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Author Topic: Books part deux
xrcrguy
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posted 16 March 2003 12:25 PM      Profile for xrcrguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just wondering what babblers are reading right now.

Just finished Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72 and The Great Shark Hunt.
Both are by Hunter S. Thompson. The writing is colorful to say the least. I'd recommend both.


From: Believe in ideas, not ideology | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
BleedingHeart
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posted 16 March 2003 12:41 PM      Profile for BleedingHeart   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Since Xmas, finished Paris 1919 excellent book, finished Don Martin's bio of Ralph Klein, worth a read although a little too sympathetic to Ralph (proceeds go to charity), The Last Crossing.

Currently reading Rohinton Mistry's family matters.


From: Kickin' and a gougin' in the mud and the blood and the beer | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mohamad Khan
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posted 16 March 2003 02:17 PM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
not reading any novels right now because i'm trying to focus on finishing my independent essay, which deals with three main texts: Salman Rushdie's The Moor's Last Sigh, Tariq Ali's Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree, and Zulfikar Ghose's "Arrival in India" in Veronica and the Gongora Passion. some others also intrude into the paper, particularly Don Quijote, Sa`dat Hasan Manto's "Tob Tek singh" ("Toba Tek Singh"), "kayfa Sirtu majnnan" by Jubrn Khall Jubrn (Kahlil Gibran), Mahmd Darwsh's aHad `ashar kawkaban `ala al-akhr al-mashhad al-andalus (Eleven Stars Over Andalusia), and his "taDqu bi-naa al-arD" ("The Earth Is Closing In On Us").

so no novels for me, but of late my family has taken to declaiming modern Urdu poetry at the dinner table. to keep up i've been going through Faiz Ahmad Faiz's complete works, nuskha-h-i-waf (Manuscripts of Faithfulness); Ahmad Farz's n yft ("Missing"), jn jn (My Love, My Love" and khwb-i-gul paresh hai (The Flower's Dream is Distracted, and Nn Mm Rshid's complete works.

i've been wondering whether a certain murgh-i-siyh moderator might be interested in a bait bz thread...if we posted with translations it would keep our skills sharp as well. not really a big time investment either, as long as we kept it single baits or bands. farmiye.

[ 16 March 2003: Message edited by: Mohamad Khan ]


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audra trower williams
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posted 16 March 2003 02:39 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am reading Jane Sexes it Up.
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
flotsom
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posted 16 March 2003 02:41 PM      Profile for flotsom   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A bunch of different stuff.

Henri Bergson's Laughter is within reach.

Augustine's Confessions and Desiderius Erasmus' The Praise of Folly are my bed-table books of late.

Bartek the Conqueror by Henryk Sienkiewicz

Selections from the Pali Canon: Khuddaka Nikaya; Theragatha, Therigatha.

But the immortal Don Quixote feels it is almost time for yet another campaign.

Most recently, as in -- an hour ago: a short story by Selma Lagerlf called The Outlaws


From: the flop | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
UWSofty
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posted 16 March 2003 02:44 PM      Profile for UWSofty   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just finished reading Naomi Klein's No Logo and Fences and Windows, which I recieved for Christmas. I really enjoyed them both. Naomi Klein's writing is so easy to read and she does a great job of linking facts, opinions, and experiences.

No Logo focuses on sweatshops, large multinational companies that emply sweatshop labour, and the growing trend opposing these actions.

Fences and Windows is a collection of short essays, newspaper articles and speeches from Naomi. I think I enjoyed these more than No Logo, because although they were disconected, they covered a wider range of topics and gave first hand experiences of activism in places like Seatle, Quebec City, Mexico, and Italy.

Right now, I'm reading "The Hydrogen Economy" by Jeremy Rifkin. His writing doesn't flow as much as Naomi's. The book seems to be full of figures and short on ideas (at least so far, I'm only about 100 pages in). I was really hoping to read about the promise of hydrogen energy and the technology around it, but the first 100 pages have been mainly about our current fossil fuel economy and the myriad of opinions on when fossil fuels will run out (pretty dry stuff).

After reading Naomi Klein's books, does anyone have any suggestions for further reading? I've been looking for something simmilar.


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Willowdale Wizard
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posted 16 March 2003 02:50 PM      Profile for Willowdale Wizard   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
- ditto on fear and loathing: on the campaign trail '72

- "the bang bang club", by greg marinovich and joao silva, is incredible. it's about news photographers in south africa's township war in the early 90's. on the same topic, i also saw a great documentary: "war photographer" on the cbc's "the passionate eye" a few weeks ago.

