A platform to get your cultural two cents out there.
A book is a very welcome Christmas gift at our house. More even than a piece of clothing or jewelry, the selection itself carries with it the special intimacy of what one specific person thinks another ought to read. So, last Christmas, when my daughter, Austin, presented my wife and me with a large, wrapped bundle of volumes we were eager.
This week, Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values, died after a period of failing health. Two years ago, my friend, Darryl, died in a motorcycle accident, leaving behind his wife and four kids. At the funeral, I couldn’t find a connection between his still body and the vibrant, wonderful person I knew. That wasn’t Darryl, lying there. Intellectually, I knew, but emotionally, I couldn’t understand. He’s buried in Austin, wearing his mechanic’s work shirt and baseball cap, laid to rest as he lived. I’d like to think Pirsig will be sent off in similar fashion.
The album of month is bestowed to Austin’s indie-rock royalty better know as Spoon. As they enter their second decade of musical output, Spoon refuse to rest on past glories. Hot Thoughts features cognizant elements fans have come to expect with an ambitious experimental sound. Hot Thoughts incorporates a wall of synths and electronic melodies to their “bar room rock n roll.” Hot Thoughts is criminally catchy pop record that is an early contender for albums of the year.
Last year we hoped our feminist literary arts festival would become less necessary. Instead, it feels like we need Women Galore now more than ever.
What is it like to leave everything behind to start anew? What if life became so untenable that you had no choice but to depart for an uncertain future, because your home was ripped apart by war? And what if instead of refuge and security you found only moderate safety? Exit West imagines that world and does so in language that is hauntingly beautiful. The novel deftly describes the reality that drives forced migration, while not descending into cliché.
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