Checking in!

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

I am at work on a discussion that is proving exhausting, but is strangely therapeutic given recent events in my life. I hope to have the discussion finished by the beginning of next week. At the risk of spoiling my upcoming review, Every Cradle Is a Grave: Rethinking the Ethics of Birth and Suicide by Sarah Perry is a book you need to get and read.  This book is a paradigm changer, and an important book for those of us who live in Western countries where it is difficult to discuss death intelligently, let alone suicide, let alone why suicide can ultimately be an act of great self-awareness.

I also received the latest Biblio-Curiosa edition, the excellent weird book/author ‘zine by Chris Mikul.  This issue focuses on children’s books and I can’t wait to read it.  Interestingly, I am also currently reading Mikul’s book on weird folk, The Eccentropedia: The Most Unusual People Who Have Ever Lived. The Eccentropedia caused me to start researching Eloise Bosquet, Baroness Wagner, a somewhat foul woman who brought a ton of drama and murder to the Galapagos Island chain, which then led to watching The Galapagos Affair on Netflix.

Adding to delays is that my book shift this year is taking longer than usual. At the beginning of each new calendar year, I make small changes to the ways my books are shelved, mainly because toward the end of the year Mr Oddbooks and I accumulate hundreds of new books, through gifts and Christmas shopping. These shifts entail emptying all shelves in order to clean them and then cleaning each book. I don’t know how many books we have because often books can get shelved before I document them, but I think we’re clocking in around 4,000 minimum. Given how easily distracted I have been, it’s taking me far longer to complete this task than anticipated.

I’ve also noticed that Pseudo Occult Media posted a few new entries in 2013. It looked like the site had been abandoned since 2010 so I hadn’t checked on it in a while, so these new entries were a pleasant surprise. I’ve referenced the site here before because even if one dismisses the notion that the Monarch Project has infested every tier of entertainment worldwide, the research that goes into the entries is something to behold. If you like people going on at length, which seems likely if you are reading here, Pseudo Occult Media will be right up your alley.  If nothing else, the author of the site shows how little originality there is in visual media. Once you read this site you’ll become annoyed at how often you see checkerboards, butterflies, Alice in Wonderland themes, faces half-occluded by hair or in mirrors, and broken mirrors in music videos, model spreads, movies and television.

Hopefully I will see you all early next week. Feel free to use the comments here to let me know what you’re reading/watching/listening to/avoiding.

14 thoughts on “Checking in!

  1. I’m reading a short story anthology that is — three stories in, anyway — so awful that it’s causing me actual pain. A selection of quotes:

    “I woke, caked in vomit and pain as the sun arose, and trickled down to the beach, relishing the cool salt breeze on my chapped face.”

    “The once refreshing bottled beer now tastes like piss as it dances upon my disapproving tongue.”

    Help me I am in hell.

  2. “For fuck sakes Karen.” Craig turned off the television and stood up from the couch to face her, his face crinkled with worry. “The asteroid that was supposed to miss us is on a new course. It’s heading straight for earth and scientists confirmed we’re all going to die.”

    help me

        1. Following! OMG! You should really list the names of the books so that others can decide to revel along with you, should they so choose! Also, piss dancing on the tongue. ON THE TONGUE!

  3. I read Patton Oswalt’s new book, “Silver Screen Fiend.” Pretty good, but I was disappointed that the last quarter of the book was literally just a list of movies that he’d seen in a given time period.

    On the other hand, it led me to the work of Jonathan Carroll, a magical realist who I’m enjoying quite a bit. I read his first novel, “The Land of Laughs,” which I liked a lot, and then his collection of short stories, “The Woman Who Married a Cloud,” which was by turns boring and truly exceptional. I recommend the latter, because some of those stories are really, really fucking good.

    1. Had not heard of Jonathan Carroll until your comment. I am adding the short story collection to my “to obtain” list. I can handle boring if it is followed or preceded by the exceptional, or at least I can in a short story collection. Doesn’t seem to work that way with novels.

      I have Oswalt’s Zombie Spaceship Wasteland on my shelves and have yet to read it. I think I’ve been putting it off because I really love Oswalt’s body of work up to now and worry that the book will stink so badly it will taint my opinion of him.

      1. I kinda liked Zombie Spaceship Wasteland. Occasional dips into surreal humor and also reminded me of a more biting Jean Shepherd at times. But I can understand being turned off by it, too.

  4. I’ve been wanting to read Sarah Perry’s book. She has some great articles up at her Sister Y blog.

    Right now, I’m reading Gore Vidal’s LINCOLN. I really like it. It’s interesting to read such an unromanticized portrayal of someone who is viewed as such a saint. At the end of the day, Lincoln was still a politician.

    Earlier, I watched SERIAL MOM. It was a fun watch, despite some of its flaws. The titular character was charmingly sociopathic through most of the film, but the trial scenes towards the end made me hate her. And not in the way your supposed to hate the villain of a film. It managed to redeem itself at the very end for me.

    Two albums I’ve really been digging lately

    Glows Then Melts by Skeleton Lipstick:

    80s inspired LoFi Indie Pop. He’s also done a soundtrack for Cronenberg’s CRIMES OF THE FUTURE ( I haven’t watched it yet, but I will soon. I love Cronenberg.

    An Empty Bliss Beyond This World by The Caretaker:

    This album is just hauntingly beautiful. It’s based around the idea that music is that last thing that people with Alzheimer’s lose in their memory.

    1. Have you listened to Selections from the Haunted Ballroom? I really liked that one, though I’ve been middling on other Caretaker albums.

    2. Wow, I need to look into all that music, Ben.

      The last John Waters’ film I really loved was Hairspray. Since then everything has been too kitschy and forced, though I still watch the films. A bad John Waters film is still wonderful.

      I recall watching an interview with Kathleen Turner wherein she discussed the scene where she punched Patty Hearst’s character. She said that she was impressed at how well Hearst took direction and told her she really looked like she knew how to take a punch. Then she remembered…

  5. I recently finished Supervert’s Post Depravity. An amazing work. Best described as industrial music (oldschool, real industrial ala early SPK, Throbbing Gristle, Ramleh, etc) in literary form.

    1. I got a copy of Post Depravity for Christmas. I can’t wait to read it.

      Funny you should mention old school industrial. I found a copy of Re/Search’s Industrial Culture Handbook in the dollar section at Half-Price Books. I was so stoked to find such a deal and then realized I was old because in the old days a book like that wouldn’t have stayed on the shelves long enough to be discounted. Bleah.

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