proustbot: (the best hill driven by black wine)
From my notes from today's trip to the archives: "Letter to the king from Friar Agustin, presumably about his nun plan."

(Apparently the plan was: so many rich widows, your Majesty! So little time!)

Lolita and the Hobbit )
proustbot: (Default)
In the midst of salt mines and sleep deprivation, I read Elizabeth Wurtzel's recent NYMag piece. A lot of it is problematic -- Wurtzel tends to universalize her particular experiences in a way that is sure to enrage a majority of readers -- but I found that parts of it were (unexpectedly) resonant:

"Women who have it all should try having nothing: I have no husband, no children, no real estate, no stocks, no bonds, no investments, no 401(k), no CDs, no IRAs, no emergency fund -- I don’t even have a savings account. It’s not that I have not planned for the future; I have not planned for the present. [...] I had the great and unexpected success of Prozac Nation in 1994, and that bought me freedom. And I have spent that freedom carelessly, and with great gratitude. Why would I do anything else? I did not expect, not ever, to be scared to death.

I was born with a mind that is compromised by preternatural unhappiness, and I might have died very young or done very little. Instead, I made a career out of my emotions. And now I am just quarreling with normal. I believe in true love and artistic integrity -- the kinds of things that should be mentioned between quotation marks -- as absolutely now as I did in ninth grade. But even I know that functional love includes a fair amount of falsity, or no one would get through morning coffee, and integrity is mostly a heroic excuse to avoid the negotiating table. But I can’t let go. I live in the chaos of adolescence, even wearing the same pair of 501s."

Unnatural Death, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, NOT The Secret History of Moscow, and The Fires of Heaven )
proustbot: (Default)

[SCENE: TDR and I are watching Spaced in the living room; Wellington and his girlfriend are making dinner in the kitchen, but Wellington keeps coming out to peer at the TV over my shoulder.]

WELLINGTON: "So, [ profile] mutantkoala. Bet Brian is your favorite character, eh?"

ME: "Yes, he is... How did you know that?"

WELLINGTON: [shifty-eyed] "Just a lucky guess."

The Gate of Angels, Whose Body?, and The Dragon Reborn )
proustbot: (everybody's crazy about a sharp-dressed)
In the shop window you have promptly identified the cover with the title you were looking for. Following this visual trail, you have forced your way through the shop past the thick barricade of Books You Haven’t Read, which were frowning at you from the tables and shelves, trying to cow you. But you know you must never allow yourself to be awed, that among them there extend for acres and acres the Books You Needn’t Read, the Books Made For Purposes Other Than Reading, Books Read Even Before You Open Them Since They Belong To The Category Of Books Read Before Being Written. And thus you pass the outer girdle of ramparts, but then you are attacked by the infantry of the Books That If You Had More Than One Life You Would Certainly Also Read But Unfortunately Your Days Are Numbered )
proustbot: (Default)
I have often noticed that almost every one has his own individual small economies -- careful habits of saving fractions of pennies in some one peculiar direction -- any disturbance of which annoys him more than spending shillings or pounds on some real extravagance )
proustbot: (liz)
"Do you realize," said Greenlaw to Vincent LeMoyne, the other black Knight, "that Nutty gets letters from his dog? Yes, I'm not kidding, from his dog! The dog's in England, of course, but the dog writes twice a week. And in Cockney, what's more! 'Dear Marster, I miss you terrible, but Missus says we has to be brave and go walkies every day just as if you was 'ere. My roomatism is chronic but I takes me pills regular, and don't have to get up in the night more than a few times, which is an improvement, Missus says. Hurry back, covered with laurels and bring lots of lovely green bones. Love from your Woofy in which Missus joins.' Can you beat it! I've known dog-nuts, but I never met a dog-nut as nutty as Nutty. Why do you suppose the dog talks Cockney?"

"It's a class thing," said Wilson Tinney, who played Gareth Beaumains. "Dog must be loving and beloved, but
not a social equal. Certainly not a superior. Can you imagine Nutty with a titled dog? 'Dear Puckler, your wife is looking after me splendidly in your absence, and I look forward eagerly to August 12, when the grousing begins. Accept my assurance that I look upon you not as a master, but as a humble friend.' That wouldn't do at all."

