Saturday, January 28, 2017

Book Club on the Barge on Sydney Harbour Kulcha of Listening and Reading

Anyone who cannot come to terms with his life while he is alive needs one hand to ward off a little his despair over his fate – he has little success in this – but with his other hand he can note down what he sees among the ruins, for he sees different (and more) things than do the others; after all, dead as he is in his own lifetime, he is the real survivor. This assumes that he does not need both hands, or more hands than he has, in his struggle against despair.
– Kafka, Diaries Of Skipper Johan - Times is a River, Book is a Barge  with Noon Reserve 2005 ... goes well with Jane Austen's cake

Untidy destinies, punctuated by images like rocks jutting out of the harbour ... Adelaide, Johanesberg, Nairobi, Sydney Vrbov ...

“You don’t understand the facts,” said the priest, “the verdict does not come suddenly, proceedings continue until a verdict is reached gradually.” “I see,” said K., lowering his head. “What do you intend to do about your case next?” asked the priest. “I still need to find help,” said K., raising his head to see what the priest thought of this. “There are still certain possibilities I haven’t yet made use of.” “You look for too much help from people you don’t know,” said the priest disapprovingly, “and especially from women. Can you really not see that’s not the help you need?” “Sometimes, in fact quite often, I could believe you’re right,” said K., “but not always. Women have a lot of power. If I could persuade some of the women I know to work together with me then I would be certain to succeed. Especially in a court like this that seems to consist of nothing but woman-chasers. Show the examining judge a woman in the distance and he’ll run right over the desk, and the accused, just to get to her as soon as he can.” The priest lowered his head down to the balustrade, only now did the roof over the pulpit seem to press him down. What sort of dreadful weather could it be outside? It was no longer just a dull day, it was deepest night. None of the stained glass in the main window shed even a flicker of light on the darkness of the walls. And this was the moment when the man in the cassock chose to put out the candles on the main altar, one by one. “Are you cross with me?” asked K. “Maybe you don’t know what sort of court it is you serve.” He received no answer. “Well, it’s just my own experience,” said K. Above him there was still silence. “I didn’t mean to insult you,” said K. At that, the priest screamed down at K.: “Can you not see two steps in front of you?”
— Kafka, The Trial 

… Happy National Handwriting Day! – Notes on Books

         At Kanishka Gupta reports that While you weren’t looking (or reading), Savi Sharma sold 100,000 copies of her romance -- 'India's first woman writer of mass market fiction to cross that mark'. 
       Originally self-published -- before Westland picked it up -- her Everyone Has A Story has proven to be an enormous success; get your copy at or

.… Why I Write Personal Essays | BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Before his death at a Siberian transit camp in 1938, Osip Mandelstam famously uttered, “Only in Russia is poetry respected—it gets people killed.” Today, Mikhail Bulgakov is one of the most iconic Russian authors. But his life as a writer in Moscow from the early 1920s until 1940 was replete with informants and searches, censorship and secrecy, until it ended suddenly and tragically at the age of 49. He’d spent his last 12 years working on a novel in secret—The Master and Margarita. He considered it his masterpiece. His widow, who was the inspiration for his Margarita, recognized the inherent danger of his satirical portrayal of Soviet bureaucracy and hid the manuscript until after the death of Stalin. Heavily censored, The Master and Margarita first appeared in serialized form in 1966 and 1967. Only in 1973 was it published in its entirety. It has been translated into every major world language and rendered in countless film and television and stage productions. It has been cited as the inspiration for The Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil.”  In the Face of Constant Censorship, Bulgakov Kept Writing | Literary Hub

Mooring has broken on John's 50th birthday on the Harbour ...Like  good wine Johns of this world improve with age ;-) Time is a River While Book is a Barge

When A Writer Says She Wants To Be Famous, The Lit World Has Questions

Ottessa Moshfegh: “I think that’s what I’m interested in, this question of whether or not we are allowed to be other people. Are we allowed to change? Do we give ourselves permission to grow? Are we even capable of making those kinds of decisions? Is there a will, or are we just being pushed around by our own personalities, just fucked to be who we are?”

One Thing That’s Key To The Writing Life

“Wanting is not enough. I have wanted to climb a fourteener—here in Colorado, this is a peak over 14,000 feet—but I have yet to put in any effort to accomplish it. And unless I start training for a marathon hike, this will remain an unrealized ambition. Drive is the will to achieve. It is a state of mind that propels you to act. In the years before my book came out, I had the drive to write. I made compromises in order to have the time and space to make my art.”

Why Brazil’s Greatest Writer Gave Up Writing

Raduan Nassar was forty-eight and at the height of his literary fame when, in 1984, he gave an interview withFolha de São Paulo, the country’s biggest daily newspaper, in which he announced his retirement. He wanted to become a farmer. “My mind is lit up with other things now; I’m looking into agriculture and stockbreeding,” he told the interviewer. Many were baffled.

This article, from the usually reliable Baffler, is just so...wrong...
"[M]uch of modern life is traumatic, unbearable, and profoundly frightening."
Oh my God.  As compared to what?  Past life?  
The average person is far far far better off now than any other time in history.  

Speaking of past and the middle, the ending is always intertwine with those two:
Colonel Weber doesn’t want Louise to teach the aliens English or anything else they might be able to use against us. Earth history has provided plenty of lessons in how explorers treat indigenous peoples, and linguists aren’t usually leading the charge. Louise tells the story (apocryphal, unfortunately) of James Cook arriving in Australia and asking an aborigine for the name of those funny macropods hopping around with their young in pouches. “Kangaru,” was the reply. Meaning, “What did you say?” We know how it worked out for them. Anyway, the heptapods seem to be more interested in talking than in listening...
Amazingly, we interrupt all this suspenseful activity for a mini-lecture on physics. In “Story of Your Life,” Chiang gives us a diagram, which looks like this:


The line could represent a lifeguard running across a beach and then swimming through the water to save a child. To save time, the lifeguard shouldn’t run directly toward the child, because running is faster than swimming. Better to spend less time in the water, so the most efficient path—the path of least time—is angled, as in the diagram.

Or the line could represent a ray of light, which bends when it passes from air to water. It is refracted, at a specific and calculable angle. Like the lifeguard, light travels more slowly through a denser medium. And like the lifeguard, light somehow knows to take the path of least time. Pierre de Fermat stated this as a law of nature in 1662.

My godfather Janko as well as my cheery Pihov born and bred (Mnisek nad Popradom) grandmother would agree with this story as her pizza had a potato base and the potato crisp on top of the potato pizza were peppered with rosemary and swimming in lard  Potatoes get a bad rap. They don't deserve it

 When They Came from Another World | by James Gleick | The New York Review of Books

Lincoln Drowning in one hundred (and evil) 66 cold voices 
George Saunders’s Lincoln in the Bardo has 166 different characters, and for the audio version, he wanted to have each on them voiced by a different performer. Amazingly, Penguin Random House agreed – and you should see the astounding cast they’ve assembled. (includes video)

“Compiled by collector Jack V. Lunzer over more than six decades, and stored at his home in London, it became known as the Valmadonna Trust Library” – and it’s been acquired by the National Library of Israel