February Reading 2012
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Feb 6 arrived late, which isn't much of an excuse because I did have it all weekend, but I've read only the little stuff and no articles, so much for my goal to be done by the cover date.
-The piece by Jeremy Denk about recording Ives is superb, NYer at its finest. Engaging, well written, and makes you want to run out and listen to the music in question......
-I enjoyed the next piece about 'workplace fiction' in China. I'm fascinated by the idea of fiction filling this ..... need, I guess you'd call it. Another winner.
-Shouts - shrug
- Ian Parker writes about the suicide at Rutgers. I remember this story last year..... I have mixed feelings about this piece..... we are all too much in each other's business these days....and as the mother of a teen it is also a scary read. Overall the piece convinces me that the 'big' college campus experience is hellish for many kids -- most survive it, but with a price I have no doubt. I hate massive peer concentration anyway - always have. Uh oh, feel a rant coming on, quick, take evasive action.....
-A piece about the decline and reinvention of Archway and Stella D'Oro - sobering. I used to eat a lot of those Archway Hermits....
-The T.C. Boyle story was..... strange. Not sure what else to say.
-Poems were OK nothing blew me away.
-skimmed the rest.....
This was a good issue.
I look forward to the Chabon -- will read your comments Annie when I get to the issue!
Jeremy Denk re Charles Ives: I'm musically ignorant, expected to read a few paragraphs and move on, but I got hooked, by the "spectacular insurance salesman" and "curmudgeonly visionary" and the "meandering multiplicity" of the river. And I really enjoy descriptions of process and technique even when I have no particular interest in the result. And there's the philosophical issue of performance versus recording: "The natural flawed flow of things is vanishing, replaced by this emerging construct."
Leslie Chang re Chinese workplace novels: More work, less romance. How to navigate a new world.
Ian Parker re Tyler Clementi suicide: I remember this from the time it occurred, did not know details. Tyler surely had more going on than this episode, which he was actually handling admirably well, and which would've been resolved. Ravi was a jerk, and merely a jerk, up until the advertising of the web cam, which was seriously scuzzy. Boundaries are not clear and social networks are not static, and it's no wonder that kids do not behave appropriately at all times. Teenagers are not fully formed and the first months of college can be a rough adjustment. Sad all around.
Ian Frazier re Stella D'oro and Archway: A depressingly common trajectory for small companies.
Wyatt Mason re Dear Leader by Adam Johnson: A combo of realistic portrayal and "the need to spin a yarn", which tends to irritate me, alas.
Skipped: pop music, poetry, theater, cinema.
Briefly Noted: The Lives of Margaret Fuller by John Matteson is of interest.
Now, back to the previous week!
Yeah - there are a few creepy moments in the "new face guy" article... But then the topic is creepy enough anyway. It should be noted though that I read a lot of Horror...
I'll try to finish this issue over the next few days, and read the February 13/20 issue next week.
-about Larry McCarthy -- what an unethical person, he truly doesn't seem to care about lying, only winning. I mean, nobody pretends otherwise so I'm not being a sissy liberal to say so.-- On the other hand, this is America, what am I thinking, it's always been this way.
- In fact this piece has an odd connection to the Franzen on Wharton -- The Custom of the Country which Franzen feels is the first truly 'modern' novel - with the indominable Undine Spragg who becomes the uncrushable 'celebrity' -- a figure we recognize.
-The piece in between was about one Quentin Rowan who plagiarized from dozens of books to create a thriller.
So far not half bad. I'm a sucker for anything about Edith Wharton! And interested in plagiarism -- I had a student once who plagiarized a whole essay that was in a book of example essays by students in the little library of the Community College where I was teaching. I mean, we all knew those essays!
Jane Mayer re Larry McCarthy: Politics is a scuzzy game. Wouldn't it be nice if we were all genuinely aiming for optimum policy given diverse concerns.
Lizzie Widdicombe re Q. R. Markham and plagiarism: A psychological portrait. "Making a text from other texts 'is not a lazy man's game.'
Jonathan Franzen re Edith Wharton: I read this with interest but without real context, since if I read her novels (The House of Mirth seems vaguely familiar), memory has faded.
Raffi Khatchadourian re face transplant: Wow: personal redemption and supreme skill and heroics all around. Fascinating process of wiring face to person.
Emily Nussbaum re children's TV: I'm out of the loop, but encouraged to see good things happening.
