Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July 7, 2009

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
The Medium is the Massage An Inventory of Effects- Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore
Durham: A Bull City Story by Jim Wise
Detroit's Michigan Central Station by Kelli B. Kavanaugh

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
The Book by Alan Watts
Josef Albers: To Open Eyes
and some others

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Books read April- June-ish (at least what I can remember)

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson- still so relevant! and unbelievable!

Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics by Rebecca Solnit- one of my favorite writers- "The Walmart Biennial" essay is brilliant, if not so sad.

The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa by Michael Kimmelman- an interesting angle on art and life that includes Ray J and also introduced me to Hugh Francis Hicks's Mt. Vernon Museum of Incandescent Lighting.

Teachers as Cultural Workers: Letters to those Who Dare to Teach by Paulo Freire- Freire is ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!! and a much needed voice! His book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, is next in line.

Relational Aesthetics- Nicolas Bourriaud

(almost finished with) Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace...One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin- an interesting angle on how one pursues a path of making a difference in the world. AND it resulted from a failure.

I also started (but didn't finish and had to return it to the library)
Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March books finished so far

To the Lighthouse- Virginia Woolf
Made from Scratch Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life- Jenna Woginrich
A New Eath Awakening to Your Life's Purpose- Eckhart Tolle

Sunday, February 15, 2009

December to February Reading

This project is shifting but how I'm not totally sure. I found that its structure was actually causing me not to read at times though the process was quite helpful to my memory and digesting of ideas. Perhaps a place in between will be found.

In the meantime some books I've read lately are:
The Pirates! In An Adventure with Napoleon by Gideon Defoe
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
One Dimensional Man by Herbert Marcuse
Proust was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer
The Gift, Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property by Lewis Hyde

Sunday, December 28, 2008

November 14 - December 17, 2008

A Room of One's Own
Virginia Woolf
1957, paperback

Until now I've never read any of Virginia Woolf's books, but luckily the exhibition A Room of Their Own: The Bloomsbury Artists in American Collections is changing that. Woolf is an amazing writer and what she wrote in first part of the 20th century bears just as much relevance and importance in the 21st. Woolf's thinking aloud through her writing allows the reader to gain from the path she walks. I find her to be an exemplary companion, I just need to find more quiet corners to spend with her writing so I don't become the skimmer of surfaces she mentions.

Some excerpts:
4- "a woman must have money and a room of her own is she is to write fiction"
13-14- "It is strange how a scrap of poetry works in the mind and makes the legs more in time to it along the road."
-"But the living poets express a feeling that is actually being made and torn out of us at the moment."
15- "My heart is gladder than all these Because my love is come to me?"
18- "a good dinner is of great importance to good talk. One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well."
24- "I pondered this and that, as one does at the end of the day's work."
35- "What effect had poverty on fiction? What conditions are necessary for the creation of works of art?"
27- "Why are women, judging from this catalogue, so much more interesting to men than men are to women?"
30- (footnote 1- Dr. Johnson) "Men know that women are an overmatch for them, and therefore they choose the weakest or the most ignorant. If they did not think so, they never could be afraid of women knowing as much as themselves."
31-32- "Drawing pictures was an idle way of finishing an unprofitable morning's work. Yet it is in our idleness, in our dreams, that the submerged truth sometimes comes to the top."
34- "When I read what he wrote about women I thought, not of what he was saying, but of himself."
36- "mirrors are essential to all violent and heroic action"
53- "...to write a work of genius is almost always a feat of prodigious difficulty. Everything is against the likelihood that it will come from the writer's mind whole and entire. Generally material circumstances are against it...Further, accentuating all these difficulties and making them harder to bear is the world's notorious indifference. It does not ask people to write poems and novels and histories; it does not need them...Naturally it will not pay for what it does not want."
54- "If anything comes through in spite of all this, it is a miracle, and probably no book is born entire and uncrippled as it was conceived."
57- "The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself."
68-69- "For masterpieces are not single and solitary births; they are the outcome of many years of thinking in common, of thinking by the body of the people, so that the experience of the mass is behind the single voice."
70- (Mrs. Nightingale) "Women never had a half hour...that they can call their own."
79- "Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind."
80- "Moreover, a book is not made of sentences laid end to end but of sentences built, if an image helps, into arcades or domes."
83- "She may be beginning to use writing as an art, not as a method of self-expression. Among these new novels one might find an answer to several such questions."
93- "Above all, you must illumine your own soul with its profundities and its shallows, and its vanities and its generosities, and say what your beauty means to you or your plainness, and what is your relation to the every changing and turning world of gloves and shows and stuffs swaying up and down among the faint scents that come through chemists' bottles down arcades of dress material over a floor of pseudomarble."
94-95- "Be truthful, one would say, and the result if bound the be amazingly interesting. Comedy is bound to be enriched."
97- "that she was not a skimmer of surfaces merely, but had looked beneath into the depths."
101- "Clearly the mind is always altering its focus, and bringing the world into different perspectives."
110 - "so long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters..."
115- "...much more important to be oneself than anything else. Do not dream of influencing other people...Think of things in themselves."
117- "A thousand pens are ready to suggest what you should do and what effect you will have."
-"...for great poets do not die; they are continuing presences; they need only the opportunity to walk among us in the flesh"
118- "...to work, even in poverty and obscurity is worth while"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

