Bonfires In The Sky: What Are You Reading, Winter 2021-22?

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AKA The Void Whisperer

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:10 (two years ago) link

Discussions worth continuing (yall paste some too)
I just read it for the first time in my forties, but was bowled over Harriet the Spy, and by how honest and funny and original it was.

― Chuck_Tatum, Thursday, October 21, 2021
The Gossip Girl books are similar - clear-eyed, observant, funny, merciless - they’re the sort of books Harriet the Spy might have grown up to write. The series is more like Dynasty for teens, although like S&TC, it’s enjoyable in its own way.

(Also to tie it in with Janet Malcolm, who wrote a fun column in the New Yorker in praise of the GG books.)

― Chuck_Tatum, Monday, November 8, 2021
Finished Louise Fitzhugh's The Long Secret (as discussed on the literary treats thread) and pleased to discover it's just as goddamn wonderful as everyone said it was. Different pleasures from the first book, but just as good. I love

Foiled, Harriet stood in the middle of the group. Everyone looked down at her. She felt like a spilled drink.
Such a perceptive, funny, original writer.

― Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, November 24, 2021

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:17 (two years ago) link

i read both harriet the spy and the long secret several years ago on alfred's recommendation and adored them both. both harriet and beth ellen are wonderful characters. i dearly wish there were more louise fitzhugh books to read!

something fitzhugh has in common with plath: both wrote novels that somehow disappeared after their deaths. fitzhugh wrote an adult novel called amelia that was rejected by a publisher and apparently got lost, and plath at least started writing two other novels besides the bell jar that haven't survived.

― (The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Wednesday, November 24, 2021

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:18 (two years ago) link

I'll go with the 'nuns' thread.

Well, y'all convinced me to go back to The Corner That Held Them so I've spent the afternoon 'with the nuns'. Turns out that after a plague has swept through, there follows labour troubles and artisans and serfs alike just won't do as they're told and realise that through united action they find their true power and well, it's all bizarrely familiar.

What I love about it is Warner's gentle ironic tone (it is she who holds them, after all) but also the seemingly effortless turn to equally gentle wisdom: There is pleasure in watching the sophistries of mankind, his decisions made and unmade like the swirls in a mill-race, causation sweeping him forward from act to act while his reason dances on the surface of action like a pattern of foam'.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:18 (two years ago) link

That scene after the clambake where Harriet and Mr. Roque discuss the existence of God is A+. Here's how JFK-era live-and-let-live-ism plays.

― So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, November 24, 2021

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:20 (two years ago) link

Goes w Chinaski's latest post.

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:21 (two years ago) link

Nobody's Family is Going to Change is not bad but not nearly as good as Harriet the Spy and The Long Secret. Great title though.

― Lily Dale, Thursday, December 2, 2021

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:24 (two years ago) link

Just read Harriet the Spy, didn't take to it straight away and may have stopped if i hadn't remembered a Lily Dale post that mentioned her love of this book in passing.

I'm astonished. It's not at all what I expected and though it has some thin veneer of kid lit, it's probably one of the most complex, unsettling and lifelike novels i've read. There's a ton of stuff to unpack.

I'm mainly posting this in the hope that Lily Dale might be persuaded to share any thoughts on Harriet the Spy.

― The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Tuesday, December 21, 2021 12:39 AM (two days ago) bookmarkflaglink

My favorite book. I read it in...sixth grade.

― So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, December 21, 2021 4:28 AM (two days ago) bookmarkflaglink

Ole Golly was right. Sometimes you have to lie.

― So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, December 21, 2021 4:28 AM (two days ago) bookmarkflaglink

It seems that I will have to read HARRIET THE SPY.

― the pinefox, Tuesday, December 21, 2021

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:25 (two years ago) link

Louise Fitzhugh taught me how to think like a writer.

― So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, December 21, 2021 4:58 AM (two days ago) bookmarkflaglink

lol, I also just read Harriet and The Long Secret (also prompted by the discussions on this board.) They were great. I wonder what I would have of them as a kid. They're very non-condescending.

― jmm, Tuesday, December 21, 2021

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:30 (two years ago) link

Hi Deflatormouse! It was actually The Long Secret that I posted about - I like Harriet the Spy a lot, but The Long Secret was the one I read over and over as a kid. I think what appealed to me was the sense it gave of permission - permission to be angry for no reason, permission to be outraged and in pain when you got your period, instead of wishing for it like a Judy Blume heroine, permission to not like your family very much. That last one wasn't one I had personal application for - my family was/is great. But one of the absolutely essential things about Louise Fitzhugh imo is the way she consistently says, "Hey, a lot of thoughtless, self-involved people have kids and are mediocre parents to them - not abusive, but not good, either. And if you have parents like that, they're not going to get any better, and it's okay to not like them."

― Lily Dale, Tuesday, December 21, 2021 10:07 AM (two days ago) bookmarkflaglink

I prefer it too. The depiction of the gang of rich kooks descending on Water Mill, that beautiful post-clambake talk about God with her dad, the Jenkins family and their evangelism and acquisitional spirit (Fitzhugh makes the connection) -- beautiful.

― So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, December 21, 2021 10:15

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:31 (two years ago) link

Thanks, Lily Dale. Great post! I want to read the Long Secret right away, of course, but unbelievably NYPL doesn't seem to have a single circulating copy??? I guess I'll have to buy it...

Harriet does a lot of things you wouldn't expect of a kids' book. wtf did I just read? It doesn't really have any clear point, it demands further inquiry. There's so much mirroring in it, it's practically a funhouse. Most of the characters aren't really good or bad, but the parents suck for sure and Janie Gibbs's mother is the closest thing to a Disney villainess.

Is there enough interest for a Fitzhugh thread?

The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Tuesday, December 21, 2021

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:33 (two years ago) link

Chinaski, glad your giving the nuns another go!

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:34 (two years ago) link

Harriet's parents come off significantly better in The Long Secret.

― So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn)

Typical of Louise Fitzhugh's Tact: yeah, good example.

The only time Fitzhugh almost disappoints me in that regard is where she employs a psychiatrist (obviously where this was going) to bring the story to a swift resolution by explaining everything. But thankfully the shrink only tells us what we already knew, and mainly just reinforces the obliviousness of the parents.

― The 25 Best Songs Ever Ranked In Order (Deflatormouse), Tuesday, December 21, 2021

(I am very glad that the pinefox plans to read Harriet the Spy. I might stick to my memory of it in case anything changes. I recommended it to my brother for his daughters this Christmas.)

