Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cultural differences ...

... Female Invisibility Bingo. (Hat tip, Lee Lowe.)

Happy ending ...

... I can't believe I saw the final chapter of the V S Naipaul vs Paul Theroux feud – Telegraph Blogs. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Sporadic blogging ...

Holiday obligatiosn kept me from blogging as much as usual over the weekend, and this afternoon I have to head out to St. Joe's to visit a class this evening. So I won't be posting again for a bit.

Good with kids ...

... Book Review: I Feel So Good - WSJ.com. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Contentious chapter ...

... Sticking the Landing | Mark Athitakis’ American Fiction Notes.

Gratitude ...

... Poet Fatima Frutos honors her grandmother and Irena Sendler with her prize | The Book Haven.

My latest column ...

... Saying “thank you” not as easy as it sounds.

Online now ...

... The latest issue - The Fox Chase Review.

Well. it beats the opposite ...

... PowellsBooks.Blog - Review-a-Day - The Importance of Being Conscious - Powell's Books. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Robinson attributes "the sense of emptiness in the modern world" not to the decline of faith, nor to the advance of science -- she considers both religion and science to be poorly represented by the so-called modern debate between them -- but to "the exclusion of the felt life of the mind from the accounts of reality proposed by the oddly authoritative and deeply influential parascientific literature… and from the varieties of thought and art that reflect the influence of these accounts."

Thought for the day ...

There is no week nor day nor hour when tyranny may not enter upon this country, if the people lose their roughness and spirit of defiance.
- Walt Whitman, born on this date in 1819

Sunday, May 29, 2011

In memoriam ...

... Gil Scott-Heron, my brave and brilliant friend | Music | The Observer. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Unprecedented acknowledgment ...

... 'Mañana Forever?' by Jorge G. Castañeda. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Intentions ...

... Some Scandinavian books I am looking forward to reading | Petrona.

Today's Inquirer reviews ...

... Books - philly.com.

Indeed

... Paul Davis On Crime: Happy Birthday To Ian Fleming.

Also gems ...

... Issa's Untidy Hut: Russell Libby: Moments.

FYI ...

... 20011: Two for the jargon file.

Inimitable ...

... THE LONELY VOICE #11: Eudora Welty, Total Bad Ass - The Rumpus.net. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

For the day ...

... Memorial Day - Speak Without Interruption.

The march of time ...

... Are we “outsourcing our brains to the cloud?” asks Bill Keller. | The Book Haven. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

"OK, Frank. Call me grumpy," Cynthia says. Not at all. I think the problem is real, at least potentially. I just think we may be making too much of it. I have noticed, now that I have returned to work, that my memory is sharper for some reason. I think may be we just have to make some time to do things the old-fashioned way, things like memorizing poems. The way we still make bread, though we can buy it at the store.

Thought for the day ...

Literature is a luxury; fiction is a necessity.
- G. K. Chesterton, born on this date on 1874

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Who knew?

... Paul Davis On Crime: Golf Stories Link P.G. Wodehouse, Ian Fleming And John Updike.

Haphazard non-linear dash ...

... Review: The Possessed by Elif Batuman – plus, win a copy � The Dabbler. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

OK, I know ...

... it's like pictures of your grandkids. Anyway, what follows is Debbie's granddaughter's first poem ever. So it's not really about me. I also think it's rather good. Reilly, by the way, is 6.

Reilly McCaffrey

Cats

Cats purr

Cats meow

Cats play

Cats climb

Also, they

scratch.

Something beautiful ...

King's English ...

... Martin Amis: My father's English language | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Light and color ...

... Zealotry of Guerin: Still Life With Compotier (Cezanne).

Thought for the day ...

The search is what anyone would undertake if he were not sunk in the everydayness of his own life. To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.
- Walker Percy, born on this date in 1916



Friday, May 27, 2011

Reviving Chautauqua ...

... Postrel: Oprah, American Girls and Other Binge Dreamers - Bloomberg. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Intrinsic value ...

... and more: Interview: Geoffrey Hill, Oxford Professor of Poetry| The Oxford Student. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

There is a largely unknown order of human beings who believe in that impossible thing: intrinsic value. One must work as if intrinsic value were a reality, even though I myself know no way of demonstrating its real existence.

Triple play ...

... Of Brevity, My Dog, and Me: BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Grim and intricate realism ...

... LRB: Michael Wood - I really mean like. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Auden’s readings are predicated on a grim and intricate realism about the way he thinks things are. ‘In the real world, no hatred is totally without justification, no love totally innocent.’ Or: ‘The historical world is a fallen world, i.e. though it is good that it exists, the way in which it exists is evil, being full of unfreedom and disorder.’ Even the Christian God is in trouble, because he has created ‘a world which he continues to love although it refuses to love him in return’.

