Archives: April 2011

This is the archive page for [April 2011]; 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.

New to the Reading List: 29 April 2011 | April 29, 2011
Today, short looks at the latest five additions to the center's unending to-read list, including nonfiction titles on the history of Britain and of Greek science being saved by Islamic scholars, two new intriguing novels, and an illustrated guide to throwing parties for five-year-old girls where they all get to dress up like fairy princesses. No, seriously. | Read entire entry

The CCLaP 100: "Midnight's Children," by Salman Rushdie | April 28, 2011
Today in the "CCLaP 100" essay series on literary classics: It's Salman Rushdie's overview of modern Indian history via magical-realism fairytale, "Midnight's Children," a touchstone of Postmodernism that's been twice voted now the very best novel in the history of the Booker Prize. Classic or not? Click through for my opinion! | Read entire entry

Jugs & Capes: "Blankets" by Craig Thompson | April 27, 2011
Maybe writing a memoir at thirty-five, there really isn't much more that's happened than that one intense romance, the enduring heartache of not having been a good enough big brother, the struggle with one's faith. But much better books were built on much less than that, so I don't think I can let it off the hook that easily. It's not a bad book, certainly, and I'd definitely read more of Craig's stuff later, but this one just didn't dazzle me like I'd hoped it would. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: Code 46 | April 26, 2011
Today's movie: Michael Winterbottom's social-realist movie disguised as a science-fiction thriller, 2003's "Code 46," just as excellent as everything else this inventive British director has done. Thanks to author Mark R. Brand for convincing me to move this to the top of my queue at Netflix! | Read entire entry

CCLaP Podcast 71: April Music Special | April 25, 2011
Today on the CCLaP Podcast: It's the April edition of the center's monthly music special, the third of four new music specials I've been posting throughout the month of April. Today's episode features 14 songs and lasts just under an hour. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Untitled," by Le Cercle Rouge | April 25, 2011
Today's photo: "Untitled," by French Flickr member Le Cercle Rouge. | Read entire entry

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a paper book. | April 22, 2011
They're not for sale yet, but I at least wanted to end the week with the fantastic news that CCLaP's first paper book (and I mean literally the first copy), of Mark R. Brand's "Life After Sleep," is finally finished and busy drying in my apartment. Click through for a ton of photos, and more on the center's coming "Hypermodern Editions" series of collector-worthy but affordably-priced paper titles. | Read entire entry

New to the Reading List: 22 April 2011 | April 22, 2011
Today, short looks at the newest five books to be added to the center's unending to-read list, including the latest by Myla Goldberg, the latest from Two Dollar Radio, a history of Mars-based literature, an anthology on time-traveling disasters, and a comedy about a dead slacker in a corporate-run Heaven. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "69: Eureka!," by Dave Moore | April 22, 2011
Today's photo: "69: Eureka!," by St. Louis photographer Dave Moore. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: In Bruges | April 21, 2011
Today's movie: The Tarantinoesque gangster caper "In Bruges," the talky film debut of Irish playwright Martin McDonagh that picked up a BAFTA and Golden Globe the year it came out, plus got nominated for an Oscar, despite being a goofy and violent genre pic. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Untitled," by Bim Hjortronsteen | April 21, 2011
Today's photo: "Untitled," by Swedish photographer Bim Hjortronsteen. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: The Fighter | April 20, 2011
Today's movie: "The Fighter," the gritty 2010 sports-bio mashup of edgy intense creatives David O. Russell (director), Darren Aronofsky (producer) and Christian Bale (moody star). Highly recommended even if, like me, you usually detest sports films. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Middle School," by Shel Serkin | April 20, 2011
Today's photo: "Middle School," by New York photographer Shel Serkin. | Read entire entry

Your micro-review roundup: 19 April 2011 | April 19, 2011
Today, a special micro-review roundup, looking at the seven guides I recently checked out of the Chicago Public Library on the subject of book collecting and bookmaking, ranging in publication date from the 1970s to just a few years ago. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "17th February," by Andrew Kyle | April 19, 2011
Today's photo: "17th February," by Scot in London Andrew Kyle. | Read entire entry

CCLaP After Dark 01: Orange Alert Reading Series | April 18, 2011
Today on the CCLaP Podcast, the debut of a new video series - "CCLaP After Dark," short recaps of various live literary events happening all around the Chicago area this summer and fall. Today's episode looks at the Orange Alert Reading Series at The Whistler in Logan Square, hosted by Jason Behrends of Orange Alert Press. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Burro in an Abandoned Building," by Joanna Epstein | April 18, 2011
Today's photo: "Burro in an Abandoned Building," by Flickr member Joanna Epstein. | Read entire entry

Chicagoans, hope to see you this Sunday at Orange Alert! | April 15, 2011
CCLaP will be at the Orange Alert Reading Series this Sunday, supporting author Mark R. Brand and selling for the first time our special "BookCard" edition of his novella "Life After Sleep," and hope to see all you Chicagoans as well. Click through for details on both the reading and this special project, including lots of photos of it in action. | Read entire entry

Naughty Netflix: Macumba Sexual | April 15, 2011
Today in CCLaP's "Naughty Netflix" essay series on sexually explicit mainstream movies: It's 1981's bizarre "Macumba Sexual," just one of the hundreds of forgettable exploitation films from the career of grindhouse master Jesus Franco. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Descent, Ascent, Descent," by Robin Rimbaud | April 15, 2011
Today's photo: "Descent, Ascent, Descent," by Londoner in Paris Robin Rimbaud. | Read entire entry

