I like bookshelves


We never stop reading, although every book comes to an end, just as we never stop living, although death is certain.
Roberto Bolaño


Reading is like thinking, like praying, like talking to a friend, like expressing your ideas, like listening to other people's ideas, like listening to music, like looking at the view, like taking a walk on the beach.
Roberto Bolaño


...And literature was a vast minefield occupied by enemies, except for a few classic authors (just a few), and every day I had to walk through that minefield, where any false move could be fatal, with only the poems of Archilochus to guide me. It’s like that for all young writers. There comes a time when you have no support, not even from friends, forget about mentors, and there’s no one to give you a hand; publication, prizes, and grants are reserved for the others, the ones who said “Yes, sir,” over and over, or those who praised the literary mandarins, a never-ending horde distinguished only by their aptitude for discipline and punishment—nothing escapes them and they forgive nothing.
Roberto Bolaño

initial rapture

Original of Laura Chip Kidd Jacket

Original of Laura , Jacket designed by Chip Kidd

+ WNYC: Brian Boyd and Chipp Kidd, discuss Nabokov, The Original of Laura, as part of "A Celebration of Vladimir Nabokov."

"Inspiration," Nabokov split this old-fashioned word into two Russian parts. The first half of inspiration, for him, is vorstog (initial rapture). Vorstog describes that moment in which the book as a whole is conceived:

A combined sensation of having the whole universe entering you and of yourseld wholle dissolving in the universe surrounding you. It is the prison wall of the ego suddenly crumbling away and the non-ego rushing in from the outside to save the prisioner --who is already dancing in the open.
Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith



The "Bright Lights, Big City" 20th Anniversary Special Edition DVD came out today. I love this movie. It's the little things that mattered back then when I saw it the first time on PBS or HBO: an ill mother, wanting to be a writer, wanting to be in New York in the 80's. I can watch this movie and it will forever be a time capsule to all that. I have this personal New York movie saga made up of movies that I saw within a 4 year period that is made up of "Bight Lights, Big City", "Metropolitan", "Manhattan", "The Night We Never Met", "The Freshman" and a few others I can't think of right now.

[ Hawksley Workman: The City Is A Drag ]

/ Plaid: This City is Hell
/ Andrew Bird: Sectionate City
+ Ghostland Observatory - Sad Sad City

+ Trivia: Tom Cruise turned down the part later played by 'Michael J. Fox' as he didn't like the idea of scenes involving him taking drugs.
+ The novel was named after the song Bright Lights, Big City, originally sung by Jimmy Reed

"Here you are again. All messed up and no place to go."

"... and what you are left with is a premonition of the way your life will fade behind you, like a book you have read too quickly, leaving a dwindling trail of images and emotions until all you can remember is a name."
Jay McInerney

If sex is the sermon made of art....


"If sex, you see, is the sermon made of art. Love is the lady of that tower". Vladimir Nabokov discusses "Lolita" on "Close Up", a circa 1950's CBC program: Part 1 & 2.  

Nabokov writes fiction because it is "an interesting thing to do...I have no social purpose, no moral message; I've no general ideas to exploit, I just like composing riddles with elegant solutions" (16). Second, Nabokov loathes social satire. He has "neither the intent nor the temperament of a moral or social satirist. Whether or not the critics think that in Lolita I am ridiculing human folly leaves me supremely indifferent. But I am annoyed when the glad news is spread that I am ridiculing America" (23). Third, Nabokov doubts that "we can postulate the objective existence of a 'modern world' on which an artist should have any definite or important opinion"
MARTIN AMIS: Between the Influences of Bellow and Nabokov

All of Nabokov's books are about tyranny, even Lolita. Perhaps Lolita most of all.
Martin Amis

+ Martin Amis - The War Against Cliché
+ A Chronology of Lolita

James A. Reeves

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns & 1986


Vowing upon his parent's death to rid the city of the criminal element, the Batman has,
over the years, fought crime in its many macabre forms ...
For the last ten years no one has seen or heard from him ...
That is, until now ...

from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, published by DC Comics from February to June 1986.

