Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Time Served

Sunday evening saw me still enthroned upon my new rocker, having felt sated with the Powers I read Accident by Christa Wolf. The late 80s novella chronicles an apprehensive afternoon in East Germany as reports filter in from Chernobyl and these are countered with urgent thought's about the protagonist's brother who is undergoing brain surgery. Questions on technology and its indelible effect on matters human are explored in this moving text. I was grateful.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


While stroing various letters and articles I came across an article I had found on a blog about some gent's reading list. He has averaged 3.2 books per week over the past three years. Damn Him!
So it goes.

Go With What You Know

My not-quite-frantic thrashing for a book to support me ended with my brandishing Galatea 2.2 by Richard Powers. I have read this book three times before and despite being able to gauge the wires on this reading, it is palpable brain matter for a breezy weekend and my new rocking chair. I have thought over the past hour about the prximity between Powers and Vollmann. There is a great deal of reconciliation, though I fear it would have to be qualified to a certain degree. I suppose that someone like Richard Dawkins would almost appear closer to Powers in terms of a gestalt, though Powers remains a diehard sensitive soul and Dick Dawkins is al-brain: sigh. Vollmann appears to gauge through a mechanics of the extreme. I am not sure where this leaves any of my reading plans but i hope to spend an hour or so out front, enjoying the temperate sunshine and Powers exegesis of the ghost in the machine.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Not Much

Despite throughly enjoying a few poems by Auden this a.m. while at the barbershop, it has not been a fecund day for reading. The weather beckons and i have spent most of the day cleaning and organizing. I have picked up 3-4 books throughout and read some, most notably Wolf by Jim Harrison, but to no ultimate avail.

Considering Ed's Proposal

Maybe it is too great a demand when the weather is hellish to crouch down with a hefty tome? I can't say with any conclusive weight, though dividing my attentions between two such tomes isn't proving efficient. Perhaps I will follow my Sunday tradition and find a slimmer text to devour in a single reading.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Catching on

When you wake up, with the remains if a paradise half-seen in dreams hanging down over you like the hair on someone who's drowned . . . -- Cortazar

There has been little of the actual liquid as of late, on the stuttered spark of slain relations, apparently PC difficulties abound nearly everywhere outside of Vincennes Street. I have felt the loss at work but vocational force has coupled with the extreme weather to leave me worthless upon dusk. I have had my normal attention this week as the wheels felt loose on my reading of Gemeni by Tournier. I was prompted to return to the Vollmann by a further fit of industry by Roger. I read the brief essay from 1939 on Marrakesh by Orwell late last night and what a bleak tale does he unfurl. I am unsure of his motivation and while he expounds at length on the inability of Westerners to see the inhabitants of the Morocco (or the entire developing world) what he actually sees is puzzling. I continue to save and wait for the trip.

I need bookish motivation.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Not Back To Speed

Ill health and visiting friends have kept me from the normal pace. My efforts in the Vollmann brought me even, I imagine, with my peers. as the weekend continued, I sought fulfillment elsewhere, reading an essay by Vargas Llosa on the 1982 World Cup, the novella Poachers by Tom Franklin and have made serious progress into Michel Tournier's seminal Gemeni.

One can hope for explication of such, though I have to largely shrug so far.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I don't know what it is about Kapuschinski. His prose doesn't move me, it jars me -- away. This might be tanatmount to what Miles Davis thought about Ornette Coleman when the latter came to New York in the late 50s to record for Atalntic. I am humbled by such a suggestion and will refrain for further distortion. Forgive me. I haven't been sleeping well. Congestion: proto-headcold. This may be factor as well. I have shifted exclusively to the Vollmann for the time being.

I considered yesterday a books bought section, like Nick Hornby has in the Believer. I am not awed by Hornby the novelist. I thinks he's maudlin at best. I do commend his efforts to inject brainy pop culture into his middle-brow novels. I have also thought of a middle of the year inventory, deciding what are the best books i have read thus far. That may soon materialize.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


What a day. I am bereft, there is nothing else to say about this passage and its character. Late last night, fighting insomnia I read the second chapter of Imperium. The first chapter charts K's responces in his native Poland to the arrival of the Red Army in 1939 after the covert partitioning of this aggregate of nationalistic (ever wonder why?) scar tissue, such follows in his Heming-speak the nightly visits from the NKVD, the classmates missing in the a.m. and, ultimately, the deportations. The second chapter segues equally between LeCarre and Theroux by the author taking a train from Peking to Moscova in 1959 (I think). The 3rd Chapter appears to focus upon a subsequent trip the Steppe in the early 60s. I did not read much today, the significance of the day should readily warrant such.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Transitional Frustration

My sleep patterns have suffered as of late my reading took a downward turn as I entered the weekend. My mates have started Europe Central and I savored the first chapter this evening. I couldn't locate any interest yesterday, I was sort of scattered, hearing Slide Hampton and Rufus Reid helped and I slept like a log. I had thought of reading Dostoevsky's White Nights this a.m. (As Vollmann cites it in Europe Central) but I worked four hours for African cash and shelved the book upon my return home. I actually took a nap after the Germany-Portugal match and then started reading Imperium by Kapuscinski, given its thematic correlation with the Vollmann. I am sure that over the rest of the summer I will manage lightening strikes into other books while maintaining the samizdat schedule.

