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The Culture Industry, a collection of essays by Theodor Adorno.

I read this not too long ago, and am currently re-reading some of the essays in his collection Prisms. My main difficulty with his writings on popular culture - and I am in a long line of people who have raised this objection - is that he has absolutely no feel for it, no understanding of it from the inside, no real grasp of how it works.

 

For example, in his essay on television he records with some surprise the results of some research findings which showed that while a bunch of people watched and enjoyed watching a television broadcast of a royal wedding, many of them also demonstrated a clear critical distance from the proceedings, could make fun of them, and already had the notion that such pageantry could be used manipulatively.

 

None of this would really surprise most of us. One feels Adorno could have learnt something from Marshall MacLuhan.

 

As for his notoriously hostile writings on popular music, and specifically jazz, how a politically aware sociologist could characterize jazz without qualification as a mass product of urban late capitalism, without making the faintest show of examining its roots in a black agricultural community, is staggering. It's as if he hadn't noticed that jazz was an African American art form. ;)

 

He's much stronger on his home territory: German literature and avant garde classical music.

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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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I really enjoyed the new Francine Prose novel - it was one of those books I couldn't put down.

 

Now reading Adam Langer's Crossing California, a coming-of-age novel set in West Rogers Park, IL in the early '80s. Thus far I've discovered several factual errors which really annoys the hell out of me.

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On a Pepe Carvalho binge. Despite the fact that Vazquez Montalban has long been a favourite author in my family, I've somehow managed to avoid reading him. I think I've picked up one of his books in the past and been driven immediately potty by the translatese. Now I'm tamping down on the irritation and kicking myself for not reading him previously. I suppose I can understand why translators make such a dogs dinner of the prose, Vazquez Montalban does love to play with language. However, I find it hard to forgive such things as 'La Mancha' cheese instead of 'manchego'; 'the tube' which should only be used for London Underground; 'formation' instead of 'education' etc, let alone the inability to render idiom properly from one language to another. I just wish I wasn't too lazy to learn to read Spanish beyond cookbooks.

 

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Camile Paglia's Break, Blow, Burn (title comes from John Donne). Collection of 43 "of the world's best poems" with her commentary on each one (poets range from Shakespeare to Joni Mitchell. I don't think Paglia's an idiot (oh, wrong thread), but I think the reader should avoid going immediately to the commentary after reading the poems--if one worked a little, one could get quite a lot out of them on one's own. But it's nice to have her take on them.

 

Johnathan Coe's The Rotters' Club. Novel set in mid-1970's Birmingham. Pretty evocative stuff and a lot from an adolescent's perspective. Takes ye back.

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On a Pepe Carvalho binge. Despite the fact that Vazquez Montalban has long been a favourite author in my family, I've somehow managed to avoid reading him. I think I've picked up one of his books in the past and been driven immediately potty by the translatese. Now I'm tamping down on the irritation and kicking myself for not reading him previously. I suppose I can understand why translators make such a dogs dinner of the prose, Vazquez Montalban does love to play with language. However, I find it hard to forgive such things as 'La Mancha' cheese instead of 'manchego'; 'the tube' which should only be used for London Underground; 'formation' instead of 'education' etc, let alone the inability to render idiom properly from one language to another. I just wish I wasn't too lazy to learn to read Spanish beyond cookbooks.

 

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I don't remember the translations annoying me. Must be reading the same ones I suppose - I think only one publisher is publishing him in English.

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just finished montalban's 'an olympic death.' i've now read all of his books that have been translated ;) . does anyone know if all his books have been translated? is he still writing?

 

going to start hanning mankel's 'the return of the dancing master.'

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just finished montalban's 'an olympic death.' i've now read all of his books that have been translated ;) . does anyone know if all his books have been translated? is he still writing?

 

going to start hanning mankel's 'the return of the dancing master.'

guajalote

 

Could I trouble you to list the Montalban books you have read? I am now on my 4th. Still in hand is a non-Carvalho novel called something like The Pianist. I'm hoping to excavate more from my father's house or retrieve from the neighbour to whom he lent a goodly number.

 

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just finished montalban's 'an olympic death.' i've now read all of his books that have been translated ;) . does anyone know if all his books have been translated? is he still writing?

 

going to start hanning mankel's 'the return of the dancing master.'

The chap is brown bread. Passed away at an airport, earlier this year or last year. No, not everything has been translated. I have been eking them out, one per summer vacation, but I think I am down to the last one.

 

From memory, I have read The Southern Seas Seas, The Angst-Ridden Executive, Murder in the Central Committee, Off-side, and The Buenos Aires Quintet (shorts). I still have An Olympic Death up my sleeve.

 

There is also his non-fiction book Barcelonas, if you can find it.

 

If you search Amazon, you'll see some untranslated ones.

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OK, so I've still the BA Quintet and Off Side to look forward to - in English that is. Am in the middle of Southern Seas right now.

 

And of course there's the cookbook, the acquisition of which now becomes a priority.

 

I'd forgotten about that sudden death ;) (not that it isn't the best way to go)

 

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