Sunday, February 23, 2014

2014 Book List

Photograph copyright K. Smokey Cormier, used with permission.

Wut, you thought I'd given up publishing my yearly lists, or even shrunk them in shame? Fuck no. Not me. It's the usual unmanageable List of Thousands, well, OK, hundreds. I want pizza if I finish even one-third of the books on this list this year.

Book List 2014

  1. *50 Stories - Kay Boyle
  2. 130 Projects To Get You Into Filmmaking - Grove
  3. A Concise History of Indian Art - Roy C. Craven
  4. A History of India 1 - Romila Thapar
  5. A History of India 2 - Percival Spear
  6. A New History of India - Stanley Wolpert
  7. *A Short History of The Movies - Gerald Mast
  8. A Tale Of Millions: Bangladesh Liberation War - M. Rafiqul Islam
  9. Adventures in the Skin Trade - Dylan Thomas
  10. Akbar & the Jesuits - Pierre du Jarric
  11. An Advanced History of India - Majumdar, Raychaudhari, & Datta
  12. An Introduction to Indian Music - Chaitanya Deva
  13. *Art History - Marilyn Stokstad
  14. Angle of Repose - Wallace Stegner
  15. *Asian Dragons & Green Trade - Simon Tay & Daniel Esty
  16. Bangladesh From Mujib to Ershad, an interpretive study - Lawrence Ziring
  17. Bergman on Bergman - Paul Britten Austin, transl.
  18. *Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott
  19. Burchett: Reporting The Other Side Of The World - Ben Kiernan
  20. Canyon Cinema - Scott McDonald
  21. Ceylon - S. Arasaratnam
  22. Cinema, Emergence, & The Films of Satyajit Roy - Keya Ganguly
  23. Cinnamon Shops - Bruno Schultz
  24. Clarissa - Samuel Richardson
  25. Colonial Masculinity - Mrinalini Sinha
  26. Crafts of West Bengal - Prabhas Sen
  27. Crime and Punishment - Dostoevsky
  28. Daddyji - Ved Mehta
  29. Death in Venice - Thomas Mann
  30. Decolonizing the Mind - Ngugi wa Thiong'o
  31. Desis in the House - Sunaina Maira
  32. Dharma and Development - Joanna R. Macy
  33. Digital Filmmaking - Mike Figgis
  34. Digital Photography Master Class -
  35. Essentials of Screenwriting - Richard Walter
  36. *Finnegan's Wake - James Joyce
  37. First Person Singular - Joyce Carol Oates
  38. Folklore of Tamil Nadu - S.M.L. Lakshman Chettiar
  39. Frogs In A Well - Patricia Jaffrey
  40. From Word to Image - Marcie Begleiter
  41. Gandhi - Louis Fischer
  42. Gandhi's Truth — On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence - Erik H. Erikson
  43. Getting Organized - Stephanie Winston
  44. Giving Up Hope - Kalyani Mehta
  45. Gotta Have It - Spike Lee
  46. Grassroots Guide to PNG Pidgin - Bob Browne
  47. Handcrafted Indian Textiles - Rta Kapur Chishti & Rahul Jain
  48. Herzog - Saul Bellow
  49. Hinduism - Its Historical Development - Troy Wilson Organ
  50. *How To Get Control of Your Time & Your Life - Alan Lakein
  51. I Can Make You Thin - Paul McKenna
  52. Ikat Textiles of India - Chetna Desai
  53. Illustrated Historical Guide To Melaka -
  54. I'm Just Here For The Food - Alton Brown
  55. In The Blink of An Eye - Walter Murch
  56. India Wins Freedom - Maulana Abul Kalam Azad
  57. IsvarChandra Vidyasagar -
  58. Jews of the Raj - Mavis Hyman
  59. Kieslowski on Kieslowski - Darusia Stok, ed.
  60. Kiki: Ten Thousand Years In A Lifetime -
  61. Light in August - William Faulkner
  62. Light on Yoga - B.K.S. Iyengar
  63. Look Homeward Angel - Thomas Wolfe
  64. Making Documentary Films - Barry Hampe
  65. *Making Pictures: A Century of European Cinematography -
  66. Made In India - Suparna Bhaskaran
  67. Masters of Light - Schaefer & Salvato
  68. Medieval Mysticism of India - Ksitimohan Sen
  69. Meena, Heroine of Afghanistan - Melody Ermachild Chavis
  70. Mike Leigh on Mike Leigh - Amy Raphael, ed.
  71. Movies & Methods - Bill Nichols, ed.
  72. Movies & Methods II - Bill Nichols, ed.
