Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Truman Show Sundries

Two weeks ago I was shocked by seeing a brand new volume of Bakhtin's essays at the Clarksville Goodwill. I almost bought it for the promise that I might find someone in my life to whom to pass it on, given his rich and striking grasp of the western literary tradition. Color me befuddled when I walked in the same store yesterday and found a likewise pristine copy of Eco's On Literature, albeit without a dust jacket.

Following the brief, somewhat polemical interview in Sunday's NYT magazine, it makes one ponder: Templars and partisans dream about Eric Blair and mutton.

I am pondering Lloyd's question and hope to post upon it and Eco's Middle Ages soon.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Where I'm At

As noted I read 25 pages of the Mailer under azure skies in Lawrence County. I read 125 pages of the Captain Jack Aubrey on Saturday but now realize that I must cement my standing in the Mailer as it appears that Joel and Roger are primed for a careful reading of such.

It was an unusual opportunuty yesterday a.m. browsing the NYTBR and finding four books which interested me.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I finished Name of the Rose just before six this evening. I think I may drink some beer now, ponder William of Baskerville and view some Fassbinder films.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

adjusting to such

I don't feel much compunction about lifting another's list and now ed's comment has allowed a few thoughts to bubble to the fore.

What ambition some people have! I am curious whether Morphius (or whomever) constructed another such list a year back.

Perhaps I will investigate.

Monday, November 19, 2007

While Browsing

I came across a litblog this evening and was actually impressed. The author is presently in Vietnam on holiday and took Proust, Turgenev and Robertson Davies along for reading. A week ago a prospective 100 book to read list for 2008 was posted. I hacked it for here.

Such may inspire me to consider what I want to read next year.

The Histories • Herodotus
[24/04/2007 ~

Kristin Lavransdatter • Sigrid Undset
[Translated by Tiina Nunnally]
[27/08/2007 ~

The Three Musketeers• Alexandre Dumas
[Translated by Richard Pevear]
[16/12/2006 ~

The Book of Disquiet • Fernando Pessoa

The Awakening • Kate Chopin

Good Morning, Midnight • Jean Rhys

After Leaving Mr. Mackenzie • Jean Rhys

Mrs. Dalloway • Virginia Woolf

The Napoleon of Notting Hill • G.K. Chesterton

Rebecca • Daphne Du Maurier

Jane Eyre • Charlotte Bronte

The Masterpiece • Emile Zola

The Plague • Albert Camus

The Myth of Sisyphus • Albert Camus

Cheri and The Last of Cheri • Colette

Earthly Paradise • Colette

Temptation of Saint Antony • Gustave Flaubert

Flaubert In Egypt • Gustave Flaubert

Bel-Ami • Guy de Maupassant

Gargantua and Pantagruel • François Rabelais [translated by M. A. Screech]

Don Quixote • Miguel De Cervantes

Exile's Return: A Literary Odyssey of the 1920s • Malcolm Cowley

Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book I) • Robin Hobb

Royal Assassin (The Farseer Trilogy, Book II) • Robin Hobb

Assassin's Quest (The Farseer Trilogy, Book III) • Robin Hobb

The Stress of Her Regard • Tim Powers

A Canticle for Liebowitz • Walter M. Miller Jr.

Riddlemaster Series • Patricia McKillip

Cyteen • C. J. Cherryh

Her Smoke Rose Up Forever • James Tiptree, Jr.

