Sunday, July 16, 2017

Flann O'Brien, The Poor Mouth: A Bad Story About the Hard Life (1941)

I thought it was about time I read O'Brien's other novels. True, none of them have the reputation of At Swim-Two-Birds and The Third Policeman, but none of them have a bad reputation, and c'mon, man, O'Brien was something else. You GOTTA read him!
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Friday, July 14, 2017

Edward Lewis Wallant, The Tenants of Moonbloom (1963)

So Edward Lewis Wallant (1926-1962) was a writer. Wow, what a brilliant sentence THAT was. I first encountered him in a Jewish-American literature class (the one where the scanned image a few posts down came from), where I read his best-known novel, The Pawnbroker (1961). It's about a Polish professor who, unlike his family, survives the Holocaust (in a strictly physiological sense); years later, emotionally catatonic, he works as a pawnbroker to support his uncaring sister and her family in New York. The story arc concerns his overcoming his alienation from humanity. I thought it was very powerful.
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Saturday, July 08, 2017

Gilbert Sorrentino, Blue Pastoral (1983)

Gilbert Sorrentino! It's truly hard to fathom how his wildly avant-garde novels ever had any mass appeal, but there are quotes in this book from mainstream publications like the Atlantic, the LA Times, the Washington Post, and friggin' Newsweek. Still, they're certainly not read now. Once again, let us give thanks to the mighty Dalkey Archive for keeping them in print.
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Friday, July 07, 2017

More from the vaults

As long as I'm scanning old, goofy crap I've drawn, here are these.  These are from a notepad that, as you can see, comes from New World Computing.  It came with one of the old Might and Magic games, probably III.

Fidji's Mission

Here's a page from Lionmag, the inflight magazine of Indonesian airline Lion Air.  The whole thing is in Indonesian...except, for whatever reason, the kids' games, which are in English, sort of.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Carlos Fuentes, Terra Nostra (1975)

OH MY GOODNESS. I had the idea that I should read more Latin American literature, so--NATURALLY--I decided to start with this extremely long and abstruse novel by a Mexican writer of note. And I finished it, though not before it nearly finished me. So what's the deal?
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Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Scenes from My Academic Career

Please note that this is a page from a notebook that I was (allegedly) using to take notes in a class on Jewish American literature, as part of my doctoral program.  This is not mere undergraduate dicking around; this is extremely serious graduate-level dicking around.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Matt Ruff, Lovecraft Country (2016)

Jim Crow meets Lovecraftian horror! It's hard not to be beguiled by such an audacious premise. As, I suppose, everyone knows at this point, Lovecraft was a huge, virulent racist even by the standards of his times, so it's kind of a brilliant idea, unfortunately given an extra bit of piquancy by the fact that we now have a government of unreconstructed white supremacists. Also, Ruff is the author of Sewer, Gas, and Electric, a book that I enjoyed the hell out of.
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Ahmad Faris Shidyaq, Leg Over Leg or The Turtle in the Tree concerning The Fariyaq What Manner of Creature Might He Be otherwise entitled Days, Months, and Years spent in Critical Examination of The Arabs and Their Non-Arab Peers by The Humble Dependent on His Lord the Provider, Faris ibn Yusuf al-Shidyaq (1855)

That title SHOULD include a number of macrons (straight lines over vowels), but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to type them, so just DEAL with it.  This also applies to the bits of the novel I quote.
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