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The Wind-up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murukami Books My curiousity about this author was piqued by the inescapable buzz about his latest release. As far as "literary" works go I'm more old school in my tastes but darth had the e-book and he sent it to me. I'm still not entirely sure what to make of it but the writing is strangely compelling. 26/02/05 Match
Collected Poems Donald Justice Books This book had me smiling from the dedication (to Justice's parents) to grinning gleefully as we read the first poem "Anniversaries". The glee did not last long as not all of Justice's poems are joyous but there remained the basic, body-glowing pleasure of finding a poet who affected me personally as well as intellectually. When I read " The Poet at Seven" to a friend I giggled, bringing the book to my face and said, "I've found my true love," with eyes sparkling. An odd sentiment to be sure as the poem is not a completely happy one but it was *familiar*. So familiar. 16/02/05 Match
The Selected Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke Translated & edited by Stephen Mitchell Books These poems put me in a quiet, contemplative, introspective mood. My "ears" are cocked in order to catch the slightest wisp of knowledge that could escape my mind's eye. I don't know if Rilke is a poet I could ever love with warmth: there is some distance still between us despite my mind's absorption. Perhaps this will change by the end of the book. 16/02/05 Match
Silent Alarm Bloc Party Music Technically I shouldn't have this because it's not scheduled for release in North America until next month. But the awesome tracks were there for the taking and I couldn't resist (and I love them so I'll buy it anyway). I think I love this one even more than the EP: Luno and Blue Light are my current faves and I can't wait till they tour here! I'll be there with bells on dahlings! 12/02/05 Match
Seven Easy Pieces The Detroit Cobras Music I am unhappy to report that I'm not at all pleased with this release from this favourite group of mine. The tracks aren't bad they're just particularly unimpressive with only the last two tracks making anything of an impression. I suppose it may grow on me. 08/02/05 Match
Other Voices, Other Rooms Nanci Griffith Music An online acquaintance asked me if I liked country and if so, what kind. I explained that I was into oooold Patsy Montana type traditional cowboy music, none of that new fangled McGraw crap. As usual he hit my button by recommending this CD. Here Griffith's covers a lot of the old greats with "Nightrider's Lament" being my favourite as I always loved that one. 05/02/05 Match
The Brak Show Adult Swim DVD I first became a big fan of Brak through episodes of SGC2C and wish fulfillment came in the form of Brak getting his own show! I love his songs, his sense of humour and his wanna be comedian father. The songs made for the DVD to play over the menu options are hilarious: I definitely want Brak under my armpit as I listen to commentary. 05/02/05 Match
Survivor In Death J.D. Robb Books This is one of my favourite series ever purely for sheer pop entertainment and I was quite eager for this release. The murder mystery part of the book is solid and it's always great to reunite with all the familiar characters dealing with a solid case. The romantic bits seem repetitive, over-sentimental and boring. Thankfully these seem to be at a minimum. It's was a great read. 02/02/05 Match
Renee Fleming Charles Mackerras, London Philharmonic Orchestra & Renee Fleming Music Most of the music on this album is fairly popular arias that the general public will recongize by melody and opera fans will have several versions of. However I really love Fleming's performance of many of these and the instrumental support provided by the London Philharmonic is excellent (as always) 31/01/05 Match
A Quiet Normal Life: The Best of Warren Zevon Warren Zevon Music The track "Desperados Under the Eaves" single-handedly makes this album a "must-have", let alone the personally relevant "Accidentally like a Martyr". His lyrics are often sombre and morbid, but always thoughtful, often entertaining and the musical arrangements are not to be missed. 25/01/05 Match
Lightning Fred Stenson Books This is the second from my "New Author" purchases, the first being "Disgrace". It's a Western written by an allegedly good Canadian author and the beginning has started well. I'll update this spot as I read more. 25/01/05 Match
The Complete Riverside Recordings Thelonious Monk Music I'm in heaven. Sweet, sweet, Bebop heaven. 19/01/05 Match
