Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Consumption diary: September & October 2018

MUSIC: September

It seems likely a couple of old timers will crack my top ten albums of the year list, namely Alejandro Escovedo and Richard Thompson, both of whom released cracking efforts in recent months. I've also been listening to St Lenox's new album, Ten Fables of Young Ambition and Passionate Love, since I got sent an advance copy in early Sept. It didn't grab me as quickly as 2016's Ten Hymns from My American Gothic, but it's definitely a grower. Sometimes it takes a while for a cold fish like me to get love songs.


Less by Andrew Sean Greer (novel, audiobook)

I loved this.

A couple of years ago this would probably have ticked too many of my pet hate boxes. Protagonist is a writer? Check. Revealing who the narrator is as a twist at the end of the novel? Check.

Maybe I'm softening. Or maybe the charm of Greer's novel was sufficient to overcome my native cynicism.

It's comic without being silly. Romantic without being gaga. So: like life, but better.

Highly recommended.

Greenlight by Benjamin Stevenson (novel, audiobook)

An Australian crime novel that is getting a big push on Audible. I liked the sound of the set-up: true crime podcaster turned TV producer gets embroiled in the case that made his career.

Unfortunately, the podcaster/producer aspect was quickly backgrounded and it became a pretty standard affair.

Mayhem by Sigrid Rausing (memoir, audiobook)

Rausing, the publisher of GRANTA, writes about her brother and sister-in-law's drug addiction, ending in the death of her sister in law.

But there's very little about the addicts, and a lot about  addiction and its impact on family, and Rausing's own life and memories.

All finely told, but stringing out a GRANTA-style personal essay to book length memoir made it feel a little... thin.

How to write about music, Edited by Marc Woodworth and Ally-Jane Grossan (non-fiction)

Subtitled "Excerpts from the 33 1/3 series, magazines, books and blogs with advice from industry-leading writers", I bought this book because I wanted to submit a proposal for the open call for the next batch of 33 1/3 books. There's a whole section at the end called, "How to pitch a 33 1/3", which was helpful (but probably not essential).

Despite loving the 33 1/3 series (pocket-sized books about a single, significant album) I was pleased by how much more wide-ranging the sources were, and fairly steamed through the book.

Great writing about music is great writing.

Between the world and me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (non-fiction, audiobook)

The audiobook is read by the author, and I can't imagine receiving the content without Coates' delivery, which sounds a little like slam poetry, only tolerable. The only times I cringed were at the truths Coates delivered with such clarity.

While not everything about US race relations can be applied elsewhere, at a little over 3 hours, it's essential reading/listening for anyone.

Undermajordomo Minor by Patrick de Witt (novel, audiobook)

The narrator here, Simon Prebble, is one of Audiofile's 'Golden Voices' and one of the 'Best Voices of the Century'. I'm not sure how many books I've had him read to me, but I know for sure he's narrated Dickens and Jasper Fforde, and it's the echoes of these two authors that I struggled to shake when listening to de Witt's take on a vague bygone European fable. It's not as obviously funny as Fforde, and not as gripping as Dickens - the stakes never seemed that high - so I never felt swept away.


Better Call Saul (Season 4)
Get it to Te Papa
Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj
Dark Tourist - Season 1 (finished the season after not being that taken with 1 ep in August)
The Most Unknown
Definitely Maybe
The start of the NBA season (can it be the Kings are not a complete trainwreck? current record 4-3 with another game this afternoon... I still think Bagley over Doncic was daft, but let's see where they stand at the end of November).

MUSIC: October

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