Showing posts from July, 2011

Reading through my Backlog

at Shirt of Flame, I came across this woman who deserves to be remembered and imitated:

Irene Sendler

Salvidor Dali's Disney Film

From earliest youth I have loved the work of Salvidor Dali.  Here is a film started in 1946 and finished . . . later.

The continual chain of transformation is just gorgeous. What a fascinating specimen of mind gives rise to so interesting a series of transformations.

Stolen from Books, Inq.

Stolen, not borrowed, because it struck me as powerful, meaningful, and useful.

God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illumined by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond all reason. - Dag Hammarskj√∂ld, born on this date in 1905
Books inq. 

Nouvelles, Nouvelles

No, I'm not starting my caroling in July; however, it seemed appropriate for the news I'm about to share:  recently I received word that a collaborative novel we had been shopping around for some time has sold and should be published about the middle of next year.  Needless to say, I am utterly delighted having long relegated this novel to the ranks of those that would be published upon the advent of my next, more successful endeavor!

The Poetry of William Carlos Williams of Rutherford--Wendell Berry

Literary criticism is the sincerest form of fiction.  It wasn't actually this book that inspired the thought, but it helped to carry the thought to its fruition--I was reading a book on Ulysses by one of the great Joyce scholars and thought what an elaborate array of fictive devises had been invented to explain what essentially needs no explanation.  Literary criticism was the predecessor (and now shares the domain with) fan fiction.

I'll elaborate more on that point at another time--but for now let's consider Wendell Berry's book on William Carlos Williams.  What I profoundly admired in this book was not so much the image of Williams or of Williams's poetry that comes forth (upon reading the book I did not/do not feel inspired to run out and try to push myself--once again--through the book-length maundering Paterson) but some of the observations about literature, life, and writing that occur along the way.  For example

from The Poetry of William Carlos Williams of …

The Killer Inside Me--Jim Thompson

Jim Thompson is king of the boozy, bleak, late noir.  I thought I had read this one before, but nothing about it seemed familiar even while all of the tropes of the noir genre and particularly of the provocative pulp noir raised their unholy heads in the course of the story. 

Lou Ford is a deputy sheriff with a secret--a bunch of secrets.  And he spends the book accumulating more--a lot more.  He is the essence of the smiling sociopath blithely plotting his way to freedom even though he knows, as one of the characters says, "It's always lightest just before the dark." 

His smiling persona has leaks--people see past the mask frequently.  As brilliant as he thinks he is, he can't keep what he does hidden and the story reaches exactly the type of noir climax you would expect.

Taut, terse, in parts brilliant--written in a cool, clear voice that at once plays on one's nerves and shows the bumpkin leading the yokels.  In short, a powerful noir work from a powerful noir…

Hexed--Kevin Hearne

Another frothy, light excursion into Celtic (and other mythology).  Interesting takes on appearances of the Blessed Virgin--a fight with Nazi-witches and with Bacchants--and if you aren't familiar with the latter, let me tell you--not a group to tangle with.  Our intrepid hero battles to keep Tempe, Mesa, and Phoenix a Fae-free zone as well as to preserve the indigenous supernatural life against attempted invasions from outside.

A lark and a fast read.  So nice that now I find myself waiting for the third--Hammered in which our hero battles Thor.  (Practically the only thing nearly everyone in any patheon agrees upon is that Thor is definitely the worst of the worst.)


Little Posting

Little posting--vacationing in one of the loveliest areas of the Eastern Seaboard--the Shendandoah valley about 15 miles from Harper's Ferry.  But two books reviewed--perhaps in a moment.

Exciting News--Free E-book

The University of Chicago Press is publishing more e-books--this time a group of mysteries about which I had been wondering just recently.  You can get Robert van Gulik's The Chinese Maze Murders for free. To call van Gulik's mysteries concerning the apparently real Judge Dee magisterial is a gross understatement.  They are unmatched for their sheer interest and oddity in the annals of crime.

I am, however, puzzled by the match in cost between the paperback edition and the e-book.  I do understand that there is a price point below which e-books are not viable--but there must be a substantial cost differential between supplying the ephemeral e-book and supplying the permanent paper, ink, and glue book.  This saving should, in part be passed on to the consumer.  However, I also recognize that here are hidden costs, especially with DRM deliveries.  What I would love to see is cost analysis of the two.