Saturday, January 28, 2017

January (fourth week) 2017 Reads

This week I found time for a little net surfing, some Gutenberg browsing, more MOOC, and some real books too starting with...
                                                ...four goodies from my "owned-but-unread" shelf

The Death of Napoleon by Simon Leys, Patricia Clancy (Translation)
A delightful piece of alternative history as Napoleon escapes from exile in a plan carefully constructed by his loyalists. The plan goes awry and he must make his way alone. Once in Paris, he finds that he has changed so much that he is unrecognizable and he must improvise and try to accept that his days of glory are past.
My personal Copy.


The Story of a Brief Marriage by Anuk Arudpragasam
This compelling story of  love and death among Tamil refugees during the Sri Lankan Civil War is told in a time defying style that makes the reader momentarily forget what a short period of time actually passes. Stunning.
Free copy from publisher through Goodreads First Reads program.

An Amorous Discourse in the Suburbs of Hell by Deborah Levy
A completely different kind of love from the above book. A fun to read she said/he said dramatic poem. Sly, witty, sharp. Something to read and re-read.
My copy from a subscription to & other Stories Publishing.

The Madonna of Notre Dame (Père Kern et Clarie Kauffmann #1) by Alexis Ragougneau, Katherine Gregor (Translation)
There has been a murder in the great cathedral and in its aftermath a great cast of characters is introduced. The suspect, an angelic looking young pervert; Clair, a young deputy magistrate haunted by memory; a bad cop and his good cop colleague; a homeless drunk Pole; and a host more. I'm glad to see this is a series as Père Kern is both engaging and ill so it's good to see that he will have another adventure. The delightful cover is designed by Liana Finck. (See below in Online section for link to interview with her.)
My copy from my subscription to New Vessel Press.

Then a couple of library books...

We Live in Water by

Anything helps -- We live in water -- Thief -- Can a corn -- Virgo -- Helpless little things -- Please -- Don't eat cat -- The new frontier -- The brakes -- The wolf and the wild -- Wheelbarrow kings -- Statistical abstract for my hometown of Spokane, Washington.

Image is table of contents page, not cover
 Grape, Olive, Pig: Deep Travels Through Spain's Food Culture by Matt Goulding
Matt Goulding's Spain barely resembles the Spain I saw in the late 1970's. Yes we saw great sights, ate fine meals, and thoroughly loved the place, but at that time it was not the gourmet paradise described in this book. Then again, only once did we have to have a reservation for a restaurant.

This is a beautiful book filled with pictures and descriptions of foods I will never eat (and a few, very few, that I wouldn't want to eat). What I liked as much as the descriptions of the meals, was the background of the foods, the way they are produced. Goulding is a sort of insider/outsider--a foreign food writer married to a Spaniard--so he has a lot of experiences not available to most tourists. A top notch food appreciation tour. Library book.

A Project Gutenberg discovery

Armenian Legends and Poems
Compiled, illustrated, and translated by Zabelle C. Boyajian.

(Illustration on right: The Wedding)
"It rained showers of gold when Artashes became a bridegroom.
It rained pearls when Satenik became a bride."

This book should keep me busy for a while--Not the sort of thing to read all at once. I confess to be drawn to the illustrated entries, there are about a dozen. Just delightful. Originally published in 1916, the book (with illustrations) is available several places on the Internet--Google the title or author to find.

 “Deal Me In 2017!”  This week's story

Train by Alice Munro (in The Best American Short Stories, 2013; Kindle ed.) First published in Harper's Magazine, April 2012, and included in Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro. According to my records, I read Dear Life back in December of 2012. However, this story of a Canadian soldier returning from World War 2 jumping off a train before he reached his home stop seemed entirely fresh to me when I read it this week. Maybe I skipped it when I read the collection? Since it was a borrowed book I might not have had time to linger over, or even read, all the stories. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I found it. Now I can linger over it and ponder its meaning since it's in an anthology I own. (I haven't read all the stories in the anthology either since I tend to dip into the Kindle sporadically, mostly when I'm in waiting rooms.)

This week's card for Deal Me In 2017! is the Six of Hearts. This design is from  Jami Goddess Art. I selected it for several reasons:
  1. The elusiveness of Monro's protagonist--his inability to stay settled down--is like the flight of the birds on the card.
  2.  The card appears to be in rough shape like Belle's house was when Jackson first lit there.
  3. I really like Jami's art work. She hasn't posted on her blog recently (the card is from July, 2014) but she also has a Facebook page with more recent posts. Her photo section has a neat chess set among other fun artwork.


Finished auditing two online courses  Visualizing Postwar Tokyo, Part 1, and Visualizing Postwar Tokyo, Part 2. Lecturer: Shunya Yoshimi; Professor, Interfaculty Initiative in Information Studies, The University of Tokyo. A very interesting series. 

Started auditing Modern Japanese Architecture: From Meiji Restoration to Today. This course is from Tokyo Tech.

Interview with Liana Finck  by Rachel Morgenstern-Clarren See The Madonna of Notre Dame, above, for a little sample of Fink's work. See the interview for a discussion and some illustrations from her first book, a graphic novel,  A Bintel BriefI'm happy to see that my library has a copy because the interview makes me want to read it.

Portugal's Unexpectedly Heroic Custard Tarts: The Portuguese have twice turned to the humble pastry to solve economic problems. by Karla Pequenino

Essays from The Destruction of Cultural Heritage project
    Exhibition and Erasure/Art and Politics by Annabel Wharton
    Memento Mauri: The Mosque-Cathedral of Cordoba by Michele Lamprakos
    DNA Damage: Violence Against Buildingsby Sussan Babaie
    Iconoclasm beyond Negation: Globalization and Image Production in Mosul by Thomas         Stubblefield

and now for something completely different...
                                                                        ....a couple of videos...
Manabu Himeda’s trippy animation takes us on a colourful car ride

Check out the first Eurovision entry to be performed in Belarusian


  1. Another beautiful playing card! I'm an Alice Munro fan and have a couple of her collections - and have featured her a few times in prior years' DMI iterations as well. I occasionally encounter the same situation you did with this story - i.e., having "records" that show I've read it before but experiencing it as completely new to me in the current read. Sadly, with me I'm afraid sometimes it has just fallen out of my memory - rather than being a 'bookkeeping error' - which is disheartening, but I guess if it was 20 years ago or so I can forgive myself. :-)

  2. Jay, I think you'll like the card I'll be featuring on Sat, Feb 4.
    Forgetting 20 years later is certainly forgivable. Something re-read after a long interval often seems fresh because one's perspective has changed so much that the story is seen in a whole new light.