  73. Music for Mohini - Bhabani Bhattacharya
  74. Musical Instruments of India - Ram Avtar Vir
  75. My Traitor's Heart - Rian Malan
  76. *Nakshi Kantha of Bengal - Sila Basak
  77. Notes on Directing - Walker
  78. Orientalism - Edward W. Said
  79. Our Films, Their Films - Satyajit Ray
  80. Our Lady of Controversy - Alma Lopez
  81. Ousmane Sembene - Gadjigo
  82. Procrastination - Burka & Yuen
  83. Punjabi Century 1857-1947 - Prakash Tandon
  84. Ravi Shankar: My Music, My Life - Ravi Shankar
  85. Reading Lolita In Teheran - Azar Nafisi
  86. Rebel Without A Crew - Robert Rodriguez
  87. Rosie - Anne Lamott
  88. Sacred Cows, Sacred Places - Deryck O. Lodrick
  89. Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye (The Biography Of A Master Film-Maker - Andrew Robinson
  90. Sayles on Sayles - Gavin Smith, ed.
  91. Screenwriting 434 - Lew Hunter
  92. Shoot Me - Simonelli & Frumkes
  93. Showdown - Jorge Amado
  94. Sitar & Sarod in the 18th & 19th centuries - Allyn Miner
  95. Some Trouble With Cows - Beth Roy
  96. Something Like An Autobiography - Kurosawa Akira
  97. Songs of Kabir - Rabindranath Tagore
  98. Srikanta - Sharatchandra Chattopadhyay
  99. The Ajanta Caves -
  100. The Argumentative Indian - Amartya Sen
  101. The Art of the Novel - Milan Kundera
  102. The Autobiography of An Unknown Indian - Nirad C. Chaudhary
  103. The Bengal Muslims 1871 - 1906 - Ahmed
  104. The Bhopal Tragedy - ARPEN Report
  105. The Central Structure of the Mughal Empire - Ibn Hasan
  106. The Declaration of Independent Filmmaking - Polish, Polish, & Sheldon
  107. The Dictionary of Hindustani Classical Music - Bimalakanta Roychaudhuri
  108. The Discovery of India - Jawaharlal Nehru
  109. The Encylopedia of the Indian Diaspora - Brij V. Lal
  110. The Films of Akira Kurosawa - Donald Richie
  111. The Forgotten Army (Indian Mutiny) - Peter Ward Fay
  112. The Gene Hunters Biotechnology and the scramble for seeds - Calestous Juma
  113. The Gesture Language of the Hindu Dance - La Meri
  114. The Great Hedge of India - Roy Moxham
  115. The Hill of Devi - E.M. Forster
  116. The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoevsky
  117. The Men Who Ruled India Vol. I The Founders - Philip Woodruff
  118. The Men Who Ruled India, Vol. II The Guardians - Philip Woodruff
  119. The Mind's Eye - Douglas Hofstader
  120. The Politics of Sri Lanka - Robert N. Kearney
  121. The Rape of Bangladesh - Mascarenhas
  122. The Remembered Village - M.N. Srinivasan
  123. The Rig Veda - Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, transl
  124. The Sari - Linda Lynton
  125. The Story of Zahra - Hanan al-Shaykh
  126. Thinking Fast & Slow - Daniel Kahneman
  127. The Thirteen Principal Upanishads - Robert Ernest Hume
  128. Third World Filmmaking -
  129. Theory & Practice of Film Sound - Weis & Belton
  130. Theory of Indian Ragas - Ram Avtar Vir
  131. Visionary Film - P. Adams Sitney
  132. Wanted: Equality and Justice In The Muslim Family - Zainah Anwar, ed.
  133. Why Be Normal When You Could Be Happy - Jeanette Winterson
  134. Witness to an Era - Frank Moraes
  135. Writers' Workshop in a Book - Cheuse and Alvarez
  136. Yoga: Mastering the Basics - Sandra Anderson, Rolf Sovik
  137. Yonnondio - Tillie Olsen
  138. Zen & The Art of Screenwriting - W. Froug
  139. Wild - Cheryl Strayed
  140. Dread - The Rastafarians of Jamaica - Joseph Owens
  141. Folklore From Contemporary Jamaicans - Daryl C. Dance
  142. One Blood — The Jamaican Body - Elisa Janine Sobo
  143. Rasta & Resistance - Horace Campbell
  144. Rastafari Roots & Ideology - Barry Chevannes
  145. Roots of Rastafari - Virginia Lee Jacobs
  146. The Rastafarians - Leonard E. Barrett, Sr.
  147. La Vera Cucina Italiana - Donaldo Soviero
  148. The Classic Pasta Cookbook - Giuliano Hazan

