I have coveted everything and enjoyed nothing: what are you reading in Spring 2024?

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Happy spring reading everyone!

I would prefer not to. (Chinaski), Tuesday, 19 March 2024 17:02 (two months ago) link

A link to the old thread: Nothing Doting Living Loving: What Are You Reading In The Winter of 2023-24?

I would prefer not to. (Chinaski), Tuesday, 19 March 2024 17:04 (two months ago) link

As mentioned in the Winter WAYR thread, I'm reading Grand Hotel, Vicki Baum and I'm now about 3/4 through it.

It's an odd duck. If I were to write a brief synopsis of the characters and plot it would sound like so much stereotypic, romanticized tosh (e.g. a handsome Baron who's a cat burglar?!), but strange to say it rises far above that level. A bare description of the book would sound rather garish and affected, but the details on the page make it both human and affecting.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Tuesday, 19 March 2024 17:30 (two months ago) link

just finished “things fall apart” by chinua achebe. 10/10 masterpiece

currently reading “the rebel angels” by robertson davies. my dad gave it to me years ago when i first started grad school, saying something like “this book will make you want to do a phd.” it’s since sat on my shelf unread, but i’m now reading it in the last few months of my phd. finding it loads of fun so far

flopson, Tuesday, 19 March 2024 18:07 (two months ago) link

I have always wanted to read that. Maybe I'll pause my current read--A Master of Djinn, by P. Djeli Clark, a Kindle Unlimited book--just to tackle it.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Tuesday, 19 March 2024 18:11 (two months ago) link

(Never come across the book or stage version, but Grand Hotel is a grand film, with peak turns by Garbo at her wittiest as a hardcore diva spinning just past her commercial peak, John Barrymore as the well-born English cat burglar, a black sheep and desperate gambling addict, also Lionel Barrymore, of course shamelessy chewing all the grand scenery, wised-up low-expectations yet still young Joan Crawford, Wallace Beery[as mogul on the brink of Depression, not tugboat captain etc. this time] and an international cavalcade of character actors.)

Recently finished my first Iris Murdoch, The Red and the Green(1965)---study of an Anglo-Irish and Irish extended family, during "the seven or eight days leading up to the doomed Easter Rising in Dublin,1916," as jacket flap says, and I think I hit it lucky: jacket thinks this is "warmer" than previous, though also it's not too effusive/loose/garrulous, as I've seen complaints about re several later novels. This 'un moves adroitly between all the characters, checking in on latest seismic movements and dithering of male interiors, while the women are mostly known by what they say and do, incl. in male gaze.
Sex and money figure, ditto environment---weather, picturesque to appalling cityscapes, incl. poverty--but so what,"You can see a hundred scenes like that all over town every day"--news of the War and British promises for the peace, many points made in arguments and gossip and oratory re: Ireland, with even the mystical terrorist proving capable of second thoughts, for a while.
It's a well-tracked whirl, and I'm reminded of Ta-Nehisi Coates on the US Civil War: "Don't say you know what you would have done. You don't know."

dow, Wednesday, 20 March 2024 17:14 (one month ago) link

Also curious about Under The Net, and what else should I read by her, incl. later ones?

dow, Wednesday, 20 March 2024 17:16 (one month ago) link

Under The Net is, against all expectations, a fun romp of a novel, I had a great time.

The other Murdoch I read was The Sandcastle - more of a conventional literary novel, main detail I remember is the couple mourning a dead dog who managed to bring them together "the way their own children never had".

Agreed on Grand Hotel.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 20 March 2024 19:35 (one month ago) link

i'm rather sure audiobooking is forbidden here, but i happened to fall across maugham's _the moon and sixpence_ and it is... not how i figured maugham really. i'd not recommend other than for how odd the characters come across, it's almost interesting how weird and unlikely they seem.

schrodingers cat was always cool (Hunt3r), Wednesday, 20 March 2024 20:06 (one month ago) link

Audiobooking counts, unless you aren't really listening.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Wednesday, 20 March 2024 20:13 (one month ago) link

a nice thing with audiobooking is that my absorption is deeper than much of my reading because i will relisten to sections simply to re-experience or reparse, it feels pretty weightless to do.

schrodingers cat was always cool (Hunt3r), Thursday, 21 March 2024 05:24 (one month ago) link

Rereading an anthology of Akutagawa short stories. Had forgotten the Kurosawa film is a) based on two different short stories and that b) the one called Rashomon ISN'T the one with the multiple perspectives.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 21 March 2024 10:18 (one month ago) link

currently reading “the rebel angels” by robertson davies.

Thanks for the tip! I saw I have a combined edition of the whole Cornish Trilogy sitting on my shelf and your post encouraged me to try out The Rebel Angels as my next book. I've enjoyed several of Davies' novels in the past, but I tend to space them out at multi-year intervals. Luckily his trilogies aren't so conjoined that later entries require a knowledge the prior ones.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Thursday, 21 March 2024 16:08 (one month ago) link

Have finished Justin Torres' Blackouts and Fuminori Nakamura's The Thief, and both were excellent. Am now almost through the second of the 5 parts of Roberto Bolaño's 2666

Dan S, Thursday, 21 March 2024 23:17 (one month ago) link

I read the first chapter of Zora Neale Hurston's Jonah's Gourd Vine, which was very heavy on the lingo but I'm already enjoying it.
I read a short collection of short stories by Clarice Lispector, it was good to very good, clearly I should have gone for an anthology (now that I'm done with Lydia Davis' complete stories). I guess it worked as a taster to compare to her novellas.
Before that I read The House on the Borderland. It was certainly much more digestible, but ultimately with similar strengths and weaknesses as The Night Land. Interesting as a curiosity, but no masterpiece.

Nabozo, Friday, 22 March 2024 16:04 (one month ago) link

Finished Total Doing That, a book of poems from Thomas Delahaye, a heteronym of a friend of mine. More accessible and dare I say obviously humorous than the other books of his I have read, it retains some undercurrents of sexual trauma that is evident in his other work.

Today it’s been pissing rain mostly, so I started in on So Much for Life, the selected poems of deceased British cult poet Mark Hyatt. Hyatt was a half-Romani queer who didn’t learn to write until he was in his twenties— by 31, he was dead, leaving behind hundreds of pages of poems, most of which were preserved by Barry MacSweeney and Jeremy Prynne on the eve of Hyatt’s suicide.