Curiosities of the year when this series came out......

// February 21 - Nintendo releases the Famicom Disk System in Japan.

// Some Billboard #1 hits

How Will I Know - Whitney Houston
These Dreams - Heart
Rock Me Amadeus - Falco
Kiss - Prince
Addicted to Love - Robert Palmer
Live to Tell - Madonna

// Top grossing films

   1. Top Gun
   2. Crocodile Dundee
   3. Platoon
   4. The Karate Kid, Part II 
   5. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

// Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove

// THE BOURNE SUPREMACY was a bestseller.

// 1986 Prices - Gas: $0.93/gal, Stamps:$0.22/ea

+ Comic Books as Literature: The Dark Knight Returns

+ Whoa, someone who actually liked DK2.

+ For those who don't know: Frank Miller is still writing Batman Comics ( to be more precise "The God Damned Batman!"). With covers like this one.



Sources: Wikipedia 1986, Time Magazine, Billboard.

/a monday miscellany/


Dear Battlestar Galactica Season 4. Get here already!
/ A complete 'Battlestar' refresher


/ This song reminds me of Kate Austen: Kathleen Edwards - "In State"

/ The man above? Michael Emerson: The best actor working in American television today, that's who.

/ Additions to my Burnout soundtrack: Gnarls Barkley's "Run" & "Paper Planes" via this trailer's use of it.

/ Justice League: The New Frontier comes out tomorrow. Here's a review and here's another.

/ The art of Chip Kidd’s new book.

/ Inchworm: Bob Sabiston, creator of the rotoscoping software behind A Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly wanted to draw and animate on his DS...

/ The Dishwasher: I played it over the weekend and became a believer in XNA if games like this are going to  come out of it.

/ If it wasn't for afrojacks, I wouldn't know there's a badass "new" of live VU song out there.

/ Musica! HEAD OF FEMUR: Isn't It A Shame, Delorentos: basis of everything, Great Northern: Telling LiesOren Lavie: Her Morning Elegance.  

/ SXSW is fast approaching, a trip down memory lane: Amy Winehouse live during one of the SXSW daytime parties.

Lucifer Morningstar was a Bad Angel


I move from dreamer to dreamer, from dream to dream, hunting for what I need. Slipping and sliding and flickering through dreams; and the dreamers will wake and wonder why this dream seemed different, wonder how real their lives can truly be.

[ Rufus Wainwright: Evil Angel ]


When I was fifteen I was looking through half priced comics at an old (mysterious in a Stephen King sort of way) bookstore when I found and bought the issue seen here. Having been brought up in a religious home I was freaked out by having a comic with Satan himself. Never mind the daemons doing it and other terrors contained within. So I had to hide it. I figured, when I'm older maybe this story will make sense and back I went to X-Men and Batman comics. No more of these "Suggested for Mature Readers" comics for me since I was afraid of getting in trouble for having them. This meant that for a few years I had no idea how this story began or how it ended. My resolution to wait until I was older didn't last long because I was fascinated by Dream, Death and the whole family and when I was on a vacation trip ( a year later and away from adult supervision) I bought the newest issue I could find ( part 1 of the "Brief Lives" storyline) and started reading it monthly. And the rest is history. The rest being me insisting that my two favorite High School teachers would read and recognize how good Sandman was. I don't think I got them to read Sandman but I did get Mrs. Hotard to read "The Dark Knight Returns". A great victory in my eyes. One day she's teaching us "The Stranger", the next I'm teaching her about Frank Miller's brilliant Post-Modern Regan Era Anxiety filtering of the myth of Batman.

Powells:"The first book I read was Season of Mists, which remains my favorite for reasons both sentimental and aesthetic. Kwitney notes that this is one of the more popular volumes, largely for its accessible and compelling storyline. This is also the first story in which the Endless appear in their entirety, and the first time Morpheus begins to regret the decisions he has made in the past. Confronted with his own cruelty, Morpheus journeys to Hell to free the lover he'd confined there, only to be handed the key to the realm by Lucifer, who has decided to retire. "

"Would the Lord of hell destroy his realm? Would the Lord of hell ever free the souls held in torment? Would the Lord of hell expel the never-born? Would the Lord of hell abandon the war with heaven?"

