Reading / Watching / Listening – Slaughterhouse-Five / Contagion / Santigold

Reading – SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE

I’d read only one novel and a handful of essays and short stories by Vonnegut before and I’m a huge fan of his voice, so I figured I’d give his most well-known book a shot.

I didn’t know much about the book, besides its passing reference in Footloose.  And based on the description, I thought it was a traditional war book, so I kind of kept my distance from it, as that’s not really my thing.  But was happy to discover a book filled with aliens and time travel and that wonderful Vonnegut wit.

My one complaint is that the book seems all theme, and all voice.  He’s got one of the best voices out there, and I’d read anything the guy writes, but I would’ve liked to see a little more plot from him.

That isn’t to say the book doesn’t have plot.  And the themes it explores are deep.  Everyone calls it an anti-war book, but I think it’s deeper than that.  I’d call it a pro-life book.  It explores the idea that if timelines don’t really exist, if we never die, but instead just keep living the same moments over and over again… how would that change the way you live your life?

Watching – CONTAGION

This is one of two Steven Soderbergh films from last year that looked pretty unoriginal, so I skipped them.  But my brother highly recommended Contagion and I’m working on a story that deals with a virus, so I decided to give it a shot.  And man, I was reminding how much I love Soderbergh.  In fact, I’ve loved EVERYTHING I’ve seen of his, so why am I not rushing out to the theater every time he makes a movie?  The thing is, he’s so prolific (and often with super low budget films that get no wide release) that it’s easy to skip some.  Now I AM going to rush out and catch up on movies of his that I’ve missed.

Anyways, Contagion is more original than it looks.  A realistic take on the behind-the-scenes of a virus outbreak.  Masterfully edited, great score and impressively acted by the whole lot.  Really eye-opening and surprisingly touching.

Listening – SANTIGOLD – MASTER OF MY MAKE-BELIEVE

I was a huge fan of the first Santigold album, (self-titled Santogold – wait a second, is that a misprint or did she change the spelling of her name between the first and second album?) coming across it randomly on eMusic, it’s a mix of world music / reggae, hip-hop, & punk rock.  This album is more of the same, with a little more electronic influence.  The first track, GO! features Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and this fits right at home with their last album.

And like the first Sanitold/Santogold album, EVERY track is great.  And that’s a rare thing to find these days.  Check out the tracks GO! and This Isn’t Our Parade to get a good feel.  For fans of MIA or dance partys.  GO GET IT!

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