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And this week:

Angela Carter’s first novel, Shadow Dance
 

Ed Dorn, Gunslinger
 

Otto Poggeler, Martin Heidegger’s Path of Thinking, a seminal account of Heidegger’s entire work which I just never happened to read while preparing my thesis.

Ian Nairn’s London. Published by Penguin as a guide to the city, it’s a funny, irreverent, highly critical take on London’s sights by a maverick architectural writer with an ax to grind and a healthy thirst. Remarkable: an influence on Jonathan Meades, from whom I derived the recommendation. Published 1966, so as a Londoner I know some of what he writes about is long gone. But most remains.

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Just finished Ask the Dust by John Fante, a slim novel which didn't live up to the extravagant praise I've heard from Bukowski fans. Henry Miller and Hubert Selby did this kind of thing much better.

I'm currently reading Middlesex, has anyone else read it? I remember it being discussed elsewhere and people were criticizing the fact that it won the pulitzer prize. Maybe not Pulitzer Prize worthy

Several of the pieces in Paris to the Moon appeared earlier as Gopnik's monthly Letters from Paris to The New Yorker. His use of adjectives to describe the weather, the neighborhood, etc impressed me

I never picked up a novel by Carson McCullers. I now think I was misled by expecting her work to fit into categories like Southern fiction, even Southern Gothic, or Women Writers. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter turns out to have more in common with the "proletarian" literature of Algren, Rumaker, or even early Chester Himes. I had no idea. It's very good.

Also, The True Confession of George Barker, a book-length poem unsurprisingly by George Barker. This is much better than his earlier romantic/apocalyptic period. It's not a polite poem, but it is funny, and the language has a hard edge. His avowed model (he tells you in the poem) is Villon's testament, but it reminds me much more of Byron's "Don Juan."

 

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14 minutes ago, Wilfrid said:

I never picked up a novel by Carson McCullers. I now think I was misled by expecting her work to fit into categories like Southern fiction, even Southern Gothic, or Women Writers. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter turns out to have more in common with the "proletarian" literature of Algren, Rumaker, or even early Chester Himes. I had no idea. It's very good.

I had to read The Heart is a Lonely Hunter in 8th or 9th grade, and still have the copy which I read from time to time.  Haven't yet gotten all the way through the movie.

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The Roman Quarry and other sequences, a collection pulled together from the chaotic mess of manuscripts left by the poet David Jones on his death. Jones was unusual among poets in that he meticulously annotated the allusions in his work. The notes are included as footnotes here, which means the reader doesn't have to worry about not having the astonishing requisite expertise in early to middle age Celtic and Roman history, and can just relax and enjoy the language--which is tremendous, of course.

Tomorrow's Eve (better known as Future Eve), a rather stilted 1886 novel by Villiers de L'Isle Adam, who was a better short story writer. It's about the creation of an android (the word was coined here) replica of woman. The immediate influence on Huysmans and Oscar Wilde is obvious, but it also represents the origin of whole streams of science fiction.

Process and Reality by Alfred North Whitehead, which is hilariously bad.

 

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I look at what Wilfrid's reading, and I'm almost embarrassed to say that I've been reading mostly food books.  Now I'm on Tasting Beer, 2nd Edition: An Insider's Guide to the World's Greatest Drink by Randy Mosher.  Lots of wonky beer brewing information.

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Another very odd science-fiction novel from 1914. Paul Scheerbart was not an architect, but he liked to fantasize about vast utopian structures made of colored glass. So of course he wrote a novel about it: The Gray Cloth and Ten Percent White, a Ladies Novel.

It's set in the mid-twentieth century, and he's quite good at foreseeing things like air-conditioning. He does seem to assume, however, that air travel will remain private: fabulously ornate airships driven by "air chauffeurs."

Also, Waldo Frank's Memoirs.

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Catching up:

Thomas Dilworth, David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet. Enthralling biography, although determinedly uninquisitive about the subject's rather embarrassing politics. Notable that Jones could be a friend of the famous (including royalty) and praised to the heavens by Eliot, Yeats, and Auden, and yet still be stone broke.

Alice Oswald, Nobody. Don't worry about the Odyssey angle, or the hopeless review in the New Yorker, this is fine work.

Carson McCullers, Reflections in a Golden Eye. An unpleasant story, and a remarkable fall from the standards of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.  Melodramatic, paperback romance prose.

Ignacio Silone, Bread and Wine. Another antifa novel, but not as good as Fontamaro.

T.H. White, The Making of the President: 1960. Politics was different then.

Julian Barnes, The Man in the Red Coat. New non-fiction set among the fin-de-siecle dandies, Montesquiou et al. I'm halfway: because it's an eBook I keep forgetting to pick it up.

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Perfect Rigor by Masha Gessen. So far less about the proof and more about the soviet system that produced it. Really interesting as I only knew some of the background, even though I have studied with people who came out of there.

Also recently finished the book on Casati (thanks Wilf for the recommendation)  which was a lot of fun. In a weirdly congruent way, also happened to be reading Matilda to the mini’s: under-challenged smart girls use their weird eye powers to transform their lives for the better? 

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