Disgrace J. M. Coetzee Books It's an interesting text about a disconnected male protagonist attempting to realize his place in the world regarding his work, his daughter and his own identity in post-Apartheid South Africa. I'd never clearly "seen" how a traumatic event can age you mentally until a passage written here. It was very simply written and yet to the point. I'd definitely be interested in reading more from him. 17/01/05 Match
London Calling The Clash Music I was nervous about acquiring this CD: every one I knew who had it praised it unconditionally. However I had heard some music from the Ramone's and I didn't really get into it. I am relieved and wholly delighted to say that I FUCKING LOVE IT: the lyrics, the music, it's perfect. Yes, I know I'm late again to yet another party but I'm practically a kid. :p 12/01/05 Match
At the Blackhawk Thelonious Monk Music This, I think, is Monk somewhat on automatic pilot. It's a great live session, and the horns add a energetic touch to the jam, with Monk playing well as we all would expect to him. I'm just not bowled over by it. It's still a great album to have with "'Round Midnight" & "San Francisco Holiday (Worry Later)" being my favourite tracks. 11/01/05 Match
Turn On The Bright Lights Interpol Music My favourite song for a while was "Evil" off their second album: a great little song but not interesting enough for me to buy the album. As usual many of their fans said that their debut album was better, so I decided to check it out. I like it well enough: the spacy mixed with the rock and the odd vocals of Ian Curtis make for a cool album. I won't be getting the second as I think one album from this group is enough :P. 11/01/05 Match
Bloc Party [EP] Bloc Party Music Here's a poppy, post-punk, whiff of the 80's with a smidgen of electronica sound served up by Bloc Party. They're an indie band from England (w00t!) with a cute lead singer (w00t!!) and they're doing a good job of finding what makes them tick musically. "Banquet" (my new favourite song) and "The Answer" are the two best tracks but they are all, on a whole, an enjoyable mix. 10/01/05 Match
Real Gone Tom Waits Music I was hesitant about getting any of his 90's work because I assumed the sound would be quite different and not to my liking. I took the plunge with his latest and was delighted that such was not the case. Reminiscent of "Rain Dogs" (but not a copy) we have more of the growly, quirky experimental Waits. I dig it. 10/01/05 Match
Astral Weeks Van Morrison Music I think that this album is poised to become a favourite of mine. I find a lot of the songs to be similar to "Common One" in the way the songs develop: a meandering, gradual build-up unlike the typical pop song format. Marvellous. 02/01/05 Match
The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill Lauryn Hill Music I don't REALLY need to tell you how fucking awesome this album is, do I? I didn't think so. 30/12/04 Match
A Short History of Nearly Everything Bill Bryson Books After having it for over a month I decided to give it a go as I was in dire need of some non-fiction. It's started off well and I've already marked down things for further casual research if he doesn't cover it in the book. Bill Bryson's a safe bet for entertaining reading. 26/12/04 Match
Dusty in Memphis Dusty Springfield Music It's a great oldies album that I'll rock to often. 21/12/04 Match
Return of the King Extended Edition Peter Jackson DVD A thrilling movie. I have my gripes but there were some lovely additions to this film and I had a fun time with it. I can't WAIT to swim in the extras. And oh yes that LOTR marathon is on my schedule. Believe it. 15/12/04 Match
Nina Simone's Finest Hour Nina Simone Music Here is another great about whom so much has been said, heaping more praise seems almost redundant. This is an album of live tracks with Simone doing what I like best: singing her heart out with sparse piano and mostly bare orchestral accompaniment. "Little Girl Blue" has always been a favourite of mine and she does it beautifully here. 07/12/04 Match
John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman Music This is the sort of music one plays when you want to get into the mood, if you know what I mean. ;-) The jazalicious saxaphone of Coltrane and the smooth, smooth crooning of Hartman is a match made in heaven. Enough has been said about these two greats, just go get the album. 06/12/04 Match
Hero Zhang Yimou (Not Tarantino) DVD This is one of the best films I've seen all year. I have the Chinese release DVD but wanted the Miramax version as the English sub-titles are better by far on their release. Okay, I take that back the extras were actually pretty good. 01/12/04 Match
