misc book thread

Started by jenkins, August 13, 2013, 02:18:30 PM

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just the way Harry Dodge writes this


César Aira provides the intro. Aira says Lange and Ocampo are the two female heavyweights of the period, both upper class and married to famous writers, both connected to Borges this way, i also learned about the Florida group and the ultraist movement


it was recommended to me and i can see why at the end of the intro here, there's really no um, they don't care about it, autobiographical stories, in relation to the world of intellectuals

QuoteI said earlier that all of Lange's early work, up until Notes from Childhood, could be explained autobiographically. Then came her most authentically original work, her novels—those strange meteorites unlike anything else that was being written at the time. Everything Lange wrote afterward was charged with urgency and a mysterious threat. There is a suspension of meaning, carried into the realm of action. In People in the Room, this project is fully realized. It is as if she had nothing more to add. It's tempting to bring up the law of diminishing returns: when a new field opens up in art or science, the initial exploration turns out to be exhaustive, leaving room for only commentaries or variations. After her early works, Lange embarked on a new venture, something no one had ever done before. People in the Room is not a novel to be read for pleasure. Pleasure had been left behind, in the charming scenes of Notes from Childhood.

and idk if you want to continue speaking about interior spaces you get into, well abstract memory and consciousness and things like that, make them pieces in a jigsaw, yes, jigsaw narratives are what delight the intellectual community. but it's so hard for me that pleasure doesn't matter! you of course have to lean into humor but it's tricky. and darkness is always appreciated but in moderation


having started the book itself, it's not humorous so much as mischievous (irresponsibly playful). it's the story of an adolescent girl spying on her neighbors. she imagines who they are and spends much time doing this. anxieties relate to what she imagines and the act of spying. for me the book is in fact pleasurable. Aira must have meant the pleasure comes not from the story but from the reading. and it's not a jigsaw narrative like in Hopscotch and Life: A User's Manual

maybe the introduction soured my perspective because it was a rough start for me but now i'm fully engaged


it was such a banger and now i'm like obsessed with poetic interior landscapes as a literary narrative. i believe at another time i mentioned starting this book, which i abandoned, but now feel amped about returning to

QuoteThe narrator of the novel specifically states that this is not a happy story, yet, as in all of Dag Solstad's works, the prose is marked by an unforgettable combination of humor and darkness. Overall, T Singer marks a departure more explicitly existential than any of Solstad's previous works.


QuoteIn this madcap, insatiably inventive, bravura story collection, Julián Herbert brings to vivid life people who struggle to retain a measure of sanity in an insane world. Here we become acquainted with a vengeful "personal memories coach" who tries to get even with his delinquent clients; a former journalist with a cocaine habit who travels through northern Mexico impersonating a famous author of Westerns; the ghost of Juan Rulfo; a man who discovers music in his teeth; and, in the deliriously pulpy title story, a drug lord who looks just like Quentin Tarantino, who kidnaps a mopey film critic to discuss Tarantino's films while he sends his goons to find and kill the doppelgänger that has colonized his consciousness. Herbert's astute observations about human nature in extremis feel like the reader's own revelations.

The antic and often dire stories in Bring Me the Head of Quentin Tarantino depict the violence and corruption that plague Mexico today, but they are also deeply ruminative and layered explorations of the narrative impulse and the ethics of art making. Herbert asks: Where are the lines between fiction, memory, and reality? What is the relationship between power, corruption, and survival? How much violence can a person (and a country) take? The stories in this explosive collection showcase the fevered imagination of a significant contemporary writer.

Graywolf Press so it's not nonsense. i won't read it but i'm noting it


So I think you mentioned Tropic of Orange on here before jenk, and I started it. I'm confused at how this hasn't ever been mentioned as something to be adapted for film or miniseries - I'd imagine it's something someone like PTA would be interested in.


Life Itself is the cinema adaptation of that novel, though. XD


nice. i learned about it through John Freeman discussing the literary accomplishments of los angeles


85% sure that axo and i once chatted about this book which, noticeable right there on the cover, Enrique Vila-Matas says "paves the way for the novel of the future," anyway i've owned it for years and recently picked it up and it struck me, i've begun reading it, 30 pages in and it's a 100 page book so spoiler i'll love it the whole way through, it'll be over before i get over it, and here are two quotes from it

QuoteIt's true that many things related to walking have changed, some of which I'll refer to in a moment, but the same habit, which I've kept even in times of misfortunes or of ups and downs in general, supports the idea I have of myself as the eternal walker; it's also what's definitively saved me, in truth I don't quite know from what, maybe from the danger of not being myself, something that tempts me more and more, as I said just now, because to walk is to enact the illusion of autonomy and above all the myth of authenticity.

