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Archive for June 19th, 2006

round the world

The Financial Times this weekend had a nice guide to summer reading, fiction and non, broken up by nation of origin.

I ordered:

by Yiyun Li
Fourth Estate ₤14.99

Yiyun Li grew up in Beijing but emigrated to the US in 1996. This short story collection – providing a poignant glimpse into people’s lives in post-Marxist China – won the prestigious Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award last autumn.

and preordered:

by Paulo Lins
Bloomsbury ₤8.99

Published for the first time in English, this is the original novel on which the 2002 Oscar-nominated film of the same name is based. Awash with violence, guns and drugs it depicts gang life in Rio de Janeiro’s most notorious slum during the 1970s and 1980s.

and I’m tempted by these two:

by Pierre Merot
translated by Frank Wynne
Canongate ₤9.99 (July 6)

A bitterly funny novel about a dissolute, alcoholic loser who wanders between dead-end jobs and therapists. This is the first of Parisian Merot’s novels to be translated into English.

by Andrew Hussey
Viking ₤25 (July 6)

An enthralling new look at Paris from the perspective of its outcasts – immigrants, sexual outsiders, criminals and revolutionaries. Starting with the origins of the city as the home of the nomadic Parisii tribe and culminating with the riots of disaffected suburban immigrant youth last autumn, it provides a fresh take on the world’s most romanticised city.

A helpful list. Lot’s of stuff I hadn’t seen before…

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June 19, 2006 at 12:19 pm

Posted in literature


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I was just now looking at, and as I was at the site the red banner at the top of the page changed from this –

– to this:

in the space of a clicked link. Sorry about the bad crop on the second – the the time I returned to grab a new shot, both banners were gone.

Tweaking the meds, I guess. Panicked, perpetually if slightly, gravely aware of our imminent destruction, but not so much as to, say, interrupt your needtoknow in realtime about banged up football stars…

It is a real feat, what they’ve managed. Beyond all precedent. Total mobilization for total war seems child’s play in comparison. This tantrically interminable prolongation of the tensions, the infinite deferral of the jouissance is a tiger’s leap beyond any backseat quickie, all desire unburied, manipulated into exposure, and then over…

UPDATE: Just got a CNN Breaking News email in the box. Which will it be?

— Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to be cited for failure to wear a helmet, not having a proper license at time of his June 12 accident.

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June 19, 2006 at 11:02 am

Posted in distraction, teevee


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Just got back from a weekend trip to Ithaca, NY. Lovely weekend…

But my wife and I did re-learn a lesson that we should have learned a long time ago – the summer of 1996 in fact – when we were in Zurich, wanted to go see Joyce’s grave, and poo-pooed the person at the train station who, in broken English, told us to take a taxi or a bus, not to try walking it. We made it, somehow, but we were only 18 and 19 at the time. We weren’t pushing a stroller, either, back in those days.

But it looked so close on the map! And it was close, two-dimensionally speaking.

Flash-forward to yesterday, when we asked the desk clerk at our hotel the direction to walk to Cornell’s campus. She warned us, in no uncertain terms, that we weren’t going to be up for it. But we’re such avid walkers… And the baby needs a stroller nap… And she hates the car… And so she told us; and so we tried…

We made it a third of the way, and then rolled back down the hill to take a swim in the hotel pool. Didn’t make it up to the campus until this morning… This time in the car.

Anyway, wow, for the first time in forever I spent 24 hours without checking feeds. We actually had internet access in the hotel, and the powerbook came with, but traveling with a 12 month old, it’s lights out when it’s lights out. I even had to turn off the Carolina – Edmonton game after the first period. I didn’t even think about blogs, mine or others’, until the very end, when a lovely lesbian couple with their adopted son gave up the one baby swing at Taughannock Falls State Park so that we could use it, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of this. For the record, my wife agrees, there are certain things – “groups,” even – we just can’t sell out.

My pseudonymous kid not only agreed to a photo at this point, she even humored her dad’s request (it was father’s day, after all) that she strike a pose appropriate to his celebrity academic blogger status.

And yes, that’s my pseudonymous hand in the frame…

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June 19, 2006 at 12:08 am

Posted in Uncategorized