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theparisreview:

“I think sometimes about old painters—they get so simple in their means. Just so plain and simple. Because they know they haven’t got time. One is aware of this as one gets older. You can’t waste time.”
Happy eighty-fifth birthday, Ursula K. Le Guin! Read her 2013 Art of Fiction interview.
21 Oct

theparisreview:

“I think sometimes about old painters—they get so simple in their means. Just so plain and simple. Because they know they haven’t got time. One is aware of this as one gets older. You can’t waste time.”

Happy eighty-fifth birthday, Ursula K. Le Guin! Read her 2013 Art of Fiction interview.

21 Oct

31 Days of Halloween
Real Life, Man (aka Scary Nonfiction)

People change, you know? The volume goes down on the music and up on the ringtone. A night out sounds less appealing than a day off. By the time the word “dates” features more in your low-fat-diet than your social calender, it’s already happened, my friend. You live with it. You move on. So, if vampire romances leave you cold as the grave, and the bump in the night is nowadays most likely your toe searching for a slipper under the bed, if the words “Bloody Mary” and “Zombie” conjure not urban legends so much as cocktails for you, why, then, congratulations, you’re a grown up. Happens to nearly all of us — though only the good die young (I’m counting on you being old enough to know that phrase is from a once popular song.)

Doesn’t mean that nothing scares us any more, quite the opposite, actually. Lots of things scare us now that never did when we were young and carefree: death, taxes, tuition, our credit-scores and deficit-spending… Global warming? War? Pandemics? “Sexting”? Sure. You bet. Oh yeah. What’s that again?

If Halloween has ceased to be something to which we look forward much or fear for reasons other than our blood-glucose, that doesn’t mean there is not still fun to be had in celebrating the scary season. You want a good fright? In the mood for a bit of the macabre? Looking for something to keep you up nights?

How about Full-Rip 9.0: The Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest, by Sandi Doughton, new from Sasquatch Books? Perhaps you’d rather something scientific by way of making you pleasantly uncomfortable this October? Try Armageddon Science: The Science of Mass Destruction, from St. Martin’s Griffin and bestselling author Brian Clegg? Or maybe The Amoeba in the Room: Lives of the Microbes, from Oxford University Press and author Nicholas P. Money. That’ll make you wash your hands, brother.

You want to be dropped right in it? Try Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield, from Perseus and journalist Jeremy Scahill. OR, from Faber, Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients, by the author of Bad Science, Ben Goldacre. Or if you just want some nice, simple, old-fashioned drug-addled killing, may we suggest from Harper, Tinseltown: Murder, Morphine, and Madness at the Dawn of Hollywood, by the usually more musical William J. Mann? Maybe just something flat-out creepy? From Ten Speed Press, Crap Taxidermy, by Kat Su**(Sure, you laugh, but get this book and just try to get some of these monstrosities out of your cool, level head, fellow adult.)

The worst part of being a grown-up may well be knowing enough to be frightened of the real stuff. The best part of being a grown-up? You stay up late and read something terrifying? Pour yourself a drink, put your feet up, and go to sleep with the lights on. You know you can nowadays. AND, who pays the light-bill anyway? That’s right! You do, buster.

Happy Halloween, boys and girls!

20 Oct

Death has fascinated mortician Caitlin Doughty for as long as she can remember. But it wasn’t until she took a job at a crematorium during her first year out of college that Doughty came to truly understand what death and dying in America were really about. In an unusual memoir, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, set during Doughty’s first year in the funeral industry, she shares her eye-opening, candid, and often hilarious story, bringing to life the world of the dead and encouraging readers to look at death as not any enemy to be feared or ignored but an intrinsic part of life we too often misunderstand.

20 Oct

31 Days of Halloween
A Brief History of The Necronomicon

The Necronomicon is the most famous fictional book ever created; its popularity nearly transcends that of its creator, H. P. Lovecraft, having become the pop culture grimoire of choice whenever a tome of dark magic and forbidden knowledge is required. The book was first mentioned in two of Lovecraft’s shortest tales, “The Hound” and “The Nameless City,” and it is in the latter tale in which the book’s famous couplet is first quoted:

That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange aeons even death may die.

The book appears in several of Lovecraft’s major tales, including At the Mountains of Madness, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, “The Call of Cthulhu,” but only in “The Dunwich Horror” does it serve as a major plot motif. However, the book’s appearances in these tales captured reader’s imagination and those of fellow pulp writers Clark Ashton Smith, August Derleth, and Robert Bloch, who would use it in their own weird tales. Lovecraft was very sparing of details about his grimoire’s appearance and contents, but did compose "A History of the Necronomicon", which, unfortunately, was not published until after his death.

