The description below pretty much says it. Except that Dillard can really turn a phrase.
In this collection of short essays, Annie Dillard—the author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and An American Childhood—illuminates the dedication, absurdity, and daring that characterize the existence of a writer. A moving account of Dillard’s own experience, The Writing Life offers deep insight into one of the most mysterious professions.
A nice book of essays from Le Guin. Taken from her blog. The first section on aging is basically worth the price of the book.
On cultural perceptions of fantasy: “The direction of escape is toward freedom. So what is ‘escapism’ an accusation of?”
Ursula K. Le Guin has taken readers to imaginary worlds for decades. Now she’s in the last great frontier of life, old age, and exploring new literary territory: the blog, a forum where her voice—sharp, witty, as compassionate as it is critical—shines. No Time to Spare collects the best of Ursula’s online writing, presenting perfectly crystallized dispatches on what matters to her now, her concerns with this world, and her unceasing wonder…
Jay Defeo worked on the massive painting, The Rose, for 8 years. When it was removed from her apartment, it basically went into storage for almost 30 years, before being restored and conserved by the Whitney museum.The artist never got to see her most famous piece hanging in a museum like she wanted. This book of essays, and photos, gives a good overview of The Rose’s and Jay Defeo’s place in art history.
This is not a book, it’s a TOME. It’s 12x14x2 inches and you could kill a cat with it. I read Finch’s Chuck Close: Life before this, so there’s a lot that is already covered, but this book is worth it for the giant pictures, and more detail on process. This is the 2010 edition, there is a newer one that updates to 2014 (I think), but there doesn’t seem to be that much more in it, just a few more pages.
This is a great Artist’s memoir, with nice art, and text that ties in history with biography and travel. It’s a fast read also.
I saw this at Goodwill for $2, and thought I’d give it a try. Not for me. Basically it’s “Art (or spontaneous art rather process) as therapy”. There are better books on that, and also on using the process to make art. She focuses on spontaneous process, which is fine if you need to work through some stuff, but she doesn’t want you to show the result, because “it’s not important”, It’s just a product.
So kinda woo-woo, and not much there for an artist who wants to share an end result, which is what artists do, but if you are not a painter, and want to work on “creativity” you might get something out of this.
First book finished this year. Good advice on living and working. Take the tools you need, and leave the rest.
I read 41 books last year (not as many as I wanted, but not bad), here are my 10 favorites, in no particular order. These don’t include short or monthly comics, or art catalogues.
That’s how I feel about books, and Pablo a graphic novel about Fernande Oliver, and Picasso’s relationship in his early days, before Les Demoiselles, and after. It is a beautifully written and painted book by (artist) Clément Oubrerie and (writer) Julie Birman. To the right is a favorite panel, about half way through the book.
Twelve years ago some public channeler had made a great stir because the government had an average ten hours videotaped and otherwise recorded information on every citizen with a set of government credit tokens and/ or government identity card. Eleven years ago another public channeler had pointed out that ninety-nine point nine nine and several nines percent more of this information was, a) never reviewed by human eyes (it was taken, developed, and catalogued by machine), b) was of a perfectly innocuous nature, and, c) could quite easily be released to the public without the least threat to government security.
Ten years ago a statute was passed that any citizen had the right to demand a review of all government information on him or her. Some other public channeler had made a stir about getting the government simply to stop collecting such information; but such systems, once begun, insinuate themselves into the greater system in overdetermined ways: Jobs depended on them , space had been set aside for them, research was going on over how to do them more efficiently— such overdetermined systems, hard enough to revise, are even harder to abolish.
Eight years ago, someone whose name never got mentioned came up with the idea of ego-booster booths, to offer minor credit (and, hopefully, slightly more major psychological) support to the Government Information Retention Program: Put a two-franq token into the slot (it used to be half a franq , but the tokens had been devalued again a year back), feed your government identity card into the slip and see, on the thirty-by-forty centimeter screen, three minutes’ videotape of you, accompanied by three minutes of your recorded speech, selected at random from the government’s own information files. Beside the screen (in this booth, someone had, bizarrely, spilled red syrup down it, some of which had been thumb-smudged away, some scraped off with a fingernail), the explanatory plaque explained: “The chances are ninety nine point nine nine and several nines percent more that no one but you has ever seen before what you are about to see. Or,” as the plaque continued cheerily, “to put it another way, there is a greater chance that you will have a surprise heart attack as you step from this booth today than that this confidential material has ever been viewed by other human eyes than yours. Do not forget to retrieve your card and your token. Thank you.”
Delany, Samuel R. (2011-03-01). Trouble on Triton (Kindle Locations 220-238). Wesleyan University Press. Kindle Edition.
Yeah the NSA etc. sucks. This is just one view of what a future society with very little, to no privacy, might look like. From Trouble on Triton first published in 1976 (I had it when it was just titled Triton)