Thursday, June 28, 2007

Only Thinking

The Fisk constitutes a funeral march. This was understood approaching it, such of its scope was the catalyst. I am now at the juncture when the USS Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner bound for Dubai. I am not sure I want to continue this without fictional detour; I was considering Patrick White or a reread of Sebald's Rings of Saturn. I don't know.


I have returned to the Fsik after an off-setting stretch of the Leader. The present of the Fisk centers upon attrition of the Iran-Iraq War and its senseless outcomes and casualties, all of which were upheld by various economic and political immorality.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Further Detail

Heeding some distant duty, I have returned to the Kingsley, completing over 50 pages yesterday and discovering a new host of horrors about the caustic nature of Amis domesticity. I will continue such today, hopefully to page 400-450.

I also had the fortune of locating Niall ferguson's new book at Half Price for only 5.99. I will likely browse such as I maintain the dual efforts of the bio and the Fisk.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Oh Really?

It is difficult to measure my contempt for the writing of James Carlos Blake. It isn't his fault. My discovery 26 hours ago of this historical novelist prompted a skewed expectation and my regrets were immediate. He even fucking uses epigrams from Cormac on two of the three books the library had on the shelves. I don't care about the Everglades being as "sharp as razors."


I guess I will divide my time between the ten pounder (Fisk) and the eight pounder (Leader).

Another Single Sabbath

I reread Chabon's The Final Solution today ion tandem with my wife. It was an appropriate book for a rainy Sunday and while I did recall the culprit, the details proved to be hazy, but the use of dialogue is impressive. My flirtation with sci-fi is apparently over, unconsummated to a real degree. There ia an author named James Carlos Blake that I discovered yesterday, another Cormac --- of sorts, I am sure. Which reminds me, Ed is reading Sutree -- which is a wicked read and certified anathema for this malaise which keeps me swimming through the Fisk.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Samuel R. Delany

There has been a magnetic pulls towards this aythor these past two weeks. I must admit that I had never heard of him until I stumbled across must-read list of genre fiction Salon's Guide to Contemporary Fiction. I read a story of his this morning, savoring the touch, smell and feel of a brief but intense of rain shower which taunted and then retreated. I can't say I cared that much about the story, essentially a medieval scenario rigged with late 20th Century thoughts on sexuality and plague. I suppose for the late 80s The Mummers Tale was transgressive but I found it similar to Peter Ackroyd for all intents and authorial orientation.

Lessons in Typing . . . and Living

I am a few hundred pages into the Fisk, fears of night terror didn't materialize last night though the onus of the Iran-Iraq War have saturated my thoughts on this blissful day. What is at stake, in terms of both foreign policy and in journalistic integrity?

Soldier and civilian, they died in their tens of thousands because death had been concocted for them, morally hitched like a halter round the warhorse so that we could talk about "target-rich environments" and "collateral damage"-- that most infantile of attempts to shake off the crime of killing--and report the victory parades, the tearing down of statues and the importance of peace.

Such is written in the preface and the same tone of indictment continues, rolling along, highlighting each atrocity or misdeed in unnerving detail -- the mendacity of all is exposed: USSR, Mujahedin, MI-6, CIA, SAVAK, Iran's Holy Revolution, Sadaam, Carter, Reagan, Arafat, Ghadaffi and ESPECIALLY Rumsfeld and Sharon. It is such a litany of crime and avarice that people like Tim Eads, one of my two Republican friends, would lash back that it is but a manifesto. Such would presuppose a an underlying ambition, in my opinion, whereas Fisk asserts that, echoing a Israeli colleague, he only wishes to record the truths and question the centres of power. I applaud him effusively.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Guardian

has a [iece on books yielding escape in the throes of travel. It was a pleasure to note that I have read many of the books cited, especially Ian McEwan's choice of Herzog, read while bumming through Greece as a teenager. I read it here, with my mates but I did read the latest McEwan while flying across Northern Indiana in a less than unblemished white Ford Focus.