- "ranters and crowd pleasers -- punk in pop music, 1977-92", picked this up 2nd hand a few days before new years. it's a collection of essays by greil marcus, author of "lipstick traces". punk was a story that was

quote:
played out, lived out, more times than anyone knows in the years after the Sex Pistols vanished -- in a village in Andalusia, after class at the University of Leeds, in a warehouse in Prague. The story was always the same: the music made a promise that things did not have to be as they seemed, and some brave people set out to keep that promise for themselves. The story was always different: each version left behind its own local legends, heroes, casualties, a few precious documents, a tale to tell.

From: england (hometown of toronto) | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 16 March 2003 03:02 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Re-reading The Trial of Henry Kissinger, by Christopher Hitchens. Fascinating material. It's like watching a train wreck. You can't stop looking at it and you know you should feel immensely disgusted.

There is this other book I have, called The Security of Freedom. It's about the implications of Bill C-36 and related legislation on civil rights in Canada.

Also, there's War and Anti-War, by Alvin and Heidi Toffler. It applies the Tofflerian model (such a big word, but it just means the Three Waves of Change model) of economic and social change to changes in warfare as well. It's about 10 years old, but some of their predictions have come in pretty much as expected.

Unfortunately I can't get in as much reading as I would like, as I have calculus, physics, and chemistry homework of various kinds to do


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
nonsuch
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posted 16 March 2003 03:33 PM      Profile for nonsuch     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So high-minded are y'all!
I just put aside 'Falling Backward' by James Eke (Canadian, yes, but lousy writing. I'm still trying to figure out a tactful way to tell the nice person who sent it to me.) in favour of 'Expensive People' by Joyce Carol Oates (what a relief!)

From: coming and going | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
swirrlygrrl
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posted 16 March 2003 07:35 PM      Profile for swirrlygrrl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'll admit I'm a complete book worm - I usually do a book a week, though when I'm not so busy its considerably higher. I prefer fiction, but have been mixing it up more often of recent.

Currently, reading Pierre Berton's Vimy, re-reading Timothy's Findley's the Wars, and a book on Dieppe (with books on the Somme and Ypres in the wings). Figure if I'm going to see the battlegrounds of France, I should have some knowledge of the events that took place there.
However, I picked up 2 Woody Allen books and the Sweet Hereafter at the library today, and I also have Hitchen's the Trial of Henry Kisseneger on the list, since I saw it at ONDP council and couldn't resist. All of which are distracting me from watching Blind Date and other bad tv, so I'm glad of them all.


From: the bushes outside your house | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
xrcrguy
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posted 16 March 2003 08:00 PM      Profile for xrcrguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
"The Bang Bang Club" was great, I read that one over the summer when I was in the bush.

I also received "No Logo" for Christmas as well as "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser. I found Naomi's book to be a bit dry in parts but still an excellent read. "Fast Food Nation" is a bit lighter but still remains quite the eye-opener on the food industry in America.


From: Believe in ideas, not ideology | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
midge
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posted 16 March 2003 08:26 PM      Profile for midge     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I also read "Fences and Windows" and "Fast Food Nation." Both are good books. I recently started "The Frailty Myth" by Colette Dowling. It's about women and sports. So far so good.
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Sara Mayo
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posted 16 March 2003 09:10 PM      Profile for Sara Mayo     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just finished reading In the Shadow of a Saint, by Ken Wiwa.

The best book I've read in a long time. A nuanced biography of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the Nigerian Human rights acitivst, it is also the moving and frank portrait of the relationship Ken Wiwa had with his father and the weight of trying to do good in life when you're father is in the same "saintly" company as Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.


From: "Highways are monuments to inequality" - Enrique Penalosa | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Vee
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posted 16 March 2003 10:02 PM      Profile for Vee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The book at my bedside is "The Road to Sarajevo" by General Lewis MacKenzie. I am trying to better understand the experiences my brother will not talk about from his peacekeeping tour in Bosnia.
From: East Coast | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
TommyPaineatWork
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posted 16 March 2003 11:32 PM      Profile for TommyPaineatWork     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm reading a biography of Rebecca West right now. It kind of jumped out at me at a used book store.

I'm not terribly far into it, but so far it's quite interesting.


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Flowers By Irene
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posted 17 March 2003 12:29 AM      Profile for Flowers By Irene     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I was given Michael Moore's Stupid White Men around Christmas, just started reading it last week. As soon as I'm done, I'll be digging into Linda McQuaig's All You Can Eat and soon will be opening Richard Gwyn's Nationalism Without Walls, which I just picked up yesterday. William Blum's Rogue State is lying around here somewhere, and I'll be getting to it soon as well.
From: "To ignore the facts, does not change the facts." -- Andy Rooney | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Alix
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posted 17 March 2003 01:39 PM      Profile for Alix     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Goodness, it feels like such a long time since I've read any fiction. And not on purpose, either.

Right now for research purposes I'm reading The Alexiad of Anna Comnena (primary source from around the time of the crusades) and a book called Mythic Ireland by Michael Dames. I'm quite enjoying that one.

