Saturday, April 30, 2011

Building a better bookcase

Take some birch plywood boxes, stack them in a gridded storage system, and incorporate a diagonal staircase for kitty that can be set up backwards or forwards. VoilĂ : you have Corentin Dombrecht's Cat Library, a sweet little modular bookcase. Watch it come into being:

Now for some books to fill it up with! It's always worthwhile to spend time with the visionary Margaret Atwood (Moral Disorder; The Tent), one of the smartest writers ever. Also Canadian, and on many a shortlist for best short story practitioner working today, is Alice Munro  (The View from Castle Rock).

And if you'd like to begin adding some DVDs to the stacks, I recommend Almodovar's Broken Embraces (Spain)—an intensely dramatic and beautifully acted ensemble piece with lush colors and opulent sets. Opening with a long, atmospheric take of a gospel funeral that watchers of Treme will relate to, Pete Kelley's Blues is set in the Depression and is notable for its time (the '50s) for a nonpatronizing view of African Americans. Jack Webb as the lead (he also directed) has several equal-footing interactions with Ella Fitzgerald's character. The highlight for me, however, was Peggy Lee's screen time, both as singer and actress. She must have brought all of the painful memories of her abused childhood to bear on her heartbreaking portrait of a woman consumed by hopelessness and despair. 

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