QuoteWalking is, in part, a kind of superficial archaeology, which I find greatly instructive and somehow moving, because it considers evidence that's humble, irrelevant, even random—the exact opposite of a scientific investigation.


my favorite books I read in 2020

Norah Lange's People in the Room -- writing is like anything else creative in terms of it works best if the imagination is being implemented and the kind of killer combo is if you put some thought into your imagination. so Norah Lange out-of-the-parks it and Borges wrote the introduction to her first poetry book, she was a member of the Argentinian avant-garde intellectuals and a sort of dirty secret or like anyway something that's known but not much talked about is how women better understand what it feels like being human

Milan Kundera's Let the Old Dead Make Room for the Young Dead and Yuko Tsushima's Of Dogs and Walls and Clarice Lispector's Daydream and Drunkenness of a Young Lady -- these are actually short stories put in book form and I fucking love short books

The Golden Ass by Apuleius -- it's genuinely "the only ancient Roman novel in Latin to survive in its entirety" and it's about a guy who is turned into a donkey and jacked shit happens the entire book while he acts casual about it he is so yolo honestly the entire Roman Empire was mad fucking yolo like don't sweat it have you read Cicero's On Living and Dying Well I mean that's just a title they gave it but it matches

Charles Yu's Interior Chinatown -- I hyped this to you guys before it won the national book award and Roxane gay was the head juror so ~yet again~ I know what I'm talking about nah but yeah that's true but the whole thing here is about a life that exists outside what's expected and in a racial context it's applied to being outside the white v black narrative that is heavily pronounced in the usa but he does that behind-the-scenes to this book that's formatted like.a screenplay it's cool the new cool is form

Tove Jansson's Fair Play -- you know I'm like okay I want to write about my life too ughck okay okay so this is an example of a way it's done in which people like it I'm taking notes oh it's good, nice

Omensetter's Luck by William Gass -- DFW put it on his favorites list and In the Heart of the Heart of the Country and The Tunnel I've done so this was a natural evolution and so okay the whole thing is that once you really get into literature the way you've gotten into cinema you see that literature is basically exactly the same as cinema except your shots are your prose and anyway Gass knew that and there's some literary this/that until he fucking shreds it at the end

Willa Cather's The Professor's House -- suicide is still a bad ending but now I've not only read Cather I've read this particular one that is a certain type of book

Roberto Bolańo's By Night in Chile -- oh god it's one of his most celebrated in fact potentially the most celebrated and it's a novella okay I'm there I love it

Aphasia by Mauro Javier Cárdenas -- oh it's that thing in which I like a thing that not everybody likes and I think it's obviously great but that's not unanimously believed and just this time it's a book instead of a movie, I get it, that's vaguely funny

László Krasznahorkai's Baron Wenckheim's Homecoming -- it's a big fucking book by a contemporary topshelfer and I read it during the plague it was dope


tomorrow we're covering this book, his last book, and just the title and everything

Quote"The great poems, plays, novels, stories teach us how to go on living. . . . Your own mistakes, accidents, failures at otherness beat you down. Rise up at dawn and read something that matters as soon as you can." (p. 13)

Quote'What you read and how deeply you read matters almost as much as how you love, work, exercise, vote, practice charity, strive for social justice, cultivate kindness and courtesy, worship if you are capable of worship. The mind is an activity and will decay into dark inertia if not sustained by the sustenance of reading.'

and of course his level of intensity far exceeds my own for example. compared to Bloom I'm a puppy you know


I want to be able to casually say "too prosaic for troubled thirsting souls who dreamt of church windows and the fragrance of incense."


I was given this book by Nathanial Dorsky who I just learned about. this is from a lecture he gave at prinston. sorry, Princeton. he describes "film itself" as "the spirit or experience of religion" and states that "respect for the ineffable is an essential aspect of devotion"


I don't want to make this about Gian having passed --  I want to make this about Gian having had much to do with the personality and current zeitgeist of Alt Lit.
That iz, the sort of electricity and lifeblood that keeps us interested.

Poetry championing
pt 2

shaping Alt Lit

QuoteRACHEL RABBIT WHITE: There's this tweet format going around, "What was the one thing you did as a bit that just ended up becoming a part of your life in complete sincerity..." I texted that premise to Ben Fama and I was like, "Marrying Nico Walker."


WHITE: A bit.

WALKER: What's a bit?

WHITE: You do it because it's, like, a part of your life, but it's whatever. Like with comedians. Commit to the bit.

WALKER: Yeah. You thought I was some fucking hick.

WHITE: I didn't think you were a hick.

