Sowa – Marzi

Marzi: a memoir by Marzena Sowa, with art by Sylvain Savoia; translated by Anjali Singh
Date read: 23 February – 12 March 2017
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc, 2017nfc, 2017trans

Marzi: a memoir by Marzena Sowa, with art by Sylvain Savoia

Oversize paperback, 230 pages
First American edition published 2011 by DC Comics. Published by arrangement with Mediatoon Licensing, France. Original title: Marzi – L’Integrale 1  – La Pologne vue par les yeux d’une enfant
Source: Deschutes Public Library [Graphic Novel SOWA MARZENA]

I quite appreciated and enjoyed this memoir of young girl growing up in 1980s Poland. While Sowa may have experienced them quite differently, many of the topics and events that she covers are also touchstones for me as I spent much of my time in Europe in the 1980s and both of my children were born there (1980 and 1983).

These are some of the big events/topics she covers and dates from Wikipedia:

  • The Polish Pope, John Paul II       16 October 1978 – 2 April 2005
  • Solidarity / Solidarność                  founded on 17 September 1980
  • Martial law Poland                          December 13, 1981 to July 22, 1983
  • Chernobyl                                       26 April 1986
  • Tiananmen Square                         04 June 1989
  • fall of the Berlin Wall                       began the evening of 9 November 1989

I was in Germany the first time when Pope John Paul II was elected and for the rise of Solidarity. I quite well remember the declaration of martial law in Poland. I was stationed on a nuclear missile site in then West Germany and the entirety of the US military in Europe went on high alert.

When Chernobyl happened I was stationed in Belgium and well remember not being able to eat certain food products for months.

I found her young, but lived, experience of and reactions to TV, religion, visiting rural relatives for farming and vacation, living in a high-rise and stairwell culture, American toothpaste, food lines, and so on to be interesting and empathy building. I, too, have experienced sides of many of these but certainly not all and often not to the extent she did.

Highly recommended!

This is the 21st book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc] and the 9th reviewed.

This is the 2nd book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge [2017trans]. Whoa! I am way behind on this!

This is the 9th book in my 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

Image for 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

 

Lewis, et al. – March, Book One to Three

March, Book One to Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (art)
Date read: One 12 January 2017; Two and Three 13 January 2017
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017gnc, 2017look, 2017nfc

Cover image of March, Book One by John Lewis, et al.Cover image of March, Book Two by John Lewis, et al.Cover image of March, Book Three by John Lewis, et al.

Paperback, 121, 179, 246 pages
Published 2013, 2015, 2016 by Top Shelf Productions
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [E840.8 .L43 A3 2013 v.1 / 2015 v.2 / 2016 v.3]

My timing for reading books is kind of uncanny lately. We started reading Berger’s book the night before he died and thanks to COCC getting these and putting them on the new book shelf I was able to read Rep. John Lewis’ autobiographical graphic novel series just before that jackass Donald Trump attacked this icon of the civil rights movement and American hero.

I truly enjoyed these books. They did a wonderful job bringing together some things I have heard about vaguely over the years of my life but should have known more about.

President Obama’s first inauguration provides the bookends to the series, along with being woven throughout it.

The sense of personal duty to others and to the cause of justice and humanity is in the forefront of these books. One would be hard pressed to not come away with a profound respect for John Lewis and the many others who put their lives on the line to make America a better place.

The march on Washington, the lunch counter sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, Martin Luther King, Julian Bond, Malcolm X, SNCC, the Voting Rights Act, and many other events and icons of the civil rights movement are all here.

U.S. Representative John Lewis represents Georgia’s 5th congressional district which covers much of urban Atlanta. He was elected to this position in November 1986 and has held it ever since. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 by President Obama.

I highly recommend this series. Being graphic novels they are a quick read but provide enough coverage of the people and events of the time that one could easily branch out to learn more about them as one wished.

If you are at all confused as to why people are upset Trump attacked this man then you need to read these books. Trump is the worst sort of jackass and learning about those he attacks will be one of the best ways to understand how truly damaged and damaging he is.

This is the 3rd – 5th books in my 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2017gnc]

Image for 2017 10th Annual Graphic Novel & Manga Reading Challenge

Designed by Nicola Mansfield

This is the 3rd – 5th books in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc]
and 2nd – 4th reviews.

These books count for the categories: A book a friend recommended (Angel Rivera), Post-election understanding, and a microhistory, in my 2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge. With these categories I have now completed 16 of the goal of 30 out of 40 categories. Not bad for the first half of January.

2017 Books To Read Challenge (personal)

This reading challenge–the “Books To Read Challenge (personal)”–is my own attempt to whittle down the to-be-read pile and I have it done it for a couple of years now. In fact, some of these books have been on those previous lists.  They reside on my 2017poss shelf in Goodreads.

There are a total of 85 books which includes some 8 on pause. Of these I challenge myself to complete 2 from each of the 16 categories and a total of 35.

Maybe by upping this number quite a bit—aimed for 12 of 44 in 2016—I will do better at getting through some of these. Then again, I know that’s a laugh because other books will continue to show up and there are already more than 1150 others on the Goodreads to-be-read shelf.

Beer and Brewing

  • Amber, Gold & Black – Cornell
  • The Complete Beer Course: Boot Camp …: From Novice to Expert in Twelve Tasting Classes – Joshua Bernstein
  • Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements) – John J. Palmer and Kaminski
  • New Brewing Lager – Noonan
  • The Brewer’s Companion – Mosher
  • The Homebrewer’s Companion – Papazian
  • Pubs and progressives : reinventing the public house in England, 1896-1960 – Gutzke

Central Oregon

  • Hiking Oregon’s History – William L. Sullivan    
  • The Deschutes River Railroad War – Speroff
  • Oregon’s Dry Side – St. John

Erotica

  • The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica – Caraway, ed.
  • The Jade Door – Chaiko
  • Burlesque and the Art of the Teese / Fetish and the Art of the Teese – Dita Von Teese, Bronwyn Garrity

History

  • Bettie Page: The Life of a Pin-Up Legend – Karen Essex
  • The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse – Brian Cowan
  • Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage – Stephanie Coontz
  • Hip Hop Family Tree – Piskor
  • Hoptopia – Kopp

Librariana

  • Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age – Alex Wright
  • Everyday Information: The Evolution of Information Seeking in America – Aspray & Hayes, eds.
  • Language and Representation  in Information Retrieval – Blair
  • What is Documentation? – Briet [translation]

Language [Language and related]

  • Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything – David Bellos
  • Integrationist Notes and Papers 2014 – Roy Harris
  • Basic Color Terms – Berlin & Kay
  • The Unfolding of Language – Deutscher

Literature [(lit, poetry, essays, short stories) and literary theory]

  • The Literary Mind: The Origins of Thought and Language – Mark Turner
  • Imagination in Place: Essays – Wendell Berry
  • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler – Italo Calvino [translation]
  • Seven Gothic Tales – Isak Dinesen
  • Collected Fictions – Borges [translation]
  • Scenes of Clerical Life – Eliot [which ed.?]
  • Bouvard and Pecuchet – Flaubert [translation] [which ed.?]
  • The Little Town Where Time Stood Still – Hrabal [translation] [which ed.?]
  • The Things We Don’t Do – Neumann [translation, short stories] [2015 Open Letter ed.]