― youn, Tuesday, December 21, 2021

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:38 (two years ago) link

revisiting some of the books i've enjoyed this year:

deep wheel orcadia

i was surprised how well this worked. the spareness of the orkney – orkney 'supplemented by a large reserve of Scots' – seems entirely appropriate to people working at a subsistence level on the edge of void. in this space *everything* is on the edge of things, Orcadian, so to speak. the poetic lines connect only the essential elements together – people, their labour, love – so that those things feel connected to each other with no intervening matter (appropriately enough in space), and to the 'haaf' (deep space) around them. in other words people *become* their labour, in the way that subsistence labour is your life. here Olaf and Astrid out sailing/farming for Light (their income):

Thay work the park the station wis biggie
tae wirk, hint the fuel at fuels,
the oyl at owls

a interstellar system o industry,
traed, galactic expansion: Light.
Inga an Olaf is aye a kord
wi voltage differes, atmospheric
dabble, mairjins

...they work the work that the station was built to do, gathergleansnatching the fuel that fuels, the oil that oils
an interstellar system of industry, trade, galactic expansion: Light.
Inga and Olaf are always a chord with voltage differentials, atmospheric ripplesagitationconfusionchoppiness, margins.

v occasionally orkney parallels, english/scots (deep wheel orcadia/mars) and gender/youth/age politics/and the experience of youth returning home, are clumsily mapped, but for the most part the elements combine v effectively. and around and into their lenten space, the pressure of the past/future/other world is pushing in through their computer screens and machinery, and the whole is broken up into songs of the individuals and events taking place in the community.

Sheu snacks the monitors wan by wan,
fer the plant tae idle the sleepan oors.

Sheu lillilus tae her machines
her aald face in ivry gless

- but no, yin's no her face. Sheu blenks.
A karl sportan some kinno helmet

(but maed of some kinno metal? an glessless?)
is skirlan - but silent. He chairges the screen.

A flist o Light. Sheu shuts her een
but feels the sair lowe trou her lids.

But eftir a spell sheu peeks an than
thir notheen thir. Nae willan Light,

nae flegsome man. Sheu skites ootbye
an slams the doar, an waits ahint hid,

an sings a peedie bit looder, looder
as the hivy clankan an crashan inbye

at isno the weel-kent tick o the plant
mairkan hids time, but soonds instead -

no - ya - no - but -
like steel brakkan steel, a draem o a sword

She turns off the monitors one by one, for the plant to idle the sleeping hours.
She lullabies to her machines, her old face in each grey mirrorglass
- but no, that's not her face. She blinks. An older man wearing a kind of helmet
(but made of a kind of metal? and without glass?( is shrieksqualling - but silent. He charges the screen.
A rushrageboastbang of Light. She shuts her eyes but feels the harshdireoppressive flameglowflickerflare through her lids.

But after a short while she looks and then there's nothing there.
No wildwandering Light,
no terrifying man. She slidebouncesshoots outside and slams the door, and waits behind it,
and sings a little louder, louder than the heavy clanking and crashing inside
that is not the familiar tick of the plant marking time, but sounds instead -
no-yes-no-but-like steel breaking steel, a dream of a sword.

'like steel brakkan steel, a draem o a sword' shows how the lyrical is reached out of the spare functions of the space station 'tirlan in the haaf' (turntwistwhirlspinning in deep space) and the language.

The relationship between Astrid - a returning student - and Darling - a high born on the run from her family on Mars, is intimate and touching:

Than eftir, whan the cruisies brighten tae morneen,
wi Darling yet sleepan, Astrid busks an leuks
fae porthole tae bunk, fae the tide tae Darling's hair,
an speirs o the gods, at dinno exist, if
thir both fund whit thay waant, or need, or no,
or if thir maed hid, or if hid ivver matters.

Then later, when the lamps brighten to morning, with Darling still asleep, Astrid dressprepares and looks from porthole to bedbunk, from the seatimetide to Darling's hair, and asks of the gods, who do not exist, if they have both found what they want, or need, or not, or if they have created it, or if it even matters.

it does quite a lot well and is full of lovely moments - the archaeologist – english speaking, on the outside – being invited, unexpectedly, shyly, by the barman, to a festive dance at his bar:

Thir quiet a piece. He poors, sheu drinks, thay smile.
An a thowt comes tae Eynar at warms him, o somtheen
he coud share wi this bonnie aakward body.

"If thoo waants tae ken fock better, come
tae the Dance Firstday next. Hid's wiss at wird best."
Noor coudno, sheu didno, sheu wadno waant tae impose,
disno think sheu'd be walcome, canno dance,

but Eynar's insistan wi more an more blide wirds
as ony gien the night. Forbye, Noor waants
tae gang, an dance. Whan sheu's finished her drink,
he asks, "A'll see thee thir?" an Noor says, "Yaas."

They are quiet for a placedistancepartwhile. He pours, she drinks, they snile. And a thought comes to Eynar that warms him, of something he could sahre with this finepretty awkward personbody.
"If you want to know us folk better, come to the Dance next Firstday. It's us at our best." Noor couldn't, she didn't, she wouldn't want to impose, doesn't think she'd be welcome, can't dance,

but Eynar's inissting with ore and more happyfondpleased words than any he's offered all night. Besides, Noor wants to go, and dance. When she's finished her drink, he asks, "I'll se you there?" and Noor says "Yes."

but it all takes place at the sharp end of an impoverished place, at the edge of a mystery, and with no future

So mibbe this bairn'll waant tae brak

the next speed barrier, or the next?
In this peedie bunk, draeman
o cities, draeman o meanan more.
Or draeman a love fer a dwynan piece?
Whit wan o this futurs is bruckit most?

So maybe this child will want to break

the next speed barrier, or the next? In this little bedbunk, dreaming of cities, dreaming of meaning more? Or dreaming a love for a pinefadewithinering placedistancepartwhile? And which of these futures is the most brokenrubbishruined?

and in fact at the sharp edge of commerce, the question they all live their lives with, which the songs in DSO exist to question:

fer then this twa taal men
dinno hiv tae blether
aboot the peedie chairs

or age, or wirk, or Light,
or whit lot o credits
this haep o dirt is wirth.

because then these two t all men don't have to talkchatramble about the little chairs
or age, or work, or Light, or how manymuch credits this heap of mudshitrubbish is worth.

so yes, by no means perfect, but a striking, affecting, rich book with plenty to explore and bits, lines, thoughts, images that resonate.

