Friday, August 18, 2017

Hem

Here is a cafe Hemingway hung out in.

The Dearborn biography does a good job of disillusioning someone that perhaps Hemingway was a great man. He lied, he cheated, he was venial. I guess it's good to see people's clay feet.

I'm reading The Sun Also Raises. At first I felt a connection to the beats, who celebrated celebration. They threw a lot of parties, and the Americans in Paris drank a lot. They got "tight". I like the silly slang and nick names he gives in his dialogue. You can feel he could be a good friend (as long as you were not in competition with him). You could feel he was a good friend until he wasn't.

By giving the narrator an inability to perform in standard sexual ways, and because they probably didn't want to go into other practices, Jake is an interesting narrator, who at once wants but can't have, and is also perhaps not fully embroiled.

Being in Paris at that time seems romantic. I sat in a cafe in Paris and the owner was really cruel to his puppy dog. I like the photo above, there's a kid there. It's kind of like a beer garden, or perhaps a bar that is also a restaurant. I love the family getting one's drunk on.

He's about to go fishing, a lovely respite.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Dearborn's Hemingway

OK, so he's a piker, didn't take responsibility for leaving Hadley, his first wife. He took credit for things he did with others that were good and then took no credit for things that looked bad.

He was an ungrateful git. Sherwood Anderson got In Our Time published and to pay him back Hemingway wrote a book making fun of his latest novel. He used it to get out of a contract with a publisher who published his first book.

Then Fitzgerald got him working with Max Perkins and edited The Sun Also Raises. Then he wrote shit about him in A Movable Feast.

A friend called his second wife daughter, and she called him Papa, and that's the origins of that nickname.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Thoughts on Dearborn's Hemingway

Ms. Dearborn has two negative interpretations on Hemingway. By him describing hair, he is obsessed sexually with hair. She also makes his career struggle to be immature and petty. I guess I'm like one of those people who stand up and say how Hemingway made him possible, made him who he was.

I went to the wiki page on the actress Hem flirted or had an affair with, and they don't mention the relationship. I wonder if they don't want to go that deep into her private life, or whether they really want me to add that in and cite the book I'm reading.

I'm on page 141 and some manuscripts are lost and he thinks he's going to be a father, and that leads to a manic output of journalism and attempts to get recognized in the literary world, through friends like Ezra Pound.

I was surprised Hemingway was influenced by Sherwood Anderson, knew him and carried letters of introduction with him to Paris from him. I've read Winesburg Ohio, which is free.

Another surprise influence was Kipling. I've been listening to the Just So Stories on Librivox. I've ignored Kipling and maybe I can read them to my daughter.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Hemingway

I'm reading Mary Dearborn's biography of Hemingway. I'm only 52 pages in and I find the early years hard to read in most biographies.

I read all of Hemingway when in college, on my own, not as an assignment. I continue to read The Sun Also Raises in my rereading of my favorites rota. I enjoyed A Million Little Pieces which copied the style of Hemingway.

I have been to his house in Chicago, where he grew up, and to his house in Key West, where there were 6 toed cats. I've been to Paris and hung out in cafes like in A Movable Feast

To Have and Have Not is a terrible novel, but made an excellent debut for Lauren Becall in rewritten movie form. I can't help lusting over her, even though she is dead and in the ground.


Their son was married recently, I saw in the times. 

Anywho, I hope to do further posts about Hemingway.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Favorite fiction

Favorite Fiction

The Hobbit. I read this book in one day, one summer when I was a teen. I think if you're going to avoid fantasy, at least you need to read this one. I read somewhere that C.S. Lewis tried to be non-religious in his fiction, and Tolkien tried to be religious. Tolkien was Catholic. It still feels the other way around.

A Season of Migration To The North. Read this one in a comparative literature class. I like the identification and ultimately individuation. Lent this book to someone who was going to Mauritania for the peace corps, though there's not much of a sense of place there.

Painted Bird. It just keeps getting worse and worse, like Angela's Ashes. Full catastrophe living. World War 2 setting, for those who like WW2

The Stories of Raymond Carver. Nobody finer. Wish he'd written a novel, and more stuff. I met his last wife, Tess Gallagher. She signed a book of poetry about the time around his end, loss and grief. Carver has poor, alcoholic setting. People say he has a minimalist style, but I think of it more as a naturalistic style, nothing added beyond what was there.

I, Claudius. I'm going to reread this soon. I love Roman history. The way it seems to try to be civilized, but are bloody and ruthless. I think we are not far from living like this.