Philosophy [loosely defined]

  • Culture in Mind: Cognition, Culture, and the Problem of Meaning – Bradd Shore
  • The Sovereignty of Good – Iris Murdoch
  • You Must Change Your Life: Poetry, Philosophy, and the Birth of Sense – John T. Lysacker
  • Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals – Mark Edmundson
  • Conjectures & Confrontations – Fox
  • Philosophy on Tap – Lawrence

Post 2016 Election

  • Islam: A Short History – Armstrong
  • Farnsworth’s Classical English Rhetoric – Farnsworth
  • Shaming the Devil – Jacobs
  • Wickedness – Midgley
  • Dead Feminists – O’Leary
  • Purity and Danger – Douglas

Renewal

  • The Wayward Mind: An Intimate History of the Unconscious – Guy Claxton
  • Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict – Tsultrim Allione
  • Soul: An Anthology – Cousineau
  • Chi Walking – Dreyer
  • Healing Trauma – Levine

Sex & Gender

  • Straight: The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality – Hanne Blank
  • Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation – Elissa Stein
  • Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction – Cheever
  • A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis – Friedman

Tech & Software

  • Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas – Seymour Papert
  • Just My Type: A Book About Fonts – Garfield
  • Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation – Pollan
  • Abuse of Language—Abuse of Power – Josef Pieper, Lothar Krauth [translation]

Wander

  • The Practice of Everyday Life – de Certeau [translation, philosophy]
  • Selected Stories – Walser [translation, short stories]
  • The Walker’s Guide to Outdoor Clues and Signs – Gooley
  • The Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness – Solnit, or one of her others
  • Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder – Taleb

Assorted/Too Lazy to Classify

  • How to Worry Less about Money – John Armstrong
  • Myths, Dream and Mysteries – Eliade
  • Taste – Stuckey [science]
  • Home Comforts – Mendelson

Re-reads

  • Eros the Bittersweet – Carson [renewal]
  • Reverence – Woodruff [renewal]
  • On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year – Roripaugh [poems]
  • What Do We Know – Oliver [poems]
  • Ambitious Brew – Ogle [beer]
  • Wisdom, Information and Wonder – Midgley [philosophy]
  • Middlemarch – Eliot [lit]
  • Winter Hours – Oliver [poems]

On Pause

  • Second-Hand Knowledge: An Inquiry into Cognitive Authority – Patrick Wilson [Philosophy]
  • Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight – James Atlee [Assorted]
  • Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: Taosports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business, and Life – Chungliang Al Huang & Jerry Lynch [Assorted]
  • Take Control of Automating Your Mac – Joe Kissell [Tech & Software]
  • The Good Rain: Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest – Timothy Egan [DPL ebook]
  • The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason – Mark Johnson [Philosophy, Renewal]
  • Full Catastrophe Living – Kabat-Zinn
  • The Breathing Book – Farhi

Clearly some of these books could go in other of these categories. There are also other categories I am tracking not in this list but all of those are covered by something here.

To recap, of a total of 85 books (which includes some 8 on pause) I challenge myself to complete 2 from each of the 16 categories and a total of 35.

Immonen & Immonen – Moving Pictures

Moving Pictures by Kathryn Immonen & Stuart Immonen

Date read: 10 April 2016
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016gnc

Cover image of Moving Pictures by Kathryn Immonen & Stuart Immonen

Paperback, 136 pages
Published 2010 by Top Shelf Productions
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [PN6727 .I466 M68 2010]

From inside front cover flap:

“During the Second World War, French efforts to inventory, categorize and hide the collections of the major galleries collided with the German Military Art Commission’s attempt to do the same.

This is (not) that story.”

But it is. Or a part of a small one based on that historical storyline.

The flap goes on but I am omitting it because I think it seriously oversells the work. I just wasn’t that impressed after that (admittedly short) sales job. I guess the story can be described as it is but whatever. It was OK but not amazing.

Lots of artists names, and some titles and images of artworks, are thrown around and it is historically-based fiction.

But. Meh.

This is the 23rd book in my 2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

Books read in 2015

It looks like I read 171 titles in 2015 with another 7 re-read which were previously read in other years and 2 re-read which were also first read in 2015. There were, of course, titles skimmed, put on pause and given up on.

This year I have been tracking my reading in a Google Sheet and at Goodreads. Still working out workflow for this mess of an activity; i.e., tracking book reading.

The first grouping will be data from my Google Sheet, followed by some from Goodreads, links to previous 2015 reading-related posts, and a list of titles read in 2015 by gross categories.

Google Sheet

This data consists of total entered in Sheet, breakdown of reading status of titles brought forward from 2014, titles entered in 2015 and their breakdown of reading status, reading challenges, books re-read, ebooks, “genre” breakdowns, and sources for the books.

Total

198 [all are in Goodreads]

Brought forward from 2014:

Total 7
Finished 3
On pause 3
Currently Reading 1

Entered  in 2015:

Total 191
Read 171
Gave up 4
Skimmed 3 [skimmed many I did not enter in Sheet; 34 in 2015 according to Goodreads]
On pause 11
Currently reading 8 + 1 started in 2016

Reading Challenges

My own reading goals for 2015: 9 Read [of 12 committed to] + 2 currently reading + 3 on pause. I may post on this separately but calling it met, if barely.

2015 Reading Challenge: 35* of 50 categories. I may’ve accomplished some of the others but I have no good way of knowing re a couple categories. Not concerned. I may post on this separately. Calling it met; had no real criteria in mind so 35 seems fair.

2015 8th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge: 52. Completed on 25 April 2015. In total, I read 99 graphic novels or manga [does not include rereads: 2015 2 + previous years 2 + 1 gave up] but did not post & link reviews for the challenge.

2015 Nonfiction Reading Challenge: 20. Completed 20 April 2015 [includes 1 reread from previous year + 3 in graphic novel challenge also; does not include 3 on pause or 1 I never reviewed]. I finished 68 nonfiction books but clearly did not review or link then to the challenge.

