Best thing you've read and/or heard lately (#2) July 13, 2018 3:24 PM   Subscribe

It's been over a month since the first "Best Things You've Read and/or Heard Lately" MeTa, so let's do it again!
posted by filthy light thief to MetaFilter-Related at 3:24 PM (84 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

The last thread ended with a post recommending Admiral Fallow, so I'd like to start this one by saying that thanks to that recommendation my currently favorite song is Admiral Fallow's Isn't This World Enough?
posted by Redstart at 3:40 PM on July 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


I work in customer support (web management/domains) and I was helping some random guy in Jacksonville set up his website for the very first time and hearing how excited he was about his new business was kind of cool. He has a forge and he makes custom knives/blades. And once we got everything set up, I was able to browse his site for a few minutes and it was just chill talking to him about how he got into that work and how he's growing his business. I was excited about his excitement and it's nice to see someone passionate about a thing.
posted by Fizz at 4:13 PM on July 13, 2018 [17 favorites]


Just listened to David Sedaris read his new book Calypso. I liked that. Also recently finished Michael Pollan's new book, How to Change Your Mind. Both are very good though have large but specific audiences.
posted by Stanczyk at 4:17 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


After the recent Titanic thread I watched "A Night to Remember," which...Cameron's Titanic stole so much from. The latter is basically ANTR interspersed with 90 minutes of soap opera. I guess after someone makes a straightforward movie derived from the words of the survivors there's really not much else to do.
posted by rhizome at 4:40 PM on July 13, 2018


I've recently discovered Cameron Esposito's podcast Queery. I think I'm all caught up on back episodes now, and I think my favourite interview was the one she did with Rebecca Sugar.
posted by janepanic at 4:42 PM on July 13, 2018 [4 favorites]


I read an older Pat Barker novel I found in a garage sale - Double Vision, I thought it was really interesting on the problems of representation.

I'm still listening to this Hurray for the Riff Raff SXSW set - lively, political, angry.
posted by Rumple at 4:54 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


So a friend and I played Borderlands 2 for an hour this morning and then we stayed on the phone for another two and a half hours and it was really pleasant. And I don't even like talking on the phone!

But since that's not something that anyone else can hear, I also have recently enjoyed listening to the five following Pete Holmes' You Made It Weird podcasts:

- Thomas Lennon
- Jason Sudekis
- Phil Rosenthal
- Penn Gillette (I was really surprised how much I enjoyed this episode, because generally I am not a fan.)
- James Adomian
posted by elsietheeel at 5:00 PM on July 13, 2018 [4 favorites]


Things I've enjoyed recently are well-represented on the front page, but I had plenty of other interesting stories to choose from, e.g. Heather Morris, "There's No Need to Fear the Darkness" (Luna Station Quarterly, March 2018); Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, "The Era" (Guernica, 2 April 2018); Michele Tracy Berger, "Nussia" (The Book Smugglers, 26 June 2018); Julian D.C. Richardson, "The Day the Moon Caught Fire" (Daily Science Fiction, 27 February 2018); Logan Murphy, "The Poison Swallowers" (Syntax & Salt, 20 June 2018); Ivy Spadille, "The Whist Clowns of Old Frizzle" (Syntax & Salt, 20 June 2018); Maria Hummer, "Green_fields" (The White Review, June 2018); Vanessa Wang, "My Mother's Illness" (The Cafe Irreal, Winter 2018); Melissa Goodrich and Dana Diehl, "Some Days the Bees are Melancholic" (The Offing, 2 April 2018); etc.
posted by Wobbuffet at 5:10 PM on July 13, 2018 [7 favorites]


I just discovered Annie Dillard, or rather connected Annie Dillard the write of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek with the person who wrote that incredible essay about a total eclipse. What an incredible voice with such a depth of feeling.

And then I finally got round to Priestdaddy and Patricia Lockwood is ❤️
posted by humuhumu at 5:10 PM on July 13, 2018 [5 favorites]


Just listened to David Sedaris read his new book Calypso.

I'm halfway through that and enjoying it a lot.