― Fizzles, Wednesday, December 22, 2021

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:39 (two years ago) link

bloody Christmas repeats

koogs, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:40 (two years ago) link

currently dipping into The Atlas of Anomalous AI ed. Ben Vickers and K Allado-McDowell. It's an attempt to bring Aby Warburg's 'mapping' of cultural images and memory to the field of AI, to help it escape the 'westernised Hollywood futures that dominate popular discussions of AI'

that attempt is i think necessary and useful, but *goddam*, 'cultural' writers or critics like this need to be a lot more careful about the language they use and how it connects to the practicalities of AI. No Aby Warburg did not create a way of working that 'could be called digital' – it's not at all digital. if you're imprecise about this sort of thing, you're not doing the hard work about where there are connections.

there are reasons to think about colonialism wrt to AI, but these writers often take a lazy route to it (similar to Tom McCarthy in that recent LRB essay we complained about), and they need to distinguish carefully between the mechanics of capitalism and colonialism.

eg to call 'the black box of AI' (an enclosure, apparently) 'a hyperdimensional space' requires some... definition i think? 1) AI can often be hidden, but that doesn't mean it's a black box - in fact transparency around data updates and use case failures is an important part of the practical usage of AI. Not all providers do this, but it's definitely a practical thing that can be done, which belies the black box definition here. hyperdimensional space - well it's true that much of the data will have considerable amounts of metadata, which possibly make it something described as hyperdimensional. and indeed the 'curse of dimensionality' creating sparse local data everywhere is a well-known problem in AI/ML. here it's deployed as a sort of fuzzy high-concept word that links AI to *shamanism*.

However, as an encyclopedia of images and relevant or peripherally relevant thinking, it does serve a useful function. and it's worth entertaining the hokum, which may be just a shortcut to some interesting approaches to thinking about AI. eg medieval maps of the humanistic space wider than ours is today, that is to say of a scholastic humanism that required the supernatural as the competion of the natural world and will map angels and daemons onto a cosmos with terra and subterranean tenebrae activae, may help us think how we get outside a contemporary technocratic humanism that places us at the centre of things and allows new spaces to be mapped in new ways.

― Fizzles, Wednesday, December 22, 2021 8:12 AM (yesterday) bookmarkflaglink

i should add there are good artists like james bridle mapping this space it’s just you have to tread with some care.

― Fizzles, Wednesday, December 22, 2021

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:40 (two years ago) link

Much more about the above, w good response from caek, but for now I'll shut off the oldies spigot with a few more Fizzles picks---have read the first; it's a feast:
Fin-de-siècle Vienna - Carl Schorske
Excellent set of essays on the building and failure of the liberal bourgeois Jewish period in Vienna, the face of right wing and socialist populism and anti-semitism, and the vectors of aesthetics, politics and the psyche.

The Gunman - Jean-Patrick Manchette
He tried to get out but they dragged him back in: fascinated by trying to locate this French gun-for-hire novel in a specific year from its trappings of observed culture and will post more.

Max Weber: A Biography - Joachim Radkau
Biographer consumed by subject in a psychological way (haven't finished, because its lol hueg, but great intro imo)

In the Shadow of the Silent Majorities – Jean Baudrillard
Love this, so easy to read, and I don't care whether it's *right* or not, which would anyway be an odd standard to apply, it's just great fun and yeah he's playing with some stuff that's clearly applicable today in a way that other people couldn't see.

oh did i do

Lydia and Maynard - the letters of Lydia Lopokova and John Maynard Keynes, I did not. Charming and peculiar in many respects, with JMK shooting between epochal international conferences, and Lopokova dancing and irritating the Bloomsbury set and them both utterly charming each other with affection and intellect.

― Fizzles, Sunday, November 7, 2021

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:49 (two years ago) link

If you're going to import the entire previous thread, I'm not sure there was a point in starting a new one.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:51 (two years ago) link

Mcinerney- Bright Lights
McGuane - Bushwhacked Piano

calstars, Thursday, 23 December 2021 19:53 (two years ago) link

For now, I finished Dave Hickey's aforementioned Prior Convictions: Stories From The Sixties. Before sending them on their way, now all (?) at once, he says he polished them up a little, with no attempt at drastic, tone-alterting surgery, just trying to be a good editor of the Dave of Oct. 196X--but also ending with the story of how he (third person) came to write them---starting with the middle-school discovery of Conrad and Melville: "I understood maybe a tenth," but it was enough to start thinking of himself as a traveler, not that weird kid in yet another new schoolyard, as his parents dragged him & sibs around the West, searching for whatever---and came to escape from what he considers the narcotic of style, as absorbed in grad school, especially: apprentice stories, which I hope will surface someday, were praised by teachers and friends: "They weren't 'horse operas,' more like 'pony epiphanies'", true to his supposed raisin' and education simultaneously--but really, he says, based on his grandparents' lore, though all of the present stash move through his gleaming x-y axis of the mostly post-cow West; incl. the ones I mentioned as pre-channeling good early Terence Malick and Robinson's Gilead, though unmistakably Hickey all the while.
He says that he tried to go deeper in the stories he does include, but the worst thing about his training, I think,is that he projects what he hates about it into his re-reading: the amber is his lens, for the most part---I do think the very first one is too contrived, and there are bits I'm not sure/dunno about in a few others, but the good stuff carries them along/
But he does point out what he considers his great escape from a formally dictated ending, which I'd already enjoyed, in the penultimate one===counting this finale narrative as another good fiction, his necessary myth, seeing as how he declared in front that he "writes to live, not lives to write"---beginning as a reader, with that rando-to-traveler transition via Conrad in Melville---and found that immersion in fiction-writing was getting too hard to come back from, that his wife and the rest of his life were shadows, grist. etc.
He doesn't mention giving up fiction altogether, and he didn't give up songwriting and narrative nonfiction---does say that he found, beyond the painterly, received, approved modernism he was groomed for, he found realism by other means in the def. not approved John O'Hara, who didn't bother with imagery: in The Horse Knows The Way his collection of constrained boondocks people lived for/ sometimes damn near destroyed themselves and/or outbursts and grapevines of talk, of crucial shitty little details---also realism by other in the propwash crop circles of Donald Barthelmoe's collection Come Back, Dr. Caligari...
Of course he didn't really escape from style, but continued to make-remake his own, mixing on the fly and plotting "asymmetrical" truth-serum injections,and, as art school bad boy, never got tenure (but his wife did).