"Do you know what I think?" said Vincent LeMoyne; "I think Nutty's wife writes those letters. I suspect the dog's illiterate."

"You astonish me!" said Greenlaw. "Do you suppose Nutty knows?"

--Robertson Davies, The Lyre of Orpheus (1988), pp. 386-387
proustbot: (liz)
FATHER: [to me] "And the last time I managed to get you to do something that you didn't want to do, you were twelve. And even that was a Pyrrhic victory!"

A Countess Below Stairs, Interpreter of Maladies, When Chickenheads Come Home To Roost )

The Barra MacNeils, "Christmas Comes But Once a Year"
proustbot: (clint eastwood)
I am a writer. I spend my days kneeling in the muck of language, feeling around for gooey verbs, nouns, and modifiers that I can squash together to make a blob of a sentence that bears some likeness to reason and sense. Imagine my ecstasy when I come across a hard, clean, bright, shiny number. Behold this gem of precision, perfect in its clarity and radiating mathematical reasonableness and arithmetical sensibility in every direction. I am free at last from the slime of words. Are shadows stretching their spectral arms to embrace the decline of day? Do vespers sound their quotidian knell? Does the gloaming echo with prelude to the nightingale's descant? No! The sun sets at 7:56, and shut up.

--P. J. O'Rourke, "I Sing of Fizzy Fluid Retention," The Atlantic (November 2007)

Chicana Falsa, Slaughterhouse Five, and Jhereg )
proustbot: (liz)
After crushing the democracy uprising with guns, Myanmar's junta switched tactics Wednesday, sending troops to drag people from their homes in the middle of the night and letting others know they were marked for arrest.

Moonlit disappearances: just one of the many delightful motifs of authoritarian governments.

The World According to Garp, Microserfs, and The Spanish Character )
proustbot: (but hearts are earned)
I didn't like Rebecca, but I didn't hold that against Daphne du Maurier personally. Whereas, now I'm not liking A Farewell to Arms, and suddenly Ernest Hemingway has joined that exclusive pantheon (comprising Nathaniel Hawthorne and Sir Walter Scott) of authors I would like to personally fight in steel-cage match.

I could totally take Ernest Hemingway. Especially dead Ernest Hemingway. Is it sporting to fight corpses? (If not, I choose to fight middle-aged, alcoholic Ernest Hemingway.)

Love and Longing in Bombay, Bone Dance, and Rebecca )
proustbot: (Liberty Leading the People)
Thanks for your kind employment advice, Internet! When I make my first million, I promise to take you all out for dinner at the nice steak place.

it is not yet, not quite yet, the saddest time of the year. )
the forbidden love that Spock has for Kirk )
did not pass beyond a gesture. )
in an instant Zelda kicked in the glass. )
proustbot: (Mendou Shutaro)
PROFESSOR: "I haven't burned out yet. I'm still waiting for that to happen."

PROFESSOR: "It's actually my favorite echinoderm."

PROFESSOR: "A decent library is the kind that doesn't have skin magazines."

Shooting a bullet through the hood of a car )
she began to realize she ought to leave town. )
We shall lose one advantage of a man's dying )
without the smouldering eye and the silent shudder. )
proustbot: (liz)
"...he published under his own name a triad of virulently anti-Semitic books--Brazil, Colony of Bankers; The São Paulo Synagogue; and Roosevelt is Jewish, a book which enraged Ambassador Oswaldo Aranha in Washington. But Barroso was not moved by protest; he proudly presented each new volume, usually autographed in the Brazilian custom, to local libraries."
--Robert M. Levine, The Vargas Regime (New York: Columbia University Press, 1970), p. 89.

And, of course, if isolated from their historical context, none of those book titles are particularly...meaningful. I can see Brazil, Colony of Bankers as a sweet book about financial advice in Rio de Janeiro; I can see Roosevelt is Jewish as a great name for a rock band.

(Google tells me that Roosevelt's Jewishness is a familiar part of anti-Semitic propaganda from the 1930s.)

Explosion in a Cathedral, Venetia, and Fire and Hemlock )


proustbot: (Default)

July 2017

9 101112131415
161718192021 22


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 22nd, 2017 08:19 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios