Favorites of 2013

This list might break my heart, I hate lists. I don’t even remember and it’s not in any particular order.

1. The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolaño

2. Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth by Xiaolu Guo

3. A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
4. Hell by Yasutaka Tsutsui
5. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
6. Beijing Coma by Ma Jian
7. The Changeling by Kenzaburo Oe
8. Eating Animals by Jonathon Safran Foer
9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

10. Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima
11. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
12. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin
13. Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King
14. Four Sparks Fall by T.A. Noonan 
15. On Beauty by Zadie Smith

Halloween Reads

Halloween is the wonderful time when you can watch old Goosebumps episodes, drink tea and not sweat a bucket and read some scary books. Unfortunately, I don’t really have a lot of scary  books, mostly ones that fall in the disturbing area. I can just go through the bookshelf in the Den of the house that I live in, but there’s only so many books I can read. So here are some books that kind of fit the scary or disturbing area.

1. Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin

Who doesn’t like reading about vampires during October? George R.R. Martin is a fantastic writer and there are plenty of books he had written during the 80s that weren’t very popular, like The Armageddon Rag. Everybody who has read Game of Thrones or watched the TV show knows who this guy is, but are unfamiliar with his science fiction novels and this vampire one. Fevre Dream is beautifully written, it is amazing, I really want to read it again, it is reminiscent of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, except steamboats are involved and a vampire searching for the cure to end blood thirst or control it, and become human. It’s more of a Gothic read than a spooky, scary story, sure there is a lot of blood and suspense and some disturbing scenes, but it’s not scream-out-loud scary. There are two covers because I own two copies due to some confusion with the orders online. 

2. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami 

All Murakami readers know that the Wind-up Bird Chronicle is probably the darkest of Murakami’s novels. It’s disturbing and the main character is depressed and whiny. From the violent past of World War II, to a disturbed sociopath man who is the narrator’s brother in law, and the weird, wacky dreams and confusion. In my opinion it’s one of his best but my personal favorites are Kafka on the Shore and Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

3. Dracula by Bram Stoker

I do not own this version of Dracula and I haven’t read it. The copy on my shelf is an old Barnes and Noble version, the black hardback with the black dust jacket. It’s a classic among horror classics.

4. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 

This is the same version as Dracula, the Barnes and Noble classics. I had to read Frankenstein for English class, Senior year of high school, not too long ago, I didn’t really enjoy it, I had to rush through and I found it a little too wordy but beautifully written, so I give Mary Shelley a golden reward. I really couldn’t concentrate on it, so this book might need to be reread for me to enjoy. Maybe it really wasn’t my cup of tea and it was scary in sense of science gone wrong. 

5. The Republic of Wine by Mo Yan

This novel is more on the disturbing side, I haven’t read it yet, I plan to after finishing Ha Jin’s Waiting. This novel involves cannibalism. It’s a Chinese satire written by Nobel prize winner, Mo Yan.

6. The House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski 

So this book is suppose to be really creepy, I have seen some pictures of the inside, but I have never read this. However the mysteriousness and the odd way the book is written kind of gives off a creepy atmosphere to this book. I’m curious about it, but I don’t think I will finish it.

Music #1: Insen by Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto

Artist: Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto
Genre: Ambient, Minimal, Electronic
Released: 2005

1. Aurora 
3. Logic Moon
4. Moon
5. Berlin
6. Iano
7. Avaol

Alva Noto is the stage name of Carsten Nicolai, a German sound artist and visual artist. He uses the sounds of clicks, glitches and other pops, beats, clicks, and fizzes that you hear in glitch, electronic music. 

Ryuichi Sakamoto is an Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe winning pianist, he has composed the soundtracks to well known movies such as Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, The Last Emperor, Wuthering Heights, The Sheltering Sky, The Handmaid’s Tale, Little Buddha, and a lot more. He has also acted in a few movies, including Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. He plays piano but he also plays keyboards and seems to be a freaking synthesizer genius. Before he went solo, he was actually a keyboardist and vocalist of Yellow Magic Orchestra. He has done many collaborations, he worked with Alva Noto, David Sylvian (which is probably his most popular collaboration works), Fennesz, Arto Lindsay, Japan, which was the former rock band that David Sylvian was part of, and some other artists. Most of Sakamoto’s collaborations have been with David Sylvian.

Insen is probably my favorite album when it comes to that minimalist, ambient music. It’s very electronic driven, and you can hear Ryuichi improvising his piano. Alva Noto produces all those clips, glitches and beeps. The music is soft on your ears, and Ryuichi’s piano makes this album a pleasant listen. I love to listen to this when I do my homework and when I read. It kind of tickles your ears actually. “Berlin” is my favorite track on this. So yeah, I like this, very nice on the ears, it intrigues my ears, which is funny because I’ve heard some glitch music that makes you feel like having your ear drums split open.