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 21:18 (two years ago) link

sometimes destroyed themselves/and or *others via* outbursts and grapevines of talk I meant to say.

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 21:22 (two years ago) link

This last part of the book is pretty complex, incl. emotional in ways I haven't tried to trace here, will be coming back to it maybe even more than the previous.

dow, Thursday, 23 December 2021 21:33 (two years ago) link

I know, I feel it: I'm gonna have to finally read Portis pretty soon---where should I start w the novels? How's the collection?

dow, Friday, 24 December 2021 21:22 (two years ago) link

Max Beerbohm: A CHRISTMAS GARLAND (1912).

the pinefox, Friday, 24 December 2021 22:51 (two years ago) link

I'm biased in this guy's favor by playlists/downloads he's posted here and there, also his comments on them, will prob read:
Tin House Books

Always Crashing in the Same Car: On Art, Crisis, and Los Angeles, California, by Matthew Specktor
Tin House Books

Matthew Specktor’s sad and entrancing book takes as its topic failure, “a pattern of mind,” he writes, that is also, “when we are close to it, delicious.” A child of Hollywood—his mother was an unhappy screenwriter, his father a high-powered agent—he focuses his attention on its denizens, exploring artists meaningful to him “whose careers carry an aura of what might … have been.” Specktor is a sharp cultural critic, but he also writes with the sweet conviction of someone who still has heroes, and he opts to consider foundering a virtue.With that lens, he examines the lives of folks such as the coolly talented writer Eleanor Perry, who never got sufficient credit for work that she’d done with her husband, Frank, but then wrote a gimlet-eyed novel about her marriage; or the vibrant yet aloof actor Tuesday Weld, constantly on the verge of becoming a starlet but perhaps also saved by her ambivalence about fame. Specktor threads into these essaylike chapters a portrait of his own tempestuous allegiance to this city of dashed fantasies. Dreams, he suggests, don’t protect you. But he begins to wonder, as I did, whether failure, brutal though it is, “mightn’t have been the real pursuit all along.” — Jane Yong Kim

Was also impressed by a New Yorker essay previewing this book:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Right to Sex, by Amia Srinivasan

In 2018, the philosopher Amia Srinivasan published a viral essay for the London Review of Books that interrogated the formation of our sexual desires. Modern feminism’s impulse to think about sex in individualistic terms, she wrote, fails to acknowledge how broader political forces shape what we want. Her incisive book expands on the original essay, covering sexual assault, false rape accusations, porn, #MeToo, and sex work. Srinivasan excels at closely analyzing, then questioning, the facts of our sexual lives that we might take for granted. In the essay “Talking to My Students About Porn,” she is surprised by both her students’ and her own conservatism, expressing wariness of porn’s power to define sex for kids raised in the internet age. She doesn’taccomplish her lofty aim of completely reimagining sex, but that very ambition is what makes the book so successful. The Right to Sex clears the slate for others to imagine a future in which physical intimacy is, in her words, equal, joyful, and free. — Kate Cray
It also delves into "feminist wars" re porn etc.

I was amazed by this one, as indicated on an earlier WAYR?:

Afterparties, by Anthony Veasna So

Afterparties often moves like a boomerang––zippily flitting back and forth among its characters to create a ricochet effect. The nine short stories in Anthony Veasna So’s debut collection feature an ensemble of young Cambodian Americans whose parents and grandparents fled the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime; this generation, though, is more familiar with the streets and storefronts of Stockton, California. So writes about this community—and about family, sex, and cultural inheritance—with a sharp-toothed, darkly comic bent. “Every Ma has been a psycho since the genocide,” one character muses; another achieves enlightened clarity about his boyfriend’s VC-funded “safe space” app while in the throes of a threesome. This Khmer choir of voices is, at turns, horny, haunted, irreverent, and hustling. The stories careen between doughnut shops and Buddhist temples, and spiritual reincarnation figures into several plotlines. So’s narrators sometimes balk at their parents’ religiosity, but they still can’t quite abandon the belief that their ancestors move among them. The author died last year unexpectedly, months before the book’s publication; one can’t shake the feeling that he, too, meanders through these stories now. — Nicole Acheampong

dow, Saturday, 25 December 2021 22:09 (two years ago) link

Caste by Isabel Wilkerson
Book on imposed social hierarchy comparing African American life in slavery and Jim Crow to the Untouchables in India and Jews in the 3rd Reich. I'm quite enjoying it but am a little wary after she treats the Stanford experiment as though it proved how malleable people could be to torturing others. I listened to a closer examination of the actual experiment on a podcast a couple of months back and it seems like the popular version of the story is not accurate. So hope other things here are not wildly off too.

Stamped From the Beginning Ibram X Kendi
I'm now in the final section which has Angela Davis as the theme individual.
Reminds me I need to read her autobiography through which I don't think I did when I bought it. & it's been sitting on a shelf for 15 years here.
She's a very interesting speaker so not sure why I never got to it.

Cruel Britannia
Book on torture by UK army since WWII. Took a break from it while I finished Steven H Gardner Another Tuneless Racket vol1. Now looking at a unit in post WWII Berlin that has gone overboard on the wrong people. Some who offered to be informants or were found to speak Russian. Seems to have been vengeful massively. & I thought Russia was considered an ally at the time too.

Stevolende, Sunday, 26 December 2021 00:34 (two years ago) link

I know, I feel it: I'm gonna have to finally read Portis pretty soon---where should I start w the novels? How's the collection?

Dog of the South or maybe Norwood. Dipped a toe into the collection once but couldn’t really tell you. #pvmic

Santa’s Got a Brand New Pigbag (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 26 December 2021 00:44 (two years ago) link

Thanks! What does #pvmic signify?
Good point about xpost Stanford experiment, although "caste" seems right re American system, on the face of it.

dow, Sunday, 26 December 2021 01:19 (two years ago) link

The Beehive, Camilo José Cela - A Madrid neighbourhood bar circa WWII, its employees and regulars all close to financial ruin but holding on tight to their class status. A lot of talk of good customs, a lot of pettiness, a general rottenness to mirror that of the country and the times. Haven't read a book that's felt this consistently dirty, not in a lascivious way but in the sense that it makes ya want to wash your hands after reading, since Under The Volcano.

