Thursday, 15 August 2019

David Bowie’s 100 Favorite Books Offer a Peek Inside the Artist’s Mind



David Bowie will always be remembered as a seminal figure in the worlds of music, fashion, and film, and as a legendary pop culture icon. But he was also a voracious reader who often read a book a day.
In 2013, as part of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s “David Bowie Is” exhibition, curators Geoffrey Marsh and Victoria Broackes compiled a list of David Bowie's 100 favorite books, which ranges from innovative works like Alfred Döblin’s Berlin Alexanderplatz to classics like Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary to contemporary novels like Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys, plus several music history titles.
Below is a complete list of Bowie’s favorite 100 books. How many have you read?

1. Interviews With Francis Bacon by David Sylvester
2. Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse
3. Room At The Top by John Braine
4. On Having No Head by Douglass Harding
5. Kafka Was The Rage by Anatole Broyard
6. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
7. City Of Night by John Rechy
8. The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
9. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
10. The Iliad by Homer
11. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
12. Tadanori Yokoo by Tadanori Yokoo
13. Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin
14. Inside The Whale And Other Essays by George Orwell
15. Mr. Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood
16. Dictionary Of Subjects And Symbols In Art by James A. Hall
17. David Bomberg by Richard Cork
18. Blast by Wyndham Lewis
19. Passing by Nella Larsen
20. Beyond The Brillo Box by Arthur C. Danto
21. The Origin Of Consciousness In The Breakdown Of The Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes
22. In Bluebeard’s Castle by George Steiner
23. Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd
24. The Divided Self by R. D. Laing
25. The Stranger by Albert Camus
26. Infants Of The Spring by Wallace Thurman
27. The Quest For Christa T by Christa Wolf
28. The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin
29. Nights At The Circus by Angela Carter
30. The Master And Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
31. The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark
32. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
33. Herzog by Saul Bellow
34. Puckoon by Spike Milligan
35. Black Boy by Richard Wright
36. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
37. The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea by Yukio Mishima
38. Darkness At Noon by Arthur Koestler
39. The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
40. McTeague by Frank Norris
41. Money by Martin Amis
42. The Outsider by Colin Wilson
43. Strange People by Frank Edwards
44. English Journey by J.B. Priestley
45. A Confederacy Of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
46. The Day Of The Locust by Nathanael West
47. 1984 by George Orwell
48. The Life And Times Of Little Richard by Charles White
49. Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom: The Golden Age of Rock by Nik Cohn
50. Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock 'n' Roll Music by Greil Marcus
51. Beano (comic, ’50s)
52. Raw (comic, ’80s)
53. White Noise by Don DeLillo
54. Sweet Soul Music by Peter Guralnick
55. Silence: Lectures And Writing by John Cage
56. Writers At Work: The Paris Review Interviews edited by Malcolm Cowley
57. The Sound Of The City: The Rise Of Rock And Roll by Charlie Gillett
58. Octobriana And The Russian Underground by Petr Sadecky
59. The Street by Ann Petry
60. Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
61. Last Exit To Brooklyn by Hubert Selby, Jr.
62. A People’s History Of The United States by Howard Zinn
63. The Age Of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby
64. Metropolitan Life by Fran Lebowitz
65. The Coast Of Utopia by Tom Stoppard
66. The Bridge by Hart Crane
67. All The Emperor’s Horses by David Kidd
68. Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
69. Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess
70. The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos
71. Tales Of Beatnik Glory by Ed Sanders
72. The Bird Artist by Howard Norman
73. Nowhere To Run: The Story Of Soul Music by Gerri Hirshey
74. Before The Deluge by Otto Friedrich
75. Sexual Personae by Camille Paglia
76. The American Way Of Death by Jessica Mitford
77. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
78. Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
79. Teenage by Jon Savage
80. Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh
81. The Hidden Persuaders by Vance Packard
82. The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
83. Viz (comic magazine, early ’80s)
84. Private Eye (satirical magazine, ’60s – ’80s)
85. Selected Poems by Frank O’Hara
86. The Trial Of Henry Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens
87. Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes
88. Le Chants de Maldordor by Comte de Lautréamont
89. On The Road by Jack Kerouac
90. Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder by Lawrence Weschler
91. Zanoniby Edward Bulwer-Lytton
92. Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and Ritual by Éliphas Lévi
93. The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
94. The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
95. Inferno by Dante Alighieri
96. A Grave for a Dolphin by Alberto Denti di Pirajno
97. The Insult by Rupert Thomson
98. In Between the Sheets by Ian McEwan
99. A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1890-1924 by Orlando Figes
100. Journey Into the Whirlwind by Eugenia Ginzburg

This article first ran in 2016. It has been updated for 2019.