Choice selection ...

... Paul Davis On Crime: Top Ten Moments From Ian Fleming's James Bond Novels.

Thought for the day ...

Experience is a dim lamp, which only lights the one who bears it.
- Louis-Ferdinard Céline, born on this date in 1894


Thursday, May 26, 2011

I am weary ...

... too muc work, too long a day. Blogging will resume tomorrow.

Sounds like fub ...

... Hay Festival 2011: The Telegraph's top picks of the day, on Friday 27 May - Telegraph.

In case you were wondering ...

... Where to Start Your Memoir: Richard Hoffman BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Thomistic esse ...

... Why people don’t “get” Czesłosz Miłosz | The Book Haven.

This week's batch ...

... of TLS Letters: Ted Hughes’s archive, In translation, Future pain, and more!

Not Harvey the rabbit ...

... Peter Stothard - Times Online - WBLG: My smallpox friend remembered.

Congratulations ...

... Banville awarded Kafka Prize - The Irish Times - Thu, May 26, 2011. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I keep thinking that the perfect Kafka Prize would be one that you could be awarded, but was bestowed at a location you could never quite arrive at.

Tonight ...

... May 26, 2011 - Home - Literary Death Match.

Close reading ...

... Reading the Short Story: Charles Baxter's "The Cousins": Puzzle the Prof Contest--Short Story Month 20011. (Hat tip, Lee Lowe.)

Enter now ...

... PowerLinePrize.com.

Has nothing to do with books, but it's a nice bit of cash, and something worth thinking about.

Thought for the day ...

If you but knew the flames that burn in me which I attempt to beat down with my reason.
- Alexander Pushkin, born on this date in 1799

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Admission is free ...

... Programs - Triple Canopy.

What or whom ...

... are we talking about? Without belief in moral truths, how can we care about climate change? | Mark Vernon | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk. (Hat tip, Dave Lull,)

I'm sorry. The phrase "climate change" is redundant, sort of like "tide movement." Climate is a chaotic system. Change is what it is. To stop such change is up there with King Canute ordering the tide to stop coming in. But Canute at least knew that was nonsense. And forget global watming. Even Phil Jones admits there hasn't been any since 1997.


The Em Dash

An interesting - and clever - piece about our use of the dash...

Something to think about ...

... The Millions : The Perils of Reading Pregnant.

Nuance ...

... First Known When Lost: "The Poetry Of Almost Infinitely-Qualified States Of Mind": Philip Larkin And Edward Thomas.

Take a break ...

... Issa's Untidy Hut: Wednesday Haiku, Week #18: William Sorlien.

I'm a day late with this ...

... Anecdotal Evidence: `Birds Don't Fly Through My Skylight Nowadays'.

Together at last ...

... Benchley and Ecclesiastes: Ivebeenreadinglately: "They are simply dull, solid, one-hundred percent Americans, who have never been in a night club in their lives," or, New York and "the Real America".

When dissent is so much more ...

... than bien-pensant posturing: Thought Leader � Jaco Barnard-Naude � Exiling the poets. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

And costs a great deal.

Reprises ...

... Paul Davis On Crime: The Classic Thrillers Of Len Deighton And Alistair MacLean To Be Reprinted.

Ah, Lou ...

Thought for the day ...

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, born on this date in 1803



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In our prayers ...

... Little Epic Against Oblivion: Greenville, Tusculoosa, Reading, Joplin.

Not such a bad guy ...

... once you get to know him: Book Notes | Books and Culture.

In case you wondered ...

... How to Choose '25 Books That Shaped America' - Eleanor Barkhorn - Entertainment - The Atlantic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Splendor deficit disorder...

... zmkc: Something Missing.

Better than nothing ...

... perhaps: Bruce Charlton's Miscellany: Paganism (unlike Christianity) can be personal, individual.

Neo-paganism is an expression of nihilism - maybe emotionally pleasing, maybe able to relieve suffering - but nihilistic nonetheless.

FYI ...

... Random Thoughts on the Offer to Buy Barnes & Noble.

Taking time ...

... Author Tim Sandlin | James Russell Ament.

Take a look ...

... Dappled Things | Current Issue.

Sound and sense ...

... Kinds of Rhyme: “She Walks in Beauty,” “Dulce et Decorum Est,” “Base Details,” & “Blighters” � The Era of Casual Fridays.

Not without its perils ...

... HYPE | MY LIFE AND THOUGHTS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I found myself wondering why the Amazon reader reviews were, on average, less positive than the reviews in the press. My guess is that satisfied readers of a well-reviewed book are less likely than unsatisfied readers to post on Amazon. One group thinks to itself, “Why should I write a good review when the Times already did,” while the other thinks, “Aha, a venue to express my outrage at the Times for hyping this book.”