I believe these are tricky situations but I believe I will always recall reading The Sound and the Fury in London circa 2004 and Me Against My Brother (by Scott Peterson) en route to my brother's wedding in San Francisco in 2000.

Waxing Grozny

I didn't read much yesterday, enjoyed a healthy discussion about pilot-less cargo flights and the effects if the Karbala mosque bombings with Tim and Ed, the latter graciously loaned me a copy of Finbar Hotel.

I have had curiosity about Samuel Delany for a week now, though I can't appear to shake my phobia of all genre literature. I bought Nina a book in Chicago and am hoping that she has madea serious dent in thus far, just to scout the terrain, you see.

I did read 125 pages of the Fisk this evening. Tomorrow will witness explication.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More Fisk

Tim spoke today of too-much-bias. This is a credible threat to many. Tim spoke of Overthrow, an angle of which is featured in the Fisk. There is an absence of relativity afforded to the many, if not most. I have much to say.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Catching Up

I read all of McEwan's On Chesil Beach on the drive from Indy to Chicago, such isn't a feat, really, though though the novella is brilliant at times, it carries, that now typical, at least for me, imperfection of McEwan's recent novels. The biographical details were enchanting especially with the predilection towards Cohen's book on the Millenial cults. The female counterpart appear less developed, more bent towards an incestual subplot. That last bit was really just rubbish.

I did not read much of the Powell while in Illinois, only 50 pages at a cafe. I did buy Any Old Iron by Burgess and took it with me for the lengthy transit to the Manu Chao show, it was well suited for just this effect. I am not sure if I will resume reading it. I did buy Tom Franklin's latest novel as well.

My chief obstacle remains the allurew of the Fisk, it towers above all other texts at the monet. The Kingsley bio is languishing, though I fault my friends for their own apathy regarding that. i should at least push through the Powell's first movement.

Friday, June 15, 2007

This Time

I am quite out of sorts, weary and doubtful, I remain unsure. I did read 30 pages of the Fisk, and I imagine that it and the two books by Alistair Horne will be the history texts for the year: a nervy declaration for June, understood.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Musing Munich with Chamberlin's Aplomb

The reading has continued with an unexpected depth, the novel, rather, not my approach. I say depth but such is an inadvertant misnomer, Powell yields an exhaustive taxonomy of convention for interwar English aristocracy. The issue becomes the blatant dearth, the crumbling sense of ennui, periodically bayoneted by blushing encounters of a coincidental bent.

Is it worth it, I have often considered these last few days? I am about 300 pages from the end of the First Movement (three novels) and I will wait to see what requires adjusting. I am also going to reread The Final Solution by Michael Chabon, this time in tandem with my wife who greatly enjoyed White Noise.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Teeth and Time

What could one fathom, if only in a Hong Kong action film? I have finished the first chapter of Powell's second novel in the Dance of Time series; the chapter was 100 pages long. It contains, as noted earlier, a fantastic potrait of an artist and then gives way to a crush, a dinner party and then three coincidences.

One of my issues with Dickens was this funneled universe where like Dostoevsky he dumped his characters, speed-dialling them into improbable encounters. I feared that Nabokov had lost something precious when the accident in Lolita takes away Dolores' madre. Perhaps wonky Pynchon has adquately grabbed the concept. Perhaps, it is all connected.

I am fearful of my inner Augie March. I suspect I will be taking Robert Fisk along with the Powell to Chicago. I am not returning to the Leader until I finish this volume.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Updates and Setbacks

The reading continues amid a prevailing tide of reversals and acknowledgements. I finished the first novel of Powell's cycle yesterday, only eleven to go, I achieved such while burning my bum sitting on the sidewalk outside the Knit Nook in the Highlands. I then began the second novel while returning seven dusty growlers to the Public House and enjoying a pint of sour stout. The focus initially is on an artist, recently deceased, who befiended Jenkins in his yoouth while the parallel ladders of class briefly coincided. I was rather impressed by this scene, its situation of aesthetic principles alongside suggested radicalism. This strikes me as akin to the principles shared by Kinglsey Amis and Robert Conquest, the latter a more randy goat than I had imagined.

