Sunday, March 25, 2012

Loss of Religion, Loss of the News, Loss of Bubble Homes: A Bibliophile Post That`s Missing Something

Two men walked into a bar.  The third man stayed home and did a blog post.

This is Bibliophile.

We've got just a smidgen under 1700 items today, so this'll be over before you can say "saturated literary market." 

Cat selector : how to choose the right cat for you / David Alderton.  1st ed. for North America.   Hauppauge, NY : Barron's, 2011.
Considering that every cat I've ever considered my pet was picked by someone else, I thought this might be interesting.   Alderton divides the book into various types of cats: Large cats, Athletic cats,  Very friendly cats, Strange-coated cats, Distinctive cats, and so forth.  I want a large, very friendly, Strange-coated cat.  And if it can help teenagers solve mysteries, so much the better.  It's about time Scooby had some quality competition.

Badiou's Deleuze.   Durham [England] : Acumen, 2012.  Jon Roffe. 
This week's Deleuze offering.   Roffe takes Badiou's book on Deleuze, Deleuze: The Clamor of Being, and reframes it.  He thinks Badiou's refutation of Deleuze is ultimately a failure, but it sheds a new light on D's writing.  Offhand, the only thing I know about both Badiou and Deleuze is that they're French, and I failed to get any further than half way through any book either of them has written.  (And apparently, I've read even less of Badiou, since I confused him with Bachelard, and was counting The Poetics of Space.)

 Altars of ahaz : how a therapeutic culture has blinded us to the claims of the gospel / Evangeline A Thiessen.
Thiessan argues that where people once instinctively turned to God, they now turn to psychology and therapy.  Further, when the Church also adopts this "therapeutic pragramatism,"  it indulges in several compromises: redemption for cure, transformation for being well-adjusted, love for knowledge.  It's a premise that seems to have some steam to it, from the first look.  A critique of the self-help support group nature of modern society and its failings is a popular focus, as evidenced by movies/novels such as Fight Club, though the latter takes much more of a Nietzschean nihilist approach.  I'm not sure, however, that such a switch isn't a change for the better--or that it needs to be either/or.  Priests and pastors have been playing the role of therapist before that role existed--there's a clear connection to be made from confession and the psychiatrist's couch.  While I'd have to read the book, obviously, to make a full assessment, I don't think we have to do one or the other, or that therapy "dulls"  Church's focus.  

Don't wait, vaccinate! : a guide to immunization for Inuit parents and caregivers.   [Ottawa] : Health Canada, c2010.
At first, that title struck me as particularly patronizing.  If there's a case to be made for vaccination, then make it, and treat the audience as grown-ups, not as readers of Dr. Seuss.  Then it occurred to me that the book might be about helping parents tell their kids about vaccinations, in which case the ultimate audience  isn't grown up at all.  So never mind.

Commerce and culture : nineteenth-century business elites / edited by Robert Lee.   Farnham, Surrey ; Burlington, VT : Ashgate, c2011. 
Ever since I  started reading George McDonald Fraser's Flashman series, I've been fascinated with accounts of 19th century history (even fictional accounts).  Everything about the era interests me, except the actual literature, which  bores me to tears.  (I know, I know; bad English major!  No thesaurus for you.)  The book's an anthology, but one that appears to be quite serious in sticking to its theme.  It covers two main topics: role of business culture in commercial success, and the social frameworks for business operations.  Chapters include the Australian Company, European merchants in India and China, New York business elites in 1837, business elites in the Russian Provincial City, German Immigrant Merchants in London, and family connections in Salem.  If you like to mix business with family, then this is the history book for you.

Sex and disability [electronic resource] / Robert McRuer and Anna Mollow, editors.   Durham, N.C. ; London : Duke University Press, 2012.
I've been playing  Katawa Shoujo.  This issue is suddenly relevant to me.  Essay topics incluide: the politics of "voluntary" sterilization of people labeled intellectually disabled (okay, that's a big moral issue); Personality, Disability, and Sex in the 1930s; Sex, HIV, and cultural 'responsibility''; Queer Theory and the disability desire; and Deaf wannabes and the Fetishizing of Hearing.  Disabilities theory has been on the fringes of my radar for quite some time, ever since I almost audited a course on Disability and the Novel.  But I've always felt it was too far out of my range for me to form much of a relevant opinion.  Judging by these topics, I don't see anything to make me reassess that stance.

