Thursday, May 29, 2008

Found This

This is one of the more intriguing articles I have encountered this week, a period overwrought with extraneous concern.

We bought a house today, it may be more erratic than normal for a spell.

Monday, May 26, 2008

saw something

There was a post on Literary Saloon pertaining to a summit on the novel -- which is so fucking necessary -- and the participants included Carlo Ginzburg and Joseph O'Connor, whose novel I finished today and , yes, it is the best book I have read this year.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Levi Stahl

The above is one of my favorite lit-bloggers. he works as an editor at the University of Chicago Press and it his verve with serial long quotations from books that excites me. While such a larding is likely served by his work environment, I find it illuminating, even with those texts and authors removed from my own interests. I hope to emulate this with a few postings on Redemption Falls. I told my friend Ed, while cycling this afternoon, that even if the final 100 pages of the novel were an approximation of Gone With The Wind, I would still consider it the best book I have read this year.

Monday, May 19, 2008

James Meek

There were reviews of the Guardian reporter's latest novel in both the NYTBR as well as Bookforum. I haven't yet discerned whether i am sufficently interested to pursue, especially in light of the Bolano and Bukharin waiting patiently.

The Gasp

Presently plugging along in Redemption Falls. I told my friend Ed last night that it recalls Angle of Repose. I should qualify that statement with the proviso that whereas Stegner is overly concerned with the natural West, there are few digressions in Redemption Falls on the topography of the region or its fauna and their eternal struggles towards shelter and reproduction. No, O'Connor addresses the health of the Irish soul in a time of civil war and then in the crucible of the unsettled west.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Life has been at a steep incline as of late. It is a sublime day outside and I was fortunate to walk earlier through the Highlands.

Redemption Falls is a powerful book, refreshingly bereft of Hibernian mawkishness, it is a blood poem, worthy of Melville. I am about half way through the novel with works by Bolano and Bukharin in the bullpen.

I will also be tackling a theological history book Misquoting Jesus for samizdat.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Been Busy

Two of my best friends are forever explaining their dearth of progress in reading by being swamped as it were by the demands of modern life. All smirks aside, I have not posted of r a week but i have read a great deal. I finished three books - Black Mass by John Gray, Butterfly Stories by William T. Vollmann and The Raphael Affair by Iain Pears. A stilted sex scene, heavy on existential nausea necessitated a pause in the de Beauvoir and I have, instead, began plowing through Redemption Falls by Joseph O'Connor, another book my wife bought me for xmas.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Too Much Memory

I am thoroughly enjoying The Mandarins, it is a perfect choice, actually. I last read Camus in 2002 after reading Platform. The Stranger is a remarkable novel, not simply an existential whisper. My enjoyment just may affect my next samizdat selection.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Ethics of Geese

The Mandarins begins as a triangulation with Simone herself caught in the torrent, herself more capable and aware than the other femmes struck asunder by the egos of Camus, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty.

The prose is steeped in detail, an aura of liberation fashions orange trees in Camus' (Henri in the novel) daydreams and the smells of pate and sweat signify the organic. The possibility of travel and leisure appears like deliverance. Certain de Beauvoir is playing with dates and danger -- it is still a remarkable novel, at least early on.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Lives of Penguins

Short biographies serve a certain purpose, indeed I picked up Jonathan Spence's bio of Mao just so I could sit idly on a sublime Saturday and read it in its entirety. Much like certain vogue advertisements, I felt empty about three minutes later. Other than broaching Mao's penchant for self-invention -- boy, that's an unusual trait -- Spence does make overtures to Mao's relative insular orientation and how the human catastrophe of his reign can be explained by his unfamiliarity with the myriad and protean. This is a stretch, but an understandable thesis in a 175 page book. There were exactly four pages of the Cultural Revolution. Two paragraphs were afforded to the Nixon visit.