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: Goal of 75, reached 29 April 2015. Recorded 166 books for 221% of goal. These totals do not include ~3 books re-read nor those titles read and re-read in 2015.

Books Re-read

Total 11
Read 1st in previous year 8 [Nonfiction/Beer, NF/Literature & Language, 2 Graphic Novels, 4 Lit]
Read 1st & 2nd in 2015 3 [Nonfiction/Beer, 2 Graphic Novels]

Titles Re-read

Saunders – Dinner in the Beer Garden
Doyle – Through the Magic Door
Dingess, et al. – Manifest Destiny, Vol. 1: Flora & Fauna $
Folio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City (Girl Genius 13) $
Vaughan & Staples – Saga, Volume One
Vaughan & Staples – Saga, Volume Two
Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Adams – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Adams – Life, The Universe and Everything
Adams – So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Boak & Bailey – Gambrinus Waltz $

[$ = read & re-read in 2015]

Ebooks

Total 36 + 2 on pause (1 each)
Kindle 3 finished (2 Beer, Erotica)(incl. 1 re/read 2015 Beer) + 1 on pause (Tech)
PDF 34 (2 Assorted, 30 Graphic Novels + 1 on pause (Tech)

I read so many PDF graphic novels as they are all from either the Girl Genius series via a Kickstarter or from a Dungeons & Dragons Humble Bundle I bought earlier in 2015. I have done a couple Humble Bundles and have read few of them; I tend to forget them. So I wanted to get to work on that and chose these first.

Genre

NF [includes 6 graphic novels, 1 of which is of war poetry + memoir]

Total 92
Finished 68
On pause 11
Currently Reading 7
Gave up 3
Skimmed 3

Fiction

Total 104
Graphic Novels 93 + 1 gave up
Erotica 2
Lit 8
Poetry 1 + 1 currently reading

Other Breakdowns

Photo 6
Beer 26 + 2 currently reading
Graphic novel 99 + 1 gave up [includes 11 manga & 6 nonfiction]
Erotica 2
Poetry 3
Memoir 3 + 1 gave up
Central OR 4 + 1 currently reading
History 10 + 1 currently reading
Translations 21

Together

Read 1
On pause 1
Switch to ind. reading 1
Currently reading 1

Sources

Own 92 + 3 more bought after getting from a library
DPL 77 + 1 gave up + 3 on pause + 1 skimmed + 3 then bought (1 of which still reading) + lots more skimmed. 85 total.
COCC 6
ILL 0 [acquired 2 : 1 gave up and 1 on pause]
Summit 6 + 2 currently reading
Friend 1

Goodreads

This data from my Goodreads account includes, 2015 Goodreads Challenge status, reading status breakdown, and some numbers from specific shelves (mostly used to verify same info from elsewhere).

2015 Challenge goal 75
Read 163 [does not include 7 re-reads]
Currently reading 8 + 1 from 2016
Gave up 2
Skimmed 34
On pause 6

Shelves

2015-gnc 61 [does not include rereads: 2015 2 + previous years 2]
2015nfc 21 [includes 1 reread from previous year; 1 review not written]
translation 21
together 1 + 1 currently reading + 1 on pause + 1 switched to individual reading

Other 2015 reading posts [re challenges, etc.]

List of 2015 Books Read by Category

Assorted

  • Quadback-Seeger – World of the Elements: Elements of the World
  • Attlee – Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight [on pause]
  • Backes – Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana [on pause]
  • Kondo – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
  • Stilgoe – Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places
  • Stivers – Hair of the Dog: Irish Drinking and Its American Stereotype
  • Scerri – The Periodic Table: A Very Short Introduction
  • Rubel – Bread: A Global History (The Edible Series)
  • Jung – Man and His Symbols [gave up]
  • Bishop – Living with Thunder: Exploring the Past, Present, and Future of the Pacific Northwest [currently reading]
  • Rothenberg, ed. – White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism
  • Egan – The Good Rain: Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest [on pause]
  • Sahlins – Waiting for Foucault, Still
  • Babauta – Focus: a simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction

Assorted Cookery

  • Robertson – Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker
  • Steen & Noyes – The Great Vegan Protein Book
  • Scicolone – The Italian Slow Cooker

Assorted Memoir

  • Nguyen – Stealing Buddha’s Dinner [gave up]
  • Pollan – A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams

Beer & Brewing

  • Boak & Bailey – Brew Britannia: The Strange Rebirth of British Beer
  • Yaeger – Oregon Breweries
  • Allen and Cantwell – Barley Wine: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes
  • Mallett – Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse
  • Saunders – Dinner in the Beer Garden [re-read]
  • Dunlop – Portland Beer: Crafting the Road to Beervana
  • Amato – Beerology: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Beer … Even More
  • Fix – Principles of Brewing Science: A Study of Serious Brewing Issues
  • Coutts – The Perfect Keg: Sowing, Scything, Malting and Brewing My Way to the Best Ever Pint of Beer
  • Mosher – Mastering Homebrew: The Complete Guide to Brewing Delicious Beer
  • Barich – A Pint of Plain: Tradition, Change, and the Fate of the Irish Pub
  • Alworth – The Beer Bible
  • Nelson – The Barbarian’s Beverage: A History of Beer in Ancient Europe
  • Beechum and Conn – Experimental Homebrewing: Mad Science in the Pursuit of Great Beer
  • Acitelli – The Audacity of Hops: The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution
  • Hornsey – Alcohol and Its Role in the Evolution of Human Society [currently reading]
  • Boak & Bailey – Gambrinus Waltz: German Lager Beer in Victorian and Edwardian London [read & re-read this year]
  • Palmer – How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Beer Right the First Time
  • Bostwick and Rymil – Beer Craft: A Simple Guide to Making Great Beer
  • Mosher – The Brewer’s Companion: Being a Complete Compendium of Brewing Knowledge … [skimmed]
  • Foster – Pale Ale: History and Brewing Techniques, Recipes: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes
  • Papazian – The Complete Joy of Home Brewing 4th ed
  • Hughes – A Treatise on the Brewing of Beer
  • Zainasheff & Palmer – Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew
  • Oliver – The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food [currently reading]
  • Shales – Brewing Better Beers

Central Oregon

  • Dunegan – Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide) [currently reading]

Central Oregon Memoir

  • Waterston – Where the Crooked River Rises: A High Desert Home

Central Oregon Memoir & History

  • Ramsey – New Era: Reflections on the Human and Natural History of Central Oregon

Erotica, Sex & Gender

  • Williams – Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History
  • Christina – Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories about Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More
  • Tyler, ed. – Luscious: Stories of Anal Eroticism

