Saturday, July 29, 2017

July (fourth week) 2017 Reads

We finished it!

The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán, Translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden
This has been an amazing experience. Chad Post of Open Letter Books has led the Two Month slow read of this fantastic novel by providing summaries of each section, broadcasting weekly podcast discussions, setting up a Goodreads group, and publishing a Will Vanderhyden interview with Fresán.

This book was so complex, so convoluted, so full of surprises, so much fun that I can't possibly do it justice here. The best thing is to defer to Chad's great material at the Three Percent blog.

I love this book. It's one of the best things I've read this year. I and look forward to more Fresán.

“Deal Me In 2017!” Story of the week: Joy of Traveling by Jung Young Moon (in A most ambiguous Sunday, and other stories), Translated from the Korean by Jung Yewon
Two men and a woman have agreed to go on a trip together, but one of the men, K, doesn't show up. The others decide to go anyway.
As they drive they have a disjointed inconsequential conversation, make a couple of stops, he takes some pictures.
The narration fills in with how the two met and how they met K, a bisexual. It's not quite clear what the relationships are, we can only guess...

Card: Seven of Spades from Zoe's blog thing:  Engineering! Art! Stuff!
Zoe and another artist started modifying a deck of cards with various designs. They seemed not to have finished the project (the blog hasn't been updated recently). The few displayed are quite fanciful and some are in full color. It looks like a fun project.

This card might describe the countryside the couple (their names aren't given) in the story are driving through. There are rolling hills with vineyards and a rice paddy.


Sequoia Nagamatsu - Stories
The author of the story collection Where We Go When All We Were Is Gone provides links to online publications of his stories. I'm slowly making my way through these links. Some lead to free, full text stories, other stories are available by purchasing online issues. I really enjoyed the ones I could freely access. In some cases I had to use a site's search function to find the story because it had gone to archive. But even if you can't find Nagamatsu's work these links lead to some interesting journals.

Translator as Medium by Charlotte Mandell

What Fourth-Grade Archaeologists Have Found in Their School’s Closet by Eric Grundhauser

The Ghost Villages of Newfoundland: A controversial government resettlement program has left centuries-old fishing villages abandoned by Luke Spencer
  A good novel about a holdout of the relocation is  Sweetland by Michael Crummey.

In Defense of the Emoji Building and Architecture Being Fun, Sometimes by Rory Stott
The arguments against seem to center around that these are frivolous, that they will go out of date, or that they are sending us down a slippery slope.
Maybe architects have to think that architecture must be serious, timeless, etc., but I come in on the side of being a little playful now and then. I like a building that makes me smile.
Dated? Let's get rid of gargoyles, coats of arms, art deco scrolls and flourishes, or anything else that suggests when a structure was built. Boring.
Slippery slope? What next? Does this open the door for medallions featuring @, #, recycling symbols, and other graphic signs of our times? So what? Shrug.

from my shelves... Follies  by
It's not quite accurate to say I've finished this book. I have read all fifty-three items, but I've only read them once. Like poetry, this is the sort of thing -if one likes this sort of thing- to reread. It is, so to speak, a parody of parody. A spoof on almost everything: art, sports, personal names, critics and criticism, writing, itself, four-letter words, and (I suspect) readers of books like this.

It seems oddly appropriate that I got this book in a ten dollar blind grab-bag purchase from the publisher. I also liked the other books in the bag, but this one was the most fun.

from the library....

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Kindle edition)
Somewhat innovative way to tell a story, too bad there wasn't much of a story. Lost souls wandering in the 'Bardo" of a Georgetown Cemetery, trying to pretend they aren't dead, try to convince the newly arrived Willie Lincoln that he should immediately move on to a better place. Gimmickry, maudlin--a graphic novel without any pictures. It's listed as having 368 pages, but there is a lot of white space so it didn't take me long to read it.

Blacklands (Exmoor Trilogy #1) by Belinda Bauer
Stand alone mystery/suspense. Young boy seeks answers to a long ago crime. Although the protagonist is eleven years old, this is not a kids book. Bauer's more recent Rubbernecker is a much better book so I won't give up on this author. But I won't be reading Parts 2 & 3 of this trilogy.

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