Sound Advice

The Adventures of Augie March / Saul Bellow

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Он был философ…

Он был философ. Выслушав благодарность Остапа, писатель потряс головой и пошел к себе дописывать рассказ. Будучи человеком пунктуальным, он твердо решил каждый день обьязательно писать по рассказу. Это решение он выполнял с прилежностью первого ученика. По-видимому, он вдохновлялся мыслью, что раз бумага существует, то должен же на ней кто-нибудь писать.

Золотой теленок Ильфа и Петрова

When Winter Abandons Us

Золотой теленок Ильфа и Петрова
Вьюга шуток…

Feast of Love / Charles Baxter
What a wonderful book. But I feel behind having read it now. I love Baxter’s many voices. And, this is my homeland, this setting. I kind of feel like Harry is too self-consciously Jewish. I know there’s a lot of anxiety about portraying a Jewish person or any ethnicity the author’s not a part of. Harry’s also my favorite. I’m really vulnerable right now, so this is all sounding pat.

States of Motion / Laura Hulthen Thomas
My interview here.

The Adventures of Augie March / Saul Bellow
I love Bellow’s style, even though I can’t read it at the end of the day, when my brain’s used up.

Лавр Евгения Водолазкина

Leaves Fall, We Rake

The Life and Times of Michael K. / J.M. Coetzee
K.

Feast of Love / Charles Baxter
“You think that what I’ve just told you is an anecdote. But really it isn’t. It’s my whole life. It’s the only story I have.”
“We live in a large city, populated only by ourselves.”

Second Hand Time / Svetlana Alexievich

Spring and Hope and Other Problems

The Translator’s Invisibility Lawrence Venuti
“The translator’s invisibility is thus a weird self-annihilation, a way of conceiving and practicing translation that undoubtedly reinforces its marginal status in Anglo-American culture.”

A History of Sexuality / Michel Foucault
An application of the principle just to describe rather than prescribe. It’s refreshing, but it also reminds me of the constantly paradoxical and hyper-(which also could be hypo- at times)critical behavior of some intellectuals I know.

In Marx’s Shadow
I read the essay on Havel, Fidelius and Orwell in this volume. The overall project is interesting. I was especially happy to have met Fidelius.

“1/3, 1/3, 1/3” / Richard Brautigan
I never realized how much Denis Johnson has inherited from Brautigan until I reread this. Like it’s era, it seems a little more innocent than Jesus’ Son though. There’s a kind of litany effect at the start of his sentences sometimes.

Зависть Юрия Олеши
Всё про зеркала…и долгие монологи Ивана Бабичева. С завистью делают такую атмосферу, целый спектакль.
Ура!

The Home Place / Wright Morris
It’s where you hang your childhood. I identify with the narrator here, who’s kind of from there, kind of not. But he has chosen where to hang his childhood. So have I.

Doesn’t this seem so egotistical?

1 Corinthians / Paul
Agape was once “charity.” Then it became “love.”

Трава забвения Валентина Катаева
Так интеллигентно…интересная, типо, апология для Бунина, “страха” при Революции.
Что сказать о смерти его папы. Как я мучу своего папу? Да, увидел слезу недавно. Но только на секундочку. Катаев напомнил. Я благодарен.

The Window Over the Way / Georges Simenon
What an interesting character for a detective novel, a goaded Turk.

The Book of the Grotesque / Sherwood Anderson
Anderson always loved the grotesque of the Midwest, which is always what I loved about it (and the South’s grotesque) too.

My People’s Waltz / Dale Ray Phillips
Phillips’ prose defies all the stereotypes of Southern Gothic, at least the ones I know. It’s smart, thick and dense as kudzu. It demands several readings. It makes sure you don’t take his people for granted.

“Odessa” / Isaak Babel (translated by Val Vinokur in The Odessa Review)
“Одесса” Исаака Бабеля
This is such a great little brochure for Odessa (at first). It becomes very serious, discussing the sun and the need to describe it in Russian literature, ending with a literary messiah figure rising from the Black Sea. Is пряный spicy? It seems more like “nutty” or “piquant,” sharp, like Odessan wit, still sweet, the smell of the acacia.

Пятеро Владимира Жаботинского
У меня были ингибирования о чтение этого. Ревизионистский Сионизм мне очень отвратителен. Я обычно читаю писателя, несмотря на его политику. А это…ну, нахожу меньше такого одесского голоса как у Ильфа и Петрова, как у Катаева, Олеши. Где же такая острота как мессия одесской литературы, Баб-Эль (читайте на вверху). Ну, может быть позже, когда я думаю больше о Палестине, чем об Одессе.

The All-American Anarchist: Joseph A. Labadie and the Labor Movement / Carlotta R. Anderson
I feel a certain kinship with this Detroiter, part-Ojibway, and the namesake of the library of radical literature where I spent many working hours during my undergraduate days. This also introduced me to the Society of Russian Anarchists and helped me find their journals, Пробуждение and Дело труда. Anderson, Labadie’s granddaughter, is gentle, echoing Labadie’s somewhat sentimental description of his childhood among Potawatomi people in Michigan. But she takes us out for a wider view and lets us know the difficult truth about how those Potawatomi with whom Labadie lived in lean-tos and “played Indian” were probably the last to be doing so at the time.

Золотой теленок Ильфа и Петрова
Нда…стыдно, что только что читаю. А на русском, мне только 10 лет. Тебе сколько лет, когда читал?

“Ethics as First Philosophy” / Emmanuel Levinas
“…War and politics, which pass themselves off as the relation of the Same to the Other (l’Autre).”
“It is in the laying down by the ego of its sovereignty that we find ethics and also probably the very spirituality of the soul, but most certainly the question of the meaning of being, that is, its appeal for justification.”

Gareth Jones / Ray Gamache

Чёрный монах Антона Чехова
“В доме опять запели, и издали скрипка производила впечатление человеческого голоса.”
“Дело красивое, милое, здоровое, но и тут страсти и война – подумал он. Должно быть, везде и на всех поприщах идейные люди нервны и отличаются повышенной чувствительностью. Вероятно, это так нужно.”
“Он никогда бы уж не мог полюбить здоровую, крепкую, краснощекую женщину, но бледная, слабая, несчастная Таня ему нравилась.”

samuel-beckett-irish-writer-who-was-awarded-with-nobel-prize-for-literature

Damned to Fame / James Knowlson

“The Novelist” / W.H. Auden

Open City / Teju Cole
“How easy it would be, I thought, to slip gently into the water here, and go down to the depths. I knelt, and trailed my hand in the Hudson. It was frigid. Here we all were, ignoring that water, paying as little attention as possible to the pair of black eternities between which our little light intervened. Our debt, though, to that light: what of it? We owe ourselves our lives. This, about which we physicians say so much to our patients, about which so little can reasonably be said, folds back and also asks us questions.”
“But atrocities is nothing new, not to humans, not to animals. The difference is that in our time it is uniquely well-organized and carried out with pens, train carriages, ledgers, barbed wire, work camps, gas. And this late contribution, the absence of bodies. No bodies were visible, except the falling ones, on the day America’s ticker stopped. Marketable stories of all kinds had thickened around the injured coast of our city, but the depiction of the dead bodies was forbidden. It would have been upsetting to have it otherwise.”