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To understand what it is like to be autistic (and this is just in the general sense)turn the lights on and off while listening to three different types of music, one of which includes a strong beat as people push you, hit you, poke you and scratch you while wearing steel wool.  That's the kind of overload they deal with on a constant basis.

That reminded me that there was a short piece on NPR a couple of years back reporting on a virtual experience of an untreated schizophrenic state. At the beginning of the program there was a warning that what was to follow might be disturbing, and it was. You can hear it here.

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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

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A lot of reading over the last few days. Finished Adam Bede. Glenway Westcott's journals, Continual Lessons. Did I mention The Jazz Age in France by Charles Riley? Stretches of Neruda's Canto General in translation. A Rebours by Huysmans, also in translation - a sort of decadent Bohemian desert island discs. Sisson's brilliant critical evaluation of English Poetry in the first half of the last century. A bit of a pot-boiler on British poetry of the forties by someone called A.T. Tolley. My eyes hurt.

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Bede picks up after about the first two hundred pages (so it moves faster than Proust!). There is lengthy scene-setting; meticulous re-creation of Nottinghamshire dialect; and painstaking character building.

 

Once the plot takes off - around the time Adam catches the young squire taking liberties with Miss Hetty, it grips. Without spoiling anything, the trial and prison scenes are very tense, and the emotional level is shattering. The book then calms down to a fairly guessable resolution. Not as good as Middlemarch, but like Dostoevsky, she can take your breath away with the set pieces.

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And just finished The Angry Young Men by Humphrey Jennings, a light-hearted re-telling of that odd episode in British twentieth century literature. He does a decent job of rooting the story in the Larkin-Amis friendship. John Wain assumed it was a Larkin-Amis-Wain friendship, but the two old sods seem to have hated Wain as much as they hated everyone else.

 

What a disparate group the AYMs seem, with a little historical distance. And it's hard to identify anything of substance which came out of the hubbub: Look Back in Anger? Who reads Hurry on Down or Room at the Top any more?

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What a disparate group the AYMs seem, with a little historical distance. And it's hard to identify anything of substance which came out of the hubbub: Look Back in Anger? Who reads Hurry on Down or Room at the Top any more?

Too soon to know, perhaps. I suspect (without any real evidence) that every age finds the previous generation's literature the most difficult to appreciate. Old enough to appear dated, not old enough to have acquired any historical charm. Or maybe they were just crap.

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Steven Almond's Candyfreak. I loved the parts where he talks about old candies, the history of candy in America, and his visits to several small-time, regional producers. Less interesting were his digressions into his family life and his attempt to psychoanalyze himself to determine the roots of his candy addiction.

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