Daniel_Rf, Sunday, 26 December 2021 17:56 (two years ago) link

#pvmic means “post very much in character”

Heatmiserlou (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 26 December 2021 18:01 (two years ago) link

Johann Grimmelhausen - Simplicissimus

One of the classics of Europen Literature, although it hasn't had the work done in English that Rabelais or Cervantes have had. Like Boccaccio it takes an awful event (Thirty Years War as oposed to the Plague) as a starting point for our hero's adventures, using his eye to glimpse at every little bit of what we do: our capacities for destruction, love, friendship, knowledge, etc. I love reading it for the beginning of the novel, how characters and their myhtologies come into being in chapters and then more often than not disappear in mere sentences (the technique is so different). How it veers from a brutal realism to the fantastical last section. Its descriptions of vice and virtue and the ramdomness of encounter and event, and its wide reading of classical literature as a source of all, regurgitated and re-written for readerly pleasure. Just some of the content in this great book.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 26 December 2021 21:58 (two years ago) link

The Beehive, Camilo José Cela

A new translation is forthcoming via NYRB classics in Autumn '22. Apparently the old one cut some of the dirty stuff out!

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 26 December 2021 22:38 (two years ago) link

One of the classics of Europen Literature, although it hasn't had the work done in English that Rabelais or Cervantes have had.
What translation should we look for? Your description is v. appealing, thanks!

dow, Monday, 27 December 2021 02:41 (two years ago) link

Just saw on the other thread that you said you read the translation by Mike Mitchell.

dow, Monday, 27 December 2021 02:49 (two years ago) link

Johann Grimmelhausen - Simplicissimus

I've been wanting to read this for a while. Maybe 2022 will be the year. Currently I'm reading Fog by Miguel de Unamuno, translated by Elena Barcia, an early Modernist Spanish novel first published in 1914. I'm a fan of his philosophical writings so giving the fiction a try.

o. nate, Monday, 27 December 2021 15:50 (two years ago) link

xxxxpost what first got me interested in readingAlways Crashing in the Same Car: On Art, Crisis, and Los Angeles, California, by Matthew Specktor
Tin House Books
: his comments here about Dream Syndicate in context of early 80s L.A.: And the link to his DS live comp still works; I just now used it again.

dow, Monday, 27 December 2021 19:14 (two years ago) link

Specktor wrote the intro to the Eve Babitz collection I'm reading.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 27 December 2021 19:19 (two years ago) link

I’ve mentioned this before but if you want a book where Simplicissimus is both a recurring plot point and thematic touchstone (and many reasonably do not want that at all, fair) then perfect spy by John le carre is reet good.

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Monday, 27 December 2021 21:01 (two years ago) link

i did end up rereading harriet the spy bc of the previous thread, and will at some point next year read the long secret, but i just wanted to say that i still am delighted by this book (which i read more than once as a kid but haven’t picked up since, and also i was obsessed with the nickelodeon adaptation, which is, iirc, more faithful than you’d expect) and that it’s got the worst goodreads page of all time

STOCK FIST-PUMPER BRAD (BradNelson), Tuesday, 28 December 2021 00:05 (two years ago) link

Ann Wroe: SIX FACETS OF LIGHT (2016).

Paul McCartney: THE LYRICS (2021).

the pinefox, Thursday, 30 December 2021 09:56 (two years ago) link

I've never tasted an egg cream, I'm sorry to say.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 30 December 2021 10:38 (two years ago) link

Not missing much.

Heatmiserlou (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 30 December 2021 13:03 (two years ago) link

How do you like Eve Babitz so far?

Heatmiserlou (James Redd and the Blecchs), Thursday, 30 December 2021 13:04 (two years ago) link

Does anyone have book plans for 2022?

My main resolution is: more short books. I'm going to take a break from long fantasy series. That's been a lot of my reading during COVID. They've been really good distractions, and helped me avoid being online too much, but the sunk-cost of a long series can also feel like an obligation.

I’m also thinking that I want to read mainly non-fiction, specifically along the lines of memoirs, travelogues, diaries, letters, stuff like that. I have Patrick Leigh Fermor's Between the Woods and the Water and Laurie Lee's Cider with Rosie to kick things off.

jmm, Saturday, 1 January 2022 17:45 (two years ago) link

While waiting for my dog at the vet— she's okay, seems like a UTI— I finished Warner's 'The Corner That Held Them' this morning. Great book, and the bits of wit that Chinaski mentions sneak up on the reader so that they're really quite hilarious. I admit that there were moments where I got my nuns confused, but I learned to care for some of them as characters nonetheless. I also loved Sir Ralph.

we need outrage! we need dicks!! (the table is the table), Saturday, 1 January 2022 17:54 (two years ago) link

I have set myself up with a bunch of books taht I ordered from the library as inter library loans so have like 8 already set up to arrive at some point. Picked up 3 yesterday. A load of anti racism stuff plus on eof teh books by Noma Agrawal who was on one of teh teams in the Xmas University Challenge . I thought she might be the same person as wrote Sway but foun dout her work is more in explaining how buildings are built as popular science and so on.

Bought so many books over teh last year that I want to read like immediately and obviously can't. Cover a load of different subjects.
But next couple are probably goiing to be teh ones I got from my Brother for Xmas. The iNconvenient Indian by Thomas King and Surviving Genocide by Jeffrey Ostler which are both Native American history related.
Also Carl Sagan Demon haunted world, Thinking Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman.

Started reading Gentlemen prefer Blondes by Anita Loos which was one of the library books
& the History of The White people By Nell Irvin panter which i got through the first chapter of this morning

Also got The iNvention of teh White Race by Theodore W Allen which i bought a couple of months back when verso was selling books at 1/3 off and had heard of possibly on here about 3 or 4 years ago.
So yeah got a stack of things i have planned to read and will hopefully get to reasonably soon .
& will probably pick up others as I go.

Stevolende, Saturday, 1 January 2022 17:59 (two years ago) link

I finished Harriet the Spy last night (first read, no idea why I'd never read it before!) and will start The Corner That Held Them today. I read a lot of ADHD, PTSD, and vagus nerve/polyvagal theory books last year. Will be interesting to see what path my nonfiction reads follow in 2022.

Jaq, Saturday, 1 January 2022 18:26 (two years ago) link

> Does anyone have book plans for 2022?