Some fairy tales may be 6000 years old

An illustration of Beauty and the Beast from 1913.
An illustration of Beauty and the Beast from 1913.
  
 WARWICK GOBLE

Some fairy tales may be 6000 years old


When it comes to the origin of Western fairy tales, the 19th century Brothers Grimm get a lot of the credit. Few scholars believe the Grimms were actually responsible for creating the tales, but academics probably didn’t realize how old many of these stories really are. A new study, which treats these fables like an evolving species, finds that some may have originated as long as 6000 years ago.
The basis for the new study, published in Royal Society Open Science, is a massive online repository of more than 2000 distinct tales from different Indo-European cultures known as the Aarne–Thompson–Uther Index, which was compiled in 2004. Although not all researchers agree on the specifics, all modern Indo-European cultures (encompassing all of Europe and much of Asia) descended from the Proto-Indo-European people who lived during the Neolithic Period (10,200 B.C.E.–2000 B.C.E.) in Eastern Europe. Much of the world’s modern language is thought to have evolved from them.

To conduct the study, Jamshid Tehrani, an anthropologist at Durham University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues scanned the repository. They limited their analysis to tales that contained magic and supernatural elements because this category contained nearly all the famous tales people are familiar with. This narrowed the sample size to 275 stories, including classics such as Hansel and Gretel and Beauty and the Beast.

But tracing these tales back through time is no easy task. There are scant historical records, and many of the fables began as oral stories that left no written versions. So the researchers used statistical methods similar to those employed by biologists to trace species lineages back through the branching tree of evolution based only on modern DNA sequences.

Here’s how it worked: Fairy tales are transmitted through language, and the shoots and branches of the Indo-European language tree are well-defined, so the scientists could trace a tale’s history back up the tree—and thus back in time. If both Slavic languages and Celtic languages had a version of Jack and the Beanstalk (and the analysis revealed they might), for example, chances are the story can be traced back to the “last common ancestor.” That would be the Proto-Western-Indo-Europeans from whom both lineages split at least 6800 years ago. The approach mirrors how an evolutionary biologist might conclude that two species came from a common ancestor if their genes both contain the same mutation not found in other modern animals.

But it’s not quite so simple. Unlike genes, which are almost exclusively transmitted “vertically”—from parent to offspring—fairy tales can also spread horizontally when one culture intermingles with another. Accordingly, much of the authors’ study focuses on recognizing and removing tales that seem to have spread horizontally. When the pruning was done, the team was left with a total of 76 fairy tales.

This approach allowed the researchers to trace certain tales, such as The Smith and the Devil, which tells the story of a blacksmith who makes a deal with the devil in exchange for unmatched smithing prowess, back thousands of years—all the way to the Proto-Indo-European people. If the analysis is correct, it would mean the oldest fairy tales still in circulation today are between 2500 and 6000 years old. Other stories seem to be much younger, appearing for the first time in more modern branches of the language tree.

The authors have done “as good a job as possible,” with the data they have, says Mark Pagel, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Reading in the United Kingdom.
In a new dispatch, published this month in Current Biology, he ruminates on what allows these stories to stand the test of time. “What really interests me is why these cultural forms exist. Why is it that fairy tales, art, songs, poems, why do these things seem to have such longevity?”
Tehrani says that the successful fairy tales may persist because they’re “minimally counterintuitive narratives.” That means they all contain some cognitively dissonant elements—like fantastic creatures or magic—but are mostly easy to comprehend. Beauty and the Beast, for example, contains a man who has been magically transformed into a hideous creature, but it also tells a simple story about family, romance, and not judging people based on appearance. The fantasy makes these tales stand out, but the ordinary elements make them easy to understand and remember. This combination of strange, but not too strange, Tehrani says, may be the key to their persistence across millennia.
“This is of course something we now need to test more rigorously,” he says. “That’s the next phase of this research.”


Why Do Dogs Play?

A new paper finds there are many reasons why dogs play – and play is not always a sign of good welfare.

Play is important to puppies, like these Cardigan Welsh Corgis, for several reasons - and doesn't always indicate good welfare


There’s nothing cuter than watching puppies play together. But why do they do it? It turns out play has several functions, not just one. A new review, by Rebecca Sommerville (Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh) et al, considers four theories about why dogs play, and finds evidence in support of three of them.