I also just finished Arundhati Roy's "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness" which is just amazing; gorgeously written and moving and funny and clever and heartbreaking. I'm on holidays and was standing in the shop at the airport on the way over, deciding if I should get something to read other than Calypso which I had on Audible. I was looking at the offerings thinking, generally, "Meh.", when I saw it. I lifted it instantly, because I loved her book "The God of Small Things", bought it, didn't even read the jacket. Then when I opened it on my first day here I saw "We've had to wait 20 years for her follow up to 'The God...'" and I wept inwardly at how fucking fast my life is passing, that I could buy a book then the author's follow up and there be TWO DECADES between them and it feel like nothing. But ah well, it really was worth the wait, and I highly recommend it.
posted by billiebee at 5:14 PM on July 13, 2018 [7 favorites]


Oooh, Elena Ferrante's Frantumaglia has been my bedtime reading recently, and what an excellent voice--even in letters and interviews. Thank you, too, to the translator!
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:47 PM on July 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


I've been reading P.G.Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories again, and am enjoying the heck out of the escape time.
posted by mightshould at 5:53 PM on July 13, 2018 [9 favorites]


I know we're talking about books/music here - but.. having just started watching Goliath with my husband, I have once again been reminded that Billy Bob Thornton's voice uttering profanity - as he so beautifully did in Bad(der) Santa many years ago - is one of the best sounding things in the entire world. I am a big fan of swearing under many circumstances, but he truly makes it sound like something I want to do more of than I already do.
posted by VioletU at 5:58 PM on July 13, 2018 [3 favorites]




Violinist Hilary Hahn has a new album of Bach violin works coming out in October and they pre-released a couple of tracks and I am agog.
posted by Celsius1414 at 6:26 PM on July 13, 2018 [4 favorites]


I got a great recommendation via Ted Gioia's Twitter feed:

"Something Within Me, an unfinished 1979 album by Georgia gospel music legend Theotis Taylor, age 91 -- finally completed (with help from some friends) almost 40 years later. This is my favorite gospel album so far in 2018."
posted by cichlid ceilidh at 6:27 PM on July 13, 2018 [8 favorites]


I've been reading P.G.Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories again

Oh, that reminds me of this recent tweet from Shaenon Garrity encouraging everyone to try Roger Langridge's comic adaptation of the short story, "Leave It To Jeeves." But on my machine I found I needed to open up the images by themselves to read it very well: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, & 15.
posted by Wobbuffet at 6:29 PM on July 13, 2018 [10 favorites]


Ooh thanks cichlid ceilidh!
posted by Celsius1414 at 6:34 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


Watching El Ministerio del Tiempo (with great Fanfare threads!!), reading The Overstory by Richard Powers. Fairly depressing but beautiful. Also reading a bunch of Angelica Gorodischer!
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:38 PM on July 13, 2018


During a rewatch of Breaking Bad I looked up one of the pieces used in an episode and now I'm all over South American hip hop.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 6:46 PM on July 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


Yes! Ana Tijoux is the absolute best. Check out Somos Sur with Shadia Mansour, a song I could listen to on infinite repeat.
posted by Celsius1414 at 6:55 PM on July 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


I am re-reading Bettyville: A Memoir, by George Hodgman. The story of a gay man who returns to a small town in Missouri to care for his aging mother, who has dementia. I like it a lot, that's why I'm reading it again.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:32 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


About three months ago, in the media recs thread, I mentioned that I had ordered all the Gyakuten Saiban/Ace Attorney games for the 3DS. I just finished the last one, and I am pleased to report that Dai Gyakuten Saiban is fantastic. It's a spinoff about Naruhodo/Phoenix Wright's ancestor teaming up with Sherlock Holmes in London at the turn of the 20th century, though this Holmes tends to be comically mistaken in his deductions, so you have to steer him in the right direction. All of the characters are vibrant and endearing, but my favorite is the prosecutor, who starts the trial with his cape wrapped around him like a vampire, and has a penchant for begging the court's pardon for casually flipping empty wine bottles into the stands behind him or slamming his heel onto the desk, while never losing his stoic demeanor. Unfortunately, it's unlikely to get an official localization, but there are fansubs for all of the first game and part of the second game on Youtube.

On that note, stay tuned for an Ace Attorney post from me on the blue!
posted by J.K. Seazer at 8:02 PM on July 13, 2018 [5 favorites]


"The Guillotine" by The Coup is my jam for the past few days. We want to thank you for flying with us. We know you coulda stayed home, just cried and cussed.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:03 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


Gonna skip to the end and post mine before checking everyone else's responses. Hopefully my face will remain eggless at this early point in the thread!

A friend linked me to this fascinating, well-researched (in blog terms) and also loooong post about the disappearance of Video Rental stores (specifically in the US). It's a really interesting read and well worth one's time. A lot of the issues it identifies are more broadly relevant to pre- or early-digital media, but it maintains quite a tight focus on VHS/early DVD, which makes it more commendable to my eyes. Seen and written too many "Ug, copyright bad, graarrr!" posts in my time, so more articulate, detailed exploration is a bit of a boon.

