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Intellectual House o' Pancakes Webdiary

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2008-03-26 - 10:46 a.m.

Great Charlie Rose clip if you didn't see his Five Years Later show.

What's a goth?

Although I try to avoid literary multi-tasking, I have been successfully juggling several books this week, corresponding to my moods and outfits.

For "light reading" I have Nemesis, the last Jane Marple story that AC wrote (there was one more published after this, but it was written before). I don't usually check the pub date on my ACs before I read them, so it's always a nice little surprise when, all of a sudden, Jane Marple is talking about computers, or Hercule Poirot is opining about LSD and hippies. Anyway, this is a good'un.

For "slightly less light reading," I'm still hanging in there with The Fish Can Sing. This is such a mild-mannered, sweet novel that, Laxness's Nobel prize notwithstanding, it still feels "light," and also deepens my longstanding desire to visit Iceland, and soon.

For "nonfiction while I eat lunch" I've got Murray Kempton's Part of Our Time, a collection of biographical essays about heroes (sung and unsung) whose lives were shaped by lefty movements in the '30s. Kempton was a great journalist with a wide and compassionate purview, and his writing is just perfect.

And then in the category of "autobiography," I've got Kate Braverman's memoir , which reads exactly like her fiction: poetic, fevered, brooding, pouty, ecstatic.

Kate Braverman is one of my most treasured authors--she can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned, and every new book of hers is an event to be celebrated.

She is like the Throwing Muses of literature: I can completely understand why people might be put off by her overly serious, at times almost psychotic ramblings, and she certainly isn't like the rest of the writers in my personal pantheon (who tend to be kinda droll and British), but her style is so distinct and compelling...she has created her own universe and lexicon and keeps reiterating the same story but it's always good.

The sun sets in an orange so aggressively hard and metallic, it is shocking. If you looked directly at it you could become scarred. It's a sunset that makes me think of knives and car crashes and having my face reconstructed on the basis of photographs. We couldn't be identified by our dental records. We didn't have dentists.

She's really sensitively attuned to nature and colors and yet uses them to express all her inner violence. Groovy.

But the essays also suggest that despite all the misery of her youth, she's pretty happy nowadays.

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