Decline ...

... Scarborough unfair | The Spectator. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

What one sees is a purely materialist society that is not even very good materialism, for it does not promote even those mental and moral disciplines that promote material success. A large proportion of the population has been left to the mercies of a popular culture whose main characteristic is the willing suspension of intelligence, and which does not merely fail to inculcate refinement, grace, elegance and the desire for improvement, but actively prevents them and causes them to be feared and despised. An inability and unwillingness to discriminate always leads, by default, to the overgrowth of the worst, from which the better can never recover.

More complaining ...

... The Twitter Trap - NYTimes.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Julian Barnes

There's no way around the fact that Julian Barnes is smart - very smart. He writes with a refreshing confidence, and line by line, colon by clever colon, I think his work really holds up.

This is especially true of Flaubert's Parrot, a novel which I've meant to read for several years, but which I only finished recently. I think the critics are right to compare this book with those of Nabokov and Calvino: for me, it read part Pale Fire, part Winter's Traveler. This is a novel that dares to have a little fun: it's a sort of self-conscious (often irreverent) meditation on our love of art - and of writers.

I know I'm a little late to this one, but really, Flaubert's Parrot is a great read, if only because it asks us to take ourselves, as critics, just a little less seriously. I applaud you, Julian Barnes, for putting it all out there: "Is the great writer responsible for his disciplines?" you ask. "Who chooses whom? If they call you Master, can you afford to despise their work? On the other hand, are they sincere in their praise?" (1990 ed., 159)

FYI ...

... New Poem at Philly.com � dianesahmsguarnieri.

Better late ...

... Getting Lt. Schwenk's Story Right, 112 Years Later - NYTimes.com.

Thought for the day ...

Basically you have to suppress your own ambitions in order to be who you need to be.
- Bob Dylan, born on this date in1941

Click it on, folks.

Timsah.com
İzleyin:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Shorter is harder ...

... and better: Keep the Briefs Brief, Literary Justices Advise - NYTimes.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The poetry of Bigfoot ...

... The Silence of Sasquatch: Toeing the Dark Divide.

We are all writers!

... National Book Critics Circle: Carsten Jensen on the Critic and the Internet - Critical Mass Blog. (Hat tip, Lee Lowe.)

But haven't we been here before? Church and state were discombobulated when the printing press mad publishing possible for many more than was the case earlier. And we will still be able to differentiate between good writers and those not so so good, those who have something to day and those who don't. Yes, a change has taken place, and the change will continue. Why are we afraid? Are we afraid?

He's got a point there ...

... Lincoln Hunter Writer's Ramble: Quote of the Day.

Well, people ought to understand that voting is privilege, not a convenience.

Not-so-great compromiser ...

... Book review: Millard Fillmore - WSJ.com.

A nice slogan ...

... Anecdotal Evidence: `Other Such Obsolete Stuff'.

Favorites and more ...

... A Commonplace Blog: The books we never abandon.

Good idea ...

... Syrian Poet Adonis Calls for Separation of State and Religion: 'Religious Ideology Negates Democracy'. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Cynthia in Poland ...

... just keep scrolling: The Book HavenLife in wartime Warsaw … not quite what you thought.

From Granta ...

... (Hat tip, Rus Bowden).

Aftermath from Granta magazine on Vimeo.

Reading and writing ...

... Umberto Eco: 'I'm a writer not a reader' | Books | The Guardian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Oops ...

... Social Media Use Drastically Reduces Work Productivity | Shelly Palmer Digital Living.

Thought for the day ...

The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.
- Henrik Ibsen, who died on this date in 1906



Sunday, May 22, 2011

Most interesting ...

... Camus on St. Augustine -pt 1. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

"[Sartre is] not interesting. He's not to be compared with Albert Camus; HE was a thinker!" Eric Voegelin "In Search of the Ground" CW
Well, that is certainly true. This piece also makes me wonder if it isn't true that, had he lived, Camus would have become Christian. I had always thought that a dubious proposition, but now I'm not so sure.

Mark thy calendar ...

... Philadelphia Comic Con: Wizard Conventions, Comic Convention, Wizard World Philly, Wizard World Tour, Wizard World, Pennsylvania Convention.

List and prophecy ...

... CWA International Dagger shortlist 2011and predicted winner | Petrona.

Creative philandering ...

... Tobacco Road (Modern Library #91).

Not as we thought ...

... The Birth of Religion.

