The schedule for the Chicago Humanities Festival is up. Atlas, Atwood, Barry, Baxter, Didion, Dyer, Grossman, Hollander, Moody, Proulx, Robinson, Rushdie, Seth, and Solnit are among the literary attractions. The translation panel looks cool. The Moody session scares me. But plenty more of interest here.
Archive for August, 2005
Leaving town tomorrow for a trip to exotic Ay-zee-ah, so posting will be intermittant for the next eight days. Here’s more stuff I’ve been meaning to share:
* Cool new online literary journal: Fascicle.
* Walter Benjamin’s rules for writing, courtesy of Mark Scroggins.
* Lovely account by Veronica Bond of a recent meeting of the Book Cellar Book Club, at which Ray Bradbury biographer Sam Weller actually called Bradbury on the phone so attendees could ask him questions.
In her Gapers Block Book Club email this morning, La Maggio reminds me that there were a few items in Sunday’s Chicago papers I neglected to mention. The Trib had a review of Adam Langer’s new novel, The Washington Story, and an interview with the author. It also featured a review of Lunar Park which, along with Kauffman’s recent coverage, might convince us to pick it up. The Sun-Times had an Andrew Patner piece on our man Studs.
And then, looking for these, I came across news in the Sun-Times today that Yevgeny Yevtushenko will be in town at the end of the month for two appearances at Theatre Building Chicago, “pre-show readings” for performances of Vitalist Theatre’s stage version of Anna Karenina. Holy moly. Guess it pays to read the paper.
We are so accustomed to his immense tidiness as a novelist, that the slightest muddle in his work looks like chaos. But there is no excusing the jumbledness of Slow Man, its indecisive mix of intentions and forms. Coetzee seems to sense the novel’s unwilled disorder when he writes, almost apologetically, that “somehow, in ways so obscure, so labyrinthine, that the mind baulks at exploring them, the need to be loved and the storytelling . . . are connected”. A vagueness of connection is all we encounter in Slow Man.
I’m not dissuaded. Read the extract that ran in The Australian on Saturday.
UK novelist Kate Atkinson is holding court over at the LBC, and she’s a lot of fun. Here’s some writer’s shoptalk:
i learned to touch-type when i was a student and learnt word-processing on the old never-missed Amstrads. i love keyboards, i can’t tell you how much. i never write longhand even though i have RSI that just gets worse, people are always advising voice-recognition software but it just doesn’t do it for me, i think through the keyboard. Nor do i make notes, or plans, or outlines, if i do i lose them or they get overtaken by the organic process. i can’t even read in manuscript form any more, i need the screen. For the book I’ve just finished i didn’t even print off a hard copy until i got the end …
I suspect I’ll never get time to write at length about the following, so here they are, unadorned by wit:
* Marcus reviews Richard Stern’s Other Men’s Daughters.
* The Poetry of Shijo Surimono, an exhibit at the Smart Museum.
* Turn-on: The Literary Traveler. Turn-off: Web content without dates.
* Book News: Your source for literary news.
* Interesting litblog I hadn’t seen before: Indifferent.
* Don’t know about you, but I’m more Odyssey than Iliad.
* Must get Kottke’s new album.
Lost time is not found again:
* This splendid interview that Scarecrow conducts with one of my favorite bloggers reveals why I find ReadySteadyBook to be unfailingly interesting: “Increasingly, I’m interested either in forgotten greats of world literature or modern marginal stuff (mostly, but not exclusively, in translation).” (via wood s lot)
* Apparently I was unfair to the great New Directions publishing house when I accused them of leaving the hole out of Albert Angelo. Though my library copy was hole-less, a friend reports the copy of the same edition at Bowling Green State University has the hole.
* You’ll read little about African fiction on my blog, aside from the occasional comment on Coetzee or Achebe. The reason for this, as for other things I don’t talk about, is simple: ignorance. Boyd Tonkin wants to help.
* Did I mention how much I like the current La Salle Bank mural you can see driving into town on the Kennedy?
Literary Saloon recently lamented the fact that Antonio Tabucchi’s new book is being translated into Persian, but has yet to be translated into English. I would bet there’s a translation in the works, but I can’t find any sign of it either. (Someone call Creagh and ask what he’s working on these days.)
By the way, the Times’s Magnus Linklater was certainly in error back in June when he said that not a single Tabucchi title was available in the UK. I count six. (Better than the four available in the US, though that’s nothing to sneeze at either. I found all four on the shelf at City Lights Bookstore when I picked up my cache last year.)