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The Bookshelf

Doug's bookshelf: read

AntwerpWarsaw BikiniIcelandHow the Soldier Repairs the GramophoneThe Original of LauraBrief Interviews with Hideous Men

More of Doug's books »
Doug's  book recommendations, reviews, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

Time Since Reboot

  • 1060 days, 22 hours, 56 minutes, 3 seconds ago

Trillium Shore, 12/31/2008

ISO 200, 1/800 sec @ f/7.1, 75mm
Nikon D90  |  Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 
December 31, 2008  3:34 PM
© DRS 2012, (cc) by-nc-nd

Year-End Stimulation Dump

Jennifer Egan's ideal bookshelfNeed even more resources for what and how you, the creative person, should read?  Look at this fantastic illustrated collection of various artists’ favorite, most influential, most indispensable books: My Ideal Bookshelf.  (via Brain Pickings)

Photographic stimulation more your thing?  Check out Andrew Gibson’s 12 Ways to Inspire the Creative Photographer Inside You: Parts I and II.  (via DPS)

Or this interesting collaboration between two photographers using 35mm film.  Stephanie Bassos first exposes the roll of film with people as the main subjects.  Timothy Burkhart then photographs places (locations, landscapes) with the same roll.  The resulting juxtapositions are compiled at People vs. Places.  Pretty rad.  (via My Modern Met)

In a more business-oriented frame of mind?  Pondering striking out on your own?  Try out the new, free, web service Enloop, which will guide you through the basics of creating your own business plan.  (via Lifehacker)

Maybe you just want to work on yourself over the new year, what with resolutions and all.  Here are 63 Ways to Boost Your Self-Confidence and either come up with or stick to those New Year’s pledges.  (via Lifehack.org)

Experiment with poetic forms, like the Villanelle!  (via The Millions)

Planning on taking a vacation?  How about planning yours around an art festival or ten?  (via My Modern Met)

Push your envelopes.  Broaden your horizons.  Keep learning.  Stay thirsty, my friends.

Luna Pondering

ISO 800, 1/60 sec @ f/5.0, 82mm
Nikon D90  |  Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6
December 29, 2008  12:47 AM
© DRS 2012, (cc) by-nc-nd

Note:  My new Christmas toy, the phenomenal Nikon D800, requires more memory, storage and processing power than my current computer setup is able to provide.  Thus, I present a photograph taken on this same day four years ago.  The cat seems thoughtful, does she not?  More to come… especially once I upgrade my hardware.

Strike A Pose: It’s Friday

me by flowertrip

 

untitled by Errikos Andreou

 

Sand Fence by Fernand Fonssagrive

 

Alina Alilukyna, at home no. 2 by Damon Loble

 

Proverbs by Fox Harvard (I pretty much love everything Fox does… gorgeous stuff.)

 

Boobyrules by Reading the heart

 

23 by Elena Vizerskaya

 

untitled by Stephen Sheffield

 

Flowers by Creative Rehab

 

Redhead Girl by Samuel Silva  (PSYCH!!!  That’s neither a photograph or a painting… it was all painstakingly done with colored Bic ballpoint pens!  Amazing.)

My Year In Reading: 2012

They rode on and the sun in the east flushed pale streaks of light and then a deeper run of color like blood seeping up in sudden reaches flaring planewise and where the earth drained up into the sky at the edge of creation the top of the sun rose out of nothing like the head of a great red phallus until it cleared the unseen rim and sat squat and pulsing and malevolent behind them.  The shadows of the smallest stones lay like pencil lines across the sand and the shapes of the men and their mounts advanced elongate before them like strands of the night from which they’d ridden, like tentacles to bind them to the darkness yet to come. 

Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian

After a year in the overstressed, overworked wilderness, I returned to form and then some in 2012.  The grand total of books read stands at 41 (up from 27 in 2010 and ‘not enough for a top ten list’ in 2011).  Here, in the spirit of The Millions’ Year In Reading series, is my own reading year recap – beginning with the ten books I most enjoyed. 

  1. Blood Meridian, Cormac McCarthy
  2. The Chronology of Water, Lidia Yuknavitch
  3. The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut
  4. One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
  5. The Pale King, David Foster Wallace
  6. The Mezzanine, Nicholson Baker
  7. A Storm of Swords, George R. R. Martin

It was really a toss-up among the top three contenders for favorite book of the year, and it came down to the heavy, ponderous, biblical language of Blood Meridian – I can honestly say I’ve never read a novel written more gorgeously, poetically… amazing stuff – and my preference for fiction over memoir.  McCarthy’s masterpiece lived up to its hype and then some.  He completely transcended the vernacular of traditional literature with that one.  Not to mention: it takes a lot to get me to even crack open a quote-unquote Western.  One for the "to be re-read" pile. 

Lidia Yuknavitch’s memoir runs a close, close second for my yearly affections.  It is beautifully written in its own right, as she weaves her personal story of triumph over sadness and abuse with an overarching love of words and writing and, with them, self-discovery and re-discovery.  And Vonnegut, of course, even in the most outlandish science-fiction story, always tells the truth.  Always.

I won’t comment on every single one of these.  There are many reasons behind what makes a particular book enjoyable to me.  I’ve tried to broaden my horizons and not thumb my nose at what some might regard as mere pop literature (the Song of Ice and Fire series is fun, is what I’m saying… and book #3 has been the best in the series so far).  I also try to vary my bookshelf selections and shift between fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art/photography, etc. 

Those that just missed the cut and deserve honorable mention include The Shining and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, both of which were very good reads thrust upon me as it were by my friend and partner in bookishness, Blu.  The best book of poetry I read in 2012 was Tomas Tranströmer’s Selected Poems.  And in the spirit of "fun" reads, I have to at least recommend John Waters’ Role Models.  A terrific departure from my normal predisposition for serious literature. 

It was all so sad.  But it was all so beautiful, too.

Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan

For archival purposes, I present the full population in the order in which they were read:

Untitled

Whatever it was or was not, there were words.  Not just my own.  I wrote stories, I wrote books, but the more I wrote the more I saw a door opening behind me, and I saw that if I jammed my motherfucking foot in it, more of us could get through.  And that we could make things.  Together. 

It’s not easy to leave one self and embrace another.  Your freedoms will scar you.  Maybe even kill you.  Or one of your yous.  It’s OK though.  There are more.
How many times do we die?
Words, like selves, are worth it.

Lidia Yuknavitch, The Chronology of Water

Here’s to new reads in the new year and the many years to come.

Miles, Christmas Morning 2008

ISO 1600, 1/20 sec @ f/5.6, 92mm
Nikon D90  |  Nikkor 18.0-105.0mm f/3.5-5.6
December 25, 2008 8:37 AM
© DRS 2012, (cc) by-nc-nd