Gibson's bridge trilogy in january
More Hardy in february, probably Mayor of Casterbridge
Start, at least, a long foreign thing in March, maybe Stalingrad?
April = Dickens
all four ali smith seasons books sometime

koogs, Saturday, 1 January 2022 19:18 (two years ago) link

Plans: going to jump on the Harriet the Spy and The Corner that Held Them bandwagons, The Count of Monte Cristo, Rachel Cusk's new one, re-read The Dispossessed, one Dickens, one Henry James, one Edith Wharton, one Woolf. I'm going to try and buy more real (not e) books, if the rumours of a new local independent bookshop are true.

two sleeps till brooklyn (ledge), Saturday, 1 January 2022 21:39 (two years ago) link

xp wiki sez:
Underlying all of Hermans's works, says Hermans scholar Frans A. Janssen, is the theme of epistemological nihilism. Only the means employed by logic and the sciences are capable of producing reliable knowledge. All other fields of study, including philosophy, ethics, psychology, the humanities and societal studies, are unable to produce knowledge that can be called reliable or certain. Literature and the arts can "show truths" by employing irrational devices. For the greatest part the world is unknowable, and even language is no reliable tool of communication. Hermans's characters are personifications of this state of affairs, loners who continuously misinterpret the reality surrounding them, unable to do something meaningful with other interpretive views when confronted with them, victims to the mercy of chance, misunderstanding. They fail,
OK, OK! But this whole profile makes him seem like a potentially compelling voice, as novelist, anyway, as does Fizzles' take, for sure.

dow, Tuesday, 15 March 2022 00:27 (two years ago) link

Really getting some very intriguing takes on this thread nowadays, thanks yall!

dow, Tuesday, 15 March 2022 00:44 (two years ago) link

Interesting, dow - I certainly agree with that wikitake wrt A Guardian Angel.

Need to clear up some word soup in my post:

In such a tumult what meaning can symbols have meaning that doesn't get washed out in the flood and fire

One thing I might say about that para you posted - I think it's less about 'failure' as such, more 'what could it possibly mean to succeed, in a world like this?'

The main character - Alberegt - 'fails' less than his Guardian Angel, in the end, who ends up fleeing like the Queen of the Netherlands (I make no judgment on her btw - but the characters' response is one of bitterness, fatalism and pragmatic cynicism).

Fizzles, Tuesday, 15 March 2022 07:09 (two years ago) link

This is a quintessential PKD experience based on my reading of Ubik and High Castle. You go from earnest psychodrama to mind-blowing sci-fi oddness to scenes with laser fights that feel like they were scripted by teenagers. It’s v disorienting in an interesting way, but it’s hard to tell what’s deliberate vs what’s a happy accident. Fwiw I found that disorientation boring and alienating in High Castle, attached to a bathetically overserious plot; and then Ubik was sillier and more fun but somehow cut deeper.

Good post from Chuck Tatum, especially about the bizarre mixtures and transitions ... But I don't agree about HIGH CASTLE, by far the best PKD novel I've read, and I can't say that UBIK is fun - it's about death, decay, entropy, the loss of reality. Deep, yes, if not exactly fun.

I've picked up PKD's A MAZE OF DEATH, which I read closely 6 years ago, and most of it now seems very unfamiliar. A character in it talks about Gandalf. Gandalf ?!

the pinefox, Tuesday, 15 March 2022 12:57 (two years ago) link

It’s from lord of the rings

wins, Tuesday, 15 March 2022 12:58 (two years ago) link

Finished Crossroads, a thumping good read as they say, less positive about the last third or so

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 16 March 2022 07:38 (two years ago) link

Finished Red Nation Rising by Nick Estes et al. Need to read the couple of other Indian books i have in my to read list Heartbeat of Wounded Knee and Surviving Genocide . Should have both read by now i think.
May be overstretching myself in several directions.

Gone back to Walter Rodney's book on the Russian Revolution which was compiled by notes for a course he was teaching in Africa .
I possibly should know the history better tahn i do. I did read Orlando Figes history of the Revolution about a decade ago, possibly a bit more. Definitely sometime in that region cos it was a book on the solidarity camp in the first year and i think I took it out of the library later.
THis is interesting and so far is looking at historiography of the sources available at the time which is late 70s He's now looking at the timeline while still looking at the various sources.
I may wind up reading some other histories of the era eventually. But I do want to read through Rodney.

also looking at some of the stories in the Black Science Fiction anthology that i got for Pauline Hopkins Of One Blood which started out promising but i wasn't convinced by the end part. Got some other historic stuff in and a load of newer writers. Anyway hope i'm going to get through this and everything else over teh next month.
Found out taht my library book dates were extended a long way without my knowledge. Several weeks on almost all of them. THink most of them should have been due back by now. Was happening a lot during the pandemic so surprised it still is. Though do possibly need the more time. Need to finish some more of these things.

Stevolende, Wednesday, 16 March 2022 10:11 (two years ago) link

Welch's history of the Abbey Theatre reaches the 1940s. All the founders are now dead, Yeats last. Ernest Blythe, now taking control, seeks to orient the theatre more toward the Irish language. Actress Ria Mooney is a very recurring presence. Playwright Teresa Deevy, author of THE KING OF SPAIN''S DAUGHTER (1936), seems talented and significant. As this entry shows, Mooney appeared in it along with Cyril Cusack:

I've literally just learned online that the café at the Abbey now is called PEGEEN'S.

Also reading just a little of Olaf Stapledon's FIRST AND LAST MEN (1930) - or is it the other way round? - and I reread the first part of Lethem's THE ECTASY OF INFLUENCE: a marvellous book that probably hasn't received its due as a commentary on life, literature and culture especially in late-C20 USA.

the pinefox, Wednesday, 16 March 2022 16:15 (two years ago) link


the pinefox, Wednesday, 16 March 2022 16:15 (two years ago) link

Jonathan Lethem: 'How We Got In Town And Out Again' (1996). A second reading for this SF story. Worthwhile. What stands out is the casual invention and inventorying of a plethora of cheap, corny, commercial websites, as experienced within a kind of virtual reality tournament in the story. Maybe one of the best early SF renditions of the Internet in the age of Internet use (as against premonitions of this, which SF had also previously done).

the pinefox, Thursday, 17 March 2022 11:08 (two years ago) link

Welch's history of the Abbey Theatre, though often not well written, contains nuggets of fact, some of them droll.

For instance: one key Irish-speaking Abbey actor later took the role of Tarzan (in Hollywood?) and when he spoke Tarzan-language to the animals of the jungle, he was, Welch says, really speaking Irish.

the pinefox, Thursday, 17 March 2022 15:25 (two years ago) link

Do you have the luxury of being able to use "droll" blithely in conversation and if so with whom do you converse?