At first the Neolithic Revolution was viewed as a single event—a sudden flash of genius—that occurred in a single location, Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in what is now southern Iraq, then spread to India, Europe, and beyond. Most archaeologists believed this sudden blossoming of civilization was driven largely by environmental changes: a gradual warming as the Ice Age ended that allowed some people to begin cultivating plants and herding animals in abundance. The new research suggests that the "revolution" was actually carried out by many hands across a huge area and over thousands of years. And it may have been driven not by the environment but by something else entirely. ... Göbekli Tepe may be ... the beginning of a pattern. What it suggests, at least to the archaeologists working there, is that the human sense of the sacred—and the human love of a good spectacle—may have given rise to civilization itself.


Good for them ...

... Nigeness: They're Back!

See also: The Sammies!

Quite a roundup ...

... Philosophy, lit, etc.: Reviews, anniversaries & re-issues.

Problems of disposal ...

... Marginalia, no.203 | The New Psalmanazar.

Literary conversation ...

... Secret Dead Blog: The Secret Dead Blog Q&A: Dave White.

Culling books ...

... Quid plura? | “Cover my eyes and ears, ’til it all disappears…”

Traveling ...

... From ocean to ocean, forever.

Sounds good to me ...

... Amazonian tribe has no calendar and no concept of time - Telegraph.

"For these fortunate people time isn't money, they aren't racing against the clock to complete anything, and nobody is discussing next week or next year; they don't even have words for 'week', 'month' or 'year'.

Hmm ...

... The Millions : The Stockholm Syndrome Theory of Long Novels.

Long novels that I've enjoyed -- say, John Cowper Powys's Owen Glendower -- I enjoyed in part because they created a world I enjoyed visiting for an extended stay, and I felt sad leaving that world when I came to the end.

Specialty: denial ...

... Alan Jacobs: A Bachelor's Degree in Atheism - WSJ.com. (Hat ti[, Dave Lull.)

Mordant strangeness ..

... Ordinary People | Mark Athitakis’ American Fiction Notes.

Highway to where?

... Book Review: The Filter Bubble - WSJ.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Today's Inquirer reviews ...

... Books - philly.com.

Thought for the day ...

When the soul drifts uncertainly between life and the dream, between the mind's disorder and the return to cool reflection, it is in religious thought that we should seek consolation.
- Gerard de Nerval, born on this date in 1808


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Something beautiful ...

... to listen to.


Big bucks books ...

... There's a market for high-end, luxury books | Philadelphia Inquirer | 05/15/2011.

About time ...

... Instapundit � Blog Archive � DR. WEEVIL CRACKS DOWN on metaphor abuse.

Happy anniversary ...

... Paul Davis On Crime: Interview With Frederick Forsyth On The 40th Anniversary of The Classic Thriller, The Day Of The Jackal.

Spheres of gossamer ...

... Anecdotal Evidence: `Each Year I Find Something New'.

Experiment in publishing ...

... Book Review: With a Little Help - WSJ.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Encounter ...

... May 21: The Rapture Meets My 40th Birthday | The Awl. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Transparency ...

... Charges Against the N.S.A.’s Thomas Drake : The New Yorker.

... the Obama Administration has pursued leak prosecutions with a surprising relentlessness. Including the Drake case, it has been using the Espionage Act to press criminal charges in five alleged instances of national-security leaks—more such prosecutions than have occurred in all previous Administrations combined. The Drake case is one of two that Obama’s Justice Department has carried over from the Bush years.
Gabriel Schoenfeld, a conservative political scientist at the Hudson Institute, who, in his book “Necessary Secrets” (2010), argues for more stringent protection of classified information, says, “Ironically, Obama has presided over the most draconian crackdown on leaks in our history—even more so than Nixon.”




In case you wondered ...

... Five Ways Lady Gaga is Not a Librarian � Annoyed Librarian. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Reports to the contrary notwithstanding ...

... Print isn’t dead, says Bowker’s Annual Book Production Report. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

RIP ...

... Nebraska loses state poet Bill Kloefkorn. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Online now ...

... Wizard World Digital Magazine - New Issue.

Suspended light ...

... Zealotry of Guerin: Melancholy And Mystery Of A Street (de Chirico).
A work of art that contains theories is like an object on which the price tag has been left.
- Alexander Pope, born on this date in 1688


Friday, May 20, 2011

And the winners are

... 2011 Independent Publisher Book Awards Results Announcement.

Obligations ...

... Anecdotal Evidence: `New Variations on Ancestral Glories'.

Addressed to whom?

... The Dark Mystery Of Emily Dickinson’s “Master” Letters - The Rumpus.net. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Festival of life ...

... A meeting of minds for James Boswell and Samuel Johnson - Telegraph. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Diagnosis ...

... National Book Critics Circle: Cynthia Ozick on the State of Literary Criticism Today - Critical Mass Blog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Once upon a time, though, there were no reviewers. Nobody reviewed The Canterbury Tales. There were no newspapers then, either. Reviews came about when a platform for them came about. So things are changing. So what?

