June 2008 Archives
At any rate, in the tradition of scrupulous honesty that characterizes all book blogging, Mr. Swift begins each review with the confidence-inspiring declaration that "I have not actually read this book, but ...." and then proceeds to make such trenchant observations as the following about Ana Marie Cox's Dog Days: "Most people nowadays write non-fiction books with bits of fiction secretly interspersed throughout, sort of like Where's Waldo for adults. But Ms. Cox has brilliantly turned this idea on its head and written a fiction book with bits of non-fiction secretly inserted into the text. I wonder if Oprah knows about this unique innovation."
Or this, about Ben Shapiro's Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism is Corrupting Our Future: "I don't plan to read a book that is basically pornography. I must confess that when I was a teenager we used to look at books like this, which claimed to condemn pornography and various perversions, but went into very explicit detail about them. We would mark the dirty parts and pass them around."
Mr. Swift proudly points out that, contra Amazon, his work has inspired serious comment, notably a spectacularly self-defeating whine/rant by Michael Fumento, author of Fat of the Land, and an admiring citation by the Uncyclopedia.
It's here that book/daddy took special interest --
The last writers to receive much notice for semicolon use have been a New York City Transit employee and the Son of Sam. In 1977 the NYPD speculated that "the killer could be a freelance journalist" because of his "use of a semicolon" in his taunting letters. (Decades later, columnist Jimmy Breslin still marveled that "Berkowitz is the only murderer I ever heard of who knew how to use a semicolon.")
As for me, they will pry my semi-colon from my cold, dead typeface.
But me, I know a different Sarah, one I remember with great fondness and, perhaps, even a nostalgic tear. Yes, yes, indeed, I know a Sarah hidden from the public, a passionate Sarah -- Sarah on an afternoon long ago, when son Gabriel was just a tyke, asleep in his room, and Sarah and I -- modesty commands I say only that we "churned up the water" in the children's wading pool in her backyard.
Unfortunately, that backyard is located halfway up a limestone bluff in the hills northwest of Austin -- they don't call Sarah's street Wheezing Mountain Climb for nothing -- and well, husband George, sadly familiar with Sarah's athletically amorous antics, had, quite deliberately, failed to anchor the pool in any real fashion that morning before he left for work in the Texas State Department of Measuring Something Vague. So our passionate sloshing around (we were younger and more vigorous then) caused it and its heated-up contents to slide over a 40-foot drop. The sudden downpour, the floating rubber toys flying about, the Official Mighty Morphin Power Ranger Wading Pool bouncing down the hillside like a loose hubcap along a freeway and our wet, pink skins stroboscopically flashing through the branches and leaves startled a number of coyotes, deer and grackles, not to mention two members of a lawn maintenance crew and Sarah's exuberantly incontinent Yorkie, Tinkle.
Many years -- too many years -- later,
Now Scott McLemee has returned after many desultory posts and has written a follow-up explanation of his lack of productivity, assuring we happy few, we loyal band of hypocrite lecteurs, that he actually didn't need cheering up, thanks much, because, you see, his new post was about how his midlife crisis (or as book/daddy prefers to think of it, "the expense of spirit in a waste of online blogging") had already passed, more or less, so no need for the sympathy cards. (A new Hallmark line -- the "ROFL Series" -- that book/daddy has already pitched: "Sorry your blogging is sagging" (open card) "But you never were any good anwyay, get off the internets, I pwn you, you miseralbe accuse for a ciritc.")
Sooo ... the fact that book/daddy is welcoming back these prodigal bloggers with happy expressions a week or two late should indicate his own persistently low blood sugar level, blogging-wise. Ah, yes, book/daddy recalls very well back when he was a young book blogger, full of piss and vinegar (a cocktail, he has always thought, not likely to induce any later fits of nostalgic reflection -- just simply fits). Ah, when he used to crank out a Monday literary round-up after midnight on Sunday -- that was, what? Less than a year ago? An eternity in blogtime. It's a cold, ruthless, speedy little goddess, this digital muse.
Essentially, I have of late, wherefore I know not, lost all my desire to write about books. book/daddy can barely even read about them. And mostly, the books that book/daddy has been reading haven't been worth blogging about. A decent thriller here, a good history that's already old news over there.
But hey, in the past three weeks, book/daddy put up a new wooden gate on his driveway, tiled the kitchen and graduated a daughter. In the midst of all that work, it struck book/daddy how little he missed all the "keeping up" -- what did so-and-so write about such-and-such? Everything that happened online had so little, so incredibly little relevance, to a delightful dinner with friends and family.
Large parts of life really do exist elsewhere, it seems. In our case, that elsewhere was Hector's on Henderson. Highly recommended.
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Terry Teachout on the arts in New York City
Andrew Taylor on the business of arts & culture
rock culture approximately
Laura Collins-Hughes on arts, culture and coverage
Richard Kessler on arts education
Douglas McLennan's blog
Dalouge Smith advocates for the Arts
Art from the American Outback
For immediate release: the arts are marketable
No genre is the new genre
David Jays on theatre and dance
Paul Levy measures the Angles
Judith H. Dobrzynski on Culture
John Rockwell on the arts
Jan Herman - arts, media & culture with 'tude
Apollinaire Scherr talks about dance
Tobi Tobias on dance et al...
Howard Mandel's freelance Urban Improvisation
Focus on New Orleans. Jazz and Other Sounds
Doug Ramsey on Jazz and other matters...
Jeff Weinstein's Cultural Mixology
Martha Bayles on Film...
Fresh ideas on building arts communities
Greg Sandow performs a book-in-progress
Exploring Orchestras w/ Henry Fogel
Harvey Sachs on music, and various digressions
Bruce Brubaker on all things Piano
Kyle Gann on music after the fact
Greg Sandow on the future of Classical Music
Norman Lebrecht on Shifting Sound Worlds
Jerome Weeks on Books
Scott McLemee on books, ideas & trash-culture ephemera
Wendy Rosenfield: covering drama, onstage and off
Chloe Veltman on how culture will save the world
Public Art, Public Space
Regina Hackett takes her Art To Go
John Perreault's art diary
Lee Rosenbaum's Cultural Commentary
Tyler Green's modern & contemporary art blog