Well, I stayed up to watch the Oscars, and before I knew it I didn't have time for Media Monday. Hence, Media Tuesday: Special Edition.
Despite a significant numerical advantage, the Oscar for Best Picture did not go to a movie that started out as a book. Still, there were some book winners and, all in all, it was a good night for
the French everyone. Maybe The Hunger Games will sweep the awards next year. (Feel free to add your 2013 predictions in the comments below or on Facebook.)
Suki Casanave has a review of Eric Klinenberg's Going Sol The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, which opens by citing "a dramatic demographic trend: the startling increase in adults living alone." She understatedly notes that "Exile once ranked as the severest form of punishment "” a fate worse than death," before continuing that "many people interviewed for Klinenberg's study, however "” from young professionals to divorced middle agers to independent seniors "” attest to the benefits of solo living. They describe feelings of complete freedom, the joy of being able to follow your own schedule, indulge your own habits and focus on your own growth and development instead of always considering or caring for someone else. No compromises. No sacrifices. No attachments. These upbeat singles typically find themselves more socially active, not less." Sounds great to me. I am seriously considering reading this book over the weekend, after my wife and son go to sleep.
Justin Moyer, in his review of Evelyn Toynton's "trim biography" Jackson Pollock, points to her line from the book, "There is something particularly thrilling about watching an artist destroy himself." And Pollock was good at it. Moyer writes, "There was no shortage of aggression and nihilism in Pollock's short life, captured by Toynton, who has also published a novel based on the painter's doomed marriage to fellow artist Lee Krassner." In summary, this book "ably chronicles Pollock's gambol over the edge."
Here's one of those think pieces that winds up in book review sections sometimes. Susan Okie starts the article by asking, "What makes human beings unique? What accounts for our species' planetary dominance, for our self-consciousness and awareness of our mortality, for our impulses to create art, to help others, to cling to our memories of childhood, to believe in a deity, to seek riches or fame?" She then goes on to talk about two books that provide different answers. They are Mark Pagel's Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind and Sebastian Seung's Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are.
The story goes that Mark Salzman was working on a long overdue novel, which had been rejected three times (and maybe for good?), when he started getting nervous and developed his experiences of nerves and not-good-enough writing into a performance piece. That piece was called The Man in the Empty Boat, which also happens to be the name of the e-book that came out of it. In the review, David L. Ulin gives the flavor of the book: "'If the Salzman family had a coat of arms,' he writes in his new memoir The Man in the Empty Boat, the story of his year in the emotional wilderness, 'it would be a shield with a face on it and the face would look worried.' As an example, he describes an encounter just after he dropped out of college in the middle of his junior year. Distraught over what he 'considered to be the meaninglessness of existence,' Salzman went to his father, a social worker, for advice. 'After he'd listened for an hour or so without interrupting,' he writes, '"¦ [my father] pushed his reading glasses a bit higher on his nose, and looked at me for a long time. At last, he gave me a sad little smile and said, 'Welcome.'" Welcome, indeed.
Finally, a novel to talk about. Ellen Ullman's By Blood gets a great review by the LA Times, which calls it "a literary inquiry into identity and legacy" and "a gripping mystery "” remarkable, considering that little more happens than a man eavesdrops on a woman's therapy sessions taking place next door." As you may imagine, there's a little bit more that happens than simple eavesdropping. A whole lot more.
There's also a short excerpt of Kwasi Kwarteng's Ghosts of Empire: Britain's Legacies in the Modern World.
If you haven't heard about Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting, the Times is here to make sure that you do. But not in the way you might think. This book has been everywhere, it's doing quite well on Amazon.com, and many people subscribe to what it has to say about parenting. Not this review. This is a take-down. En garde!.
In light of the recent Oscars (6 out of 9 best film nominees started as books), here are three books that should be made into movies
The Los Angeles Times book prize finalists were announced last week. Winners will be announced on the morning of March 26th.
Charlotte BrontÃ« is having a short story published.
Maybe it's just me, but I love these beloved children's classics as minimalist posters.
Circling back to the Oscars, here's a story about a backstage library at the Oscars.
Finally, I admittedly posted this earlier today, but for those who missed it, here's your 2012 Oscar Winner for Best Animated Short.