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Showing posts from May, 2015

The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest by Anatoli Boukreev and G. Weston DeWalt

The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest by the late great Anatoli Boukreev and G. Weston DeWalt was, at its heart, a direct rebuttal of Jon Krakauer's assertions in Into Thin Air that Anatoli Boukreev abandoned the clients he was hired to guide up and down Everest on that fateful day, May 10, 1996, when five climbers from two different commercial expeditions perished in a surprise storm on their descent from the summit.

The late Anatoli Boukreev was considered by many the best mountaineer in the world at the time the events documented in The Climb occurred, with nearly a dozen 8,000m peaks in his pocket, including ascents to the top of Everest and several other of the highest Himalayan mountains without oxygen.  His physical conditioning and acclimatization techniques for thriving in high altitudes remain arguably unsurpassed almost two decades since his untimely death on Christmas, 1997, in an avalanche on Annapurna.  And more importantly, they remain practical examples of what yo…

Five Vintage, Appropriately Lurid, Mass Market Paperbacks (# 1.0)

Up first is a newer, appropriately lurid, vintage book cover favorite: BIBLIOBIMBO. I haven't researched it to be 100% positive that it's a loving parody — homage — to mass market pulp covers, but regardless, even if Bibliobimbo isn't a real dime store novel authored by a real bona fide author of the nom de guerre, "John Thomas," the cover blurbs and cover image itself are all clever and brilliant, and I wish I owned a copy whether it exists in reality or not. Surely it exists somewhere in the unreality of Jorge Luis Borges' "Library of Babel"!

BLONDE ON THE ROCKS is an old favorite by a master of lurid detective noir, Carter Brown.  My sole complaint with the otherwise perfect cover artwork:  Where are the damn ice cubes? Is this vixen truly served on the rocks or is she served up?  If this book cover were a real ad for a real drink Carter Brown could be legitimately sued for illegitimate advertising!


Bantam Giant's edition of Pulitze…

Asylum Piece and Other Stories by Anna Kavan

Reading Asylum Piece and Other Stories (1940) is a visceral experience.  Picture yourself staring into a full body-and-mind mirror that Anna Kavan intentionally cracked so that you could feel and see yourself thoroughly shattered, and if you're empathetically bent at all, you may acquire an inkling of what it was like being one of Anna Kavan's unnamed isolated characters suffering from mental illness, looking into that mirror.  Or catch a glimpse, in the least, of what it was like being a young and alienated and misunderstood and suicidal Anna Kavan.  Contorted realities reflected back out of that impossible mirror come sneaking up on you, quietly shrieking.  Background scenarios are terse and incomplete; we do not know how so and so ended up here in this asylum or there in that asylum; we only know that they are here or there, trapped inside, and perceive themselves incarcerated and persecuted unjustly by a real or imaginary litany of unknown "Enemies": jailers, nu…