Chronicles of Amber • Roger Zelzany

The Once and Future King • T.H. White

The Book of Three (Chronicles of Prydain, Book I) • Lloyd Alexander

The Black Cauldron (Chronicles of Prydain, Book II) • Lloyd Alexander

The Castle of Llyr (Chronicles of Prydain, Book III) • Lloyd Alexander

Taran Wanderer (Chronicles of Prydain, Book IV) • Lloyd Alexander

The High King (Chronicles of Prydain, Book V) • Lloyd Alexander

Bloodchild and Other Stories • Octavia E. Butler

Slow River • Nicola Griffith

Grass • Sheri S. Tepper

The Art of Peace • Morihei Ueshiba

Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers • Leonard Koren

In Praise of Shadows • Junichiro Tanizaki

The Book of Tea • Kakuzo Okakura

Vermeer In Bosnia: Selected Writings • Lawrence Weschler

Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling With D.H. Lawrence • Geoff Dyer

The Last Temptation of Christ • Nikos Kazantzakis

Pashazade [Arabesk Trilogy Book I] • Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Effendi [Arabesk Trilogy Book II] • Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Felaheen [Arabesk Trilogy Book III] • Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Fledgling • Octavia E. Butler

Bloodchild and Other Stories • Octavia E. Butler

The Fortune of War • Patrick O'Brian

The Surgeon's Mate • Patrick O'Brian

The Ionian Mission • Patrick O'Brian

Treason's Harbour • Patrick O'Brian

The Far Side of the World • Patrick O'Brian

The Reverse of the Medal • Patrick O'Brian

Under the Volcano • Malcolm Lowry

Love Medicine • Louise Erdrich

Molloy • Samuel Beckett

Love • Stendhal

The Red and the Black • Stendhal

The Charterhouse of Parma • Stendhal

Walden and Other Writings • Henry David Thoreau

Essential Writings • Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Twelve Caesars • Suetonius

Candide • Voltaire

Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape • Barry Lopez

The Little Prince • Antoine de Saint-Exupery

An Unexpected Light • Jason Elliot

The Carpet Wars • Christopher Kremmer

The Shadow of the Sun • Ryszard Kapuscinski

The Worst Journey in the World • Apsley Cherry-Garrard

The Places in Between • Rory Stewart

A Time of Gifts: On Foot to Constantinople: From the Hook of Holland to the Middle Danube • Patrick Leigh Fermor

Between the Woods and the Water: On Foot to Constantinople: From The Middle Danube to the Iron Gates • Patrick Leigh Fermor

A Time to Keep Silence • Patrick Leigh Fermor

The Power and the Glory • Graham Greene

The Heart of the Matter • Graham Greene

The Solace of Open Spaces • Gretel Ehrlich

A Match to the Heart: One Woman's Story of Being Struck By Lightning • Gretel Ehrlich

Bleak House • Charles Dickens

With Billie • Julia Blackburn

The Looking Glass Wars • Frank Beddor

The Iliad • Homer

The Prisoner & The Fugitive • Marcel Proust
[Translated by Carol Clark & Peter Collier]

Finding Time Again • Marcel Proust
[Translated by Ian Paterson]

Three Bags Full • Leonie Swann

Praeterita • John Ruskin

The Stones of Florence and Venice Observed • Mary McCarthy

Venice • Jan Morris

Darkmans • Nicola Barker

The Married Man • Edmund White

The Salterton Trilogy • Robertson Davies

The Leopard • Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

River of Gods • Ian McDonald

• Rebecca Solnit

• Jorge Luis Borges

• W. Somerset Maugham

Posted by Dark Orpheus on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 3 comments

For those counting i have finished 20 percent of this list while regarding a good quarter as being sci-fi bullshit.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


We are about to head out the door for the Wes Anderson gig. I read until after midnight, finding much to massage and appreciate in the Eco. My thoughts and recall are sketchy at best, these days, but I do think I read 300 pages of Name of the Rose 14 years ago. There was a blurb about his latest collection of essays in this morning's Book Review (to my friends out there, feel free to buy this for me). It is odd how I have saddled up, once again, to Eco and Borges. I recall telling Joel at Past Time in 1996 about how my literary world was anchored by Eco, Grass, Rushdie and Carpentier. It makes me feel old to type that sentence.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

a rasher of thoughts

My brain has appeared clunked as of late, hobbled by a return to the grind of the workweek. I have impressed myself with some deft google efforts to help me recall a book by C.J. Samson that I had picked up from the library a month ago. Why can't library patrons access their records of items checked out? Does the NSA have such data? Can I petition them?

