Monday, January 29, 2007

For Now

I am reading Isherwood, The Last of Mr. Norris to be exact.

It is good to be resting from the Mutis. The novella are the ideal length for his peripatetic and it is sound to allow some time between. I hope Ed is enjoying such.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Protected from the Prolific

The Rory Stewart was completed last night, a suitable night for such - frozen and windy when a nascent cold clouding my aptitudes. I must admit that I grew tired of Styewart's whining, his cynicism towards the traditions of hospitality in the Khyber region which have obviously seen better days. I also wanted toscream, of course the locals believe that you're an arab! Alas, Mr. Stewart was intrepid and penned a book which , at times, is rather beautiful. I do not know what I am going to do next.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


I have embarked. My reading has swept into Rory Stewart's The Places In Between. Much like the mythic origins of the Marathon, the fabled messenger falling over dead after delivering the grisly news of the Persians arrival upon Helena and, oh yeah, running for two straight days. well, the narrative from Stewart begins strong, just after the fall of the Taliban and Afghanistan's Security Apparatus informs him that the task of walking the length of the countery is in essence suicide. It was there that I had a recollection, one which found fruition in the actual reference to Krakauer's Into The Wild, actually a fellow journalist chides Stewart with the fate of the young white bread, seeking authentic experience and devoured by wolves in the Alaskan tundra. There i a reference 70 or so pages later to Bruce Chatwin. It is odd that in that December of 2001 I read two books on my trip back from Sweden: The Last King of Scotland by Giles Foden and Songlines by Chatwin. I find it daunting to ponder what I would of thought of Stewart during those days.

I have also been considering the ternal, what next? I may read Little Dorrit. I am going on a massive book campaign to Indianapolis in about ten days and this may well affect my best laid plans. Alas, the iron remains hot.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Finding Solace

There are real complaints to comprehend. It has been a blissful day, avoiding the drudgery of the weather's weight. My reading has paused. My bedside book has become The Best and Brightest since I finished Children of Men. Halberstam delineates a world of privilege and access, so removed from my own local bumpkin perch. Being an autodidact, I likely mask my own insecurities, revealing them here in periodic gusts. At one time Randy had entertained a political reading group through his shop, apparently it did not come to speed. I don't really have a novel for the moment. I have decided to wait on the Pynchon until Roger and/or Joel reach p. 800 or so. It is also not the proper time for Night Watch. These intuitions remain strange and opaque.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


A quiet evening has ensued. I decided to read one more novella by Mutis before placing the book on hiatus. Ed is going to pick it up tomorrow and I believe I will give Night Watch a chance. There is much of Melville in the brooding nature of Mutis. Maqroll fascinates me, This may stand in contradiction to my pronouncement in the last posting. His leaning upon history as a meditation of reality is as inspiring as it is ultimately desolate.


I know I acquired Armies of the Night at least ten years ago. I could not find it this evening.


I have resumed the reading of the mutis which has elcited a certain charm after that brief interlude. I am not sure that I harbor feelings as such for Maqroll but his defiance and spirit do make for an engaging character.


Paging Walt Whitman:

I had a plan for the next 20 days or so. I would finish the Mutis, post prolifically about such, then read Night Watch and finally Hard Times with my beloved. Somewhere 'twixt and 'tween I would finish the Pynchon to a soaring accolade and continue with my labors as working class poseur.
Alas I was affected today by reading the NYTBR's cover review about Mailer and his latest novel (first in a decade) about Hitler and the Devil: one of which holds fascination for my jaded apprehensions. Much of the sprawling essay/review by Lee Siegal is devoted to Mailer's seminal Armies of the Night which I have never read. But now, I want to. So. I will finish the Mutis novella presently engaged and forestall the remaining 500 pages. I will read Mailer and hope that the subsequent sequence of prior plan folds fatally into reality.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Stewed Frustration

It is always a blow to recognize fall from standard. I mustr admit this very fact during the last week. Whereas I read 75 to 100 pages a day the week before, it was the most empoversihed of pickings these last few days, alas if it wasn't for a schedulling fiasco this evening where I was invited to arrive early fior a meeting only to see it shoved back 30 minutes, I would've been pressed to admitt hat I only fifty pages pver the last three days. of course Scrabble and the time with my sweetie have been dividends, but my kip has been limited and thus it goes.

It should also be noted that The Adventured and Misadventures of Maqroll is a very bleak book, especially its first 100 pages all of which echo a Sartrean shrug (note my own Borges wink) with the protagonist leafing through history books on river voyages with the noose never far from his thoughts.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Alvaro Mutis

It didn't prove to be Gogol. I bought this book last summer in Bloomington, read the introduction by Francisco Goldman and was determined to read the book. I beleive that subsequently samizdat became aroused by the prospect of Europe Central and thus the tome was returned to the shelf.

