Tag Archives: literature

Getting used to Fall

A beautiful piece on the new season by Gina Dostler - Autumn Alignment:

I feel the coolness gently touch my face as it drifts through the window screen, and I know summer is coming to its end.

And though Indian summer hides in wait for its call to jump out and play its games with hot days and cool nights, my watermelon patch is privy to the cycle and has stopped flowering, concentrating the last bit of growth on the remaining fruit.

The autumnal equinox – Sept. 22 this year – indicates when fall begins, a time when day and night hang in balance, a side-by-side alignment of our world and the sun before our section of the hemisphere starts tipping away for longer nights and shorter, cooler days.

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Forget critic reviews – enjoy the beautifully written narrations of AllMusic, AllMovies, & AllGames

One of the joys a Pandora listener experiences is hearing a song for the first time. That moment when the music genome offers up his ideal genetic match from an artist he’s never heard before. And when he clicks the bio to learn more, the AllMusic database loads up a charming piece of prose:

Undeniably ambitious, melodically exquisite, and flush with enough perfectly rendered fantasy metal clichés to feed an army of bards, druids, monks, paladins, and rangers as they set forth on a great cola-and-pizza/20-sided-die-fueled adventure, Iron Maiden’s seventh studio album is the sh$t.

Even Iron Maiden deserves charming prose. And this beautiful literature is found all across Pandora with even more on the AllMusic website. Where the curious fan can browse through any genre, mood, or theme that delights him. It’s such a rewarding experience that I recommend clearing up a few hours and diving in.

This experience is not limited to music, for there is also AllMovie and AllGame. And both provide endearing compositions:

The story in Chimpanzee centers on Oscar, a young simian born into a large family of 35 others, and eager to learn the ways of life in the jungle. As Oscar’s mother Isha teaches her newborn how to find food and avoid dangerous predators, the leader of their family, Freddy, vigilantly defends their territory from his rival Scar.

 

Atari’s dominance in the game industry was challenged by a company originally founded to sell leather supplies. Promising to “Bring the Arcade Experience Home,” Coleco released its much-anticipated ColecoVision in 1982, making history by firing the first shot in the inaugural console wars.

 

All three sites are a delight for any fan, and worth remembering for any purchase or move rental. I leave you with one more review for Ravi Coltrane’s newest album, to inspire you to go turn on some music:

Despite the metaphysical suggestion in Spirit Fiction’s title, this is Ravi Coltrane’s most cerebral, process-oriented recording to date. There is an abundance of emotion and sensual detail, most of it expressed gently, with the confidence — and authority — of a veteran bandleader.

 

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Amazon restarts the serial novel genre – with Charles Dickens and a Yoga murder mystery

I love that Amazon is rekindling the newspaper subscription through the e-reader. It invokes an image of reading the newspaper in the morning, with my coffee and family at the table. But replace the newspaper with a Kindle and does it still work?

If you’re a digital geek of course. And the beauty of online subscriptions is you have the world at your fingertips. I’ve subscribed to newspapers from Spain, Argentina, Houston, San Francisco, and more using the free 14-day trial.

Amazon sees a profit in this as they continue to push the subscription model, this time with Kindle Serials. From c|net:

A new service for Kindle owners, called Kindle Serials, lets customers subscribe to a serial novel. Buyers purchase the content up front, then have it delivered to their device automatically as new installments are published. Along the way, readers can provide feedback about the series, something Amazon hopes will bring a modern approach to the genre.

The first releases are a few Charles Dickens novels in their original serialized form. A true delight for literature nuts, especially because they are free:

Eight more serial novels will be released, each with a tantalizing plot to draw you in. These will cost $1.99 for all the installments.

 

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A Labor Day Question: Will You Be Living Your Passion At 80 Years?

Composer John Williams

This weekend, I experienced the mellifluous genius of John Williams conducting the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl through a series of scores he has composed over his fifty-plus year career. The man responsible for creating the iconic themes to Star Wars, Superman, Indiana Jones, E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter (the list goes on, and on, and on) is now eighty years old and is the living embodiment of having a career versus having a job. Last year, he received two Academy Award nominations for War Horse and The Adventures of Tin Tin and shows no sign of slowing down.