Is def FPP worthy (if anyone wants to and not previously posted) but despite my cheerleading in a recent "Everyone FPP Everything" I'm actually bit gunshy at the mo, happier framing it in fairly lax, conversational terms here.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 8:11 PM on July 13, 2018 [7 favorites]


Meant to mention, I saw online that the closure of a couple of the Alaskan Blockbusters is at hand, so I suspect that's why this link is currently doing the rounds.
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 8:12 PM on July 13, 2018


Dave Weckl's drumming on this track (with Chick Corea and John Patitucci) really blows my mind. The original 1972 recording also won't leave my head, particularly Joe Farrell's soprano sax work. Also really like the Stan Getz version, and the Maynard Ferguson cover of course.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:24 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


I would just like to let you all know that I finished my summer reading, ahead of my children, despite my very bad decision to race them when I had just started War & Peace. IT WAS A NEAR THING. Anyway, I win a tote bag! (From the library, not my kids. From my kids I just get bragging rights.)

One of the books I read was "American by Day," the sequel to "Norwegian by Night," and I enjoyed both very much!
posted by Eyebrows McGee (staff) at 8:25 PM on July 13, 2018 [6 favorites]


I'm a little late to the party, but I recently started watching The Expanse, and reading the books, and any and all related media that I can get my hands on.
posted by Literaryhero at 8:28 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


My son George blew my mind a few days ago with how fucking great he is up in his bedroom crafting songs on the sly like way better than I could ever do, holy shit.
posted by chococat at 8:56 PM on July 13, 2018 [6 favorites]


I‘ve been reading some beat poetry (Ferlinghetti, O’Hara et al) on the recommendation of Mefi‘s own maxsparber and it turns out I really like this stuff! Thanks, Max!
posted by The Toad at 9:12 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Episode 1 of "Interviewed By a Vampire," in which befanged DJ and music promoter Patrick Rodgers interviews Derrick Pitts, director of the Fels Planetarium. Just a really fun interview about science, museums, and bluegrass hip-hop.
posted by The Ardship of Cambry at 9:25 PM on July 13, 2018 [3 favorites]




The best thing I read this week was my friend's email to me. I don't use "social media" and for me emails mean a lot. Occasionally we exchange hand-written letters and handmade stuff, like drawings. There's no pressure, and we write when we are free to do so. This is the way we keep our friendship alive and thriving.
posted by runcifex at 9:55 PM on July 13, 2018 [3 favorites]


I just saw this Buzzfeed article linked in helloimjennsco 's AskMe.
I died, I'm dead now, that's all.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 9:59 PM on July 13, 2018 [8 favorites]


I've been loving discovering Keiynan Lonsdale’s music after seeing him in Love, Simon. Preach, and Kiss the Boy are two favourites.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:27 AM on July 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Randomly selected Not Quite A Narwhal amongst a dozen other books for my kiddo at the library the other day. In the end the Land Narwhals and Sea Unicorns all become friends and play together. It's charming and a good message given our current social climate.

I've reserved a couple of books about John Wooden the UCLA coach. One by him and the other by Kareem Abdul-Jabar, which in a description I read somewhere said that the book illustrated how they were able to learn so much from each other though their life experiences were so different. Looking forward to reading it.

I'm also supposed to be reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck but still waiting for that one time come in as well.
posted by vignettist at 12:40 AM on July 14, 2018


I missed it at the cinema and was waiting until I could watch it with my Boyf, but watched Pixars Coco last night and it is superb - but also sobmaking.

Glad I didnt watch it alone.
posted by Faintdreams at 2:01 AM on July 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


I loved Tove Jansson's The Summer Book & this was the perfect time of year to read it.

I have succumbed to the mellow charms of Khruangbin, and have been savouring their recent album Con Todo el Mundo. Much less mellow is another recent favourite: the album Whale City by London-based band Warmduscher. See for example Big Wilma or Standing on the Corner.

In older music, I picked up half a dozen Ella Fitzgerald LPs from my local charity shop the other week (for £2!), and, of those, I especially loved Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duike Ellington Song Book (vol. 2), which features some truly exquisite performances - just listen to Ella sing Don't Get Around Much Anymore.
posted by misteraitch at 2:04 AM on July 14, 2018 [6 favorites]


I'm only partway through but I found Curiosities of Puritan Nomenclature by Charles Wareing Endell Bardsley last night and it's the book I've wanted to read forever but didn't know existed.

The main focus of the book is basically "how the heck did people end up with names like Sorry-for-sin and Wrestling-with-God in puritan times", which I am 100% interested in, but the preface is a mini-history of forenames in England from Norman times onwards and I am 1000% interested in that.