Utterly absorbing ...

... When Falls the Coliseum � Lisa reads: Graveminder by Melissa Marr.

Sharing ...

The other night I gave a reading at the Bolingbroke Mansion in Radnor. It was a very pleasant experience. The fellow who invited me, Noah Cutler, read some of his work as well, and I was rather taken with the first poem he read because of how well the rhymes worked. He had graciously allowed me to post it here.

A Commanders Lamentation

By: Noah D. Cutler ©

High of spirit, movements deft,

The tools of death they learned to heft;

So many gone, and too few left.


War’s a monster that men must feed,

Into the breach to fill the need,

To stand and fight, to sweat and bleed.


The scars of war, a silent token

In places where no words are spoken

Of innocence lost and promises broken.


I’ve paced all night, while others slept.

I’ve asked forgiveness, prayed and wept,

For lives left broken and promises kept.

Thought for the day ...

A man is a poor creature compared to a woman.
- Honoré de Balzac, born on this date in 1799



Thursday, May 19, 2011

Roth, continued ...

... Philip Roth: don't be 'numb to fiction' - Telegraph. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Notice ...

... an old friend has died and "I feel chilly and grown old." Blogging will resume later.

This week's batch ...

... TLS Letters: Hannibal, Turkey, Vampires, and more!

Larded plot ...

... A Momentary Taste of Being: Edge--Thomas Blackthorne.

Sounds scary ...

... Behind the Brevity Essay: Creative Writing for Suicidal Teens � BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Romantic ferry ...

... The Liner | Books and Culture.

Born to represent ...

... THE ROSE by Jennifer Potter reviewed by Helen Castor - TLS.

Not finished yet ...

... A Solitary Thinker - The Chronicle Review - The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Thought for the day ...

Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. Follow some other object, and very possibly we may find that we have caught happiness without dreaming of it.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne, who died on this date in 1864

Kit and Cat ...

... Underbelly: Larry reminds me of Kit Smart (and his Cat, Jeoffry). (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

OK, I confess ...

... I' m with Maxine on this. I am not a Philip Roth fan.

Last week's batch ...

... of TLS Letters: E. M. Forster, always working, Señor Frase, hyphens/dashes, and more!

I missed this last week because Blogger was down.

Stoutly, too ...

... A Commonplace Blog: Defending Philip Roth. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Unobtrusive generosity ...

... Underbelly: Wain and Macaulay on the Scribbler's Life. (Hat tip, Dav Lull.)

Remembering being remembered ...

... Eat, Pray, Love The Irony � BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Offbeat choice ...

... Book Blog - Likely Stories, from Booklist Online � Blog Archive � Duane Swierczynski Touts a Surprising, Cosmic Noir. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Fiction and autobiography ...

... From the Life � Georgy Riecke.

Night-time hermit ...

... May 6, 2011 ~ Brother Paul | Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly | PBS. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

The higher drivel ...

... DSK: Liberation’s ‘Philosophical Hero’ - By Anthony Daniels. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Psst ...

... Paul Davis On Crime: A History of Spies, Traitors & Saboteurs On Display At The National Constitution Center In Philadelphia.

Mark thy calendar ...

... May 26,�2011 - Home - Literary Death Match. (Hat tip, Paul Siegell.)

Adjustment ...

... Principles That Don't Change by Harvey Mansfield - City Journal. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Confidence in progress has now been replaced by postulation of change. Progress is achieved and can be welcomed, but change just happens and must be adjusted to. “Adjusting to change” is now the unofficial motto of Harvard, mutabilitas instead of veritas. To adjust, the new Harvard must avoid adherence to any principle that does not change, even liberal principle. Yet in fact it has three principles: diversity, choice, and equality. To respect change, diversity must serve to overcome stereotypes, though stereotypes are necessary to diversity. How else is a Midwesterner diverse if he is not a hayseed? And diversity of opinion cannot be tolerated when it might hinder change.

Thought for the day ...

Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
- Omar Khayyam, born on this date in 1048

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Memorials ...

... Anecdotal Evidence: `O My Brother, You Have Been Well Taken'.

Annoying the purists ...

... Dragoncave: The Practicalities of Critique & Criticism 7: The Right Sandbox.

That's for sure ...

... Too much heat, not enough light in the creationism war | Mark Vernon | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Much in what he says ...

... or doesn't: zmkc: Words and Phrases - Wise Advice.

History lesson ..

... Instapundit � Blog Archive � GROVER CLEVELAND on financial policy.

FYI ...

... Reading and Writing | James Russell Ament.

Challenging tribal assumptions ...