"The Lord of hell will do what he damn well likes."

[ Booth And The Bad Angel: Dance Of The Bad Angels ]

Previously....... [ Absolutely ]

+ Dave McKean Links

Howard Roark would approve of Bioshock


+ Wired: First-Person Shooter BioShock Owes More to Ayn Rand Than Doom

The architecture is all Albert Speer does art deco (A), but the world, called Rapture, is beginning to crumble and let in water. You're soon beset by deranged flappers and dandies, like Jay Gatsby's party guests gone feral (B). And, as in any first-person shooter, you reach for your gun...

Or do you?

+ 2K Games Announces The BioShock EP Featuring Period Songs Remixed by Moby and Oscar The Punk

Moby - "Wilde Little Sisters"

+ Bioshock And Ayn Rand
+ Creative Director Ken Levine on BioShock
+ Bioshock Videos
+ Review & screens
+ BioShock Art Book Now Available For Download
+ Gary Cooper as Howard Roark


"And the rest is rust and stardust..."

One of the prized books on my shelf, a signed first printing of Stardust signed by Neil with a drawing of a Luna in it. Neil is awesome. Are you going to go see the movie or What!

+ NPR: A Magical Fairy Tale Hits the Big Screen

[ Maude Maggart - Stardust ]

And the rest is rust and stardust. --Nabokov.


Abstruse Words

Abstruse words found in Against the Day, a novel by Thomas Pynchon.

"Chip Kidd: Book One"

Publisher's Page for Chip Kidd: Book One

+ Be A Design Group: Paula Scher commented in her introduction to Make it Bigger, that one of the worst things about doing a monograph of your life’s work is that people will assume that you are finished. From the title of his forthcoming book, Chip Kidd: Book One: Work: 1986-2006, it looks like renowned book designer and author Chip Kidd is doing his best to show people that he has only just begun...

+ Back from BEA: a panel called "The Future of Graphic Novels" was moderated by Chip Kidd.

+ Previously released:  "Chip Kidd" by Veronique Vienne.

+ Design Geekery As Applied To Some Book Covers By One Author

a comic-strip novel by Clowes

'It's not as cold here as it sounds.'

An expansion and reworking of the "Ice Haven" stories which appear in Eightball #22
+ {quimby's}

While Dan Clowes has gotten a nod from the mainstream - and Oscar nomination for the screen adaptation of Ghost World - his work remains wonderfully idiosyncratic and imaginative.
+ {AtomicBooks}

Wow, Fantagraphics actually updated their page. Too bad they didn't publish this book.   
+ {Clowes Page at Fantagraphics}

+ An Interview with Dan Clowes: He Loves you Tenderly

Which concerns Don Quixote De La Mancha


"Love not what you are, but what you may become."
Miguel de Cervantes

Last year's definitive English translation is out on paperback. Random Don Q. memories: I read some version of it when I was in second grade, to the amazement of teachers and the librarian.  When I was 4th grade I went to a Don Q Play, it was very exciting. Then there was an Anime version, which I watched when I was a kid.

+ 400 Windmills: Reading "Don Quixote"
+ Guardian: Orson Welles's Don Quixote   

White Noise could of been Panasonic

White Noise on White Noise is a collection of 36 randomly selected fragments of text from Don DeLillo's novel White Noise.

An Annotation of the First Page of White Noise, With Help From Don DeLillo.

it was don delillo, whiskey, me,
Bright Eyes - Gold Mine Gutted

: " In Don DeLillo's (the author Conor mentions at the beginning of the song) novel "White Noise", one of the main characters begins taking a pill that stops the brain from producing the chemical(s) that produce the fear of death. Seeing as how "Digital Ash..." is directly concerned with Conor's death and drug use, I'd say it's very likely Conor's read the novel. I'm sure if there was a drug that stopped people from fearing death, Conor would take it. That is, if it'd even work with all the coke he's hopped up on..."