2013 Book Review

Photo copyright K. Smokey Cormier, used with permission

Only 50 books this past year! I'm so ashamed. I plead special circs. I had way too much stuff to do, most of it (literally) shitty. Also too, tomatoes.

  1. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey
  2. Srsly, wut was I thinking, looking to that shiny-headed Maroon for information? This book is for corporate drones. Wut a waste of time.

  3. Among the White Moonfaces - Shirley Lim
  4. Growing up straight female and Chinese in Singapore in the 1950s. Frankly, the writer could have made this a lot more interesting.

  5. Being Wrong - Kathryn Schultz
  6. The author examines the decision-making process in the human brain, in the most fascinating way. Informative and thought-provoking.

  7. Best American Movie Writing 2001 - John Landis, ed.
  8. For film buffs, a fascinating collection of writing about film.

  9. Beyond Basic Photography - Henry Horenstein
  10. An indispensable addition to the photographer's library.

  11. Breathless - Jean-Luc Goddard
  12. Don't care how much I've read, heard, or seen about him. I *still* don't like Jean-Luc Goddard. OK, Alphaville I could tolerate.

  13. Broken Harbor - Tana French
  14. Tana French is a good writer, and her mysteries always seem earth-shattering. Until you get to the end. Then it all feels like a giant letdown, like the time you dated that person who said they were totally wild to jump in bed with you, but then they do, and fall asleep right away. Yaknow?

  15. Brother Enemy - Nayan Chanda
  16. Nayan Chanda was right there in Southeast Asia when all that shit went down, with the collapse of Saigon and the rise of the Khmer Rouge, and the fall of the Khmer Rouge, and ALL that shit, and he writes about it in such compelling (yet complex, and politically well-informed) language that you feel like you're right there. How often have you really, really wanted to read a book about shit like death and war and militarism? So, if you want to know what went down, especially from the Asian standpoint, get this damn book and fucking READ IT. You won't be sorry. Might be awful mad, tho.

  17. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter - Tom Franklin
  18. Another mystery. Not bad, and set in the South, so a nice face-on look at the pervasive racism, but in the end it seemed less a mystery than a somewhat aimless recounting.

  19. Daybooks of Edward Weston -
  20. A very good reason for every photographer to keep them. What a brilliant photographer.

  21. Death to Dust - Kenneth V. Iserson, M.D.
  22. A book about what happens to human bodies at, during, and after death, written by a medical doctor who did his research and writes in an amusingly grim, dark, thoroughly entertaining style. Indispensible for mystery writers, writers in general, ghouls, readers of horror and mystery, and nitpickers, in general.

  23. Designing A Photograph - Bill Smith
  24. Another indispensable addition to the photographer's library. A concise and well-illustrated manual explaining, and showing, the basic rules for good photographs. Sure, you've read them a million times, but do you remember them?

