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In yet another example of how tastes change, I am somewhat more interested in Toni Morrison's Sula (than I remember being as a callow youth), but I am not enjoying Tar Baby at all.  She introduces a lot of minor characters, who clutter up the main plot, and the main incident that allows the plot to continue strikes me as so outlandishly improbable that it has put a huge damper on the book.  I'm very doubtful I'll actually manage to finish this.  It would be one thing if this was supposed to be read as a fable (or even fairy tale, like much of Angela Carter's work), but Tar Baby is predominantly in the realist mode.

I'm skipping around in Wendell Berry's The World-Ending Fire (a compilation of selected essays).  While there is much that is interesting and admirable, I am more in tune with Loren Eiseley's world view and preoccupations.

Also reading through Teju Cole's Known and Strange Things, which is interesting so far.

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25 minutes ago, BillF said:

There are many references to the Mosaic set - but £42.80! (groan) :(

There seems to be an extra tax put on jazz books. Twas ever thus !

Been trying to find the Dameron bio at reasonable price but £26 for a paperback is also too much.

Edited by sidewinder
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When Prophecy Still Had A Voice: The Letters of Thomas Merton and Robert Lax. Merton and Lax (an influential poet) had an almost life long friendship, and the book is off to a rollicking start, with the letters starting in early 1938. Merton and Lax, at this point, are callow young men (Merton even dropping F bombs and bragging about his sex life) but the intelligence is plain to see in both of them. They must have been interesting people to know -- I have come to the conclusion that Merton missed his true calling of being a writer for The New Yorker.


Edited by Matthew
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Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson: Read this during the day, before the PG&E rendered darkness fell, Thanks PG&E! (three days of darkness where I live). I don't know why, but I have a deep love for this book. I've read it many times and there is a certain feel to this book that means a lot to me. It seem as if finally American spirituality broke free from Jonathan Edwards' baleful influence, and here, with this book, a new way of looking at the world entered the American scene.  Just the first paragraph itself is bursting with creativity:

Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us, by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines to‑day also. There is more wool and flax in the fields. There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.


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