This interesting and tragic life is reflected in the poems, which crackle with rage and beauty and also with sex and a very unorthodox, nearly Californian approach to language— there are times when one could be convinced that they were reading a lost poem from the Spicer/Blaser/Duncan circle.

butt dumb tight my boners got boners (the table is the table), Saturday, 23 March 2024 22:44 (one month ago) link

Ted Gioia History of Jazz
Pretty thorough history by writer I had recommended and found in a couple of bibliographies. Interesting. Taken me longer to read than I meant to. May need to revisit.
But I think I can recommend it.

Eddie Piller Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances.
Memoir of mod/Acid Jazz label head I met several times in my teens and early 20s.
He came from an area I lived in as a child and was about 5 miles away from where we moved to shortly before most of what I read so far took place. So I'm hearing talk about areas I knew and mentions of people I met and half knew.
So quite interesting to me anyway. I van see a couple of details he got wrong and thought he'd know better about. Calling a Regal shirt a poloneck when those are quite different (and something I've meant to make for ages) and I thought the term for this side of neck and top of shoulder buttoning style was Dr. Or Dr Kildare. Also Regal didn't move from Kensington market it opened a 2nd branch that coexisted with it for a couple of years.
One was a small premises like a walk in stall the other was a standalone shop.
Otherwise finding this fascinating. Him finding his way through being a mod in the revival's earlyish days when I was too young to know about it. I'm about 3 or 4 years younger.
So yeah very interesting to me cos it's local history. Not sure if it would remain immediate to anybody more distanced from it.

Those are the main 2 right now. Going to get back into another load as soon as I'm through.
David Greener Debt
A couple of anthropological/historic books on African tribes.
An anthropological book on Guayaki Indians by Pierre Clastres.
& a few others.

Gioia reached its maximum renewals I can do online so needed to be finished. Had been backburnered.

Stevo, Sunday, 24 March 2024 06:45 (one month ago) link

currently reading “the rebel angels” by robertson davies. my dad gave it to me years ago when i first started grad school, saying something like “this book will make you want to do a phd.” it’s since sat on my shelf unread, but i’m now reading it in the last few months of my phd. finding it loads of fun so far

― flopson, Tuesday, 19 March 2024 18:07 bookmarkflaglink

oh i enjoyed this v much. lot of fun like you say. every page has something that you want to read twice. maybe slightly exhausting? in the end i prob preferred the deptford trilogy (I say that, i still haven't read the last). rebel angels more clearly a comedy, a farce even. rd was my main find last year and was surprised I hadn't previously stumbled across him.

my long run of not really being arsed with fiction continues:
some poetry: dipping into michael hofmann and tom gunn selecteds, and a late-ish RS Thomas - Counterpoint. the hofmann is fine, highly competent, and the thom gunn contains some striking stuff. to the extent i'm competent to judge (on grounds both of theology and poetry) the rs thomas is only intermittently successful, and somewhat arid - it feels v dated (mysteriously this slender volume of theological poetry was the only physical book i took with me for the 24hr flight to australia and back), but does have moments where you are aware of a profound poetic intelligence grappling with faith, evil and creation.

more generally re-engaging with poetry, the poetic act, feels like electricity coursing through the body and mind.

a history of fake things on the internet - walter j scheirer. good this, apart from an ill-advised foray into structuralism in the second section. the book starts from a place that questions how much fake stuff there is - sophisticated 'deepfakle' attempts to deceive us in terms of audio/visual media - very little. synthesized and selective creative acts, cobbled together images and text memes etc - 'participatory fakery', designed to make a point - a lot. and also questions the term 'fake' as it's generally thrown around:

Do all falsehoods necessarily mislead us? Are those who produce false content always malicious? What would happen if media that facilitate the widespread dissemination of fictions were strictly regulated or even banned? Who even has a good grasp of what those media are and how they work?

the author is sensible to then go into use cases to look at the mechanics and history of misleading content on teh internet. early hacker communities and 'culture jamming' ('the news is, in practice, is a system that can be hacked'), photoshop ('What was not initially appreciated by creators and observers of visual disinformation was that a fake image could be more effective in a democracy if it were obviously fake'), 'cheat codes' as a line into the passing about of information designed to provide special insight or knowledge, media forensics, shock content sites, and a couple of others that look more general on AI, and the internet (and social media) as creative spaces.

this all files under 'epistemic health' for me, and how we need to update it practically as the internet changes, and the book does good work identifying the mechanics of manipulations of cultural information on the internet.

Descartes' Error - António Damásio. Updating my very out of date understanding of neuroscience - especially the generally somatic view and approach. Hate reading about the brain - its complexity is so great and the impact of damage is so profound, it makes me feel very queasy, an enormous sense of fragility and dependency on it for everything. ugh. anyway, once it gets over some slightly irritating literary flourishes at the beginning and gets clearly into the topics about which Damasio knows and is interested in, it's very good.

Cybernetics and the Origin of Information – Raymond Ruyer. An old (now) book of engaged critical theory writings on information theory. interesting to see what needs updating because of recent developments. Reminds me I should pick up On the Mode of Existence of Technical Objects by Simondon again - it was dense, but possible to engage with, and probably would be a good counterpart to this.

Monsieur (or 'The Prince of Darkness') - the first of Lawrence Durrell's Avignon Quintet, whose main subject matter appears to be gnosticism. I don't know whether i can stick it. It's laughably precious:

Sabine was older than the rest of us – not in years, to be sure: but in judgment and insight. Her voyagers and adventures had forged her mind already while we were still upon the threshold of our emotional maturity. The word I was looking for, I suppose, was "sphingine"

This produced an actual yelp of laughter from me. Yes, I suppose it was now I come to think of it. Sure. aiui the quintet or 'quincunx' (¬_¬) is meta-textual, so i'll continue into the second volume, Livia, to see if the nauseating polycule at the centre of Monsieur is undermined and made a justifiable laughing stock. Title isn't promising though is it.