Book review: "Swamplandia!," by Karen Russell | April 14, 2011
Today's book: The trendily hot "Swamplandia!" by Karen Russell, which reviewer Oriana Leckert found a huge disappointment over the author's previous short stories, a meandering and lazy mess that asks for too much forgiveness from the reader for its dozens of eye-rolling inconsistencies. Buyer beware! | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Eggs," by Ahmad | April 14, 2011
Today's photo: "Eggs," by Florida Flickr member Ahmad. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: The State | April 13, 2011
Today's DVD: "The State," MTV's hugely influential Gen-X sketch-comedy show from the early 1990s, whose dozen members have gone on to such projects as "Reno 911!," "Childrens Hospital," "Stella" and "Wet Hot American Summer." I WANNA DIP MY BALLS IN IT!!! | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Untitled," by Erin Wiechenthal | April 13, 2011
Today's photo: "Untitled," by Flickr member Erin Wiechenthal. | Read entire entry

Your micro-review roundup: 12 April 2011 | April 12, 2011
Today, short reviews of three recently read books: The pretty good "NPR-worthy" look at the formation of Britain's Royal Society, Edward Dolnick's "The Clockwork Universe;" Elizabeth Strout's lackluster academic story collection "Olive Kitteridge," winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize; and Charles Elton's wonderfully dark character drama about children's literature, families and secrets, the exquisite "Mr. Toppit." | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Untitled," by Cassidy Scanlon | April 12, 2011
Today's photo: "Untitled," by Flickr member Cassidy Scanlon. | Read entire entry

CCLaP Podcast 70: March Music Special | April 11, 2011
Today on the CCLaP Podcast: It's the March edition of the center's monthly music special, the second of four new music specials coming every Monday throughout the month of April. Today's episode features 14 songs and lasts just under an hour. | Read entire entry

Only three months until the "American Wasteland" deadline! | April 11, 2011
Only three months until the submission deadline for CCLaP's latest anthology, "American Wasteland: Bleak Tales About the Future on the Tenth Anniversary of 9/11!" And this just in -- the release party is being held at revered local bookstore Quimby's! Click through for all the details! | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Untitled," by "el_crater" | April 11, 2011
Today's photo: "Untitled," by French Flickr member "el_crater." | Read entire entry

New to the Reading List: 8 April 2011 | April 8, 2011
Today, short looks at the five latest titles to be added to the center's unending to-read list, including a couple of interesting character dramas, the supposed second coming of David Lynch, Star Jones' kiss-all trash novel about "The View," and New Weird veteran China Mieville's latest. (Surprise! It's about a hidden alternative city!) | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Symphony," by James D'Ambrosio | April 8, 2011
Today's photo: "Symphony," by North Carolina photographer James D'Ambrosio. | Read entire entry

Personal essay: CCLaP's wikicloud guide, a mid-project report. | April 7, 2011
Last November I started a long-term research project through CCLaP, recording my causal, stream-of-consciousness readings at Wikipedia on the subject of the Victorian Age and then presenting that in a graphical map/cloud format, using special software that lets others easily click through and read the entries themselves. Today, a mid-project report on how it's going. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Grit Hyrant," by Mat Heidelberger | April 7, 2011
Today's photo: "Grit Hyrant," by New York photographer Mat Heidelberger. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: Talhotblond | April 6, 2011
Today's movie: The online-trainwreck documentary "Talhotblond," which is being promoted as a quirky little indie-doc ala "Catfish," but is instead the cinematic equivalent of one of those cheesy, exploitative network-television "To Catch A Predator" faux-journalism reports. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "43_365 (Exit)," by Darran J | April 6, 2011
Today's photo: "43_365 (Exit)," by Flickr member Darran J. | Read entire entry

Justify My Netflix: Pineapple Express | April 5, 2011
Today's movie: David Gordon Green's "Pineapple Express," a goofy stoner comedy from a guy who before then had been known exclusively for gritty social-realist dramas that no one saw. Warning: Silliness ahoy! | Read entire entry

Check out this super-cool video for Chris Taylor's "Harvest Season!" | April 5, 2011
Author Chris Taylor, whose debut novel "Harvest Season" I favorably reviewed a few months ago, has a new video reading of his work out as a sort of YouTube commercial; but it's unique and fascinating enough that I wanted to specially point it out today, especially for all of you fellow writers trying to think of something cool to do with your own book video. Click through to see it! | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Chat Perdu," by keith15 | April 5, 2011
Today's photo: "Chat Perdu," by New York Flickr member keith15. | Read entire entry

CCLaP Podcast 69: February Music Special | April 4, 2011
Today on the CCLaP Podcast: It's the February edition of the center's monthly music special, the first of four all-new music specials coming every Monday throughout April. Today's episode features 14 songs and lasts just under an hour. | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "night snow fall," by Anthony Wood | April 4, 2011
Today's photo: "night snow fall," by Philadelphia photographer Anthony Wood. | Read entire entry

New to the Reading List: 1 April 2011 | April 1, 2011
Today, quick looks at the latest five titles to be added to the center's unending to-read list, including the latest by Banana Yoshimoto, a book of short stories by actor James Franco (!), Booker and NBCC nominee "Skippy Dies," and my long-awaited tackling of John Crowley's classic "Little, Big." | Read entire entry

Photo of the day: "Sony Alpha NEX 5 with Skink Pinhole Pancake - Pinhole Munich," by Juergen | April 1, 2011
Today's photo: "Sony Alpha NEX 5 with Skink Pinhole Pancake - Pinhole Munich," by German Flickr member Juergen. | Read entire entry