Friday, January 08, 2010

Mount TBR 2010

As promised, here is a brief rundown on my new books (with another look at my ever-expanding Halldór Laxness collection!), bottom row, left to right:

The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology, by Rossell Hope Robbins, Crown, 1959. Pretty tedious reading, but full of cool vintage woodcuts.

Stories from The New Yorker, 1950 - 1960, various, Simon and Schuster, 1960. All the big hitters of short fiction in the '50s. Really exceptional.

Buffalo for the Broken Heart, by Dan O'Brien. Random House, 2002. Received as part of a combo gift with 10 pounds of frozen bison. Heartache, buffalo and redemption on a South Dakota ranch.

Icelander, by Dustin Long. Grove/McSweeney's, 2006. Post modern mystery, not about Iceland at all.

Arctic Chill by Arnaldur Indriðason. Minotaur, 2009. I'll be writing a review when I've finished this.

Swedish Folktales & Legends. See last Tuesday's FITK.

The Chain Letter of the Soul, The Heart Can Be Filled Anywhere On Earth,
The Music of Failure
All by Bill Holm. I've been reading Bill a lot lately, These three books span the last thirty years. I may be writing an overview of his essays sometime in the future. The title essay of Music is about as close to perfection as Bill ever got in his writing.

Björk by Nicola Dibben, Indiana University Press, 2009. A scholarly treatment of Björk, her career and her music. Somewhat pedantic, but its section analyzing her music gives a greater understanding of her unique approach to composition.

TOP ROW: 14 Halldór Laxness titles and counting...

By Professor Batty


Blogger Mary said...

I bought Paradise Reclaimed and like it so far, what Laxness books would you suggest for a reader who is new to him? Thanks!

Blogger Professor Batty said...

The Fish Can Sing is tremendous, and readily available. There are ten novels and a couple of books of shorter fiction of Laxness available in English. My blog-pal Rose and I have published reviews of these, there is an article here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Blogger Wim Van Hooste said...

Let me know your opinion on the Björk Book. One of the few books on Björk I don't have (yet).

Blogger Professor Batty said...

Wim~ That Bjórk book is OK, not as readable as the Pytlik or Gittins books. It does cover Medulla and Volta however, but not in depth. You probably know more about B than Dibben does. There is some coverage of the actual musical structure of a few songs, but very academic.

Blogger Darien Fisher-Duke said...

You should have waited a few days to post that TBR! I'm just sayin'!

Anonymous mary said...

You've got another Mary?
I'm jealous!
I can only recommend 'Independent People' to anyone, it is fabulous.
Go read it Mary.

Blogger Mary said...

Big thanks to Batty and the other Mary for the recommendations and the pointers to your reviews - I will report back.

Professor B, I found your blog through one of the Iceland blogs I read. I visited Iceland a few years ago and remain fascinated by it. Also I am intrigued by the Icesave festival - I volunteer at a college radio station (online at, I am DJ Cousin Mary) where we are always looking for new and unusual music.

Blogger Professor Batty said...

Annie's Mary ~ Many people think that is one of the greatest books by any author (Gabriel García Márquez has it as one of his faves) good choice, but it can be overwhelming.

DJ Mary ~ The Airwaves festival is a total blast (see my October 2006 and October 2009 archives). I was most impressed with Hjaltalín in 2009 and Ólöf Arnalds in 2006. If you want something really different, check out Pascal Pinon, they are a group of 15-year old girls who write their own material. You can Google them and find their MySpace page.

Blogger Darien Fisher-Duke said...

What is the title essay of Music?

Blogger Professor Batty said...

The Music of Failure: Variations on an Idea, it cover many of Bill's recurring themes.

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