December New Yorker reading

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December New Yorker reading

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joulukuu 1, 2011, 9:53 am

Another month, another opportunity to catch up!

joulukuu 1, 2011, 9:58 am

And my goal is to catch up, both for closure and because I'll need the count for my 75. I'm about midway through the first issue of November.

joulukuu 5, 2011, 9:28 am

I'm midway through the Money issue -- three articles, none too long and a story to go. Got as far as the bitcoin story. I've heard rumors of the bitcoin so I was very happy to learn so much more about it. I am so happy not to feel the slightest need to read about Taylor Swift!

joulukuu 5, 2011, 9:48 am

I'm exactly where I was on December 1. :-( The money issue was more interesting than I'd expected. I am happy when I actively want to read several articles, so I feel I've done justice to an issue and can skip the rest.

joulukuu 5, 2011, 7:20 pm

Yay! One down and three to go unless I find the missing issue (Oct 3). The only article I read with genuine attentiveness in this issue was the one about the bitcoin I read some Keynes in college and think he was a genius and that people just take what they want to hear from his writing and miss the bigger points he made and it looked like the article was saying the same thing -- I can't claim credit for that, it was a very good class, good prof. and good discussions. Anyway, nothing changes. There were a number of short pieces about shoplifting or stealing episodes that were quite entertaining. But I couldn't get into the article about change in India (that was probably my second closest read) and even less the one on gold and the North Carolina politics/Art Pope piece was so depressing. The short story by David Long 'Oubliette' was very good -- the kind of quiet story I like. The piece on Simenon was sad and creepy. What a creep -- and I was so unaware of that back in the day when I was aupairing and read a ton of Maigrets -- they certainly approved my French! There was also a poem I hugely enjoyed so I will put it here -- we usually have a poem on our refrigerator and this one will go there.

Supposedly, time is money:
money will buy you time
assuming you have money

to spend, as well as time
to wait while your money
grows. However time

spent waiting can be like money
misspent-it's often time
wasted, even if money

is made, a kind of time
not worth spending, so money
isn't necessarily time.

Maybe time is money
if you make with your time
something else that makes money,

thought most of the time
it's not your money
you've made with your time.

And money isn't even money,
necessarily, in a time
like this, when money

loses value and time
is misspent losing money.
And time isn't even time,

neccessarily, if it's lost money
on which you're wasting time,
nor is money really money

if it's wasted on wasted time.
Still, sometimes, time is money,
but only if you have money and time.

Craig Morgan Teicher

joulukuu 5, 2011, 8:08 pm

Ah, I wondered how you'd gotten to Oct 10. I'm fond of India so generally read articles if I happen upon them. Simenon, yes, creepy. The poem is twisty fun, I hadn't read it so thinks for posting. Oct 3 article on personal coaching is worth finding; I'd suppose you can get to it online w/ subscription info.

I finished a book today, so I'll return to magazines for awhile.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 7, 2011, 9:03 am

For good or bad or indifferent, I found the Oct 3 NYer squashed into the back of the bookcase about to fall into the oblivion of behind the bookcase...... so I have read it as fast as I can, which wasn't very as it had some good stuff. A man in India trying on a modernizing mission to get people registered with I.D.' India. It made me think about what we, in our culture, get for simply officially existing. Some interesting privacy issues as well -- he is issuing utterly random numbers to people whereas in some countries (Canada???) many of the digits in yr. official number are about yr. birthday..... Anyhow, v. poignantly, a fellow at the end says, something to the effect 'Now, if I am killed off somewhere else, they will be able to identify me." That is something here that is so rare. OK . On to branding. This was painful to read after reading David Foster Wallace's story in Oblivion about a guy running one of these focus groups. Atul Gawande wrote a piece on deciding to see if coaching would help him improve as a surgeon. What a brave and sensible person! The assumption that a person reaches a place where they can't use a fine eye on their work is ridiculous -- I might add -- in the world of writers it leads to disastrously bad books being published by authors who deem themselves 'above' editing and criticism before publication. I would so much rather undergo the process before than endure humiliation after, or do a bad job at anything! Next was a piece on IKEA I went to the store once in the mid-80's in the Philly area (out in the middle of seriously nowhere from the city) and NEVER WENT NEAR THE PLACE AGAIN. I am hypersensitive to manipulation of ANY kind and I found it a shattering experience. The last thing I read was a very very funny story by Thomas McGuane. I loved it!

