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
Author does a surprisingly good job of avoiding the easy comparison between now and 1963, instead allowing my own brain to make the connections. For eAuthor does a surprisingly good job of avoiding the easy comparison between now and 1963, instead allowing my own brain to make the connections. For each Walker I thought of a Ted Nugent, for each Alger I thought of Palin. Especially large in my mind was the Dealeys and their newspaper, and how that feedback loop/ echo chamber so much resembled the conservatives listening only to Fox News, Drudge Report, Pat Robinson, then being surprised that their polls were way off in the 2012 election (it's a bit like the famous line from the NY socialite who said "Nixon won? But nobody I know voted for him").
Good book, having read the Mao bio I can totally understand how the fearsome situation fighting against communism would lead to total distrust that the elected leaders were doing all they could to protect their people. That came across as the author sympathetic to those fears while being forlorn at the results of those fears. What I was surprised was that Kennedy's generals were pushing for a preemptive attack. That we never had such a thing is a miracle and a golden nugget in his legacy, I feel....more
This seems to be the basic gist of how things will be written in the history books about the 2012 election, going a long way as to what the consensusThis seems to be the basic gist of how things will be written in the history books about the 2012 election, going a long way as to what the consensus will be about this period. Most interesting was the bit on Scott Prouty, before and after the election...more
Didn't particularly feel concerned about the results of the plot, as the stakes didn't feel high, but the characterization made up for it to the pointDidn't particularly feel concerned about the results of the plot, as the stakes didn't feel high, but the characterization made up for it to the point that I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Sat this down too often and never made a lot of sense, and I was Ok with that too. Lots of memorable scenes. Zippy reads l, but if these were long I'd be having doubts about whether it is worth it. The constant rain is never ending, and it's implausibility (for LA!) means that the novel has a surreal, Carnival of Horrors -type atmosphere. I keep getting this writer mixed up with Raymond Carver, who was Murakami's big influence, so I'd keep thinking of Murakami as I read this. Or did he like both? I got to research that....more
True crime story about a religious cult. I think that considering the year, this was forward-looking, with the same issues growing to a horrible preemTrue crime story about a religious cult. I think that considering the year, this was forward-looking, with the same issues growing to a horrible preeminence. Coming from Tennessee I've had first hand experience with a girlfriend that took me to a fundamentalist Christian church, and they sent a letter excommunicating me when I stopped going. What is unique about this is the emphasis on guru-ism and the fact that it shows how even Buddhism is subject to violence when twisted the wrong way, but then again my in-depth study of Buddhism has failed me in other ways in the past.
I originally thought to give this 2 stars, then 3, and now I'm borderline between 3 and 4. The Japanese version was first published with just the first part, and that doesn't have any of the interest of the second part, other than a morbid curiosity. Still I'd much prefer a Murakami novel, though. Maybe this points back to Murakami's muted style, as an American writing a crime novel would interweave the stories into one huge mass, making sure that there is palpable tension and drama, quickening the heart rate as much as possible. Choosing to do one story at a time made sure that no such forward-momentum was developed, though it caused a different kind anxiety, knowing that you'd sit through this same set of events a dozen times....more