Despite its fictional origins, a book purporting to be a translation of “the real” Necronomicon was published in the late 70s. This version’s author, the pseudononymous Simon, claimed that the book in Lovecraft’s tales truly did exist and that he had discovered a previously unknown Greek translation. Since publication, Simon’s Necronomicon has sold over 800,000 copies, never been out of print, and a source of continuing controversy surrounding the text’s authenticity.

Also in the 70s, the Swiss Surrealist artist H. R. Giger entitled the first compendium of his art The Necronomicon. This volume was given to director Ridley Scott while he was developing the film Alien. Scott hired Giger to do production design on the film, including the creation of the eponymous creature, for which Giger would earn an Oscar.

A few short years later (1981), director Sam Raimi used The Necronomicon in the first of his Evil Dead films. Both gory and hilarious, the film has gone on to become a cult classic and served to help popularize the book to a whole new generation, many of whom discovered Lovecraft’s work during the 80s horror boom because of the film.

Since then, The Necronomicon has been used for a variety of anthologies, both of Lovecraft’s work and weird tales in general. The author Donald Tyson has composed his own recreation of the grimoire entiltled, Necronomicon: The Wanderings of Alhazred, which details Abdul Alhazred’s wanderings through the Middle East and the knowledge he discovered, as well as a companion novel, the fictional biography Alhazred.

Finally, in the penultimate chapter of his history Grimoires: A History of Magic Books, Owen Davies examines at length Lovecraft, his famous fictional tome, and its influence on later occult books in the twentieth century, including Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible and the Simon Necronomicon.

Join us in Bellevue for a scary good time.
19 Oct

Join us in Bellevue for a scary good time.

19 Oct

31 Days of Halloween
The Simple Art of Reaping

Looking for a hardboiled Halloween noir? Check out The Collector series by Chris F. Holm. Imagine Philip Marlowe on permanent retainer with the Grim Reaper, and you’ve got Sam Thornton—a Collecter of damned souls who dispatches his “marks” to their final destination, cool and methodically. Or he would if both Heaven and Hell didn’t keep mucking up his beat; neither side is to be trusted, forcing Sam to play demons against angels in a gambit where one misstep could lead to Armageddon. Slick, witty, and inventive, The Collector series are supernatural thrillers, par excellence.

Explore something new this Fall, at the bookstore.

“Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.” — Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
19 Oct

Explore something new this Fall, at the bookstore.

“Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.” — Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

18 Oct

Throughout history, every culture believed that the earth was the center of our universe. That is, until Copernicus proposed that the earth revolved around the sun, and our existence was demoted from one of significance to one of mediocrity. In Caleb Scharf's new book, The Copernicus Complex: Our Cosmic Significance In A Universe Of Planets And Probabilities, he weaves together cutting-edge science, history, and philosophy to propose that our place in the universe lies somewhere in the balance, encompassing both our indistinguishable coexistence with all that surrounds us and our uniqueness within the particular time, place, and circumstances in which we exist. For a deeper look into Scharf’s new theory and exploration of what it means on both a scientific and human level, enjoy this video of a conversation between Scharf and UW Professor of Earth and Space Sciences, David Catling.

18 Oct

31 Days of Halloween
It’s People!!!

Cannibalism is one of the few cultural taboos that still manages to inspire revulsion and horror across all strata of society. It conjures to mind either the necessity for dire survivalism or an individual who has degenerated into complete and utter depravity. Perhaps, this is why whenever it arises as a motif in thrillers and horror novels, it makes for a memorable, if squeamish, read.

In his first novel, Consumed, filmmaker David Cronenberg revisits the body horror themes he explored in such films as Videodrome and Dead Ringers; disturbing yet accomplished in equal measure, the novel offers further proof of Cronenberg’s mastery in the cerebral grotesque. Chris Novak's Brood shares a title (of sorts) with one of Cronenberg’s earlier films and is a follow-up to his earlier chiller Breed. In this installment, Adam and Alice, the children born in the first novel, fear they may have inherited their parents’ peculiar (and savage) appetites.

Thomas Harris's huge bestseller The Silence of the Lambs didn’t introduce the character Hannibal the Cannibal, but the feature fillm adaptation with Anthony Hopkins’ Oscar winning performance, made him a byword for charming, sadistic evil. Christian Bale, similiarly put his own impression on Patrick Bateman, the yuppie serial killer narrator of American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.

Revenge and meat pies make up the menu at the dinner party denouement in Shakespeare's first tragedy, Titus Andronicus, which was one of the playwright’s most popular plays in his own time(now, not so much). Finally, there is The String of Pearls by James Malcolm Rymer, the original penny dreadful account of Sweeny Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Fancy some shepard’s pie, love?

17 Oct

From Figure 1 Publishing, in Vancouver, comes this glorious reprint of Emily Carr’s Sister and I in Alaska, a delightful picture-journal of the artist’s trip to the wilds of Sitka, Skagway, etc.