I'm a huge nerd for history and etymology, particularly of names and place names, but there's a surprising paucity of accessible writing on the names side compared to non-name-related etymology (either that or I have been too dumb to research this area properly). The whole Freakonomics thing about how names that turn from masculine to feminine never turn back, names that lose social/class status seldom gain it again etc., plus cultures with interesting naming conventions (like LDS names) are extremely my jam. And it turns out that there is a book in the public domain from the 1880s that scratches this itch with a touch of wry humour.

It's the kind of book where every other sentence I'm turning round to my partner like, "hey, did you know this thing about names?!" and he is kindly humouring me in the same way he does when I want to show him 27 dog pictures from the internet in a row.
posted by terretu at 3:04 AM on July 14, 2018 [23 favorites]


I've been rereading the Jasper Fforde Thursday Next books, which in turn has me feeling like rereading Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights was my least favorite book we read in high school literature classes, other than A Separate Peace and Catcher in the Rye, but maybe I'll like it better now?

I also, on the advice of Metafilter's Own Linda Holmes on Pop Culture Happy Hour, picked up a copy of My Boyfriend is a Bear (it is literal). It was delightful and I felt very seen in these internet dating times.

Finally, I finally saw Black Panther last week. Holy crap! So good!
posted by ChuraChura at 3:40 AM on July 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


Looking at Last.fm, it seems that this week I've been mostly listening to Pink Floyd, though what stuck with me was listening through classic Yes tracks (the new Steven Wilson remixes) - absolutely glorious! When I was young I had Yessongs rather than the original albums, so while I assumed I was completely familiar with the music, obviously there's a lot of stuff on The Yes Album and Fragile that had slipped my attention (for example, the Jon Anderson "solo" track on Fragile called We Have Heaven, which is a sneak preview of the bonkersness he'd come up with later for Olias of Sunhillow). Whenever I've seen any of the band members interviewed recently, they seemed to be complaining about something or other, so it's always a surprise that such moany people come up with such joyous music.

As opposed to Pink Floyd, where they've managed to synchronise their personal and artistic moaninesses. Still, I was surprised by how good The Wall is. As narrative concept albums go, it strikes me as the best - it's actually a small-scale story about one man going insane in a hotel room, which is a lot more coherent and easier to control editorially than a parable about messiahhood or a picaresque dream narrative. On the one hand it's very much about the Toxic Masculinity thing and how it feeds into fascism, on the other Roger/Pink's ability to get away with blaming other people for his unpleasantness is largely (though not completely) unchallenged - not completely, because I realised that the final song is about the Judge (who is also Pink, of course) basically telling him to snap out of the self-pity and not torture and blame the people around him. It's not a transformation as such, though - the end of the last track and the beginning of the first track loops, so it's a pattern of madness that Pink's locked into, and the moments of clarity don't stop the stretches of delusion. In a lot of ways it's a very honest piece, but someone being honest about being a nasty person is also a nasty experience. The guitar solos are fantastic, though. Mostly what I listen to Floyd for, I must admit.

Also listening to Uomo Donna by Andrea Laszlo De Simone. Quite difficult to describe, very romantic, very big, the tracks flowing one into another with patches of sound effects and samples. A lot of catholic imagery that mostly goes over my head. One song is ripped off the verse from Cry Baby Cry by The Beatles, which I don't mind because it's such an obscure reference. Like the progressive rock, it's a cinematic experience. (1) (2) (3)
posted by Grangousier at 3:58 AM on July 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Never has it been such a pleasure to leisurely read this cookbook, Salt Fat Acid Heat. listening to Simone Dinnerstein’s Goldberg Variations<>
posted by lemon_icing at 4:29 AM on July 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


I had my little cabin retreat last weekend (it was amazingly wonderful), and read through 3 books - they were very different, but all excellent in their own ways.

Every Body Yoga solid base for crafting a home practice plus a memoir plus empowerment to love your body, wherever it is.

The Road to Jonestown Very in-depth bio of Jim Jones, fascinating piece of American history.

Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls - because Calypso wasn't available at the library. I laughed out loud several times, which rarely happens when I'm reading. David Sedaris is an international treasure.
posted by Fig at 6:45 AM on July 14, 2018 [3 favorites]


I'm finishing up Infidel Feminism by Laura Schwartz, a deep dive into the historical records of women in England's 19th century freethought movement.
posted by audi alteram partem at 6:47 AM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Maybe a little obsessed with that song from Babylon Berlin - Zu Asche zu Staub.
posted by Bron at 7:21 AM on July 14, 2018


In between reading bad novels at the British Library, I read Caryl Phillips' newest novel, A View of the Empire at Sunset, about Jean Rhys.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:21 AM on July 14, 2018


Fig, I love Jessamyn Stanley! Will check out her book.
posted by ellieBOA at 7:50 AM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


terretu, OMG THAT BOOK. I am enthralled and my 21 year old son is currently bearing the brunt of me reading passages aloud.
posted by cooker girl at 7:53 AM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


I had a guy fixing up my internet yesterday, and his test thing that he uses to be sure the wifi's working is bananaphone, which he warned me I would have in my head for the next few days, and lo, he was right.

