Invisibleby Paul Auster [Henry Holt]
+ Paul Auster's 15th novel is a structural marvel. Constructed ni four parts twisted like rope, the novel is part diary, part novel within a novel, part memoir-ish narrative. It's a complicated, insular novel that plays on the reader's expectations from a novel within a novel and the author's constant fight against reality and coincidence for the best subject matter. In the way that the wild happenings in a newspaper can feel forced or trite in a novel, Auster here utilizes the notion of a real life narrative told in a non-literary fashion (from one vantage point). He plays with the notion of coincidence and have that works on the page versus reality. He plays fantasy against memory and reality in a novel of both large and small scale drama that is surprising from the first to the last.
The Jazz Ear: Conversations over Musicby Ben Ratliff [Henry Holt]
+ New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff sits down to listen to music with some of jazz's biggest stars in this collection of essays. With the project Ratliff asks jazz legends to pick a few songs and sit down with him to listen. The music could be damn near anything, the only requirement is that the artist he is listening with did not play on the album. The resulting conversations are fascinating as the masters of the form talk about song structure and what makes a great recording. The conversations range from Ornette Coleman to Wayne Shorter to Pat Metheny, bouncing all over the place: Shorter's odd ramblings to Metheny's insistence that "glue" is what makes music work. This is must read material for any jazz aficionado, or even a great place to start if you just want to understand how to listen better.
Other Notable Releases: Last Night in Twisted River by John Irving, The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy by Bill Simmons
Poems of the Black Objectby Ronaldo V. Wilson [Futurepoem]
+ Wilson's newest collection of poetry pulsates in your hand. It feels edgy, even provocative. The book is constructed in parts, any one of which would have made a marvelous chapbook, but together the collection is something far more magnificent. I was a fan of Wilson's previous collection, Narrative of the Brown Boy and the White Man, which itself was not too tame, but I get the sense that this is the first time his voice has emerged as a fully formed being. There is something happening in this collection, the same way that you find O' Hara's distinct voice in Lunch Poems, Poems of the Black Object feels like this is Wilson's true voice. Raw, gruff, coy, elusive, playful and blunt.
Pelican - What We All Come To Need [Southern Lord]
+ Pelican continue to carve a special place in my heart with this release. Their unique brand of instrumental metal sounds as good as they've ever sounded on What We All Come to Need. Eight new tracks of sludgy, head-banging post-rock-cum-metal. This is a beautiful record.
Glass Ghost - Idol Omen [Western Vinyl]
+ Glass Ghost's newest album is somewhat reminiscent of Spoon's Kill the Moonlight. It really doesn't sound anything like it aesthetically, but there is that odd minimalist construction with occasional hooks tossed around, feeling natural, as though this all comes easily. Idol Omen will make my shortlist of albums that just aren't going to get enough love this year. A slightly esoteric list, I know.
Other Notable Releases: Between the Buried and Me - The Great Misdirect, Kings of Convenience - Declaration of Dependence, Morrissey - Swords, The Sight Below - Murmur EP, Sting - If on a Winter's Night..., Sun Ra - The Heliocentirc Worlds of Sun Ra Vol. 1,Teagan and Sara - Sainthood, Weezer - Raditude
Skin (Anthony Fabian) [Elysian Films]
+ Skin has a lot of positive buzz going, not that that is always worth something, or indicative of anything. The film is heavy on the drama, but the stellar performances rise to the challenge. If you're trying to keep up with the Oscar bait that is trickling out already, you'll need to watch this one.
Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day (Troy Duffy) [Apparition / Sony]
+ So, I haven't actually seen this one, but I'm a sucker for the original Boondock Saints and it's kitschy appeal. The gun-battles, the subdued story of vengeance. It's not a perfect film, but it executes the familiar revenge-of-the-common-man story well enough to make me excited. A sequel? Well, maybe it's not necessary, but I'm certainly interested.
Other Notable Releases: Gentleman Broncos (Jared Hess), The House of the Devil (Ti West), Micheal Jackson's This is It
Z(Costa Gavras) [Criterion]
+ Criterion gives the royal treatment to Gavras' masterpiece. It's a film of political upheaval and great power on the scale of The Battle of Algiers. If you didn't get to catch it last year when it made the rounds to theaters again then it's time.
Check out this great essay on Z at the Criterion website.
Fear(s) of the Dark(Etienne Robial, Blutch, Charles Burns and more) [MPI Home Video]
+ It's a perfect weekend to rent Fear(s) of the Dark, a film that brings together 6 visionary comic artists to create short pieces centering on fear. It's strikingly beautiful, a pinnacle of modern animation. This is a great film for any time, but you probably couldn't get a better film for a Saturday night in, because I'm sure you aren't going out on Halloween.
Other Notable Releases: Whatever Works (Woody Allen), Death in the Garden (Luis Bunuel), Orphan (Jaume Collet-Serra), The Maiden Hiest (Peter Hewitt), Il Divo (Paolo Sorrentino), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,
Hulk Vol. 3: Hulk No More(Jeph Loeb) [Marvel]
+ Jeph Loeb has made me interested in a series that has never previously interested me. Hulk (the series), in Loeb's hands, has given birth to the Red Hulk, an even more evil version of Bruce Banner's Hulk with origins we aren't quite sure about. The series has also brought about the thrilling decline of Bruce Banner, and I get the sense that this series is a ways from hitting it's stride. This volume collects issues #10-13 and Incredible Hulk #600. Red Hulk and his team, The Offenders, battle The Defenders, Hulk and Namor's team of heroes. It's a great lead in to the final decline of Banner.
Invincible Iron Man Vol. 2: World's Most Wanted, Part 1(Matt Fraction) [Marvel]
+ If only we could guarantee that the upcoming second installment of the Iron Man films was as engaging as this collection. With Norman Osborn taking over the government Tony Stark starts to try and erase all the information he acquired during the Superhero Registration Act while he was acting head of S.H.I.E.L.D. The final database is in his head, as he destroys each Iron Man suit and starts to erase parts of his memory he has to try and fight Osborn's goons while trying to just remember his name.
Other Notable Releases: Batman #692, Batman: The Widening Gyre #3 (of 6), Captain America Reborn #4, Dark Avengers: Ares #1, Dark Reign - The List: Punisher #1, Dark Reign - The List: Wolverine #1, The Flash: Rebirth #5 (of 6), Hulk #16, Kick Ass #8
Please Note: For some of the above recommendations we receive free review copies. It is InDigest's belief that negative reviews aren't worth as much as a positive review. Why tell you what not to do, when there are some great things to do? We only publish reviews of books, films, albums and comics that we've enjoyed to some degree. This is no reflection of the publisher's providing review copy.