I'm back to add that I am trying to use percentage logic to help me have a more positive attitude toward a five issue month - that is that 20% being only 5% less than 25% isn't so bad........ (in terms of 'getting done with it"). However, it isn't really working...... I would be 50% done in a normal month, but sadly, I'm only at 40%......but who's counting!

joulukuu 7, 2011, 9:44 am

Heh. I worked about two miles from that middle of seriously nowhere for several years, if it was the same location in the late 1990s...
Yeah, we don't notice the extent of the infrastructure we have, it's just there.
October was looooong. November is normal. I'm hoping December will be short.

joulukuu 7, 2011, 9:53 am

Only nowhere if you live (as we were doing part-time) in Center City!

joulukuu 7, 2011, 2:29 pm

I lived in University City. IKEA was in/near Plymouth Meeting, just off the turnpike. Same place?

joulukuu 7, 2011, 2:56 pm

Yep. You had to get out there every day? Ow.

joulukuu 7, 2011, 3:01 pm

Wasn't bad, except driving through Manayunk in the winter. Could listen to NPR, and run errands on the way home. Amused me sometimes, because colleagues imagined that anyone who stepped over the line into the big bad city would be instantly shot.

joulukuu 7, 2011, 3:09 pm

Ugh, Manayunk in winter. Awful.

joulukuu 9, 2011, 3:06 pm

I have, at least or at last, picked up NYer #3 for October and am THRILLED to see several articles I don't want to read.

joulukuu 9, 2011, 5:54 pm

I've finished November 7 & 14, both are sitting on the desk awaiting formal documentation, and I'm hoping that the November 21 food issue will contain much that is skippable, but for now I'm trying to make progress in the June issue of Scientific American.

joulukuu 10, 2011, 2:53 pm

Oh dammit, the food issue is interesting. It's more about agriculture and it appeals to my geeky side.

joulukuu 10, 2011, 9:45 pm

Hokay, so I read through this one, an homage to The Phantom Tollbooth a book I liked all right, and I was 7 the year it came out and I can't remember that book not being around the house. Not my absolute fave, but I know I read and reread it occasionally. Mostly for the wise dog and the drawings. Okay, so the 'funny' piece didn't catch me. Next a longish article on whether Portugal's decriminalization of drugs is 'working' -- as in, less crime, less drug addiction. Conclusion? There is less violence, but not as much recovery as they had hoped after around ten years. This is followed by a sobering piece on the aftermath of Japan's earthquake and what is now known about the nuclear disaster. The usual story too, experts warned those in charge who said, Hmmmm we'll think about that and did nothing. Naturally this led to some re-evaluation of our own 'readiness' -- 1/3 of our plants have similar issues and..... you guessed it..... Hmmmmmm we'll have to do some more studies........ The last paragraph had an intriguing statement about stones that people have, over the last 600 years, put at various tsunami high spots as warnings. Here is a link to see one of these stones -- many of the villages that paid attention to these stones and did not build below them were safe. Sadly some were overrun, this tsunami being so huge. stones Finally a newly discovered short play by Eugene O'Neill -- this one with a positive ending. O'Neill destroyed all the copies he had, but this copy survived because his ex-wife gave it to a friend.

So I'm bad, didn't read about Wells, Hollinghurst's new book, or Degas' Nudes. I know bit about all three, just didn't feel up to it.

joulukuu 11, 2011, 8:42 am

Oh, the stones, yes! I hadn't thought to look for a photo.

joulukuu 13, 2011, 5:19 pm

November 7 done. Talk of the Town: Skimmed re OWS and Herman Cain biographers Jerry and Deborah Strober. John Lahr re actress Nina Arianda: I might not've normally read this, alien world, but ffortsa recommended it/her. James Wood re his father-in-law's library: "My father-in-law's library was not a working library but an underemployed collection for a working mind. My father-in-law's will to completion -- his need to encompass a subject by buying all the available books and putting them on display -- represented an ideal, a kind of abstract utopia, a recovered country free of vicissitudes." John Lee Anderson re Muammar Qaddafi: Power corrupts... D. T. Max re pianist Helene Grimaud: Another alien world to me. Daniel Mendelsohn re the Iliad: Alien world #3. Briefly Noted: Nothing of interest. Peter Schjeldahl re Islamic wing at the Met: Now this I want to see. Skipped fiction, theater, cinema.