I admit to a sneaking enjoyment of the flummery around the gnosticism. it's what's kept me reading.

also, also, he has a habit of putting *all* foreign words in italics. This gets extremely funny and irritating:

the scarlet bedsocks he always wore to match his vivid Egyptian babouches
at each corbner of the court rises a quaint and crusty little tourelle [sounds like a euphemism for penis]
I lit my candles and quickly put on the traditional black velvet coat which Piers had given me, with its scarlet lining; also the narrow stove-pipe pantaloons, dark sash and pointed black shoes – tenue de rigueur for Christmas dinner at Verfeuille. [also incidentally how i dress to put the rubbish out]
He will become the régisseur of Verfeuille while I am absent en mission [gone to the corner shop for milk]
I was seized by a singular sort of constraint, almost a pudeur [*almost*. not quite]
with always the danger of a fugue staring me in the face
at any rate she wore a red velvet carnival cagoule through the slits of which her eyes looked at us [£5.99 from M&S]
he had gone out to the Café Durance for a croissant and a cup of coffee [moi aussi, mon vieux, moi aussi, have u seen the price these days tho]
all but united in this central despair about the metaphysical status quo. Slowly, in his quiet voice, with its flavours of an ever mounting disenchantment he sketched in the terrible fresco of the present world, often in the form of a long quotation which attested as always to the formidable memory of this stage man. "The praying Mantis which devours its male even while it is fecundating her, the spider trapping the fly, and the pompile which stabs the spider to death, the ceceris which with a triple stroke of its sword scientifically destroys the three centres of the bupreste's nervous s ystem: and carries it off so that its larvae will be able to eat it still living, choosing their mouthfuls with skill, preserving the vital parts with a terrible science, unto the very last mouthful of the victim's flesh. Then the leucospis, the anthrax, the worm of which simply applies itself to the flank of the chalcidone, and sucks it dry through the skin, ingests, pumps out this living broth which is the young larvae, and then dries it cunningly, in order to keep it also fresh, living, until the last mouthful... The philante, the bee-killer, before even carrying off its victim presses out the crop to make it disgorge its honey, and sucks the tongue of the wretched dying insect as it sticks out of its mouth..."

[sorry sir this is a wendys etc]

Fizzles, Sunday, 24 March 2024 09:49 (one month ago) link

why isn't fresco in italics why.

Fizzles, Sunday, 24 March 2024 09:50 (one month ago) link

just to prove that i am indeed possessed by the ghost of a 50-something british woman who choked to death on turkish delight at a church jumble sale in the cotswalds in 1976 i am really enjoying Joanna Trollope's The Rector's Wife. she is a very good writer!

scott seward, Monday, 25 March 2024 15:43 (one month ago) link

Last night I finished The Rebel Angels, Robertson Davies. It was a tour de force, a descriptor that aptly fits any of his novels I've read. This one displays the usual erudition, wit, mastery of form and strong sense of playful mischief. It's entertainment with an intellectual flair.

It also reminded me why I tend not to avidly seek out another Davies novel soon after finishing my most recent excursion into his work. There's a quality in him I find off-putting, but hard to pin down. He strikes me as having a depth of understanding of human nature, but one that is artificially induced via intellect. There is a cruelty in him, hidden beneath a mask of flamboyance and theatricality. He tries hard to seduce you into this attitude and does a good job of it, too, but he leaves me feeling uneasy about what's at the core of his art. YMMV.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Friday, 29 March 2024 18:23 (one month ago) link

Holly George-Warren's A Man Called Destruction. Itinerate commenter Edd Hurt dismissed it several weeks for not delving into the sources of Alex Chilton's guitar playing, but as someone who owns the Big Star albums and nothing else K found the bio was well-sourced and literate.

About to start The Dawn Watch: Joseph Conrad in a Global World.

poppers fueled buttsex crescendo (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 29 March 2024 18:36 (one month ago) link

March was:

Zola - Germinal
Henri Alain Fournier - The Lost Estate
Dumas - Black Tulip
Balzac - An Episode Under the Terror
Balzac - At the Sign of the Cat and Racket
(the last two were very short, less than 100 pages total)

i'm not sure what i was expecting the lost estate to be like but it wasn't that.

germinal and black tulip a lot more readable than you'd think.

koogs, Friday, 29 March 2024 18:42 (one month ago) link

i'm not sure what i was expecting the lost estate to be like but it wasn't that.

in a good way or a bad way? (I love it.)

gene besserit (ledge), Friday, 29 March 2024 19:06 (one month ago) link

I picked up that book (The Lost Estate) about 15 years ago on the recommendation of a friend. I have yet to read it. I'm not sure why, other than this friend is a bit of a misanthrope. More than a bit, actually.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Friday, 29 March 2024 19:11 (one month ago) link

it's definitely not a misanthropic book.

gene besserit (ledge), Friday, 29 March 2024 19:35 (one month ago) link

it was probably a bit more modern than i was expecting. and i guess the cover suggested flouncy 20-something female and i got mostly scruffy teenage boys.

i liked the mystery of it. it was a bit tom's midnight garden. but i was expecting Thomasina.

koogs, Friday, 29 March 2024 19:36 (one month ago) link

(i guess it's not so modern that places even 20 miles away are practically unknown to people, because 20 miles is a day's travel)

koogs, Friday, 29 March 2024 19:49 (one month ago) link

There's a quality in him I find off-putting, but hard to pin down.

same tho i don’t think i agree with your point about cruelty. as i feel similarly about how it’s hard to pin down i’m not sure i have a reason for why i don’t agree.

whatever that quantity is, it’s less visible (but still disconcertingly present) in the deptford trilogy than the cornish stuff.

Fizzles, Friday, 29 March 2024 19:53 (one month ago) link

Yeah, cruelty isn't the right word for that quality. I was reaching and overreached. Whatever it is, it is submerged and cumulative in effect.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Saturday, 30 March 2024 01:10 (one month ago) link

picked up after you were, i am by camille ralphs, which i’ve seen some fuss about.

this is - or at least the first section is - religious poetry, or rather religious poetry/texts from various periods (George Herbert, John Baillie, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Rumi) brought into contact with modernity.

Ralphs’ stylistic markers are so visible - word play, antithesis, dense clusters of alliteration and assonance (there must be a term for this) - that it’s a little difficult to work through the thicket as it were and find what else is there.

the project seems to be to divine something of the just future by applying mystic texts to the syllabic cacophony of the present.

i think there’s enough of interest on a first reading to go back and work through it some more.

from veni sancte spiritus:

Give to those who, doggèd, wait
on your fingers’ click and bait
the worried bone of friendliness

i suppose dogged needed the grave. but yes it gives a good general sense of it: the imv successful play of “your fingers’ click and bait” and something about in an age of social media captured well by the phrase “the worried bone of friendliness”.

when ralphs cuts loose a bit from their acrobatics they get some punch:

Like that last phrase, you run, like blinding colours through the eyeless world
and when the mind forgets itself, you’re there — where what is left to know is left to live.
Fine, hold me in your Holocene: give me a kicking; and the goods,
the martyrs with their hopscotch blood and nails as fragrant in their palms as cloves

(from Wessobrunn Prayer)

i’m looking forward to digging in, even if periodically i wish they’d let up a bit.