November 25 - December 6, 2008

Reena Spaulings
A novel by Bernadette Corporation
paperback, 2004

I have wanted to read this book from the moment I learned of it (you can read the 1st three chapters here). Somehow I never ordered online, but finally it found me. The last copy at the MoCAD bookstore, it was in stock due to the Bernadette Corporation being in the intelligent and captivating exhibition Business as Usual. Reena Spaulings is a fictional character in her 20s (but isn't she all of us), a museum guard, a fashion model, a novel, and subsequently an art gallery and an art dealer. She's not one thing, she's many. And she's rarely still, though despite the fast pace the reader still is able to get inside her head. sometimes.

Some excerpts:
Preface- "If you look at a city, there's no way to see it. One person can never see a city."
-"It has to be informed, imagined, by many people at a time. It's an everyday group hallucination."
3- Reena
4- "She is not happy, not sad, not nothing."
-Nobody ever talks in the way it would blow her brains out. Plus she has no desire to interfere with the flows that brought these streams of people, words."
7- "Reena could be a Manet, one of these thinking pictures you can't see through, no matter how long you stare at them."
12- "I am often surprised, not to say a little embarrassed, at how blown-away I can be by the street's beauty after a day in the museum."
15- "A body is a living, breathing image that thinks while exposing itself to others."
16- "What if nothing belonged to anybody?"
31- Manet, Young Lady in 1866
34- "The illusion unravels like in a Warhol, leaving something that's not an illusion."
-"Here is observing for those who can no longer see. Or, for those who can't really look into another person's eyes."
55- "We move through a city that produces boys and girls and extends itself through them."
57- "...thinking of how the sky is shoved to the periphery of the stage by our monuments and monumental buildings."
61- "I think how can we make a beautiful brushstroke with our existence?"
63- "an economy of essences"
65- "his shirts were always blank"
73- (war) "Anyway, there's no point in discussing such things if we can't find a way of talking about them that's as outrageous as the things themselves."
-dandy- "existence consists in the wearing of clothes"
-abstract painting- "opening a blank space in the texture of institutionally recognized meaning. Few artists leave that void empty for long."
76- hands
78- "It's as if an envelop is falling over this place, sealing us up inside."
-"I feel loads of unspoken words showering down on me. Shooting star sentences that will never be translated."
79- "She's an open book but every turned page presents another cover."
82- "New York is an entire library of books about everything and everybody. Reading here is work, and behind every book-filled room is another room of books and the reading never ends."
-"The city is an open structure that works by calibrating every relationship to its programmed expansion and destruction."
-"The city needs Reena and folds her into its architectures..."
-(NYC) 12 million reader-authors
-"There is no New York story, only an endless effort to make us forget that narration is war..."
-Reena's lighting system
84- "Bedrooms are the site of intimacy. What is more intimate, when shared, than boredom."
85- "Boredom like stupidity contains its own treasures."
93-94- "Was Reena pursuing her desires, or was she inventing them anew with each ring of the cash register."
94- "Its exclusivity lay entirely in the mis-relationship between what it had cost and what it actually was. The price here stood in for any and ever other quality."
95-96- 99 cent store
98- "Shopping together is like traveling: an elaborate way of making the couple visible to itself."
99- "'I'm surprised how much birds sing.'"