... Converting Mamet | The Weekly Standard. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Mamet himself has never been a political playwright or a dramatist of ideas, being concerned with earthier themes—how it is, for example, that everyday conflicts compound into catastrophe. His plays were heavy with a tragic view of human interaction. They depicted, as he put it, people doing despicable things to each other, moved by greed or power lust or some nameless craving. Still, politically minded critics were pleased to divine a political intent: American Buffalo, set in a junk shop, orGlengarry Glen Ross, set in a real estate office, were allegories of the heartlessness of a country (ours) ruled by markets and capital. Their invariably unhappy or unresolved endings drove the point home. And the critics had a point. The world Mamet created was one-half of the leftist view of life, anyway: the Hobbesian jungle that Utopians would rescue us from, liberal idealism with the sunny side down.

Well worth a look...

... The Neglected Books Page � Blog Archive � Theodor Fontane.

In college I studied the German Novelle. Fontane, Stifter, Theodor Storm, and a good many more, are great writers.

Terminus ad quem ...

... HD in London: When Imagism arrived | Books | guardian.co.uk. (Hat tip, Rud Bowden.)

My latest column ...

... Plain and simple kindness is true and real.

FYI ...

... Bill Peschel: Pennwriters Conference before the storm.

Meta layers ...

... A Tragedy by Any Other Name... - WSJ.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Swing by ...

... The Book Haven“The Wolf Who Ate Books”: Michnik, Vendler, Hirshfield, and others remember Miłosz.

Keep scrolling. There's a lot to catch up on.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Who knew?

... Peter Stothard - Times Online - WBLG: Lara Croft and me.

For no particular reason, other than I just thought of what a great reading experience it was last summer, I thought I'd plug Peter's book, especially now that it's in paperback: On the Spartacus Road: A Spectacular Journey Through Ancient Italy.

In response ...

... No reviews at all, really | MY LIFE AND THOUGHTS. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The undoing of essences ...

... Anecdotal Evidence: `You Have to Have Some Basis in Being'.

Very interesting ...

... Poetry and the Common Language | Front Porch Republic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Undoubtedly, the overwhelming majority of material that is published under the label of poetry in our times evinces, by its practice, the conviction that poetic language is nothing other than the common language of the times. And it is precisely because this conviction is now so universal that it seems appropriate to note that no falser belief about the craft of poetry could possibly be made. Moreover, if that belief were not false, then the obvious consequence of a strict adherence to this dictum in our timewould be the total preclusion, for ourselves and our near progeny, of achieving anything worthwhile in the art of poetry.

My own view? Poetry is written in the language of the poem.

A public service announcement ...

... Blogmanship: How To Win Arguments On The Internet Without Really Knowing What You Are Talking About � The Dabbler. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

1986, here we come ...

... Review: Hey, Boo (2010).

On the road ...

... From Krakow: Zagajewski and other poets don yarmulkes for Temple Synagogue reading.

Climb aboard ...

... The New New Journalism Platforms � BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Maxine reviews ...

... Back of Beyond by C J Box | Petrona.

Analyzing incoherence ...

... A Commonplace Blog: The paradoxical politics of creative writing.

Spectral machines ...

... More Than Matter? by Keith Ward | Philosophy Now. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Ward inclines, then, to an idealism which gives priority to mind – what he calls ‘dual-aspect idealism’: minds are the inner aspect of an apparently-material person, living in an apparently-material world. “What the reality underlying those appearances may be in detail we do not know,” he continues. “But since minds are the only sorts of reality we know to belong to the world of things-in-themselves, it is reasonable to think that reality does not exist without mind and consciousness, evaluation and intention, understanding and action … Minds are not illusory ghosts in real machines. On the contrary, machines are spectral, transitory phenomena appearing to an intelligible world of minds.” This leads Ward to further reflections on issues such as whether the universe can be said to have purpose, the nature of what it is to be a person, and whether minds can exist in disembodied forms.

Mark thy calendar ...

... Lisella and Fagiani in Fox Chase May 22nd � fox chase reading series.

This week ...

... at Five Chapters: Ten Years In The Life Of A Wedding Registry.

Thought for the day ...

If you're young enough, any kind of writing you do for a short period of time is a marvelous apprenticeship.
- Irwin Shaw, who died on this date in 1984

Sunday, May 15, 2011

He would know ...

... Paul Davis On Crime: Elmore Leonard On Westerns, Movies, Drinking, And Hanging Out With Detroit Cops.

Women and men ...

... When Falls the Coliseum � Lisa reads: The Civilized World by Susi Wyss.

Readers and reviewers ...

... The Future of Book Reviews: Critics vs. Amazon Reviewers - The Daily Beast. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I don't think things really have changed that must. People have always had their views of books and reviews. Now, they don't just talk about them; they have places where they can write about about them, broadcast them.

Come right in ...

... INSIDE THE SKULL HOUSE - Introduction.