Fizzles, Saturday, 30 March 2024 17:51 (one month ago) link

oh i think there must be something of the Pound here. interpreting the prosody of these old texts and modes to create unusual modern poetic forms (the alliteration, obv a form in old english/german etc)

Fizzles, Saturday, 30 March 2024 17:54 (one month ago) link

periodically i wish they’d let up a bit

based on the fragments you quoted, understandable. sonically, it invites you to move right along, but semantically it's a slow, dense obstacle course, which tends to fight itself

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Saturday, 30 March 2024 18:13 (one month ago) link

I've started in on Kokoro, Natsume Soseki. The translator is Edwin McClellan. Too soon for comments.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Saturday, 30 March 2024 21:11 (one month ago) link

S. Yizhar - Preliminaries.

Review here that is fine with giving the synopsis of the book:


The writing is wonderful, if you like that kind of thing. This will do it for you, no question. If it is a well I will walk for miles everyday to drink from it, for sure. And so on.

Except: what is it to read this now? Arabs have been displaced and we see the images of what that means on our screens. Every day for the last few months. The politics of that situation isn't discussed much in that review.

What saves it (if you like) is a measure of acknowledgement, some guilt, some awareness of what it is to have moved to a place so alien.

Above all the writing on nature, friendship, people. This guy can extract every ounce of feeling for the sky in his writing. If we were all truly able to have those feelings as expressed here maybe things would not have turned out as they have. I am no doubt wrong about this.

xyzzzz__, Sunday, 31 March 2024 08:33 (one month ago) link

really enjoying the ralphs. it's actually caused me to get my bible down this easter sunday to check the story of job against the prose poem Job 42:10-17 (the final verses covering god's double restitution to job of that which he had lost), which has the epigraph:

Yesterday P. asked: 'Do you think the children from Job's second chance could actually be happy?' Anna Kamieńska, A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook

His Children (whom he'd seen the fired pyres stripping of their nakedness and every woolly talisman) came back: came bringing groceries: and they said, this is what a bad trip feels like, we were never dead, you only thought we were: and though he had mislaid his face in tumuli of boils, had dropped his Eyes in lozenge-bottles crouched behind the ziggurats of shipping boxes at the docks, screamed at Life's fair unfairness, they beatified him

potent. i particularly like the mislaid face in the tumuli of boils, the brutality of those woolly talismans going up in flames, 'ziggurats of shipping boxes' does the job of the architecture of the ancient world in the modern well. and later, "And he blessed the World in turn because he feared to curse it" speaks plainly of what's been done to Job.

After This is That, he said, and if this were a bad trip I would know it. And did not escape the Feeling, angry as a tennis racquet, of his being made to serve.

And then Ralphs goes and does this! The actual metaphor, the maximal tautness of the strings in the tensile frame, the thwock of the tennis ball - no question, brings something to the quality of Job's anger. but 'of his being made to serve' can only be a joke. it's hard to see it as anything else. the immediate suspicion is that Ralphs couldn't find another way of putting it, was reluctant to relinquish this form of words, liked it too much maybe. on the other hand this could be depicting a nasty rhyming cruelty of the universe, indifferent to bathos. either way it's extremely disconcerting, and pulls you up short.

the final lines though, reassert the general tone of the poem, of Job alone retaining the memory of that which has been done to him:

You're dead, you're dead, he said, watching his children reproduce; and soon they too grew to believe it.

Fizzles, Sunday, 31 March 2024 09:38 (one month ago) link

ralphs is willing to untether words from their moorings and use them for their abstract quantities, but this has the effect sometimes of causing you to wonder what a word is doing there - is there any constraint of meaning hanging off it at all? it can have the feeling of an LLM set to high temperature. but as i say, i'm really enjoying getting my teeth into it. it's fecund, energetic, smart etc.

Fizzles, Sunday, 31 March 2024 09:41 (one month ago) link

Yeahm was already thinking that some of the word choices seem more willful than anything else, on first reading--but

And did not escape the Feeling, angry as a tennis racquet, of his being made to serve.
seems perfect: why wouldn't Job feel this way, being made a tool, an object lesson, his whole life being tortured into a Book of the Bible? On his behalf, the author refuses to take this Seriously, speaks it like a juvenile, like a punk, like "Highway 61."

dow, Sunday, 31 March 2024 20:40 (one month ago) link

And I suppose that capitalizing "Feeling" could be sarcastic/counter-Serious, making your own damn book/Book, twisting the other side of the story around to the front.

dow, Sunday, 31 March 2024 20:44 (one month ago) link

oh i agree the psychology is apt - it’s partly the point, but the serve-as-in-tennis-serve is, well it’s just silly. introducing an image that does nothing for the poem.

Fizzles, Sunday, 31 March 2024 21:21 (one month ago) link

germinal ... a lot more readable than you'd think.
i did germinal in january & this was my takeaway too. definitely piqued my interest for more zola.

recent reads have included ivan turgenev's virgin soil, austen's persuasion, and anna kornbluh's immediacy. hoping to get to sand's the devil's pool soon.

vivian dark, Tuesday, 2 April 2024 00:37 (one month ago) link

Fludd by Hilary Mantel. A strange little book, the kind where I feel like I'm on a completely different wavelength from the author, despite her easy cynicism concerning religion. (Though in an afterword she says she wishes that everyone could be brought up catholic, or something like it, because of the sense it gives that everything is not as it seems. Hmm.) You wouldn't think it was by the same author as Wolf Hall.

gene besserit (ledge), Tuesday, 2 April 2024 09:25 (one month ago) link

because of the sense it gives that everything is not as it seems

most religions and a fair number of drugs provide this sense, but catholicism will do in a pinch

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Tuesday, 2 April 2024 17:20 (one month ago) link

a few children's books and an average imagination will do it.

gene besserit (ledge), Tuesday, 2 April 2024 18:01 (one month ago) link

Thurston Moore Sonic Life
Avant garde guitarist's memoir. He's just got to having Lee Ranaldo in Sonic Youth who have Richard Edson back in the band after playing as a drummerless 3 piece.
Been pretty good so far.
I needed some lighter reading. Feeling fluey or something.

