the lives they've been given. Very well done.

Finally, Kristine Kathryn Rusch delves into questions of survival and history and why people do what they do in the novella, "The Room of Lost Souls." I have a feeling it will be shortlisted for awards at the end of the year.

I still have 5 SF mags stacked up to be read but I also have three books out from the library, so I doubt I'll get to another for a week of two...but I've got the taste for them again, so we'll see.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Once again, I'm late in letting you know what I downloaded at the end of April. I still feel like I haven't digested this music too much, though a couple of the albums I've listened to more than others. Always the way, though, isn't it?

My Morning Jacket/The Tennessee Fire - My first experience with MMJ was their latest album, Z, which I got for Christmas the year it came out (2005?). I really liked it and planned on picking up their earlier stuff...then never got around to it. Now eMusic has the entire catalog available, so I started with their first album. It's more acoustic-based and sometimes it's quite hard to understand what Jim James is saying but I've enjoyed it through a couple listens.

Frightened Rabbit/The Midnight Organ Fight - I'd never heard of this band until right before I downloaded the album and it's one of the albums of the year in my book. Literate, depressing rock with a Scottish accent. Just grab it now and thank me later.

Robert Forster/The Evangelist - Forster was one half of the songwriting team that made The Go-Betweens such a great band; the other half, Grant McLennan, passed away the other year. This solo album has some songs co-written by the two and the rest are somwhat informed by his passing. It's a lovely album and one I need to listen to a lot more than I already have.

Sloan/Navy Blues - Because I just can't stop with this band. They have a new album coming in a few weeks and I really should have a Sloan week around here to celebrate.

Luna/Romantica - I downloaded this on a whim. I own their last album, Rendevous, and while I like it well enough I've just never fallen in love with it. So why did I get this? I don't know but I'm glad I did. It's very tuneful and is filled with odd lyrics and it just works. I think I need to investigate the band further.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I mentioned yesterday that we wouldn't be around next weekend. We are headed to Pennsylvania on Friday to celebrate my grandfather's 100th birthday, which he celebrate on May 14. Technically, he is my step-grandfather but he married my grandmother in 1977 when I was 6 years old, so I've known him pretty much my whole life. I don't actually call him "grandpa"; instead, I call him Percy (it's his name!). I remember their wedding a little bit, mainly that the fire siren went off during the reception. I also remember asking what I should call Percy, since I was old enough to understand the situation. He told me I could call him Grandpa, Grandpa Percy, or just Percy. I was a precocious young lad (big shock, I know), so I settled on Percy. My brother and my cousin, who were both 4, followed my lead (as they often did back then). Our younger three cousins, who were all born after 1977, just knew him as Grandpa. And he was a grandpa to us - he and Grandma showed up for special occasions and holidays and we saw them at least twice a year, if not three times. He helped most of the grandkids learn how to ride a bike and famously was climbing an apple tree near our house when he was in his 70s. He is still getting along pretty well and is looking forward to seeing all of the family.

My cousin Erin recently wrote about him in the newspaper she works for and has posted some pitcures and the article on her blog, which you can find here. She is an amazing photographer, so I suggest bookmarking the site and checking back often.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


There will be no Sunday Shuffle next weekend, as we will be in Pennsylvania to celebrate my step-grandfather's 100th birthday. That means today's edition will be a double issue...

1. Who May Be Lazy/M. Ward (7)
2. Raining In Darling (Cold Rock. Dull Grass)/The Prayers and Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers (12)
3. Knuckles/The Hold Steady (19)
4. Hospital Beds/Cold War Kids (10)
5. Half Dead/The Mountain Goats (7)
6. Butterfly Nets/Bishop Allen (7)
7. Beautiful Car/M. Ward (6)
8. Click, Click, Click, Click/Bishop Allen (9)
9. Shadowcat/Canasta (7)
10. Dead Man's Will/Iron and Wine/Calexico (17)
11. Kicking TV/Wilco (12)
12. Jen Is Bringin the Drugs/Margot & the Nuclear So & So's (10)
13. I Just Missed You/Mary Weiss (4)
14. What Happened.../Grandaddy (10)
15. Blue In Yr Eye/Amy Millan (8)
16. Go to Sleep/The Avett Brothers (5)
17. Vice Rag/A.A. Bondy (11)
18. Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear/Okkervil River (5)
19. God, Please Let Me Go Back/Josh Rouse (5)
20. Little People/The White Stripes (6)

Sunday, May 11, 2008


This is the Post-Prom 2008 edition...and yes, I realize another week went by without any other posts. There's always this week!

1. Flaming Wreck/Pernice Brothers (12)
2. When You're Tired/The Drams (10)
3. Step On It, Jean/Sloan (7)
4. Robbers/Cold War Kids (10)
5. Incommunicado/Harvey Danger (28)
6. Keep Yourself Warm/Frightened Rabbit (5)
7. It's Gonna Be Beautiful/Wisely (2)
8. Bitter Branch/Glossary (3)
9. Black Sheep Boy #4/Okkervil River (5)
10. All the Way Down/Oakley Hall (4)

Sunday, May 04, 2008


Yeah, I've been quiet since last Sunday. I plan on that changing this week, so check back often!

1. Funny Little Frog/Belle and Sebastian (13)
2. [Untitled Track]/The Black Keys (10)
3. Buzz Fledderjohn/Tom Waits (7)
4. Green Field/The Good, The Bad & The Queen (6)
5. Instrumental 3 (demo)/Wilco (5)
6. Nothing Is True/Earlimart (11)
7. Nine Black Poppies/The Mountain Goats (5)
8. Last Word/Archers of Loaf (11)
9. East Coast Time/Warren Zanes (13)
10. No One Here Knows Jane/Warren Zanes (9)