Rain Dogs Tom Waits Music This is the 2nd in a trilogy of albums Waits did in the mid 80's. I was barely a year old when this was released. This effort is a lot quirkier and more experimental than "Closing Times" with odd but interesting choices of instruments and sound effects: very reminiscent of circus-type music (but excellent, it really is!). Then he'll go straight into Rock and Roll. Gotta love him. 01/12/04 Match
One for the Money Janet Evanovich Books Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series was recommended to me because of my love for the earlier releases of the Anita Blake series. I read the first few pages on Amazon and all I can say is...wish me luck. 27/11/04 Match
Birds, Beast and Flowers D. H. Lawrence Books Here's a poetry collection by one of the few modern poets I actively adore. I had read it ages ago and after buying the Hem CD decided to get it. He often employs a direct conversational style that works well with the sensuality in his fruit poems. Additionally he can paint images in your mind with words like so few can and I enjoy his somewhat heavy use of greek/roman mythological references and images. I'll never be able to look at an almond tree the same way again. 25/11/04 Match
XO Elliott Smith Music I held off on posting this CD because, like Sun Kil Moon, the lyrics are the highlight of this album and a quirk of mine is that I typically don't pay attention to lyrics. The instrumental music or a distinct voice has to lure me in somehow and Elliott Smith didn't do that for me. When I sat down to look at 'em they were great: contemplative and melancholic but interesting. The music just doesn't lure me into it. It still is a good album, I'm just the one with the strange quirk. 23/11/04 Match
Space Ghost, Coast to Coast Adult Swim DVD Another frickin' hilarious volume of nonsensical, whacky late night talk show episodes with our favourite host Space Ghost! I haven't finished watching it yet but the episode with Carrot top was great in an "Ew, what a dumb freak" sort of way. And wtf was up with that guitar player? 22/11/04 Match
Songbird Eva Cassidy Music A lovely gem of a CD done by a remarkable singer who was pretty much undiscovered in her lifetime. She does wonderful turns on old gospel and pop favourites, giving them a new and fresh air. Her cover of "Fields of God" is a real tearjerker. 22/11/04 Match
Moondance Van Morrison Music Yes, I am late to the party but hey I'm just a kid! Great album by a great singer. I especially love the clavinette in "Everyone". As much I enjoy it, I think I prefer "Common One". 19/11/04 Match
Winter's Tale Mark Helprin Books A Darth recommendation (tm), it's been a great read so far. I've only reached page 47 or so and already I've been delighted, shocked, saddened, anxious and amused. It's one of those great books you just know works at several levels and each of them are completely satisfying. 18/11/04 Match
Firesong William Nicholson Books This is a little late in the telling as I've already finished this book and it was a fantastic ending to a trilogy that ended up being so much more than I expected it to be. The writing was particularly lovely when describing the relationship between the twins, and that young characters all come into their own so well. It's head and shoulders above many YA books I think: much darker in some areas than one would expect. I can't recommend this series enough. 17/11/04 Match
Aqua Teen hunger Force Volume III Adult Swim DVD It's one of my favourite tv shows and no longer having a tv (temporarily) I've been assiduously buying the DVD's. Most of the episodes are hilarious, my favourites being "Frat Aliens", "Kidney Car" and "The Clowning" (to name a few). The ambitious "The Last One" is a complete dud as are most of the extras on this set; a real disappointment for me as I usually look forward to them. Lame music videos, and "Script pages" where the character voices are done in the background while the camera moves down an actual script. Uhh...neato. 17/11/04 Match
Closing Time Tom Waits Music A Darth Recommendation (tm) this album has single-handedly pushed Tom Waits into the highly coveted "Arethusa's favourite" list. The lyrics are intuitive, conversational, contemplative and nostalgic delivered by a voice of experience and clear sincerity, with the music a mix of jazz and good rock n' roll. How could I have lived so long without listening to this man's music? 15/11/04 Match