joulukuu 13, 2011, 5:20 pm

November 14 done. Talk of the Town: Republican presidential candidates, John Huntsman's daughters, Nancy Pelosi. James Suroweicki re anemic economy: it's not that people are deleveraging, spending less in order to pay off debt, but that people feel less wealthy when housing prices are down. Malcolm Gladwell re Steve Jobs: I'm getting rather tired of him showing up everywhere, but I read this anyway. A comparison of inventors vs tweakers. "The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world. The tweaker inherits things as they are, and has to push and pull them toward some more nearly perfect solution. That is not a lesser task." John McPhee re writing profiles: I realize he is a known entity, but I haven't read anything by him, and now I want to. An account of writing profiles for magazines, how the standard simple structure inspired a more complex structure (w/ diagrams!), and serendipitous contacts that still nearly always connected to childhood interests and experiences. Jill Lepore re Planned Parenthood: "Abortion wasn't a partisan issue until Republicans made it one. In June of 1972, a Gallup poll reported that sixty-eight percent of Republicans and fifty-nine percent of Democrats agreed that 'the decision to have an abortion should be made solely by a woman and her physician.'" Nicholas Schmidle re a murder in NC: Presented rather like a true crime TV show, and I read vaguely out of curiosity about what the point was. The point was double jeopardy, conviction overturned by acquittal, then retrial and reconviction in military court after new evidence was discovered (or manufactured?) 20 years later. Louis Menand re George Kennan: Based on a new biography. Skimmed. Briefly Noted: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and The Beautiful and the Damned by Siddhartha Deb are of interest. Skipped fiction, music, read cinema re J. Edgar.

joulukuu 13, 2011, 5:21 pm

November 21. The food issue. I'd hoped for more to skip, but most of the articles were interesting, at least partway through, until they got too foodie. Talk of the Town: Ben Franklin considered the turkey morally superior to the bald eagle. James Suroweicki: Are we in a higher education bubble? It's probably not so simple. John Seabrook re hybridizing apples: 1000s are tested, few are worthy, and then taste deteriorates as the market pressures appearance to be red. Lauren Collins re historian Lucy Worsley: An experiential approach to history, detracted by some as "Hello! History". This is about replicating a royal meal. Are the recipes to be followed as letter of the law, or were they aids to cooks who knew what they were doing? Calvin Trillin re his limited cooking repertoire: Amusing, it seemed for several paragraphs, but not so much that I kept with it for four pages. Jane Kramer re foraging: Appealing in the abstract, but I prefer the grocery store. Kelefa Sanneh re coffee: Aida Batlle returns to El Salvadore to run the family farm. Thomas Mallon re alternative histories: Expected this to be more interesting than it was. Too recent maybe? Briefly Noted: Meh. Several short articles on "secret ingredients", the most entertaining of which is about yaji in Ghana. Skipped fiction, art, music, theater, cinema.

joulukuu 13, 2011, 5:47 pm

Wow! The ever-receding horizon, you've been very busy! I've opened NYer #4 of October but that is as far as that has gotten!

joulukuu 13, 2011, 6:20 pm

I'm midway through Nov 28 too. Had an unexpected half day off work so slogged through the magazine "reviews" between stints of book reading. 75 books/magazines within reach but not easily... I liked Oct 24 issue.

joulukuu 14, 2011, 6:53 pm

I am maybe happier than I ought to be that the NYer arrived today and it is a double issue, December 19 & 26, completing the year.

joulukuu 14, 2011, 9:44 pm

I'm right there with you.

So October 24 was a good issue. Very moved by the Groopman piece on caring for premature infants. 24 weeks! It's staggering really. Shouts and Murmurs about the kindergarten celebration of the Day of the Dead was funny - at least once during a child's school career there is some 'flap' that gets all the parents in fits - about the craziest things, some article of jewelry or a game the kids are playing or something a teacher said..... The Sedaris on swimming and his father was poignant. A somewhat interesting piece on the new Editor of the New York Times, the first woman, Jill Abramson. I concur w/ Q that the best article was on the Turkish biologist/ birder from Turkey (I'm not even going to try and write out any of their names) -- an interesting person and a beautifully written article. The story was ok -- I actually had to reread it as I went along, don't know if that was NYer burnout or something about the story itself, some kind of density. Probably it was me. As for Pauline, the spouse and I had a saying that if she liked something we'd hate it and vice versa.


joulukuu 16, 2011, 7:36 pm

November 28, and thus November, done. Maybe I rushed through it? Talk of the Town: Bill McKibben and the Keystone oil pipeline, Joe Paterno, Lynda Gunn poses as Ruby Bridges for Norman Rockwell. Mattathias Schwartz re Occupy origins: An idea of Adbusters founder Kalle Lasn took off. Ariel Levy re a princess: Maybe I would've cared if I'd read it, but the immediate impression was who? huh? George Packer re Peter Thiel: The co-founder of PayPal is a type of person who is best sprinkled sparingly among the population. Raffi Khatchadourian re JR: Artist who began with graffiti now displays billboard-size photos. The eyes are striking. David Remnick re Howard Cosell: Even I know who he was, and that's quite an achievement for a sportscaster. Briefly Noted: Grand Pursuit by Sylvia Nasar is of interest. Skipped fiction, TV, music, theater, art, cinema.