Graphic Novels

  • Foglio, et al. – The Secret Blueprints For Volume One (Girl Genius 0)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne & the Beetleburg clank (Girl Genius 1)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Airship City (Girl Genius 2)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Monster Engine (Girl Genius 3)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Circus of Dreams (Girl Genius 4)
  • Bendis & Maleev – Scarlet
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Clockwork Princess (Girl Genius 5)
  • B. and MacOrlan – The Littlest Pirate King
  • Pham – Sumo
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Golden Trilobite (Girl Genius 6)
  • Abnett and Culbard – The New Deadwardians
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Voice of the Castle (Girl Genius 7)
  • Kerascoët and Hubert – Beauty
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones (Girl Genius 8)
  • Vehlmann & Kerascoët – Beautiful Darkness
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm (Girl Genius 9)
  • David and Lopez – Fallen Angel
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse (Girl Genius 10)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Hammerless Bell (Girl Genius 11)
  • Mina, et al. – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Book 1
  • Mina, et al. – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Book 2
  • TenNapel – Ratfist
  • Moon and Bá – De: Tales: Stories From Urban Brazil
  • Tobin and Dewey – I Was The Cat
  • Merveille and Tati – Hello, Mr. Hulot
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Siege of Mechanicsburg (Girl Genius 12)
  • Cruse – Stuck Rubber Baby
  • Pedrosa – Three Shadows
  • Perlow, et al. – Watson and Holmes: A Study in Black
  • Dingess, et al. – Manifest Destiny, Vol. 1: Flora & Fauna [read & re-read this year]
  • Collins & Rayner – Road to Perdition
  • Moning, et al. – Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha
  • Lucke – The Lunch Witch (#1)
  • Wilson and Alphona – Ms. Marvel: No Normal
  • Wilson, et al. – Ms. Marvel: Generation Why 2
  • Dingess, et al. – Manifest Destiny, Vol. 2: Amphibia & Insecta
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 1: Cold Dead Fingers
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 2: Crossroads
  • Greenberg – The Encyclopedia of Early Earth
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 3: Bound
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 4: A Town Called Penance
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City (Girl Genius 13) [read & re-read this year]
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 5: Winter Wolves
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 6: Ghost Dance
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth gun: Book 7: Not the Bullet, But the Fall
  • Nolan – Hunters of the Great Forest
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume One [re-read]
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume Two [re-read]
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume Three
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume Four
  • McCloud – The Sculptor
  • Carey, Willingham, et al. – The Unwritten: The Unwritten Fables, vol. 9
  • Carey & Gross, et al. – The Unwritten: War Stories, vol. 10
  • Miller & Varley – 300
  • Vance & Burr – Kings in Disguise: A Novel
  • Hagio – A Drunken Dream and Other Stories
  • Remender – Strange Girl Omnibus
  • Fawkes – The People Inside [gave up]
  • Moore & O’Neill – Nemo: Heart of Ice
  • Ralph – Daybreak
  • Kelso – The Squirrel Mother
  • Selznick – The Marvels
  • Doctorow and Wang – In Real Life
  • Fleisher, Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 1
  • Grubb, Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 2
  • Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 3
  • Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 4
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms: Cutter
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 1
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 2
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 3
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 4
  • Greenwood, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms, Volume 1
  • Zub, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt – Neverwinter Tales
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt, volume 1: Homeland
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt, Exile
  • Rogers, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Shadowplague
  • Rogers, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: First Encounters
  • Rogers, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Down
  • Foglio, et al. – Girl Genius: Second Journey Book One: The Beast of the Rails

Graphic Novels Manga

  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 1
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 2
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 3
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner Chamber, vol. 1
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 4
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 5
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner Chamber, vol. 2
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 6
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner chamber, vol. 3
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner chamber, vol. 4
  • Anno – Sakuran: Blossoms Wild

Graphic Novel Nonfiction

  • Redniss – Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love & Fallout

Graphic Novel Nonfiction History

  • Wilson, Dickson, et al. – Fight the power!: A visual history of protest among the English-speaking peoples
  • Stavans and Alcaraz – A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States
  • Bagge – Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story

Graphic Novel Nonfiction Memoir

  • Abirached – I Remember Beirut

Graphic Novel Nonfiction  War Poetry

  • Duffy, ed. -Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics

History

  • Schivelbusch – Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants
  • Swaby – Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World

History Memoir

  • Coe – Frontier Doctor: Observations on Central Oregon & the Changing West

Literature & Language

  • Ozecki – A Tale for the Time Being
  • Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, #1) [re-read]
  • Adams – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #2) [re-read]
  • Adams – Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #3) [re-read]
  • Adams – So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Hitchhiker’s Guide #4) [re-read]
  • Johnson – Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia
  • Brontë – Wuthering Heights
  • King – Euphoria [2016 DPL A Novel Idea Selection]
  • Harris – Integationist Notes and Papers 2009-2011
  • Harris – Integationist Notes and Papers 2012
  • Harris – Integationist Notes and Papers 2013
  • Doyle – Through the Magic Door [re-read]
  • Ramsey – Thinking Like a Canyon: New and Selected Poems, 1973-2010
  • Gilbert – Collected poems [currently reading]

Literature & Language Graphic Novel War Poetry

  • Duffy, ed. – Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics [also listed above]

Philosophy

  • Wilson – Second-Hand Knowledge: An Inquiry into Cognitive Authority [on pause]
  • Wellmuth – The Nature and Origins of Scientism
  • Berlin – The Power of Ideas [currently reading]

Photography

  • Atkeson – Oregon, My Oregon
  • Atkeson & Miller – Ski & Snow Country: The Golden Years of Skiing in the West, 1930s-1950s
  • Atkeson – Oregon II
  • Atkeson & Ross – Oregon III
  • Marbach and Pokarney – Oregon Harvest
  • Curtis – The North American Indian: The Complete Portfolios

Renewal

  • Huang and Lynch – Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: Taosports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business, and Life [on pause]
  • Kabat-Zinn – Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness [currently reading]
  • Johnson – The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason [on pause]
  • Segal – Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A New Approach to Preventing Relapse [on pause]
  • Levine – Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences
  • Farhi – The Breathing Book: Good Health and Vitality Through Essential Breath Work [currently reading]
  • Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning
  • Smalley & Winston – Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness
  • Krznaric – How To Find Fulfilling Work
  • Black – More Anti-Inflammation Diet Tips and Recipes
  • Wahls – The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine
  • Gunaratana – Mindfulness in Plain English
  • Krucoff – Healing Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain: Easy, Effective Practices for Releasing Tension and Relieving Pain [on pause]
  • Moore & Gillette – Lover Within: Accessing the Lover in the Male Psyche [on pause]
  • Cooksley – Seaweed: Nature’s Secret to Balancing Your Metabolism, Fighting Disease, and Revitalizing Body and Soul [skimmed]
  • Brantley & Millstine – Five Good Minutes in Your Body [skimmed]
  • Fallon – Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

Tech & Software

  • Kissell – Take Control of Automating Your Mac [on pause]
  • Martinez and Stager – Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom [on pause]
  • Rawlins – Slaves of the Machine: The Quickening of Computer Technology [gave up]

Final Comments

I think this slices and dices this data more than enough for me this year. I would not mind having a breakdown of authors by gender but that is loaded with many problems (multiple authors, determining gender of some, etc.) and I am not that concerned about it. I read fairly widely and try to read from a diversity of diversities, knowing that I can always do better.

