Luke set the form: I don't know if there are actually five things I like this week, but let's see:
1. E. Nesbitt's "Book of Dragons". I've read some of E. Nesbitt's children's books before; she's very witty, though a little precious. This one, though, is better than all the rest because it is the closest to being completely batshit insane. In one story dragons start appearing everywhere (the first one flies into the protagonist's eye) so the kids go to wake up St. George, and they find him and wake him up, and then he says there are too many dragons and just goes back to sleep again. In another they go to the North Pole (which is actually a big pole made out of ice) and are attacked by sealskin dwarves, which are little dwarves made out of sealskin (naturally enough.) Oh, yeah, and there's a giant ice slide. And polite moths. My favorite though is "Uncle James, or the Purple Stranger," set in the island of Rotundia where "all the animals are the wrong sizes." "The guinea pig, as you know, was as big as our elephants, and the elepant -- dear little pet -- was the size of the silly, tiny, black-and-tan dogs that ladies carry sometimes in their muffs. The rabbits were about the size of our rhinoceroses, and all about the wild parts of the island they had made their burrows as big as railway tunnels. The dormouse, of course, was the biggest of all the creatures. I can't tell you how big he was. Even if you think of elephants it will not help you at all. Luckily there was only one of him, and he was always asleep. otherwise I don't think the Rotundians could have borne with him. As it was, they made him a house, and it saved the expense of a brass band, because no band could possibly have been heard when the dormouse was talking in his sleep." It's like a British Wizard of Oz, totally trippy, yet urbane. What a great book.
2. Lumidee, "Almost Famous". Great R&B album from 2003, I think. Really nice, sparse production and subtle, layered Latin beats. Her voice is charmingly quavery. (She has a new album out now which isn't really as good, alas.)
3. British psych folk -- I've been really getting into this the last month or so. I was already a big fan of Donovan, but a friend lent me a comp called "Gather in the Mushrooms" and I've been checking out some more obscure artists I found through that. I've been listening to Sandy Denny (she sang for Fairport Convention -- some really nice dirges) and Sallyangie (Mike Oldfield's first project.) Do you like this stuff, Robert? It reminds me a lot of shoegazer pop -- fey and dreamy with gorgeous arrangements. Though, y'know, without the really loud electric guitars.
4. Planimeters — Perfect for finding the area of an irregular surface. Who knew?
5. Shameless self-promotion: I've got a bunch of stuff out in the last week or so. An article in the reader about a hipster D&D apocalypse; a short poem about deep-sea fish; an illustration on the Flaming Fire site; and a couple articles in the new issue of TCJ, which should be on shelves this week.