OMG, I've reached DECEMBER!

joulukuu 17, 2011, 2:10 pm

Just began the last Oct issue -- to my DELIGHT it is a cartoon issue! One article on southern cookery and a story by George Saunders who I almost always enjoy, so I'm looking forward to being done with it by the end of today and then into November. This will be the first time in AGES that I've been within a month of the actual 'real-time' month. I'm going to do everything I can to at least get to December before January starts up! What a relief that Dec. is only 3 issues!

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 17, 2011, 9:55 pm

Cartoon issue was fun, a great piece on Southern cuisine and recovering old seed stock, made me so hungry! The story, by George Saunders was interesting -- a man w/ a brain tumor, planning to commit suicide ends of rescuing a boy.... but both pov's are very 'in the moment' not easy to do, but he does a good job. The boy, Robin, is very humorous. It was a solid effort. The cartoons, were, of course, loads of fun. Esp. Roz Chast Scenes From a Vacation and Zachary Kanin's 'Breaking News 2012'.

joulukuu 17, 2011, 10:10 pm

Yay! And we'll overlap the same month in the same thread, which hasn't happened in awhile.

joulukuu 17, 2011, 10:22 pm

Congrats to you too for finishing up November! I am so hoping to catch up.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 20, 2011, 9:08 am

December 5 done. Talk of the Town: fracking, the Stamp Act of 1765, WiFi names. James Suroweicki re Europe: "the obstacles are ideological". George Packer re OWS participant Ray Kachel: An inconclusive trajectory of tech work, layoff, belonging, homelessness. Aleksandar Hemon re Sarajevo and Chicago: Both home, in different ways. (BTW, prompted by his June 13/20 NYer article about his daughter's death, I got his semi-autobiographical novel The Lazarus Project, have not yet read it.) Nicholas Lemann re Brazil president Dilma Rousseff: Former militant revolutionary, successor to Lula. Brazil is apparently moving along rather well if not perfectly by doing things its own way. Calvin Tomkins re Carl Andre: A sculptor I never heard of, who is significant in the art world, but retreated or was shunned from public prominence after he was tried and acquitted of murdering his wife in 1985. The article describes but does not show his art: "sculpture of place". Adam Gopnik re Eragon: My niece is obsessed with these books, reread the first several in preparation for most recent, which she read the day it was published. "The gratification comes from ... ability to master the symbols and myths of the saga, as with those eighty-level video games, rather than from the simple absorption of the narrative." "There's a sense in which the books, far from being escapist, offer familiar experience in intensified form." Briefly Noted: Nothing of interest. Skipped fiction, music, theater, cinema.

joulukuu 22, 2011, 9:22 pm

December 12 done. Talk of the Town: Egypt is still a work in progress. Detroit: 138 Square Miles by Julia Taubman (no touchstone), neighbor of Elmore Leonard. Jason Segal and the Muppets. Michael Specter re placebos: Ted Kaptchuk is director of the new Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter at Harvard Medical School. It is not without critics. And yet, there is evidence that expectations are effective in healing, and it'd be useful to understand why and how. Kelefa Sanneh re Jon Gruden and Monday Night Football: My interest in football is subzero, but I dutifully read about halfway to confirm. Phillip Gourevitch re Nicolas Sarkozy: Yes I read the entire 15 pages. It is not an uplifting portrait of politics. Mattathias Schwartz re a neighborhood in Jamaica: A police raid on the community "don" accused of drug and firearms trafficking resulted in a swath of destruction. Anthony Lane re John le Carre: Prompted by a new movie of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, which is not as good as the BBC series in 1979, which was not as good as the book, so is the claim. Briefly Noted: Is That a Fish in Your Ear by David Bellos is of interest. Skipped fiction, theater, TV, half of cinema. Read the half about The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo, which seems worth seeing, though I wasn't so wild about the book.