I want to keep reading things in translation; I feel I did well this year. I should try to read a bit more poetry and erotica, sex & gender this year. I am satisfied with the amount of re-reading, the number of ebooks, and of nonfiction. I hope to read a few less graphic novels and more varied things in literature & language; e.g., more actual lit, more on language and more poetry as previously mentioned. Maybe some re-reading there. Poetry books are close at hand.

All in all, I’m calling 2015 a good year for me and reading. I met all of my goals, and only one of them I feel could have been more solidly met.

I am very happy to be ending some part of my 2015 with a great score for the year. Particularly happy to have the thought documented.

Here’s to your (and my) reading in 2016.

[Post(s) coming soon]

 

Bagge – Woman Rebel

Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story, First hardcover ed. by Peter Bagge

Date read:01-02 March 2015

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Image of cover of Bagge's Woman Rebel

Hardback, 72+ pages

Published 2013 by Drawn + Quarterly

Source: Deschutes Public Library (BAGGE PETER)

Margaret Sanger was an American sex educator and nurse. She opened the first birth control clinic and, in effect, began Planned Parenthood. She is a fascinating person, to say the very least.

This title was interesting enough. There is a 2-page intro called, “On Peter Bagge and Margaret Sanger” by Tom Spurgeon (editor of The Comics Reporter), the graphic novel proper in 72 pages, followed by two pages on “Why Sanger?” by Peter Bagge, and 18 pages on “Who’s Who and What’s What,” which is actually the endnotes. Yep. No indication in the text that there was more context, and perhaps photos or other images, in the back. Grr.

Also, the text in the introductory and back matter is tiny. Grrr.

The author does do a good job of telling us where he took artistic license in the back matter. Clearly, other stories—as he points out—can and have been told.

Fast read. Positive but honest portrait of a complex woman. Mostly marked down for not alerting me to extra context and small type.

This is the 39th book in my GN2015

This is the 14th book in my Traditional Chesterfield armchair

de Botton – How to Think More About Sex

How Think More About Sex How Think More About SexAlain de Botton; Picador 2013WorldCatLibraryThingGoogle BooksBookFinder 

I read de Botton’s How to Think More About Sex on 1-2 November 2014. It was not quite what I expected; I also expected more. Then again, I gave a mixed review to The Architecture of Happiness, which suffers from some of the same issues.

But first, the contents:

I. Introduction

II. The Pleasures of Sex

     1. Eroticism and Loneliness

     2. Can ‘Sexiness’ Be Profound?

     3. Natalie or Scarlett?

III. The Problems of Sex

     1. Love and Sex

     2. Sexual Rejection

     3. Lack of Desire: Infrequency, Impotence, Resentment

     4. Pornography: Censorship, A New Kind of Porn

     5. Adultery: The Pleasures of Adultery, The Stupidity of Adultery

IV. Conclusion

Homework

My comments and excerpts:

de Botton writes in an overly generalized fashion, he considers few alternatives, he is quite probably contradicting himself on a couple occasions, he is often anthropomorphic and reifies to no end, and he seems to have written this book from a healthy, Euro-skinned, heterosexual of reasonably decent (or better) looks perspective. Gays, transexuals, asexuals, whatever do not appear. Do not get mention. Nor do the vast majority of people who are of mediocre appearance at best. Apparently, the only ones who should be thinking more (clearly/intelligently/humanely) about sex are healthy good-looking heterosexuals. Not.

I know this book is short but it leaves so damned much out. And that is perfectly fine and certainly expected. But if you are leaving out that much of the human experience of sex without even mentioning that you have no space for it then you do not deserve to name your book How to Think More About Sex. It really is that simple.

Based on this alone, one probably ought skip this book. But it is short and it has great moments. There are things of import to think about that he brings up. Some of his offerings for ways in and/or out of things are fine and some are bunk. But he is trying to intelligently discuss sex. I appreciate the hell out of that! But this only hits on occasion and it misses by so damned much in its general approach to ignoring much of the world’s population’s individual experiences.

Let’s dive in.

I. Introduction

I really liked this bit in the Intro. The end of that first paragraph is a bit over the top but I can’t argue really with that full one after it. He does a decent but succinct job of showing how messed up our “thinking” is about sex and, thus, why we may need to think/talk/act more intelligently about it.

“…. We [are] bothered by sex because it is a fundamentally disruptive, overwhelming and demented force, strongly at odds with the majority of our ambitions and all but incapable of being discreetly integrated within civilized society.

     Despite our best efforts to clean it of its peculiarities, sex will never be either simple or nice in the ways we might like it to be. It is not fundamentally democratic or kind; it is bound up with cruelty, transgression and the desire for subjugation and humiliation. It refuses to sit neatly on top of love, as it should. Tame it though we may try, sex has a recurring tendency to wreak havoc across our lives: it leads us to destroy our relationships, threatens our productivity and compels us to stay up too late in nightclubs talking to people whom we don’t like but whose exposed midriffs we nevertheless strongly wish to touch. Sex remains in absurd, and perhaps irreconcilable, conflict with some of our highest commitments and values. Unsurprisingly, we have no option but to repress its demands most of the time. We should accept that sex is inherently weird instead of blaming ourselves for not responding in more normal ways to its confusing impulses.” 6-7

II. The Pleasures of Sex

He leaps right in trying to show that sex is messy and great and vengeful and loving and …. He does a good job showing that we truly are less in charge than we think when it comes to sex. This is also a bit thin for someone new to it (I am not) but he’s on the right track. Evolutionary biology can only explain so much (if it does at all) and one has to bring other theories to bear to explain more than mere biological sexual attraction for reproductive purposes. He does. Are they the right ones, or at least highly useful?

