Archives: December 2010

This is the archive page for [December 2010]; below you should see headlines and summaries of all entries posted here that month. Click the appropriate link at each to read the entire entry.

The Year In Books 2010: The CCLaP Guilty Pleasure Awards | December 31, 2010
Today at CCLaP, it's part four of the four-part look back I've been doing this week at my favorite reads of 2010; in this case, the revered Guilty Pleasure Awards, denoting excellence in the fields of nerdy steampunk, trashy melodrama and more. | Read entire entry

CCLaP's party was a snowy success! | December 30, 2010
We had a nice little crowd show up last night to CCLaP's Royalty Payout and Holiday Party, in which we celebrated Ben Tanzer earning his first royalty check for the running/writing essay collection "99 Problems." Click through for lots of photos, several of them thanks to local author Mark Brand. | Read entire entry

The Year In Books 2010: Best of the Cutting-Edge | December 30, 2010
Today at CCLaP, it's part 3 of my four-part look this week at my favorite books of 2010, this time concentrating on my ten favorite experimental or otherwise cutting-edge novels of the year. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Phone-mast_llysfaen," by Chris Bird | December 30, 2010
Today's photo: "Phone-mast_llysfaen," by Welsh photographer Chris Bird. | Read entire entry

The Year In Books 2010: Worth a Second Look | December 29, 2010
Today at CCLaP, part 2 of my look back at my favorite 40 books of 2010, this time looking specifically at ten titles that were excellent for what they were, but that will only appeal to a more select group of fans. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Tunnel," by David DeLaurier | December 29, 2010
Today's photo: "Tunnel," by Canadian photographer David DeLaurier. | Read entire entry

The Year In Books 2010: Best of the Best | December 28, 2010
Today at CCLaP, it's part one of the center's four-part look back at the best books of 2010, of the 150 titles that were read and reviewed here. Today's list looks at the ten top-scoring books of the year, all of which rated 9.4 or higher on a scale from 1 to 10. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "In Letting Go," by David Niddrie | December 28, 2010
Today's photo: "In Letting Go," by Canadian photographer David Niddrie. | Read entire entry

Come to CCLaP's royalty payout and holiday party! | December 27, 2010
It's time for local author Ben Tanzer to receive his first royalty check for his latest CCLaP book, the writing/running essay collection "99 Problems," so in usual fashion we're holding a public party to celebrate, this time at the Andersonville Swedish pub Simon's. Click through for all the details! | Read entire entry

The Year In Books 2010: An Introduction | December 27, 2010
It's the last week of the year, which means it's time for CCLaP's four-part "Year In Books" roundup, taking a look again at my favorite 40 titles from the 150 I reviewed in 2010. Today, an introduction to what will be coming this week, plus some CCLaP statistics for those who are curious. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Untitled," by Shay Sapir | December 27, 2010
Today's photo: "Untitled," by Israeli photographer Shay Sapir. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: Metalocalypse, Season 3 | December 22, 2010
Today's DVD: Season 3 of Adult Swim's sneakily brilliant "Metalocalypse," a death-metal parody and tribute rolled up into a laugh-out-loud hybrid, a true guilty pleasure that I literally feel bad about loving so much. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Untitled," by Mat Ranson | December 22, 2010
Today's photo: "Untitled," by Brit-in-Sicily Mat Ranson. | Read entire entry

The CCLaP 100: "Little Women," by Louisa May Alcott | December 21, 2010
Today in the "CCLaP 100" essay series on so-called literary classics: It's Louisa May Alcott's 1868 "Little Women," a perennial favorite among preteen girls that incidentally is a great reflection as well of its Transcendentalist times. Classic or not? Click through for my opinion! | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "homecoming," by Mina Estevez | December 21, 2010
Today's photo: "homecoming," by mysterious Flickr member Mina Estevez. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) | December 20, 2010
Today's movie: The surprisingly sumptuous 2002 adaptation of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest," which actually films some of the play's notorious subtext in a delightfully naughty, visually arresting way. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "[eight-one] An eight-eyed adventure," by Zhuoshi Xie | December 20, 2010
Today's photo: "[eight-one] An eight-eyed adventure," by Massachusetts photographer Zhuoshi Xie. | Read entire entry

