After the first few chapters of this academic volume which I came to think as the glorification of mammalian bound culture, the relentlessly argued thAfter the first few chapters of this academic volume which I came to think as the glorification of mammalian bound culture, the relentlessly argued theme of non-phallic symbolism continued with the start of chapter three: “In this chapter I will argue that Walter Pater drew on medieval, Renaissance, and Romantic models of love between women to develop his new hedonism. His aesthetic of intensity was built around images of clitoral ecstasy.” A page later I met with: “Miracles of healing lepers and the blind are attributed to her, and her emblem is an ox (from her association with Oxford where she died).” I was rather relieved about the environmental explanation of the ox, after fields of female anatomy.
I nearly gave up on this exercise of what was becoming a dive into what felt like a world of militant lesbian research of symbolism in art, at times paintings (images of the paintings discussed are to be found at the back of the book and by the time I found them I honestly had to have a hard look for the themes Ms. Vanita was proposing but then I readily accept that one’s romantic and/or sexual orientation will have an intense impact of the reading of a painting), when the tone of the book switched and literature began to be discussed. Herein I found quite some interesting arguments, and thematic breakdowns of works by Austen, Wilde, Woolf, Shelley, Keats, and others.
This book was quite engaging for paragraphs on end especially when it came to the reviews of books I have previously and perhaps with much naivety read, and yet at intervals I had to put it down and take a deep breath to continue what seemed to me to be serious rationalization using over-sexualization of just about everything temporal, philosophical, mobile or immobile. Perhaps this book is to be recommended for those long winter evenings alone with a glass of port, sipping up some slow moving blood red purification liquid, the juice from old squashed sacrificial grapes looking clitoral, red stained ten toes of S****** dipping into the bathing pond while lurking controlling heterosexuals spy guarding the world of aberration from Adam and Eve etc. etc and Mary help you if you find Sappho sitting on your lap.
In my apartment I display books here and there scattered in nooks and crannies, about a hundred or so at a time. Anyone who wanders in will assume thaIn my apartment I display books here and there scattered in nooks and crannies, about a hundred or so at a time. Anyone who wanders in will assume that these are my cherished possessions, but, in fact, most are not. The books on view are for the greater part volumes I have not yet read. Waugh’s autobiography winked at me from a shelf for about a year, and looking at it from time to time my appetite grew so that I launched myself into the battered almost shredded (had a moth gotten at it or a rainy day at on a platform waiting for a computer train?) second hand copy expecting to encounter much mirth and delight. Delight was not immediately present. How incredibly dull for such a brilliant author, I thought, turning the pages. No, yes, no yes, yes….I suspect that Waugh did not know quite what he was willing to reveal and what to present, but at the end I must admit he executed the exercise quite well. Ah, I thought closing the book, therein lies the wincing autopsy, edited obituary and gentle burial of youth....more
I really believe I should have read this novel in French and now having read one book by the author I would willingly read any other book by Mr. Ben JI really believe I should have read this novel in French and now having read one book by the author I would willingly read any other book by Mr. Ben Jelloun, should it come across my path and be in French. What fascinated me, having read the English translation, were the blurbs across the front and back such as:
“The philosophical sophistication of an Albert Camus novel….and the fast tempo of a good yarn.” SF Examiner and Chronicle.
Right, as if corruption is not present in SF. Moving backwards, the novel is inspired by and dedicated to Pramoedya Ananta Toer, an Indonesian novelist, not Mr. Camus. Perhaps it is the location that has stymied the Western reviewer, Gosh o Darn it.
“Ably translated from the French by Carol Volk, this novel works like a bolt of lightning to illuminate the mysterious shadows of Casablanca….Ben Jelloun carries on the intellectual heritage of Albert Camus and is also a master minimalist.” Washington Times.
Mr. Ben Jelloun had already won the Prix Goncourt by the time this book was published, and Humphrey Bogart was long dead.
Listen up people, corruption is everywhere. The novel, although set in Morocco, arguably more overt about and to corruption than perhaps other countries, is about the psychological complications of entanglement and secrecy which arise from the act of taking bribes. The part that most fascinated me was the false freedom of monetary gain and the mire of ostentation; descriptions of those vain and vicarious webs were riveting, grasping at the churning, leaf mulching demise of community connections and social services across all levels of the population. Where is value? Survival, and that's not 100% minimalist.
