Monday, December 28, 2009

Library Haul

I raided the library for another (see December 17) bunch of books, just to keep a range on hand. The past week or so, I finished the Larry Fine bio, and the Faulkner one, as well as read a Tony Hillerman that I had. I have nearly finished the Pohl, nibbled at Pater, find Toffler a bit boring, and I read the Calamus section of Leaves of Grass straight thru. Here is what I got this evening:

  • Absalom, Absalom!, I read it years ago. It is experimental, like Faulkner’s best books, but shows more effort than Fury or Dying. It is a more difficult read. I will start in on it tonight, methinks.
  • The Mansion, another one that I have read before. His presentation is less disjunctive than his masterpieces, but he is still pressing the language. A sort of drippy adjective-rich writing exists that is mongered as quintessential, such that you will hear passages of it quoted reverently, like on public radio. It is mushy writing but if you have Dylan Thomas’ pipes it can sound nearly wonderful. Faulkner’s prose is crazier than that sort of writing. He certainly knows he’s pushing the canopy, but he’s also just throwing it into the moat and seeing if anyone will salute. When he bounds away on one of his endless sentences, it’s an aerial stunt that you are compelled to watch. In contradistinction to, say, Amy Clampitt, who, looks at the turf of her sentences as subdivisions, each plot grimly separated by commas, periods and—heaven help us!—semi-colons. It’s a bumpy ride with Faulkner, but worth the experience.
  • A bio of F Scott Fitzgerald by Jeffrey Meyers. Pretty sure I have read something by Meyer…
  • A bio of Josef Goebbels. Perhaps there’s an afterword by Dick Cheney…
  • Sphere, by Michael Crichton. I have read a number of his books and seen quite a few of his movies (but never saw ER). He gets the elements together nicely. This one caught my attention because the title does not appear on front cover or spine. In fact, I managed to see the cover illustration as being the Antikythera machine. It is instead a spiral of numbers that I am just guessing has something to do with the plot.
  • The Man Who Would Be King, about the man, a Quaker, who was the 1st American in Afghanistan.
  • Philosophical Writings of Peirce, I would like to read more by him.