What Are You Reading?

Following Girish’s lead . . .

Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield — I picked up a copy of Love is a Mix Tape after reading and really enjoying Fluxblog’s threepart interview with Sheffield. His book is a memoir of sorts. In the late-’80s, while a grad student in UVA’s English department, Sheffield met Renee, another music-obsessed writer. The two bonded over Big Star (“Thirteen” was the first dance at their wedding) and spent most of the next decade together. Then, suddenly and impossibly, Renee died. Maybe it’s because I’m so much like Sheffield — a book dork who spent too much of his life alone in his room listening to music before meeting a fiery Southern girl who (warning: cliche ahead) taught him how to love — but I ate this book up.

Suttree by Cormac McCarthy — This is how cool the office where I work is: When I sent out an email suggesting that we start a reading group — an excuse to drink a few beers and enjoy the spring weather after work, really — and when I suggested that we start with Suttree, McCarthy’s Knoxville novel, nearly fifteen people jumped on board. At least one of them has already backed out (those first few pages are work, man), but I’m hoping a few of us will make it all the way through. I’ve decided that the idea for this little project came as a prompt from my subconscious, reminding me of the impending one-year anniversary of my escape from academia. I’m finally eager to read and discuss serious fiction again.

Oldman’s Guide to Outsmarting Wine by Mark Oldman — From now on, whenever anyone I know expresses even the slightest interest in learning more about wine, I’m going to send them a copy of Oldman’s book. It’s a collection of “108 shortcuts” and reads like something from the For Dummies series, except that it’s witty, practical, and genuinely informative.

Experimental Film Books — 2007 is my experimental film year, so I’ve been reading all around the subject, trying my best to coordinate the growing stack of books with my Netflix and GreenCine queues. After reading a bit about The War Game in Amos Vogel’s Film as a Subversive Art, I dove into Peter Watkins’ films. Which in turn led me to the interview in Scott MacDonald’s A Critical Cinema Vol. 2. And since that book also includes a conversation with Ross McElwee, I rented all of his films I hadn’t already seen. (Time Indefinite is so great, I cried.) And then that Kenneth Anger DVD collection came out, so I pulled out my copy of P. Adams Sitney’s Visionary Film, wich I’ve been dipping into as well.

Yasujiro Ozu Books — 2007 is also my Ozu year. I have a massive pile of films to watch and almost as many books. I’ve read about 30 pages each from David Bordwell’s Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema and Donald Richie’s A Hundred Years of Japanese Film and Ozu.