Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


End of October reads

I don't participate in or plan on themed readings but enjoy hitting a sequence that coalesces around some center (or one might say vortex), which this time around started with Weinberger's An Elemental Thing (prior post) and continued, Eastward Ho!, with:
Julián Ríos, Poundemonium (Richard Alan Francis w/ author) [Dalkey]: also pundemonium, ideosyncretically (cf interview)
Thomas McEvilley, The Arimaspia [McPherson]: a journey to India via Greek philosophy (see Chas Bernstein's intro)
The Collected Poems of Octavio Paz 1957-1987 (Eliot Weinberger et al) [NDP]: among other things bringing together ancient Indian (east and west) mythos; also, Surrealism

and then on to other themes ...
António Lobo Antunes, Knowledge of Hell (Clifford E. Landers) [Dalkey]: I apparently got hold of Lobo Antunes by the wrong end (as I had with Walser, see prior post, and Miguel's reassessment of Caravels, my prior Lobo Antunes), but the upside is that it only improves as I go on. And I will be going on.
Poems of Nazim Hikmet (Randy Blasing & Mutlu Konuk) [Persea]: matter-of-fact lyricism, undercut by Commutopianism (however human-faced), understandable given his personal history.
Julio Cortázar, Fantomas versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia (David Kurnick) [semiotext(e)]: Miguel covers it better than I can, I'll just add its format ahead of its time (eg Eco's excursion with Queen Loana), and its bill of particulars somewhat out-of-date though perennial (eg do a global replace of IBM or Google in this piece with NSA) ...

Meanwhile, Archipelago Books celebrated 10 years, 100 books from 25 languages a couple weeks ago at the Wythe Hotel; at my table were Mr. Waggish (whose site I've long sullied with comments) and translator Ross Benjamin, whose englishing of Clemens J. Setz's Indigo is forthcoming shortly from Liveright/Norton (cf boardchat) and who's currently working on Kafka's diaries for them (I've read both of the ones he did for Archipelago, and of course Maar on Nabokov). A good do for the press that's inverted the "3%" translation problem (that's right, 3% of Archipelago's publications were originally in English and so untranslated) (and yes it's getting to be time to consider an end-of-year donation to keep the string alive).


Beginning of October reads

So, I hit the hundred book mark for 2014 early this year, late last month, and what I've been reading since was largely gleaned from indiepresses at the Brooklyn Book Festival, picked up largely on spec, which makes for some unevenness but more than compensated by its rewards. About halfway through, as is October (meanwhile, Archipelago Books hit the hundred book mark, published over its ten year existence, and I'll be celebrating both booklandmarks with them tomorrow night at the gala) ...

Stig Dagerman, Sleet: selected stories (Stephen Hartman) [Godine]: the child struggles to maintain innocence, defenseless against older children, just so-so; I keep trying but I'm still just not taking to Scandinavian Lit ...
Mina Loy, Insel [Melville House]: something to put side by side with Breton's Nadja (with some of the same flaws), and an inquisition of Surrealism, and more prose-by-poet (yet another hook for me) but a bit disappointing, but I'll be following up.
Gonçalo M. Tavares, Jerusalem (Anna Kushner) [Dalkey]: confluence of the marginal ... I wondered to what extent it played off early Lobo Antunes' psychologizing; I liked it better than [MAO]
James Kelman, if it is your life: stories [Other]: varied, some misses but when he hits he hits hard.
Frankétienne, Ready to Burst (Kaiama L. Glover) [Archipelago]: Spiralist story expertly translated [MAO] [John Taylor {whose translations of French poetry I must pick up}]
Peter Weiss, Leavetaking (Christopher Levenson) [Melville House]: semiautobiographical bildungsroman, concise without sacrificing range; I'm still hoping that the rest of The Aesthetics of Resistance will be englished. [MAO]
Eliot Weinberger, An Elemental Thing [NDP {thx4 the tote!}]: mythic essay(s) from all over the map ... I'm reading his Paz translations, this seemed to fit, but so too "The Vortex" after Frankétienne (neither of which make mention of Nabokov's ascendant spiral).