So not getting as heavily into a number of other non-fiction books as I wanted.

Rashid Khalidi the Iron Cage
Book looking at why Palestine is not doing better in its struggle by a Palestinian academic and historian. Looking at 20th century history of the place.

Enzo Traverso
Book on Marxist explanations of the holocaust.
I really dug the author's name when it turned up in a bibliography. So grabbed the book when I saw it was in the local library.

Peter Fryer Staying Power
Book on black presence in the British isles. Pretty scathing on widespread racism.
I'm having the same problem trying to work out how you read a text peppered with endnote reference numbers. Which this has several per paragraph frequently. How frequently you turn to the end of the book to read the notes thereby messing up flow reading the text.
Had this with Federici and Theodore Allen too. Maybe shows level of research but doesn't help flow.

And several other books I'm part way into.

Stevo, Tuesday, 2 April 2024 23:45 (one month ago) link

I've stuck with the Clark book, it's vastly entertaining. Steampunk without being annoying, that's a feat in and of itself.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Wednesday, 3 April 2024 00:47 (one month ago) link

javier marías - a heart so white

very good. i thought the modernist long stream of consciousness sentences would tire me out (tbh they do, a bit) but he keeps it moving and mixes in enough dark humour to keep me afloat. the weirdness of spain is underrated

flopson, Wednesday, 3 April 2024 02:42 (one month ago) link

A Heart So White has stayed with me. Great novel.

I'm reading *Night Soldiers* by Alan Furst. It's a spy novel, set in the 30s, and the central character (Bulgarian, but Russian by allegiance) is first trained in Moscow, then sent to Spain to infiltrate the Republican army. He's now on the run in Paris. I'm not at the stage where I can intuit a grand plan, so am sustained by Furst's moment-to-moment world-building. Furst clearly knows his subject but the sweep is so grand it can fall into national cliche pretty easily. Everything is buoyed by bawdy humour; weirdly, it makes me think of Jeffrey Eugenides in places.

Also reading *Empire of Normality: Capitalism and Neurodiversity* by Robert Chapman. He's using Marxist theory to show how capitalism both creates and exploits neurodiversity but how neurodiversity may provide a new mode of organisation against capitalism's worst excesses.

I would prefer not to. (Chinaski), Wednesday, 3 April 2024 08:37 (one month ago) link

I'm in the middle of writing some essays for my MA, so I've had to take my first break from reading books in a few years.

That said I'm puttering through Jane and Prudence (great) and Pet Shop Boys vs America (complete classic, just page after page of prime Lowe/Tennant one-liners and mischievous glibness)

Chuck_Tatum, Wednesday, 3 April 2024 13:05 (one month ago) link

I finished Alan Furst's *Night Soldiers*. I come to espionage fiction for the tight plotting and this had an odd mix of almost picaresque and what I came to think of as ambient passages of detail. I liked the latter quite a bit in the end. Weird comparison but some sections come on like Poker Face (the Natasha Lyonne series), wherein, to set up a new location, Furst introduces peripheral characters 'at work' in their particular milieu (Paris, New York, Bessarabia), as a stage-setting for the central characters to arrive into. He's great at. Plot? Maybe not so much.

It's 100% made me want to take a trip down the Danube though.

I would prefer not to. (Chinaski), Friday, 5 April 2024 17:36 (one month ago) link

I think that its in line with my experience. I connected with some of Green's novels more than others while finding everything he wrote accomplished and very fine.

xyzzzz__, Friday, 3 May 2024 10:24 (two weeks ago) link

Trying to get Strangest Genius on the stained glass windows of Harry Clarke finished after not paying it attention for too long. Book by Lucy Costigan with a lot of photos of the windows in.
I do like Harry Clarke, he seems influenced by Aubrey Beardsley while adding in his own elements.
Oversized book which has contributed to it not being paid as much attention. But seeing the images now a lot of it is pretty breathtaking.

Rashid Khalidi 100 Years War On Palestine
really good book on the oppression of Palestine since the end of WWI when the Ottoman Empire lost control of it and I think a bit before that but book came out in 2020.
Author's family and he himself have been involved in various roles throughout. I wondered if my Dad knew him cos his dad was in the UN and lived in the same New York suburb but it appears to have been a few years earlier than I know my dad was there.
Very good book.

Stevo, Friday, 3 May 2024 12:25 (two weeks ago) link

I'm almost done with Wellness, this season's The Corrections and Rabbit novel: one of those The Way We Live Now books that 50 years hence Nathan Hill hopes will show Americans what we cared about in the 2010s.

the talented mr pimply (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 3 May 2024 13:52 (two weeks ago) link

There's always some damaged, usually older character, occasionally brought forward, in all the Greem novels I've read so far, and that's life, that's what all the people say, along with the humor and sex and gossip and booze---in Loving, the old butler is dying for a start, then the slick guy takes his place, but has his own health or psychosomatic detours, bad vibrations, despite the arrow ov sexnluv, also Doll the daughter-in-law's sex quandary, some desperation on his gf's friend-colleague's part, and the alky older lady-in-service---but the most emotionally involving ones I've read so far are Blindness, Living, Caught, and the memoir/testifyiin' Pack My Bag.

dow, Friday, 3 May 2024 17:51 (two weeks ago) link

we've been talking about henry green on here for 20 years. that's kinda cool.

scott seward, Friday, 3 May 2024 18:02 (two weeks ago) link

I finished Pragmatism. I would be interested to read more contemporary reactions. From today’s perspective many of the ideas are commonplace: That there is no capital T absolute and universal Truth. That truth is a process. That my truth and your truth may prove to be incommensurable. Etc. I guess that’s because James’s views won out, at least in American popular consciousness, and not because he was stating the obvious.

o. nate, Saturday, 4 May 2024 14:13 (two weeks ago) link

I wonder what Henry thought about that. Did he acknowledge his own subjectivity, or think of himself as uncovering the ultimate Truth? Both?

dow, Saturday, 4 May 2024 19:31 (two weeks ago) link

It feels like I've been leaning heavily on detective/crime fiction lately, but my library hold on Cotton Comes to Harlem came in, so it jumps to the head of the queue.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Sunday, 5 May 2024 02:50 (two weeks ago) link

I wonder what Henry thought about that

He wrote William some letters that were quite effusive in praise and agreement.