Which got me thinking…what will I be doing when I’m an octogenarian? Will I be living my passion? How many people envision a career beyond “retirement age”?

It wasn’t until I witnessed Williams on stage — the exuberance on his face, the vigor in his voice — that I considered the question.

Warren Buffett is 82 years old and while preparing for his abdication of the Berkshire Hathaway throne, appears amazingly involved. Queen Elizabeth is 86 and spoofing herself at global arenas like the London Olympics. It’s conceivable these magnates will remain actively centered in their vocations well into their 90s.

As our lifespans lengthen, are our views on everything from careers to relationships to faith expanding as well? While I haven’t read it (yet, it’s on my to-read list), I’m told the book “100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything, From Careers and Relationships to Family and Faith” tackles these issues with thought-provoking adroitness.

A couple years ago I made the decision to pursue a career I loved, versus succeed in a job (that started out as a career) I liked. Now, as I draw inspiration and guidance from those living and sustaining their dreams, like Margaret Atwood, who at 72 is working with the online writing community at Wattpad to encourage new writers, I look towards the future with an unexpected optic, one that answers “I hope so” to the aforementioned question: Will I be living my passion at 80 years old?  

Canadian poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, Margaret Atwood

On Labor Day, as we pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers, it seems appropriate to reflect upon on our laboring futures, with farsighted lenses.

Businessman and author Harvey Mackay is touted for coining the phrase: “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” While this feels exceedingly trope-ish, there is a distinct difference between a labor of love, and just laboring, with the former presenting a much more sustainable, and fulfilling, future.

Ai WeiWei reviews London’s opening ceremony for 2012 Olympics – criticizes Beijing’s

Brilliant. It was very, very well done. This was about Great Britain; it didn’t pretend it was trying to have global appeal. Because Great Britain has self-confidence, it doesn’t need a monumental Olympics. But for China that was the only imaginable kind of international event. Beijing’s Olympics were very grand – they were trying to throw a party for the world, but the hosts didn’t enjoy it. The government didn’t care about people’s feelings because it was trying to create an image.

In London, they really turned the ceremony into a party – they are proud of themselves and respect where they come from, from the industrial revolution to now. I never saw an event before that had such a density of information about events and stories and literature and music; about folktales and movies.

At the beginning it dealt with historical events – about the land and machinery and women’s rights – epically and poetically. The director really did a superb job in moving between those periods of history and today, and between reality and the movies. The section on the welfare state showed an achievement to be truly proud of. It clearly told you what the nation is about: children, nurses and a dream. A nation that has no music and no fairytales is a tragedy.

 

Keep reading: The Guardian - Olympic opening ceremony: Ai Weiwei’s review

 

 

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Grading Obama’s love letters: women swoon, men see through them

What kind of grade would he (Barack Obama) have gotten for such T.S. Eliot analysis…a reading that was admittedly done without perusing the footnotes? We checked in with some current members of the Columbia English department.

Matthew Hart, who specializes in 20th- and 21st-century Anglophone culture with an emphasis on modernist poetry, was not terribly blown away, as he wrote in an e-mail.

Considered as homework, I’d give the future President a B-minus…the allusion is forced and the connection specious. You get this a lot when students try too hard. Still, I think that’s the point here. This isn’t so much literary criticism as flirtation.

The best part is at the end…this is what the letter’s really about. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to use The Waste Land as a come-on. He gets a B+ for that.

Would a female professor grade Obama’s efforts any differently? We polled his colleague Sarah Cole, who just finished teaching a course on The Waste Land.

In these brief musings, President Obama shows himself to be a sensitive reader of Eliot’s great poem The Waste Land.

It is a poem of local brilliance and intensities, to which Obama responds with appropriate personal intensity.

I would praise it for its insights and sensitivity, would encourage the president to develop his ideas…

There you have it. Obama might not have done groundbreaking literary analysis, but his undergraduate prose managed to convince at least a couple of discerning women of his “insight and sensitivity”.

via NY Mag