For fun I'm reading Warrior Queens by Antonia something-or-other - it's rather light mass-consumption history, but I'm enjoying it nonetheless.


From: Kingston | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Tommy Shanks
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posted 17 March 2003 02:46 PM      Profile for Tommy Shanks     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I always seem to have a pile of a half-dozen or so books on the go at any one time. I just finished "A Stillness at Appomatox", by Bruce Catton, about the last days of the civil war, and "The Killer Inside Me" by Jim Thompson, a really creepy first-person noir novel about a serial killer.

I have just started "The Big Nowhere" by James Ellroy, "Carlo Scarpa and the Castelvecchio" by Richard Murphy (about the Italian architect) and "Henry Ford and the Jews", by Neil Baldwin. All seem to be pretty interesting so far.

[ 17 March 2003: Message edited by: Tommy Shanks ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
dale cooper
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posted 17 March 2003 03:26 PM      Profile for dale cooper     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I have just started "The Big Nowhere" by James Ellroy

This is an amazing book. Better if you read the whole LA Quartet in order - Black Dahlia, Big Nowhere, LA Confidential, and fianlly White Jazz. I consider this series to be the best North American fiction to come out of the 20th C.

I am currently reading "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" - Dave Eggers; "Hopscotch" - can't remember the author; "Dhalgren" - Samuel R. Delaney.


From: Another place | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Rebecca West
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posted 17 March 2003 05:10 PM      Profile for Rebecca West     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I haven't had time to read much of anything in the past few months, but I just wanted to point out that I've found Babble to be one of the best places for good book recommendations I've ever come across.
From: London , Ontario - homogeneous maximus | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
clersal
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posted 17 March 2003 07:53 PM      Profile for clersal     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm reading 'Midwives' by Chris Bohjalian.
Just finished 'Portent' by James Herbert. I hope it isn't.

From: Canton Marchand, Qubec | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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posted 17 March 2003 08:15 PM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Sara: Oooh. Ken Wiwa read from that at the launch of Black Berry, Sweet Juice. It's gooooood.
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 17 March 2003 08:28 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
After two years or so, I'm about two-thirds through Swann's Way, by Proust. For relief from that and much else, I devour Terry Pratchett'sDiscworld books. Better than any meds I've ever tried.
From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Art J
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posted 17 March 2003 10:35 PM      Profile for Art J     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am in the last chapter of 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man'. I am so stoked on James Joyce right now.
From: British Columbia Inc. - Let us Prey | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
kingblake
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posted 18 March 2003 12:22 AM      Profile for kingblake     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
i haven't had a chance to read anything but my coursepacks for too long. actually i did get to read "la grosse femme d'a cote est enceite" by michel tremblay for my quebec lit class, which was quite good.
(edited for clarity)

[ 18 March 2003: Message edited by: kingblake ]


From: In Regina, the land of Exotica | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
cosmiccommunist
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posted 19 March 2003 02:22 PM      Profile for cosmiccommunist   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
im reading Molecular Invasion by the Critical Art Ensemble.


http://loveandrage.pitas.com

[ 19 March 2003: Message edited by: cosmiccommunist ]


From: Toronto | Registered: Dec 2001  |  IP: Logged
storyfool
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posted 19 March 2003 07:12 PM      Profile for storyfool     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Since i can't read one book at a time i am munching my way slowly through The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (after which i've promised myself i'll finish Rushdie's Midnight's Children)

I'm positively loving Anne Carson's "Eros the Bittersweet" in my eternal quest to figure out what love is.

And, because i think french intellectual thought stretches the brain i'm also loving Helen Cixous's "Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing"

And on this eve of war i am reading TErry Eagleton's "Sweet Violence: the idea of the tragic"; while to stay sane i read regularly from Andrew Boyd's "Daily Afflictions: the agony of being connected to everything in the universe" which includes my favourite quote of the year (by Oscar Wilde): If you are going to tell people the truth you had better make them laugh or they will kill you.

And thank you dale cooper for reminding me of Dhalgren - a very influential novel when i was a teenager.


From: Toronto | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jared
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posted 20 March 2003 03:14 AM      Profile for Jared     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm attempting to squeeze in Zadie Smith's sophomore effort "The Autograph Man," and a Marshall McLuhan collection outside of school, but it's the busy season right now. Oh, and I'm rereading Lester Bangs' "Psychotic Reactions And Carburetor Dung." There's always time for Lester.
From: Vancouver | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 20 March 2003 11:31 AM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hey Jared, long time no see.

