Monday, April 20, 2009

Ha. Another One

Some of you may recall that in the summer, inspired by Carbon Trace, I began to hunt (cyberly) Academics Who Bike. Got another today, by the usual method, aka, not looking. I was looking for information on Toronto and biking, and, lo ! Stylocycle came into view. She explains herself in this post. I'm adding her to my special category sidebar.
On another note, I've finished The Glister. Hmmm... still pondering.

Add to list of books not to forget about reading:
Larry McMurtry, Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen, Telegraph Days; Reread Lonesome Dove
Cormac McCarthy, The Road
Jeanette Winterson, Weight
Steven Sherrill, The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break

I'm behind as far as The Road goes, I know. A lot going on these past few years.

The 2009 Pulitzers are out, but I am very underwhelmed at the moment. I hadn't been paying much attention, but in the fiction and poetry category at least, even the finalists seem weak. Not undeserving at all, but perhaps safe or too mainstream/ establishment (?). Elizabeth Strout's "novel in short stories," Olive Kitteridge won for fiction, and WS Merwin for poetry (The Shadow of Sirius). Worse, Drew Gilpin Faust's brilliant book on the civil war, This Republic of Suffering, was pitted against Annette Gordon Reed's The Hemingses of Monticello, to which it lost. Tough call. Both are extremely important works, and both so extremely deserving. I presume Pulitzers cannot "tie," but I haven't looked into this. Faust's is really the better book, though: better written, beautifully researched, intellectually captivating. I must be in a very contrarian mood, sitting here arguing with the Pulitzer committee in my head. 'Nite.

1 comment:

Jim Sligh said...

Ooh, The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break. I remember liking this a lot when I read it a few years ago.

(This is one of the few things I remember specifically about it, since I hadn't started taking notes on what I read at that point; fallability of memory being what it is, I've recently started trying to record something about books I read, just so that I don't lose the thing entirely).

As I recall, the high-concept gets treated with a melancholy restraint - and an attention to the body - that was compelling, and a welcome surprise for me.

(Speaking of memory; I reread The Road last summer because I thought I hadn't finished it - it turns out I had, I'd just rushed it and forgotten the ending entirely. My memory had stranded the two of them, unresolved, on an indeterminate strand of blasted asphalt somewhere.)

Re: the Pulitzers, what would constitute "safe" for you in poetry? I've got a pretty good idea of what you might mean in terms of contemporary fiction, (although because I haven't darkened the door of an English-language bookstore in about a year, I recognize none of the titles), but I'm interested in what your impression of the establishment in contemporary poetry looks like.