My last pile of reading post was August 1st. At the time I was reading Worse Than War: genocide, eliminationism, and the ongoing assault on humanity, by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. I finished the damn thing yesterday. Yes, the author says many valuable things. He offers ideas for preventing genocide, for instance, (or, as he has decided to rename it, “war against humanity”), ideas which include giving every new leader a handbook describing the likely punishments for engaging in eliminationism (the term Goldhagen prefers to genocide). The topic is so important that any book that tries out new thinking on it is important. I just wish I could recommend this one. I’m not telling anybody not to read it. I don’t have a better one to recommend.
I keep trying to offer up a critcism of Worse Than War and erasing what I write because, like I said, it’s such an important topic that I don’t want to do anything but recommend people spend time thinking and working on it, but the book …
Stuff I’m reading now:
Faster Than the Speed of Hope poems by Donna M. Lane
My favorites are the portraits of people Lane knows, friends, lovers, exes.
Crow Planet: essential wisdom from the urban wilderness by Lyanda Lynn Haupt
Having observed urban wildlife awhile (particularly crows), Haupt offers up a primer on how to be a naturalist in the city. More crow anecdotes please.
I Am Secretly an Important Man by Steven Jesse Bernstein
A collection of short prose published posthumously. I discovered Bernstein in The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, which I finished reading last week. I wasn’t able to find a collection of Bernstein’s poems in the library, but did come across this. In “Murdered in the Middle of the Dance,” the poem in The Outlaw Bible, Bernstein engages in a magical realism that is both humorous and grotesque – the speaker of the poem cuts off his head then wanders about a party bleeding. I haven’t read anything so striking in Secretly yet, but I’m only a few pages in.
Sorry We’re Close poems by J. Tarin Towers
Enjoying the way Towers makes connections, leaps, a friend calls them. “I stop / caring about myself to try to fix the world for you. / No one can fix the world, but I show up with my tool kit: / … what can I do for you? / Nothing? Oh, well, I’m sorry I came. / I’ll go home and fix my broken bathtub if you don’t need me then. / Oh! Of course I’ll stay on so you can drown your boyfriend.”
The Ecco Anthology of International Poetry edited by Ilya Kaminsky and Susan Harris
Just started. Haven’t yet got past the Introduction. I am reading a lot of poetry lately. Big fat anthologies and slim volumes by individual poets.
Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley
I loved the movie made from this series of graphic novels, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and a library colleague likes the graphic novels better so I’m giving them a shot. So far this first graphic novel and the movie so closely parallel that it feels a bit like I’m reading the movie’s story boards.
Two Lines: a journal of translation, volume 13, 2006
I like the opportunity to read work from languages other than English. Haven’t read anything I love in this yet.
Kundalini: the evolutionary energy in man by Gopi Krishna
In my yoga practice lately I’ve been going through periods I’ve felt lightheaded, if not enlightened. The book is a memoir by a yogi who inadvertently accessed kundalini energy – and it came close to wrecking his life. Not quite a pageturner, tho.
The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers by Mary Norton
Four books under one cover. A fifth Borrowers book was published a few years later making the title no longer accurate. A copy of the first, titled simply The Borrowers, occupied a place on our bookshelf most of my childhood. I know my brother read it. But I could never get past more than a few pages. I admire Norton’s prose style in a way now that I would not have as a child and I find the gossiping of the mother mildly amusing, something that I’m sure bored me as a child, especially considering the emphasis Mrs Clock (one of the mouse-sized human “Borrowers” that live under the floor boards in English houses) places on class and propriety, things that would have puzzled me as a child.
Voices Within the Ark: the modern Jewish poets edited by Howard Schwartz and Anthony Rudolf
Another fat fat anthology. The writing is consistently good. Much allusion is made to the Torah (the Old Testament, more or less), and to the same old stories …