I'm belatedly reading Zadie Smith's first, White Teeth. Meanwhile I've re-read Lester so many times I imagine I'll put him away for a couple more years. Still -- despite the fact that half the acts he wrote about never made it out of the Seventies -- he's timeless.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
batz
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posted 20 March 2003 11:44 PM      Profile for batz     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just finished Making History by Stephen Fry.
It's a really funny story that centres around speculating what would have happened if Hitler had never been born. It's irreverant and really insightful.

Pattern Recognition by William Gibson is also excellent. It's his best. It's a departure from the more technical elements of his cyberpunk stories. but the aesthetics are still there.
Gibson has been unfairly marginalised as a sci-fi author, when he is really more of a surrealist.

He isn't a surrealist in the nonsense/anti-rationalism of Dada. His imagery is hyperreal and viscerally reflexive in a way that replaces the extreme magnification of fiction with a kind of crisp, high-resolution poetry.


From: elsewhere | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Funk Soul Brother
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posted 21 March 2003 02:51 PM      Profile for Funk Soul Brother     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just finished the LOTR trilogy. Very good, but not great. I think they make better movies.

Currently on 'Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy'. A new version of the movie should definately be made, based on the technology that LOTR was produced.


From: Tugging on your sleeve... | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mohamad Khan
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posted 06 April 2003 06:21 PM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
i've been indulging myself in a four-day streak of unproductiveness. ends tomorrow.

since thursday i've wolfed down Flaubert's Madame Bovary, which i bought used at Vic College's sale, and Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart, which i got from Michelle (thanks Michelle! )

thank god for books. they really take my mind off the crap going on nowadays.


From: "Glorified Harlem": Morningside Heights, NYC | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
swirrlygrrl
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posted 06 April 2003 08:47 PM      Profile for swirrlygrrl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In prep for moving, I've been deciding what of my books, cd, clothes, etc I am keeping and what I can sell/give away. Decided there were a few things on my bookshelf that (though I have no idea how they got there), I should read before I got rid of. Thus, in 2 days I read "The Bridges of Madison County" (and may I say, as schlocky as expected), and Judy Blume's "Summer Sisters" (melodramatic soft core romance - not up to the standard of her young adolescent works). Currently rading Primary Colours (sp), and loving it! Makes me long for a federal election. Jane Urquhart's Away is the last in the line.

I agree wholeheartedly that babble is great for getting ideas for future readings. Keep up the good work, you wonderful, intelligent folks!

On the Hitchhiker's Guide, the signature on one of my many emails is:

"What so unpleasant about being drunk?"
"You ask a glass of water."

Profound, yet


From: the bushes outside your house | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Boinker
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posted 07 April 2003 08:55 PM      Profile for Boinker   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am reading Women and the Politics of Class by Johanna Brenner, Naiomi Klein's No Logo, Noam Chomsky's American Power and David Suzuki's A Sacred Balance.I just completed Jonathan Spence's Mao. This book was enlightening and compassionate but not deadly honest. The murderous rampages were not covered in any detail and the argument was made that Mao was out of touch with reality.

The atrocities of the Red Guard and others are seen in the context of the atrocities of the warlords Mao fought against. I wasn't satisfied with the book largely because it played down his role in the carnage. I wasn't convinced that his dotage and his distance from the day to day affairs of state exempted him as much as the author tried to suggest.

There is a great sadness in China it seems and a frustration that human society cannot seem to escape its worst tendancies. Government gone mad is one of the greatest tragedies of human society. Thinking that people are fodder for social order is another atrocity of political thinking.

Naiomi Klein's book takes me back to my years of working in retail sales while pursuing my career as a cartoonist (of which I am still wildly unsuccessful and proud of it). It was painful analysis but her solutions seem ineffective, sophomoric, rather than fully revolutionary.

I suppose if you compare the two, Naiomi Klein and Mao, you see one as a failed revolutionary because of its terrible outcome and the other as a successful rebel because of the lack of impact on Global culture.

In Naiomi Klein's book there can be no counter culture no alternative aesthetic because it has all been co-opted. How do you escape such a bind?
Perhaps this will be revealed later on.

Suzuki's book is pleasant reading but it puts me to sleep as often as not. It's not that it is boring but it has an almost narcotic effect since after awhile you start to get this sense of planetary conciousness and environmental morality and inevitably fall asleep.

I am also reading an old book called Water in England by the somewhat eccentric writer Dorothy Hartley. It just predates the big environmental school but has an otherworldly charm, discussing the ways people in antiquity managed their water resources in England. It is full of lovely little drawings but much of text is begnignly opaque to the reader (which calls for re-reading at some point).

There is a good issue on water this month in the New Internationalist. It even suggests that much of the Israeli Palestinian conflict may be water related in years to come.

here

Chomsky's 9/11 interviews were enlightening and an easy and enjoyable read...

I think I would like to read more novels for a while though... as a kind of break from reality and just to get a sense of meaningfulness renewed in this crazy world.

