Wednesday, February 27, 2008


It required four days but I have finally equalled the output of Saturday night. The text is remarkably baggy. I have thought of the comments of one of Booker judges who read all of the shortlist three times in determining the winner -- which Darkmans wasn't.

My thoughts have remained sluggish. It may be the season.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Spiritual and the Narcotic

If my wife hadn't told me to retire at one a.m. I would have continues to read for hours, as it were Nicola Barker's Darkmans has proved transportive, though I remain hesitant to categorize it as dense or, even, vanguard. I read 160 pages last night.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Winter's Wax

It has proved a tempestuous week in terms of ideas, mortality and the wellspring of friendship.

This afternoon I bought Richard Ford's Lay of the Land as I hope to read all three of the Bascomb novel sequentially (I read Independence Day in 1999). I also bought The Procedure by Harry Mulisch. I just finished it. much like Discovery of Heaven, I appreciated its melange of ideas but felt somewhat cheated by the time I reached the novel's end.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Due To Ice

I may actually plunk down here and scribble something. I have finished three books since I posted last. Tow of them were rather minor: The Accidental by Ali Smith and A Writer's House in Wales by Jan Morris. I first read Ms. Smith in 2002 when i picked up her Hotel World at The Strand in NYC. I found it mildly pleasurable. I found The Accidental to be likewise mild, only longer. She curries considerable press for writing such lukewarm books. I don't know. Roger read a book by Jan Morris a few years (six?) ago and I simply stumbled onto it blind at the library last night. I read for a hour before bed and then for forty minutes or so this frozen afternoon. I was really hoping there would be more about the books in that writer's house. I don't care much for cats named Ibsen.

I just noticed that this is double-spaced, queer.

I also finished Postwar by Tony Judt and I have documented my responses on saimzdat.
I would like to finish the Fourth Crusade book but i may shift gears yet again.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


My friend Ed dropped off a pair of books in my snow-buried truck. Mormon Country by Wallace Stegner and Mary, the first novel by Nabokov.

Not Dead


The last day that I posted, 2.3.08, I took advantage of the warmish weather and walked to the library. I checked out a biography of Mencken by William Manchester and began reading it while walking back home. As noted last month I have had a simmering flair for bios as the Zweig testament to Erasmus verified.

Unfortunately the week then arrived, a heavy dose of work, some films from Wild and Woolly and playing catch up with Judt's postwar kept me from any free reading, as it were.

This past Saturday I again walked to the library, having vowed to Joel that I was going to walk as much as I could -- such prompted a 90 minute walk Friday night. The dash to the library was grand, it was cooler than the past Sunday but extremely windy -- and I had forgotten a hat. I read more of Manchester's Disturber Of The Peace. Sunday arrived with a catterwaul, I ached all over, was feverish and felt my throat being wenched into insufferable knots. I spent all day reading of Mencken's exploits, his own ailments and, alas, his contradictions. I finally finished the book Monday -- after sleeping for another 13 hours. My wife read Doktor Faustus by Kit Marlowe over the weekend and I read it while sipping Thura-Flu yesterday afternoon. I didn't really care for it, its erudition and sweeping attempts at the base nature of humanity accomplished little nor did the expected supplication in the final stanzas strike me as dramatic.

Still feverish and kitten-weak, I picked up Jonathan Phillips' The Fourth Crusade: and the Sack of Constanople and Fathers and Crows by William T. Vollmann. I read 120 pages of each until my nocturnal medicines pushed me over before ten o'clock. I largely missed the winter theatrics outside and I am feeling better.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Regulating Drift

After bashing my head around for seemingly weeks, I have decided to accord my other reading with Judt's Postwar. I have no issues with Peter Ackroyd, but after buying a volume of collected reviews and essays I decided that I wasn't in the mood for someone who didn't like Gravity's Rainbow and doesn't recognize the poetic sensibilities of Anthony Burgess. To Ackroyd's credit i have smiled often these past few days with image of his own failed poet, literally chewing on strips of paper from Dickens' Great Expectations.

The Judt sort of exploded for me on Friday. I have enjoyed greatly the summations of Judt on the Western intellectuals during the early 50s. I have thus decided to read The Mandarins by de Beauvoir, having never read any of her fiction. I would also like to reread some Camus, likely The Plague and The Rebel.