Book review: "Dreadnought," by Cherie Priest | December 17, 2010
Today's book: Cherie Priest's "Dreadnought," the steampunkirrific second volume of her "Clockwork Century" series, certainly a great genre tale but unfortunately not the mindblowing game-changer of the first novel, last year's Hugo-nominated "Boneshaker." | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Untitled," by David Cubberly | December 17, 2010
Today's photo: "Untitled," by Illinois photographer David Cubberly. | Read entire entry

Ben Tanzer's story-map looks freaking incredible in Google Earth 6 | December 16, 2010
I recently had a chance to open Ben Tanzer's "story-map," created as a promotional piece for his CCLaP essay collection "99 Problems," in the brand-new Google Earth 6 with thousands of 3D buildings and millions of 3D trees. The results are freaking incredible. Click through for lots of screenshots! | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: Metropia | December 16, 2010
Today's movie: The pan-European cutting-edge animated feature "Metropia," using Photoshopped images of real people to create a bizarrely nightmarish look and feel, to tell the story of a post-oil EU and the massive transit company that may or may not be conducting mind-control experiments on its riders. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Flight Over Walensee / Switzerland," by Lou.Cent | December 16, 2010
Today's photo: "Flight Over Walensee / Switzerland," by German Flickr member Lou.Cent. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: I'm Still Here | December 14, 2010
Today's movie: "I'm Still Here," the supposed documentary of Joaquin Phoenix's infamous media hoax last year, but which instead is a surprisingly powerful indictment of the entire "entertainment industry" and its sociopathic attitude towards self-destructing celebrities, officially now my favorite film so far of 2010. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "The Skydeck," by Pooria Koleyni | December 14, 2010
Today's photo: "The Skydeck," by Pooria Koleyni, an Iranian in New Zealand who here is shooting in Chicago. | Read entire entry

Your micro-review roundup: 13 December 2010 | December 13, 2010
Today, short reviews of three recently read books: The fantastic "NPR-worthy" essay series on Russian Literature, Elif Batuman's "The Possessed;" the experimentally transgressive "Cows" by Matthew Stokoe, recently reissued by Akashic Books; and the sci-fi action thriller "7 Scorpions: Rebellion" by Mike Saxton, bound to be loved by the violent juggalo teenage boy in your own life. | Read entire entry

The CCLaP 100: "The Executioner's Song," by Norman Mailer | December 10, 2010
Today in the CCLaP 100 essay series on so-called literary classics: It's the 1980 "New Journalism" showpiece "The Executioner's Song," in which the notorious Norman Mailer details in a "true-life novel" the sad saga of Gary Gilmore, the first American to be executed after the Supreme Court's lifting of a longtime ban in the '70s. Classic or not? Click through for my opinion! | Read entire entry

Your micro-review roundup: 8 December 2010 | December 8, 2010
Today, short reviews of three recently read books: the fundraising story collection "Demons in the Spring" by Joe Meno; the quirky and charming but ultimately disappointing "Finny" by Justin Kramon; and the overhyped vampire thriller and profound letdown "The Passage," by Justin "I Love Every Cliche I've Ever Heard" Cronin. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Untitled," by Andres Medina | December 8, 2010
Today's photo: "Untitled," by Spaniard in Paris Andres Medina. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: Raajneeti | December 7, 2010
Today's movie: The popular southeast Asian political thriller "Raajneeti," which is either a fascinating slice-of-life look at daily Indian culture or a badly melodramatic mix of "The Godfather" and a Victorian potboiler, depending on how much you know about India before watching it. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Fire Escapes," by Steve Kuenstler | December 7, 2010
Today's photo: "Fire Escapes," by Chicago photographer Steve Kuenstler. | Read entire entry

Book review: "Harvest Season," by Chris Taylor | December 6, 2010
Today's book: The flawed but still great "Harvest Season," the literary debut of former travel writer Chris Taylor, in which a little-known expat haven in rural southwest China faces ruin by an explosion in white backpacker Lonely Planet douchebags. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "EXIT," by Stephen Kilkie | December 6, 2010
Today's photo: "EXIT," by Scot-in-Las-Vegas photographer Stephen Kilkie. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: Splice | December 2, 2010
Today's movie: The surprisingly intelligent 2009 creature feature "Splice," produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by the creator of '90s cult classic "Cube," mostly the same kind of blood-and-boobs fest you see at the mall any Friday night, but here with always smart dialogue, humor, Freudian references and more. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "stepping lightly," by Ernest McLeod | December 2, 2010
Today's photo: "stepping lightly," by Vermontian in North Carolina Ernest McLeod. | Read entire entry