saavedra77: Al Swearingen from Deadwood says "I'm in fuckin' wonderment." (wonderment)
I've always been impressed by the ease with which William Kennedy's prose moves from persuasively colloquial and naturalistic dialogue to poetic cadence. His ear for period argot is pitch-perfect, but the narrative frame belongs to a completely different--although complimentary--register. Kennedy's voice openly comments on character, moment, and action, conveying an ironic affection for spiritual outlaws: gamblers, gangsters, drunks, derelicts, and machine politicians. His attitude toward the past (and the past is what Kennedy is all about, but with a sense of humor and direction that, say, Faulkner altogether lacked) is appreciative, not nostalgic, but his sympathy for old Albany's devils, rakes, and dropouts is undeniable.

More where that came from, pal )
saavedra77: Doc from Deadwood has a dark turn of mind .. (dark)
I recently finished re-reading Faulkner's Absalom! Absalom!, which turned out to be as powerfully immersive an experience as my first reading of the novel, over twenty years ago:

How Sophoclean It All Was )
saavedra77: Doc from Deadwood has a dark turn of mind .. (dark)
A conversation with a co-worker prompted me to start re-reading Faulkner's Light in August a couple of weeks ago, a novel I had first attempted (and rapidly given up on) before college.

Light in August is reputedly one of Faulkner's more accessible novels--and an important one. Less formally experimental than The Sound and Fury, As I Lay Dying, or Absalom, Absalom!, the book nonetheless wrestles with equally weighty themes: the legacies of racial and religious communalism and bigotry in the early twentieth-century American Southeast. Jim Crow, John Calvin, and Joe Christmas )
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (us)
Michael Dobbs' re-examination of the Cuban missile crisis gets beyond the mythology surrounding Kennedy and Krushchev's 1962 confrontation. chaos diplomacy )
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Default)
Interracial sex presented a problem for the slave holding South: above all because it resulted in mixed-race people. what's a racial caste system to do? )
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Default)
Courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] cakeface:

These are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you've read, underline the ones you've read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish.

My Read & Unread )

And that's all I've got to say about that.
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (smirk)
The view from my living room window has gotten a little more film noir since the Cap Hill Twice Sold Tales moved in across the street. The five-color neon sign glowers through the venetian blinds on a rainy day like the window of Arthur Gwynn Geiger's bookstore in The Big Sleep:

Twice Sold Tales

Some neighbors have complained about the faint glare, but the store's owner is considerate enough to turn the sign off when they close at night, so it's not like they're flagrant about it. And having a weakness for that whole trashy neon aesthetic, I kind of enjoy the ambience.

Inside, the new store has a completely different feel, a labyrinthine quality that reminds me of the monastic library in The Name of the Rose: perhaps a dozen rooms full of books winding around almost the entire first floor of the Abonita building. The space is too small for you to actually lose your way, but it almost feels as though you could.

And then there are the cats ... )
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (romeo juliet sabre_dance)
from [livejournal.com profile] verbicide

Bold the ones you've seen stage productions of, italicize the ones you've seen movies of, and underline the ones you've read or listened to:
I wasted time, and now doth time waste me ... )
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Love of Carmen)
On Christmas Eve, the family got together as we usually do at my sister Carmen's McMansion in Voorhees, where per our customary practice gifts were exchanged at midnight.

I'm indebted to Carmen's daughter April, "my favorite niece" (we're only a few years apart, so more like siblings), for supplying me with gift suggestions for all of my relatives back there, since I live so far away and I have trouble keeping track of what people are in to and have.

Potlatch )

I wish that I could include pictures of the event and the ensuing sea of torn paper, but my camera died on the eve of this trip. So I'll have to wait for my relatives to email them to me, then maybe I'll make a separate post.
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (ruserious?)
During late August and early September, this year, somebody started plastering walls around Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood with posters of what I swear to God is Slavoj Zizek's ugly mug:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

If showing up as the featured commentator on the Children of Men DVD and writing ad copy for the Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue didn't adequately dramatize the Lacanian theorist's pop-cultural ambitions, I guess maybe someone around here figured that giving him the Andy Warhol treatment alongside posters for the Shins and the White Stripes would do it ...
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (existentialism)
As a rule, I kind of like depressing movies. But even I have my limits.

[livejournal.com profile] marginalia has been my partner in crime through a week-and-a-half-long marathon of some of this fall's darkest (and, in at least a couple of instances, most promising) films.

No Country for Old Men )

Michael Clayton )

American Gangster )

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead )

I'd been OK with the previous three films, but the last one's uncompromising bleakness left me running for comfort cinema:

So I sought refuge in re-watching Trevor Knight's version of Twelfth Night. As I'd hoped, Ben Kingsley's Feste singing "The rain it raineth every day" and Helena Bonham Carter's Olivia mooning over Imogen Stubbs' Viola restored my spirits.
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (I am Jack's ...)
Comparing Humphrey Bogart's cool, predatory interpretation of Philip Marlowe in Howard Hawks' The Big Sleep to Elliott Gould's lonely, mumbling, dislocated version of the same character in Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye, my thought is that the earlier movie takes Marlowe's first-person narration in the novels at face value and presents the character as he sees himself, while the later film treats Marlowe as an unreliable narrator and provides a better idea of how he might seem to others.

