ejp626

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  1. Now reading...

    I can just about imagine rereading Powell, though I'd stop at #10, as I feel there is a sharp drop-off in the last two. I will never reread Proust. It was far too much of a slog the first time through.
  2. New Monk

    I'm curious if tracks 6 and 7 are actually a different take of Nutty (track 2) or if it is just track 2 split into two "singles." Apple Music/iTunes only seems to offer the first 5 tracks.
  3. Now reading...

    Sad to report back that I am just not enjoying von Rezzori's The Death of My Brother Abel. I had high hopes for it, since I enjoyed An Ermine in Czernopol a lot. But this is an extremely meandering and frankly boring post-modern tale about how the narrator (a hack who churns out movie scripts) cannot get around to writing the massive roman a clef he has in his mind's eye (which is of course what the reader is holding in his/her hands). I'm bloody-minded enough to stick this out, but I am much, much less interested in the forthcoming translation of Kain (his final novel) as it is just a continuation of this. Looking like it will be Mahfouz's Midaq Alley next. Then some Thomas Hardy and William Faulkner (going back to the canon).
  4. Now reading...

    Not surprisingly, pretty depressing all around. I'm not enjoying Rezzori's The Death of My Brother Abel as much as I had hoped. It's one of those post-modern novels where different fragments are layered on top of each other because the author (himself a minor character in the novel) can't decide on which story to tell. It's a lot like Graeme Gibson's Gentleman Death, which I really didn't like. After this, mostly likely rereading Mahfouz's Midaq Alley.
  5. Now reading...

    I'm sure that was the point of the novel, but the characters from Katherine A. Porter's Ship of Fools were certainly an unpleasant lot. Mostly drawn from the self-satisfied, selfish German bourgeoisie (with a couple of proto-Nazis among them) plus a Spanish dance troupe (with sideline in larceny, pimping and prostitution!) and an unpleasant Ugly American figure and then a couple of wishy-washy American painters. Seemed like bedtime reading for Mencken, if you know what I mean. I've just finished Russell Smith's How Insensitive, which is a satire of the Toronto art/literary scene of the early 90s. Actually less savage towards its targets than Porter was! I'm going to try Smith's Noise next, then Khushwant Singh's Train To Pakistan.
  6. Now reading...

    Ok, but a bit slow-going. There is a cast of dozens, so it is a little hard to care about any one character (that's probably the point). A much different approach from Ondaatje's The Cat's Table, which focuses on an ocean voyage through the eyes of a child (a stand-in for the author). I should be wrapping this up over the weekend. Then on to Rezzori's Death of My Brother Abel, which is supposed to be his greatest achievement. Supposedly in a year or two, NYRB should be coming out with a new translation of this, along with Rezzori's final, unfinished novel, Kain. I decided I wanted to tackle it sooner than that, but will pick up the NYBR edition whenever it arrives.
  7. Aretha Franklin, RIP

    It sounds like she was not a great fit at Columbia and they didn't know what they had with her, but are there one or two records from that period that stand out? Maybe the first one with Ray Bryant?
  8. Now reading...

    I'm about halfway through Alif the Unseen. I have mixed feelings about it. I was expecting/hoping it would be along the lines of Effinger's When Gravity Fails and the rest in that series. (Really great books, which I ought to reread.) And it sort of starts off that way, but the descriptions of coding are pretty laughable and it departs fairly quickly from the cyberpunk vein. Pretty soon we are interacting with actual djinns (not just deluded humans who think they are djinns or people with djinn avatars in a virtual world). So it really is much more a fantasy book with some cyberpunk elements. It's quite readable, for all that. Back to traditional lit. after this, Porter's Ship of Fools and McCarthy's Birds of America.
  9. I've got a fair number of Szell recordings. While I enjoy them, this box set is too much. I'm likely to get the Leonard Rose Concertos and Sonatas set, however. I don't have too much overlap with these recordings, aside from the Dvorak Cello concerto and the Bach sonatas with Glenn Gould.
  10. Now reading...

    It was kind of an odd departure, as Apple was always known as a humorist.
  11. Now reading...

    I was making my way through Max Apple's The Propheteers when I discovered that the first chapter is his short story "The Oranging of America" with only the most minor changes. I realized I had never read the entire collection, though I'm pretty sure I read the title story a long, long time ago. For good measure, I picked up his recent short story collection The Jew of Home Depot. What surprised me a bit is the sameness of so many of the stories in Oranging. Well over half involve some kind of naive struggle against American capitalism, followed by the protagonist running off with some cute chick. "The Oranging of America" does break this pattern and is definitely the better for it. I wouldn't say I disliked the collection, but it definitely felt padded, and I don't think it will stand the test of time. I'm not as far along with The Jew of Home Depot, but the running theme seems to be the struggle of the various protagonists to maintain their Jewishness in the face of the acid bath of American culture and American-style capitalism more broadly, which as Marx says will wash away religion and even family ties. So now I've gotten through The Jew of Home Depot. In addition to the Jewish theme, approximately 1/3 of the stories involve the protagonist needing to deal with a family member's medical needs, typically dementia or Alzheimer's. Quite possibly this is something that Apple was going through himself and was doing some "processing" in the stories. Anyway, it definitely lead to quite a few melancholy stories.
  12. Saw Organissimo play once in Chicago, so that was Jim, Joe and Randy at that time. Larry Kart was at the concert, and we chatted a bit. I used to see a fair number of jazz concerts at the Jazz Showcase or Chicago Jazz Fest with sheldonm and sal. And jazzkrow once or twice. Met John Litweiler once in Chicago to buy one of his books (and I think I traded him the Ayler Holy Ghost box, since his had been lost in a flood or fire). It wasn't a one-for-one trade... Met Van Basten II in Montreal and sold him a jazz or classical set, but I can't recall which one. Met a board member in Vancouver to sell some CDs. I think that's it, but I may be missing one or two more chance encounters. I did see David Weiss and the Cookers play a set in Vancouver, but I think we only PM'ed after the show and didn't meet in person. I may of course be totally mis-remembering this.
  13. Tomasz Stanko R.I.P.

    RIP -- I saw him live one time when he was in Chicago.
  14. Now reading...

    Only just started this, but am enjoying it so far. Another interesting book involving a prophecy (and how it impacted the lives of those who heard it) is The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma. After I wrap this up and return to the library, it will be Mann's Felix Krull. Or rather Confessions of Felix Krull, Confidence Man: The Early Years. (I had meant to pair this with Melville's The Confidence-Man, but the plans went a bit awry...)
  15. Do they only take one from the readers? Or the top 5? It seems ludicrous that Grant Green isn't in there already...