Monday, April 05, 2021

Jim Dodge, Stone Junction (1990)

This book has a Pynchon blurb, and was represented to me as the kind of thing I'd like, maybe, so I read it.  It's about a boy named Daniel Pearse, who grows up with his mother Annalee living a kind of itinerant lifestyle and becoming involved with a group called AMO--Alliance of Magicians and Outlaws--a kind of secret society devoted to...well, not wholly clear what, beyond generally being those things, and helping one another out when necessary.  When Annalee is killed in an apparent accident, Daniel is more or less raised by this group, bouncing around from idiosyncratic teacher to idiosyncratic teacher, where he learns about meditation, drugs, gambling, safecracking, disguises...actually, I guess that's mostly it.  Did he ever learn, like arithmetic?  Unclear.  At any rate, the group has a plan to steal a huge diamond from a heavily-guarded government facility, and he is chosen to do be the lead guy there.  And I won't spoil what happens next, I guess.

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Friday, March 12, 2021

Alfred Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz (1929)

Here's a novel that you sometimes hear about.  It's considered one of the foremost texts of modernism, and it was very popular in its time, but it seems to be comparatively neglected these days.  I feel like it's probably better-known of late through Fassbender's 1980 miniseries adaptation.  So, why not check it out?

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Saturday, March 06, 2021

Cancel Culture Has Gone Exactly Far Enough!

I don't one hundred percent know if this is true, since it seems to be only being reported by right-wing outlets (this could just be because normal people don't care about it), but supposedly, Mallard Fillmore has been cancelled.  In my early blogging years, I was somewhat obsessed with the strip, so I should probably have some kind of celebration requiem for its passing.

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Thursday, March 04, 2021

If I Ran the SeussCo

So I kind of want to talk about the Dr. Seuss thing--with the Seuss Foundation discontinuing six books that they deemed to be racially insensitive--but the problem is, there are just so many right-wing culture-warrior shitheads, and it's hard to have a conversation without feeling like you're in some way engaging with them.  So let's just let it be noted that they are arguing in one hundred percent bad faith, they don't actually care even a tiny bit about Seuss other than this providing them with a convenient cudgel, they'd almost certainly never even heard of any of the books being banned, and that, really, they suck in every way.  I don't care what they say, as indeed nobody should.  They can go straight to heck.  Though I should also say that I'm not a fan of scornful liberals dismissing the books tout court on the basis of their newly-discovered principle that Dr. Seuss sucks.  Much less people who note that they've never heard of the books in question, as if that has anything to do with anything.  A pox on both yer dumb ol' houses!

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Sunday, January 24, 2021

John le Carré, Call for the Dead (1961), A Murder of Quality (1962), and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963)

I'd been thinking about trying le Carré for some time, so I decided to start at the beginning.  I wouldn't do this with any ol' writer, but hey, his first novels are also his first George Smiley novels, and if I get into the series, I'll want to read them at some point, but it might be anticlimactic.  So why not just bowl on through?  They're all short, anyway.

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Monday, December 28, 2020

E.T.A. Hoffmann, The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr (1821)

Hoffmann, of whom there are famous Tales.  A book I'd had on the radar for some time.  That title is not taking liberties with the German; it is indeed meant to evoke Tristram Shandy, of which Hoffmann was a big fan.

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Saturday, December 05, 2020

Wilkie Collins, The Dead Secret (1856)

So I had previously read Basil, Collins' second novel, and thought it flawed but still relatively fun and promising.  So I decided to read this one, his fourth--right before The Woman in White.  Surely it would be at least as good, right?

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