2009 Book & Music Recap

This is the first part of my annual recap of my year in media. Tomorrow I will probably look back at the movies of ’09.

I didn’t really keep up with music this year as much as I normally do. But in no particular order, the releases I was most fond of from this year were:

1. Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid
2. Chuck Ragan – Gold Country
3. A.A. Bondy – When the Devil’s Loose
4. Avett Brothers – I and Love and You
5. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – s/t
6. The Monsters of Folk – s/t
7. M. Ward – Hold Time
8. Mindy Smith – Stupid Love

I should probably confess to loving half of Only By the Night but hating myself for it.

The books I read this year are listed below. I again fell short of my goal, but in this age of illiteracy I consider any number over zero to be a personal triumph.
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What Gorgias Would Say to Sisyphus

On Sunday the pastor at Christ Church preached on kairos and God’s time; specifically, the notion of the kingdom of God as “already and not yet” simultaneously. While I don’t disagree, I want to offer another take on kairos and the personal importance of that word to my own philosophy.

For this I draw on Gorgias of Leontini, one of the most underrated ancient philosophers (unfairly maligned for over 2 millenia because of Dumb & Dumber, ie Aristotle & Plato). From Gorgias and the Sophists we get the concept of the “kairotic moment,” loosely meaning “seizing the opportune opening.” Originally a sports term (archery), the Sophists applied it to rhetoric to mean the key moment in a debate when you trip up your opponent or drive him into a logical corner.

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Books Read in 2008

I tried to read a book/week again, which seems very reasonable, but fell short once again. I’m about halfway through a dozen other books, which I’ll probably just finish & count for ’09. Under each category, they’re listed in the order I read them. Incidentally, the first book I read in 2008 was The Audacity of Hope by Mister Obama. (more…)

“Creating is living doubly.”

In “The Push to ‘Otherize’ Obama” Nicholas D. Kristof has a throwaway paragraph that’s better than the whole rest of the piece:

Just imagine for a moment if it were the black candidate in this election, rather than the white candidate, who was born in Central America, was an indifferent churchgoer, had graduated near the bottom of his university class, had dumped his first wife, had regularly displayed an explosive and profane temper, and had referred to the Pakistani-Iraqi border…

Be sure to also read Bill Saporito’s “How We Became the United States of France”, if not for the content then at least for the brilliant writing. Personally, I have no qualms with admitting my admiration of the French. I just finished reading The Myth of Sisyphus by Albert Camus, one of France’s finest writers. The blurb on the back of my copy calls Camus “aphoristic,” by which I think they simply meant that he’s eminently quotable. A few of my favorites: (more…)