October 5, 2007

The Weeklies #5

The Weekly Reads. I conquered two books this week - Alan Weisman's The World Without Us and After Dark by Haruki Murakami. Both were excellent. Weisman starts with an interesting premise - what would happen to the earth if all us humans just disappeared? Pulling together studies and experts in many fields, he presents a very interesting idea of a post-human world. Rarely do I read non-fiction but this idea intrigued me. Both the idea and the book itself were wonderfully executed. Weisman managed to avoid being dry or boring and handled the ideas and explanations with a deft sense of humor that made this entirely readable. The polar opposite of science-driven non-fiction is Murakami. I have always enjoyed his books. He's like a whimsical Kafka who writes fairy tales for adults. After Dark, a brief novel, focuses on the lives of two sisters and plays out over a seven hour time period. It might sound boring but it's not. Murakami is masterful and he manages to cram more into 275 pages than most authors could in twice that.

The Weekly Music. I'll admit, I haven't listened to much this week. I did start my day, however, with the entire catalog by The Format. At first listen, this post-punk pop-rock band might seem to target a different demographic than mine. But check the insanely witty, brilliantly written lyrics and they tell another tale. Dog Problems might be their most mature, well-developed album but their debut, Interventions and Lullabies gives it a run for its money in the catchy department. I also gave Ken Andrews' Secrets of the Lost Satellite a spin. Think of a more mellow Nine Inch Nails and you'll get a good idea what the album sounds like. Darn good stuff. Very finally, I'll put in one last plug for the Pearl Jam live collection I mentioned last week. Not only is it darn good, it's fucking good too. It is one long 78-minute singalong with a massive audience. In my opinion, one of the better live albums released ever. Ever.

The Weekly Worst Moment. Last night I said goodbye to a coworker who resigned to take a new job elsewhere. She and I worked together every day for the last four and a half years. It sucked.

The Weekly Best Moment. On Monday, I came home sick. I could barely pry Mia off of me (not that I wanted to). It was an afternoon of non-stop kissing and hugging. It was, quite simply, wonderful.

The Weekly Schadenfreude. The record industry must be shitting their collective pants. Not only are record sales down (like, way down) but a record label-less Radiohead have decided to release their album online. That, in and of itself, is not newsworthy. What is is the fact that they're letting buyers name their own price. Let me say that again - you, the people, can name your own price. And the site is overrun with people signing up to download the album. According to estimates, folks are paying around $0.89 cents a track. The price of an average download. People doing the right thing? Take that, record execs.

The Weekly Picture. From a composition standpoint, this is far from the best picture I've ever taken. But the smile is among the best I've ever captured.

Posted by Chris at October 5, 2007 6:42 AM

I've got The World Without Us on my pile. Thanks for the mini-review.

Posted by: Liz at October 5, 2007 8:53 AM

I'll put that those books on my list to read when winter break rolls around.

Great picture of the kid : )

Posted by: Arwen at October 5, 2007 9:08 AM

I'll put that those books on my list to read when winter break rolls around.

Great picture of the kid : )

Posted by: Arwen at October 5, 2007 9:08 AM

Love the picture, Chris. Really adorable!

Posted by: Maribeth at October 5, 2007 9:16 AM

That is a great smile.

Posted by: Fraulein N at October 5, 2007 9:39 AM

She is a sweetie!!

Have a great weekend.

Posted by: ann adams at October 5, 2007 10:16 AM

Is that book the one that Will Smith is going to be in a movie of? Did that sentence just make sense?

I think the music industry needs to face facts. The downloading is not going to go away. Yay for honest people and yay for Radiohead.

I'm sick, but no longer have little ones around the house to do the hugging and kissing. I miss it.

Posted by: sue at October 5, 2007 10:40 AM

I just got the book World Without Us last night and I cannot put it down. I have never been fond of reading because I could never find something interesting, well this book is intriguing! I feel privileged to have a personal "book recommender"!! Thank you!!

Posted by: Steff at October 5, 2007 12:21 PM

Sometimes those pictures that supposedly don't turn out, are the best ones.

Posted by: Phoenix at October 5, 2007 1:18 PM

What a sweet, sweet smile. Precious.

I'm glad you liked After Dark-- it's sitting on my desk as we speak awaiting its turn in the To Be Read pile, as soon as I finish the book I'm on. Can't wait to get to it!

And LOVE that about Radiohead's new album too. Ha!

Posted by: Sassy at October 5, 2007 3:04 PM

Cute pic! Sorry about your coworker. That would stink.

Posted by: Sabrina at October 5, 2007 3:51 PM

I got home from the library with several books this week (catching up on the last few pieces by John Irving that I never read before), and have had my head stuck in a book all week.

Posted by: Jen at October 5, 2007 8:10 PM

Aw, cutie Mia.

Go, Radiohead!

Posted by: Sphincter at October 5, 2007 8:36 PM

She's so freakin' cute, it hurts.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 6, 2007 12:20 AM

Picture: Peek-a-Boo Mia. Love it.

Posted by: Maria at October 9, 2007 6:10 AM

little late to this party but yeh, we bought the Radiohead album (downloaded it this morning actually) and paid basically $9.99 for it (it had to be converted into some variation of pounds and pence so...). i adore Thom Yorke and still urge you to give Kid A another shot! (it's OK Computer that really blew donkey butt).

Posted by: monique at October 10, 2007 9:13 AM