Birds, Beast and Flowers Hem + Autumn Defense Music Hem sure likes their D H Lawrence: first it was "Eveningland" and now we have "Birds, Beasts and Flowers" a 6 track album with Autumn Defense. The music on each live Hem track, especially Half Acre and Pacific Street, are achingly lovely. The singing on the first is done at a plodding pace but does not detract too much from the song. Sure there are Autumn Defense tracks here but I got it for Hem. 15/11/04 Match
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Susanna Clarke Books Ok after forgetting about it for quite a few weeks I'm back with it again. I forgot how amusing and entertaining it is. I just heard that New Line acquired the film rights to this book. Umm...ok. 14/11/04 Match
Central Reservation Beth Orton Music I bought this CD more than a week ago but I had no compulsion to post about it as neither the first or second listen had left me impressed. In picking out a few tracks to play for a friend who prefers this sort of singer I found myself really liking the tracks as well. This smooth mix of electronica and folksy is growing on me. 14/11/04 Match
Greatest Hits (Limited Edition with Bonus Disc) The Cure Music It's a decent two disc set. I did not know much about the cure or its music before I bought this. The acoustic CD is a mixed bag as a lot of the songs sound the same as the studio versions but there are a few gems. A great example of GOOD 80's music. 09/11/04 Match
Slaves of the Mastery William Nicholson Books Another Darth Reccommendation (tm) this is book two in a wonderful Young Adult fantasy trilogy. In the first book we were presented with a city whose inhabitant's lives were completely decided by test scores. The Hath family members each in their own helped to get rid of that system but a nearing army becomes another danger for them and the city to face. It's a wonderfully intriguing and delightful work so far; the new characters introduced are a great mix of the horrible-that wretched army general-and the hilariously endearing-the beautiful Princess Johdila. 06/11/04 Match
The Demon's Daughter Emma Holly Books This book is a recent release from my favourite erotica author ever! Since this is a Berkely sensation there may be more "romance" but it's still pretty hot and as usual the characters are somewhat complicated and more interesting than what's found in the usual erotica/romance novel. Shitty cover though. 04/11/04 Match
Sons and Lovers D. H. Lawrence Books I've been a fan of the man ever since I read "Women in Love" in HS but somehow never got around to reading his first successful work. From what I've read about it it has much to do with the working class of England and Oedipus love but I'll give a more personal take in this space when I'm done. I find Lawrence to be one of the most "readable" of those considered classic authors 04/11/04 Match
Love, Life and Leaving The Detroit Cobras Music This is their second full-length album release. It's less "garage rock"-ey IMO as it's more obviously produced and so it has a much smoother sound that the first but of course still a great, great listen. 04/11/04 Match
Mink, Rat or Rabbit The Detroit Cobras Music Awesome, awesome, awesome. I heard them on Little Radio (great internet radio) and went to buy their albums immediately. They're a garage rock band that do covers of 40's and 50's song. 04/11/04 Match
Ghosts of the Great Highway Sun Kil Moon Music This album baffles me as much as it pleases me. It's not really folk, or pop, or rock. The lyrics are truly the highlight of the album. Check out some of the samples at Amazon, it's great stuff. 29/10/04 Match
Let's Bottle Bohemia The Thrills Music Another fantastic album from this Irish pop group. The tracks are all amazing; the sound is the same but the melodies are different enough to keep you enchanted. The bonus track is my favourite so far: it's an instrumental dominated by strings. I've only listened to it twice but rest assured this one will be played often, especially on my radio show. 29/10/04 Match
Famous Blue Raincoat Jennifer Warnes Music I was never a fan of Leonard Cohen, the singer. His lyrics are awesome but I usually preferred just about anyone else's cover version. With "Famous Blue Raincoat" I fall in love with Warnes who takes his music and makes it fresh and wonderful 25/10/04 Match
Hero soundtrack Tan Dun Music Supposedly very similar to the "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" soundtrack so many fans were disappointed. Luckily enough I don't remember a blessed thing about it, and although the theme is repeated throughout most of the tracks I still enjoy it. Special props to KODO. 25/10/04 Match