[ 07 April 2003: Message edited by: Boinker ]

[ 08 April 2003: Message edited by: Boinker ]


From: The Junction | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hankerin' Tom
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posted 08 April 2003 01:12 AM      Profile for Hankerin' Tom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This might reveal much about my tastes and character but i have been devouring the Flashman Novels by George McDonald Frasier as often as i can get them (when i journey from the Heartland to Canada). I have an anthology of Cthulhiana underneath flashman and bneath that a Mercer Dictionary of the Bible...i may not be a fundy but it is an interesting read (yes I read Encyclopedias and dictionaries for fun. I know, you cant tell).
From: The Heartland | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
Alix
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posted 08 April 2003 10:08 AM      Profile for Alix     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The only good thing about The Bridges of Madison County was that it was so short that I finished it before I fully realized how much that book made me want to throw up.
From: Kingston | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 08 April 2003 10:09 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Now THERE'S a book review! Alix, you've missed your calling. Hee hee.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
wei-chi
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posted 08 April 2003 12:53 PM      Profile for wei-chi   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Life of Pi

[ 08 April 2003: Message edited by: wei-chi ]


From: Saskatoon | Registered: Jun 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mohamad Khan
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posted 12 April 2003 01:19 AM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
my girlfriend lent me Lady Chatterley's Lover. just finished it. wow.
From: "Glorified Harlem": Morningside Heights, NYC | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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Babbler # 214

posted 12 April 2003 08:29 AM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Hankerin' Tom, when you're done devouring "Flashman", try Bernard Cornwell's "Sharpe" series. I call them "Men's Romance Novels", but they are nice little diversions between wieghtier tomes.

You might also try one of Cornwell's more recent books, called "Gallow's Thief". The period history is well researched, from the fact checking I've done, and Cornwell has as good a story telling sense as Frasier.

Hmm. In fact, I'd say run, don't walk, and get a copy of "Gallow's Thief."


I'm still plodding along reading the Victoria Glendinning biography of Rebecca West. I say plodding only because I don't have the time to sit down and read as much as I'd like to at one sitting.

Rebecca West was a very fascinating woman, who knew some very fascinating people.

I should do a book report when I finish. It's very thought provoking.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mohamad Khan
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posted 30 April 2003 11:06 AM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
reading some books for an upcoming summer course. got through Oliver Twist and Mary Bolton, but now i'm stuck in the middle of Vanity Fair. it's gotten interesting, but did it have to be so long? Vanity, Vanity, Vanity Fair.
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xrcrguy
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posted 30 April 2003 06:50 PM      Profile for xrcrguy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just finished Hemmingway's A Farewell To Arms.

Amazing.

Also recently read Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger. Another great book.


From: Believe in ideas, not ideology | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus
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posted 07 May 2003 02:48 PM      Profile for Sisyphus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've just finished The Horned Man by James Lasdun. It's a creepy, psychological horror story I saw plugged in Harper's and boy am I glad I read it! It wasn't nearly as opaque as some reviewers have found it. It's sparsely but evocatively written and a very quick read, but I'm still savouring it. The use of the first-person as (unreliable or hyperreliable?) guide to the world he inhabits is masterful.

I'm also almost finished Fashionable Nonsense, a seminal work in the "Science versus intellectuals of dubious credentials " wars.

I've also completed Jeffery Simpson's The Friendly Dictatorship, which is essentially a thumbnail sketch of Canada's political system and current political climate. It would be too elementary for many Babblers, but I think it would make a great core text for a high-school Social Studies class. It's a quick read and surprisingly balanced. I hope Jack L. ignores Simpson's prescriptions for a "new, improved" NDP .

Still on the go: The Best Democracy That Money Can Buy by Greg Palast, Islam Today: A Short Introduction to the Muslim World by Akbar S. Ahmed and
Canoecraft: An illustrated guide to fine woodstrip construction by Ted Moores, in preparation for a summer project
.


From: Never Never Land | Registered: Sep 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mohamad Khan
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posted 12 May 2003 02:01 AM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
finished Jane Eyre, and now i'm alternating between Freud's Interpretation of Dreams and Marx's Capital, both of which i'm reading for the first time. i'd thought, originally, that i'd prefer Freud to Marx, but as it turns out, Capital is the one that's really drawing me in.

Freud is a very easy read, conversational, weirdly funny...and yet i feel now and again that he's not convincing me, somehow. if i could give his arguments a different philosophical context it would be different, but he seems to want it to be a "science," and as soon as i hear that, i think of and in a very narrow sort of positivistic rationalism, though i know that "science" is more than that. so i want it to be very, very logically tight...and i don't see that it is that. anyone care to offer their own readings?