Tarzan = ape = Neanderthal = someone not as smart as someone else = nowadays offensive like TinTin, Babar, or Dr. Seuss for all that was good and bad in them?

youn, Thursday, 17 March 2022 15:35 (two years ago) link

How Beautiful We Were, by Imbolo Mbue. This is a novel about a small African village being poisoned by an oil company. The author is from Cameroon but lives in the U.S., and has a very crisp prose style. She also does some really interesting things with point of view, alternating between the voice of "the children" collectively and one child in particular, which to me subverts the usual centering on the individual. Worth the read.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Thursday, 17 March 2022 15:57 (two years ago) link

I finished Parable of the Sower two nights ago. Yesterday I went hiking and spent a bit of time thinking about it. The one thing that struck me most was how deeply and essentially American it was, both in how the dystopia was imagined, but also in how it presented the "Earthseed" idea as the most practical response. I found Earthseed very reminiscent of the various utopian religious communities that sprang up all over the USA in the nineteenth century, but with a much harder edge to it, more Waco than Oneida. Even the details of how the social chaos, extreme violence, and disintegration were imagined would not be a good fit for any nation but the USA, right down to the ubiquity of handguns.

Octavia Butler's strengths as a storyteller in this were exactly the same set of strengths I found in Kindred. She brushes aside the temptation to write backward-looking 'explanations' for exactly how her dystopia arose or how life was outside the locale of the book. It is just what exists for her characters and must be accepted as such. Her dialogues are succinct and powerfully realistic and her characters take on life, depth and dimension through them.

I think I would like to reread Herodotus next. I'll give it a whirl tonight and see how it grabs me.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Thursday, 17 March 2022 16:23 (two years ago) link

Youn: I consider 'droll' a very normal word to use in conversation. Among individuals on this board, for instance, I can readily imagine saying it to Tim. He may not wish to imagine this, though. But he is often droll.

the pinefox, Thursday, 17 March 2022 16:49 (two years ago) link

Tarzan = ape = Neanderthal = someone not as smart as someone else

Tarzan def offensive but not for that reason! It's the idea of a white man getting dropped into the jungle and quickly becoming its Master that's the problem.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 17 March 2022 16:52 (two years ago) link

Yeah. The books make him more complicated and darker than the movies, except the last one I saw, Greystoke, gets his origins and early adulthood right: born John Clayton, Lord Greystoke (and I think the movie makes him a viscount as well), he's rescued and raised by the great apes after his parents die, learning the ape language, which series creator Edgar Rice Burroughs demonstrates, to a degree, not pushing his luck (Greystoke extends this via real life expertise of researcher Roger Foutts), and he makes himself literate in several languages by studying his father's books, also becomes a very strong and graceful Greystoke x primate life proto-superhero, especially after he renounces the civilized life he's been rescued by and to, returns to the jungle, and settles in, among the apes and strange humans there---lot of race and gender problems, as noted here:
But if you're curious at all, the first book, Tarzan of the Apes, is worth a look, and usually considered the best (only one I remember, though I think I read most of them as a child)(preferred Burroughs' swords and sandals in space books)

dow, Thursday, 17 March 2022 17:31 (two years ago) link

Earl, not Viscount, and Fouts, not Foutts. The director also used Dr. Earl Hopper, the American author of Social Mobility, as an adviser on the film's psychological and social plausibility. Would like to read that.

dow, Thursday, 17 March 2022 17:42 (two years ago) link

Ah, so being addressed in Tarzan-language was meant as a compliment to the animals of the jungle and the Irish, the opposite of what I surmised. Thank you for the clarification!

youn, Thursday, 17 March 2022 19:22 (two years ago) link

Tarzan language, if you mean "Me Tarzan, you not," was only in the pre-Greystotek movies, but yeah books had him as White Savior/Top Cop in a loin cloth.

dow, Thursday, 17 March 2022 20:06 (two years ago) link

Also some rando action on his part from time to time, xpost wiki covers all that pretty well I think.

dow, Thursday, 17 March 2022 20:10 (two years ago) link

I've looked into the Tarzan story as best I can and as far as I can see, it may not actually be accurate. That is: I'm not sure that this actor even played Tarzan at all. So much for the scholarly history of the Abbey Theatre.

FWIW, though, the point of the (perhaps apocryphal) story was, as I understood it, simply that people weren't meant to understand "Tarzan's language", and people in Hollywood also couldn't understand Irish, so it was convenient for him to use Irish to speak incomprehensibly yet, in fact, coherently.

It seems that the actor, who may not have played Tarzan, eventually made a late appearance in John Huston's THE DEAD (1987), which I, like many people, like very much.

the pinefox, Thursday, 17 March 2022 20:39 (two years ago) link

I returned to Robert Sheckley's 1953 story 'Seventh Victim'. I have read this whole long book of Sheckley's stories - but it was 8 years ago and I already realise that I 'need' to read this book again to remember just what's in it. It's very enjoyable so I might just do that.

I've started walking further afield in London and have picked from the shelf Geoffrey Fletcher's THE LONDON NOBODY KNOWS (1962, but seems to have been revised a bit later?). It contains drawings by the author, and a rolling discourse about London in a style that's now gone - as is a great deal of what Fletcher mentions. Indeed very little that he's specifically mentioned is familiar to me at all, even in areas I know - except The Roundhouse. He's rather obsessed with music halls.

the pinefox, Sunday, 20 March 2022 11:48 (two years ago) link

XP JUst being reminded of the Navajo actors on the John Ford film of Cheyenne Autumn speaking a language that the white crew didn't so getting really bawdy and specifically insulting to some of the cast playing historic white figures. Which apparently caused a lot of Navajo speakers to go and see the film for this in-joke . & I think in turn generated some Native American film creation .
John Ford's supposed tribute to the great native American population he had made into a faceless mass or portrayed by people who had nothing to do with the ethnicities portrayed had very little to do with the Mari Sandoz book it takes its title from. I have enjoyed teh Mari Sandoz I have read so far.

Stevolende, Sunday, 20 March 2022 12:35 (two years ago) link

Also I was trying to remember what theatre Orson Welles had joined when he went to Ireland on the art tour he had used money from his inheritance to fund.I was thinking he still had a living dad at home in the US but this was inheritance not allowance.,
& it was the Gate not the Abbey. I was thinking it was the one located around the top of Parnell st but Gate is Stephen's Green isn't it?
Abbey is Customs House side of O'connell st, Abbey street stretches a long way across the middle of Dublin.

Anyway Welles was in Dublin at like 16 involved in one of the big theatres in the early 30s. But it's a different one .

