Been on a reading/watching/listening tear lately because I’m solo which makes me cranky unless I’m occupying my mind in other ways. When it comes to books, I usually like any book I finish, not because I have no critical acumen but because if I don’t like a book, I never get past the first 50 pages. Some of the ones I’ve finished recently include Freedom
by Jonathan Franzen, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
by Tom Franklin, Fall of Giants
by Ken Follett, Life
by Keith Richards, Galveston
by Nic Pizzolatto (the coolest noir I’ve read in a decade; I tell everyone about this book), and The Red Thread
by Ann Hood. I also read a really kick-ass book in manuscript called Before I Go to Sleep
by S. J. Watson, whom I’ve never heard of before. The book’s like Memento
on crystal meth. I don’t know when it’s being released, though.
TV-wise, I recently got sucked into the first season of In Treatment, which is so not something I thought I’d get caught up in. From the outside, it looked like a navel-gazing, self-absorption-palooza, and at times, yeah, it kinda is. At its worst, it’s like watching 43 episodes of the movie Closer. But the vast majority of the time, it dodges that bullet and it becomes a fascinating trip through the psyches of six patients, their therapist, and their therapist’s therapist. And the acting is about 20 levels beyond what you normally get, even in great TV. Three hundred sixty degrees from that is The Walking Dead, which my wife refuses to believe is great. (She’ll roll with sensitive vampires but finds nothing sexy in flesh-eating undead people; I don’t get it.) But, man, the pilot just blew me out the back of my living room. Just when I was thinking there was going to be a long desert between the end of Mad Men and the start of the fifth season of Friday Night Lights, I got surprised by a rip-roaring, gory as all hell zombie show.
Musically, I’ve been into The National in a way I thought would subside by now but, no, it’s still going strong. I like writing to them, like having them on when I’m putzing around the house, even in the car, where I normally like stuff that I can jack the speakers to and get yet another in an illustrious line of speeding tickets. (American Idiot, for example, has not left one of the slots in my CD player for over five years.) I have no idea what’s in the water in Brooklyn these days but that area is just producing great band after great. Besides The National, it gave us The Hold Steady, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and TV on the Radio, and those are just the ones I’m remembering off the top of my head. So I’ll never be a Yankees fan, but I’ve got much love for Brooklyn. Otherwise, I’ve been into Florence & the Machine, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Santogold, and the soundtrack to The Social Network because I’m a total Trent Reznor geek.