Weekend Reading

Jon Foro on October 05, 2018

Whew. I don't know about you, but this sure seemed like a long week. But Friday is finally upon us, and each of the Amazon Books editors is clearly choosing their own path in their reading (escapism) material for the weekend. One will take a raucous, stream-of-consciousness trip through three decades of the Beastie Boys. Another will buckle up for a confrontational memoir from a controversial and groundbreaking artist. And a third will settle in for "a coming-of-age story that will lodge in your heart." Happy reading, and we'll see you on Monday.

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Guys, the Beastie Boys wrote a book. Or maybe compiled is a better word. Surviving members Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz (Adam Yauch passed away in 2012) present Beastie Boys Book (I love this title), a rambling and raucous stream-of-consciousness trip through more than three decades of uncensored memories—records, rashes, tours, and mixtape playlists. Madonna’s here, as is Guns N’ Roses, Dolly Parton, and Johnny Ryall. Along with maybe hundreds of pictures, we get the story behind their short-lived magazine, Grand Royal (which mainstreamed the Mullet), and relive pickup basketball games between sets at Lollapalooza, in which Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan dunks savagely against type. I could go on, but at this point, if you’re in, you’re in. If you’re out, well, you’re kinda missing out. —Jon Foro

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There is a novel coming out at the end of November called The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose that is inspired by one of artist Marina Abramovic's performance pieces. To whet my appetite, I’m going to reread Abramovic’s Walk Through Walls. For those thinking of approaching this frank and fascinating memoir not knowing much about her, buckle up. After all, Abramovic has willingly had a loaded pistol pointed at her head, been maimed by strangers, she’s lost consciousness after laying in the middle of a gas-soaked star set aflame (and that’s just for starters). It’s an odd career trajectory considering Abramovic’s antithetical upbringing under the hem of a tyrannical mother who insisted she be home by ten at the tender age of… 24 (and a mother who kept newspaper clippings of her daughter’s exploits, but with her “indecent” visage removed). You might be tempted to excise the more disturbing aspects of Abramovic’s narrative as well, but like a gruesome car crash, it’s tough to look away. And if you find yourself cringing, well then, that’s the point. One of the main purposes of Abramovic’s art (of her life) is to learn how to confront and transcend the uncomfortable—the physically and the emotionally painful. You may come away from Walk Through Walls thinking, this lady, she cray. But there is something to be said for someone with the audacity to run towards what the rest of us are only too happy to flee. —Erin Kodicek

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This small but powerful and quirky novel is surprisingly told in glossary format by a 12-year-old boy who lives with his uncle in a rundown mansion. The style is at first perplexing – half-page entries like “Canoeist in the Reeds, Rescuing” and “Baby No Longer a Baby” and “Bugling” don't immediately demonstrate a plot line – but then it becomes entrancing. Like puzzle pieces locking together, this boy’s life is slowly revealed, with moments of joy and loss building together into a coming-of-age story that will lodge in your heart. I haven't yet finished A Key to Treehouse Living, but I plan to do so this weekend while listening to the autumn winds sing through the trees. —Adrian Liang

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