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What Are You Reading?Winter 2010


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#1 miliosr

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 02:04 PM

So, I've finished reading Patti Smith's memoir Just Kids and quite enjoyed it.

Just Kids is Smith's retelling of how she met her friend Robert Mapplethorpe and their time together in New York. The book begins during the summer of 1967 (when Smith arrived in New York) and continues up to the release of her landmark album Horses in 1975. (There is also a relatively brief coda that deals with the period 1986-89.)

The book is beautifully written and, whether or not you like Smith and/or Mapplethorpe's work, the book tells a very interesting story of how two talented misfits became artists. Just Kids is also a love letter of sorts to the New York of that period and it really conjures up a time and a place which has vanished.

While I loved Just Kids, I wouldn't say this book is the last word on Robert Mapplethorpe. It would best be read in tandem with Patricia Morrisroe's biography of Mapplethorpe (which Smith hated.) The Morrisroe book does a better job of conveying day-to-day events but the Smith book is superior in terms of capturing the unique dynamic of the Smith-Mapplethorpe relationship.

#2 Ray

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 05:36 PM

While I loved Just Kids, I wouldn't say this book is the last word on Robert Mapplethorpe. It would best be read in tandem with Patricia Morrisroe's biography of Mapplethorpe (which Smith hated.) The Morrisroe book does a better job of day-to-day events but the Smith book is superior in terms of capturing the unique dynamic of the Smith-Mapplethorpe relationship.


Well put, miliosr. I heard Smith speak and drew the same conclusion--she was, actually, oddly conservative about RM's art, while wonderfully vivid and candid about their time in NYC together, and their friendship.

#3 Ray

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 05:39 PM

I just started reading The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It, by Jonathan Zittrain. Fascinating so far.

#4 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 06:53 PM

Currently reading Frances Welch' "Life at the Court of Anna Anderson: A Romanov Fantasy".

#5 duffster

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 08:27 PM

I'm reading Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman. She was related to Diana, Princess of Wales. It's an interesting biography of someone almost as famous as Diana was and how their lives were very similar.

#6 Rosa

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 09:02 PM

I am reading Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.

#7 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 09:05 PM

I am reading Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.

:bow:

#8 kfw

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 05:33 AM

I'm reading Phillip Roth's Goodbye Columbus.

#9 dirac

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 02:55 PM

I am reading Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.


Which translation, Rosa? I bought the latest but haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

Thanks for starting the thread, miliosr. I am currently reading The Last Coach by Allen Barra and dipping into Le Morte d'Arthur again.

#10 Rosa

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 03:26 PM

I am reading Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.


Which translation, Rosa? I bought the latest but haven't gotten around to reading it yet.


It is the Louise and Aylmer Maude translation.

#11 PeggyR

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 10:44 PM

Currently about halfway through the Ashton biography. And for a change of pace starting my third trip through Paul Scott's Raj Quartet.

#12 GWTW

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 03:28 AM

I'm currently reading The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing. Before that I read Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys. Catching up on early feminist literature. :clapping:

Also dipping into the Percy Jackson books because my son is so absorbed by them.

#13 miliosr

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 05:59 AM

While I loved Just Kids, I wouldn't say this book is the last word on Robert Mapplethorpe. It would best be read in tandem with Patricia Morrisroe's biography of Mapplethorpe (which Smith hated.) The Morrisroe book does a better job of conveying day-to-day events but the Smith book is superior in terms of capturing the unique dynamic of the Smith-Mapplethorpe relationship.


Well put, miliosr. I heard Smith speak and drew the same conclusion--she was, actually, oddly conservative about RM's art, while wonderfully vivid and candid about their time in NYC together, and their friendship.


Smith has always maintained that she struggled with Mapplethorpe's S&M photos. She wrote a piece about Mapplethorpe for Details magazine in the early 1990s in which she wrote that she found the pictures "very difficult." In the book, I like how she doesn't adopt a revisionist history about that aspect of Mapplethorpe's work. (Likewise, I admire her for not pretending in the book that she understood Mapplethorpe's coming out at the time or that she was happy about it.)

#14 sandik

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 01:46 PM

While I loved Just Kids, I wouldn't say this book is the last word on Robert Mapplethorpe. It would best be read in tandem with Patricia Morrisroe's biography of Mapplethorpe (which Smith hated.) The Morrisroe book does a better job of day-to-day events but the Smith book is superior in terms of capturing the unique dynamic of the Smith-Mapplethorpe relationship.


Well put, miliosr. I heard Smith speak and drew the same conclusion--she was, actually, oddly conservative about RM's art, while wonderfully vivid and candid about their time in NYC together, and their friendship.


She was here in Seattle last week and my partner and son saw her -- a very sweet anecdote about how she and Mapplethorp were walking down the street when her cover of Springsteen's Because the Night was sounding out of every doorway and window. Mapplethorp turns to her and says "you got famous before me!"

And I just finished Laura Shapiro's biography of Julia Child -- a very nice pocket-sized read. (and Shapiro used to be a dance critic here...)

#15 miliosr

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 04:45 PM

She was here in Seattle last week and my partner and son saw her -- a very sweet anecdote about how she and Mapplethorp were walking down the street when her cover of Springsteen's Because the Night was sounding out of every doorway and window. Mapplethorp turns to her and says "you got famous before me!"


Through the magic of the Internet sandik:



This is the one of the strongest vocal performances of this song I have ever heard her give. While it was a disappointment to her fans that she only released one album between 1979 and 1996 (and performed live fewer than a half dozen times between 1980 and 1994), the time off preserved her voice to the point that she sounds better at 63 than she ever did during the 1970s.


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