Wednesday, December 31, 2014

two zero one five + a year in review

happy new year all!






























left // this was my favorite book.
right // this was my favorite poem


december
this sketchbook post

november
book spine poems
black and white photography

october
recent reads, with a few of my favorites of the year
when I parted with summer 

september
tales of weird substitute teachers
most of these were done in the summer, when I feel like I really connected in a new way with writing in my sketchbook/diary. it has become one of my favorite ways of understanding and documenting what goes on in my life.

july
packing for and looking back on my trip to Prague.

june
parting with sophomore year

march
an object of interest: a photo from summer

january
thoughts on this coming new year

Sunday, December 28, 2014

recents reads // hit and miss edition


A Widow for One Year by John Irving

I thought this book, characteristic of Irving, was incredibly well written but had painfully old fashioned ideas about gender. It grows even more obvious when he writes from the perspective of a woman, as is the case in this novel about author Ruth Cole. It follows her life, which begins with a somewhat melancholy childhood, through a successful literary career, and everything in between. He is a master of characterization, so it was still a pretty worthwhile read.


The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

Dark, fascinating, and disturbing, this romp into the underworld of meatpacking in industrial revolution era Chicago is no easy read. However, it is a meaty book in more than just subject matter. It's topics are intense but make for interesting discussion. This book will probably turn you into a vegetarian-- read at your own risk.





Everywhere Antennas by Julia Delporte (pictured above)

This graphic novel revolves around the life of the narrator who begins to believe that atennas cause her a distinct sickness. The illustration style is so tender and distinct. It's kind of a trip and somewhat indescribable, and I really enjoyed it. I can already see it influencing my drawing style, it was that powerful.


Youth by J.M. Coetzee

This book. My goodness. The level of sexism in here was so painful and it was masked with an "I am an artiste so I can say exactly how I feel" kind of tone. After a point, it was just ridiculous. The entire short novel was based on the premise that to become an artist a man must find a woman who ignites his flame, and thus a woman can never be a true artist. I also did not care for his barrage of rhetorical questions. I was frustrated by this disappointing book.




Collected Poems by William Carlos Williams (pictured above)

I will gush about this collection on demand-- it was just so beautiful. What he does with spare words is so amazing, almost like painting with words.

There Must Be Some Mistake by Frederick Barthelme

This book is about a washed up architect and graphic artist, prone to sudden sadness, who lives in an apartment complex where a series of (potentially) unconnected tragedies take place. Despite the way I think that just made it sound, I actually found this book very down-to-earth, funny and honest. However, I think this tone took something away from the mystery element. It was a solid book that I would not rave about but would recommend. It has an easy conversational tone, that is enjoyable even though the plot itself fails to deliver.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

films of late

Trainspotting

Trainspotting, the classic Scottish film about heroin addicts, is intense and gritty and disgusting but still completely worth the watch. There is something raw about this existence that is squalor disguised in extreme ecstasy, and it is a film that is oh so alive. It does not go out of its way to be likable, but I think it manages to be in the end.




Picnic at Hanging Rock

Picnic at Hanging Rock is an Australian film about four girls who go missing one day on a picnic. At first I thought it was a science fiction movie, then horror, and then I wasn't really sure any more. The plot was a little strange and aimless, like a dream really, and it was almost driftless. Still, I found it very thought provoking, even if it lacked any direction.




Renoir

Renoir is a French film about the family of the famous artist, who reside in the South of France. It was very pretty, filled with flowery countryside, but lacked a certain amount of substance. Still, it was a solid romance flick if you are in the mood for some escapism.






Control

This film is the story Joy Division lead singer Ian Curtis. He struggles with physical and mental health issues throughout the course of the film, which go somewhat unresolved, as he tries to balance a growing family and a skyrocketing music career. I thought this movie was artfully done, if a bit of a downer. Every shot seemed so well put together-- I would definitely recommend it.



Sunday, December 7, 2014

apple pickin'



A few weeks ago, I went apple picking with my parents. Here are some pictures from that day.






Tuesday, December 2, 2014

favorites of november

some things I have been enjoying this past month. have any recommendations?






Over the past few weeks, I fell in love with the goofy album Salad Days by Mac Demarco. It is so groovy and laid-back, but also really moving, like the epitome of sad surfer music (consider me the president of that fan club). My favorite off this album is definitely "Chamber of Reflection" and off some other albums I really like "Ode to Viceroy" and "My Kind of Woman." 










Beginners was a really wonderful and aesthetically pleasing movie that explores the redeeming power of love. It follows Oliver, whose father comes out as gay at the age of 78, and shortly after finds out that he has terminal cancer. This forces Oliver to address his own relationship failures (romantic and otherwise), as he falls in love with a woman named Anna. It reminded me a lot of the movie Her; both stylistically and in its inclusion people who seem to love loneliness. Definitely a must-see.





by Helen Oyeyemi



This book raises a lot of interesting questions, with a fast-paced start, but peters out towards the end and has little time to answer all the questions it raises. Still, Oyeyemi is a master of coming-of-age tales, and makes strange insights into the way we view ourselves. Her "fairytale" like narrative blends the surreal with the real in a really beautiful war. Boy, Snow, Bird follows Boy Novak, who escapes a difficult childhood to small-town Massachusetts. She marries, and finds herself growing into a wicked stepmother she never expected. Though I found the plot of this book somewhat underwhelming, I would be interesting in reading something else by this author, if only for the prose. 

“For reasons of my own I take note of the way people act when they’re around mirrors.”