joulukuu 22, 2011, 9:26 pm

So I am now technically caught up, with only the current issue remaining for the year. Never woulda believed it in August when the readathon began.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 23, 2011, 12:29 pm

We have a photograph (that she took) of one of Ana Mendieta's sand sculptures -- it's one of my favorite artworks and I read a good bit about her and Carl Andre at one time. She was a wild and probably somewhat troubled person, and Andre was known for drinking and having a bad temper and being disagreeable and unpredictable....... (it's been awhile but this is what I think I remember) -- Whatever happened, it was tragic. One thing I hate is how a woman artist, even one of stature of her own, if she is married to a 'bigger, splashier' artist, is barely even credited with being anything at all. On her own Mendieta would have had a strong name, but married and then .... well.... whatever.... by Andre ensures that she is 'forgotten' as an artist, she's the wife who fell off a balcony in suspicious circs. Much of her artwork is a bit shocking, some isn't that great, but some is extraordinary.

If you've been to the Beinecke you've gone by one of Andre's most controversial pieces -- 36 rocks arranged outside the library in a little park. It had the residents of New Haven HOWLING FOR BLOOD when it was put in (I remember going to see it, actually, little art nerd that I was). Now it has settled in and is quite strange and beautiful, at first it was pretty bald.

P.S. I haven't started November...... boo hoo. But maybe soon?

joulukuu 23, 2011, 12:51 pm

34: NYer article has Carl Andre describing the incident in such a way that it's not clear what actually happened, what he has pieced together in his mind for personal sanity, what he has concocted for public presentation.
Much of her artwork is a bit shocking, some isn't that great, but some is extraordinary.
Kinda have to judge by the extraordinary; everything else is part of the process.
If you've been to the Beinecke
I haven't started November...... boo hoo. But maybe soon?
Well, I can't get any aheader than I am now, and you have proven ability to zip through them.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 24, 2011, 10:36 pm

I'm not quite sure how, but I've polished off Nov 7 (with my usual unerring cleverness I can't find Nov 1 -- it'll turn up, wedged behind the bottom of the bookcase or at the bottom of some canvas bag, half-shredded eventually)...... It's Xmas eve and I shouldn't even be here, but I'm me, so I am here. Department of People I've Never Heard Of.: It was vaguely interesting reading about this new big actress -- she sounds like 'the real thing'. Arianda Somebody or other. Shouts wasn't that funny. James Wood's piece on his f-i-l's library, dismantling it, was ..... in my humble.... mistaking one man's library for the whole. I'm going to tear it out and keep it and reread it and think about it, because I may even go to the trouble of writing something more considered about it. I did not read about Qaddafi. Helene Grimaud, pianist (once again People I Never....) sounds intriguing and a bit scary, and I will seek out a recording of hers asap. The Tessa Hadley story was OK. Fascinating piece on a bold new translation of the Iliad. I'm solidly with the reviewer. -- The translator leaves stuff out for a leaner meaner version and I just think.... why? The piece about the new Islamic wing at the Met is almost enough to make me think of going to NYC, and that is saying something if you know me! I liked the Samuel Amadon poem -- kept reading it as it the cadence of it reminded me of something..... and then I realized it was the children's book Goodnight Moon.

joulukuu 24, 2011, 10:53 pm

The week before Nov 7 was Oct 31. :-) I want to see the Islamic wing too, and also African sculpture in an earlier NYer article, but doubt I'll have enough time on Monday.

joulukuu 25, 2011, 9:21 am

Oh Yippee!! And then.... oh boo hoo..... the one I am actually missing is Nov 20

Yeah the article on the Islamic wing said give yourself several days....... and I believe it, I know they have an astounding collection!

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 26, 2011, 9:39 pm

November 14 - A good short piece on Steve Jobs as a 'tweaker' not an inventor. Ditto the piece by John McPhee about how he develops his multi-person interview articles/books and why (to see if something new emerges from the clash of opposing pov's), a send-up of the Pet books by Bruce McCall (I am so with that!) only mildly funny though, a think piece on the history and current state of Planned Parenthood, once the darling of the Republican party and now? Well, most emphatically not. Next a creepy piece about a murder and how even DNA evidence can be made to seem unconvincing in the hands of the right defense team..... , a so-so story (not enough going on in it for me) featuring a bottle of Miracle Polish that shines up your mirrors so that yr. reflection looks better than you, and finally a piece on a new book about George F Kennan -- what a strange and interesting man he was, the father of 'containment' and thus the Cold War.