     1. Eroticism and Loneliness

          “It could sound disgusting — and that’s the point. Nothing is erotic that isn’t also, with the wrong person, revolting, which is precisely what makes erotic moments so intense: at the precise juncture where disgust could be at its height, we find only welcome and permission. The privileged nature of the union between two people is sealed by an act that, with someone else, would have horrified them both.” 22

          “Sex temporarily liberates us from the punishment dichotomy, well known to every one of us since childhood, between dirty and clean. Lovemaking purifies us by engaging the most apparently polluted sides of ourselves in its procedures and thereby anointing them as newly worthy.” 37

On fetishes:

          “In a clinical sense, a fetish is defined as an ingredient, typically quite unusual in nature, which needs to be present in order for someone to achieve orgasm.” 38

          “In this wider sense, fetishes are simply details — most often related either to a type of clothing or to a part of another’s body — which evoke for us desirable sides of human nature. The precise origins of our enthusiasms may be obscure, but they can almost always be traced back to some meaningful aspect of our childhood: we will be drawn to specific things either because they recall appealing qualities of a beloved parental figure or else, conversely, because they somehow cancel out, or otherwise help us to escape, a memory of early humiliation or terror.

          The task of understanding our own preferences in this regard should be recognized as an integral part of any project of self-knowledge or biography. What Freud said of dreams can likewise be said of sexual fetishes: they are a royal road into the unconscious.” 39

Tying our fetishes to issues of values and the good life which he’ll bring out later:

          “The pleasure we derive from sex is also bound up with our recognizing, and giving a distinctive seal of approval to, those ingredients of a good life whose presence we have detected in another person. The more closely we analyze what we consider ‘sexy’, the more clearly we will understand that eroticism is the feeling of excitement we experience at finding another human who shares our values and our sense of the meaning of existence.” 44

     2. Can ‘Sexiness’ Be Profound?

          “A consensus emerges about which sorts of faces we find most appealing. From these studies [cross-cultural], evolutionary biologists have concluded that a ‘sexy’ person of either gender, far from being an unclassifiable abstraction, is in essence someone whose face is symmetrical (that is, the right and left sides match precisely) and whose features are balanced, proportionate and undistorted.” 81

          “The discipline [evol biol] absolves physical attraction of the charge of being purely superficial. While conceding that we judge people by their appearance, it holds that appearances themselves are anything but trivial and indeed point towards some rather profound qualities.” 84

     3. Natalie or Scarlett?

          “Evolutionary biology confidently predicts that we will be drawn to people on the basis of their evident health, but it has not put forward any truly convincing theories about why we should prefer one specific healthy person over another.” 63

But what about people who clearly are not “healthy” who find love and are attracted sexually to others?

          Wilhelm Worringer’s theory on art appreciation; essay, “Abstraction and Empathy,” 1907 64-8

          Worringer’s theory applied to sexual attraction 69-72

          “We then declare people ‘sexy’ when we see in them evidence of compensatory qualities, and are repelled by those who seem prone to drive us further into our extremities.” 70

          “We need both art and sex to make us whole, so it is not surprising if the mechanisms of compensation should be similar in each case. The specifics of what we find ‘beautiful’ and what we find ‘sexy’ are indications of what we most deeply crave in order to rebalance ourselves.” 72

III. The Problems of Sex

This section attempts to offer possible remedies, or at least ways in, to mitigate some of the many problems with sex. Of course, only a few are covered in the short space allowed. I am not sure how effectively he deals with some of them either.

     1. Love and Sex

          “It’s time for the need for sex and the need for love to be granted equal standing, without an added moral gloss. Both may be independently felt and are of comparable value and validity. Both shouldn’t require us to lie in order to claim them.” 79

Amen! The data on this–and he does provide some; there is much more–show what a damaging idea modern love (and marriage) truly is. Maybe someday perhaps the two can be pulled apart in a more sane and sensible way but I have my doubts.

     2. Sexual Rejection

          “We don’t have to take sexual rejection as a sure indication that another person has looked into our soul and registered disgust at every aspect of our being. The reality is usually much simpler and less shattering than that: for whatever reason, this particular individual just can’t get turned on by our body. We can take comfort in the knowledge that such a verdict is automatic, preconscious and immutable. The one doing the rejecting isn’t being intentionally nasty; he or she has no choice.” 82

If we could already use reason in regards to love and sex then this probably would be less of an issue than it is. Realigning our views on the issue, as he suggests, would be useful but quite unlikely to be of use to more than a handful of people, statistically speaking.

     3. Lack of Desire:

          i. Infrequency

               “The solution to long-term sexual stagnation is to learn to see our lover as if we had never laid eyes on him or her before.” 97

               “While going about their quite different types of business, the lover and the artist nonetheless come up against a similar human foible: the universal tendency to become easily habituated and bored, and to decide that whatever is known is unworthy of interest. We are prone to long for novelty, kitschy romanticism, drama and glamour.” 99

               “We should try to locate the good and the beautiful beneath the layers of habit and routine.” 102

          ii. Impotence

     Argues that this is a “symptom of respect.” Not buying that for a second, except in some percentage (I’m going with small) of all cases. And the reason why is all the bullshit he says about men in these paragraphs. Again, overly generalized beyond all possible acceptance. Gamergate and #teamharpy, along with way too many other things today show us that most men have not “evolved” as de Botton seems to think.

          iii. Resentment

               “By overwhelming consensus, our culture locates the primary difficulty of relationships in finding the ‘right’ person rather than in knowing how to love a real — that is, a necessarily rather unright — human being.” 121

Yes. This bit is quite valuable. Again, shows the utter destruction caused by the currently prevailing (by those in power) views of love and marriage in Western society.

     4. Pornography:

          i. Censorship

I. Just. He seems to accept, and argues, that pornography is extremely dangerous to society and that some form of censorship is necessary. He is writing in particular about the Internet. Yes, indeed, let’s let nanny-state governments censor the Internet so we can get back to work. Jackass! There are so many intermediate steps.

I should explain that my vehemence here is he because he made no real argument for pornography being an immense destructive force; just assumed via anecdata.

          ii. A New Kind of Porn

I. Just. Don’t. But now he wants a new kind of porn. “Virtue porn.”

“Yet is is possible to conceive of a version of pornography that wouldn’t force us to make such a stark choice between sex and virtue — a pornography in which sexual desire would be invited to support, rather than permitted to undermine, our higher values.” 139

OK. This might work for a few folks; he should go back and re-read his discussion of fetishes though, as a first caution. And some of his examples later on make some sense; again, for a few folks. But his discussion. Oy! His example to lead us into pornography that might support our virtues is Sandro Bottticelli’s The Madonna of the Book, c.1483.

Seems to be contradicting himself in these two sections also. Porn must be censored. Oh, look, a new kind of “virtue porn.” Make a choice or choose a middle ground, sir.

     5. Adultery:

          i. The Pleasures of Adultery

               “However, the real fault in the situation lies in the ethos of modern marriage, with its insane ambitions and its insistence that one person can plausibly hope to embody the eternal sexual and emotional solution to another’s every need.

