Saturday, February 04, 2017

February (first week) 2017 Reads

While there was still a little bit of January left I tried to trim my "owned-but-unread" shelf but too much came in the mail. Actually the shelf now has 409 books which is exactly one less than it had on the First of January.

I read my fifth short story for the  “Deal Me In 2017!” challenge; in fact, I ended up reading the entire collection that contained it. I also picked up a couple of library books, surfed a bit, and started a couple of books.

From the library...

Mister Monkey by

The Tree by


Party Headquarters by Georgi Tenev; Angela Rodel (Translation) 

My copy via a subscription to Open Letter Books.

On the Run with Mary by Jonathan Barrow
Read halfway through...skimmed the rest...not going to spend any more time on this. Overkill, a little bit was kinda amusing (almost), but 100+ pages of shit in the face? No thanks. (The same way I felt about  Paul Beatty’s The Sellout.)

My copy via subscription to New Vessel Press.

Whispers from the Tree of Life by

The Collini Case by Ferdinand von Schirach; Anthea Bell (translator)
An excellent read. The mystery in this crime novel isn't who did it, we know that from the beginning. But, even though he confesses, the murderer refuses to provide a motive. A novice lawyer is assigned to the case as public defender. He is able to discover the motive, but there is a larger question: it has to do with German law, war crimes, and the statute of limitations--all still serious concerns in today's Germany.

My copy from a library book sale

 “Deal Me In 2017!”
This week's story:  Night drive by Rubem Fonseca (The Taker And Other Stories) Clifford E. Landers (Translator)
Once again I unknowingly selected a very short story. It is only two pages but it is complete with an interesting character, some suspense, and a dark surprise. I originally chose it because it is the first story in a collection I own.

Since the story was so short, I read the next story--the title story. It is about a rather vicious killer and I found it extremely unsettling (think American Psycho without the brand names--only this is set in Brazil).

I, somewhat reluctantly, read on thinking "I paid for this book!" The next story, Betsy, about a gentle death was easier to take. In Angels of the Marquees a lonely man tries to help homeless derelicts with dire consequences. In Enemy another lonely man seeks out his old high school buddies. It is both funny and sad. Account of the Incident concerns an accident between a bus and a cow. Pride is about a man who refuses to die because he has a hole in his sock. Notebook is a tale of seduction, with an amusing twist. Eleventh of May is the name of a terminal facility for the aging. In Book of Panegyrics a man becomes a live-in caregiver to a dying man in order to use the place as a hideout, but we don't know exactly what he is hiding from. Trials of a Young Writer is the story of a man more interested in his press image than he is in his writing or his live-in girlfriend. In Other a busy man is harassed on the street by a beggar. Things got (more) violent again in Happy New Year; Dwarf is about an unemployed bank clerk with woman trouble; and Flesh and the Bones didn't make much sense to me.
All in all, it turned out to be a varied collection, most on the dark side, some macabre, some noir, all very readable. I'm not sorry I bought it. I've highlighted the ones that worked best for me.
This is also from my "owned-but-unread" shelf.

This week's card - Nine of Spades is from Oracle - Mystifying Playing Cards created by Chris Ovdiyenko. I found it on their Kickstarter Page  but  the sale of their cards is on Dead on Paper. The Oracle deck seems to be sold out, but they have other interesting decks and also prints, books, and specially designed coins.

I selected this card because it is dark and mysterious like Fonseca's stories.

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

A suggested reading from the above course:

Kiyonori Kikutake: Structuring the Future by Mark Mulligan
"In the postwar decades, young Japanese architects confronted the challenge of rebuilding the devastated nation. Kikutake was one of the most gifted." Mulligan looks at two of Kiyonori Kikutake's masterpieces: the Izumo Grand Shrine Administration Building and the Hotel Tōkōen.

The Record Company Headquarters that Revived 1950s Hollywood with Iconic Architecture by Alan Hess
Some background on the design and building of the Los Angeles landmark.

Essays from The Destruction of Cultural Heritage project
Artfare: Aesthetic Profiling from Napoléon to Neoliberalism by Kirsten Scheid
The Thing We Love(d): Little Girls, Inanimate Objects, and the Violence of a System by Talinn Grigor
Modernity as Perpetual War or Perpetual Peace? by Esra Akcan
Appendix: A Selection of News Articles on the Destruction of Cultural Heritage in the Middle East by Pamela Karimi


  1. I don't think I've read Fonseca before, unless it's been part of an anthology that I've read. So many new authors to discover...

    I do love that playing card. :-) I have a feeling that reading your posts is going to cost me some money this year, as I won't be able to resist ordering some of these decks. I really like the cards at Dead on Paper's site and will have to order a couple.

  2. I don't think you'll be buying the next card...