Tuesday, March 14, 2017

“Reading List #5” by Richard F. Yates

[Originally posted 2 Jun. 2014. ---RFY]

“The Continuing Adventures of Richard F. Yates: READER! Episode 5” by Richard F. Yates

(Damn! My fingernails have gotten so long it’s difficult to type! I would cut them, but then I wouldn’t have as strong of a defense against anyone who tries to attack me… Typing vs Personal Defense: The Eternal Confict…)

Anyway, this week we bring you the exciting FIFTH chapter in the ongoing series: “Richard F. Yates: READER!” For those of you who are new to the show, Mr. Yates reads books (some paper, some digital) and then says, in a suspenseful and exciting way, what they were and, sometimes, if he liked them or not! The THRILLS! The ADVENTURE! Like nothing you could ever see on television or at a mini-mall!

(We’ll get to those books, after this brief image!)

Reading List 5:

(5 Apr. ’14)
Just finished reading Moliere’s TARTUFFE, OR THE HYPOCRITE.  It’s pretty funny, I suppose (though not as enjoyable as THE MISANTHROPE.) A quick read.

(8 Apr. ’14)
Finished reading Brain McNaughton’s (yes, it says “Brain” in the by-line) THE DOOM THAT CAME TO INNSMOUTH, which is part of THE CTHULHU MYTHOS MEGAPACK. (Edited by John Gregory Betancourt and Colin Azariah-Kribbs.) Fun, but it gets naughty…

(9 Apr. ’14)
Finished reading CHAGALL, Jean Cassou’s 1965 biography of painter, Marc Chagall. Along with Miro, Klee, Basquiat, and Dubuffet, Chagall is one of the artists with whom I feel a strong affinity. Chagall’s colors, simplified forms, fantastic and dream-like elements seem to echo my personal artistic philosophy. Enjoyable read with numerous images!

(10 Apr. ’14)
Finished reading KRAZY KIDS’ FOOD! – VINTAGE FOOD GRAPHICS by Steve Roden and Dan Goodsell. My favorites were the freeze-dried ice-cream cereal, Delicious Fish gum, and Gorilla Milk! Damn.

(10 Apr. ’14)
Finished reading Philip K. Dick’s “THE CRYSTAL CRYPY,” a short story I got as a freebie through Amazon. Quick little spy story—on Mars.

(17 Apr. ’14)
Finished rereading Sophocles’ OEDIPUS THE KING for the first time since maybe 1990 or ’91. It’s fun, I guess, though a bit melodramatic. Definitely a tale for a different culture, one where Fate controls everything.

(26 Apr. ’14)
Finished reading ROTTEN: NO IRISH – NO BLACKS – NO DOGS, by John Lydon (with Keith and Kent Zimmerman, it says.) This is the history of the Sex Pistols, according to Lydon, with a healthy dose of Rotten back story. Fascinating and enjoyable read. My only disappointment is that he didn’t go much into Public Image Ltd., whose work I usually prefer to the Pistols. (I love both bands, but PiL has more to love!)

(7 May ’14)
Finished reading Eva Minguet Camara’s ULTIMATE ILLUSTRATION, a 2008 survey of contemporary artists and illustrators. Some were very good (others dull or too yucky for me.)

(12 May ’14)
Finished reading Tony Scherman and David Dalton’s POP – THE GENIUS OF ANDY WARHOL, which is either the third or fourth (or maybe fifth???) Warhol biography that I’ve read. (I vaguely remember reading a book about him at the Longview Public Library as a youngster.) I’m not a massive fan of Warhol’s subject matter; the speed freaks and grotesques are too yucky for me, and I grew up in the age after soup cans and advertisements as “art” weas well established, so it wasn’t shocking to me even as a kid. However, I do like Warhol’s colors, and I appreciate the story of a poor kid from nowhere making it big.

(14 May ’14)
Finished reading Ian Doescher’s WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S STAR WARS – VERILY, A NEW HOPE. Pretty funny. Worth the short read if you’re a fan of the Star Wars universe.

(18 May ’14)
Finished reading MAD STEW, written by Nick Meglin and illustrated by a whole list of MAD MAGAZINE regulars like Sergio Aragones, Don Martin, Jack Davis, and so on. Very silly, slightly dated fun. Still has a few great groaners in it.

(22 May ’14)
Finished rereading Stephen King’s THE DRAWING OF THE THREE, the second book in THE DARK TOWER series. I’d read it once before, but it was several years ago. I’ve got to say, even for a reread, it was a page turner!

(26 May ’14)
Finished reading Wayne Andersen’s MARCEL DUCHAMP: THE FAILED MESSIAH, a book absolutely swimming in filthy and degrading language that attempts, throughout, to berate Duchamp for his filthy mind and degrading attitude towards women. The book’s position is that there is a distinction between real art and pornography/cartoon/low brow comedy; however, the book negates its own high tone by being absolutely riddled with grammatical errors, confusing and incomplete sentences, unconvincing arguments, and formatting disasters. I am not a disciple of Duchamp by any means, I find most of his work somewhat dull, though I understand it was shocking in its day. However, I do admit that his body of work, whether through artistic merit, critical conspiracy, or mere historical contingency, has had a significant impact on the history of art. And some of his work is really funny, which I don’t believe excludes it, by definition, from the category of “real” art. Long and short of Andersen’s book: glad I read it; contained much interesting biographical info on Duchamp; didn’t agree with many of the author’s interpretations or connections; felt the book was overly vulgar, which I believe was meant to turn the reader against Duchamp, but instead caused me to devalue the opinions of the author; ultimately, the author failed to convince me that his somewhat muddled argument was valid. (How can a man who admitted to being lazy, and who was interested in little more than playing chess and pursuing women be considered a messiah, anyway? What did this messiah fail at? The title of the book was never fully explored, or even explained, for that matter.) Anyway, it was a frustrating, uncomfortable book to read, but I’m glad I finished it.

(1 Jun. ’14)
Finished rereading Stephen King’s THE WASTE LANDS. Pretty good, this time. Will I go straight for the 4th book in THE DARK TOWER series, or will I read a few other things first? Only time will tell.

(Time has told: I did NOT go directly to the next book in Stephen King series—though I’m going to leave the actual title of the next book as a glorious CLIFFHANGER!!! Stay tuned for part SIX in this exciting series!!!)

—Richard F. Yates

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