Also I've been bingeing Shut Up and Sit Down boardgame reviews, which as advertised in the recent FPP, are pretty great. Case in point, their video review of Fog of Love (which seems like something I would haaaaate, but from the review I now want to play it).
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:59 AM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts. For some reason linking here doesn't work for me anymore.

Amazon link
posted by Splunge at 8:06 AM on July 14, 2018


I fixed your link there, Splunge.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:27 AM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


For work reasons, I was trying to find out a bit about Anton Heitmuller, a Washington, DC antiques dealer in days of yore. While googling him, I stumbled on a great letter that Susan B. Anthony wrote him in 1905. Heitmuller had written her trying to sell her autographs of famous people, none of them women (?!). In her reply she called him on that, and also decried the treatment of women as "pets". Here's a link that includes the entire letter (you can zoom in). A quote: "But while women are by the law excluded from a voice in the government under which they live, I can only work for their emancipation. I know you think women are the pets of society. That they may be, but to be a pet is not to be an equal, and what I want is for women to be equal before the law in every respect."

Also, I'm really not into fashion, but the forthcoming Bill Cunningham posthumous autobiography/memoir, Fashion Climbing, is kind of fascinating; New York Times article.
posted by gudrun at 8:33 AM on July 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Reading: I'm halfway through Gilead, which came into my life by way of a thread somewhere here.

Also halfway through Not That Bad, which is a wrenching (and amazing) set of essays about sexual assault. I read part of one essay (Lynn Melnick's The Luckiest Milf in Brooklyn) to the sexual violence/toxic masculinity class I facilitate, and it landed really well.

Listening, over the past few weeks:
Hurray For The Riff Raff - Pa'lante

To The Moon And Back - Fever Ray (the video is pretty edgy, but the song is so hot)

Almost Had To Start A Fight / In And Out Of Patience - Parquet Courts
posted by Gorgik at 8:43 AM on July 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Not new to me but hopefully new to you:

Leon Thomas - The Creator Has a Master Plan (from the brilliant album, Spirits Known and Unknown, which there are no good sounding uploads of on Youtube)

Alice Coltrane - Ptah the el Daoud
posted by dobbs at 8:48 AM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


If I stop to actually reflect and think about it my whole month of June and early July was so crammed full of good music that I'm having a hard time remembering everything, and even if I could remember all of it, I have no links to share because it was all live and temporal and happily gone as the breeze.

Highlights of June and vaguely the past month or so:

DJing. I can link the practice set, which isn't as good as the live set. But still really good.

Participating in Make Music Day and making an improbable improv electronic jam happen between people who normally wouldn't jam at all.

Friends live house/dance show where I danced myself properly clean and sweaty for the first time in like 3-4 years. I also blew a few minds because a lot of people I know today have no idea I can move like that, much less for three hours.

Random weekday house party till dawn, local rappers with skills spitting in the kitchen and just jamming. Super good, witty, socially conscious and progressive rhymes. It's a rare treat to be able to hear this kind of live improv rap in really close quarters, especially w/ people skilled at it. (On my bike ride home, I somehow very improbably remembered how to ride my bike with no hands - with off-side luggage still strapped on it. And the random skill upgrade stuck apparently, because I can still do it. Which is actually really weird.)

Two nights of Fiddletunes (aka American Festival of Bluegrass and Fiddle Tunes?). Heard a whole bunch of zydeco and bluegrass and just wandered around from group to group listening to jam sessions and wandering with friends.

And by "jam sessions" we're talking as much as 20-30 musicians crammed into an acoustically interesting stairwell going at it hammers and tongs for an hour at a stretch. There's pocket jam sessions all over the place ranging from twos and threes to a dozen odd, then there's the two main performance/dance halls, the porches and random outside starlight jams.

Basically there's more people there playing music than just listening or dancing, and you're often surrounded by hundreds if not a thousand or two talented musicians all within a very short walk or roam of each other for a week solid.

There are moments when there's like a few hundred people playing bluegrass/zydeco/related instruments at world class skill levels, all within a few hundred feet of the main building. The noise is just glorious and can be overwhelming, but it's also really amazing to be able to hear this music being played in the way it is probably meant to be played, which seems to be a family/community kind of setting, old and young all playing together and weaving a tapestry of sound and patterns.