Marx, on the other hand, seemed dry and boring at first, but at the same time his arguments seem impeccably sound within his epistemological framework. and as the chapters progress, Marx's self begins to peek through the objective faade...the masking layers begin to peel away to a point at which one can discern the rage underneath. he just cannot resist parenthetically chastising factory owners even as he quotes them; he rounds upon them even before they've finished speaking. it kind of reminds me of reading Black Skin, White Masks--but much softer...when that Fanon wants to let loose...watch out!


From: "Glorified Harlem": Morningside Heights, NYC | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 12 May 2003 03:23 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Mohamad Khan:
reading some books for an upcoming summer course. got through Oliver Twist and Mary Bolton, but now i'm stuck in the middle of Vanity Fair. it's gotten interesting, but did it have to be so long? Vanity, Vanity, Vanity Fair.

Ahh, Becky Sharp. Hers was one of the great rebellious acts of literature - tossing her gift dictionary out the window.

I've never heard of "Mary Bolton," but I based much of my master's thesis on Mrs. Gaskell's "Mary Barton."

I'm reading Bloom's "The Closing of the American Mind" again. It was better ten years ago. Just finished "August 1914" and before that, "The Quiet American" and "The Godfather."


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mohamad Khan
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posted 12 May 2003 11:34 AM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
och, you're right, Mr. Qa'bong! Barton it is.

what was your master's thesis all about?


From: "Glorified Harlem": Morningside Heights, NYC | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 12 May 2003 12:16 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Broadly, the thesis was about writings of the Industrial Revolution. My focus was "Mary Barton" and "North and South" by Mrs. Gaskell, but I covered books such as Disraeli's "Sybil," Kingsley's "Alton Locke," and Dickens' "Hard Times" as well. I also threw in Orwell's "Wigan Pier" and Zola's "Germinal" for perspective. That was the fiction part.

I also covered as many non-fictional works as I could, including articles in the journals (Fraser's and the Edinburgh Journal); things like Engels' "Condition of the Working Class" and Carlyle's "Chartism," and many other monographs describing "The Condition of England."

I made a comparative study to show both how all these middle class writers described the working class, and how fiction can be used as a source for reconstructing social history.

It took me a while...


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mohamad Khan
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posted 13 May 2003 11:02 AM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
yikes...how long did it end up being?
From: "Glorified Harlem": Morningside Heights, NYC | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mandos
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posted 13 May 2003 11:11 AM      Profile for Mandos   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Light reading: Kristine Smith's idomeni trilogy. She's a new SF writer in my favorite vein, "xenoanthropological" fiction. If she gets a bit more practice, she might even be competition to the very queen of xenoanthropological fiction, C. J. Cherryh. Horrid book covers on the North American editions, but this is normal in SF.

Heavier reading: Some papers from Linguistic Form and its Computation. In particular, the one on "Semantic vs. Syntactic Reconstruction", about where to draw the line between syntax and semantics in various reconstruction effects in sentence processing. Attempts to prove that the difference is minimal. Also some journal articles on the web on the processing load of split scrambling in Russian.

[ 13 May 2003: Message edited by: Mandos ]


From: There, there. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 13 May 2003 01:23 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
130-odd pages, and years I could have spent doing something else.
From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Asperdity
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posted 13 May 2003 05:03 PM      Profile for Asperdity     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
H.P. Lovecraft - the ultimate escape He was the master of old English hyper-description.
From: the free world | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
iworm
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posted 13 May 2003 05:45 PM      Profile for iworm   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
H.P. Lovecraft - the ultimate escape He was the master of old English hyper-description.

And spawned some truly geeky products, among them the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game!


From: Constantly moving | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mohamad Khan
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posted 14 May 2003 12:56 AM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I made a comparative study to show both how all these middle class writers described the working class, and how fiction can be used as a source for reconstructing social history.

if you don't mind my asking, what did you make of Gaskell's depiction? i haven't got the book in front of me, and my memory is slightly foggy...but when i read the novel, it seemed as though she was walking a tightrope between sympathising with the workers and maintaining solidarity with her own class. but then, the character of the murderer (whose name i've forgotten; John Barton?) seemed problematic. if it had been a straight case of poor man driven to murder, it might have been less troublesome, but i got the sense that his communism or chartism were implicated...that they were evil doctrines that somehow facilitated the murder. what did you find?


From: "Glorified Harlem": Morningside Heights, NYC | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 14 May 2003 02:47 AM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
...but when i read the novel, it seemed as though she was walking a tightrope between sympathising with the workers and maintaining solidarity with her own class.

I agree, and agree as well with your saying that Mrs. Gaskell condemned Chartism and Communism as wicked influences on the cotton operatives. The middle class bias in "North and South" is worse. I found a similar attitude among just about every middle class writer (the great Carlyle, with Engels, the exceptions) on the "Condition of England Question."

