Friday, January 09, 2009

Winter Reading List

I just got the preliminary list of bands that will be at SXSW, and I am stoked. Among the list is Futomomo Satisfaction, and I have to say I am quite interested in seeing this Japanese band’s… live show. I hear their music is pretty good too.

Don’t worry, we’ll get photos.

With the enforced hibernation that the weather has created lately, I’ve found myself getting a lot done in the house. Of course, it’s not the stuff that needs to be done; my office, basement and kitchen cabinets are still a mess, but I’ve accomplished a lot of reading, and some video games.

As for reading, I plowed through two books this week, and am just about finished with a third.

First up was Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, which is one I’ve wanted to read for a long time, ever since I heard an NPR story on it last year. Now, with a movie in the works, I really thought I should read it.

The Road is post-apocalyptic fiction, focused on a father and son as they travel across the country, trying to stay alive. It’s a realistic version of Mad Max; rather than all of the road warrior stuff, you have a dad and his kid scrounging for canned goods to carry in a shopping cart. It’s frightening in its realism; if a bomb ever gets dropped, this will probably be what it’s like afterward.

Following that was Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. This was lighter reading than The Road, but still rather dark. Essentially, The Graveyard Book takes the idea of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book and moves it, you guessed it, to the graveyard, where a little orphan is raised by ghosts rather than wolves. It’s a lot of fun. Really, it is. Share it with your kids.

Apparently, I can’t stray too far from heavy topics, though, because right now I am finishing up Aron Ralston’s Between a Rock and a Hard Place. You may not recognize the name, but you know the story: Ralston was the guy whose arm was pinned by a boulder in a climbing accident, and he ended up amputating his hand with a pocketknife in order to escape. It’s a really good story about self-evaluation and the choices we make and why we make them. Also recommended.

During my reading binge, TFN also read The Watchmen, which I had read a long time ago and recommended to her when I saw they are making a movie (if it ever comes out). She agreed; it's probably the best comic ever written, and I hope she forgives me for outing the latent geekiness in her love for comics.

The reading has been due to the cold combined with a lack of snow. The lack of snow is of course our fault; we haven’t gotten decent amounts of snow in these parts ever since we bought our cross-country skis, and it's too cold to bike right now.

This is going to change, though. We are due to get four or five inches tonight, and skiing is on for the morning.

Wish me luck that I don’t get my car stuck in the snow out there this year (last year was a close call). I’d hate to have to perform a car part amputation. It’s paid off.


Jennifer said...


Are you going to invite TFN to join GoodReads?

I've been a crappy participant, and I'm way behind on my reading (all caught up on Scrabble, blogging, and Tetris, though). I do find other people's bookshelves fascinating, especially when they bother to write a review or some quick comments or observations, or even just explain why they read something that's not normally their flavor. What we read, why we read it, our thoughts about what we read = big fun.

Is it hard to find accommodations in Austin during SXSW? Flights? Do the dates coincide with Spring Break? Seriously thinking about the next trip for relief from ice, snow, and temps in the teens.

Have fun in the snow tomorrow, and good luck not getting stuck. Only leased vehicles should experience amputations (I think).

alpharat said...

I don't know if TFN would want to join good reads; she often complains that her favorite reading is in the form of technical manuals, and it's not the sort of thing many other people like to talk about.

Accommodations at SXSW are not difficult to find if you're registered for the conference. Most hotels block out rooms for the folks who are registered. I've heard, though, that it's quite difficult to do if you're not registered.

I'm off to work on my Good Reads profile now.