Capped off the very last night of this w/ a house party in one of the old historical houses, people jamming and passing bottles of whisky on the porch till dawn. Also camped outside both nights in the yard, too, which was sweet.

Thanks for the reminder not to take all this for granted. I'm drowning in good music over here in a wild variety of kinds and styles, and it's pretty amazing.
posted by loquacious at 11:13 AM on July 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


I recently finished the absolutely mammoth seminal (hah, literally) biography of Aleister Crowley, Perdurabo. It can get a bit draggy when it's talking about the family histories of all the incredibly weird and delightful people Crowley ran into, but it's also a friendly but even-handed treatment of the Great Beast himself. I knew Crowley tangentially as a cultural figure, but had no idea of the depth and breadth of his influence on the development of not just the New Age movement, but things like poetry, art, the cultivation of a public persona, Western occultism more broadly, and even mountain climbing. By the end of the book I was genuinely sad when he died-- I felt like I had lost an exasperating but endearing old friend. Anyway, I'm not much of a biography reader, but I was incredibly impressed with Kaczynski's ability to weave together a coherent narrative with an overwhelming amount of factual information.
posted by WidgetAlley at 1:36 PM on July 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


Two weeks ago Mrs Biscuit and I saw Stephen Fry performing his trilogy Mythos at the Shaw Festival. Stellar. I'd recommend it to all, with the large proviso that tomorrow is the final day of the run. If you're in southern Ontario or upstate New York, you have a great opportunity to listen to a fantastically entertaining fellow speak for hours about Greek mythology.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:15 PM on July 14, 2018


I just finished Richard Powers' "The Overstory" and have spent the past week looking at trees (as in, "have you ever really looked at a tree?"). I also enjoyed John Carreyrou's Bad Blood about the demise of Theranos, and I have more than once here recommended Lisa Halliday's Asymmetry, particularly affecting in the wake of Philip Roth's death.
posted by chavenet at 2:17 PM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


I've recently rediscovered Tony Christie's "Avenues and Alleyways" (the original cut, not the terrible re-recording) and it's pure 1960's glamour and class. You might know it as the theme to the Robert Vaughn TV series "The Protectors".
posted by KazamaSmokers at 3:15 PM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


I just finished and really loved The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin.

I've been very into Louie Zong's music.
posted by lazaruslong at 6:01 PM on July 14, 2018 [4 favorites]


I recently watched the movie Their Finest and was very moved by Bill Nighy's rendition of Wild Mountain Thyme (Will Ye Go, Lassie, Go). I had no idea he could sing--it's really quite lovely.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 12:54 AM on July 15, 2018 [1 favorite]


I reread The Bullfighter Checks her Makeup last night. It hit me that it is a near perfect window into life before 9/11.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 7:20 AM on July 15, 2018




I'm reading Dan Davies (former Crooked Timber and Guardian contributor) book on financial fraud, Lying for Money. Entertainingly written and lots of colourful anecdotes of scams and how they were done.
posted by crocomancer at 1:04 PM on July 15, 2018


Two amazing things heard recently: Mogwai live - absolutely mesmerizing, and Jon Ronson’s The Butterfly Effect podcast - incredibly empathic and mind-expanding at the same time.
posted by progosk at 2:43 PM on July 15, 2018


Naomi Novik's new book, Spinning Silver, came out a few days ago, and I was planning to save it for an upcoming trip but couldn't wait and gobbled it up. It's delightful, and a different sort of book from Uprooted, (which I reread last week in anticipation of this new one). Kinda can't stop thinking about it, and I might post about it on fanfare (which I've never done--not too sure how it works with just-out books).

Also, a few weeks ago, I read Elizabeth Bear's Jacob's Ladder trilogy (based on an askme I now can't find) and enjoyed the hell out of it. It's sort of an Arthurian romance set on a decaying generation ship... high gothic weirdness, good AI/nanotech plot twists, poetic & allusive style, genderfluid knight-errantry. It felt like more traditional SF to me as the trilogy went on--just became enjoyable in a different way.
posted by miles per flower at 7:09 PM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


I just finished Summer in Orcus by mefi favorite T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon) and I loved it so much words basically fail me. If you need something YA and beautiful that will just take you completely out of this world for a while, this is it. It is not too light - there are monsters and scary moments. But it isn’t dark either. There’s a lot of wisdom here and a lot of references that filled me with joy - just as a bonus, if you like Georgette Heyer, there is a bird in this book you need to meet. I can’t even remember when I have loved a book so much.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:49 PM on July 15, 2018 [3 favorites]


Oooh, lovely topic! Thanks flt!

