Books

Amazon, and you’re done

Four books made their way to our doorstep today.

We had purchased them just last Sunday from amazon.co.uk, and since we were told at the time that they probably wouldn't be shipped off before New Year, it was a pleasant surprise to find them sealed, delivered and ready to be fondled at such short notice. Amazon, it must be said, is amazing.

The books, should you wonder, are:

Food of the Gods -- Terence McKenna
Gabriela used to have a copy of this, and recommended it to me. The subtitle reads "A radical history of plants, drugs and human evolution". Hmmm...

the Perennial Philosophy -- Aldous Huxley
Gabriela's dad insisted this was one of the best books he's ever read, so we decided to buy a copy. Subtitle "An interpretation of the great mystics, east and west". This one looks interesting to me.

The Frank Zappa Companion -- Ben Watson
Now we're getting into known territory. Both of us are big FZ fans, and this booklet (a mere 191 pages) provides an album by album rundown, providing background info, band line-ups and -- Ben Watson being Ben Watson -- some highly subjective commentary. Not for the faint-at-heart (but I managed to read through Negative Dialectics of Poodle Play so I think I'll pull through).

Frank Zappa - A Biography -- Barry Miles
Been jonesing for this one ever since it was released in October. A luxurious hardcover edition, 387 pages of the life of FZ. What I appreciate from this book (from what I've read and heard in interviews with its author) is the fact that it maintains an obvious respect for Uncle Frank, while at the same time not shying away from observations that are actually quite critical of the man's persona. Can't wait to read this.

There's something very gratifying about buying a book, as opposed to, oh say, lending it from the library. It's almost a visceral experience. And so, to obtain 4 books all at once in one carefully taped up cardboard box, is as visceral as visceral gets.
Now then. Off to read. Will report on each one of these books as I read them.

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7 thoughts on “Amazon, and you’re done

  1. G says:

    So far, Food Of The Gods is very good. Even better than the first time i’ve read it.
    Hello..? Are you there? Hello?

  2. so, did you start reading “frank zappa – a biography” yet? i would be interested in reading it, but would like to know what you think of the book.

  3. Jurgen says:

    I’m about 3/4 through the book right now (slow reader, what can I say).

    It’s definitely a good read. Sometimes losing itself in detail though. It doesn’t give a full overview of FZ’s career; instead the book mostly recounts FZ’s childhood up until the early MOI days — 3/4s through the book is about where Miles tells the Montreux fire story. I don’t consider this a bad thing, but if you’re after a more comprehensive biography I’d go with “Electric Don Quixote” (assuming you haven’t read that one yet).

    What I especially like about this book is the critical eye Miles has when looking at his subject — he doesn’t shy away from pointing out certain FZ-character traits we, as fans, tend to look away from.

    (whoah, big comment; I should make this my next post…)

  4. old post, relavent comment.

    I ended up getting both “Electric Don Quixote” and “Biography” and feel the same way. I had read TRFZB and Electric Don Quixote and continued to have the same feelings about Frank (hard working guy, done wrong by the music industry, wrong place at the wrong time, misunderstood). Having read Biography, it opened my eyes to the fact that Frank was also a human being. He had character traits that set him apart from others. Good for solitary workmanship, bad for interpersonal relationships.

    Regardless, I am glad I ended up with both books. They provided different perspectives on the same subject matter.

  5. Absolutely.
    Have you ever seen this video, sometime early ’90ies — Frank’s already pretty sick by that time–, where he’s invited the Tuvan throat singers, as well as Johnny Guitar Watson and The Chieftains over to his recording studio? He looks uncharacteristically vulnerable and appreciative of their company and musical input, on an emotional rather than rational level. The musical equivalent of that footage for me, is “Black Napkins” or “Watermelon In Easter Hay”.
    Just to say: there was much more to FZ than titties ‘n beer and dinah-moe humms… and it’s what Miles lays his finger on.

  6. Gaby says:

    Pat, even if it’s a cliché at this time, you MUST get a copy of Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” (showed here among our latest purchases).
    Great quality thriller/novel with lots of mind-blowing information. Don’t miss it!

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