Softies ...

... Anecdotal Evidence: `Whatever the Forest and Field Have to Offer'.

Sharing ...

Debbie and I saw this fellow play a private concert at Kass an Eric Mencher's last night. He was great, so I thought I'd share.



Roundup ...

... Bill Peschel: Link roundup: Caroline Leavitt, Charles Schulz.

Modigliani


While there's no question that we're living through a period (a wave, really) of readable non-fiction, there is an increasing question, I think, about whether these works - about artists, about history, about regions of the world - are worthy of our attention.

Having recently completed Jeffrey Myers's biography of Amedeo Modigliani, I am again convinced that we are too generous in our praise, too eager to provide a positive review.

Myers's work is case in point: not only is the book poorly written, it's compiled in a way that - frankly - feels like a Google search. It's like each time Myers turns to a topic - Modigliani's Judaism, for instance, or his friendship with other artists - he throws at his readership everything he can find: a Kafka quote here, a passage from Apollinaire there. The result is a huge influx of information without any shape, without any meaning. (So what if Kafka wrote about his Bar Mitzvah? What does this have to do with Modigliani?)

This, though, isn't the worst part: for even though Myers does, from time to time, introduce an interesting argument or a helpful reference to the cultural history of Paris, he refuses - and I mean steadfastly refuses - to fully engage the meaning of Modigliani's life and work. It seems that Myers is more interested in describing 'what' than he is answering 'why.' The result is a flat, predictable biography which fails to account for those blank eyes (those endlessly fascinating blank eyes) of Modigliani's models. Here's a book with a superabundance of adjectives and decisive lack of verbs.

I know it's fashionable to castigate academic histories and biographies as being too bogged down in the details, in the minutia - but let me say that I'd take an academic treatment of Modigliani any day of the week. True, the footnotes can be cumbersome: but at least their presence suggests a clear line of argument, an attempt (whether successful or otherwise) to locate Modigliani within a larger continuum of artists, art, and art history.

Quarreling ...

... Intelligent Design Debate Ensnares the Journal Synthese - NYTimes.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)


Loving and revealing ...

... Book Review: What There Is to Say We Have Said - WSJ.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Today's Inquirer reviews ...

... Books - philly.com.

Thought for the day ...

Martyrdom has always been a proof of the intensity, never of the correctness of a belief.
- Arthur Schnitzler, born on this date in 1862

Saturday, May 14, 2011

More Lou ...

... Metroactive Music | Lou Harrison.

Remembering ...

... Lou Harrison, born on this date in1917. He was wonderful man -- and a great composer. I believe this was premiered by the Philadelphia Orchestra at Saratoga. I remember the broadcast on a Sunday. And I was so moved, I cried.


Does truth matter ...

... in nonfiction: So Much More Self There: Ander Monson on Truth in Nonfiction � BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

Treasure trove ...

... BBC News - Author Anthony Burgess' archive yields lost gems. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Psst ...

... Confessions of a Lexicographer � The Dabbler.

Bargains ...

... 1p Review: Ulysses by James Joyce � The Dabbler. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Many people believe that Ulysses is a difficult book. It’s a long book certainly, but so was the last Harry Potter. And ‘difficulty’ is very much a matter of context: Ulysses is difficult compared to, say, Roald Dahl’s The BFG, granted; but next to The Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant, to take one example, it really is a cinch.

Trifecta ...

... Book Review: The Ballad of Bob Dylan | Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown - WSJ.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Indeed ...

... Google's Blogger outage makes the case against a cloud-only strategy | ZDNet.

I didn't realize at first that things I had scheduled to post never posted.

Hmm ...

... Logical punctuation: Should we start placing commas outside quotation marks? - By Ben Yagoda - Slate Magazine.

By the sea ...

... Zealotry of Guerin: The Village Of The Mermaids (Paul Delvaux).

Plaintive ...

.... Establishment Blues | Via Meadia.

Here in the early years of the twenty-first century, the American elite is a walking disaster and is in every way less capable than its predecessors. It is less in touch with American history and culture, less personally honest, less productive, less forward looking, less effective at and less committed to child rearing, less freedom loving, less sacrificially patriotic and less entrepreneurial than predecessor generations. Its sense of entitlement and snobbery is greater than at any time since the American Revolution; its addiction to privilege is greater than during the Gilded Age and its ability to raise its young to be productive and courageous leaders of society has largely collapsed.

Mark thy calendar ...

... FLP - Author Events - Author Events.

Tracking relations ...

Ron Slate on Radial Symmetry, poems by Katherine Larson (Yale University Press) | On the Seawall: A Literary Website by Ron Slate (GD).

Thought for the day ...

I dream, therefore I exist.
- August Strindberg, who died on this date 1912

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Interrupted blogging ...

