The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao is written in three languages: English, Spanish and Science Fiction. From the opening epigraph, a quote from Galactus, to the final pages, the entire text is shot through with genre references, both well-known and obscure. Most folk are familiar with Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, but likely not M.A.R. Barker’s Tékumel series. Read more
The Bushwick Book Club Seattle kicks off its sixth season with music inspired by Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. I wanted to learn more about both the author and the book in preparation for the show. I took to the Internet to find out some additional facts.
A good story is a good story whether it’s told in print or on the big screen. Having been a lifelong fanatic of both books and movies, I spent a little time thinking about what makes movie adaptations successful or what makes them fail at the page to screen transition. When you are reading a book, it often seems unlikely a filmmaker can manage to put on screen what you are picturing in your head. It’s got to be a daunting task, trying to give life to words that so many people have already formed mental images for. A film can be enjoyable as a stand alone medium, but still objectively fail at the interpretation of the book.
Although Bushwick’s Wild inspired event has come and gone, I still find myself thinking about both the book and the movie often. These nagging thoughts caused me to go on an all-out Google blitz to find out more about Wild, its author Cheryl Strayed and the Pacific Coast Trail. Here are five facts I learned during my investigation. Read more
Back in the 90s, I worked at a Midwestern independent bookstore helmed by a fascinating and charismatic man. Our store meetings and social occasions would give rise to his impassioned lectures of “the soul of the book”. Even at that time, he knew, books and reading were under attack. The now ubiquitous e-readers were expensive novelties, only owned by the rabid early adopters of technologies.
Now, it seems everyone and anyone has begun to forsake the musty physical charms of a real book for the convenience of the soulless machine that has any book you want, anytime you want it, right at your fingertips. But what to do with all those pesky books you have littering your household? Never fear, there are plenty of uses for books beyond reading! Read more
The Bushwick Book Club is pretty pumped to be working with the Seattle7Writers for our next show. Authors and collective members Timothy Egan, Nancy Horan and Garth Stein will be on hand as the Bushwick artists perform original music inspired by their work. I, being unfamiliar with the Seattle7Writers, went on a quick Internet fact-finding mission and thought I’d share those results with you here. Read more
“Read for you by the author” is a six-word sentence that I dread hearing at the beginning of an audiobook. More times than not I listen to author-read books and am annoyed by their reading style. While they may be good writers, they are not professionally trained voice-actors and it shows. Unfortunately, their lack of skill is often a detriment to the audiobook and sometimes leads me to become disinterested and stop listening. In these cases, reading the book rather than listening to the audio would be beneficial.
There are exceptions to every rule though and some authors are great at reading their own work. Their vocal skills enhance their books so much that I vastly prefer picking up the audio rather than the print version. I was reminded of this when I heard that David Sedaris is coming to town to perform his work at Benaroya Hall. Sedaris is my favorite audiobook performer and I never read his work anymore in favor of the audio.
Me Talk Pretty One Day is a hilarious read, but after listening to the audio, I’ve never looked back. I revisit about once a year. Hearing Sedaris read his story of French lessons makes me cry laugh-tears. When I read it to myself, I only LOL. His dry sense of humor is captured perfectly in his audiobooks and he is good at accents and does an impeccable Billie Holiday impression. Sedaris audiobooks are not to be missed.
Here are five other authors whose audiobooks are superior to reading the print book because of their voice-acting prowess.
As I wrote back in August, I spent the entirety of that month as an artist-in-residence with Willapa Bay AiR in Oysterville, WA, on the Long Beach Peninsula. It was truly a special time, with extraordinarily special people, and I learned many things about, well, many things: art; process; community; shellfish… Here, then, are some of my findings, presented in internet-ready, Buzzfeed-y ‘arbitrary-number-of-things-in-list-form’ fashion (missing only the ‘#7 is Totally Crazy!’ teaser)—enjoy:
1. A Healthy, Encouraging Environment Matters
For one month I got to live in a world where what I do was as important and recognized as any career pursuit—to my artist-peers and the staff, certainly, but in the community as well. With lovely grounds, comfortable quarters, on-site chef, and nearby ocean, everything was relaxed and easy, which in turn led to sustained productivity! Two of the five songs I finished, including one very much co-inspired by setting, even made their way into Read & Destroy’s October library sets.
Last week was Banned Books Week and a good time to reflect on how the tiniest of offended sensibilities turn people into moralistic monsters that believe they are saving humanity by plucking The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from the shelf. All sorts of nonsense happens when people get in it in their heads that they are doing something “for the children.” Last week we got to revolt against the high-minded book-banning enemy, fly our freak flags, and advocate for the younger versions of our weird little selves. Let kids read what they want, we rallied!
Why did the Riverside Unified School District ban The Fault in Our Stars? They claimed it was because they didn’t want “kids dealing with their own mortality” but we all know it was about the sex. Everything is always about sex. And in this case it’s pretty ridiculous, considering that the sex in the book is just a do-you-want-to-yes-okay-now-fade-into-black-next-chapter-it’s-morning-and-look-at-the-beautiful-sun-do-I-look-different?
It came to me today that there actually are some books that might not be super cool for highly impressionable 10 year-olds. There might be some things that are better left for an older, wiser reader who has already, let’s say, figured out that her math teacher was a pervert when he reached out and caressed her bare leg as she stood next to his desk collecting her homework assignment. We can’t stop children from being introduced to the evils of the world, but some things can maybe just be introduced a bit later. There are at least five things I think we probably shouldn’t let 10 year-olds read:
I love a good tattoo, and I love books. So, I thought, why not combine my two loves and compile a list of my favorite tattoos inspired by books. Here they are (in no particular order).