Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Since . . .

-- I am not reclining on the Moroccan coast nor hanging out with friends in Chicago, I don't feel that I am equipped for the Little Dorrit. Perhaps a better disposition would boost, but alas I have shelved it for the time being.

I am going to read a Peter Ackroyd novel and return to both Judt and Schama with vigor.

Monday, January 28, 2008


I have rec'd a few these past few days, including two issues of The Believer, the latest rife with interviews w/ the chap who penned Bomaby: Maximum City, a clever piece by Charles Baxter, and interesting articles on both the young Marx and the eternal Maykaovsky. The NYTBR sucked, as is habit, the cover study of the Civil War mortuary industry being marginal and the pan of Vollmann's latest tramp trek.

Back From Beyond

Incapacitated by influenza symptoms, I spent the weekend home, recumbent, reading and recovering. Ultimately I tried to be assistant to my equally infirmed honey. I have since returned to work. During that 30 hour stretch where i slept and read I did finish The Pope's Rhinoceros by Lawrence Norfolk, which was overwritten and lacked polish and character, a good deal of Schama's book on the French Revolution and dove into Little Dorrit.

Norfolk did use the perpetuity of geological undulation and its effect on the water table to brilliant consequence, it was just that his actors appeared Steinbeckian and or sophomoric, which isn't being redundant. N and I did watch Marie Antionette, by Sofia Coppola, last evening and I tried to fill in a few subtexts with references to the Schama. It didn't prove able to salvage a shitstream of a film.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Okkervil River

There is some indie band by the same name playing these days on NPR. The swollen fool of a dj stated that the band took its name from a famous Russian short story. I then read in the Guardian that the story was by Tatyana Tolstaya. I read the story this afternoon and I truly liked it. Despite my aversion to stories I may try absorb a number of her tales ov the next day or so.


It is a comparative endeavor. The Davies was finished earlier this afternoon and I did enjoy it, though I am not sure if it was as well received as Rebel Angels. I will likely finish the trilogy eventually. Here's a quote from Nick Hornby:

I recently discovered that when my friend Mary finished a book, she won't start another for a couple of days -- she wants to give her most recent reading experience a little more time to breathe, before its suffocated by the next. This makes sense, and it's an entirely laudable policy, I think. Those of who read neurotically,however -- to ward off boredom, and the fear of our own ignorance, and our impending deaths -- can't afford the time.

I find myself very much in agreement with Mr. Hornby.

New Day

Better, now. It is sunny and ghastly cold outside. I did not read as much as i had hoped yesterday, was even gripped with a malaise of sorts as the evening overtook.I will finish the Davies today and hopefully catch up with Roger in the Judt.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I am just a dirt-eater, an effluvium of drift. I want to read Rabelais, Chateaubriand and Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy.

Here's to Red Sovine and Jerry Reed's White Lightning.

Evening Post

I have spent the afternoon and early evening reading Robertson Davies, specifically What's Bred In The Bone, the second novel in his Cornish Trilogy. Unlike the university trappings of the first novel, this is a more a document of mystical childhood which is strike one in my book but I am curious. I have read 160 pages today. my stomach is now full. The last statement was in regards to huevos rancheros and not Canadian literature.


Aegypt was ultimately abandoned, likely because the allusions to Bruno and Dee grew faint and what was left, the remainder, proved banal. It wasn't bad, simply not what I wanted.

This leads to another set of master questions.

Citizens proved to be an adequate travel book, though Baccus reigned supreme in Pittsburgh. I did rummage through pithy shop near the universities, picked up a few gems -- Carlo Ginzburg and whatnot. I have thought a great deal about the monetary subcurrents of both civil society and revolution. Simon Schama was considerate enough to edify me in that regard. I have decided to read another of the Robertson Davies while on holiday

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Rebel Angels

I finished the above last night, while I enjoyed it, I found its denouement rather abrupt, the neat vehicle for shoving plot development forward was clumsy at best.

I have spent some time today with Aegypt by John Crowley and despite its heady milieu, I am not convinced. I may try to extend further into the novel: I am presently on page 29.

Maybe I am just tired and stressed from this hellish week at work.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Still Inspired

The week proved uneven. I read a great deal on Saturday. Not so much yesterday. The Rebel Angels is a wonderful novel, a scentful stew of ideas. I think I might switch gears after finishing it, rather than proceeding through the Cornish Trilogy. I may read some John Crowley, interesting enough. My plan is to take Citizens by Simon Schama w/ me to Pittsburgh next weekend. I am then on holiday for a week

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Lids on Tight

Yhe backpain is largely gone. I feel relatively healthy and rested. The Cornish Trilogy and Postwar have been ample. I have also benefitted from an awareness of John Aubrey and John Crowley. There is a hovering threat of quotes by Yeats.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

An Ache

I have jarred my upper back again, nothing I serious I suppose. I did finish Conrad's The Secret Agent today and found it solid in its bleak imagery. The Cornish Trilogy by Robertson Davies was begun last night and it yielded the effect of a late evening vortex.

Monday, January 07, 2008

I have internalized both

The futility of office work especially appalled him on these days so trying to his sensitive liver. -- Conrad

Banalities can be beautiful. -- Auden

Sunday, January 06, 2008


I am still in the aftermath of the Alex Ross, still listening to Schnittke's 2d and have ordered Wozzeck. This labyrinth that Arnold built is tantamount, to a certain degree, with the bop revolution in jazz. Roger and i spoke a great deal about this 5 years ago.

While a dozen times year or so I read an entire book in a day it isn't so common that I will read an entire book in an evening. I had not read any Stefan Zweig before and decided to rectify that this past week by reading his Erasmus of Rotterdam in a single sitting which I did and found it a lyrical tribute to the dark times of the mid-1930s.

I have read several chapters of the Judt Postwar and have managed to settle down with Conrad's The Secret Agent. I have hopes for the year, namely reading three modernist epics: Moby Dick, Little Dorrit and Vanity Fair. I will also devour three of a more experimental bent: The Recognitions, Darkmans and Life: A Users Manual.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Ahead, Moving

I think seldom has wife been more annoyed with a book than The Rest Is Noise which I concluded this a.m. I have been assaulting our tranquility with Schnittke and Stravinksy for days now.