These show Camus' extraordinary range and his ability to defamiliarize. One gets the sense that he is the cook from Growing Stone, now laughing at theThese show Camus' extraordinary range and his ability to defamiliarize. One gets the sense that he is the cook from Growing Stone, now laughing at the Westerner for feeling out of his element. What especially caught me was even in English translation you could sense he wrote the French in the way of a Brazilian trying to speak French, using their syntax. Woah.
Each story impressed me more and more, and at times I felt a foreshadowing of Bolano. They were all so different, written so differently as well, and yet that shows the universality of his themes all the more....more
Having read David Foster Wallace's critiques of Athlete Autobio's ("I wanted to do it, I tried hard, then I did it!" reiterated enough times to fill 3Having read David Foster Wallace's critiques of Athlete Autobio's ("I wanted to do it, I tried hard, then I did it!" reiterated enough times to fill 300 pages), all of his points here ring true. The man seems super friendly and there's plenty of good tips. But another point from DFW and his trouble with pop science books rings true here, too: the people that run a lot and who are the likely audience of the book won't get a lot out of the tips, which are basic in the extreme. In that sense I'd be happy to see a Jurek training guide. My feeling is that the co-author likely told the man to add lots of blood and guts parts to the book, which to me overemphasized the pain aspect of the sport, in the hopes of commercial success.
Inspiring book, I'll be eager to read his blog and try all the recipes as well as his other book recommendations....more
I was close to giving 4, but chose not to for one fact: any other writer given this setting would not come anywhere as close to coming to a result filI was close to giving 4, but chose not to for one fact: any other writer given this setting would not come anywhere as close to coming to a result filled with the significant level of optimism found here. Lots of tender moments, all of this despite the lack of meaning in a persons life. He does a great job of occupying both--seemingly oppositional--points at the same time, and showing they can coexist. I'd even go so far to say that he gave the example that great parts of Europe and significant segments of America adopted as their outlook on life-- even with the Absurd there can be joie de vivre and human dignity....more
Somehow, I heard this was a ghost story, then that never materialized. It was a misunderstanding on my part. But what a great gem! Sets out with one pSomehow, I heard this was a ghost story, then that never materialized. It was a misunderstanding on my part. But what a great gem! Sets out with one purpose and fulfills it comprehensively. Great reading, lots of good connections and superb writing. At times overwrought, with me feeling apathetic about trying to figure out what exactly he is saying, but I feel when I reread this in the future it'll be clear.
James clearly thinks ill of the adults' behavior in this book, but does a good job of showing their rationale forcefully enough that you start to sympathize until you begin to remember again the stakes. ...more
Things I learned from Washington : it's sad to arrive at the end of his life in the book, where things seem to just get worse and worse -- outliving mThings I learned from Washington : it's sad to arrive at the end of his life in the book, where things seem to just get worse and worse -- outliving more of his beloved adopted children, reviled and impugned more and more during his 2nd term. Betrayed horribly by his own cabinet, and his best accomplishments turned over by fanatical people who had worked next to him. People mesmerized working under him during the Revolutionary War and then calling him, like Paine, a secret agent for the British.
What a life, nonetheless, though it's sad to think he deserved so much better. None of this makes sense but it is comfort to know that the craziness of our politics today is mirrored in the writing and the different fears and paranoias we've known.
Lessons learned: Washington's demeanor is the biggest thing. Giving time to things always seemed to end in better results. The way he was able to sidestep controversies that didn't have any clear advantage for his involvement. Reading his life story, I felt longing for the amount of letter-writing that he did, and how that seems like such a great thing to my modern ears as someone who is very pro-letter. It'd be nice to look back and see Washington's dream of a nonpartisan world having come true, but simultaneously you can see the Civil War was an event waiting to happen. Thomas Jefferson emerges in this text as a nefarious, duplicitious man. It'll be interesting when I get to him after John Adams (and Benjamin Franklin), who are next on my timeline. The new Jon Meacham one seems good.
"...mememormee..." and then a few seconds trying to figure out what that says, then the tears came.
I didn't think it'd hit me so hard the last 10 page "...mememormee..." and then a few seconds trying to figure out what that says, then the tears came.
I didn't think it'd hit me so hard the last 10 pages. Up until that point, I was going to give it a solid 4, but then I was in tears. A lovely book, extremely g.d. weird, but in the most refreshing of ways. This is the book that saved Joyce's reputation in my eyes, since it's so far better in every way than his short stories and The Portrait. NOW I get it. I feel like I've read Joyce starting with the bad, then the mediocre, then the awesome. So each new book of his I read, his estimation goes up greatly. Until FW, I couldn't figure out why people revere the man so much. I'm much more of a Samuel Beckett -type. But this book was tough, but lots of moments of loveliness and exceedingly good wordplay. The last one is the most cherished one, Ulysses, so I feel glad to have saved the best for last, supposedly.
This is the way I approached it:
Read it straight through the first time, just myself and my brain. I read the intro to the Penguin edition and I think that only set me up with false preconceptions that seemed to have little resemblance to the actual work (darned intros ruining things again!). So about halfway through I stopped trying to find a/the story.
I'll read it again in a year or two, more thoroughly, and buy a copy, and read it with the annotations and things. My thoughts, though, are that the annotations won't help. A lot of these sentences, even if I know what they are talking about, still wouldn't make sense (as contrasted with Proust where there is one likely interpretation, elusive though it is). Or, you'd get the meaning of one sentence but still not be able to figure out anything around it. So I think my inclination to read it through at a moderate pace, not getting bogged down too much was the way to go.
But part of the genius of the book is the fact that each person is required to come up with their own approach as they delve into it.
I wrote this a few days ago on a G.R. friends' wall:
I've read to page 570 of the Penguin edition. My feeling was, if a lot of it is more about how it interacts with your particular brain, then getting a corrected copy wouldn't make a whole lot of difference. Near the end, and my belief seems to be holding up. It's lovely, but my approach is more "get through it, read about it, sometime in the future go through it again." But the best thing I've done is mark the pages that I liked throughout the whole thing, then I'm going to scan them to keep in a PDF, which I'd enjoy looking at from time to time. The greatest hits, the parts that touched me the most. Just, stick it out! Don't stop for even a day
then I wrote this back to him:
OK! I made it. My copy was a library copy, so hearing you say that your edition is beautiful, I'll have to buy it and then be able to experience it more fully. My thinking with my brief flirtation with annotations is that, even if I know what's being referenced, it might not add a whole lot since, even if I understand one sentence "fully", what about the others? A lot of these sentences don't seem to add up into genuine paragraphs, is what I mean. My feeling continues to be to just to keep track of your Greatest Hits, the parts that you liked the best, and in the end to me that's what the value of reading it is. Sometimes that's a whole page, sometimes it's a handful of words buried in crap. The funny thing is that the beginning I would interact with the world and I'd reevaluate all the language around me. So its like the power of the book transferred to the external world and made everything come alive. It was a similar experience of studying Chinese, when I'd close my eyes at night only to see the characters still, like as if they were burned into my eyelids. But even weirder is that the feeling went away as fast as it did.
Last thought : to me, The Wake goes a long way to show how our language is far removed from the Platonic Ideal of the English Language that you find in nearly all other books. So he's less Socrates, pointing up to the sky, and more an Aristotle, pointing to the ground. There's one example of that which is so haunting, I nearly skipped over it--or rather, saw it without recognizing it--but it was the most heartbreaking thing I've ever read. It was on the last page, the last lines, so I scrutinized it with greater urgency, and it paid off....more