Monthly Archives: December 2010

Bye, 2010

A few days ago, I was in my usual corner at the coffee shop when a girl approached me to ask for a light. “Sasha, right?” I nodded my Yes, smiled brightly. I did not recognize her. An awkward pause ensued, and I wished she would go away. She waved her lit cigarette around, said, […]

December 2010 Reads

Ah, goodbye December, and with it, 2010. It was a good month for reading. There were a lot of delicious books, and only a handful of duds. It was a chill kind of month, and I’m thankful. Sure beats being harried as the year comes to a close. I’m optimistic enough to think that this […]

As much as I can allow myself on The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

How is everyone? [A perfunctory question. Yes, I am self-involved this holiday season. And frantically tying bloggie loose ends.] Aherm. Last Christmas Eve, if I wasn’t gorging myself with fruitcake or cram-wrapping children’s presents, I was thinking about how I could possibly talk about [that block of paper on top of that block of wood,] […]

“. . . be a crowd unto yourself—”

[beautiful artwork by M. Lewandowski] ♦ “. . . it is not enough to withdraw from the mob, not enough to go to another place: we have to withdraw from such attributes of the mobs as are within us. It is our own self we have to isolate and take back into possession . . . […]

“Art, you see, is not interested in your suffering.”

From Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things, novel by Gilbert Sorrentino, a rather wild ride of a book — a satirical, funny, occasionally crass and coarse, unfortunately very insightful, and just plain weird and hyperactively written view into the New York art world of the fifties and sixties: . . . the confrontation with the demons does not […]

Having reached the last page of The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis, a look back:

Ah, the end of an era. Or, well, a 732-page book. I have finally finished reading The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis. And, given how scatterbrained I am when it comes to short story collections, I do want to pat myself on the back for finishing this in record time: six months. Imagine that. Now […]

On Varieties of Disturbance by Lydia Davis: Bah!

And, finally. The last book in Lydia Davis’ fat orange omnibus! I have finished reading the last collection of fiction, Varieties of Disturbance — published in 2007, incidentally a finalist for the American National Book Award. Boo. Aherm. It has been a long ride, and I thought I’d never make it. Argh. Yes. I read this […]

“And aren’t the most beautiful follies the ones linked to love?” — On Fire in the Blood by Irène Némirovsky; translated by Sandra Smith

Such madness! When you’re twenty, love is like a fever. It makes you almost delirious. When it’s over you can hardly remember how it happened. Fire in the blood, how quickly it burns itself out. Faced with this blaze of dreams and desires, I felt so old, so cold, so wise. Oh you — Fire in […]

On The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell

I don’t think I’ve ever had any interest in the Puritans. But Nick Hornby kept going on and on about Sarah Vowell’s The Wordy Shipmates that when I saw it half-buried in a BookSale, priced PhP45 [about a dollar], I had to buy it. Curiosity, you see. Although it wasn’t until I got home and […]

On An Apology for Idlers by Robert Louis Stevenson

From a rather limited selection of Penguin Books Great Ideas available locally, I picked up Robert Louis Stevenson’s book of essays An Apology for Idlers, because to idle, ‘tis one of mah favorite things to do. Also, I went into this hoping that my idleness could be justified, among other things [like pursuing a career […]