Friday, February 26, 2010
But low and behold, Glenn Beck got a hold of a copy of it, read it, and proclaimed on his show that it is "quite possibly the most evil thing I've ever read'. As you can imagine sales immediately spiked across the country and MIT Press has had to go back to press several times.
We now have a few copies in stock with more on the way.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Life A User's Manual (note the absence of any punctuation in the title) is the story of "the twenty-third of June nineteen seventy-five" just before "eight o'clock in the evening" at 11, Rue Simon-Crubellier, a building in Paris. The story moves room by room in the building describing the room and the people and objects in it, and then tells the stories of how the people got to be where they are at this moment. In describing it, the premise sounds limiting, but this is one of those rare books ( Ulysses and War and Peace come to mind) that feels like it contains nearly everything. From the much-married actress to the neurotic trapeze artist to the ambitious chemist, to soldiers, junk sellers, manslaughterers and artists, stories from all walks of life are told.
The guiding spirit of the work (because there really is no protagonist in the traditional sense) is Bartlebooth, an eccentric English millionaire who has set himself a curious quest. He learns how to paint watercolors (which takes 10 years) and then he travels to 200 ports around the world, does a watercolor of them and ships the watercolors back to another resident of the building, the carpenter Winckler, who turns them into jigsaw puzzles. When Bartlebooth returns from this expedition, he put the jigsaw puzzles back together in the order they were painted, fuses them, removes the original water color from the wooden blocks and then dips the watercolor into a solvent that erases it.
At the heart of the novel is the question, What should one do with one's life? Bartlebooth has one answer, Winckler another, Valene another. Perec, in showing all of these lives, shows the reader a path to answering that question.
Whether read from beginning to end or a chapter here and a chapter there, Life A User's Manual is a triumph of late 20th-century literature. The novel demonstrates an astute eye for detail, a profound respect for the stuff of humanity, and a tireless commitment to beauty.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
The presentation of Godel's incompleteness theorem was devastating to Russell's ideas, showing not only that the foundation that Russell helped create didn't work, but also that no mathematical foundations as understood by Russell and others could ever work.
Nagel and Newman do a great job explaining Godel's famous theorem and the challenging philosophical ideas it raises. They do so clearly and concisely without patronizing the less mathematically inclined. It's a fun and challenging read for anyone looking to explore more of the ideas in Logicomix.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
The format itself is interesting enough to check out, but they've also gathered an amazing list of contributors; Michael Chabon, Stephen King, Nicholson Baker, William T. Vollmann, Chimamanda Adichie, Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Jessica Abel, Alison Bechdel, John Ashberry, and Junot Diaz to name a few. Originally priced at $24 (which is how its listed on our website) the issue is now only $16. Get here quickly if you're interested. Given how long we had to wait the first time around, there's no telling when we'll get more when we've run out.
Monday, February 1, 2010
(& Ian C. Esslemont)
The Malazan Book of the Fallen Series
Born in 1959 in Toronto, Canada, Erikson is a trained archaeologist and anthropologist. It is no doubt this background that has enabled him to create the varied and fully-realized cultures that populate his world of Malaz. Created with the help of his friend and colleague Ian C. Esslemont (originally as a setting for a role-playing game), Malaz is an ancient, sprawling world in flux: nations rise and fall, gods are born and die, men war and create. Erikson's plots are complex, his twists sudden, and he delights in subverting fantasy stereotypes. His characters are deeply human and deeply flawed and none of them -- no matter how important or central -- are safe from death.
Like George R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice and Glen Cook's Black Company, The Malazan Book of The Fallen series is harsh, militaristic fantasy and is sure to please any fan of imperial wars and byzantine scheming.
Though not written linearly, it is recommended that the Malazan books be read in order of publication.
- ► 2015 (19)
- ► 2014 (40)
- ► 2013 (39)
- ► 2012 (64)
- ► 2011 (60)
- ▼ February (6)
- ► 2009 (89)
- ► 2008 (66)