Why the devil I didn’t write to you after reading your Pragmatism –how I kept from it—I can’t now explain save by the very fact of the spell itself (of interest & enthrallment) that the book cast upon me: I simply sank down, under it, into such depths of submission & assimilation that any reaction, very nearly, even that of acknowledgement, would have had almost the taint of dissent or escape. Then I was lost in the wonder of the extent to which all my life I have. . . unconsciously pragmatised. You are immensely & universally right. . . .I feel the reading of the book. . .to have been really the event of my summer.


o. nate, Sunday, 5 May 2024 16:15 (two weeks ago) link


I simply sank down, under it, into such depths of submission & assimilation that any reaction, very nearly, even that of acknowledgement, would have had almost the taint of dissent or escape.

So Henry!

dow, Sunday, 5 May 2024 18:01 (two weeks ago) link

William was not often so generous about Harry's fiction, especially later in life.

the talented mr pimply (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 5 May 2024 18:03 (two weeks ago) link

btw I consider William James one of the great American prose stylists, bringing that malleable hardness of Twain, Crane, and U.S. Grant to explain abstruse concepts.

the talented mr pimply (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 5 May 2024 18:04 (two weeks ago) link

William was not often so generous about Harry's fiction, especially later in life.

Well, I'm sure he never would have criticized Henry to any outsider, but it's true that he had a bit of older brother syndrome and presumed to make some comments in private letters wondering why Henry couldn't just write a straightforward romance of the type he enjoyed by, say, Robert Louis Stevenson. And it's true that Henry had the patience of a saint in letting these ill-advised judgments roll off his back. Their relationship was very close, despite being separated by an ocean for many years, and there are some touching moments. Henry was always a favorite uncle of William's offspring. On William's deathbed be made his wife promise that she wouldn't let Henry die alone when his time came (a promise that she kept).

o. nate, Sunday, 5 May 2024 20:25 (two weeks ago) link

watched Shardlake, thought I'd trt the first CJ Samson book from which it's been adapted, Dissolution. Crap tv, crap book tbh. It's hard to blame Samson for not being as good as Mantel, but it's also hard not to compare. Oddly, one of the problems is shared by both the adaptation and the novel, which is Shardlake himself. In the TV series, it's seeing his bloody face pull the same expression a thousand times an episode, and in the novel it's a related invariability in his mode and pose. Shardlake is in fact persistently and tediously moralistic and somewhat stupid, something he himself recognises. In addition, the who in the dunnit is immediately obvious, and the whole has a flavour of 'modern police procedural transplanted to the 15th century'.

Martin McInnes - In Ascension. Fine. It was fine. It's oddly lopsided in its construction, as McInnes gets the various things he needs to get into place into place. The thematic emphasis is a bit bosky. It's almost all worth it though for the fantastic central sequence of the space journey itself, which has a mesmerising ambience and has been thought through in detail. I felt totally immersed for the entirety of this section. For those who've read it, or those who aren't going to read it, or those who don't mind admittedly rather abstract spoilers: The figure of eight temporal/evolutionary bootstrapping felt a little trite to be honest: things like Dark and 1899 never quite work for me on that basis - these things need to leak in some way to avoid being alienating imo.

Fizzles, Tuesday, 7 May 2024 19:08 (one week ago) link

Well, I'm sure he never would have criticized Henry to any outsider, but it's true that he had a bit of older brother syndrome and presumed to make some comments in private letters wondering why Henry couldn't just write a straightforward romance of the type he enjoyed by, say, Robert Louis Stevenson. And it's true that Henry had the patience of a saint in letting these ill-advised judgments roll off his back. Their relationship was very close, despite being separated by an ocean for many years, and there are some touching moments. Henry was always a favorite uncle of William's offspring. On William's deathbed be made his wife promise that she wouldn't let Henry die alone when his time came (a promise that she kept).

Well put. There's a lovely photo of Henry 'n' William from the final years.


the talented mr pimply (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 7 May 2024 19:31 (one week ago) link

Ernesto Sabato - On Heroes and Tombs

xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 8 May 2024 17:20 (one week ago) link

After finishing Cotton Comes to Harlem my overall impression is that Himes was excellent at creating an atmosphere grounded in Black culture, but juiced up considerably in terms of criminality and sexuality. He writes action sequences well. He isn't afraid of being silly or outlandish as long as he's being entertaining. It's pulpy, but he's having some fun with it.

I'm probably going to start next on The Adventures of Simplicius Simplicissimus, Hans J.C. von Grimmelshausen. The author was a soldier in the Thirty Years War, which provides the setting. It's considered a classic in the literature of war, graphically depicting war's violence, its irrationality, and its cruelty, but also the black humor it inspires. My edition is from 2018, with a new translation by J.A. Underwood.

more difficult than I look (Aimless), Wednesday, 8 May 2024 18:13 (one week ago) link

I enjoyed the von Grimmelshausen. Came across it in the local library in the 80s think I got part way through it and then wound up finishing it 20 years later as a college University book but could be remembering that wrong.
Anyway, yeah pretty grotesque satire on philosophy and things.

Do like Chester Himes too.

Stevo, Wednesday, 8 May 2024 18:21 (one week ago) link

Reading Pride and Prejudice. I’ll go ahead and say that I had absolutely zero appetite for this sort of thing when I was in school. But having “lived” more, met more people, “grown”, etc, I’m super riveted. Lizzy rules so hard. This is a real all timer, isn’t it?

I think that reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell last year helped warm me up to it or something, I can imagine characters in each showing up in both, especially the haughty arrogant ones.

brimstead, Wednesday, 8 May 2024 18:26 (one week ago) link

I'm still reading that insane book about Columbus's kid and its truly blowing my mind. I guess I never really knew anything about Christopher Columbus. I'm only up to the part where he goes on his 4th trip to the new world and he takes his 12 year old kid with him and 5,000 gallons of wine and the batshit insane book that he wrote about the prophecy of the islands and the second coming and they won't let him on the island he discovered so he has to sit out a hurricane in the ocean on his boat. and right before he got there 24 ships left for Spain and 23 of them get wrecked in the hurricane except for the one carrying Columbus's gold! Prophecy! I can't believe this shit is real...

anyway, i took the day off because my allergies were so damn bad and i've been listening to music and thinking of things I want to write about and I picked up my copy of Conversations by Steve Reich and its him having pandemic conversations with his friends and a lot of it is a victory lap were Steve says *wasn't it cool that time i did that one thing* and everyone is like *OMG Steve that was so awesome and it changed my life* and i haven't stopped reading it for hours. I can't stop. I do speed up and slow down my reading somewhat imperceptibly and keep time with a maraca as i go.

but there is a ton of food for thought too and that thing he did that one time WAS really cool and it totally CAN change your life. #itsgonnarain4ever

scott seward, Wednesday, 8 May 2024 19:29 (one week ago) link

Chronicle of the Guayaki Indians by Pierre Clastres translated by Paul Auster
anthropologist in Paraguay in the early 60s meets a tribe of previously forest dwelling indigenous who have just moved to the land managed by a farmer. Very interesting study.