Stevolende, Sunday, 20 March 2022 12:42 (two years ago) link

The first Youtube search result for bach chaconne guitar is a performance I really like (8 minutes in noted). It's played by a cleric in what seems to be a church office. This and Crossroads got me thinking about the position of clergy in novels such as those written by Jane Austen, in particular, I presume the dependence on landowners and the freedom and leisure to follow interests. I think the Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois also presented plantation life and social hierarchies and ties very well.

I just started The Romantics by Pankaj Mishra. There is a reference to Benares, which I think is also an important location in The Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray.

youn, Sunday, 20 March 2022 16:33 (two years ago) link

Love the Leon Fleisher recording of that

Chuck_Tatum, Sunday, 20 March 2022 18:51 (two years ago) link

No idea where to put this, but ...

My wife is very active on Goodreads. A couple of days ago she realized that our neighbor (a friend, as far as neighbors go) was on Goodreads, too, but my wife had never checked out her activity. My wife looked at her page, and apparently it was overwhelmingly (deep breath) alien erotica. Yes, you read that correctly. Romance novels about people hooking up with aliens. Now, my wife found this kind of surprising, not just that our neighbor would be into this, but that she would be keeping a public tally of the alien erotica books she has read. And yet, when my wife went to the page today to read me a couple of the book descriptions, the page had been deleted! Or at least made no longer public.

So, what are your theories here? What are the odds that just a couple of days after my wife discovered this page the page should vanish? Is there any way for the reader/reviewer to know someone has scoped out their page? Maybe it's a coincidence and she suddenly realized her page was public and was embarrassed? That would be some coincidence. Just kind of odd all around. What's up wit that?

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 20 March 2022 22:53 (two years ago) link


As far as I know, Goodreads doesn’t show you that but I only use the app, so I’m not really sure.

I’d have to assume that your wife’s account is a) in her own name and b) she may have accidentally friended the neighbour or liked a post?

mardheamac (gyac), Sunday, 20 March 2022 22:56 (two years ago) link

She's visiting her secret love and won't be back for a while?

Stevolende, Sunday, 20 March 2022 22:57 (two years ago) link

No idea. I do know that there are some good stories about this topic from James Tiptree Jr and Kij Johnson, but yeah, this does seem a bit something.

Mardi Gras Mambo Sun (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 20 March 2022 22:58 (two years ago) link

Of course the other option here is that the neighbour had her Goodreads linked to her Facebook and was posting status updates until someone noticed and had a word but it was just bad timing on your wife’s part.

mardheamac (gyac), Sunday, 20 March 2022 22:59 (two years ago) link

lmao stevolende

𝔠𝔞𝔢𝔨 (caek), Sunday, 20 March 2022 23:04 (two years ago) link

Yeah, lol at that.

Mardi Gras Mambo Sun (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 20 March 2022 23:06 (two years ago) link

Seems most likely
Of course the other option here is that the neighbour had her Goodreads linked to her Facebook and was posting status updates until someone noticed and had a word but it was just bad timing on your wife’s part.
She's visiting her secret love and won't be back for a while?
So no more need for books!

dow, Monday, 21 March 2022 00:50 (two years ago) link

There is definitely not a "x viewed your profile" function on Goodreads. More to the point, what's the big deal with alien erotica? Not like it's a Left Behind novel, a Jordan Peterson book, or the complete works of Jeffrey Archer.

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 21 March 2022 10:34 (two years ago) link

Yeah it could've been a lot lot worse. Now to take a sip of morning coffee, Google alien erotica and see what comes up.

xyzzzz__, Monday, 21 March 2022 11:06 (two years ago) link

I've started walking further afield in London and have picked from the shelf Geoffrey Fletcher's THE LONDON NOBODY KNOWS (1962, but seems to have been revised a bit later?). It contains drawings by the author, and a rolling discourse about London in a style that's now gone - as is a great deal of what Fletcher mentions. Indeed very little that he's specifically mentioned is familiar to me at all, even in areas I know - except The Roundhouse. He's rather obsessed with music halls.

Have you seen the film, the pinefox? Can be accused of poverty porn in places, but there's some astonishing footage in there and a lot of narrator James Mason looking awkwardly at the camera.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 21 March 2022 11:40 (two years ago) link

I think I haven't seen it. I seem to recall hearing that the film was very different from the book and shared little more than a title. Unsure.

the pinefox, Monday, 21 March 2022 12:11 (two years ago) link

i think there is a thing that suggests people to add on goodreads, neighbor was probably recommended to add your wife which made her think "oh no i wonder if people can see this" and then realized her profile was public

towards fungal computer (harbl), Monday, 21 March 2022 12:34 (two years ago) link

It certainly has a lot of footage of old music halls!

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 21 March 2022 14:08 (two years ago) link

Any Flanagan and Allen action?

Mardi Gras Mambo Sun (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 21 March 2022 14:15 (two years ago) link

alas no, just ghostly choruses intoning music hall chants in abandoned buildings.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 21 March 2022 14:25 (two years ago) link

Any Flanagan and alien action?

Les hommes de bonbons (cryptosicko), Monday, 21 March 2022 14:41 (two years ago) link


mardheamac (gyac), Monday, 21 March 2022 14:48 (two years ago) link

Read Torrey Peters' "Detransition, Baby," and also some chapbooks for an upcoming piece.

I recommend the Peters, though I found its ending a bit sudden for my tastes. I have a feeling that she's writing the sequel right now.

we need outrage! we need dicks!! (the table is the table), Monday, 21 March 2022 14:51 (two years ago) link

Any Flanagan and alien action?

New borad description

Mardi Gras Mambo Sun (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 21 March 2022 14:57 (two years ago) link

The first time I read Herodotus I often found the long preliminary lead-up to Darius's invasion of Hellas to be tedious and confusing. This time I can see the structure he employed much better, and I am not nearly as confused by how it all connects, but the density of proper names for places and peoples who have sunk into obscurity over the millennia makes it slow going. Just processing a single sentence that may reference three or four distinct geographic features, cities, gods, peoples and personages by totally archaic and abandoned names can take multiple readings.

Aside from that, it's an amazing treasury of facts, myths, tall tales, and crazy cross-cultural misunderstandings that will generate arguments among historians forever.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Monday, 21 March 2022 18:26 (two years ago) link

Hey, all you reading people!!! LOOK at this brand new WAYR thread:

Lilacs Out of the Dead Land, What Are You Reading? Spring 2022

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Tuesday, 22 March 2022 03:23 (two years ago) link

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