Thursday, January 26, 2012

On The Mend

Over the weekend I finished both The Dynamite Club and Eric Ambler's Journey Into Fear. I appreciated both, but wasn't moved. This glib calm allowed me to proceed headlong into a terrible cold. I quickly discovered that my immobilizing illness didn't allow the panache to address the sinuous sentences of Javier Marias. Instead I pushed into Balzac's deeply cynical Cesar Birotteau.

Strange to say, I haven't been able to read much, not even the aromatic pulse of Balzac's prose.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Wee Small Hours

It isn't quite that temporal estimation, but I can still offer this from Celine.

To hell with reality! I want to die in music, not in reason or in prose. People don't deserve the restraint we show by not going into delirium in front of them. To hell with them!”
― Louis-Ferdinand Céline

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jon LIKED This

Somwhere between this and this one become inclined to register their age, ponder their place around the literary pyramid and offer burnt offerings to the sighing stones of our own foundations.

Comforts Abound

I'm listening to Osvaldo Golijov's mesmerizing opera Ainadamar and as it is bitter cold outside, we have elected to read this afternoon, I've nearly put the Dynamite Club to bed. It isn't bad at all, a survey of sorts which finds success in cultivating cliques of fascinating detail. I just read this:

Often the surfeit of life is breathtaking, given the gnarled means for resolution.

Adaptive Reuse

Just before noon today I was walking on Bardstown Road and I saw a cluster of birds feeding. This was a pleasant sight. I then noticed that they were eating from a puddle of human vomit.

My reading of The Dynamite Club continues well apace. I fear this will be yet another samizdat book where the only discussion is well after the fact. Consequently my reading of Javier Marias has halted for a day or so. It is likely a conflation of Your Face Tomorrow and the over-heralded adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, sailor, Spy which elicited groundswells concerning Eric Ambler amongst others. I dare say the analysis of the anarchists in John Merriman's The Dynamite Club is far too clinical for the smoky asides of that other genre.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Which Foot Leads

This should feel like the year of Javier Marias, except it doesn't. Without a doubt, I found the first volume of Your Face Tomorrow magnificent, an authorial arc which pressed me personally. That said, little lingered aside from those initial reactions.

I elected to detour and read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne, which I enjoyed, though I felt it lacked the philosophical edge of H.G. Wells. Distractions abounded concerning the oeuvre of Eric Ambler. Time passed, it didn't really snow. I've caught up on sleep and suddenly I am back with Marias, Dance and Dream, the second volume has unfolded and I do love it. Maybe my lapels presently refuse grabs.

Friday, January 13, 2012


"Books speak in the middle of the night just as the river speaks, quietly and reluctantly, or perhaps the reluctance stems from our own weariness or own somnambulism and our own dreams, even though we are or believe ourselves to be wide awake." -- Javier Marias

The above quote occurred midstream in my effort to stay awake the other night. My wife was out and I wanted to hear her should she call. There isn't much to add to the exhilaration describing someone excitation established by someone occupied with an idea or question and leafing through books through the wee, small hours to resolve such. If the reader is occupied concurrently with just such a process, the benefits are palpable.

Since the last post, I enjoyed H.G. Wells' Time Machine. It is an intriguing treatise on the attitudes not only to history but towards science. If we can create a conveyance, it must be progressive. No one bother with consequences. We'll leave that for the radicals and the eggheads.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Read in 2011

I don't know how not to be afraid. - Shostakovich speaking to Stravinksy, possibly only about conducting.

Most of what I find these days is mediocre, if only by definition. Meh is okay, what would be the alternative? Pledges were made last January to read 15 Polish books whereas I only read four. I did top 100 books in 2011 for whatever that is worth. Was there disappointment? Certainly. I would fathom the following as

1Q84 Haruki Murakami
The Pale King David Foster Wallace
Reamde Neal Stephenson
Next James Hynes

This quartet share something obviously. One should be quick to consider that the Pale King was in no way nascent novel form.

The Shostakovich quote is from Wendy Lesser's Music For Silenced Voices, a study of the 15 quartets. This volume remains slim in itself, depending on padding and it becomes more a biography of the Beethoven Quartet which premiered most of the works by Shostakovich. I do thank Joel for the gift; if for nothing else, I listened again to all the quartets over a long holiday weekend.

Tihana bought me the new Houellebecq which I noted on the previous posting. This was wretched beauty which found ways to touch and move, even my blase ass in the depths of winter. This was a shrieking success.