The Production of Space Henri Lefebvre
French philosopher looks at the meaning of space. Seems interesting, maybe a bit abstract.

Brothas Be, Yo Like George, Ain't That Funkin' Kinda Hard On You?: A Memoir George Clinton
pretty good memoir by the PFunk innovator. Been interesting reading the story behind his main bands. I'm now in the late 80s/early 90s with him so coming towards the end of the book and with music a little less familiar to me. Still pretty interesting. Drugs have had a lot of influence including some negativity. He's also had some financial troubles. But he's surviving and still making creative music. Also helped Sly Stone out. This has been a good read. I want to read Sly's book too.

Stevo, Wednesday, 8 May 2024 20:56 (one week ago) link

Reading Pride and Prejudice. I’ll go ahead and say that I had absolutely zero appetite for this sort of thing when I was in school. But having “lived” more, met more people, “grown”, etc, I’m super riveted. Lizzy rules so hard. This is a real all timer, isn’t it?

yes! and a similar journey for me on Austen. i was v scornful at school, and it was only later, possibly even beyond university, i realised she was a great author - that there was considerable stylistic innovation which was intrinsic to the depiction of manners, the development of psychological insight and in general just the fun to be had and humour to be found in the books.

Fizzles, Thursday, 9 May 2024 12:15 (one week ago) link

Onto The Age of Extremes. One thing that rules about this is… Hobshawn has this super compelling professor-ly way of writing about history where he is inviting you to speculate and think about why certain things were so before “explaining”, but he does in such a graceful way that isn’t explicitly didactic, it’s just the magic of a really great writer stimulating lots of thought in the reader.

brimstead, Sunday, 12 May 2024 15:51 (one week ago) link

Hobsbawm. Hobshawn is my sock account

brimstead, Sunday, 12 May 2024 15:53 (one week ago) link

Want to read that, thanks!
Lois McMaster Bujold is Jane Austen in Space (Opera), judging by (many comments online and) my gateway, Memory, in which son of regal legends and personal oddball-career-juggling space navy officer/mercenary Miles V. is summoned to home world for social ceremonial reasons, witty intrigue thereby also into security biz office politics, Le Carre-worthy, and unexpected police procedural thereby, also trip way out of town--references to What Has Gone Before brief,clear, and only mentioned when necessary for context. A banger, though need to read Miles back in Space per se for more flash and action out there (though this incl. a tantalizing taste).

dow, Sunday, 12 May 2024 20:12 (one week ago) link

Just finished A Month In The Country which was recommended by an ilxor. It was just great.

default damager (lukas), Monday, 13 May 2024 00:52 (six days ago) link

i love that book.

scott seward, Monday, 13 May 2024 01:37 (six days ago) link

Finished The Magic Mountain, and Living by Henry Green. Living is much bleaker than Loving, though it does perhaps end on an ambiguous, if not fully optimistic, note. Set in a factory in Birmingham it's almost like a case study in how not to run a business, if it is truly based on his own experience then it doesn't speak well of the state of the british manufacturing industry in the mid 20th century.

Started on Mother and Son by Ivy Compton-Burnett. It has a technique quite similar to Green, the dialogue is generally unleavened with adverbs or descriptions of the speaker's thoughts or attitude. Unlike Green it's almost all dialogue, there's very little description of anything else, which makes it even tougher going. And the 'did they really speak like this back then?' energy is off the charts:

I have not the least objection to the office. Such sensitiveness would rather deserve the name of self-consciousness. And I shall be supported by the thought of their reception.

This from someone being asked to carry some grapes back for his wife.

For a short book it takes a long time for the drama to kick in, when it does it's hard to know how to take it or how much irony is present, it could be deeply serious or high farce (when a character is not once but twice found unintentionally eavesdropping on the reveal of major family secrets I start to strongly suspect the latter).

ledge, Monday, 13 May 2024 09:14 (six days ago) link

Ivy has been such an inspiration to me. I considered getting an IC-B tattoo in the past. just her name. though maybe a drawing of her iconic hair-hat would be cool.

we've been talking about her for 20 years on here too a la henry green! the G.O.A.T.s never die.

scott seward, Monday, 13 May 2024 12:44 (six days ago) link

Melmoth the Wanderer, by Charles Maturin. Heavy on atmosphere and verbiage. Not sure I'm going to stick with it, but there is something about the story that keeps me going. Plus, I like the title.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Monday, 13 May 2024 16:45 (six days ago) link

that sounds like some kind of pulp fiction but there are two different penguin editions, an oxford world classics and a folio society version

koogs, Monday, 13 May 2024 16:52 (six days ago) link

I think it's usually considered a typical example of Gothic fiction.

immodesty blaise (jimbeaux), Monday, 13 May 2024 16:53 (six days ago) link

Samuel Beckett - Wat

the talented mr pimply (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 13 May 2024 16:53 (six days ago) link

Watt, that is

the talented mr pimply (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 13 May 2024 16:53 (six days ago) link

watever you say

scott seward, Monday, 13 May 2024 17:10 (six days ago) link

Wat is it good for

Ward Fowler, Monday, 13 May 2024 18:59 (six days ago) link

parker young - cheap therapist says you're insane

book of endearing funny and short short stories

flopson, Monday, 13 May 2024 22:52 (six days ago) link

xxxxpost Henry Yorke/Green dropped out of Oxford and started as a trainee on the foundry floor of Pontifex & Sons, under his company director-father's eye, while the alternate Henry/Bertie Woosterish heir's father died and son went directly to captain's cabin, without much understanding of how the workers and the overall biz worked. Thinks all the older guys will do fine when laid off, because pension, but the author knows that the workers don't think it's enough to live on. (He prob also knew, like a lot of people did, that World War I had decimated the younger work force, although I don't think he bothers to mention it, maybe seems obvious to his contemporary readers.)
Pontifex lasted another thirty-odd years, might have held on until the very belated post-WWII British economic lift of the 60s, if Henry hadn't gotten so far into his cups, dunno.

