february 15–28, 2017

Books

  • Virgina Woolf, Orlando
  • I don’t know why it took me so long to read this – probably if I had thought of it as being so obviously in the lineage of Tristram Shandy I would have gotten there sooner. Woolf’s snobbishness is still hard for me.

  • Georges Simenon, The Widow, translated by John Petrie
  • (Filling time somewhere.)

  • Linda Rosenkrantz, Talk
  • Late to this! It makes me want to reread Maggie Paley’s telephone novel, Bad Manners (1986), as well as Ed Friedman’s The Telephone Book (1979) and think about the ways in which people talk changed over time.

  • Qiu Miaojin, Last Words from Montmartre, trans. Ari Larissa Heinrich
  • John Glassco, Memoirs of Montparnasse
  • Enrique Vila-Matas, Never Any End to Paris, trans. Anne McLean
  • Three books, on the continuum between memoir and fiction, about the idea of being an artist in Paris. The Qiu Miaojin seems very young to me? I think I might have liked this more were I half my age and prone to making grandiose statements about love. The Glassco isn’t as good as Robert McAlmon & Kay Boyle’s Being Geniuses Together, a book it resembles; it’s maybe interesting for being a picture of the writer not as an artist but as a hanger-on. I fell off the Vila-Matas train a while ago, though I mostly like his book (having no real idea how much, if any, is real); it’s hard for me not to like something with so much India Song in it; and recounting stories about Marguerite Duras makes me think about her in Le Camion, explaining her great film to Gérard Depardieu, to which this novel is not, perhaps, dissimilar.

  • Silvina Ocampo, Thus Were Their Faces, trans. Daniel Balderston
  • I liked this collection of (mostly) short stories better than her collaboration with Adolfo Bioy-Casares from a couple years ago, though the quality varies (as indicated by the translator in the introduction). Probably should look at her poetry to give her a fair shot.

  • Albertine Sarrazin, Astragal, trans. Patsy Southgate
  • Fairly certain that I would have enjoyed this more were it not for the Patti Smith introduction; I should have known better.

  • Betty Gosling, A Chronology of Religious Architecture at Sukhothai: Late Thirteenth to Early Fifteenth Century
  • We went to Sukhothai, so I read about that.

  • Philip Glass, Words Without Music: A Memoir
  • I can see how this book would be somewhat frustrating to many readers – certainly it seems to lose steam about halfway through & it’s doggedly against personal revelation – but I like how thoroughly Glass explains what he was doing to make money: his stints as a plumber and a taxi driver would probably be glossed over in most treatments, but here they’re given their fair share of attention.

  • Eve Babitz, Slow Days, Fast Company: The World, the Flesh, and L.A.
  • I read Eve’s Hollywood a while back when I was working my way through Duchampiana; this is similar, somewhere between memoir and fiction. What’s interesting about Babitz’s use of this form is that it doesn’t feel particularly necessary to pin down the people she’s talking about (who are generally of interest) in the way that it feels absolutely necessary in, for example, John Glassco’s, which fails entirely as fiction.

Exhibits

  • Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum, Chiang Mai
  • Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders, Chiang Mai
  • Wat Ketkaram Museum, Chiang Mai
  • Baan Sao Nak, Lampang
  • Si Satchanalai Historical Park, Si Satchanalai
  • Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, Sukhothai

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