WALKER: This guy writes stupid emails. He's probably never even been to New York.

WHITE: I just had Gian [DiTrapano, the editor of Tyrant Books] tell me this was a great idea. He said, "You have to date him." And I was like, "I don't even know this dude, okay. I'll commit to the bit, fine." But the bit got too real! I completely committed to the bit with the utmost sincerity of my life. I was expecting I could be half in, half out.

WALKER: Gian can be convincing. I talked to him on the phone once when I was writing Cherry. I was like, "Fuck this book. There isn't gonna be a book."

WHITE: You're difficult.

WALKER: Yeah, I'm a douchebag. I take this shit serious as fuck—writing or whatever.

WHITE: Double Aries. Gian said we should rob banks together.

WALKER: Terrible advice. When was this?

WHITE: I know the exact day. It was December [2019], and I was on the plane, coming back from my book tour in L.A., hungover as fuck, on no sleep, barely surviving. Got your email. Sent it to Ben to make fun of it—

WALKER: You made fun of my email?

WHITE: Because I was like, "Who the fuck is this person?"

WALKER: You said you had read my book.

WHITE: I think I emailed you back and you gave me your number.

WALKER: I knew who you were. You were a famous lesbian poet and you liked nitrous oxide. Also something about cake-sitting. That wasn't you, though. That was just people you run with.

And on and on where the voices of "weird twitter" and etc really have to thank the Alt Lit world and a realm of publishing that iz, I can only imagine, tough to etch out and carve -- where the modern gestalt can thrive and live simply within the published page.

Quote from: excerpt of The Sarah Book
By Scott McClanahan
I told her I'd do better and I told her I'd stop drinking and I told her I'd take better care of myself and I'd cut out all the shit like eating chicken wings every night by myself and drinking and we could eat like a family again.  I told her I'd go to therapy and I said please Sarah please Sarah please, but then Sarah said no.
     Sarah said, "I've been trying to get you to go to therapy for years.  I've been begging you to stop for years. And all the molestation stuff that happened when you were a kid."
     So we stood and stared at one another and it was quiet and our faces were saying sad things.
     I scooted away from her and then I stood up to say goodbye.  I looked at her and I wanted to say something memorable and I wanted to speak the truest thing ever said between us.  I wanted to say something that made her reconsider and remember who we were, but all I could think of was this, "You sure you don't want to have sex?"
     Then I said, "You know, like a 'For the good times' thing.  Like a 'One for the road' thing."  She smiled and I smiled and she said she didn't think we should.  I said, "Well would you at least think about it?"  Sarah told me she'd think about it as long as I promised not to kill myself and I told her I wouldn't kill myself.  Then we both smiled.  This meant something.  Sarah might have sex with me again if I promised not to kill myself.
     I left the house that day and I drove to Wal Mart.  I decided to sleep in my car that night and I decided to do all the things I couldn't do when Sarah was around.  I walked inside Wal Mart and I bought a case of beer.  I bought chicken wings from the deli.  Then I took my bag of groceries and I went back and sat down in my car.  I said, "This isn't too bad."  I opened a can of beer and I drank it down.  I felt the bitter bubble in my mouth and then I swallowed down the cold.  I opened up another can of beer and then I drank it down too.  I watched some porn on my phone and I masturbated. I wondered if the Wal Mart parking lot cameras could see me, but I didn't care.  I didn't have anything to clean up with so I used a baby diaper I had in my front seat.  I drank another beer and crushed the can and I threw it on the floorboard where it gathered with all of the others like little brothers.  I made my little pile of a shiny can family.
     I opened up the container of chicken wings and I pulled one out.  I held the wing upside down all possum style and then I put it to my mouth.  I ripped at the skin and garbled it down and I felt myself getting fat and I felt the whole world getting fat. I tore the meat from the chicken bone and I felt the chicken wing sauce sting on my lips and on the sides of my cheeks.
     Then I talked to the chicken wings like they were still alive and I asked what the future held for me.
     And the chicken wings just laughed and whispered a single word, "Pain."
     I asked the chicken wings what the future held for all of us, what the future held for you.
     The chicken wings just laughed and whispered, "Pain."
     Then they laughed some more like maniacs and the chicken wings told me I was going to lose my mind starting now.  I would want to die every day and there was a good chance that I wouldn't make it out alive.  They said I was getting ready to live the worst part of my life.  They said the planet earth was dying anyway and they said the end had come and it was the Day of Judgment.  Global warming and now the Day of Judgment was coming soon.  They said human beings were over and done with and that the chicken wings were taking over.   I just leaned back in my seat and smiled and said, "This sounds like a good time. This sounds like fun."