  25. Escape From Tyranny - Zulkifli Ahmed
  26. I expected a tale of harrowing events. It's hard to feel too much sympathy for someone complaining he has to sell his expensive Mercedes luxury vehicle to pay a fine.

  27. Film Theory Goes To The Movies - Jim Collins, Ava Preacher Collins, Hillary Radner
  28. I often wonder if one should read about film theory at all, rather than just reading about/making film. This is one of the books that answers that question. Read it.

  29. Five Screenplays - Harold Pinter
  30. Is anyone in doubt that Pinter is one of the greatest masters of screenwriting? Read the book, dudes.

  31. Hitchcock - Francois Truffaut
  32. Truffaut interviews Hitchcock, one of my favourite filmmakers. A fascinating look at the innards of the great director. Although Truffaut should've shut up a bit and let the Great Man talk.

  33. How To Get Control of Your Time & Your Life - Alan Lakein
  34. This is probably THE best book you have/will ever read about time management. If you only want to read a single book on the topic, this is the one to read and to keep. Had it for decades and reread it every other year, and always will.

  35. J. Paul Getty Photo Collection -
  36. The NICE thing about money is, it can even rehabilitate people like Getty. A beautiful collection in a coffee-table book with high-quality stock. Nice print job, dood.

  37. Motion Studies - Rebecca Solnit
  38. Everybody should read at least one book by Rebecca Solnit in their lifetime. The woman knows how to get into her topic, she always picks a complex and fascinating topic, and she can write your fucking socks right off. This is about Edweard Muybridge and his studies in motion and contributions to the field of photography.

  39. Mucho Sol - Manuel Alvarez Bravo
  40. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Photography as she is meant to be displayed/enjoyed.

  41. Photography, 4th Ed - Barbara London Upton & John Upton
  42. Much of the information in this book was for photography as it used to be back when I was doing it. SLR cameras and printmaking and darkroom practices and manual lenses. But there's also a wealth of information for the modern photographer, most of it painstakingly culled from years of experience and research. A worthwhile tome.

  43. Primitive Art - Frank Boas
  44. An interesting, if highly technical, analysis of the roots of art, and the symbolism and language of primitive art. Who better qualified?

  45. River of Shadows - Rebecca Solnit
  46. This was every bit as interesting as Motion Studies, although it did seem overly reminiscent of that book. Similar material.

  47. Singapore Studies - Basant Kapur
  48. For the serious scholar of Singapore; a reference of all studies performed.

  49. So Much Pretty - Cara Hoffman
  50. Not so much a mystery as an excellent, if horrendously creepy, novel. You'll be picking pieces of it out of your brain for at least a year, if that's a recommendation (we think it is).

  51. Stolen Glances - Boffin & Fraser, eds.
  52. No. Seriously. It's a book on photography, but just no.

  53. Switch - Chip & Dan Heath
  54. You know how difficult it is to change your habits? Two experts in creating and changing patterns explain why and how you can do it anyway. Seriously worth a read if you're planning on changing your life (isn't everyone?).

  55. The City & The City - China Mieville
  56. China Mieville is always worth reading, though this is surely not his best work. Very good, but you'll spot the (minimal) flaws soon enough. Fascinating book.

  57. The Concerned Photographer - Cornell Capa, et al
  58. A painful yet brilliant, beautiful, engaging compilation of some of the bravest people ever -- the photographers who cover the deadly conflicts worldwide of hunger, war, genocide. A MUST-SEE. We should ALL be so fucking concerned.

  59. The Devil Finds Work - James Baldwin
  60. Loved this beautiful analysis of American contemporary culture through the eyes of one banished to its fringes. James Baldwin speaks for me.

  61. The Fine Print - Fred Picker
  62. Very interesting although no longer applicable in the age of digital cameras and photography. (Sob!)

  63. The Gift - Lewis Hyde
  64. Lewis Hyde explores the possibility of a gift-based economy in this wonderful, inspiring, optimistic little book. Highly recommended.