Briefly Noted: American Egyptologist by Jeffrey Abt and Saladin by Anne-Marie Edde are of interest.
Skipped or skimmed bits of music, theater, cinema.
25: Sorry, no. My even-further-behind magazine is Atlantic.
Which reminds me that I need to post about the March issue of the Atlantic... in line with my "Read the last issue first" policy, I already read it... now need to post about it.
Start a thread, someone will join :) I read it off and on -- mainly because I lack any time for it... Or start your own thread for all your magazines - this is what I ended up doing.
Hopefully he'll be recognized next year at the Magazine Awards.
I had a lot of difficulty with the plagarist article. It was well written and sympathetic in some ways but
the guy was an out and out thief and I really don't know why the magazine thought it was worthy of
reporting on. He knew what he was doing..and yes he had ego problems, but none of this made it right. I really didn't feel comfortable reading about a plagarist and I felt like the writer was trying to intellectualize a topic that really didn't deserve the attention.
the Chabon was fun. I found the Franzen kind of dull. I think someone needs to steal his glasses again.
-The face. I was moved to tears several times by this piece -- mostly by things the surgeons said they were feeling -- those are tough dudes, for the most part, so their own surprise at strong emotional reaction came through. Can't judge whether or not the piece was well-written -- certainly the writing did not 'get in the way' of an amazing story of dedicated work and fortitude on the part of Dallas.
- the Chabon story was the best in a long time. Even those of you who skip the story usually might like it.
- M.R. James -- horror writer from Victorian era -- I think I read one or two of these in anthologies as a kid.....
The next issue was in my PO Box on Saturday......
Kalefa Sanneh re Ron Paul: I read this but nothing notable.
Julia Ioffe re Russia: I ought to read this, but I didn't.
Burkhard Bilger re police dogs: Worth the entire issue: breeding, training, bonding.
John Lee Anderson re Syria: I ought to read this, but after a few pages I skimmed.
Briefly Noted: Nothing of interest.
Skipped fiction, theater, cinema.
The next one will probably roll in here today, since it did not yesterday.
-Read with vague interest about Ron Paul - I have no use for extremism right or left, although I think they have their value in keeping people awake politically.
-could not read about Putin and Prokosch
-was utterly absorbed in the police dog piece, as Q figured! A plus.
-tried, but was not able to absorb much about Syria.
-the McGuane story was, like the previous McG story, excellent.
-skimmed about "the Artist" (haven't seen it..... being pointlessly stubborn.....), Fugard (amazing person, thinker, writer), and Edward St. Aubyn who sounds like a seriously down and dirty version of Waugh and Powell...... I might be interested or I might find it just too much. Any St Aubyn fans out there??
article seemed to be something I wouldn't want to read, but it was really excellent and it involved me in a way that science usually doesn't succeed at. Currently reading the article on the economic summit in Switzerland and so far it's ok. Really looking forward to the Alice Munro story because she's one of my all-time favourite writers.
Delightful cover - "The Big Game" by Barry Blitt.
COMMENT: TABLE TALK - Steve Coll on U.S. involvement in Iran, going back to 1953. Current international pressure on the ayatollahs has reached an unprecedented level. Iran's nuclear program began secretly in the late 1970s. during the Shah's rule. Centrifuge technology to enrich uranium is relatively easy to hide. Two such facilities are underground. It is unknown how they would be affected by aerial bombardment. There would inevitably be major retaliation. All of Iran's known nuclear-fuel enrichment facilities are monitored by the U.N. A computer virus called Stuxnet infected Iran's centrifuge controls.
Ben McGrath - YOGA WARS: STEAMED - Bikram Yoga is a rigidly prescribed sequence of 26 postures to be carried out at a temperature of 105 degrees. Greg Gumucio, the founder of Yoga to the People, is being sued by his former mentor Birkram Choudbury for copyright infringement and related issues.
Ian Parker - A REPORTER AT LARGE: THE STORY OF A SUICIDE - Describes events leading to the suicide of Rutgers University student, Tyler Clementi, resulting in charges being brought against his roommate and his roomate's friend.
Ian Frazier - OUR LOCAL CORRESPONDENTS: OUT OF THE BRONX: Private Equity And The Cookie Factory - The author speaks with displaced employees of companies bought by private-equity firms (in this instance, Stella D'oro in the Bronx and Archway cookie factory in Ashland, Ohio).