I went to the library book sale this a.m. with paperback copies of Foucault's Pendulumn in mind. Yeah, I used to own two of them but then I bought a nice hardbound version ten years ago and I know I gave one to Chris Spellman. ..Who knows? Eco has been high on my mind as of late and my goal is to finish Name of the Rose.

Samizdat has chosen Naked and the Dead as the next group bid.

I bought a few of the Patrick O'Brien books this a.m. I recalled an article that Hitchens devoted to such but for the life of me couldn't recall where. Google threw a host of blind alleys before me but alas I found it on Slate where he reviewed the Russell Crowe adaptation. The Persian Fire book I finished the other night has had a profound impact upon me. I have thought about Xerses and Alexander, their estimation of restraint and their failure to hubris: how would the forced-feeding at Gitmo have weighed upon such scales?

I didn't find any portable Eco but I did find a rare Thackeray penguin edition and the senior matron there told me that as a schoolgirl she was enchanted by a Thackeray poem.

Here's to William of Baskerville!

Friday, November 16, 2007


above is the second section of the British/Colonies area. Below is the history section.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Trapped in Treble

Wedged within I have thought considerably about offal pit of democracy and how I am but a mummer.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Damn It Noogy Butterpants!

Scott Esposito is in Costa Rica and despite the rain he IS reading Middlemarch.

Heathrow Books

It was odd but I couldn't find any Alisdair Gray at the Border's in Heathrow, nor Umberto Eco.

The damned Lag

It has been an exhausting day back here in New Albany. My body still undulates to African currents and I am grateful that many have apparently reached out to help as my wife and I were five thousand miles away. I should begin any analysis with the observation that my wife picked better books for the trips than I. I read the Goytisolo on Saturday and I can't begin to imagine a better book to ponder while whiling away the last morning of a trip to Marrakech. It is by blind fancy that Ed posted a link to a story the day before in samizdat about tribalism in the EU and how tensions between turks and kurds in many countries have become inflamed because of recent escalations and conflict in both Turkey and northern Iraq. Goytisolo fashions a poem of which reconciles the the siege of Sarajevo, the Spanish Civil War and a sinuous path of poetry and eschatological musing over the past two thousand years. That said, I don't recall seeing any holy men in the Medina, only a stunning dearth of beer.

It was a good opportunity to finally read Wilkie Collins, though not the novel I wanted, and then Stendhal, though Charterhouse doesn't begin to stand with Scarlet and the Black. I did like the section on Waterloo. My three hundred pages of Middle march did push me to learn more about the Reform Act of 1832.

After some much deserved pivo in Reading with my brother-in-law I needed books for the return flight across the Atlantic and I picked up Tom Holland's superb Persian Fire about the Persian wars and their precedents. Much of the work proved redundant, but I do appreciate Holland's pacing, though I am not sure i liked the book as much as I did Rubicon.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Much In Maroc

There has been ample space for reflection concerning my reading choices during this holiday. I fnished The Moonstone last week and hoped for terrific progress in Middlemarch while at the coast. Indeed not even the raptures of the Atlantic, the weary stones of Portugese power and the ready availibility of espresso and beer could facilitate more than three hundred pages. The first day back here I read the Borges which N had chosen and it proved ideal in the forking paths of the many gardens throughout Marrakech, far removed from the blinding spectacle of the medina.

I finished that and longed for more. I also promptly kicked myself over not bringing the Eco. That said, I began The Charterhouse of Parma and hqve thoroughly enjoyed it since. If I finish it Saturday I will switch to either the Goytisolo or the Calvino, depending upon my sweetie's mandate. I think I will buy a book at Heathrow on the sabbath, perhaps Lanark which has been reprinted again with an introduction by Gray himself.