Monday, December 31, 2007

Just a Thought

My last word of the year shouldn't be fuck. It was good this year to have the confidence to reread a good deal of Borges and finally finish Name of the Rose. I am nearly finished with The Rest Is Noise. I don't know what I am going to read next.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Well, Then

I finished Omega Minor last night , only hours after I mailed another copy to my sister-in-law Tihana in Berlin. I felt ultimately cheated by the novel's achievement, its lurid detail only emphasizing the under-developed reconciliation of fascism with memory or history. The book readily raided the stock sources on both the Reich and the Camps: this is then explained as being edgy. Fuck.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Jaan Kross

Apparently the Estonian novelist has passed away after illness. I enjoyed reading his stories a few years back. I also remember my anger with Tibor Fischer after he dismissed Kross in the Guardian for being from a European backwater. So it goes.

Now, Then

Christmas came and with it a mound of books. I am ever so grateful. My wife bought me Omega Minor, Lemon a novel by Lawrence Krauser, Redemption Falls by Joseph O'Connor, John Gray's Black Mass and The Whisperers by Orlando Figes. Joel bought me The Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross which I am reading now along with Omega Minor.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Fiction Corrida

I just finished The Naked and The Dead this a.m., hardly a holiday book. This won't be as grand I imagined it, I'm already quite behind on all the books that have arrived these past few days. My initial top novels were Patrick White's Voss and The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano. Many confederates launched their own picks, The Human Stain, Carpentaria, Fortress of Solitude, The Wall Jumper, Black Swan Green and Life: A Users Manual were all at the apex of certain lists. I must admit to mustering the courage for a dash at the Perec, there is even a tandem copy at the library's book sale (let my wife be warned, especially after i bought her Darkmans by Nicola Barker).

Upon reflecting what exactly defines impactful, I found that I needed to side with Roger and Joel, Against The Day by Pynchon bore quite a shaft into my psyche. Those Chums of Chance and the conveyence rides through the Inferno will not be lost.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Year 2007

This is hardly a completed act, I imagine I will revise this over the next for days or simply barrage it with comments. It was a curious choice, using "impact" in my solicitation. Much like the latest Radiohead cd, I am not sure what is capable of being impactful in age of illegal wiretapping, celebrity culture and an economic and ecological forecast which is dismal at best.

It is interesting that among the dozen folks who responded to my pathetic criteria there is an appreciable dearth of nonfiction and no verse whatsoever. Such is the company I keep (or contact). Among the nonfiction books noted were Clive James' Cultural Amnesia (odd given how Joel was opposed to my purchasing such), Zachary Leader's biography of Kingsley Amis (which I neglected to finish), In Search of Kazakhstan: The Land That Disappeared, by Christopher Robbins, Tony Judt's Post War, Victoria Glendinning's Leonard Woolf: A Life, Nietzsche by RĂ¼diger Safranski, and Robert Fisk's Great War For Civilization which becasue of its theme will resonate within myself for some time. There was no duplications on this list and some titles were marginalized and omitted per my caprice. Biography appears a common destination per my peers' habits and I likewise look forward to a few in 2008 whereas 2007 only saw me abandon the Amis as well as one on Albert Speer.

There were only two dramatic representations selected and they auditors of such (choices, not plays) happen to be sisters. Zoo Story by Edward Albee and the Complete plays of Sarah Kaine. I did not read near as many plays in 2007, likely one-fifth of my prodigious 2006 appetite. I did read a few plays by Albee and I remain awed by his panache with dialogue.

Perhaps I will save the fiction quotient for later this evening or tomorrow.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Guardian News,,2228119,00.html

I have neither read nor own any of the above though I did pick up Darkmans (still not availible in the US) in Heathrow though I did have reservations about paying fifteen quid for a paperback novel, one prone to larks meta-staging. That said, I hope to read it eventually.

