Bentley. Creativity and craftsmanship in cars built for “taste.”

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I love it when you find successful companies that have chosen to do business differently. Bentley has created a brand that is all about building highly customized cars for people who want to drive a unique and gorgeous piece of craft and technology. The obsession with detail raises these cars to art and you can see the pride in the employees who build them.

“Every vehicle you see within the factory is sold. We don’t make vehicles for stock. Every vehicle is sold and built to a specific customer order.”

Incidentally, coolhunting.com has been one of the most consistently rewarding sites I have followed throughout the years. I’d highly recommend checking them out if you haven’t before. You could lose a day or two just cherry-picking shows that pique your interest.

“All this leads us to the unavoidable conclusion that after over 30 years and countless pages…”

“All this leads us to the unavoidable conclusion that after over 30 years and countless pages Murakami has very little left to say. If the mediocre books of the 2000s didn’t evidence it enough, this book does; in 1Q84 there is simply nothing that Murakami hasn’t said better elsewhere. I write this with a great sadness, as a reader who has loved Murakami’s novels and who feels a sense of shame at having to warn off other lovers of Murakami’s work. But there is no other verdict to register. 1Q84 is a great disappointment to the reputation Murakami has built as a writer, and it will not be remembered very favorably when assessing his legacy. It raises a serious doubt as to whether Murakami has anything left to tell us.”

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1Q84 by Haruki Murakami | Quarterly Conversation

I finished 1Q84 myself this weekend and found this quote, indeed this entire review, reflected my opinion of the experience. I still recommend “Wind Up Bird,” “Norwegian Wood,” and “Hard-Boiled Wonderland” – steer clear of this one, the payoff and ingenuity are sadly nowhere to be found.

The NYT List of 100 Notable Books of 2011

The New York Times has posted its list of of “100 Notable Books of 2011.” As seems to be the case every year, I have read zero of them; I am, however, in the middle of 1Q84, hoping to finish over the long holiday weekend ahead, and enjoying every minute of it. More likely, I’ll pick off a couple of the big ones over the coming year. I’m thinking DeLillo, Foster Wallace, and Harbach at the very least.

So here’s a fun little question for you: the list is arranged alphabetically by fiction and non-fiction, why are 11/22/63 and 1Q84 located in their stack locations? It took me a moment to figure out. At first, I was slightly perturbed that they were burying Murakami’s work. Now I think it’s fair.

“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and…”

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“There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves Orcs.” – John Rogers

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