Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for the ‘Books’

“Extreme noise and dissonance can be an incredibly cleansing thing.”

April 17, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Music No Comments →


Other things we learned from Kim Gordon’s candid but dignified memoir, Girl In A Band:

– Thurston Moore broke up their marriage and Sonic Youth because he cheated on her with this hanger-on who had always wanted to be connected to the band. Before the woman had gone after Thurston Moore she had tried to get close to Kim.

– The cheating was discovered through text messages.

– Kim is a punk rock purist.

– She does not like Courtney Love and Billy Corgan and was especially grossed out when those two were dating.

– She was very fond of Kurt Cobain but was not surprised when he killed himself.

– Henry Rollins was twerking before there was twerking.

– She does not recognize New York today. She arrived there in 1980 when she was poor and New York was bankrupt. Larry Gagosian gave her a job and claimed she was his ex. She knew Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel and does not think much of either one.

– She was a fan of Madonna in the 80s, hence Ciccone Youth.

– Gerhard Richter allowed Sonic Youth to use one of his candle paintings as the cover of their Daydream Nation album because she was a friend of his wife.

Game of Thrones: Here be dragons, refreshers and spoilers

April 10, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Television No Comments →

Readers used to own Game of Thrones, or as we fastidiously put it, A Song of Ice and Fire. Having read the books we had an advantage over mere viewers of the HBO series, who were unprepared for the beheading of Eddard Stark, the Red Wedding, the Purple Wedding, and other traumas in Westeros. Part of the genius of showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss is that they make terrible events so much worse. It hurts to watch this series. I know people who are still recovering from the sight of Oberyn Martell (Pedro Pascal) snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, stepping too close to a behemoth who wasn’t quite dead, and getting his head crushed like fruit.

But with the series catching up to the events in the books, the showrunners having jettisoned entire chapters and plotlines that slowed down the action (Goodbye, Lady Stoneheart), it will soon be in uncharted territory. In interviews, Benioff and Weiss have announced that the series will likely end before all the books—we are awaiting the sixth of a projected seven volumes—are published. Meaning Game of Thrones is in a weird existential bind in which the series will spoil the books it is based upon. Here be dragons.

Read our TV column The Binge at BusinessWorld.

These books are made for walking

April 03, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Clothing 7 Comments →

The other day at the mall we spotted a pair of black Doc Martens with little designs on them of wings and such. Of course we coveted them. They were not cheap. Then it occurred to us that we have a couple of black Docs that are nearly 20 years old and still perfectly serviceable, and we could customize one of them.


We consulted Chus, who said we could use a Sharpie to write on the leather, then apply acrylic sealer.


We can’t draw, but we love handwriting. But what to write? What would fit the boots? Which books feature a lot of walking? Jane Austen, the Brontes, Thomas Hardy, J.R.R. Tolkien were among the candidates.


We chose the first and last lines of The Catcher in the Rye. There was space left over, so we added “I’m the most terrific liar you ever saw in your life”. There’s a blank spot we’ll ask Chus to draw on.

Later we remembered how the narrator’s late kid brother Allie used to write on his baseball glove so he’d have something to read while standing on the mound.

Anyway we started writing short stories in high school by imitating Salinger.

We haven’t sealed it yet, in case we change our mind.

* * * * *

Not content with writing on our boots, we turned the Sharpie on a bag. We have this white tote we seldom use because when our friends see us with it they are bothered. It is too “normal”. Such is our typical manner that we can wear headbands with horns and eyeglasses with cat ears and no one would comment on them, but when we wear a conventional bag they are offended. (More for the bag than for us, we suspect.)

Now that we’ve written the first lines of Swann’s Way on it, in mirror-writing, it’s “us”.


Three days till the Outlander fanfiction deadline

April 02, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Contest, Television No Comments →


Mat wants to give you these books.

100 Books for the Summer

March 31, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books No Comments →

You’re on vacation, it’s hot, you’re bored. I have no sympathy for you. You could spend the next two months torturing yourself by looking at other people’s fabulous vacation photos online or walking around the mall until you’ve memorized what everything costs. Or you could read a book and entertain yourself. What book? Here’s a list of 100 titles.

These are my favorite books as of this year—the list changes often. A few of them, less than ten, were required reading in school; most of them I discovered on my own, by prowling in libraries and bookstores. Some of them were recommended by friends (For example, “In the first chapter his brother is kicked to death by Nazis! You want revenge!”); many of them were discovered in bargain book bins. Some of them I got interested in because of their movie/TV adaptations (I read A Game of Thrones just before the series premiered so I knew who was going to die). Nearly all of them are by white people because my education was traditional and my reading unsupervised.


I read a lot because I hate being bored and books keep me occupied so I’m not fuming about the unfairness of life etc. You may not like all these books, but you might find something you like. Instead of arranging them into genres bookstore-style, I’ve grouped them according to common themes. I’ve indicated the ones with movie versions (M) and the ones you can read on the net for free (N). For the descriptions, I try to answer the question, “What’s it about?” These books are listed in no particular order.

Read our column at

Fashion in literature: When Proust is your advertisement

March 30, 2015 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Clothing, History 1 Comment →

Photographs by Pari Dukovic

A number of years ago, a young painting conservator entered a forgotten storeroom in a fifteenth-century Florentine villa and stumbled on a pile of Louis Vuitton steamer trunks. She opened them and discovered a collection of exquisite dresses, the kind usually seen only in movies, or inside protective vitrines in museums. Closer inspection revealed silk labels, hand-woven with the name “Callot Soeurs.”

In the second volume of “Remembrance of Things Past,” the Narrator asks his beloved, Albertine, “Is there a vast difference between a Callot dress and one from any ordinary shop?” Her response: “Why, an enormous difference, my little man!”

A “Callot dress” is one that was made by the Paris haute-couture house Callot Soeurs—Callot Sisters. The sisters are not much remembered now: there has been no monograph on their work, and no retrospective. Yet, not long after Callot Soeurs opened their atelier, in 1895, they became one of the great names in Belle Époque fashion. Madeleine Vionnet, one of the most influential and radical designers of the twentieth century, was the sisters’ head seamstress. She ranked them higher than the self-proclaimed King of Fashion, Paul Poiret. “Without the example of the Callot Soeurs,” Vionnet said, “I would have continued to make Fords. It is because of them that I have been able to make Rolls-Royces.”

Read 21 Dresses in the New Yorker.


The exact quote from Proust:

proust on callot