The Sun Also Raises. I went through a Hemingway phase in college, visited his house in Chicago, went to cafes he said he went to in A Movable Feast. Obviously, A Farewell To Arms is a good novel. But for my money the best one is The Sun Also Raises. I love it when he goes fishing. I love it that the man is impotent or castrated or whatever. Where else is the narrator like that? I wish I could have lived in Paris and Europe between the wars. I'm against bull fighting, and the running of the bulls is perhaps a cliche now, but when I was younger I wanted to do that. What adventure.

New York Trilogy by Paul Auster. These are three novelas, that sort of go together somehow. I saw him read once for one of his lesser novels. I've been fairly disappointed with his novels but I still read them. I feel like he has such promise.

American Pastoral, The Human Stain and I Married a Communist. I know that's 3 books, but I love Philip Roth and I can't pick one that sticks out. Portnoy's Complaint is awesome, but I can't remember much and sticking to my method, I need to remember more than just liking the novel to be included on this list.

Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents. OK again not one book, but it's hard not to have these books that are built on each other. When I discovered Octavia Butler, I read all of her novels except Kindred, in a row. I need to read Kindred.

Three Body Problem. Liu Cixen is Chinese, scifi from another country, awesome. This one has so many excellent twists and turns. I might make a scifi list, but this one goes above and beyond the genera.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian. I know it's YA, but it was such a tight perfect novel and I love Sherman Alexie. He's like Paul Auster in that he doesn't seem to fulfill his potential, but he wrote the book that stands out.

A Mote In God's Eye. I'm not going to give away the plot, go read it. Also one of my favorite quotes from the Bible.

The Song of Achilles. This one is on sale for $2 kindle edition. For those who could not get through the Illiad. A modern retelling with liberties of the Illiad. I have mixed feelings about historical novels. I feel like I need to know all the liberties taken, even if I don't and that frustrates me. Even so this book is amazing.

The Sense of an Ending. It's almost a perfect novel, an idea I don't quite understand, but I read once that The Good Soldier is one--I didn't find it so.

Buddha Da. I got into the alternate spelling quickly, and enjoyed this Buddhist novel. This is I think the best Buddhist novel, but unlike this blog, I have not read them all.

Malloy. Beckett is awesome.This usually comes packaged with 2 other novels as well, and they do continue on, though it gets harder and harder to read. I did finish them all, so that says something. Read that book in an Irish literature class, and I'm forever grateful I took that class.

Love In The Time of Cholera. I know I should like One Hundred Years of Solitude better, but I fall for the romance.

The Treatment by Daniel Menaker. I loved the confrontational psychotherapist, who confronted narcissism. I liked the romance as well.

White Oleander. Like Painted Bird, what horrible thing is going to happen next. Set in modern times.

The Left Hand of Darkness. Reread this recently to see if I wanted to recommend it. Half way through I didn't want to, but by the end I really enjoyed it.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I think about this. One of my friends.

Crime and Punishment. Read the novel in Leningrad where it was set. When he uses the word yellow to describe, it was! Leningrad was yellow when I was there! The buildings, the water. I love reading a great novel in the setting. Read Darwin in the Galapagos.
Almost favorites, reread, sentimental favorites

Slaughterhouse Five. First novel I loved. Read part of it in a cabin on a lake in upstate Wisconsin. I have reread a lot of his work and like it, goes down smooth, but somehow it doesn't feel great. I feel like I outgrew it, which I rarely feel. I fill similar about Douglas Adams.

Stranger in a Strange Land. Reread this recently and the narrative didn't dislodge me as much.

The last 11 books I've read

I read almost 2 books a week. I have no money to purchase books. I have not yet met the $10 payout threshold from people clicking on my links. I bet I don't get any money for books that are free.

The Seven: I felt like this book wasn't really a book because we had not really been introduced to all the characters in the team. One was a philosopher, and she was an interesting character. I think this book is still free.

A Horse Walks Into A Bar. A stand up comedian and a retired judge childhood friend who narrates his last performance. It's not that funny, though you can get people to laugh at some of the jokes outside the dark book. My next book needs to be Palestinian. This book won the Booker prize in England. Perhaps the author also holds a British passport.

Star Nomad. This book felt like Firefly plus Star Wars when they were on the cruiser or on the battle star. Still, I became fond of the characters, and a complete mission happened in the novel (Not all free books do that!). It's still free on Amazon.

