Oh my goodness, I’ve gone lax with my Snazz! Oh no! Well, allow me to make up for it, or try.
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood- This continues to be at once fun and interesting, and full of characters I love and love to hate. Plus, Atwood seems to be having fun. Perhaps, once I finish it, I’ll have something more concrete to say here, but, for now, suffice to say that I recommend it.
Einstein’s Telescope by Evalyn Gates- Physicists now believe that most of our universe is made up of a substance we cannot even detect, which, if we can even call it matter, defies everything we know about matter. This substance is called dark matter (I will resist the temptation to launch into the Andrew Bird song). This book explores how physicists are making use of Einstein’s theory of relativity to use the universe itself as a telescope hoping to detect and study dark matter, and its crazy friend, dark energy. What can I say? I miss science. Can’t wait to start reading about it again.
Epileptic by David B.- I have to say that this is one of the best graphic novels I have ever read. Story aside, it uses the medium to perfection, building themes both through text and his innovative artwork. The novel works both as a story in itself, and as an attempt for the author to make sense of the inexplicable as he follows his family’s struggle with his older brother’s incurable epilepsy. Growing up in France in the 1970’s, David B.’s family turns to not only to conventional medicines, but the occult, the esoteric, and the homeopathic. What really makes the comic special is the way he integrates his childhood imaginative view of the world into his illustrations, showing his family as being haunted by the bird-like spirit of his grandfather, his brother being attacked by a twisting serpent, and the various gurus who attempt to help (or swindle) his family as anthropomorphized creatures. This creates an impressive visual vocabulary that works in tandem with the text to make the story incredibly unique. David spares us the lens of adult understanding until the end, instead focusing on how he felt at the time: the strangeness, the inability to understand, the anger. However, because of this, I feel obligated to warn that a child growing up in a homogeneous community in the 70’s does not necessarily get much exposure to diversity, and a child’s mind does not always make acceptable free-associations upon encountering it for the first time. This aspect me at first, but, in the end, I think David B. uses it not to endorse or excuse racism, but as an attempt to recreate precisely how he felt at the time. I understand if this turns you off the comic, but if you’re willing to give it a try, I think you’ll be in for a treat.
Goodreads.com– A social networking site for readers. I had a Library Thing account back in the day, but quickly lost interest because of their bookshelf limit. Goodreads is more like the iread facebook app—more about your “currently reading” and “to read” lists than your bookshelf. It also puts a strong emphasis on reviewing the books you read. Not quite sure how I feel about it yet, but I’m futzing with it.
Fun With Shorts– Since I know you all need more hilarious ways to waste your time on the internet, I feel compelled to recommend “Fun With Shorts.” Inspired by MST3K (that’s Mystery Science Theater 3000 for those not in the know), Josh Way rips apart the most terrifying instructional videos from the late 40’s and 50’s. God, the post-war era was even more traumatizing than I thought. Plus, it’s a good reminder of how cultural values (and medical research) change: did you know that bread and butter was once considered a food group?
Stau– As a dancer myself, it really bothers me that modern dance so often gets a bad rap. People assume that it’s pretentious, inscrutable, and irrelevant to life. It’s such a missed opportunity–at its best, contemporary dance can be playful, mind-bending, fun, and incredibly full of life. Our culture tends to be afraid of the human body, and dance gives us a medium of art that is entirely about the body: about touching, moving, bending, giving a whole new meaning to “body language.” Stau, by Anoukvandijk DC, is a perfect example of what dance should be. I don’t want to give too much away in cause you get the chance to see it (surprise and disorientation is a major part of the experience.), but now only is the movement breathtaking both in content and the incredible precision and control the dancers manifest, but they blur audience in a performer in a way that’s fun, challenging, and pushes your comfort zone in the best of ways (Please do sit in the front row unless you have a strong objection to people invading your personal space bubble. If you’re willing to be pushed at all, let yourself be pushed.). See it.
I know that was short, but, to be honest, I’ve been spending more time writing than… media absorbing lately. Plus, the March pollen influx has killed my brain. Curse you, Pollen! In any case, tune in next week, when I shall present the Snazz (hopefully) on time!
What’s been rocking your world lately?