133- Voltaire- "That which needs an explanation is not worth an explanation!"
136- "...Capitalism, Empire, whatever...there's a general context that not only controls each situation but, even worse, also tries to ensure that, most of the time, there is no situation."
-"That the desert of these times isn't perceived is only one more proof of the desert."
137- "To live in the world means: to begin with the situation, not to deny it. To give consistency to a situation. To make it real, tangible. Reality is not capitalist."
143- Zizek
154- "Funny how individuality makes you generic."
154-155- "Here is an intellectual body of pure capability, but one that is also open, looking to be determined from outside, ready to re-write everything, to co-write, to be written on..."
158- "Better to eat candy like Andy."
165- "People want to be someone. But the really exciting challenge is to become no one."
174- "Everything emblematic of a being-alive that once was, is not available in a variety of prices and quality."
188- "I wanted to go out and see people and talk about everything I saw."
190- "Nothing ever ends until you let it go."
-"Only the impossible is worth the effort."
200- "because in New York we were sweating the evil they would be photocopying in three years time."
201- "You see? Your love is circular. There is nothing like it. It makes us forget how to change."
202- "I'm trying to wangle my way out of obligations because I need long hours to do nothing, which I consider to be a big part of my work now."
-back cover

November 3 - 19, 2008

A Coney Island of the Mind
Poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
New Directions Paperback

While I've been to City Lights I've never read any of Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poetry. I came across this volume since it was the selection for the reading group accompanying the complex and marvelous exhibition Circa 1958. I didn't make it to the discussion group, but I'm glad to have spent some time with Ferlinghetti's fantastically visual and stunning poems.

Some excerpts/phrases:
9- "under cement skies"
-"bland billboards illustrating imbecile illusions of happiness"
10- "...more maimed citizens in painted cards and they have strange license plates and engines that devour America"
11- "...elephants in bathtubs floated past us out to sea strumming bent mandolins..."
14- "And lost teacups full of our ashes floated by"
17- "where no birds sang"
33- "Frightened by the sound of my own voice and by the sound of birds singing on hot wires"
35- "The pennycandy store beyond the El is where I first fell in love with unreality"
36- "At a certain age her heart put about searching the lost shores And heard the green birds singing from the other side of silence."
38- "painting moustaches on statues"
44- Proust
49- "and I am waiting for someone to really discover America"
52- "and I am waiting for Alice in Wonderland to retransmit to me her total dream of innocence"
57- "I'm going where turtles win"
58- "Lost the war without killing anybody."
-"The end has just begun. I want to announce it. Run don't walk to the nearest exit."
62- "Home is where one starts from."
63- "and noted the close identification of the United States and the Promise Land where every coin is marked In God We Trust but the dollar bills do not have it being gods unto themselves."
64- "I have ridden superhighways and believes the billboard's promises"
-"I am in line for a top job. I may be moving on to Detroit."
66- "I have seen giraffes in jungle jims their necks like love wound around the iron circumstances of the world."
82- "#6 Truth is not the secret of a few"
-museums, constipated
83- "Fortune has its cookies to give out"
85- "'We think differently at night' she told me once"
90- El- third story world
91- "and of that lost book I had with its blue cover and its white inside where a pencilhand had written HORSEMAN, PASS BY!"