(Then again, maybe it's just that Chandler's hero just seems preposterously anachronistic re-situated in 1973 ...)
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (writing)
The qualities that I appreciate about Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union all seem summed up in the following passage, which describes the arrival of the protagonist's father in Chabon's alternate-historical Federal District of Sitka, Alaska:

speechless with outrage, joy, and wonder )
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (reading)
A coworker recommended Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex several weeks ago, and from the moment that I scanned the book's first page, I found myself scarcely able to put the damned thing down. I haven't been this fascinated, this absorbed by a book since I finished Rushdie's Shalimar the Clown, last year.

And Middlesex has so much to offer: one of those sprawling, multigenerational family sagas I've always been drawn to; a powerful sense of history; a thoughtful treatment of gender politics--all of it woven together via a network of sexually-charged allusions to Greek mythology (Tiresius, the Minotaur, Zeus and Hera, etc).

As with many a beloved story, of course, I started having something like withdrawal pangs as soon as I got to the end.

Don't get me wrong: I'm a firm believer in endings, I respect where this novel ended. I just wish that I always had such rewarding reading to hand.
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Locas2)

Meeting Love & Rockets creators Jaime (or "Xaime") and Gilbert ("Beto") Hernandez last weekend put a lot of things in perspective, for me.  After following their work for so many years, I had a wealth of questions about their creative processes, influences, opinions, intentions.  And, of course, I was curious whether the sense I had of them would be borne out in person.  I'm pleased to say that it was, and that the experience of talking with them only deepened my appreciation of their art:

********************

digging deep )latina punk soap opera )in vegas, there are no politics )
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Locas)

I've been reading Love & Rockets since the mid-1980s.  I feel as though grew up with Xaime Hernandez' Margarita "Maggie" Chascarillo and Esperanza "Hopey" Glass, and I love the way that these characters have evolved over the years.  More than any other fictional characters I can think of, they're like people I know--people I've known since "we" were teenagers.

I've always been a big fan of Beto Hernandez' Palomar stories, too: I certainly won't be the first to liken these to Gabriel Garcia Marquez' Macondo or Fellini's Amarcord--tightly-knit fictional communities whose dozens of characters you come to know with the intimacy of family, or at least with the intimacy of the village gossip.

Which is why it looks like I'm spending a big chunk of this weekend in Georgetown:

25 Years of Love & Rockets! )
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (fits)
As [livejournal.com profile] marginalia has posted elsewhere, a few of us went out to see Pan's Labyrinth on Friday. We had to trek out into the wilds of unincorporated King County to find a late showing that wasn't sold out, but it was well worth the drive: Hey, kids! Literary references inside! )

On Saturday, I ventured out into the uncharacteristically Arctic night air we're experieicing in Seattle again to see Casino Royale a second time. You Know My Name )

Sunday night, [livejournal.com profile] ryuusama hosted the premier episode of HBO's Rome, which shall we say paralleled events in Act III, Scene II of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Not To Praise Him )
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (romanempire)
Over the holidays, I was reading Colin Wells' Sailing from Byzantium: How a Lost Empire Shaped the World, which traces the influences of the medieval Byzantine Empire on Western, Islamic, and Slavic civilizations. Wells describes Byzantine culture as having a "dual nature," embracing "both Christian faith and Greek culture" ("Athens and Jerusalem"), and recounts how different aspects of that "dual legacy" impacted the cited "younger civilizations."

Besides treating one of my favorite intellectual hobbyhorses, Wells' book is one of the more quote-able academic treatises I've run across lately:

peckish condor )

Athens and Jerusalem )

After reading this and several general histories of the Byzantine Empire, I find that I want to know a lot more about the Empire's so-called "Golden Age" under the Macedonian dynasty. In particular, I'd like to get my hands on a copy of Digenes Akritas, which was apparently a kind of Byzantine equivalent to El Cid and The Song of Roland.
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (reading)
See, lines like that are why I think Brian K. Vaughn is the best thing to happen to graphic novel writing since Alan Moore's Watchmen. I just got around to reading "Kimono Dragons," the latest collection of Y The Last Man, and I was so not disappointed. I continue to be amazed by Vaughn's ability to keep elaborating on the "unmanned" premise, I grow more attached to the characters with every story cycle, and the dialogue still totally rocks.
saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (reading)
Comparing notes with [livejournal.com profile] verbicide:

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
 

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

Dedicated Reader
 
Literate Good Citizen
 
Book Snob
 
Non-Reader
 
Fad Reader
 
What Kind of Reader Are You?
Create Your Own Quiz

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saavedra77: Back to the byte mines ... (Default)
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