Friday, September 30, 2016

September (second half) 2016 Reads

People leave home, then come back--but do they stay?
Five excellent novels and a great collection of short stories.

Waterland by Graham Swift
Multi-generational story set in the flat, soggy reclaimed lands of East Anglia. History and geography intermingle with family secrets and tragedies. Library book.

Leaving Tangier  by Tahar Ben Jelloun, Linda Coverdale (Translation)
Young man leaves Morocco for Spain and a strange life. Library book.

A Map of Tulsa: A Novel by Benjamin Lytal
Coming if age, almost quit about halfway through Part 1. Glad I stayed with it. In this one a young man leaves Tulsa for college and then New York. Library book. 

Malafemmena by  
Excellent short stories about women, mostly set in Little Italy or on backpacking adventures around the world.  

Kit's Law by Donna MorrisseyThis one is about not leaving home although home is far from perfect. A girl comes of age in Newfoundland when her grandmother dies and she is left coping with her retarded mother and a hostile town. Library Book.

Downhill Chance by Donna Morrissey
This was good, but I didn't like it as much as Kit's Law. Library book.


We need to talk about cultural appropriation: why Lionel Shriver's speech touched a nerve by Stephanie Convery, the deputy culture editor of Guardian Australia.

People on food stamps aren’t feasting on filet mignon by Christopher Dum, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Kent State University; author of Exiled in America: Life on the Margins in a Residential Motel

The Singing Turk at Center Stage: How Europeans once saw themselves through Turkish eyes at the opera by Larry Wolff, Professor of History and Director of the Center for European and Mediterranean Studies at New York University; author of The Singing Turk

Enrique Vila-Matas Takes a Walk a short piece on walking and thinking.

What I Pledge Allegiance To  by Kiese Laymon  a Black American discusses the flag and more..."The same reason I choose not to stand for our pledge or anthem is strangely why I still haven’t taken down the American flag flying outside my new house. It looks, to me at least, like every American flag on Earth should look: beat down, bleeding, fading, weak, tearing apart, barely held together, absolutely stanky, and self-aware."

Relentlessly Relevant: The Dangerous Legacy of Henry James  by Paula Marantz Cohen makes me think it's time to re-read some James.

We Went to the Moon and Brought Back These Cool Photos: On NASA's Mission to Snap Pictures of the Moon.  These are beyond cool. Some pictures from  The Moon 1968-1972;  Edited by Evan Backes & Tom Adler.

High Hitler: how Nazi drug abuse steered the course of history
Rachel Cooke reviews Blitzed: Drugs in Nazi Germany by Norman Ohler.

Poetry is a Pipe: Selected Writings of René Magritte: The Surrealist Master Takes on Another Form
Selections from René Magritte: Selected Writings; Edited by Kathleen Rooney and Eric Plattner; Translated by Jo Levy. This is so much fun to explore. I want the book!

Short Cuts   Joanna Biggs discusses Marguerite Duras.

The Novelist Whose Twitter Feed Is a Work of Art  by Jonathan Blitzer. How and why writer Rabih Alameddine posts all those amazing works of art (he also does a poem of the day tweet) on Twitter. “I’ve still not been able to go beyond being a writer who just happens to waste time on Twitter.” Well, Mr Alameddine, I just happen to be  a reader who wastes a lot of time on Twitter because of people like you. And isn't that what Twitter is all about? 

Friday, September 16, 2016

September (first half) 2016 Reads

I read only two novels during the first two weeks of September. The rest of my reading was short pieces, many of them online. Why all the short pieces? Well, they fit nicely between US Open tennis matches and WNBA games.

Two Lines 21 ; by C.J. Evans(Editor), Scott Esposito (Editor), Emmy Komada (Editor)
Another good issue with an outstanding final story, Forest Woods, Chair by Hon Lai Chu translated from Chinese by Andrea Lingenfelter. (full table of contents)

Siracusa by Delia Ephron
Read this in a day. Two couples, one with a ten year old daughter, both with flawed marriages,  vacation together in Italy. Awful things happen and each of the four adults tells their version in alternating chapters. Nicely told with interesting characters and a bit of mystery and suspense. Library book (Kindle edition)

Tomorrow by

A Solemn Pleasure: To Imagine, Witness, and Write by Melissa Pritchard; Foreward by Bret Anthony Johnston
A rather uneven (and mostly boring) collection of essays. "Still God Helps You": Memories of a Sudanese Child Slave, the most powerful essay in the collection, is the only one I can recommend.
Advance review copy through LibraryThing.
Álvaro Enrigue Welcomes a ‘Globalization of Latin American Writers’  a discussion of trends in Spanish language translations by a Mexican author.

Historical Fiction: The Next Big Thing?  Possible trends in the genre are discussed in Mark Patton's report on the September 2016 conference of the Historical Novel Society in Oxford.

The Invention of the Modern Soldier is a brief look at how the soldier is portrayed in 20th Century literature.

Grief, Mourning, and the Politics of Memorialization the closing thoughts from Jay D. Aronson’s book Who Owns the Dead?  which "tells the story of the recovery, identification, and memorialization of those killed in the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City"

Who knew? There is a National Ampersand Dayquirky collection of wood type ampersands."

Bonnier Books CEO Jacob Dalborg:‘Digitization Is Not Necessarily Evil’  Marie Bilde, an independent book industry consultant, interviews Sweden’s Jacob Dalborg. An upbeat discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing publishers in the digital age.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Online Reading Day

I didn't mean it to be totally online reading, but I started off with a quick look a Twitter and my eye was drawn to the illustration for this:

Pete Wells Has His Knives Out: How the New York Times critic writes the reviews that make and break restaurants.  By Ian Parker
I thoroughly enjoyed the article. I have never wanted to be a restaurant reviewer, but I've always thought it would be interesting to tag along with one. So I'm a bit envious of Parker, but not of Wells.

Whilst I was reading the Wells/Parker article nearly 200 more tweets showed up on my feed--and I really don't follow very many people, or do I? 
I always wonder when this happens if I should just carry on reading the tweets from where I left off or if I should eagerly hit "Home" and read the new ones first. I don't spend a lot of time with Twitter so I haven't established a Twitter routine.Or maybe I should ignore Twitter and see what else The New Yorker has for free content today? 

But the article mentioned the Eater  website and I haven't looked at it in ages...

I think it going to be a surfing kind of day...

I decided to carry on with Twitter from where I left (meaning there are now 288 tweets above the New Yorker one). I found this The Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin:

Xu Bing: Book from the Sky  about an interesting exhibit (one I'd like to see)

From CNET's Technically Literate short story collection: Cuba's King of Batteries by Cristina García; Illustrations by Roman Muradov. A Cuban boy has an adventure on a German Uboat.

Usually we read to learn something new, sometimes we read to confirm what we already know. In the "I knew that" category is:  American Literature Needs Indie Presses by Nathan Scott McNamara in The Atlantic.

Less reading today than usual--blame  US Open Tennis.