On Chesil Beach. This book is a study in sexuality, two internal monologues given for a married couple on their honeymoon night. Got this book at the library. It's a short little book. I like the author, read other books of his, like Amsterdam, which is very good.

The Icarus Hunt. This was probably a complete novel because I got it from the library and they were not trying to get me to buy another book. With complications and interesting situations, this was a lovely read. I now like Timothy Zahn. There is a good plot summary of the book here. At $6 this book is a good deal.

Space Team. This is a copy of Douglas Adams. I didn't mind when A Million Tiny Pieces was copying Hemmingway, because I love Hemmingway. I actually think more writers should be copied. So another enjoyable addition to scifi comedy! You can buy all 6 books for $21, or the last five for $20, which comes to $4 a book, not bad.

The End Of Your Life Book Club. This is a memoir about a son while his mother dies of cancer. They connect by reading books together. It's quite touching and the mother is an awesome person. The book discussions were a bit abbreviated, but it did get me to read On Chesil Beach (see above). There are other books I'd like to read from the list.

Beyond Cloud Nine. This book is now $4. I thought this was just going to be a space wars book, but it developed characters that I came to like. There are twins and substance abuse is present.

The Kreutzer Sonata. I read this because it was referred to a lot in Second Person Singular. I had not read this one from Tolstoy.  I have read War and Peace, and The Death of Ivan Ilych. I read his young memoirs. I've stalled reading Anna. You can get all his works for free, just find the right book.

Second Person Singular. Got this from a list of Palestinian writers. The reviews indicated that Israeli characters were not really drawn well, but I found it fascinating. I just read an Israeli, so I wanted one from the others side. I know "sides" is reductive, binary. They will both have to love their children more than they hate the other. By not picking one side I'm am a liberal. I don't think you can justify death in any way. Every war has increased the land in Israel, so I don't recommend anyone trying to invade. It's a shame that in order to get a homeland for the Jews, they had to trample over people who have a historic claim to some land. Things move fast in politics and then really slowly.

All The Birds in the Sky. This is a unique gender bending science fiction. There is time travel and an interesting style of writing. Like The End of Your Life Book Club, an editor has taken to writing. You can get a kindle version of this book for $3.

Monday, May 8, 2017

immortality?

I was watching Z, and unlike much of the scholarship hitherto, Zelda was seen as the talented one, and Fitzgerald was obsessed with fame and immortality and feeling sorry for himself and keeping Zelda down.

My thought was, you can't really know about "immortality" and it isn't permanent. The internet has the false air of forever. We need to come to terms with the absolute forgetfulness the universe will have regarding individual humans. When the sun expands and engulfs the earth, we hopefully will be on other planets, but I also can't say that humans were really worth saving. I keep thinking about Battlestar Gallactica and the cylons saying, "they never asked if they should live on." I think humans are too short sighted and violent. Humans are also capable of great things, and if you just look at the highs, maybe they are worth preserving. I suppose we are our lows and highs and everything in between. We try to survive. Except for our collective death instinct. Trump has a death instinct when he wants to deregulate the EPA. Imagine a new car--the polluter--when driving a gas guzzler is not enough, now pollute more. But I digress. There's an article I saw on line, are we depressed or are we reacting to depressing events in our times? That is the eternal question.

I don't think people are one thing, they are many things, have both sides. Schopenhauer hoped to be remembered in the history of philosophy. He is that father of pessimism, but he hoped in various ways, no matter how much he was disappointed by life. He fed into it with his behavior, I think.

I'm reading The Love Artist by Jane Alison. Alison makes Ovid obsessed with fame. I guess it's possible for people to be motivated by that, it's just I don't think that way. Even a great teacher who impacts hundreds of lives, an author with a huge following, in 200 years, it is unlikely anyone knows their name. And if say you hit the literary cannon jackpot and your works survive on, it's only temporary. Another few millennial and the cannon is cut. And cut. When we're traveling into outer space which authors will survive. I have a feeling Carl Hiaasen won't stand the test of time, but he is quite popular and enjoyed in these times. I'd choose appreciation in my lifetime over immortality. I put all my chips in this life.

The female character in The Love Artist is interesting. Their relationship is interesting. I wonder at Alison and who she had experiences to write this novel, or if it was pure imagination. The book has gotten me into Ovid in a way I couldn't have been before. Historical novels are a good entry into the study of things. It has the over arching narrative I need, as a whole to the parts learner.