Rebecca Sommerville told me in an email,
“We found, by reviewing a large body of research, that play is not one type of behaviour – there are several types that each serve a different purpose. Despite popular belief, a dog playing is not necessarily a sign that everything is well. Playing alone can be a sign of boredom, whilst play with other dogs has potential to be one sided. Regular, real play between a dog and owner does not revolve around commands, and is important to strengthen their bond.”

Four theories of why dogs play


The paper looks at four different theories of why play has evolved in dogs.

Two dogs playing - but why did play evolve in dogs?


One theory is that play helps puppies learn motor skills. If you look at what dogs do in play, they chase each other, roll around on the floor in play fights, mount, pick up objects with their mouth and tug, bite or shake them. Puppies learn how hard they can bite their playmates (acquired bite inhibition), and to play bow to keep the play going for longer. Through these play activities, they are learning real skills relevant to how to move their bodies, acquire food, and defend themselves in fights. The scientists say this theory explains a lot of things about play, but is not the full story.

Another theory is that play is training for unexpected things to happen: it’s through play that dogs know how to right their bodies when knocked off balance and how to cope when something surprising startles them. According to this theory, changes in the brain and in hormone levels during play help dogs learn how to cope with real-life stressors. This theory explains the fact that dogs like new toys but are cautious of new things that aren’t toys. It also explains the way dogs self-handicap during play and put themselves at a disadvantage; this can be seen as practising behaviour they may need later on as a way to defuse real aggression. But again, this theory only explains some aspects of play.

The third theory they found evidence for is the idea that play promotes social cohesion between dogs. Play helps dogs cooperate as a group, and is about building social relationships – in which humans also feature. Dogs prefer to play with people they know, and they are more likely to approach the winner of a game, but when they win a game against a person it does not lead to increased ‘dominance’. So play is about building cooperative relationships, not social rank. But again, this theory does not explain everything about play.

The fourth theory the scientists considered is that play is just a side-effect of other processes, such as having too much energy or a deprived environment that does not provide stimulation. However, poor environments are linked with the development of stereotypies (repetitive behaviours), rather than play. If play was linked to too much energy, then playfulness wouldn’t be a consistent trait in dogs. Because play is something humans like, it may have been selected for in domestication or have arisen as a result of breeding for other traits, such as neotenic (baby-like) features. But play does not seem to just be a by-product of other things.


Play and welfare in dogs


There is an increasing emphasis on positive welfare and so the paper also considers the welfare implications of different types of play. Individual play with toys is an important enrichment activity that is rewarding in its own right and may reduce stress, but in some cases it may reflect poor welfare (e.g. poor environment, not enough attention from humans).

The scientists say that social play with other dogs is good for canine welfare, although there may be risks of injuries if play turns into aggression. Dogs that do not get enough play opportunities when they are young may show inappropriate behaviour in adult play with dogs or humans. If it is misinterpreted by the owner as actual aggression and the dog is given fewer play opportunities as a result, this may lead to reduced welfare.

Adult dogs -  like these two Golden Retrievers - still play. More on why dogs play.
Photos: Natalia Fedosova; top, Johan Georg Theron. Both Shutterstock.


Finally, dogs also like to play with humans, and would prefer to play with a human than on their own when there is a toy around. The scientists distinguish between indirect play (when the human moves a toy for the dog – playing with a flirt pole would be an example) and direct play when the human and dog are directly playing together. Play with humans can be rewarding in itself and may also improve the human-canine bond.

However, there are also times when play with a human may not be a sign of good welfare: when dogs make a playful move as a way of avoiding something unpleasant from the human, or in cases where the play itself is stressful, as has been found for games of tug that are also full of commands and discipline rather than being spontaneous and affectionate.

The researchers say that although several studies have looked at different types of reward in dog training, research is needed on the use of play as positive reinforcement. They say that using play to promote the adoption of shelter dogs is another example of using play to improve welfare.


So why do dogs play?


Ultimately, dogs play because it helps them learn motor skills, build social cohesion and prepare for unexpected things to happen so they can cope better when they do. Different stages of play may have different functions, with the beginning and end of a play bout especially important for social cohesion, while the main part of play is most important for learning motor skills and preparing for the unexpected.

"Regular, real play between a dog and owner does not revolve around commands,
and is important to strengthen their bond.”

The review did not find evidence for the idea that play is simply a side-effect of other processes. But it did find that play per se is not necessarily a sign of good welfare; in some cases, it may indicate welfare issues.