As Nov 20 has not surfaced I will move on to Nov 28..... I have little doubt it will show up, they almost always do, just when I think I'm getting close to being caught up!

joulukuu 28, 2011, 10:20 am

Nov 28 A piece about the Occupy Wall St. movement and Adbuster founder, Lasn that seemed a bit unfocussed (rather like the movement itself). For all I'm a liberal it felt it was a futile (against such implacable power) and somewhat immature waste of good energy. I'd like a political movement to require all Senators and Congresspeople to spend a great deal of time together, sharing meals, sharing some adventures, rock climbing or what have you where they learn to cooperate and rely on one another. Onwards. Shouts and Murmurs wasn't funny. The juxtaposition of the Occupy Wall St. piece and the piece on the Italian/Texan Principessa was in bad taste. "The Person I've Never Heard Of" article (Acronym: PINHO?) was about Peter Thiel a Palo Alto gazillionaire with a sharp eye for 'What's next'. Like another California sharpie they profiled recently, reading about some of these folks makes me feel anxious, I'm not sure why. I don't think anybody thinks enough about the unintended consequence of technological innovation. The next PINHO was about a French graffiti artist named JR (not his real name, duh) and I like that piece. He felt real and interesting. The story was by Alice Munro, a writer I both respect deeply but whose stories I don't want to read in the New Yorker. I find it hard to buy a book of her short stories because I've usually read half of them here and it feels like a waste of money. I want to read writers who I haven't read. Anybody out there listening?

I am so full of opinions today someone needs to reduce my coffee ration or something. Forgive!

So anyhow, I have three December NYers to go and I will be caught up. What an amazing idea!

joulukuu 28, 2011, 10:47 am

For all I'm a liberal it felt it was a futile (against such implacable power) and somewhat immature waste of good energy.
I might've preferred focus and an agenda, but I'm OK with mere presentation of dissatisfaction, and OWS registered in the public mind.
I'd like a political movement to require all Senators and Congresspeople to spend a great deal of time together
Team building. Fat chance. And I wonder what proportion of the public would trust it. Seems to be a fair amount of feeling that Us caves too easily to Them, regardless of which Us you are.
I don't think anybody thinks enough about the unintended consequence of technological innovation.
I doubt that thinking would save us from unintended consequences.

I'm three NYer articles from finishing the year. And 50 pages from finishing The Chronoliths. I want the NYers to be #74, and The Chronoliths to be #75, but I'm having trouble pacing myself accordingly.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 28, 2011, 11:33 am

Maybe it will spark some energy that will lead to better things later on, I just never could quite wrap my head around it. That's more of a confession than an opinion.

I've never heard of a functioning organization where the idea is that the members, employees or whatever all loathe, revile and distrust each other, so it just makes sense to me.

I know that, but I still think it is an area worthy of serious mental effort and imagination. Just the exercise itself might have some value, no?

Isn't The Chronoliths fun? Not anything so profound or whatever, just a good read!

I know -- my '120' which I think was a more realistic goal for me than struggling to 125 was these November NYers -- esp bad as one is missing..... oh the guilt!

Ah -- the snow is back -- it's been all rain for the last 12 hours......

joulukuu 28, 2011, 12:18 pm

Maybe it will spark some energy that will lead to better things later on
Maybe someone will grab hold of the fuzziness and mold it into something... So one could be optimistic, or worried, or both.
I've never heard of a functioning organization where the idea is that the members, employees or whatever all loathe, revile and distrust each other,
Somewhere I read, and I've kept in mind ever since, that in a dysfunctional organization everybody thinks that somebody else has the power. When really nobody does. I'm not sure what's cause and what's effect here. Or what the cure might be.
Just the exercise itself might have some value, no?
Oh, absolutely. And plenty of people ranging from concerned to paranoid. Isn't this what some of the dystopias are about?

I'm not disagreeing with you. Maybe I'm a tad less idealistic, or more resigned. :-)

joulukuu 28, 2011, 12:59 pm

Two articles to go... deliberately these are the two that I most want to read. So I am permitted another chapter of The Chronoliths.

joulukuu 28, 2011, 5:28 pm

Oh, I'm pretty discouraged overall, but my feverish little brain won't stop trying to think up possible scenarios. Guess that's why I read and write fiction, eh?

