Books & Reading

Best of 2010

It’s entirely ridiculous for me to offer up an annual “best of” list. I don’t keep up with the latest and greatest. I’d rather plunder the riches of the past than fetishize the new. Of the twenty or so books I read this past year, only one was published in


A package arrived at the office Friday containing the latest edition of a psych textbook, hot off the presses. It’s Psychology Applied to Modern Life by Wayne Weiten, Dana S. Dunn and Elizabeth Yost Hammer. That’s right, my boss is one of the co-authors. We (meaning her staff) knew a

Celebrating Saturday, Morning and Night

Saturday morning I was out early conducting a short tour of the Lafitte Corridor. I was skeptical about how many people would be up for a hike at 8:30 on a Saturday morning, but pleasantly surprised when a dozen people showed up, plus a half dozen more who joined us

Dark Green Religion

Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future by Bron Taylor My rating: 5 of 5 stars Here’s a rarity — an academic book that is also a page-turner, at least for me. I couldn’t put it down. This is a broad survey of an emergent global phenomenon which

Connect the Dots

Some people criticize the green movement for being almost like a religious faith. Others say the green movement has lost touch with its spiritual roots. Now Dark Green Religion by Bron Taylor has landed on my reading list. I’ll report back if I figure anything out.

Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry

I recently finished Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry by Arthur Zajonc. Here are a few brief notes. It’s rare for me to finish a book and immediately think I need to start over at the beginning and read it again. Yet that’s the case here. I found this book engaging and

Perils of Reading

I wanted to write something here about how to enjoy a book, novels in particular. I’ve touched on this before, but I wanted to expand on that theme. It’s not enough to read for an hour or so before you go to bed. Read when you first wake up in

Air in the Paragraph Line #13

As if I didn’t have enough problems, Air in the Paragraph Line #13 recently landed in my lap. It was sent to me by a distant acquaintance with dubious motives. I consider it nothing less than an all-out assault on my mental health. I didn’t know quite what to make

Ten Years of Issa Online

Dear Issa, Of all the projects I’ve worked on in a decade of such work at the University, one of the very first remains one of the very best. I’m talking of course about the website, Haiku of Kobayashi Issa. Through this project I learned plenty about scripting search queries

Books vs. TV

I am pretty excited about HBO’s new series, Tremé. I still haven’t actually seen it yet, but I feel like I have, almost. It premiered Friday night, and I had a couple invites to see it in some venues that would have been fun. (Like the Charbonnet Funeral Home in

Hundredth Book

Phil Baird / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Tomorrow at my book club we are discussing our hundredth book. We have been reading together since the summer of 2001, when we got started with Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Since then we’ve been through an awful lot, including the flooding of

Milo Needs a Caption

It has just been brought to my attention that Ulysses Press has canceled publication of LOLcats: Teh Most Funyest, Cutest Internet Kittehs. That’s a shame because they were going to use my photo of Milo (may he rest in peace) in the book. The worst part is now I’ll never

The City & The City

Title: The City & The City Author: China Miéville Published: 2009 When I saw that China Miéville had a new book out, I snapped it up. He’s one of the few authors I’ll spring for without even knowing anything about the book. I rarely have time to read above and

Catching Up

Lots of stuff going on lately, and so little time to write. The days slip away uncounted. I can’t stand that. So here are some things that have gone down over the last five days or more. Xy made a trip to the north shore with Persephone and Daisy and

The Long Hard Summer

I’ve been in a book club for eight years now. We read science fiction and meet on the second Saturday of each month at Octavia Books. It’s a lot of fun. We select our books by a simple method which was established by our club’s founder, the late Scott Speake.

Three Books

These are not reviews — more like reading notes. Title: Gods Behaving Badly Author: Marie Phillips Published: 2007 When I heard of this book, featuring the gods of ancient Greece living in modern day London, I knew I had to read it, mainly because Persephone has a key role. Promising


A friend of mine quit Facebook earlier this week. Said he wanted to spend more time reading. Someone else suggested he needed a Bookbook application, which I thought was pretty funny. (But, come to think of it, maybe that’s a better name than GoodReads or LibraryThing.) (Though I don’t think

The Atrocity Exhibition

These are not reviews — more like reading notes. Title: The Atrocity Exhibition Author: J. G. Ballard Published: 1970 The Atrocity Exhibition was originally published in 1970, but it was shredded by a distraught Nelson Doubleday, or so the story goes. It was published again by Grove in ’72 under


Once again, these are not reviews, just some scattered reading notes. Title: 334 Author: Thomas M. Disch Published: 1974 Like Nova, this is a good novel by an author capable of greatness. I admire Disch, and was saddened when he took his life last year. I have a collection of


Title: Nova Author: Samuel R. Delany Published: 1968 Nova is a seminal work by one of my favorite authors. It’s a relatively short novel, written in an easy and accessible style, with poetic flourishes that don’t overwhelm, beautiful imagery, iconic characters, and just a dash of of avant-garde ambition. And

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