Notes from the Now

Posts Tagged ‘Literature’

“Junot Diaz @UChicago, Oct 2015”

In Art, Books, Events, literature, photography, University of Chicago on October 20, 2015 at 9:17 pm

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My 2013 in Readings (1 image)

In Books, literature on December 16, 2013 at 8:13 pm


Review: The House That Crack Built

In Books on November 18, 2012 at 9:18 am

The House That Crack Built
The House That Crack Built by Clark Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Powerful, Simple Connection of the Drug Trade writ large to the suffering of individuals on city streets.

I have no idea what age child should (be) read this book.

Review – Luka and the Fire of Life: A Novel

In Books on September 23, 2012 at 12:08 am

Luka and the Fire of Life: A Novel
Luka and the Fire of Life: A Novel by Salman Rushdie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s been over 10 years since I read “Haroun and Sea of Stories“, and while I don’t particularly remember any of the plot I do remember enjoying the pace of the wordplay and the joy of the writing. It’s sequel “Luka and the Fire of Life” leaves me with much the same sense, well-played wordplay and joyful writing, as Rushdie continues to update the genre of fable. Fun and worth-reading.

Review: “Solar” by Ian McEwan

In Books on September 18, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Solar by Ian McEwan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’d say that I like how Ian McEwan writes, rather than liking anything that he has written. I haven’t read Atonement, but I have read Saturday (2005), On Chesil Beach (2007), and now Solar (2010).

Solar’s Michael Beard isn’t as unlikable as the commenters would have one think, and the story itself – aging, decline, science, romance, murder mystery, and a bit of Larry Summers for good measure – isn’t particularly bad. Or good.

There was one brief passage that I did like very much (and epitomized my sense of “Solar”):

“…he thought he saw it for the first time: on the day he died he would be wearing unmatching socks, there would be unanswered e-mails, and in the hovel he called home there would still be shirts missing cuff buttons, a malfunctioning light in the hall, and unpaid bills, uncleared attics, dead flies, friends waiting for a reply, and lovers he had not owned up to. Oblivion, the last word in organization, would be his only consolation.”

Review – Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles

In Books on September 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles
Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles by Jeanette Winterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Liked the concept – retelling the Myths of Atlas and Heracles, mixing in some of the writer, and some science – but not so much the execution of it.

Review: Mr g: A Novel About The Creation

In Books on March 18, 2012 at 1:43 pm

Mr g: A Novel About The Creation
Mr g: A Novel About The Creation by Alan Lightman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s like they say, you’ll never read Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman for the first time again! Lightman (wikipedia) goes back to familiar ground – contextualizing the laws of the physical world – in a creation story that is certainly no more or less credible than any of the creation stories that are commonly in circulation. If you’re a fan of Lightman’s style of science embedded in fiction (which is in it’s way very distinct from science fiction), then you’ll like it (even if it’s not exactly as accessible as Einstein’s Dreams). If you’ve never read anything by Lightman before, start with Einstein’s Dreams.

Moving Along

In literature on January 10, 2012 at 9:23 am

I’m moving my writings about books over to here:

If you’ve got links, please update them.


Review: The Castle of Crossed Destinies

In Books on January 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm

The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The high concept is probably better than the execution, but that interestingness is enough to make this a thought-provoking read.

Invisible Cities” remains the best starting point for Calvino in my opinion.

View all my reviews

Jhumpa Lahiri @ UCHICAGO (May 2010)

In Events, University of Chicago on June 12, 2010 at 12:45 pm

I saw Jhumpa Lahiri read from (and talk about) Unaccustomed Earth in May at the University of Chicago.

I’ve heard Lahiri talk three times now, after each of her major works, and have to say that my appreciation for her has shifted.

At first, I was intrigued by the novelty of the identities that she explored and her ability to convey a scene of emotion. What impressed me most about her latest work “Unaccustomed Earth” though, was her ability to intertwine the various short stories both directly through characters and indirectly through themes.

The more I think about Unaccustomed Earth the more I want to recommend it (and reread some of the stories).