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What We're Reading: Emily Kai Bock

Tired of reading the same recommended books from the usual sources? Just think of our weekly What We’re Reading column as your non-committal book club with FADER and some of your favorite bands. For this installment, director Emily Kai Bock (previously: Grimes' "Oblivion," Grizzly Bear's "Yet Again") talks about four recent reads.

East of Eden
by John Steinbeck

This is John Steinbeck's opus. A novel and a vivid portrait of the California frontier dating back to the civil war. There is something about Steinbeck's voice that is so honest, poignant, nourishing, and full of sustenance - words grown from the earth. His characters are complex and absent of all cliche. Within one paragraph you are transported among them, under a tree in Salinas Valley, dressed in linen, eating a peach pie and black coffee.

On Writing
by Stephen King

I'm only half way done this one. The first half was King's sort of abridged autobiography, which was a great—hearing about his nightmarish old babysitters, strict teachers, favorite movies, and first love. He also discusses how he found his feet as a writer, coming from a poor single parent home, how he mailed his stories to magazines and the stack of rejection letters that followed. The second half is his advice on writing, from grammar, to work ethic, to the importance of reading, which is where I am now.

The War of Art
by Steven Pressfield

This may sound like a cheesy self-help book, and to some it is. I found this book in an apartment I used to live in, forgotten by a friend of a roommate. I remember it came into my hands at a time when I first started to work in film and had a lot of fear and general resistance towards the work. Reading it steered and spurred me. Many good ideas are never actualized because of fear and procrastination. This book is a good pep talk on marching through those snags of self doubt.

Society of the Spectacle
by Guy Debord

A slow read. But responsible for planting ideas that have uprooted my perspective on the media enriched landscape of late capitalism, which is interesting since Debord wrote it 1967. Many of his statements have only proven themselves more accurate as time goes on. To quote the book:

In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all life presents as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation… This is the principle of commodity fetishism, the domination of society by “intangible as well as tangible things,” which reaches its absolute fulfillment in the spectacle, where the tangible world is replaced by a selection of images which exist above it.

The sign value of the commodity is a doctrine so embedded in our society that it goes unnoticed, yet in this haze of the spectacle it becomes difficult to tell what is real. The borders have blurred.

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What We're Reading: Emily Kai Bock