Even those who were sympathetic to "the poor," nevertheless viewed them as a separate species (I used the term "caste" in my essay). The poor were thus regarded as one might regard a specimen in a microscope, with an objective disinterestness tempered by only a suggestion of common humanity. Again, Carlyle, especially in "Past and Present," is the exception.


From: Saskatchistan | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mohamad Khan
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posted 18 June 2003 06:50 PM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Even those who were sympathetic to "the poor," nevertheless viewed them as a separate species (I used the term "caste" in my essay).

i found that to be very true of all of the novels that i've read for Vic Lit so far. Oliver Twist really takes the cake. no doubt his attack upon workhouse conditions is very important, but on the other hand, there's hardly ever any doubt that the supposed lower-class "Other," Oliver, is actually middle-class all along. jeez.

i wrote an awful essay on Oliver Twist, on a topic that didn't really interest me. but i'm very interested in Jane Eyre's and Vanity Fair's references to colonial India and black people; how colonialism, Orientalism and anti-black racism come together in these two novels.

anyhow, since my last post, i've read a couple of things: for my course, Middlemarch and Wuthering Heights, and for my own interest, Foucault's Discipline and Punish, Nets of Awareness: Urdu Poetry and Its Critics, and Nietzsche's Birth of Tragedy. i want to comment on that last one...but i don't have the time right now.

i am now planning to do a close reading of Ibn al-`Arabi's Bezels of Wisdom (fuSuuS al-Hikaam), and wondering why i ever wanted to dive into Western philosophy in the first place, when everything that i understand is here.

quote:
For those who [truly] know the divine Realities, the doctrine of transcendence imposes a restriction and a limitation [on the Reality], for he who asserts that God is [purely] transcendent is either a fool or a rogue, even if he be a professed believer. For, if he maintains that God is [purely] transcendent and excludes all other considerations, he acts mischievously and misrepresents the Reality and all the apostles, albeit unwittingly. He imagines that he has hit on the truth, while he has [completely] missed the mark, being like those who believe in part and deny in part [cf. Qur'an 4.150].

[ 19 June 2003: Message edited by: Mohamad Khan ]


From: "Glorified Harlem": Morningside Heights, NYC | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged
al-Qa'bong
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posted 18 June 2003 09:37 PM      Profile for al-Qa'bong   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is great. I'm reading Shamela (prompted by M.K. on another thread) and re-reading Raymond Williams' Culture and Society (one of the catalysts for my thesis) now. I miss the student days....

I wrote essays on both Jane Eyre (Vic. Lit.) and Birth of Tragedy (Philosophy of Religion) as an undergrad. My hook on Bront was to look at Jane through the prism of Kant's Categorical Imperative.

I ate, slept and breathed Nietzsche for a few weeks. I read more and more of his writings, and I struggled with a way to approach the task, until I decided to BE Nietzsche and write my essay as a series of tragic poems.

I got my best marks ever on these two essays.


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Courage
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posted 20 June 2003 08:42 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Slavoj Zizek, The Sublime Object of Ideology. - application of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory to attempt a new reading of Marxist theories of ideology, and provide a few ideas of his own.

G.I. Gurdjieff, Beelzebub's Tales to His Grandson. Somebody called this "the most convincing fusion of Eastern and Western philosophy ever written" or something to that effect. I can't tell if that statement is true, but it's a devil of a ride. This book remains on perpetual rotation. It's that kind of book, you need to keep reading and digging, then go away and live a little, and then read and dig and then go away live a little, anon...

Coleman Barkes, The Essential Rumi. Persian Sufi poetry in a new English translation.

I also keep an ever-changing stack of books beside my bed - and on the desk, and on the nightstand, and on the extra book shelf, and in the living room, and... - which I read sporadically as a mood or thought strikes me. I often read books - or at least sections - a number of times over the course of years - trying to connect the dots within and between texts.

[ 20 June 2003: Message edited by: Courage ]

[ 20 June 2003: Message edited by: Courage ]


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DrConway
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posted 20 June 2003 08:50 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I vaguely remember of Gurdjieff. I once picked up a book about metaphysical philosophies and there was a brief mention of the fellow. I think it mentioned his desire to synthesize Western and Eastern philosophies.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Courage
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posted 20 June 2003 08:55 PM      Profile for Courage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by al-Qa'bong:

I ate, slept and breathed Nietzsche for a few weeks. I read more and more of his writings, and I struggled with a way to approach the task, until I decided to BE Nietzsche and write my essay as a series of tragic poems.


I've had a few 10-round heavyweight bouts with Neitzsche over the years. He wouldn't have wanted it any other way! I am never dissapointed when I pick him up again, even just to read a few lines. I've always thought that two things are necessary to 'get' Neitzsche. First, he's not trying to 'convince' you so much as 'call you out'. He makes a demand on you to think and feel and sense who you might be or want to be. Second, I think it is absolutely necessary to think of him as a comedian. How many times does he go off onto a rant and then say, "But seriously...." If we aren't mindful of his play, we miss so much...