I've been eschewing TV lately in favor of more reading and doing. Here are a few of my faves:

1. Body Respect, by Linda Bacon, PhD and Lucy Aphramor, PhD. Read this for my Summer Body Liberation book club facilitated by my Nutrition Counselor/yoga teacher. Even more awesome than Health At Every Size, and more digestible. I've struggled with weight and food nearly my entire life and I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It's filled with science-based research proving what we think we know to be true about weight in regards to excellent health has been a gigantic misrepresentation fueled by pure greed. One fact: BMI standards were set by direct influence of two pharmaceutical companies who had the only weight loss drugs on the market at the time. Second fact: have a BMI of "overweight"? Congrats, you're likely to actually live longer than "normal"s!

2. The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor. Incredibly powerful, incredibly soul-enriching. Discussing this at same book club, meeting #2, later this month.

3. Braving The Wilderness: The Quest For True Belonging And The Courage To Stand Alone by Brene Brown. I know, I know, I know. I keep mentioning this damn book. But I swear, Brene is pretty much the closest I've felt thus far in life to what some may term a "spiritual guru." Both she and her husband, Steve, have parents who once upon a time split and then remarried. So, four sets of parents. She has one set on her side that are very conservative and one set that are very progressive. Her husband has one set that are very conservative and one set that are very progressive.

She questions the moral righteousness that allows for and cosigns on the vicious dehumanization happening in our politically charged zeitgeist. Personally speaking, she challenged me to prioritize what is important -- being a right fighter or being kind and compassionate and respectful, no matter what someone's views are. She talks in depth about how we are all inextricably connected and the book emboldened my desire to lean in even closer, speak truth to bullshit, learn, grow and get even more fucking over my own ego and need to be right. I'm still learning...

She talks about dehumanization, polarization and ideological bunkers and, holy hot damn, this stuff is just spot. fucking. on. I simply cannot say enough about this book. It solidified for me what I have been experiencing in real life, in this extremely purple city in which I live. I dunno, I just believe this is a very important book for our time, and gave me the language, framework and open heart with which to express my views. Basically -- moral righteousness as justification for cruelty and dehumanization is not a one-sided game.
posted by bologna on wry at 8:03 PM on July 15, 2018 [2 favorites]


I recently read "Circe" by Madeline Miller, and it is a really, really good retelling of the myth's around Circe.

It's a brilliant retelling of multiple myths from the point of view of a minor goddess, and my god I couldn't put it down. 1000% recommend.
posted by larthegreat at 6:03 AM on July 16, 2018 [3 favorites]


Frustrating that they have no transcript, but Rebecca Sugar interviewed by 1A (NPR) on representation as a nonbinary woman, surviving assault, and emotional intelligence in cartoons.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 9:06 AM on July 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm really not into fashion, but the forthcoming Bill Cunningham posthumous autobiography/memoir, Fashion Climbing, is kind of fascinating; New York Times article.

I saw Antonio Lopez: Sex Fashion & Disco not long ago. Much of it is structured around Cunningham's last interview and includes short clips of Cunningham, Lopez, and pals back in the day. After the movie, a friend of mine and I both observed that Cunningham seemed more animated in Lopez documentary than than he did in his own. I'm looking forward to the memoir.

Right now I'm reading Colette's Chéri and Jean Lorrain’s Monsieur de Bougrelon in its lovely new Spurl edition. And the new Paris Review featuring Hilton Als, László Krasznahorkai, Ursula K. LeGuin, Jan Morris, and Kathy Acker among others. I've been listening to Scratch Slice Jag, Dan Ruccia & Jeb Bishop's new work and Chick Corea's Return To Forever has been getting a lot of nighttime play. Also, Finders Keepers Records celebrates Bastille Day and the World Cup with a French Psych/Prog special.

I watched All The President's Men again recently and I was struck by how slowly it was paced. Despite the leads and despite all the great scenes and lines, more than a little is just plain dull. You get the feeling Pakula felt bound to make sure that it was A Very Serious Movie.

Also, there's a new ContraPoints video out! With fairies! And corndogs!
posted by octobersurprise at 9:31 AM on July 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


I recently read "Circe" by Madeline Miller, and it is a really, really good retelling of the myth's around Circe.

That sounds great. Thanks for the tip. (Amazon.)
posted by homunculus at 10:26 AM on July 16, 2018


lazaruslong, last week I finally started the audiobook of "The Fifth Season" by N.K. Jemisin, and it's fantastic!

WHY DID WE WAIT?
posted by wenestvedt at 10:59 AM on July 16, 2018


I just finished up ten days in the PNW and naturally it included a pilgrimage to Powell’s :). I’m currently reading Luke Harding’s A Very Expensive Poison, which stylistically is not entirely my thing (it’s a little too breezy and I generally prefer straighter nonfiction) but the subject matter is of interest. The remainder of the books will arrive in the mail shortly.