  65. The Hand of Nature - Ettore Sottsass Jr./Patrick Gries
  66. Incredible photographs of insects in stunning colour and detail. The Hand of the Photographer had plenty to do with making bugs so beautiful.

  67. The Light On Her Face - Joseph Walker, ASC, & Juanita Walker
  68. An auto(?)biography of lighting techniques used in film in the early to mid-20th century.

  69. The Mother Tongue - Bill Bryson
  70. Y'all know who Bill Bryson is. It was an interesting enough read, but not enough for a re-read.

  71. The Political Economy of Social Control in Singapore - Christopher Tremewan
  72. An excellent classical analysis of Singapore, its social organization, economy, politics, and (somewhat) current affairs. Lacking or not necessarily correct in a couple of trivial details, but an excellent scholarly work.

  73. Turn of Mind - Alice LaPlante
  74. A very interesting murder mystery about a woman who is losing her mental faculties. How can you tell if you committed a murder, or if you're covering up for someone else who might have, if you can no longer remember who you, or they, are?

  75. Wikileaks - David Leigh & Luke Harding
  76. These two are the Guardian journalists who worked with Julian Assange to bring Wikileaks to its public state. If anyone knows Wikileaks, and Assange, it would be these two, and the portrait they paint is not overly flattering. A highly recommended read.

  77. Your Future, My Faith, Our Freedom - Chee Soon Juan
  78. This ought to be recommended reading for all Singaporeans and anybody who has any fondness for the tiny island-nation or its inhabitants. A cri de coeur for Singaporeans to be more involved with their national politics and policies. The author is a brilliant neuropsychologist with an obvious and deep love for his country. Regrettably, its current government chooses not to return that love.

  79. Time Bombs in Malaysia - Lim Kit Siang
  80. One of Malaysia's leading politicians (though not, one should add, one currently enjoying any sort of power or even, possibly, liberty) speaks from the heart of problems inherent in the creation of Malaysia that threaten its continued democratic existence.

  81. The Unmaking of Malaysia - Ahmad Mustapha Hassan
  82. An interesting look at UMNO, Malaysia's current governing party, from its foundation to (roughly) the present. It's an insider's perspective, with all the insider stories that entails.

  83. Unmasking Najib - Lim Kit Siang
  84. Veteran Malaysian politician dissects current Malaysian prime minister and his history of duplicity and corruption.

  85. The Indonesian Revolution and The Singapore Connection - Yong Mun Cheong
  86. An excellent historical reconstruction of the role of Singapore in the revolution against the Dutch undertaken by Indonesian freedom fighters seeking to liberate their nation.

  87. Gangsters and Revolutionaries - Robert Cribb
  88. Sheds light on a little-known chapter in Indonesian history, when the street gangs of Java assisted revolutionaries seeking Merdeka for the homeland. Fascinating, if somewhat lengthy.

  89. Indonesian Confrontation - Gabriel Tan
  90. An account of Konfrontasi between Indonesia and the newly formed Malaysia, by a journalist from the Malaysian side of the border. Only of interest to someone interested in the Malaysian Government's viewpoint of the altercation.

  91. The Sculpture of Indonesia - Nat'l Gallery of Art
  92. Art in any more fragile form rarely survives the rigors of the tropical climate, which is why this tome on the sculpture of Indonesia is such a valuable record of artistic and cultural influences of the vast and diverse Indonesian archipelago. Beautiful.

  93. Women Creating Indonesia: The First Fifty Years -
  94. Academic papers from a conference on women in Indonesia; somewhat lacking in Indonesian women participants.

  95. A Nation in Waiting - Adam Schwartz
  96. An interesting, if sometimes confusing, account of the recent political history of Indonesia post WW II; written by someone who spent a good part of their life in that part of the world, covering the events described in the book for various media outlets.

  97. Fighting Spirit of East Timor - Rowena Lennox
  98. Thought this was going to be about the politics or history of East Timor, but it's just a hagiography of a rather unremarkable and colonialist Catholic priest. What a waste of time.

  99. Indian Art - Philip Rawson
  100. A very handy little volume about the art of India pretty much from prehistoric times to the present.