My copy of Eyeless in Gaza arrived today but the moment is obviously inconducive.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Wow, a milestone

That last spitball was number 300. I am as tired today as I felt blessed yesterday. I haven't read a great deal in the last 24 except for 40 pages in the Waugh, which I want to end and most of the latest Believer. Is it my imagination or do they review an unusual percentage of emaciated books, many under 180 pages? I am looking forward to a quiet evening at the Jazz Factory and hopefully sumptuous slumber. My rereading of Europe Central begins tomorrow.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Kadare and Handke

Have finished up a pair of loose threads as of late: Aladdin was completed and likely the Arabian Nights in total (for now) as well as a Chatwin piece on Werner Herzog in Ghana: anecdotal but intriguing, especially the ruminations on walking as philosophy. Slightly metaphysical, to be sure, but as I could imagine Herzog's accented speech, I remained both pleased and touched.

The title refers to the West's favorite Albanian (albeit expatriate) author and Austria's apologist for the Milosevic regime. My wife has noted that the literary set in Beograd considered Handke a dupe. I know that he has caused himself a great deal of grief by his public displays. Handke was interviewed in Sunday's NYT Magazine. Kadare's latest The Successor was avauilible yesterday at the library and i checked it out. I thought that Roger may have bought such earlier this year but I can't be certain. I hope to finish the (growing tirted) Waugh and begin the Vollmann with my mates this weekend.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Orient Express

I finished such in well under 24 hours given the holiday. I must admit to a near magnetic attention to detail and plot; I was suckered and am pleased for such susceptibility. If this was but an entertainment, what can one say about Zadie's On Beauty? Both are ranked with two-dimensional figures and, yet, the gloomy Catholic triumphs while Ms. Smith flounders in academia where race-baiting and ass-fucking pass for currency.

A great deal of the narrative involves a Belgrade of 75 years ago. Aren't we all the naive godchildren of a sleepy burg, too removed from the concourse of bloody drama to warrant a rattle or screech?

Monday, July 03, 2006

Ammunition for admonishment

Yesterday found time for a lengthy segue into the Arabian Nights and the now Disney-sterile tale of Aladdin. It is a compelling story and it was N that pointed out its extravagant racist attitude towards jews. I found such rather prominent in a text rife with stereotypes. I don't know a great deal about Burton except for his proclivities of the flesh but I am curious now about, other, opinions. It was then with a certain symmetry that the copy of Greene's Orient Express arrived this afternoon, a centennial edition, featuring an introduction by Christopher Hitchens. Hitch is operating in second gear on this one, chagrined perhaps, that he was asked to for a contribution to an "entertainment" and not one of Greene's weightier tomes. Who knows? Christopher makes a great deal about the irony that the film version failed, given its composition was nearly exclusively for the screen; Hitchens then spends the final third of the introduction defending Greene from untimely (the novel was published in 1931) anti-semitism. In between these efforts I have managed a healthy meal of the Waugh and I am still uncertain of its arc, I have thought that Sebastian Flyte will fulfill the tragedy of both his names, but i am not sure how this will absorb the remaining two hundred pages. We shall see.

Acrobatics (cross-posted on samizdat)

It is a sticky, smoldering day and I am at work. I offer no immediate
thesis. There are no handy axes needing a solid sharpening. Misty came
over yesterday and I would avoid that subject completely yet I decided
toe entertain by showing Underground on dvd. The seminal film by Emir
Kusterica is nearly incomprehensible outside of its historical context
and I did my best to coach along Ms. Costin while N came in
periodically to laugh at an exceptionally profound image. Why have I
broahcxed Balkan cinema, you may ask? Vollmann dedicates Europe Central
to the Yugoslav author Danilo Kis. It is strange how in the former
Yugoslavia each subsequent nation attempts to lay claim to various
literary and cultural figures.

I read Tomb for Boris Davidovich shortly after returning from London in
20002. It is s tunning little book, one which doesn't depict a single
sentence in Yugoslavia itslef but rather the anchors of empire broached
in Vollmann's tombish tome.