               Taking a step back, what distinguishes modern marriage from its historical precedents is its fundamental tenet that all our desire for love, sex and family ought to reside in the selfsame person. No other society has been so stringent or so hopeful about the institution of marriage, nor ultimately, as a consequence, so disappointed in it.

               In the past, these very distinct needs — for love, sex and family — were wisely differentiated and separated out from one another.” 152

          ii. The Stupidity of Adultery

This section brought out how also very middle-class and above focused it is.

IV. Conclusion

     “When every contemptuous but fair thing has been said about our infernal sexual desires, we can still celebrate them for not allowing us to forget for more than a few days at a time what is really involved in living an embodied, chemical and largely insane human life.” 175-6

I can certainly agree with this view, but while he did a decent job arguing this, if it was what he truly meant to argue then I suppose it would have been a somewhat different book. Or perhaps not.

Homework

This is the sources section.

Conditionally recommended is what I am going to say. That is, if you want to think more about sex. Then again, if you want to think more about sex then I would recommend this book [any edition would be fine], even if the focus of each is not the same.

Administrivia:

I had to create a record at Open Library so I could use John Miedema’s OpenBook plugin. I had hoped I was done with adding so many records there but is good to be writing again. And it is a nice record.

Deschutes Brewery University: Barrel-Aged Beer event

On 6 Nov. we attended the Deschutes Brewery University: Barrel-Aged Beer event with 6 of ours friends. We got there a little early and Sara was able to grab a table so all 8 of us could sit together. The room was pretty full so I assume they had sold all 25 seats.

We tasted 8 different barrel-aged beers; four were from Deschutes, one was a collaboration between Deschutes and Hair of the Dog, and three were from other breweries. Hors d’oeuvres were served about midway through the beer sampling.

We also got a presentation from Jacob Harper, the barrel master at Deschutes. The beers were arranged in the order he figured was lightest to heaviest, but was slightly complicated by the fact that four were sours so they were placed at the back half.

We began with the Calabaza Blanca from Jolly Pumpkin (Traverse City, Ann Arbor and Dexter, Michigan). It is a light wheat/white ale hybrid that was slightly sweet and slightly sour. I thought it was fairly tasty but would not want to drink it in quantity or frequently. ~5% ABV. I gave it 4 stars.

Next was Ale D’or Fort from Deschutes, which I had never heard of. Turns out it was brewed for a special Oregon beer festival (missed the name) last year where all the brewers took a particular Brettanomyces yeast strain from Unibroue and competed with what they produced from it. It was light, almost wine-like, a strong gold which had been aged in French Pinot barrels. No carbonation. It tasted a lot like Ashton’s Fresh Hop London Strong Gold without the fresh hops, which is to say, amazing. 9%+ ABV. 5 stars.

Third was Deschutes’ Black Butte XXIV, which we have had a fair bit of and of which neither of us would tire of ever having. I have three bottles in the Cellar. It is an Imperial porter with dates, figs, chicory and other bits for flavor. 20% was aged in bourbon barrels. We were told that next year they plan on aging 50% of the batch in bourbon barrels, which will up the ABV a few %. I think everyone present let out a loud and appreciative “Oooohhh” at that. 10.8% ABV. 5 stars+

Fourth, and the last non-sour, was Deschutes’ The Abyss (2011). I have been really wanting to try this as this year’s version is being released today. It is an Imperial stout that used licorice and molasses in the kettle. It was 28% barrel-aged (11% Pinot noir, 15% bourbon, 2% raw Oregon oak barrels). It is relatively the same each year. My first reaction was a thoughtful “Hmmm.” I didn’t want to be hasty but I was definitely underwhelmed. It has a chocolate taste late in the mouth. It is tasty but I have to say it is no Black Butte Porter XXIV. 11% ABV. I gave it 4 stars and am hopeful for this year’s batch. It won World’s Best Stout & Porter at the 2012 World Beer Awards, which in my humble opinion it does not deserve. A damn fine beer it is but Black Butte XXIV Porter is better and Midnight Suns’ Berserker Imperial Stout blows them both away.

With any luck we will be one of the lucky few at the release party today to get in on the vertical tasting of 2008-2012 batches of The Abyss. Perhaps I’ll revise my opinion then. [Turns out they have moved up the time when the limited flights will be available and it isn’t looking good. We both questioned this on Twitter—mostly as to what time they really were being served—and got an interesting reply back so we’ll see.]

Fifth, and the first sour, was Tart of Darkness from The Bruery (Orange County, California). It was a sour stout made with cherries and aged in oak barrels. It tasted much lighter than it looked. 5.6% ABV. 4 stars.

Next was The Dissident from Deschutes, which we have also had recently and of which I have 2 bottles in the Cellar. It is made every other year and uses a secondary fermentation with Brettanomyces. Currently made in batches of 200 barrels they are aiming to begin producing it every year. 11.4% ABV. 5 stars. This won World’s Best Oud Bruin and Americas Best Oud Bruin at the 2012 World Beer Awards. World’s Best? I don’t know but it is certainly one of the finest sours produced outside of Belgium.

Next to last was Sang Noir from Cascade Brewing (Portland). Pretty darn sour. Light and thin but very sour. Cherries. Aged in French oak and bourbon barrels. 9.5% ABV. I gave it 4/3 stars. For me it was a 3 but I wondered if I were judging it too harshly since it had pushed past my acceptability for sourness.

Last was The Collage, also from Deschutes. We have also tasted this since being here and have a bottle in the Cellar. It comes from a collaboration with Hair of the Dog (Portland) and is a blend of Deschutes’ The Dissident (but unsoured) and The Stoic (a quad we are still waiting to try) and Hair of the Dog’s Fred  (10% ABV Golden Strong ale) and Adam (10% ABV; their 1st beer). It is 100% barrel-aged in 6 different types of barrels. Hair of the Dog uses a peat malt. It is tasty, no doubt, but it seems all the work is over much for the end result. 11.6% ABV. 4 stars.

I must say, though, that I am definitely looking forward to tasting Fred and Adam and other Hair of the Dog beers some day.

After the tasting we were still hungry so we moved downstairs for some dinner. Sara and I shared an Ashton’s Fresh Hop Strong London Gold which was excellent but perhaps not the best idea after all those other strong beers. And I had even been finishing a couple of Sara’s that she did not. I really felt it the next day!