Well, I don't have to read another NYer until I finish The Help. And the story has heated up so that may be sooner than I think. It is a fast read. Two articles! I am green with envy.

joulukuu 28, 2011, 10:08 pm

*(whispering)*: I'm done.
Not real until I document though. I have not yet received the first January issue. Tomorrow I'd guess, but mail doesn't arrive until late afternoon, so I have possibly 18 hours of NYer-free existence.

joulukuu 29, 2011, 9:50 am

Chortle chortle -- I am so happy for you! And I am inspired. Of course last night I did nothing except dive right into the Larsson..... but I will start the first Dec. issue today. CONGRATULATIONS! I couldn't be as close to catching up as I am without your encouragement and example.

Darryl has promised to join us in the New Year. And please, as your just reward, kick-off the new January 2012 thread anytime!

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 29, 2011, 2:34 pm

>46 qebo:

Lucky you -- I am already in the 2012 with the New Yorker. ;) This time will be trying to stay up to date. Possibly. Maybe.

Does not mean I am done with the 2011 ones... I am just temporarily ignoring them.

joulukuu 29, 2011, 2:57 pm

December 19 & 26, thus December, thus 2011, done!!! Talk of the Town: Newt Gingrich, OWS, driving around Manhattan, Kenneth Branagh in used book stores. James Suroweicki re mortgage defaults: Most people try to keep up with payments even when they owe far more than their homes are worth, and are stigmatized if they don't, while corporations are rewarded for rational restructuring. Peter Hessler re Egypt: These life among the revolutionaries articles are all mushing together in my mind. Alec Wilkinson re Ashrita Furman: Guinness world records as spiritual discipline. Elif Batuman re megaliths in Turkey: The megaligths of Göbekli Tepe are about 11000 years old, apparently built by a hunter-gatherer society, and apparently deliberately buried about 8200 BC. Megaliths are supposed to be associated with agricultural societies with hierarchical organization glued together by formal religion, a "cosmic backstory". Maybe this is backward, and rather than megaliths as an expression of such a society, the need to construct them was the cause. Alex Ross re Carlo Gesualdo, murderer/composer: I skimmed this, not familiar enough with his music or music in general for it to be meaningful. David Remnick re rebellions against Putin: The gamut, from the Memorial organization for civil rights to the Blue Buckets protesting the blue lights that the politically connected put on their cars to bypass traffic jams. Burkhard Bilger re containing the Sahara: The African Union has approved construction of the Great Green Wall of trees across the continent to stop the spread of the Sahara. Pieter Hoff thinks his Waterboxx can help. Chris Reij think it's too expensive, and that the solution lies in a return to agricultural practices that were discouraged by colonial powers; in Europe, sunlight is limited and crops grow better if trees are cleared, but in the Sahel, sunlight is excessive and trees are necessary for protection. Niger is an encouraging example of what can be accomplished. There's a book: Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth by Mark Hertsgaard. James Wood re John Sullivan: An essayist I'd not heard of but may want to read. Skipped fiction, dance, theater, cinema.

DONE! DONE! DONE! with 2011. Now I can relax the pace for 2012.

THANK YOU sibyx, for luring me into this group.

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 30, 2011, 7:01 pm

Welcome Annie!

You are most welcome, Q, but I am equally grateful that you joined as it would have been a little hard to be in a support group of one!

I have 2 and 1/2 to go, doubt I'll read them all between now and tomorrow night, BUT YOU NEVER KNOW. Actually, I know I won't because I am presently reading the Lisbeth Salander series so we can go see the first movie.

Would you like to start the January thread in honor of your great achievement?

joulukuu 30, 2011, 7:14 pm

I will, but not until January. :-)

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 31, 2011, 6:59 pm

I'm squeezing in one more New Yorker - Dec 5 First a piece focussing on a homeless person from Seattle - a former tech person - who joined the Occupiers in NYC. I deeply disliked the atmo of this article. Shouts, not funny. Aleksandar Hemon on Sarjevo and Chicago was good. Couldn't read about Brazil although I did give it a good try. Attentively read the article about Carl Andre as he is someone I know about and whose work I have followed a bit. The story was one of those that starts out seeming to be attached to reality but soon, well, literally flies away, or lays an egg, or ..... Finally Gopnik's review of the new Paolini, well, I have no argument with his assessment of Inheritance, nor at the 'industry' you could say, that Tolkien spawned unwittingly. But Tolkien himself, well, the man mumbling at the chalkboard and the man who created Middle Earth..... I felt Gopnik was being sly. There are so many fantasy writers who have written excellent works inspired by Tolkien to limit his discussion to Pratchett and Paolini as 'epigones' (show off, btw) is also disingenous. Whatever Tolkien created, it stands outside of ordinary literary criticism. I think Gopnik knows this, so I don't know what he was up to, really. Writing a review and making a buck.