The introduction, the sole one of the NYRB Classics series that I found worthwhile, is essentially a polished version of this interview:

I was readily enchanted last night and look forward to the sinuous serial within.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Edith Piaf

I have read 100 pages of Sartre over the last 24 hours, it was refressing at a specific degree. I don't think I will continue with such. The novel The Age of Reason was given to me, I believe by Joel, about 14 years ago. Much of it was remembered almost immediately. It is strange, these machinations of the mnemonic. I still haven't decided where to turn next. Gogol?

Sunday, January 14, 2007


It should not be inferred that I disliked the erudition of Her Mulsch, on the contrary his continuing amazement with the Human Conditionand a preoccupation with the tissues of culpability in the wake of Hitler predominate. For such, it was quite the pleasure.


The Discovery of Heaven was completed today and as I told my wife about its freakish plot, how it prodded me into the incredulous, I realized that in myriad ways it proffered a barrow of bullshit. I can't say I regret reading it but I am unsure of any lasting significance.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


I read 150 pages yesterday, perhaps this indicative more of Mulisch's novel than the contours of the day. It certainly helped that Joel waited until ten to call. I believe that I neglected to mention that my wife began reading this site just a few weeks ago, I think she browsed through most of 2006. There is a strange vertigo to such, but, no worries. She finished the Pekic (in Srpski) and ha smoved on to Murakami. I hope that we read in tandem soon, I do so enjoy it. I also enjoy reading with my friends, though there hasn;t been a surpuls of such as of late.

I finally replaced the Links section, yet I don't understand that once I adjusted the site to the new Google format, the profile and links slipped down the page. I just swallowed that disgust.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Stuffed with steak, I thought I'd try something different, I didn't foresee the loss of my links. I will have to restore such as soon as possible. I must admit to being smitten with the Mulisch. It incorporates the best elements of Mason and Dixon along with Foucault's Pendulum: friendship and ideas.

Continuity and Carlysle

Sometimes the blending is succesful. It isn't very often and there is usually elements of compromise. It has to be that way. Otherwise, suspicions of autism would ensue. I am reading Discovery of Heaven by Mulisch. Despite its otherwolrdly premise, it is truly engaging, yielding a depth of ideas matched by a sense of wamrth, of human meaning that I didn't imagine. It also exists under the aegis of the War, much as all of Mulisch must. I was going to spend the day with Children of Men by P.D. James. Not a typical author for me, nor genre. Ed loaned it to me unexpectedly. I am grateful. I read the first 30 pages and was transfixed. It also has Clive Owen on the cover. It is always a plus. I don't use the word Vulpine enough, eh? I had thought that I would read it on Sunday, that is today, as I like to read entire books ina ingle day. well, I blew that possibility by diving into it the other evening and then I discovered (wink) The Discovery and then I realized that today is Christmas in the Orthodx faith (insert pun and irony HERE) and I was uncertain as to whether that precluded going to the cinema, apparently it does and it is a nice quiet, rainy afternoon and I may well swich gears to absorb the apocalyptic fare, which in contrast to McCarthy's The Road is, well, so English and remarkably placid. It would be cool to read both of these books together.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Orthodox Christmas

I was at the library's books ale early this a.m. I wanted to browse for both Rybakov novels as well as certain history texts which have inspired interest as of late. I found neither. Instead I picked up a book which instantly recalled this review:,,1135415,00.html

Eager to return home, I paid and fled. the promise of that first story, apparently so urgent and meaningful in the Guardian review struck me as a worn thematic, especially given a knowledge of recent novels like Middlesex and Everything is Illuminated. The second story was far superior, though it must be remembered that I am not drawn to the format. I am delaying further verdicts and schedules as well.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A Struggle

Despite finding my way through 140 pages of the Orwell bio, I have wrestled with issues of conflict about what to achieve next. My sister in law is planning on reading both Ulysses and the Man Without Qualitieis this year, hopefully before she moves to Berlin in May. Tihana's pluck first invigorated and then depressed me. I am readily aware of my own limitations, especially given the rasher of hopefuls I tossed out last night. I simply don't know.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Quick gusts, Leerin' at the Gits

The first week back to work has been one of quiet determination. I have read three books since i posted last, thought a great deal about Stalin, about the Hundred Year War and upon those alleged civil wars - ours and Russia's. I am going to read DJ Taylor's bio of Orwell while I decide whether Rybakov deserves attention and I have thought of reading a slew of novels for the new year -- Vanity Fair and Middlemarch, to begin matters.

Here's to Malaparte and his haunting image of sppoked Russian horses escaping the flames of war only to freeze in a Finnish lake. The very typing of that sentence recalls the indelible impresions of Nabokov. Here's to Joel and a joint reading of the Death of Virgil.