Thursday, August 7, 2008

August 4 - 5, 2008

Maps and Legends Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
Michael Chabon
2008, hardcover
13 cards

Michael Chabon stop spying on me. I realize there's no way he was spying on me because this book came out before I encountered some of these things, BUT in this book there were a number of overlaps with things I'm interested in or have encountered recently. I love this convergence factor, but the ones that came up in this book were unexpected and just random. I received the book as one of the McSweeney's Book Club releases.
Many people have mentioned to me that they've enjoyed reading Chabon's other books but I haven't gotten around to reading any of them. The sticker on the back says its Chabon's first nonfiction book. It took me a few essays to realize, oh there are essays about maps and then there are some about legends and then there are others about writing. The phrase maps and legends makes me think of the R.E.M. song but that didn't come up anywhere.

Some selections:
14- proposes- "expanding our definition of entertainment to encompass everything pleasurable that arises from the encounter of an attentive mind with a page of literature." [Maybe we need a new word. I think he's right about the magic of books but when there are magazines called Entertainment Weekly can you really use the same word to refer to literature?]
15- pirates and Proust [in the same sentence but as a list, not next to each other]
16- "Pleasure is unreliable and transient."
17- nurse romances [this made me think of Richard Prince's Nurse paintings]
20- "'Science fiction' therefore, becomes any book sold in the section of the bookstore so designated.'" [I tend to steer clear of science fiction but Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower made me think that I might be misguided in my impulse.]
23- Benjamin name dropping
25- Borges [I just bought Borges's Labyrinths in DC]
-Kelly Link [whose book I read in July]
30- map [maps were the theme for my zine]
-street names
-"To me the remarkable thing about those names was not their oddity but the simple fact that most of them referred to locations that did not exist."
31 -"It was a powerful demonstration to me of the incantatory power of names and naming."
33- "...just because you have stopped believing in something you once were promised does not mean that the promise itself was a lie. Childhood, at its best, is a perpetual adventure...a setting- forth into trackless lands that might have come into existence the instant before you first laid eyes on them."
35- Sherlock Holmes [the title of a song I've been listening to]
37- "Like most writers Conan Doyle wrote for money. His misfortune as an artist was to make piles of it, and become famous around the world by writing stories he did not consider worthy of his talent, while receiving less credit or pay for works that meant more to him..."
38- secret sharers
43- inspired guessing
45- titles- The Adventure of...
46- Bentham's panopticon [Just learned about this a few months ago]
49- "Empires are built, however, by laying the groundwork for their own destruction." [Reminds me of current events but also Jared Diamond's book Collapse]
52-53- People who have written letters to Sherlock Holmes
56- Tolkien- end paper maps- "never visited or even referred to by the characters in The Lord of the Rings. All enduring popular literature had this open-ended quality, and extends this invitation to the reader to continue, on his or her own, with the adventure." [brought to my attention with the maps zine]
51- "All novels are sequels; influence is bliss."
59- D'Aularire's Book of Greek Myths [learned about this at work this fall]
63- "Loki is the God of Nothing in Particular yet unmistakably of the ambiguous world itself." [this is one of the found cats' who came with this name at my parent's house]
79- De Chirico streets [he uses this phrase at least 3 times, but it is a good one]
84- Harriet the Spy [one of my favorite books that made me excited about reading when I was younger]
88- "A quest is often, among other things, an extended bout of inspired madness."
91- comics abandoning children [This exhibition allowed me to discover the wonderful power of comics.]
93- "We should tell stories that we would have liked as kids. ...stories that, over time, build up an intricate, involved, involving mythology that is also accessible and comprehensible at any point of entry."
-"retell the same stories with endless embellishment...The key, as in baroque music, is repetition with variation. [I've been learning about Baroque art all summer.]
-"Let's blow their little minds."
93-94- "...but a mind is blown when something that you always feared but knew to be impossible turns out to be true...that everything you know is wrong..."
98- pop artisan incorporates "all the aesthetic moments her or she have ever fallen in love with in other movies or songs or novels..."
-"...a record of consciousness that was busy falling in love with those moments in the first place."
100- Bladerunner [saw this on the big screen this spring]
115- "In order to destroy the world it becomes necessary to save it."
120- "...testament to the abyss of a parent's greatest fears. The fear of leaving your child alone, of dying before your child has reached adulthood and learned to work the mechanisms and face the dangers of the world, or found a new partner to face them with."
124- King's College Cambridge [I stayed here a few nights while studying abroad]
125- H. P. Lovecraft [read about him recently in The Believer magazine]
132- "Perhaps all short stories can be understood as ghost stories, accounts of visitations and reckonings with the traces of the past."
133- Lawrence Weschler [just read one of his books]
137- Julius Knipel's regrets
139- "In the end it isn't nostalgia but loneliness of an impossible beauty and profundity that is the great theme of Knipl."
-clubs- "'Fellowship,' as a loyal member of the Holey Pocket League tells Mr. Knipl, 'is the only thing we crave.'" [I'm a big fan of clubs and fellowship- well when they're for the right things like pickles and corduroy.]
146- "I missed Pittsburgh."
151- "this time The Great Gatsby read me."
153- Bruce Springsteen [see last post]
154- dirigible [word bandied about this spring]
167- "Literature, like magic, has always been about the handling of secrets, about the pain, the destruction and the marvelous liberation that can result when they are revealed."
170- "One search, with a sole objective: a home, a world to call me own." [parallels here including the D.H. Lawrence book I read by Geoff Dyer earlier this year.]
205- "a baby chick of a man" [baby chicks!!!!]

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