dow, Tuesday, 14 May 2024 01:03 (five days ago) link

in the book it's less like a business more like a school playground, with cliques, rivalries, bullies, apparently no oversight or strategy or evaluation.

ledge, Tuesday, 14 May 2024 07:14 (five days ago) link

I have read a few books and chaps recently, but today arrived Diane Williams' Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, which was featured on Dennis Cooper's blog last week. Two stories in and I am hooked— can't believe I've never read her before.

butt dumb tight my boners got boners (the table is the table), Tuesday, 14 May 2024 20:55 (five days ago) link

she's awesome. her collected stories was one of the books that made my pandemic more livable.

scott seward, Wednesday, 15 May 2024 00:58 (four days ago) link

oooh thanks for the rec

the talented mr pimply (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 15 May 2024 04:28 (four days ago) link

Obviously GoodReads isn't a good marker for *anything* but I still tend to use it as a database and for logging recommendations: *Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine* has an absurdly low rating on there - to the point where it seems almost pointed or targeted. What's that about?

I would prefer not to. (Chinaski), Wednesday, 15 May 2024 11:34 (four days ago) link

After "Pragmatism" by William James, I read its wilder, woollier and more metaphysical sequel, "A Pluralistic Universe", in which James endorses panpsychism and a strong form of the Gaia hypothesis. Now I'm reading (for the first time) "An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding" by David Hume, a work which James frequently refers to and argues with.

o. nate, Friday, 17 May 2024 20:59 (two days ago) link

...Diane Williams' Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, which was featured on Dennis Cooper's blog last week. Two stories in and I am hooked— can't believe I've never read her before.

― butt dumb tight my boners got boners (the table is the table), Tuesday, May 14, 2024

She does sound interesting.

Dan S, Friday, 17 May 2024 23:42 (two days ago) link

I haven't thought about Dennis Cooper in years. I think I've blocked him out

Closer (1989), Frisk (1991), Try (1994), Guide (1997), Period (2000)…

I read those books and am still haunted by them. They are supposed to celebrate the beauty of the pain and suffering of gay men but are really degrading and sadistic. I just can’t get on board with that kind of transgressive writing

Dan S, Friday, 17 May 2024 23:43 (two days ago) link

xxxpost William could be as adventurous as Henry in his own way----here's young William on the Thayer expedition to the Amazon,several levels discussed: https://journals.openedition.org/transatlantica/19208 (also got on well with his student Gertrude Stein)

dow, Friday, 17 May 2024 23:47 (two days ago) link

A book mentioned in there, which I'd like to read:

Brazil through the Eyes of William James
Letters, Diaries, and Drawings, 1865–1866, Bilingual Edition/Edição Bilíngue

William James

Edited by Maria Helena P. T. Machado
Translated by John M. Monteiro

Publication date: 11/15/2006

In 1865, twenty-three-year-old William James began his studies at the Harvard Medical School. When he learned that one of his most esteemed professors, Louis Agassiz, then director of the recently established Museum of Comparative Zoology, was preparing a research expedition to Brazil, James offered his services as a voluntary collector. Over the course of a year, James kept a diary, wrote letters to his family, and sketched the plants, animals, and people he observed. During this journey, James spent time primarily in Rio de Janeiro, Belem, and Manaus, and along the rivers and tributaries of the Amazon Basin.

This volume is a critical, bilingual (English–Portuguese) edition of William James’s diaries and letters and also includes reproductions of his drawings. This original material belongs to the Houghton Archives at Harvard University and is of great interest to both William James scholars and Brazilian studies experts.
View More
Brazil through the Eyes of William James comes complete with a full Portuguese text. James’s revealing narrative, his surprisingly witty and whimsical drawings, Professor Machado’s introduction, excellent notes, and overall high-quality book-crafting make this a model volume of great interest.

—Peter Skinner, ForeWord


dow, Friday, 17 May 2024 23:53 (two days ago) link

from xpost "William James and the Deepest South"

That James decided in Brazil in favor of a philosophical life is one of the commonest themes among the American philosopher’s commentators and biographers. According to Ralph Barton Perry, the letters sent from Brazil by James date back to a period of time between his early medical studies and the beginning of his actual philosophical career (74). Jean Wahl states that it is in Brazil that James discovered his inclination to the philosophical understanding of the world in contrast with simple collection of samples and natural species (30). For Robert Richardson (2006), the expedition to the Amazon region was a crucial experience, on the one hand bearing the negative mark of his refusal to be a naturalist and, on the other, bequeathing his passion for detail and special facts.

...As we will see in the last part of this article, James started leaning towards a pluralistic thinking, when confronted with the struggles waged in the “Deepest South.” The transformation stemmed from three efforts, expended with considerable clarity, despite the author’s young age, namely: (i) an effort to observe reality without following established premises, allowing himself to be transformed by new experiences; (ii) an effort to be open to difference and to contact with new cultures, rejecting Agassiz’s racial theories; (iii) an effort towards a non-dogmatic reception of evolutionism, avoiding a new scientific determinism.


dow, Saturday, 18 May 2024 00:08 (yesterday) link

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds Charles Mackay
Finally getting around to reading this. Not sure how long I've had this copy and think its probably not my first one. & book itself is mid 19th century. But is fascinating now I've started it.
First 2 chapters are on mismanaged fads that happened at the same time in France and the UK respectively. First one I need to look at further cos I think it was later applied managed more rigidly. & mismanagement through novelty, misunderstanding and greed seems to have caused it to sink. Fiat money relies on the fiat dunnit?
Anyway interesting book,

Edward Said The politics of dispossession : the struggle for Palestinian Self-Determination 1969-1994
A selection of shorter pieces by the Palestinian writer. Very interesting, this got back burnered for a few other books a couple of months ago, but now I'm getting into it I want to read all of it. Really need to read Orientalism too. May have sped through it 20 years ago.

The bad trip : dark stars, blown minds and the strange end of the sixties James Riley ,
Dystopian look at the end of the sixties and the destruction of the hippy dream. From what I am aware hippies lingered on for years afterwards and some of what they were doing was in some way positive. But this looks at the darkness.

Stevo, Saturday, 18 May 2024 10:08 (yesterday) link

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