Listening: At this very moment Leonard Cohen’s “Who By Fire” is in my head. In the last couple months I’ve been obsessed with the TV show The Americans, noted for its use of fairly extended music sequences, and that song makes an appearance.

Also I was at a wedding Sunday for an old friend (*snif*) and there was a hora, and then Mr. eirias and I were rocking out to “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” while the groom patiently spun Little eirias in a million circles and that was pretty fab :).
posted by eirias at 5:20 AM on July 17, 2018


I'm sorry, I can't hear you right now because I am obsessively consuming the YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS PODCAST about old time Hollywood!

Pretty sure I found this rec on the blue? The stories about the Hollywood system, the blacklist and McCarthyism, Jean Seborg and the FBI, Jane Fonda and the FBI, social movements and how they intersected cinema... So relevant to today... MIND BLOWN.
posted by jbenben at 6:33 AM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I just wanted to add that the podcast "You Must Remember This," further cemented my belief that Fitzgerald's unfinished novel The Love of the Last Tycoon: A Western was the philosophical bookend to The Great Gatsby, both commentaries on capitalism and the "American Experiment."

Studying the minutiae of Hollywood history is a fast track to understanding what's going on today in American politics. There. I said it.
posted by jbenben at 6:37 AM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I recently read Nell Scovell's book Just The Funny Parts about her career writing in television and thought it was excellent.

I also stumbled across Good One - an interview podcast with comedians. You learn how the comedy sausage is made with comedians (Jim Gaffigan, Kristen Schaal, Maria Bamford, Cameron Esposito, Kyle Kinnane, etc.) about some of their signature jokes and how they crafted them. Might need to be a comedy nerd to enjoy but this one sure is.
posted by Twicketface at 6:45 AM on July 17, 2018 [2 favorites]


If you, like me, enjoy small, frequent, "bite-size" podcasts and/or zombies, I would like to introduce you to Mercury: A Broadcast of Hope. Its conceit is that it is a short daily broadcast from a radio station in a post-zombie-apocalypse world, with topics ranging from local news updates about wandering hordes, survival techniques, crazy-ass theories about why the zombies rose (my favorite: "People suddenly became more delicious"), and philosophical musings about where the world was, is, and can be.

To hammer home the "daily broadcast"-ness of it, MABoH does not archive the daily episodes (just the first nine, which set up the premise and introduce the major characters), so it will take you about an hour to "catch up", and then you just get a 5-10 minute episode popping up in your podcatcher each morning.
posted by Etrigan at 6:53 AM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


I just finished (the often-MeFi recommended) Becky Chambers' A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and I wasn't sure I liked it at first, and couldn't quite put my finger on why. Turns out that everyone in the crew is competent, and that was throwing me for a loop, because I'd gotten so used to seeing incompetence everywhere and the lack of it seemed boring.

It is not boring! It just took me a little while to realize it. Anyway, it's a great space book.
posted by minsies at 8:21 AM on July 17, 2018 [1 favorite]


"Cold War" by Cautious Clay exists at a tasty intersection between indie hip hop and indie pop.

"Water on Mars" by The Nude Party is a summer-ready psych/indie/garage rock jam if I ever heard one.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:14 AM on July 19, 2018 [1 favorite]


The History on Fire podcast Is my new obsession. Just finished listening to four hours on the Roman slave rebellions. I’m so happy this exists.

Ransom by David Malouf is a novel that totally blew me away. It’s based on a small section of the Iliad, where Priam goes to Achilles to ransom the body of his son. The language is beautiful, and it’s also about how stories are created. I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without hearing about this writer.

And I had the cataract surgery I recently had an Ask about. I am stunned by the improvement in vision. After fifty years of severe nearsightedness, I can drive without glasses. Out of sheer gratitude, I’ve decided to make a donation to the Himalayan Cataract Project. For every $25 I give them, they can restore one person’s sight.
posted by FencingGal at 6:38 PM on July 19, 2018 [5 favorites]


A friend linked me to this fascinating, well-researched (in blog terms) and also loooong post about the disappearance of Video Rental stores (specifically in the US). It's a really interesting read and well worth one's time.

Great article. We recently moved and have a great curated video store with a deep catalogue about 30 minutes away, but then discovered a small 90's throwback store just 10 minutes away that has been there for 30+ years and it's amazing.
posted by bongo_x at 1:06 PM on July 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


Right now, I'm watching Yellow Submarine, which is one of my favourite films. Anyway, it seems very apposite. The Meanies are, indeed, coming. Indeed they're already here.
posted by Grangousier at 1:37 PM on July 22, 2018


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