Post-modernists may be said to have developed a paradigm that clashes sharply with the one in this book. I have argued that modern life and art and thought have the capacity for perpetual self-critique and self-renewal. Post-modernists maintain that the horizon of modernity is closed, its energies exhausted—in effect, that modernity is passé. Post-modernist social thought pours scorn on all the collective hopes for moral and social progress, for personal freedom and public happiness, that were bequeathed to us by the modernists of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. These hopes, post moderns say, have been shown to be bankrupt, at best vain and futile fantasies
Marshall Berman, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air:The Experience Of Modernity
Some books read
10 years in the works, apparently, and a whole lot of meticulous research. An amazing debut that immediately brings Pynchon to mind. Except it it nothing like Pynchon after all, except for some of the pyrotechnics involved. Basically, and what you realize at the very end, a family saga and a saga of remembrance and redemption and forgiveness. It is stretched out across troubled times - Chicago 1968, the Trump era, and points in-between.- There are a lot of poignant stabs at cultural and political phenomena, but in the final conclusion this hardly matters: for this is an unusual story that breaks out of the postmodern mold is seemed to be in. See, this is it: for most of the characters the end is a happy or at least hopeful one. The world might be going down the drains, but they are capable of saving and savoring some resemblances of happiness. Oh, and by the way: highly recommended.
I don't think this novel is available in English. I read a Danish translation. It is a very likable World War I caper about three young men stumbling into an adventure that includes smuggles, ballet dancers, revolutionaries, and so on so forth. It is enjoyable, but lacks the final oomph – in the end we readers, just like the main protagonist and narrator, look back at something that could have been really wild and crazy as something decidedly muted and distant that one can look back upon with some nostalgia.
John Le Carré: A legacy of spies The final (or maybe not?) tome in the saga of one George Smiley and his entourage. We revisit the era of the spy that came in from the cold, see things from a different angle and through different eyes. As always, a book with a lot of human insight and accumulated wisdom. As Le Carré has gotten older, there is less cloaks-and-daggers and more human condition.
Peter May: The Lewis trilogy The three books, set in remote Lewis of the Outer Hebrides are nominally crime stories, but as we know, the better crime stories are actually much more than that. And so it is with these. Over the three volumes, recurring themes of loss and grief, identity and identity loss, and family and love and friendship appear and are exercised and bent and reshaped. The main, recurring characters are strongly drawn and shown with their warts and all. A great, accidental find.
Basically a police procedural with an investigating judge, his muscle, his secretary, a beautiful damsel in distress, a nefarious conspiracy, and much more. But it unfolds in 16th century Aragon, the damsel happens to be a feminine sodomite, the secretary probably a Muslim, and the inquisition lurks in the background. If you stripped of the colorful garments, it might just another run-on-old-mill such story, but the meticulous research and great knowledge from the author makes it worthwhile. I picked up quite a bit I did not know about Spain and Aragon and so on at this time.
A mixed bag of interesting destinations
COURAGE yet, my brother or my sister!
Keep on—Liberty is to be subserv'd whatever occurs;
That is nothing that is quell'd by one or two failures, or any num-
ber of failures,
Or by the indifference or ingratitude of the people, or by any
unfaithfulness, Or the show of the tushes of power, soldiers, cannon, penal statutes.
What we believe in waits latent forever through all the continents,
Invites no one, promises nothing, sits in calmness and light, is
positive and composed, knows no discouragement,
Waiting patiently, waiting its time.
TO A FOIL'D EUROPEAN REVOLUTIONAIRE. -- Walt Whitman
My summer reading, so far
I had rather high expectations for this book: well-known and highly regarded author, possibly with a refreshing, feminist views, and so on. But I found it somewhat disappointing. It is not clear no me what the focus of the book is: it is at some level a general story of Rome; then it is a story about the decline of the republic - but neither story seems to come to an end or be very complete. Also, why does she not discuss the clientela theory at all? It may out of fashion, but it is central to the discussion about the decline of the republic.
A bit of a strange book. Well-written and knowledgeable about all things French food. It is, however, also clearly a collection of not-too-connected pieces that originated somewhere else. Sure, he loves France well-enough - but is there some sort of political undertone, very anti-statist and quasi-libertarian? But, nevermind. What is interesting is that his doomsday vision now seems to be something from a very specific period in time. Yes, there are young French chefs that do molecular (even if that is a bit dated by now). The locavore movement exists there. So does lots and lots of influence from the Far East as well as from the Middle. The bistronomy movement revives and reinvigorates the traditions, and does it at fairer prices. Even though the Frenchies love them some Mickey D's, there are also genuine American BBQ joints. Right there, in gay Paree. What is going away is probably the stuffed-up and dusty old palaces of gastronomy where you had to mortgage your sould to partake of food that was reasonably unspired and uninspiring. But if you so desire, look no further than Le Cing. You can still get it. As for the book: an easy enough read, but as time moves forward, less and less relevant.
Irish noir, I suppose. In the rainy season that they call summer here in Denmark, I had plenty of time to go through all of McKinty's Sean Duffy novels, as well as the first four of Connolly's Charlie Parker series. They are surprisingly different. McKinty benefits mightily from setting his stories in freont of the rich tapestry and the Troubles around 1981, and placing his Papist protagonist in the RUC and all-proddy Carrickfergus. But Duffy is, in the end, a younger, less jaded Rebus, and there may redemption for him at the end, and marital bliss. Connolly sets his stories in a dark America that still reeks of the Old Religion and is really weird. As the series move forward, it is less of a crime or detective series, and gets into being a moral fable about compassion, revenge, redemption, et cetera. It ever there were a flawed hero, Charlie is it (as well as his merry entourage of Louis and Angel). But lots of suspense and technically well-crafted, albeit the themes get a little monotonous with time.
Just something I found on the internets and I thought you would perhaps like it too, but who knows?
- Matgamna vs Minogue: “Is Socialism Dead?”
- The lack of demand for equality
- Michael Lewis and the parable of the lucky man taking the extra cookie
- The evolution of punk rock in 200 tracks (1965 to 2016)
- Hear 2,000 Recordings of the Most Essential Jazz Songs: A Huge Playlist for Your Jazz Education
- The French Far Right and Génération Identitaire.
- On salient identities
- Neoliberalism Was Supposed to Make Us Richer: Three Reasons Why It Didn’t
- Benjamin Kunkel reviews ‘The Birth of the Anthropocene’ by Jeremy Davies, ‘Capitalism in the Web of Life’ by Jason Moore and ‘Fossil Capital’ by Andreas Malm
- In Search of a Better World: Karl Popper on Truth vs. Certainty and the Dangers of Relativism
- Inequality as feudalism
- The Frankfurt School In Our Time
Quite eclectic, I know, but enjoyable all of it nonetheless.
“The Time of Day in Giorgione”
The sun is always setting in my heart
Like the time of day in Giorgione
The days drift beyond reach and… poof they are gone
After a black day, I play Haydn,
and feel a little warmth in my hands.
The keys are ready. Kind hammers fall.
The sound is spirited, green, and full of silence.
The sound says that freedom exists
and someone pays no tax to Caesar.
I shove my hands in my haydnpockets
and act like a man who is calm about it all.
I raise my haydnflag. The signal is:
"We do not surrender. But want peace."
The music is a house of glass standing on a slope;
rocks are flying, rocks are rolling.
The rocks roll straight through the house
but every pane of glass is still whole.