Tag: Literature

AlDaily – Desultory Selection, October 4, 2020

How to think about disaster. Accepting one’s place in a vast, complex, and violent world is healthier than it sounds… more »

When William James gave up on religion, he went in search of a new avenue to save his life. Can his approach help you save your own?   … more »

What Joseph Brodsky was able to set in motion: “Not the limits of a meager idea, but the activity of thought itself.”  … more »

Beware the reflexivity trap — the notion that awareness of a fault absolves one of that fault. It is rampant in millennial fiction… more »

Why we hoard. Stuff attracts more stuff, and accumulation has a powerful logic rooted in history and biology   … more »

Go forth and get you some learnin -> aldaily

Raymond Chandler’s Prose Style – Some Examples

But the LOA people knew what they were up to. Two pages into The High Window I was convinced that Chandler, despite some stylistic excesses, belongs in the canon as well as the cigar store:

“A large black and gold butterfly fishtailed in and landed on a hydrangea bush almost at my elbow, moved its wings slowly up and down a few times, then took off heavily and staggered away through the motionless hot scented air.”

Nabokov couldn’t have described a butterfly more tellingly (though he probably would have noted its species and genus). “Staggered away” is perfect. Now consider this: “An old man sat inside it [an elevator] slack-jawed and watery-eyed on a piece of folded burlap on top of a wooden stool. He looked as if he had been sitting there since the Civil War and had come out of that badly.”

Or this: “The bar entrance was to the left. It was dusky and quiet and a bartender moved mothlike against the faint glitter of piled glassware. A tall handsome blond in a dress that looked like seawater sifted over with gold dust came out of the Ladies’ Room touching up her lips and turned toward the arch, humming.

Or even this: “We looked at each other with the clear innocent eyes of a couple of used car salesmen. ”

Michael Dirda
Readings: Essays and Literary Entertainments

Find books by Mood and Emotion – www.whichbook.net

Choosing books by mood and emotion
You can mix our mood sliders into great combinations – try unpredictable, lots of sex and optimistic and check what comes up. Flip the slider setting from optimistic to unusual and the books offered are quite different.

Click on a book cover that intrigues you and you can find out more. No need to wade through long reviews, or complicated plot summaries. There’s a short comment designed to convey the essence of the book, what it feels like to read. You can get a direct experience of the author’s voice in a sample paragraph. And there are a few Parallels – other books and sometimes tv shows, songs and even paintings which have some similarities with this one.

Choosing from the world map
Spin the globe and choose a book by the country it is set in. Click on an area – say Africa or Europe – and then click on a specific country. You will find places – and books – you maybe never knew about.
eg: Italy

Choosing by character and plot
You can choose the main character’s race, age, sexuality and/or gender. Or pick a favourite plot shape and discover the range of different types of read that use it.

Starting from a familiar bestseller
You won’t find the biggest bestsellers on Whichbook as everyone knows about them already. But you can use your enjoyment of a current bestseller to see titles with a similar mood that you might try next.

https://www.whichbook.net/

10 Great Modern Classic Novels

Modern = written since 1980
Classic = will still be read 100 years from date of writing
(Selections mine, blubs via Amazon. I stuck with novels written in English because I don’t know enough lit in translation to judge.)

Flaubert’s Parrot – Julian Barnes, 1984
A kind of detective story, relating a cranky amateur scholar’s search for the truth about Gustave Flaubert, and the obsession of this detective whose life seems to oddly mirror those of Flaubert’s characters.

The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks, 1984
Meet Frank Cauldhame. Just sixteen, and unconventional to say the least:
Two years after I killed Blyth I murdered my young brother Paul, for quite different and more fundamental reasons than I’d disposed of Blyth, and then a year after that I did for my young cousin Esmerelda, more or less on a whim.

The Bonfire of the Vanities – Tom Wolfe, 1987
After Tom Wolfe defined the ’60s in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers and the cultural U-turn at the turn of the ’80s in The Right Stuff, nobody thought he could ever top himself again. In 1987, when The Bonfire of the Vanities arrived, the literati called Wolfe an “aging enfant terrible.”

The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris, 1988
A serial murderer known only by a grotesquely apt nickname–Buffalo Bill–is stalking women. He has a purpose, but no one can fathom it, for the bodies are discovered in different states. Clarice Starling, a young trainee at the FBI Academy, is surprised to be summoned by Jack Crawford, chief of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science section. Her assignment: to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter–Hannibal the Cannibal–who is kept under close watch in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.

The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro, 1989
Here is Kazuo Ishiguro’s profoundly compelling portrait of Stevens, the perfect butler, and of his fading, insular world in post-World War II England.

L.A. Confidential – James Ellroy, 1990
L.A. Confidential is epic “noir”, a crime novel of astonishing detail and scope written by the bestselling author of The Black Dahlia. A horrific mass murder invades the lives of victims and victimizers on both sides of the law. And three lawmen are caught in a deadly spiral, a nightmare that tests loyalty and courage, and offers no mercy, grants no survivors.

Regeneration – Pat Barker, 1991
In 1917 Siegfried Sasson, noted poet and decorated war hero, publicly refused to continue serving as a British officer in World War I. His reason: the war was a senseless slaughter. He was officially classified “mentally unsound” and sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital. There a brilliant psychiatrist, Dr. William Rivers, set about restoring Sassoon’s “sanity” and sending him back to the trenches.

