Monday, January 24, 2011

This was kind of a stupid book about trains.

I mean, it wasn't that bad. William T. Vollmann, very prodigious, very brilliant, very insane writer, likes to spend his free time sleeping out by the railroad tracks, illegally hopping freight trains with his 50 year old friends, interviewing hoboes underneath bridges, and poetically pining for his lost women, his prostitutes, his Diesel Venus. This book could have been interesting, and when I purchased it on sale at a bookstore in Berkeley, this is what I was thinking. But, in the end, it really was just kind of stupid, rambling, incoherent, pointless, every once in a while dipping into some rather gorgeous prose and showing off Vollmann's handle of language, but then immediately backtracking and becoming once again, stupid. Oh well. I was going to start his 800 page book about crack cocaine and the seedy underbelly of San Francisco, but now I think I'll probably just read something else.

Friday, January 21, 2011

What to say about this book.......?

I picked this up by recommendation of my favorite oldest son (who heard it was a good one but hasn't read it himself). I question how to review this one because, as I was reading it, I was both enjoying the writing immensely but also, feeling like the writer was annoyingly repetitive and bogged down in too many unnecessary details...thus the 532 pages of story. Now that I'm finished though, it will be one of those books that I'll talk about and recommend as a work of a brilliant writer. Quite simply, it's a story about Kemal, a Turkish man engaged to be married to Sibel but he falls obsessively in love with a young, distant relative of his, Fusun, and he takes us along on his addictive journey of love for the rest of his life, collecting objects along the way to chronicle the progress of his feelings for Fusun, creating a museum for his collection...a museum of his 'heart'. I hope somebody out there reads it so that we can compare notes.

Unbroken spirit.

I try to avoid Bestsellers. I do. And to my credit, I began listening to this one before it hit every best of the best list but I must say that it deserves every ounce of praise it's been getting. Unbroken is the true story of Louis Zamperini, Olympic runner turned POW during WWII. A fascinating tale of a man whose spirit to survive will leave you in awe. (I even started to question my right to whine about the chilly weather and the cut on my heel.) Inspiring and a must-read!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Point Omega ∞ Don DeLillo

Time slows down.

Brute matter becomes analytical human thought.

There are five shower rings. No there are six shower rings.

People on line at the post office. Nannies with children.

"If you were any more intense, you'd be a black hole. A singularity," she said. "No light escapes."

The omega point. A leap out of our biology. Ask yourself this question: do we have to be human forever?

Jessie's circumstances.

Man at the wall. Up against the wall.

The film made him feel like someone watching a film.

Jessie shrugging.

Cities are built to measure time. To take nature out of time.

These nuclear flirtations we've been having.

Time to close it all down. This is what drives us now.


Franzen is the real deal.

This is a fantastic article about him and his work process (he superglued an ethernet cord into the back of his computer and broke off the wire to avoid internet distractions).

I think I may have liked The Corrections the tiniest bit more.

Both books have really excellent detailed visceral scenes about poop.