David Mitchell Interview

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/a-hot-tip-to-win-the-booker-prize-david-mitchells-new-book-the-bone-clocks-is-a-tour-de-force-of-genreskipping-9714364.html

The above link is a fascinating interview with author David Mitchell.  Mitchell is one of the great writers of our time.  Right now I am thoroughly enjoying his new novel The Bone Clocks.

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Rain permeates the air
Like a shit mist
Headed to Oklahoma
A territory
That some confuse with a state
The Indian Tribes were marginalized there
(That’s a euphemism)
And replaced with the Pick-up Truck Tribe
If that’s progress
Then I am a Yeti
Much of life is perspective
I have heard many jokes
At Amarillo’s expense
But Amarillo feels like Paris in the ’20s
Once you have spent time in Oklahoma
I have a friend who spent time
In Uganda and Afghanistan
She said, “Afghanistan made Uganda
Look like the future.”
You get the idea
Yet there are good people here
As there are everywhere
If life teaches one anything
It is that stereotypes and assumptions
Will one day make you look the fool
Regardless,
I suppose someone might want to string me up
For writing these words
A stupid end to a meaningless life
Game on
Have at it
Are we having fun yet?

David Mitchell and Haruki Murakami

 

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Two of the best living novelists have new books out.  David Mitchell and Haruki Murakami are both novelists that are able to entertain and deal in serious themes of the human condition.  

Here is an excellent review of Mitchell’s new novel The Bone Clocks in The Atlantic:  

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2014/09/review-david-mitchells-bone-clocks-the-cloud-atlas-authors-meta-masterpiece/379445/

Here is a review of Murakami’s new novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, by rock n roll legend Patti Smith:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/books/review/haruki-murakamis-colorless-tsukuru-tazaki-and-his-years-of-pilgrimage.html?_r=0

I intend to read both of these novels.  I highly recommend Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, please god don’t see the movie, although all of his works are worth checking out.  My favorite Murakami books are The Wind-up Bird Chronicle and Kafka On the Shore, although again almost all of his work is excellent.  

Advice

Someone dancing inside us
Learned only a few steps:
The “Do-Your-Work” in 4/4 time,
The “What-Do-You-Expect” waltz.
He hasn’t noticed yet the woman
Standing away from the lamp,
The one with black eyes
Who knows the rhumba,
And strange steps in jumpy rhythms
From the mountains in Bulgaria.
If they dance together,
Something unexpected will happen.
If they don’t, the next world
Will be a lot like this one.

By Bill Holm

What Would You Like to See More Of

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A few days ago this blog hit its one year anniversary.  I stated in that post that most blogs take two years to become successful and that most people give up after nine months.  The reason that I have spent so much time writing is that so many of you have been supportive and have kept coming back.  

One of the reasons I started this blog, aside from encouragement from friends and family, and the simple fact that I love to write, was to develop some kind of alternative revenue stream.  As a musician, one of the smartest things you can do is to try to get some other kind of cash flow going, because even in a touring band there are occasionally lean months.  My goal finically in starting this was as simple as a car payment.  If the blog is more successful than that great, but if I can get a car payment out of writing, then I’m a happy guy!  It’s one less thing I have to worry about and it allows me more freedom as a musician.  

Because I have kept writing due to the support of those of you that read this, I would like to ask you what topics would you like to see more of?  Would you like to see more politics, literature, music, poetry, etc…

I have to approve any comments that get added to this site.  Comments on most sites just turn into a shitstorm of stupidity if left unattended.  I trust that all of you that come here are intelligent, but it only takes one idiot to ruin the fun.  So, if you message me or comment privately with any thoughts or ideas, I will keep them to myself and will try to include a little more of whatever topic wins out.  

Again, I can’t thank all of you enough.  It’s always encouraging that there are some other at least partially likeminded individuals out in this insane world!  

In the future when all’s well…

Jeff

In the Kingdom of Ice

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The writer Hampton Sides has a new book out called In the Kingdom of Ice.  I have only just started reading it, so I don’t want to say too much about it, but if it is anything like Sides’s other books it will be worth every penny.  Sides is one of my favorite history writers.  Following in the footsteps of Shelby Foote, Sides knows how to write accurate history with a the eye of a cinematographer and the gift of natural storyteller.  Every single one of his books has opened a new world up to me.  I can’t even imagine the insane amount of research and work that goes into these books.  His other three books, all worth reading, are as follows:

Blood and Thunder:  This is the story of Kit Carson and the Indian Wars that take place largely in New Mexico.  Along with the equally fascinating Empire of the Summer Moon, written by S.C. Gwynne about the Indian Wars in Texas, this book book is at the top of my list for my favorite history book.  If you read both of these books you will have a great idea of what actually happened during our westward expansion.  Both of these books are fascinating, intelligent, and page turners.  

Ghost Soldiers:  This is Sides’s book on the Bantam Death March and the operation that took place to rescue the survivors.  It is at times both haunting and exciting.  Also, many of the little details that Sides includes are fascinating.  It makes you understand why the Japanese Empire was doomed to failure for the way that they treated those that they conquered.  Another interesting fact is that the American government introduced speed to our soldiers during World War II.  They gave it to the soldiers performing the rescue operation so that they could stay up for several days to complete the operation in the time needed.  

Hellhound On HIs Trail:  This is a book about the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and James Earl Ray.  The subtitle of this book is The Electrifying Account of the Largest Manhunt in American History.  It does deliver all of the details on the manhunt of James Earl Ray, and it is fascinating.  I did not know, for instance, that James Earl Ray had actually escaped from prison.  But what makes the book really fascinating is the juxtaposition between Martin Luther King Jr. and James Earl Ray.  King believed in nonviolence to the point that he refused to travel with armed body guards.  And although Sides does not shy away from King’s adultery or other human failings, you understand after reading the book about why he was such an inspiring figure.  His vision for humanity was one of decency and dignity.  Meanwhile Ray is one of life’s losers, a man without any clear goal or passion.  He is a hollow man whose small-mindedness brought him to violence.  They are figures at the complete opposite ends of the human spectrum.  

I was a History Major and eventually an American Studies Major in college.  There is no reason that history shouldn’t be fascinating.  Occasionally you should challenge yourself with a large sprawling work like William L. Shirer’s The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, as these kinds of books can present the big picture in ways that other books can’t.  But usually if history is hard to read, and Shirer’s book is not, it just tells a very complex history, it is the fault of the writer.  Sides’s work is no less valid for being readable.  He is simply a great writer as well as a great historian.  If you are interested in our country, all of these books are worth looking into.  You will learn a great deal while being entertained.  

One Year Anniversary

This marks the one year anniversary since I started this blog.  I want to thank all of you that have signed up to follow this blog and also all of you that have visited.  They say the average blog takes two years to take off and that most people quit in nine months.  I’ve been able to keep doing this longer than the average because of all of you that have kept coming coming back.  Please continue to do so.  If you like what I am doing, and you know someone else that might like this blog as well, please spread the gospel.  Thanks again for your continued support.  

In the future when all’s well…

Jeff