What're you readin'


#282

reading lots of anne carson, having started with her phenomenal glass essay. over the past yr or so ive rlly developed an affinity for poetry which operates in a way arthur jafa describes as “putting things in affective proximity to each other”, because it gloms very naturally with the way i think.

carson is a good read, for me at least, because she does that but from a very different corpus to me. having never had any interest in the classics or whatever carson has managed to pique my interest in homer’s odyssey, which is rad.

i’ve read Decreation, which centres on unmkaing the self and am now working through Float, which is a collection of 23 ostensibly unrelated chapbooks, and in both i find her poetry and more personal work feeling kind of… rote? the glass essay is deeply personal, but it works, but often i dont know, it feels like she is just trying to fill the quota of obviously personal stuff a book of poetry must contain, where actually the passion and sense of amusement that just fucken drips off the more quixotic essays is already very human. decreation centres around a single long essay on sappho, marguerite porete and simone weil and this triangle dynamic between oneself - the self - God that carson reads in all their work, and it’s fantastic. but perhaps im just not paying enough mind to the poems.


#283

because reading The New Jim Crow has reminded me that challenging texts are a good way for me to exhaust my anxious midnight energy, i’ve now started james thorpe’s classic page-turner, Principles of Textual Criticism

it is fantastic

I think from now on I will try to alternate between lit-crit-shit i should have already read, and political stuff that i also probably should have already read

beats watching The Matrix sequels on Netflix to try to fall asleep I guess


#284

read robert barron’s catholicism and found it a good primer to the subtleties of catholic thought, and walked away with a sincere interest in ecstasy, marian apparitions and catholic mysticism. grew up totally areligious so finding this drift towards faith kind of disconcerting, but i guess i’ll just roll with it. keen to read some of simone weil’s spiritual work next, because she’s contemporary, was politically active, and my interest was already piqued by anne carson’s decreation.

was disappointed to read the text the ecstasy of saint teresa draws from and realise that the extremely good sculpture diverges a bit:

I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron’s point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am lying.

what is bernini’s pithy little arrow


#285

I am reading ‘A Manual for Cleaning Women’ by Lucia Berlin. And it doesn’t really fit me, I guess? The stories are more about a place or a moment than actual conflict/resolution stuff. But there is something in the prose that doesn’t click in my head. There is something about her style that makes it hard for me to read, and I wonder if it’s that I am not used to that type of prose in english, as I don’t have any problem with similar stuff in spanish.

I have Dreadnought by April Daniels and Roadside Picnic by the Strugasky brothers queued after it. I have already read Roadside Picnic (I love it), but it was the (fantastic) spanish translation. I am intrigued to see how the new english one measures up.


#286

just finished natsuo kirino’s ‘Grotesque’

what a rich, great book

don’t want to spend like 4 hours typing out what I think but wow


#287

In the closing stretch of Seveneves. Sadly boring me as much as Reamde. Think I’m done with Neal Stephenson for a loooooong while.


#288

I read The Road, which is my first Cormac Mccarthy. I wonder if he was like, aware of Lone Wolf and Cub. I would also love to know the Cormac Mccarthy rules of grammar. I guess I could actually just open the book up and infer them on my own but I’d rather be spoonfed.


#289

And The Road is one of his least interesting books even. Keep reading. Man I love me some Cormac McCarthy.


#290

Yeah, of his books that I have read, The Road is easily near the bottom. Like I think All the Pretty Horses and that whole trilogy might be more boring, but I read those in high school, so they might be better than I remember but I don’t really care to bother with them when I can just read other books by him if I want.


#291

i too was assigned all the pretty horses in high school, found it boring as shit and didn’t finish it

i was also assigned the road in college and barely cracked it open

i was a really shit undergrad


#292

suttree dudes, suttree


#293

…Is a better book than The Road and AtPH, yes.


#294

http://www.tor.com/2017/03/07/gene-wolfes-shadow-claw-is-the-tor-com-ebook-club-pick-for-march/

You know, just in case you’re one of those folks who hadn’t picked up any of Book of the New Sun, the first half of it is free this week.


#295

Shit I missed the cutoff


#296

been reading a collection on sylvia wynter’s work edited by katherine mckittrick. it’s good! it opens with a 90 page interview between mckittrick and wynter, and wynter writes like eva talks about philosophy. so many malappropriated adverbs. it’s good tho! wynter’s project offers a fascinating theory of science, and draws a crucial distinction between the exclusion of the global south from science, and the exploitation of the global south as part and parcel of scientific work. she also charges this idea that we need a new model of the human and with it a new science with a lot of energy, arguing that it’s the only hope we have of acting meaningfully against climate change as the logic of accumulation is central to this epoch of how we think about ourselves as human. on a similar note i was put on to this sick paper which i totally recommend to any of yall w academic access (or just pm me and i’ll email it to you)

also picked up artaud’s theatre and its double in a country town the other week, and been ducking back into that- still bangs, still want more game devs to read it.

finally, weil’s gravity and grace as a continuation of my catholicism/ catholic mysticism kick


#297

I just finished Gravity’s Rainbow. I read it once before 6 or 7 years ago, but I was too young and dumb to really get anything out of it. It’s definitely one of the most imaginative books I’ve ever read, sometimes to a fault. There’s too much stuff in it. That’s part of the fun, to an extent, but even if you cut 100 pages out of the book, there’d still be an overwhelming amount of ideas and set pieces. Basically, it feels like the book didn’t have an editor (but apparently it did). It’s kind of a shame it isn’t a bit more readable, as I think many of it’s core ideas are still eerily relevant today.

The parts that dragged the most for me were the Roger and Jessica chapters (I never cared about them as a couple) and some of the later Slothrop sections in “In The Zone.” For a huge part of that section, you get seemingly every detail of Slothrop’s meanderings and eventually I grew tired of it. Given what ends up happening to him, I feel like it might’ve worked better to treat him more like Enzian and Tchitcherine and check in with him only occasionally. So I guess, weirdly, I wish the book was even more “incoherent” and less traditionally-plotted than it already is.

That being said, when it’s at its best (and it frequently is), it’s as good as anything. The main Pokler chapter could stand alone as an all-time great short story (though it does gain extra resonance through its relation to other plot threads), the Kenosha Kid chapter, Byron The Bulb, that church reverie, the chapter with Enzian and his crew on motorcycles, the utterly bizarre sub-chapter sections in “The Counterforce…”

I still think Mason & Dixon is the best Pynchon novel, but GR is definitely worth it if you can push through the confusion early on. You’ll be surprised how many seemingly disconnected bits make a return later in the book (the adenoid monster from early on has a hilarious payoff at the very end).

I actually read it this time for this podcast I do that’s basically a glorified Pynchon book club. We’re in the middle of releasing eps on GR, so if you’re thinking of trying it and want to listen to some people be confused alongside you, message me and I can link you to it. (We try to keep it fun and as unpretentious as possible.)


#298

I also like M&D the best to maybe I need to listen your goddamn podcast


#299

Hell, you could even be on it if you wanted to. (Though we’re finishing up recording on GR now. Not sure when if/when the next season will be.)


#300

finally reading Pavane by Keith Roberts

why did no one tell me this is the best alt-history novel

It’s so good.

If you like Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles, this has a similar structure

If you don’t like Bradbury, this is way better than Bradbury.


#301