Friday, June 08, 2007


PERHAPS no fact is more revealing about Iraq’s history than this: The Iraqis have a word that means to utterly defeat and humiliate someone by dragging his corpse through the streets - Edward Wong, in last week's NYT


The week exacted quite the toll, this coupled with some family trauma left me but scrapping reading-wise. This changed tonight, I have read over 130 pages of the Kingsley bio, nearly doubling my progress into the hefty tome, geared almost as lit crit rather than risking gossip, as AO Scott noted in last week's Times.
I picked up the new McEwan from the library and have maintained the fidelity of deference.
I am looking forward to returning to the Powell, where my progress was meagre on Wednesday and I switched yesterday back to the bio.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


There have been a host of glitches and burps these past few days. Frustrating certainly but I have continued my staggered Powell plow, though only up to p. 150. I do long for this blasted French episode to end, I wasn't sure if I would ever harbor such sentiment. Under these particulars, it is rather annoying.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Measuring the Pace

I have made it to p. 120, an awkward effort into France on holiday. I have been quite impressed thus far.

I also put the new McEwan on hold at the library which may disaffect grand designs. I truly enjoyed the Martin Amis piece on Blair in yesterday's Guardian. I did not know that Saul Bellow was once a roomate of Ralph Ellison. I am pondering, far prematurely, what I am going to read when we journey to Morocco.

My wife liked the Bolano stories and is now reading White Noise. I offer a smile to you, Mark Prather, wherever you are (wink).

Dearth of Deed

I suppose I should be more excited about the Powell. I have made it p. 90 and I am enchanted ye the magnitude of this project is still beyond me, much like the ominous fog of the novel's opening pages. perhaps the sheer weight of the enterprise has yet to made material. I am likely full of shit. It has been an engaging day, ever so stimulated by the laden Summer Reading issue of the NYTBR.
I am quite eager to read the new McEwan and Rick Moody. I wasn't sure if I would ever want to read Moody again. I am not quite Dale Peck but I have been wary as of late -- the last five years or so. I also decided that I am not going to buy the new Gunter Grass, there is much to be troubled about that publication. The review of the Amis bio was well received, though I fear the author and the reviewer are mistaken in anticipating a renaissance of Kingsley.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Just Now

Perhaps I haven't accomplished much in recent years. I just browsed what I was reading/writing in early June 2005 and apparently the latest Eco and it fervent taxonomy of childhood reading remained the focus, lord does my brain need some ventilation!
The next post was titled Proust in the Pantry.

Depending on Samizdat agency, I may ride the Powell through the week.

Opening Motif

There is a plesant striation in that subject heading. The Powell opens with workmen warming themselves around a fire before returning underground to continue the likely repair of waterpipes. Some time later I put on Sinead O'Conner's first album. . .

It was two weeks ago today that I met one of Mark's friends at Isobel's baptism. He head read all of Proust three times and one time nonstop. He joked as to whether that was enough introspection. I find myself amazed at the present both that the thickets of description which garland the Dance and that of the mnemonic vistas generated by that rebel from Erin


It is only early evening and I am, again, tired.At times today I had thought of writing about my father, the books he bought me as a child and how i fathom such now. All of this, of course, is related to the Amis biography, the relations between that gaggle of padres and the host of unwise decisions.

The not done things are done every day, Henry. It's part of modern life.

Thanks you, Graham Greene, your own struggle with morality is inspiring. I have thought throughout the week that Brighton Rock was an ideal seque into the biography, though the detour thrpugh Bolano was but so much chaffe, much like the metalic fodder used to thwart infra-red tracking systems. I think I will read Dance to the Music of Time this year. I hope to, at any rate.


I finished the Bolano while at the Grape Leaf, a delightful evening with my friend Travis. I must admit that I only found the first and last stories to be significant. The others only troubled me, they were candid if uninspired.

I have burrowed into the Kingsley biography, reaching p. 100 last night before forcing myself to look elsewhere. I had hoped to post something ruminative today but that may have to wait.

The Louisville Library sale was abust.