It was, of course, election night and some of those at our table had been (::grumble:: understandably ::grumble::) refreshing their phones all evening as returns came in. During dinner we learned of a couple states’ equal marriage bills passing, Colorado’s passing of their marijuana bill, and of the reelection of Obama. Many people in the pub seemed genuinely happy at much of this but there were definitely groups of assorted sizes who were not. “Sorry if our reasonably joyous celebrations were disturbing you.” No, honestly, I’m not. Deschutes County is a lot more red than I ever might have imagined before moving here. I can see it now but I still find it hard to believe.

All in all, it was a tasty and enjoyable evening.

One of my favorite lines from Barrel Master Jacob Harper was one of the reasons why one might want to barrel-age a beer: “To add mystique to an already good beer.” I’ll raise my glass to a little mystique!

 

Today, meh

Today hasn’t been that awesome of a day. My stomach had a big knot in it when I went to bed last night, which I thought perhaps came from having the chocolate gelato for dessert after having had a Rodenbach Grand Cru at dinner.

Today the hard knot is gone but replaced by worse, which has really disrupted my day. I did get our ballots dropped off at the drive-thru ballot ‘box.’ We could have mailed our ballots in if we had been a couple days earlier in filling them out. But, the drive-thru was kind of neat. No “I Voted” stickers, though.

Also got a small bit of necessary grocery shopping in but I skipped Haiku Circle, which I had really wanted to attend. It was only the second meeting since it started last month. Also, I wanted to see how many people showed up since there was no reminder and maybe remind them to use the Facebook page or the email list or something.

Not much writing is getting done for DigiWriMo because I just feel pretty crappy. At this point, I am thinking I got a stomach bug of some sort. Whatever it is, I truly hope it clears up fast since tomorrow is the Deschutes Brewery University Barrel-Aged Beer class and I want a solid stomach for that!

Thanks to a tweet from Andromeda (@ThatAndromeda) earlier today, I am signed up for a free Git and GitHub Basics class from GitHub. So this afternoon I got Git installed on my Mac (command line version), set up a GitHub account (MarkLindner), made my first repository and followed Andromeda as she suggested. I hope/think I’m ready for the class tomorrow. I have no idea when I’ll have a real use for Git and GitHub but hopefully I can learn enough to plod along when the time comes. Who knows, maybe that time will be sooner than I think.

Also, in some way, it seems directly related to DigiWriMo, so now is as good a time to learn as any.

Late this afternoon we went to an event held by OSU-Cascades called Brains & Brews, which is where a professor talks about some of their current research while folks sit around and drink at a local establishment. It is so popular that you have to sign up in advance and it isn’t advertised on the faculty events calendar page. It was quite interesting. A couple folks talked about equine-based psychotherapy with folks with PTSD.

Hopefully the evening will remain quiet and my stomach will get itself under control. I guess when I have to eat next, which will be soon, we’ll see.

Two-Thirds Book Challenge Update 6

This is update 6 in the Two-Thirds Book Challenge.

Helen

Helen has been quite busy this month … catching up on blogging things that she has read over the last few months.

Trinity by Leon Uris

She gave this one 5 stars in goodreads. “It is a dreary & beautiful slog through fictionalized history of a conquered people.” See her review for more.

The Littlest Hitler by Ryan Boudinot

This collection of short stories garnered 3 stars from her. While the “stories were all technically very well written” she “just kept thinking over and over that it was all trying too hard. The writing was effortless and a pleasure to read, but the story was always a little too hip, a little too cool, a little too ‘look how shocking.'” She hopes to try some of his more recent stuff before writing him off.

Pure Drivel by Steve Martin

“Usually I love Steve Martin’s writing, but this one was a miss for me.” 3 stars. See her review for why this one just didn’t work for her.

Scenes From An Impending Marriage by Adrian Tomine

Another 5 star book. “I hear that this comic isn’t his best work from lots of folks, but since a) I’ve read and loved all his work and b) I feel a kinship to his attitude about most things, I feel qualified to say this book was awesome.” As someone ‘recently’ married, she has convinced me to read it.

Murder Unleashed by Rita Mae Brown

“This story is a murder mystery that encompasses a wide variety of topics including but not limited to: the mortgage crisis, squatter’s rights, hunger both human and animal, coyote’s and ranch politics, cattle farming, campaign finance, school buses, and sex industry workers. I’m sure there was more, plus the everyday lives of regular characters. The story is easy and RMB has a gift for packing a lot of content into a weekend read without making it laborious.”

She thinks the series is improving but read her review to find out why she only gave it 3 stars.

 Jen!!

After a drought, two books down

Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

“This is the fourth book in the Dresden series and I loved it. It lived up to Butcher’s standards for adventure, inventiveness, and fun.”

Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes

“[I]nspired by a reference in The Violets of March” she was led into the Stacks at UIUC and was “glad that I followed through on reading it. … Indeed, I found it a thoughtful telling of a life, the choices made, and the results that come from those choices.”

Sounds like a good read. And Brava, Jen, for daring the Stacks! I miss them so very, very much!

The Marriage Artist by Andrew Winer

Past, present, Vienna, World War II, art, death and lovers. Wow. “The book drew me in almost instantly, making want to know more about the characters–their past, their future, how they would deal with the present. … This book is a wonderful get-a-way from the day to day and I especially like the time shifting of it and getting to witness the impact that the choices made in one’s youth had on the future.”

Sara

Quiet Renaissance Power

Sara reviewed two books “that were very different but struck similar chords” for her, which she read during the same time period as part of her Creativity theme for the 2/3rds Book Challenge: Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking by Susan Cain, and The Renaissance Soul: life design for people with too many passions to pick just one by Margaret Lobenstine.

“In the end, I benefited from reading both of these books and I think reading them at the same time worked out really well. From Renaissance Soul, I have a list of specific goals and a timeline which actually feels realistic. From Quiet, I have several other book recommendations (I think I’ll finally get around to reading Flow now) and better ways of articulating what I need to myself and others.”

She does caution readers about an “us and them” premise which is present in both books, though.

E

The Wild Palms (If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem) by William Faulkner

This was a tough one for E but it will be with her for a long time. Life often puts these complex and difficult texts in front of us during times of stress, whether we need them or not, and they change us; often for the better, more often not appreciated until much later.

Read her powerful review.

“Do I even need to tell you that there can’t possibly be a happy ending? “That story ends very badly for all involved, you know.” “Don’t all the good ones?” And then there’s this, where I am right now, drinking bourbon in the back room of my new apartment in Pilsen, listening to the whistle of trains in the distance, scanning for the moon against the night sky.”

Keep scanning for the moon, my friend. She’ll always be there for you. Day or night, day and night, she has always been there for me.

Mark

In Defence of the Enlightenment by Tzvetan Todorov

I really wanted to like this book but it let me down. Sure, my review is far more nuanced than that, and I am glad I read it, but that is the gist of my reaction to it.

See you next month.