Very Briefly: Some Books Reviewed in the April 24, 2014 Issue of The New York Review of Books

Pile of stuff, people.  Pile of stuff.

Self is thinking of adding the following books to her reading list (Publisher information, when available, will appear in parentheses)

  • The Formation of Vegetable Mould Through the Action of Worms, by Charles Darwin
  • Jelly-Fish, Star-Fish, and Sea-Urchins: Being a Research on Primitive Nervous Systems, by George John Romanes
  • Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill (Knopf, $22.95)
  • Middlemarch, by George Eliot
  • My Life in Middlemarch, by Rebecca Mead (Crown, $25)

*     *     *     *

As for what self is reading currently, it’s Donna Leon’s About Face, which she is enjoying much more than the previous Donna Leon she read, Death and Judgment.

She’s decided to add Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 and Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke to her 2015 reading list, which currently includes these books:

Woman With Birthmark, by Hakan Nesser (a new Swedish mystery writer — that is, new in the sense that she’s only just discovered him)

Silas Marner, by George Eliot

Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned. Ten Best Films of 2014

Self has her own list. The only overlap with the list below is Birdman.

She’s excited to see Foxcatcher. (Maybe today).

Without further ado, here are the 10 best movies of 2014, selected by the collective who contribute reviews to

  1. Two Days, One Night (The movie that asks:  Would you give up a much-needed and well-deserved year-end bonus to save the job of a co-worker?)
  2. Selma (Spurred by the Birmingham church bombing, which killed four little girls)
  3. The Immigrant (James Gray confirms his place as one of the great cinematic poets of New York City)
  4. Birdman * (And not just because of Keaton, but because of the whole ensemble listed here: Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Andrea Riseborough, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan, and Emma Stone)
  5. Only Lovers Left Alive (A vampire love story starring — slow clap here — Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton)
  6. Ida (Two Polish women — a study in contrasts — decide to find the answer to a personal mystery: what happened to the parents of one of them during the Holocaust?)
  7. The Grand Budapest Hotel (So meta. Self isn’t sure about this choice)
  8. Boyhood (Meta but in a different way. Elias Coltrane, in self’s humble opinion, stole the show)
  9. Inherent Vice (Stoner detective in fictional California beach town — supposedly based on a Thomas Pynchon novel)
  10. Under the Skin (Scarjo stars as “an alien prowling around Glasgow, Scotland, preying on unsuspecting men.” Perfect casting there. Self saw a similar movie, years and years ago, Rabid)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


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