Media Tuesday: Special Edition - The Oscar Hangover

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Well, I stayed up to watch the Oscars, and before I knew it I didn't have time for Media Monday. Hence, Media Tuesday: Special Edition.

Despite a significant numerical advantage, the Oscar for Best Picture did not go to a movie that started out as a book. Still, there were some book winners and, all in all, it was a good night for the French everyone. Maybe The Hunger Games will sweep the awards next year. (Feel free to add your 2013 predictions in the comments below or on Facebook.)

 

The Washington Post

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    Suki Casanave has a review of Eric Klinenberg's Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, which opens by citing "a dramatic demographic trend: the startling increase in adults living alone." She understatedly notes that "Exile once ranked as the severest form of punishment — a fate worse than death," before continuing that "many people interviewed for Klinenberg’s study, however — from young professionals to divorced middle agers to independent seniors — attest to the benefits of solo living. They describe feelings of complete freedom, the joy of being able to follow your own schedule, indulge your own habits and focus on your own growth and development instead of always considering or caring for someone else. No compromises. No sacrifices. No attachments. These upbeat singles typically find themselves more socially active, not less." Sounds great to me. I am seriously considering reading this book over the weekend, after my wife and son go to sleep.

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    Justin Moyer, in his review of Evelyn Toynton's "trim biography" Jackson Pollock, points to her line from the book, "There is something particularly thrilling about watching an artist destroy himself." And Pollock was good at it. Moyer writes, "There was no shortage of aggression and nihilism in Pollock’s short life, captured by Toynton, who has also published a novel based on the painter’s doomed marriage to fellow artist Lee Krassner." In summary, this book "ably chronicles Pollock’s gambol over the edge."

  • Here's one of those think pieces that winds up in book review sections sometimes. Susan Okie starts the article by asking, "What makes human beings unique? What accounts for our species’ planetary dominance, for our self-consciousness and awareness of our mortality, for our impulses to create art, to help others, to cling to our memories of childhood, to believe in a deity, to seek riches or fame?" She then goes on to talk about two books that provide different answers. They are Mark Pagel's Wired for Culture: Origins of the Human Social Mind and Sebastian Seung's Connectome: How the Brain's Wiring Makes Us Who We Are.

    Speaking of Mark Pagel, at John Brockman's Edge.org, you can listen to Pagel talk evolutionary biology. Personally, I really enjoyed this, even if he was kind of insulting my entire species.

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