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bookworm
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posted 20 June 2003 09:28 PM      Profile for bookworm     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I just spent all the spare time I had this week reading a collection of H.G. Wells. I was pleasantly surprised at it, considering the publication dates of the stories. My fave of the collection was "When the Sleeper Wakes." It was a bit scary to imagine him writing about governments serving the needs of corporations instead of ordinary citizens back in the 1890's. It must have given him nightmares.

Just picked up a copy of Dalton Trumbo's "Johnny Got his Gun" at a used book store on the way home from work tonight. Has anyone read it? I hope it's good. But for a dollar, I couldn't go wrong


From: nose-to-grindstone | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mohamad Khan
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posted 21 June 2003 12:44 AM      Profile for Mohamad Khan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I ate, slept and breathed Nietzsche for a few weeks. I read more and more of his writings, and I struggled with a way to approach the task, until I decided to BE Nietzsche and write my essay as a series of tragic poems.

that's interesting. in April i finished up a 70-page paper on South Asian fiction and Andalusia. throughout most of the year i didn't have a clear thesis, but from January to April i worked on it non-stop. around the time that the war on Iraq was happening, i was hammering away at it (taking time off for regular protests, of course), and at the same time i had all these ideas for a work of fiction in my head that i wanted to get down onto paper. it was odd because i haven't had the urge to write fiction for several years. i was on a strict literary diet -- i promised myself that i wouldn't read or write anything not pertaining to the paper, so as to stay focused. but as i wrote my conclusion, i realised that in a very real sense, my paper had become a work of fiction itself. i was writing about three novels by South Asian authors about (among other things) the end of Muslim rule in India and the exile of the Moors. my first chapter, "Miscegenation," described pre-exile Andalusia and Andalusianness; the second, "Dismemberment," analysed the way in which the Moor is torn away from that Andalusian miscegenation; and the third, "Masks and the Masked," described the exiled Moor's authenticist quest for a new Andalusia, and shows how he fails. these three chapters tell a "new" story of the Moor, constructed out of the novels, with the aid of Cervantes, Manto, Darwish, Gibran, etc. the final chapter, "Book-Burning," deals with memory and the act of writing, and it shows how the tragedy of the Moor's exile and inability to come home can be a way of talking about the writing of the novels; the Moor is the author...and finally, in the conclusion, i realise that i am the Moor myself, and contained within my paper is a history of my writing of my paper. in other words, my paper wrote its own autobiography. and given that the story of the Moor is tragic, ending in failure, i discovered that my paper was tragic in very much the same way. so, welcome to the tragic essay-writers club.

(Luce Irigaray: "Of course there is fiction. This one, for example.")

as for Birth of Tragedy, it was a fascinating read. it would be pointless to go through all the things that i agreed with. but i also had some rather deep misgivings about it. i'd already encountered some of the ideas in Hindu writings, and at times he explicitly acknowledges their Indian origin. but his project of positing a Western origin for these things in Ancient Greece seems problematic to me somehow. i also think that his opposition to what he sees as the Socratic is a bit heavy-handed, and i'm not sure that tracing logic to Socrates is really valid. it's useful, i suppose, for his project. the Apollo-Dionysos/Socrates opposition is interesting, though.

quote:
Coleman Barkes, The Essential Rumi. Persian Sufi poetry in a new English translation.

the picture in my profile bears a striking resemblance to said poet.

there's a thread on Rumi here, where we talk about Barks' translation. as rasmus and i suggested to meades, Barks is very far from the original, but i don't think that should deter you from reading him. if Barks' renditions pique your interest, and you want a serious look at Rumi's thought, definitely pick up Nicholson's translation of the Masnavi; it's dry, but very literal.

i spent a large part of today reciting the proem to the Masnavi over and over again, trying to get it memorised. i found that concentrating on learning a poem by heart while walking around is a good way to get oneself lost.

anyhow, no translation could ever approach the Persian; you cannot duplicate Rumi's puns, for instance:

nai hariif-i har ke az yaare buriid
parda-haa-yash parda-haa-yi maa dariid

Nicholson says, "The reed is the comrade of every one who has been parted from a friend: its strains pierced our hearts." and then he adds in a footnote, "Literally, 'rent our veils.'" first of all, it's not clear to me why he uses "pierced our hearts" instead of rent our veils, and secondly there's a pun here: "parda" means both a musical "note" issuing from the flute, and a "veil." never mind the fact that "hariif" can mean "enemy" as well as "comrade."

the strains of the flute rent our veils...so here we are, back with Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and Dionysos.


From: "Glorified Harlem": Morningside Heights, NYC | Registered: Nov 2001  |  IP: Logged

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