Sunday, September 23, 2012

On The Campaign

Goodreads is a good many things. It offers a peer resonance which I truly appreciate. It is also a habitat for all the bullshit which plague the rest of the Internet. Allow this post to focus on the benign aspects. It was trawling the waters in the grand old GR that I discovered China Mieville for which I am grateful. It was also this virtual region which enkindled hopes reading more speculative literature. This was a mistake. Case in point: R. Scott Bakker who like most of his ilk penned a trilogy of otherworldness. I bought the first two books and read 400 pages before deciding that such was insufferable and that I was nursing an active hatred of the book. I switched back to reality and read a half dozen books in a week by Alejandro Zambra, Italo Calvino, Martin Amis, Zadie Smith, Virginia Woolf and regrettably Diane Setterfield.

This humanist endeavor continues its truck. My observations and reticence continue.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Cement Garden

Marshaling evidence is weary work. It is taking some time to convince myself that I don't care for Fantasy, high literary or otherwise. I truly loved two novel from China Mieville but the rest is beyond rubbish. It is white men  speaking gravely: insert your partisan jokes here.

I took a detour and read the above mentioned novella from Ian McAbre. A breezy peek into disorder, McEwan triumphs with creating a disturbing situation appear rather normal, good intentioned and, practically, inevitable. As I said elsewhere, it isn't Lord of the Flies, but Graham Greene's The Desctructors which is a carnage cousin to The Cement Garden. We don't see man go all feral, but rather an industrial process is underway, oblivious to observation. The reader squirms.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Heady Times

Two of my favorite people came to visit last month. Books were forthcoming. Tihana gave us a copy of Berlin Stories by Robert Walser. Joel sent us a copy of The Philosopher's Touch a work by Francois Noudelmann concerning Nietzsche, Sartre and Barthes at the piano. I really loved this book, largely for the images depicted of Sartre and Nietzsche. I recognize that Clive James may wish to kick my ass for my adoration of JPS, but I'd wish to arrest such an assault by stating that it is the aesthetic Sartre that I find so endearing, not the political.

I've also read another Iain Banks novel, Dead Air. I then made time with Elizabeth Bowen but it wasn't the proper setting. I'm now deep into a biography of Mao. much like Robert Service's biography of Trotsky, it wishes to discredit all evidence of merit or accomplishment in the subject's tenure. Apparently both Trotsky and Mao ignored and abandoned their children. Somehow, I find this a rather wrongheaded approach.