Friday, November 10, 2023

Never ending book club

 There are no true endings, only pauses for one thing to stop and another thing to start.

- Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel

If you conntinue reading the same books most people are reading, how do you lead? 

Books To Help Us Understand The World?Aurelien, Trying to Understand the World

Sydney Entertainment Centre ~ 
Annie had it nailed in '87 - the voice, the sound, the style - pure perfection.
0:00 Sexcrime (1984) 3:35 Let's Go 8:30 The Last Time 13:13 Here Comes the Rain Again 20:40 It's Alright (Baby's Coming Back) 28:45 When Tomorrow Comes 34:30 There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart) 41:20 Who's That Girl? 45:33 Right By Your Side 52:00 Thorn In My Side 57:27 Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) 1:01:40 Would I Lie to You? / Day Tripper (medley) 1:07:46 Missionary Man 1:11:48 Sisters Are Doin' It for Themselves 1:18:05 Miracle Of Love

Revenge Tour 1987

Back in 1983 media dragon is clipping the news 

       Rushdie on 'If Peace was a Prize' 

       Salman Rushdie accepted the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade yesterday, and you can watch the entire ceremony here; Daniel Kehlmann's laudatio begins at about the 30:55 mark; Rushdie's speech begins at about the 40:45 mark (adjust the language-settings to 'Originalton' to hear Rushdie in English). 
       You can also read both the laudation and Rushdie's speech, 'If Peace was a Prize', via this page (not that they make it too easy, sigh ...). 


Skimming, scanning, scrolling – the age of deep reading is over

Financial Times (read free): “…Digital reading appears to be destroying habits of “deep reading”. Stunning numbers of people with years of schooling are effectively illiterate. Admittedly, nostalgics have been whining about new media since 1492, but today’s whines have an evidential basis. To quote this month’s Ljubljana Reading Manifesto, signed by publishers’ and library associations, scholars, PEN International and others: “The digital realm may foster more reading than ever in history, but it also offers many temptations to read in a superficial and scattered manner — or even not to read at all. This increasingly endangers higher-level reading.” That’s ominous, because “higher-level reading” has been essential to civilisation. It enabled the Enlightenment, democracy and an international rise in empathy for people who aren’t like us. How will we cope without it?”

Greatness Is Difficult'

“It is dangerous to admire a great man for his sins: we may too easily adopt his sins for our own out of admiration for his genius; and when the inevitable reaction occurs, the great man’s reputation is likely to suffer unduly.” 

Among writers, Dr. Johnson is the first fallible great man who comes to mind. He could be a bully, bludgeoning opponents in conversation and print, among other failings. Boswell often indulges Johnson’s sins – as anyone would a friend -- sometimes encouraging them for the sake of a good story. We can put that aside and recall his more essential accomplishments – the Dictionary, periodical essays and “The Vanity of Human Wishes.” Many of us are lazy Manicheans when evaluating others, but human personalities are complicated, contradictory things. Understanding and accepting them takes work. What we want is moral balance – sometimes ruthlessly honest or forgiving -- not hagiographyor blanket condemnation. Other great writers who resist simple-minded evaluation are Jonathan Swift and George Santayana.


The author of the passage at the top is Yvor Winters and his subject is Edwin Arlington Robinson. Winters might as well be writing about himself. He could be headstrong and abrasive, and attracted many followers. He’s well-known for harsh, eccentric judgments. The contemporary aversion to negative reviews and advocacy for “trigger warnings” would make him laugh -- rightly. I know a blogger who judges Winters a “fanatic.” What distinguishes Winters as critic is that readers can be certain he always writes honestly. There are no histrionics, no sense of performance. He is sometimes wrong, but even his errors in judgment are interesting. He means what he writes and expects the same of others.