I mentioned some time ago that I had begun reading the book “Middlesex.” 500-plus pages later, I have finished, and I cannot stress enough how superb this book was. It was so good that I don’t even want to go into too much of what happens – just read it. I will say this, though: author Jeffrey Euginides is fast becoming one of the most talented writers of our generation. He’s now written two absolute monster books – “Middlesex” and “The Virgin Suicides.” His writing style is truly unlike any other author I’ve read – it just sucks you right into some odd trance-like state. It makes you want to actually slow down the progress you’re making in the book just so you can have a few extra days with it, to savor the story, the style, the utter elegance of, it seems, each word. It leaves you wanting way more.
After that, I jumped right into the new Wilco biography written by Chicago rock critic Greg Kot. Learning How To Die is as melodramatic a title for a book as the band itself. If you saw the movie documentary about Wilco last year, you know what I mean. The book is largely comprised of Kot slobbering shamelessly all over Jeff Tweedy and his revolving-door bandmates. I read this large-print, 250 page paperback in just two days. However, assuming you can get beyond the pom-pom’s, the book does have some tasty passages about the Uncle Tupelo days and various parts of Wilco’s existence. I will offer kudos to Kot for his ability to interview just about every major player involved in all the drama thorugh the years, incluidng ex-Tupelo bandmate Jay Farrar, whose much celebrated verbosity slightly exceeds that of a mime. Was very interesting to hear his views on a lot of things and also to hear from other musicians, past and present, about how they saw things. The book is a guilty pleasure – as long as you’re not expecting anything terribly deep.
By no stretch am I slamming Wilco. In fact, while I think all of their albums have been largely uneven, I strongly applaud them and support them in their endeavor to not just make the suits happy. They challenge their audience and their listeners, which is more than 99.5% of bands out there can say at this time. They also have a great batting average – their albums may be uneven as mentioned, but for every song that I sit back and wonder just what the hell they’re thinking, there’s another song that just crushes it out of the park. They may not be the best band out there, but at least they’re one of the most interesting.
Finally, I just picked up this link from a SlashDot post. NASA has posted some high-res, digitized images of the Apollo space mission. They are, in a word, amazing.
Song now playing: The Kinks – “A Well Respected Man”