A Haul

I ventured out this afternoon to pick up a few gifts at Half Price and found myself a few volumes including the second installment in Simon Callow's portrait of Orson Welles as well as Imagined Communities (a book Joel has touted for over a decade now) by Bennedict Anderson and a bio of Khrushchev which I believe Roger read last spring.

Affairs of State

The intellectual gold standard is fugitive. How can one depend upon the NYTBR? I know that I cannot. Given the frozen qualities of the weather outdoors I should make big pushes in both Omega Minor and Mailer's Malformed Masterpiece.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Unkind Time

Poor Michel Tournier. The first time i began his Gemini my progress was detoured by the sudden war between Israel and Hezbollah. this second time proved less baleful, it was only a christmas present. My wife bought me Omega Minor after seeing how I cuddled such in Carmichael's. This amazing novel by Paul Verhaeghen encompasses a century of ideas, more Gravity's Rainbow than Hopeful Monsters.

Its descriptions of Berlin are especially resounding given it being the residence of my sister-in-law (and best man) Tihana. My recent inundation in Hitler multimedia can't be excluded either.

I have decided to create a year's end celebration of the year's intellectual impact per its scores of texts and I have solicited help from across the world. Most of those involved are rather dear to me and others are virtual compatriots, lit-minded folks whom i only know from blogs and discussion groups. Such will be presented shortly.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Slanted Slaphappy

My wife appears delighted with reading Henry Miller. we are both surprised by this sudden selection but it has already doled out dividends: the Italian essayist Papini, for instance. Her reading also prompted me to grab both Orwell's Inside the Whale and Rushdie's Outside The Whale for the purpose of context. With all this vicarious bliss I am ready to admit that I am not reading the Calasso. It didn't pass the 50 pages mark.

I have continued my practice of returning to neglected texts, this time around it has been Gemini by Tournier.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony

I may read this next. It is testament to my wandering eye that I don't ty[ically announce what's next.


My typing still sucks. I finished Erasure last night and while impressed, felt that I didn't need to run to read the next of Everett's books. I need invigoration towards the Mailer as well: it is only clicking at certain junctures. I am not sure where that leaves me.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Fearing the Loathing

The week has progressed with my largely knitting together selections from books that I have nibbled during the day's margins, the freshest departure being Erasure bu Percival Everett. I first heard of him years ago in Rain Taxi and it wasn't until recently that I had ever found a book of his in circulation. I have read nearly 90 pages in essentially two giant stabs. It is illuminating and polemical: I think I will recommend it to my wife.

Otherwise this site remains a bastion of under-developed ideas and hurriedly written screed signifying little. I did expect Lloyd poke at my Eco-dodge.

Monday, December 03, 2007


It has unfolded that Lloyd and I would meet twice since he posed his question on this site concerning The Name of the Rose and its viability as primer for medieval history and philosophy. My short response is that the book affords one the purchase to question the motives of the church and the state which embarked upon its own internal inventory via the pagan texts and methodology which it helped preserve during that fallow period.

History as such seldom conforms to universal tendencies. I was imply weary when Lloyd asserted that the Middle east as such has been a mess since the Biblical era. I find the marrow of such to be much more complex; the rising tides of empires, concurrent technological shifts and dependencies and the harrowing tones of Diamond's theses of geographical determinism all feature in this opaque broth.

It is unfortunate but testimonial to my sloth that I have yielded but a few paragraphs about two distinctly different topics. My apologies, Lloyd.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

White Noise

This has literally become a season of death. Such is neither, I shrug.

My concerns with Naked and the Dead have multiplied on the damp underside. I have turned to Foucault's Pendulum as I am but the Peter Sellers of comparative literature. These last few days have been a joy of fellowship but have otherwise propped open a portal to madness and the torpid trippings of age.

There is a comfort in Eco; his trusted friendship will ease me into calmer waters.

What does my lost generation matter,
That lovely mirror,
If it was justified by your books.
I am the others. I am all those
That your obstinate rigor rescues.
I am those you do not know and those you save.

-- Borges