Game of Thrones – George R.R. Martin, 1996
Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King’s Landing. There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert’s name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.

The Wishbones – Tom Perrotta, 1997
Everything is going pretty well for Dave Raymond. He’s 31, but he still feels young. He’s playing guitar with the Wishbones, a New Jersey wedding band, and while it isn’t exactly the Big Time, it is music. He has a roof over his head…well, it’s his parents’ roof, but they don’t hassle him much. Life isn’t perfect. But it isn’t bad. Not bad at all. But then he has to blow it all by proposing to his girlfriend.

Pym – Mat Johnson, 2011
Recently canned professor of American literature Chris Jaynes has just made a startling discovery: the manuscript of a crude slave narrative that confirms the reality of Edgar Allan Poe’s strange and only novel, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.

Tom Wolfe’s White Suit

Wolfe adopted wearing a white suit as a trademark in 1962. He bought his first white suit, planning to wear it in the summer, in the style of Southern gentlemen. He found that the suit he’d bought was too heavy for summer use, so he wore it in winter, which created a sensation. At the time, white suits were supposed to be reserved for summer wear. Wolfe maintained this as a trademark. He sometimes accompanied it with a white tie, white homburg hat, and two-tone spectator shoes. Wolfe said that the outfit disarmed the people he observed, making him, in their eyes, “a man from Mars, the man who didn’t know anything and was eager to know.”

Wikipedia

Límites / Boundaries – Borges Poetry

Límites
Hay una línea de Verlaine que no volveré a recordar,
Hay una calle próxima que está vedada a mis pasos,
Hay un espejo que me ha visto por última vez,
Hay una puerta que he cerrado hasta el fin del mundo
Entre los libros de mi biblioteca (estoy viéndolos)
Hay alguno que ya nunca abriré,
Este verano cumpliré cincuenta años;
La muerte me desgasta, incesante.
—de Inscripciones (Montevideo, 1923), de Julio Platero Haedo

Boundaries
There is a line by Verlaine that I will not remember again.
There is a street nearby that is off limits to my feet.
There is a mirror that has seen me for the last time.
There is a door I have closed until the end of the world.
Among the books in my library (I’m looking at them now)
Are some I will never open.
This summer I will be fifty years old.
Death is using me up, relentlessly.
—from Inscriptions (Montevideo, 1923) by Julio Platero Haedo

Poems of the Night: A Dual-Language Edition with Parallel Text (Penguin Classics)
Jorge Luis Borges
Suzanne Jill Levine (Editor)
Efrain Kristal (Editor, Introduction)

John Updike Interview on The Connection

A Conversation with John Updike

John Updike’s Rabbit, Harry Angstrom, has been powdered ashes in a Bakelite box for more than ten years now. But the faithless old ne’er-do-well and charmer, downhill all the way from his high-school basketball days, has magic yet to conjure with, from the grave, in the fifth Rabbit novel about Updike’s American times. There’s no halo over the self-centered old showboat–who his son Nelson thought was “narcissistically impaired.” Yet there’s more than just the aura of memory around Harry: he’s a real ghost, clicking off practice chip shots under Nelson’s window in the gray-blue moonlight….

Rabbit’s still bugging Ronnie Harrison, whom he beat out in basketball and in the bedroom game-no matter that Ronnie has married Rabbit’s widow. In “Rabbit Remembered” he has dispatched from the grave a real daughter Annabelle that almost nobody new he had as an emissary and a balm for the world he left behind. Rabbit lives this hour on The Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)

Guests:
Author John Updike. His new book is entititled, “Licks of Love: Short Stories and a Sequel, ‘Rabbit Remembered.’”

you can listen here: The Connection

I hate when I am picturing an area and the author describes something that contradicts what I envision – Reddit


I hate when I am picturing an area and the author describes something that contradicts what I envision from books

BuddhaBliss
I just keep my imagination’s version.

sonedoyaar
Haha yes, I’m always thinking “You may be God of this world but I am God of mine”

Naerwyn
A book is a two way street

EchidnaLunar
I do that most of the time, but when the change affects the plot, I burn the book and start doing drugs have to make a compromise.

Meditation – Julian of Norwich

Meditation
Prayer unites the soul to God. For though the soul be ever like to God in nature and substance, restored by grace, it is often unlike in condition by sin on man’s part. Then is prayer a witness that the soul wills as God wills, and it comforts the conscience and enables man to grace. And He teaches us to pray and mightily trust that we shall have it. For He beholdeth us in love and would make us partners of His good deed. And therefore He moves us to pray for that which it pleases Him to do.

Prayers (Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets Series)

Julian of Norwich (c. 8 November 1342 – c. 1416) was an English Christian mystic and theologian. Little is known of her life. Even her name is uncertain, the name “Julian” probably originated from the Church of St. Julian, Norwich, where she was an anchoress.

Wikiquote

Gift – Czeslaw Milosz

GIFT
A day so happy.
Fog lifted early, I worked in the garden.
Hummingbirds were stopping over honeysuckle
flowers.
There was no thing on earth I wanted to possess.
I knew no one worth my envying him.
Whatever evil I had suffered, I forgot.
To think that once I was the same man did not
embarrass me.
In my body I felt no pain.
When straightening up, I saw the blue sea and sails.

CZESLAW MILOSZ
Poems of Gratitude, edited by Emily Fragos
Amazon