I am a bit sad I won't quite get caught up for the New Year, but so it is.

joulukuu 31, 2011, 7:15 pm

You have two more? Or three more if the missing issue surfaces? Trivial.

The January 2 issue arrived a few hours ago. I was getting worried. Not gonna start it tonight. Want to reconsider how I'm dealing with magazines, and reviews in general. 2011 was an experiment. Not sustainable in 2012, have other stuff that's being neglected.

I deeply disliked the atmo of this article.
Can you elaborate?

Whatever Tolkien created, it stands outside of ordinary literary criticism.
I have not, as I've mentioned before, ever been able to get very far along. Feel that I ought to, and that I am possibly defective in some manner, but the story just doesn't grab me. So, no visceral reaction to Gopnik.

joulukuu 31, 2011, 8:53 pm

Well, it felt to me like the writer, Packer, took up this fellow and followed him around and, by observing him, was part of the process of raising the man's hopes and expectations - but there was simply no mention at all at the end of the article what was in store for Ray, what his prospects were. I'm not saying Packer has to find him a job and a home, but it isn't the same as profiling some successful dude from Palo Alto.

Re Tolkien: The appeal is truly one of those mysteries - of my nine whole or half five of us have been entranced by it since the first encounter, four found it incomprehensible and boring, or OK to read once, but never again. You can't even argue that the more 'arty' of us like it as my oldest brother is the most fanatical and is a linguist and math person..... it transcends politics, religious beliefs..... it really does seem to be a mystery, although it is true that the same siblings who have no interest in it also have never found much use for either science fiction or fantasy in general. Yet I know plenty of sf folks who aren't keen on Tolkien -- although I think many admire the world-building.

It stands outside literary criticism as usual because (in my view, not necessarily anyone else's) once any artist creates a body of work that elicits such a profound response in enough people it moves into another realm altogether. Gopnik had narrowed the lens so that someone who doesn't know about Tolkien would be getting a skewed impression, by that I mean the Paolini is just one little foothill of thousands, Pratchett is .... I don't know what..... kind of a strange parody.... I wish I could think of the right analogy!

I know two isn't much, but it feels like the thin edge of the wedge!

joulukuu 31, 2011, 9:14 pm

Ah, yes, the ending was... inconclusive as I noted above, and left him in a sad place, though I thought of this more as writing style than as abandonment of the person, possibly intended to make readers feel uncomfortable.

Re Tolkein, within my family so far as I'm aware it was only my one brother who was obsessed, from maybe junior HS onward as I recall. He's a physics / computer / business guy, that's been his trajectory, and you might think a fair overlap with me, but I'm artsy / flakey in comparison. We read the same science fiction books at around the same time though. In college he went through a phase of Dungeons & Dragons, in which I have utterly zero interest.

tammikuu 1, 2012, 3:10 am

My family finds all SF and fantasy a loss of time. I am not even sure if my sister had tried Tolkien or if she can recognize the name.

I am not a fan - I love his world building and I know that he effectively started a subgenre that I like a lot... but LOTR is just not cup of tea - the story works but something in the style rubs me wrong. Surprisingly his less popular works (The Unfinished Tales and Silmarillion) are books that I really like and reread sometimes.

tammikuu 1, 2012, 11:11 am

That is interesting Annie -- Gopnik (no authority, believe me) casually dismissed The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales as 'boring'...... I love all of it, even the endless books of notes his son Christopher has put together. The process of watching him 'at work' making it all up is endlessly fascinating to me.

tammikuu 1, 2012, 8:27 pm

Well -- they probably are boring for someone that reads only thrillers and face-paced fantasy. The same way the Icelandic sagas will be boring. Or any of the Russian classics.

I know that some people find any of the above boring (even people that usually would read non fast-paced books). And I am not forcing anyone to read anything.

As for Christopher's book - well... let's just say that I am the same way. The only one that really grits on my nerves is the LOTR itself - anything else in the world I like. I am the same way with Dune (although there I like even the main one). :)

tammikuu 1, 2012, 8:55 pm

Yep the first Dune was far and away the best one!

tammikuu 1, 2012, 9:15 pm

Well - yes... as a novelty. As world building, the rest are adding their own voices and details to the rich tapestry that is Dune:)