"Raar mannetje..." commented one who saw me reading this book. I enjoyed all the stories, those strange floating ideas, in a strange perspective.....S"Raar mannetje..." commented one who saw me reading this book. I enjoyed all the stories, those strange floating ideas, in a strange perspective.....Stranger still, I might read more because I admired that Hart did not use extreme anxiety to drive the stories forward as per the short story tradition....more
The author's TedTalk was engaging and his presentation charming, however the book came over to me as sensationalist. I would recommend people to revieThe author's TedTalk was engaging and his presentation charming, however the book came over to me as sensationalist. I would recommend people to review Hari's TedTalk as it made me look past the writing style and focus more on the content. ...more
I had no expectations of this book, and I also mean no cultural expectations. By saying this I mean to point out that I did not find the way another pI had no expectations of this book, and I also mean no cultural expectations. By saying this I mean to point out that I did not find the way another person organizes their life confrontational. I could resonate with many things because I have developed habits that are similar to the skills described in the book. When I visit another person's home I am always curious to the care or disinterest in a person demonstrates to their surroundings. Two years ago I walked out of my home with two suitcases and lived out of them for five months, at the time I was fine with just walking away from all items and associations. (I have had to do this before in my life, in fact I think I lived out of a few suitcases for about six years of my wandering about period.) I didn't have to go back and rescue anything inert.
After those five months and having found an apartment, I went back to sort and move "my things." Okay, so I purged and purged some more. I moved boxes of books, most I hadn't read. And here's where I disagree strongly with Marie Kondo. Over the past two years I have dispersed of five boxes of books. I read or reread them and decided then either to give them away or keep them. I have many more books around I haven't read, heaped here and there and frankly I find this exciting. In fact life is always like this: there is always something new to discover. Why tidy that up all at once?
I can agree with her on storage help. Having storage help does not get a project done. I have many projects lying around and when I gather the project together and put it someplace tidy, I loose sight of my project. Interactive placing of projects is the best plan. It's satisfying to see a project ripening, getting that reminder that it's not only in my head but physically in the apartment or my handbag.
What I liked most of all was the back of the book, when she says you can greet your house, and be respectful to your shelter. Believe me, that is the most important part of the lesson. ...more
"It was a red coat day when Trout Fishing in America handed me an Easter egg. The egg tasted of hexagonal prism with a faint Dubonnet coating, and was"It was a red coat day when Trout Fishing in America handed me an Easter egg. The egg tasted of hexagonal prism with a faint Dubonnet coating, and was a great displeasure to the Yorkshire contingent." ...more
"Tu dois lire ça," m'a dit un ami, "ça me rappelle de ton mariage." Eh oui, la bourgeoisie contre la creation artistique. Bon, mon avis: assez amusant"Tu dois lire ça," m'a dit un ami, "ça me rappelle de ton mariage." Eh oui, la bourgeoisie contre la creation artistique. Bon, mon avis: assez amusant maintainant et pas plus. ...more
Well written, presented engaging characters, everything to please an audience except that the characters were so cardboard cut out to me that I was siWell written, presented engaging characters, everything to please an audience except that the characters were so cardboard cut out to me that I was simply not interested in following their development which was also quite cardboard cut out to my eyes. I could barely bring myself to skim read the end. I felt bad about this, because I would have liked to enjoy the book more. The dialogue slowed the book down even more, water logging the personalities. ...more
From what I gather Khayyam, a mathematician and philosopher, ruminates on establishing sequences to form whatever may be called reality. Personally IFrom what I gather Khayyam, a mathematician and philosopher, ruminates on establishing sequences to form whatever may be called reality. Personally I have always thought along the lines something like this: Persian -- the word Persian itself is seductive as an exotic cat, the type with fur, and enchants me. I’d like to learn Persian, but I never will. It’s been a long standing disappointment and will continue to be a mournful disappointment for the remainder of my life. In the meantime I will overlook the barricades of translation, ghostly elephants quite unobserved but sensed as nearby mammoth shadows, and grasp the poetic rose with thumb and finger by the thorns and bleed a little reading this volume. For what I do not know, perhaps for the exercise, such as performing a jumping jack in an empty meadow.