Previously.... [ Don DeLillo whiskey ]

Cohen for Nobel

[ AUDIO ]  Paul Kennedy convenes a public forum at Montreal's Blue Metropolis Literary Festival to nominate Leonard Cohen for The Nobel Prize in Literature.

+ CBC Archives - Leonard Cohen: Canada's Melancholy Bard - Excellent collection of Audio and Video.
+ CBC host heads Nobel drive for Leonard Cohen

Previously.... [ Lustless ] [ Cohen is 70 ][ "Beautiful Losers is...." ] [ Women.. ]

HST - Texas style

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And Today's WTF moment goes to the crummy newspaper The Austin Statesman. What kind of story is this "Before Hunter S. Thompson, Texas had its own literary outlaws" ? So tacky. When someone dies you are supposed to do a tribute, not a "we have better ones here, he didn't come up with anything" story.

" If Hunter S. Thompson hadn't existed, Texas would have had to invent him. "

+ AP Interview: Son says Thompson may have just decided it was time

Unrelated: O'Quinn Finds Belated Stardom on 'Lost

Auster's Smoke

Has it really been ten years since "Smoke"? I love that film. I file it under "movie I like that no one I personally know has seen or heard of". I Even appreciate the improvised "sequel" ( Lou Reed being the best part of it). The curious thing about it is the fact that the director of this sublime film went on to make "Maid in Manhattan" and "Because of Winn-Dixie". The good news is he will be directing a movie with Ziyi Zhang.

My true place in the world, it turned out was somewhere beyond myself, and if that place was inside me, it was also unlocatable. This was the tiny hole between self and not-self, and for the first time in my life I saw this nowhere as the exact center of the world.
Paul Auster, The Locked Room

In a related note: Paul Auster's "Collected Prose" came out in the US.
+ In his Collected Prose, Paul Auster remains an incomparable writer, Another Review.

Development Hell & Batman


"Before Christopher Nolan took over, director Darren Aronofsky was attached to make a Batman movie based on the graphic novel "Batman: Year One" and have the author Frank Miller write the screenplay. By 2003 there was a first draft screenplay with story boards, which are properties of AOL Time Warner. Warner's decision for not producing the film is unknown, but based on the details that have since leaked out, it would probably have to do with the screenplay, which strayed a considerable amount from the source material, making Alfred an African-American mechanic named "Big Al," the Batmobile being a suped-up Lincoln Towncar, and Bruce Wayne being homeless, among other things. This is all detailed in David Hughes' book "Tales from Development Hell." {source}

+ Review of "Tales from Development Hell: Hollywood Film-Making the Hard Way" by David Hughes

Don DeLillo whiskey

"I think it's only in a crisis that Americans see other people. It has to be an American crisis, of course. If two countries fight that do not supply the Americans with some precious commodity, then the education of the public does not take place. But when the dictator falls, when the oil is threatened, then you turn on the television and they tell you where the country is, what the language is, how to pronounce the names of the leaders, what the religion is all about, and maybe you can cut out recipes in the newspaper of Persian dishes."

+ In which Mr DeLillo visits UT @ Austin: Novelist leaves audience wanting more
+ Ransom Center Acquires Archive of Noted American Novelist Don DeLillo.
+ Game 6, which stars Michael Keaton, with a script from novelist Don DeLillo.

The writer is the person who stands outside society, independent of affiliation and independent of influence. The writer is the man or woman who automatically takes a stance against his or her government. There are so many temptations for American writers to become part of the system and part of the structure that now, more than ever, we have to resist. American writers ought to stand and live in the margins, and be more dangerous. Writers in repressive societies are considered dangerous. That's why so many of them are in jail.
--Don DeLillo, from the 1988 interview with Ann Arensberg

"Beautiful Losers is...."

