Friday, June 16, 2017

American War by Omar El Akkad

Set in the near post-apocalyptic future, America has divided due to climate change flooding and drought, bioterrorist plague, and civil war between south, north and west.  Interesting "racial" novel I think.  Heroine/protagonist/terrorist is black but only glancingly so. Novel is about political and class divisions, not race.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The North Water by Ian McGuire

A little bit Moby Dick Lite, a little Heart of Darkness.

Compulsively readable!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Rick's Bag of Tricks, a poem by Rick Cannon

Rick's Bag of Tricks


The days shuttle endlessly
undoing the neat weave
of your suit.  You hardly
notice, until one day
the cuff is gone and part
of the sleeve.  You laugh,
buy another.  The trick is
not to trust metaphor.

Of some people you say
"these are mine and these
own me."  Their several glows
seem warm jewels or sloops
to haul yourself up on.
One day you are bereft.  You
might laugh.  The trick is
not to trust friendship.

You shout "Metaphysics!"
Someone replies "Metabolism!"
Moving closer you say "That's
what I meant." The other
answers "Of course." You slow
down.  You move together.  It
is a dance.  The trick is
to trust nothing else.

Rick Cannon


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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead


Nicotine by Nell Zink




Clever, odd, arresting and funny novel.  Lots of ideas.

"She was saying that Marxism isn't any better than capitalism, because they're both based on a world without friendship and love, where everything's for sale! A male world, basically. Money instead of nature.  Welcome to New York."

"Medicaid's an instrument of oppression. We'd have had a revolution a long time ago if the poor were dying in the streets like they're supposed to."

"That's something your dad used to say, about how it's the stories we tell ourselves that cause all the problems. If you look reality straight in the eye, you end up a lot less confused.  It's a matter of signal-to-noise ratio. Any story you tell has to be all signal. Any distraction is noise. Anything extraneous is noise. Now try to define extraneous. In life, nothing's extraneous. There's no noise. It's all signal. That's Freud. The early Freud."

"You're not too tired to go to work!"
"It's not like I'm a waitress, or operating a jackhammer or something. All I have to do is get to Manhattan and sit down."

Friday, April 14, 2017

Moonglow by Michael Chabon

Pretty good.  A little long-winded, but maybe that's because I went for the large-type edition, to avoid the long queue for the regular version.  He has an annoying last name, hard to remember how to pronounce.  Shay-bun.  The internet says that this has been verified by his publisher.  I guess Moonglow is a fictional memoir, or an autobiographical novel.  There was a time when I would have cared to find out.  Now, I'll just wait around until I hear it second-hand.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

1984 by George Orwell

Longer, and more tedious, than I remember when I read it in high school.  The love affair is the most interesting writing -- and it's all being set-up for the (much shorter) interrogation/torture scene.