“Heaven is but the vision of fulfilled desire.”...more
One can't help but admire Dicken's ingenuity; the names, the places, the turn of a phrase.....and I have come to believe reading the chapters in weeklOne can't help but admire Dicken's ingenuity; the names, the places, the turn of a phrase.....and I have come to believe reading the chapters in weekly installments would be the most delightful of occupations especially for good old fashioned families after unifying pastimes. It's just that I get bored, ever so slightly bored in every chapter of "Hard Times" and desperately want to finish the exercise. However, I particularly enjoy the moments of unconventionality that come knocking within the confines of the moralizing pages. I've had better experiences in Dicken's works and would not be disinclined to read a different volume. ...more
What is new? Well, the essays on the ends were reasonably enlightening, and the subject matter between less enlightening despite having not read muchWhat is new? Well, the essays on the ends were reasonably enlightening, and the subject matter between less enlightening despite having not read much of the material discussed in the essays. I kept thinking, "Is this book dated? And how would it be different if written today?" The book claimed: "The great sexual revolution of the 1960's has more or less run its course, and now it is difficult to find most of that great avalanche of erotic books that were popularly reprinted for the first time -- and never reprinted again. Whether or not the number of x-rated movies in circulation has declined (a statistic disputed by Women Against Pornography), obligatory scenes of sex and nudity are no longer so fashionably obligatory in movies of general distribution. Bra-less women and see-through blouses and micro-mini skirts seen to have receded from public display. Flamboyant nudity (or near nudity)has declared its right to be and quietly disappeared without ever establishing its First Amendment guarantees. Apparently the Constitution does not recognize nudity as a protected form of self expression." Written in 1981.....Well....Mr. Charney I don't quite think, good or bad, that history has met your predictions....more
How much information, brain development, are we designed to take in? More than is comfortable? A quick and objective read. Social protection, self intHow much information, brain development, are we designed to take in? More than is comfortable? A quick and objective read. Social protection, self interest, and the deep insecurity of the middle class, this novel cuts to the heart of the good life....more
When I was 21, standing in a chic apartment behind the Pantheon in Paris, the owner of part of the renovated 17th century convent mentioned to me thatWhen I was 21, standing in a chic apartment behind the Pantheon in Paris, the owner of part of the renovated 17th century convent mentioned to me that he had known and befriended Sartre. I was 21, a woman, and I had not yet read anything written by Sartre. I had been made to read Camus in Advanced French, not Sartre. My Californian feet firmly on the pale sage green carpet I thought, who the eff gives about Sartre? I had heard about Sartre and had no illusions that some old boy French school gang would not promptly dismiss any grain of intellect I might have had, so why should I bother about them? I suppose I could have asked what was it like to work with Sartre but I didn’t because I was standing in front of an old boy French school private moneyed snob and I knew I wouldn’t like any of the formulated answers little miss muffet me would have heard. I had nothing to gain by the question. I nodded my head gravely instead to sweetly patronize the good old boys’ importance and let Monsieur dine silver fork in hand in peace after I left tending his kids. Needless to say his wife was supreme in her role. In essence they were very kind, gracious, condescending to the masses, such wonderful role models.
As a teenager I hadn’t been impressed by reading L’etranger or the comprehension quiz or what do you think really happened essay we were all made to submit, I wanted to submit by not submitting, for instance had I submitted the subject, I could have claimed to have submitted, smudged ghost paper, what did it matter where was the body? But no, I had to achieve at least a grade of B, palpable outcome, on existentialism and by the book. Rebel as I might hard copy existentialism got the better of me in high school and I needed to rank high to leave the place. Years later I read Camus’ La Chute and very much enjoyed Camus’ writing. So what about Sartre? I admit I first read several works by Beauvoir. Finally the dramatic 1960’s cover of the Livre de Poche I had unearthed in some thrift store a year ago or two years ago, some months, couple of hours say pal on which calendar are we dependent, compelled me to read Sartre. It was the badly drawn veined hand scrapping the blackened wall, the fingernails digging into the moldy plaster to reveal the pure white chalky substance behind the grit that got me. Plus, I ask myself now, had I missed a prime opportunity to grill my former employer on Sartre? Was his reconnaissance so vastly superior to mine, and had I been loath to admit this in my youthful irreverence?
Impressive writing, and it’s obvious Sartre has a sense of humor. “Compliance: who do you let define you?” The stories took me back to the lingering atmosphere of ancient days, traces of which I found when I made first went to Paris; the dusty, long corridored apartments, the wall paper shrouds, the smell of grandeur, intellectualism, arguments, retirement centimes and cigarettes. This is all too passé I’m thinking while I turned the pages, we have virtual reality these days, and social media – the mother load of factual fiction and neurotic instability embedded in technology – where women are breaking the glass ceilings. Check that, what glass ceiling? Alright then I’d agree to read some more Sartre, just for the looting, the other level. ...more