" Beautiful Losers is
a love story
a psalm
a black mass
a monument
a satire
a prayer
a shriek
a road map through the wilderness
a joke
a tasteless affront
an hallucination
a bore
an irrelevant display of diseased virtuosity
a Jesuitical tract
an Orange sneer
a Scataological Lutheran extravagance
in short
a disagreeable religious epic of astounding beauty."

"This is a difficult book, even in English, if it is taken too seriously.  May I suggest that you skip over the parts you don't like? Dip into it here and there.  Perhaps there will be a passage, or even a page, that resonates with your curiosity.  After a while, if you are sufficiently bored or unemployed, you may want to read it from cover to cover.  In any case, I thank you for your interest in this odd collection of jazz riffs, pop-art jokes, religious kitsch and muffled prayer æ an interest which indicates, to my thinking, a rather reckless, though very touching, generosity on your part. '"

+ Excerpt from "Beautiful Losers"
+ Amazon: Look inside this book
  Beautiful Losers is my favorite book.

Murakami's Kafka

"To sleep with a woman: it can seem of the utmost importance in your mind, or then again it can seem like nothing much at all. Which only goes to say that there's sex as therapy (self-therapy, that is) and there's sex as pastime." 
(Haruki Murakami)

+ Haruki Murakami: Talking cats and falling fish from the Wind-Up author
+ Read an extract from his new book, Kafka On The Shore.
+ January's author of the month - Haruki Murakami
+ Guardian Review
+ Short Stories


"I spent most of my time thinking, because I didn't have enough energy to do anything else."

+ Yoshimoto's Journal
+ Metropolis: Big In Japan - Banana Yoshimoto

In 1987, Yoshimoto Mahoko was a waitress at a golf-club restaurant, earning around $480 a month and stealing moments out of her day to write a novel at coffee-shop tables. The result was Kitchen, a 1988 phenomenon that eventually sold millions around the world. With a change of name to Banana Yoshimoto -- because it was "cute" -- a literary star was born. {Bananamania}

The day I met a Pulitzer Prize Winner

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Last Friday I had the change to meet Pulitzer Prize-winning Comic Book Artist Art Spiegelman and get his latest book signed. I wanted to bring along a New Yorker cover to get signed but didn't have a chance to dig through my magazine collection for one. Art informed me that there was a book collection I could get. Colleen was ecstatic. I was more subdued. It didn't seem like it was a bid deal to me but it was. I was the sort of teenager that explained to my teachers that comics were a valuable medium and used Maus as an example. I also made my favorite english teacher in high school read a graphic novel. Batman no less! I made her read "The Dark Knight Returns".

+ Review of "Comix 101," a lecture by Art Spiegelman
+ Austin Chronicle: Comics are art, Spiegelman notes in his panel-busting history lesson
+ TIME: Disaster Is My Muse
+ electroniciraq: Art Spiegelman, cartoonist for The New Yorker, resigns in protest at censorship
+ New Yoker: Re: Cover. How It Came to Be

Running thread: signed Books [ 1 + 2 ]

The Enchanter

Since Tony brought it up in a comment he made to an earlier post, here's one of my favorite book covers.


[ From The Literary Encyclopedia ] The principal Nabokovian antecedent to The Enchanter (and indeed to Lolita) is to be located within his novel The Gift (written 1933-38), when a minor character suggests the following synopsis for a novel (Penguin edition, 172-3):

Imagine this kind of thing: an old dog – but still in his prime, fiery, thirsting for happiness – gets to know a widow, and she has a daughter, still quite a little girl – you know what I mean – when nothing is formed yet, but already she has a way of walking that drives you out of your mind – A slip of a girl, very fair, pale, with blue under the eyes – and of course she doesn't even look at the old goat. What to do? Well, not long thinking, he ups and marries the widow. Okay. They settle down the three of them. Here you can go on indefinitely – the temptation, the eternal torment, the itch, the mad hopes. And the upshot – a miscalculation. Time flies, he gets older, she blossoms out – and not a sausage. Just walks by and scorches you with a look of contempt. Eh? D'you feel here a kind of Dostoevskian tragedy?