jottings

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Much reading, little writing — for the blog, that is. i’ve been wrapped up in doing re-writes for my “serious” pieces and a magazine submission (eeep). There are big plans in store for the reading diary, however. Readers can look forward to a very long but casual post on Tarkovsky, book reports on a couple of Coetzee novels, and two Let’s Reads which will at one point be running concurrently.

Yet i feel compelled to at least keep a catalog of my reading this past week.

Kazuo Ishiguro’s NEVER LET ME GO

People shit on Ishiguro for being too middle-brow, too ethically middle-of the-road, too obviously appealing to the globalized market. This novel is written like a memoir by the protagonist Kathy H. and i found it to be really complex and ruminative in spite of the easy-going voice. Is it better to be cruel to the ones you care about if you are in fact living in a world with no human rights and no future (for your class at least)? If you like to listen to music while you read i recommend Valentin Silvestrov’s “Nostalghia” pieces.

Denis Johnson’s TRAIN DREAMS

A very strange and lovely bit of writing. The pastoral imagery and magical realism were wonderful to read. Johnson’s prose is delicate for all the macho business going on in the narrative. It seems really important to me that the historical setting is between the Civil War and World War 1, the cusp of modernity; the line between civilization and wilderness is permeable and the entire issue and world is foregrounded by violence and racism and death. And what an enigmatic final scene.

Daniel Fromson’s FINDING SHAKESPEARE

A profile on a middle aged man whose life is fascinating if hard to respect. The original pronunciation of Shakespeare is an interesting topic. But the writing felt rushed and was confusing in some places. i finished it wanting a little more space to explore the things this guy has seen and the places he’s been.

Wilkie Collin’s THE MOONSTONE

im still not quite halfway through this one. It’s very funny, and the eccentric English detective trope is apparently being established before the reader’s eyes in this novel. im hoping for more writing about drugs.

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