The scientists also say that other possible reasons for play need more research, such as whether or not it helps with cognitive development or coping with stress.

This is a fascinating paper. The idea that play is multi-faceted and was probably selected for in domestication is also supported by Bradshaw et al’s (2015) review of play behaviour in adult dogs. I look forward to seeing a lot more research on how and why dogs play!


What does it mean for your dog?


Although the paper does not specifically consider the implications for dog owners, there are some things to bear in mind.

Play fulfils several important functions. So next time you see puppies playing, remember it’s not just fun – they are practising useful skills and building social relationships.

It can be hard for people to find suitable (safe) playmates for new puppies, so a good puppy class should include opportunities for play. This will help your puppy to develop useful skills for later in life. Play should be a positive experience, so expect the dog trainer to monitor it carefully. If at any time you are not sure if your puppy is enjoying it, do a consent test: separate the puppies and see if they both want to return to play or not.

Remember that puppies coming from commercial breeding establishments may not have had many play opportunities with their littermates because of the environment in which they are raised (see: potential causes of problems in pet store puppies). In this case, it may be even more important to have play sessions during puppy class so they can learn appropriate canine social skills. (Note that puppy class is just for puppies, not adult dogs, because of the risks of infection and in case the adult dogs are not well socialized).

If you have one of those adult dogs who is lacking in play skills or bullies other dogs, a good dog trainer will be able to help. Kristi Benson CTC explains how to improve play skills here. Since dog training is not regulated, make sure you find a good dog trainer.

Of course the main take-away for dog owners is that it’s important to play with your dog because it helps to strengthen the human-animal bond.

You can follow the first author, Rebecca Sommerville, on twitter.


The Best Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache

The Best Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Ganache - The best chocolate cake I've ever had, and the easiest to make! Nothing fussy or complicated & delivers amazing results every time!


INGREDIENTS

CHOCOLATE CAKE

  •  1 large egg
  •  1 cup granulated sugar
  •  6 ounces plain, vanilla, or chocolate yogurt (thicker Greek-style preferred, do not use diet, fat-free or light yogurt; sour cream may be substituted)
  •  1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  1/2 cup brewed coffee, room temperature or warm*
  •  1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  •  1 cup all-purpose flour
  •  1 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt, optional

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

  •  9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (about 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)
  •  3/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
  •  1 teaspoon vanilla extract**

INSTRUCTIONS

CAKE

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9-by-9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan; set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine egg, sugar, yogurt, oil, vanilla, and whisk until smooth and combined. Add coffee, cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s), and whisk vigorously until batter is smooth and free from lumps.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and whisk vigorously until batter has just combined, about 1 minute.
  4. Pour batter, which is a loose and fairly runny batter, into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until top has set and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in pan completely, at least 30 minutes, before adding ganache or frosting the cake, or before slicing and serving. Unfrosted cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or store frosted cake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.


CHOCOLATE GANACHE

  1. Place chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 minute to soften chocolate; set aside.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, heat the cream (I used half-and-half) on high power just until it begins to bubble and show signs of boiling, about 60 to 75 seconds.
  3. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let it stand about 1 minute. Whisk vigorously until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth and velvety.
  4. Add vanilla or optional flavorings and stir to combine. Set bowl aside for about 10 minutes, allowing ganache to cool and thicken a bit.
  5. Whisk mixture briefly before pouring all of it over the cake. Lightly smooth and spread the ganache with a spatula or offset knife.
  6. Allow ganache to set up for at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving the cake; or speed this process up by placing pan in the refrigerator or freezer briefly.

NOTES

*Note about coffee: The coffee does not make the cake taste like a coffee-flavored cake. Rather, it brings out and enhances the flavor of the cocoa powder and adds depth of flavor; I highly recommend coffee but use water if you must. The coffee can be any temperature other than piping hot; you don’t want to scramble the egg.
**Or optionally use 1 to 2 tablespoons rum, bourbon, coffee-, orange-, raspberry-, chocolate-flavored liqueur.

NUTRITION INFORMATION:

 

YIELD:

 12
 

SERVING SIZE:

 1
 
Amount Per Serving: CALORIES: 372 TOTAL FAT: 17g SATURATED FAT: 8g TRANS FAT: 0g UNSATURATED FAT: 8g CHOLESTEROL: 33mg SODIUM: 238mg CARBOHYDRATES: 45g FIBER: 2g SUGAR: 33g PROTEIN: 4g