Since returning to The Inquirer, I have been doing my blogging first thing in the morning, starting around 5 a.m. But this morning Blogger was not functioning. It's back working now, but I am about to head off to work. So blogging will resume sometime later.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

More reason that you may think ...

... Crash Landing: Faith. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Together at last ...

... Fate’s Believe It Or Not — Osama, Ahab, and John Wilkes Booth. (Hat tip, Virginia Kerr.)

How sad ...

... Andrew Roberts: Britain Goes Wobbly on Terror - WSJ.com.

When the Mets-Phillies baseball game erupted into cheers on hearing the wonderful news, or the crowds chanted "USA! USA!" outside the White House, they were manifesting the finest emotional responses of a great people. By total contrast, when Douglas Murray, the associate director of the Henry Jackson Society, told the BBC's flagship program "Question Time" last Thursday that he felt "elated" at the news, he was booed, heckled and almost shouted down.

Thought for the day ...

Inaction will cause a man to sink into the slough of despond and vanish without a trace.
- Farley Mowat, born on this date in 1921

Away we go ...

... Paul Davis On Crime: On The Road: A Visit To The Jack Kerouac House In Orlando.

More reason that you may think ...

... Crash Landing: Faith. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

How sad ...

... Andrew Roberts: Britain Goes Wobbly on Terror - WSJ.com.

When the Mets-Phillies baseball game erupted into cheers on hearing the wonderful news, or the crowds chanted "USA! USA!" outside the White House, they were manifesting the finest emotional responses of a great people. By total contrast, when Douglas Murray, the associate director of the Henry Jackson Society, told the BBC's flagship program "Question Time" last Thursday that he felt "elated" at the news, he was booed, heckled and almost shouted down.

Fervor ...

... Poetry & Poets in Rags: News at Eleven: It's hard to think of any other writer anywhere.

Continuing ...

... zmkc: Battered Penguins VI.

Folksy practicality ...

... Anecdotal Evidence: `Subject Matter is Accident.'

Hmm ...

... For Journalists, a Call to Rethink Online Models - NYTimes.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

No escape ...

... The Fates Will Find Their Way | Books and Culture.

Choices ...

... HTMLGIANT | Dinty W. Moore on Memoir � BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

And the winners were ...

... Katie Couric Asks For A Job At The National Magazine Awards. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Hard to know ...

... When Falls the Coliseum � The art of blogging: Is it flourishing or foundering?

Thought for the day ...

It is in the admission of ignorance and the admission of uncertainty that there is a hope for the continuous motion of human beings in some direction that doesn't get confined, permanently blocked, as it has so many times before in various periods in the history of man.
- Richard Feynman, born on this date in1918

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Economy ...

... Anecdotal Evidence: `To Dispel What Moves You Overmuch.'

Hunting and gathering ...

... Social Media for Authors: Forever in Search of Buzz | Poets & Writers. (Hat tip, Lee Lowe.)

This week ...

... at Five Chapters: Do Widzenia.

Like Marx, only right ...

... Hayek's Big Week, and the Hayek Century | Britannica Blog. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Moments ...

.... Dismal-Science Fiction | Mark Athitakis’ American Fiction Notes.

Mute testimony ...

... Christopher Hitchens: Unspoken Truths | Culture | Vanity Fair. (Hat tip, Paul Davis.)

Deprivation of the ability to speak is more like an attack of impotence, or the amputation of part of the personality. To a great degree, in public and private, I “was” my voice.

Good Writing: Mechanics, Syntax, Grammar

This made my day! (Scroll down to the section beginning 'In A Word.')

Well, this is true ...

... Underrated — Alfred Lord Tennyson. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Tennyson's greatness doesn't rest on some hidden "modernity" waiting to be discovered in his work. On the contrary: he is irreplaceable just because his sensibility is so utterly different from ours. To appreciate him demands audacity of imagination; it means viewing the world from unexpected, almost alien angles. When the Irish poet William Allingham first met Tennyson on June 28, 1851, he was startled by his "hollow cheeks and the dark pallor of his skin" which gave him "an unhealthy appearance". Allingham went on to remark that Tennyson "was a strange and almost spectral figure".

Quite a list

A propos of Frank's earlier post: here's another interesting list.

Good to know ...

... How David Bowie got me out of the psych ward - Saved By Pop Culture - Salon.com. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

FYI ...

... Red Lemonade | The future of publishing begins with you - and it starts here, right now. (Hat tip, Lee Lowe.)

Thought for the day ...

I am groping about through this American forest of prejudice and proscription, determined to find some form of civilization where all men will be accepted for what they are worth.
- P.B.S. Pinchback, born on this date in 1837

Monday, May 09, 2011

Well ...

... it's my alma mater: SJU.