No nails, no lumber : the bubble houses of Wallace Neff / by Jeffrey Head.  1st ed.   New York : Princeton Architectural Press, c2011. 
I don't often find anything that catches my eye in the architecture section, but bubble houses?  Yeah, I'll check out a bubble house.  The houses in question look like this:

 The idea is that you make the mold of the house using concrete and balloons.  As I understand it, the method is rather inexpensive, since it doesn't require wood and so forth, but never caught on here in North America.  I thought I remembered seeing something of this design in a Saskatchewan major city, but googling the city's name  and "bubble house" just gets references to the every growing real estate market, which in any sane world is a bubble that should have popped years ago.

Losing the news  : the future of the news that feeds democracy / Alex S. Jones.  
Jones argues that the demise of the newspaper industry is damaging the integrity of information, and, with it, the integrity of democracy. Entertainment replaces investigative reporting, and people suffer from media overexposure to all the wrong things.  Jones names Internet culture as the culprit of the demise, which I don't think is quite fair.  First, newspapers are hardly the bastion of truth and important news--that ship sailed in the day of the tabloid.  And second, if you want to look at what's turning news into entertainment, the Internet is just a link in a long line that goes back to broadcast television and radio.  I'll admit that the loss of the newspaper IS a genuine loss, if for no other reason that any diminishment in the diversity of human creativity on such a mass scale is a loss, especially when the medium in question is so intricately tied to our history.  But to say the death of the newspaper spells the death of democracy is to take a very narrow view of them both.  

Death-ray / [by Daniel Clowes].  1st ed.   Montréal, Que., Canada : Drawn and Quarterly ; [New York, N.Y.] : Distributed in the USA by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.
Pogo : the complete syndicated comic strips / by Walt Kelly.   Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, c2011.
Thor : the mighty Avenger / writer, Roger Langridge ; artist, Chris Samnee ; colorist, Matthew Wilson.   New York, N.Y. : Marvel Entertainment, LLC, 2010-2011.
Like a sniper lining up his shot / adapted by Jacques Tardi ; from the novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette ; [edited and translated by Kim Thompson].  1st ed.   Seattle, Wash. : Fantagraphics Books, 2011.
I wanted to group all four of these together to note the diversity of graphic novels that has just been put into circulation.  We have, respectively, a book  that pastiches super heroics to address the darkness of the contemporary teenager; a massive collection of comic strips featuring jungle critters from the early twentieth century; a modern revamping of an iconic comic book /mythological hero; and a French adaptation of a French crime novelist's story featuring a hitman reaching the end of his rope.  I am so enthused about this set that I'm putting a hold on two of the four right now.

Killdeer / Phil Hall.   Toronto : BookThug, 2011. 
A book of reflective essays on poetry and the self.  The description ends with the sentence, "In Fred Wah's phrase, what is offered here is 'the music at the heart of thinking.'"  Normally, my interest in poetry ends at the word "poetry," but what caught my eye here is the name the publisher.  Anything presented by a publisher called "BookThug" can't be all bad.

No two alike / Keith Baker.
A children`s book about two birds that travel through a winter landscape discussing the uniqueness  and significance of life.  I mention it only because the library`s getting two copies, which means that there are two identical bibliographic files in the record.  I am amused by small things.

Noise channels : glitch and error in digital culture / Peter Krapp.   Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, c2011.
Krapp investigates malfunctions and mistakes in digital software, and argues that such gaps create a space for creativity, as evidenced in sound art, hactivism, and machinima.  It`s the kind of book that exists to ameliorate some of the fears regarding technology.  After all, it`s arguing that creativity can not only still persist in the programmed perfection of the digital, but that the digital`s inevitable flaws will feed that creativity.  It`s a sort of John Henry triumph over the machine thing, where we keep technology as tool rather than master.  My patronizing, unfounded thoughts aside, I`m in favor of books like this.  Digital media scholarship, like many forms of scholarship, tends to disappear into its own subcategories, and while equating things like videogames with MP3s and so forth can be problematic, the wide lenses scope is an important study perspective as well.

And that`s all she wrote.  Or all I read, anyway.

Later Days.


No comments: