may 1–15, 2017

Books

  • Reiner Stach, Is That Kafka? 99 Finds, translated by Kurt Beals
  • (More about this soon.)

  • Vivek Shanbhag, Ghachar Ghochar, trans. Srinath Perur
  • The themes of this novella are familiar (the American tradition would go back through A Hazard of New Fortunes; more recently, Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia was more formally innovative with a very similar subject), but Shanbhag’s book is well done.

  • Paul Beatty, Slumberland
  • Atoning for not reading Paul Beatty earlier: I’m almost of a mind to go through past book reviews to look at his critical treatment.

  • Paul Theroux, Saint Jack
  • Paul Theroux, Kowloon Tong
  • I’ve never read Paul Theroux; Saint Jack pops up various places as a good fictional treatment of Singapore: it’s not perfect, but it be part of acanon of expat novels. Kowloon Tong, written much later, deals with Hong Kong just before the handover, and it’s cartoonishly stereotyped: the British seem to be overgrown babies and the mainland Chinese are devilish; the present city, twenty years later, isn’t recognizable at all.

  • Geoff Dyer, Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the U.S.S. George H. W. Bush
  • In a trying time, Dyer can make ordinary Americans seem admirable, which is a talent.

  • Julio Cortázar, Final Exam, trans. Alfred Mac Adam
  • Read with a broader sense of his writing, this is pretty clearly juvenilia: there’s a big jump between this and the Rousselian The Winners, written ten years later, and I’m curious whether Cortázar would have wanted this published if he had lived longer. Read now, it feels like an early version of Hopscotch and obviously suffers in comparison.

Films

  • Personal Shopper, directed by Olivier Assayas
  • Song to Song, dir. Terrence Malick

april 16-30, 2017

Books

  • Nathalie Léger, Suite for Barbara Loden, translated by Natasha Lehrer & Cécile Menon
  • This is an astonishing little book (my pick of the recent Dorothys) which raises a lot of questions; it demands re-reading.

  • Leonora Carrington, The Complete Stories of Leonora Carrington, trans. Kathrine Talbot & Anthony Kerrigan
  • It’s nice that Leonora Carrington is in print again!

  • Geoff Dyer, But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz
  • More of a brief stint of reading about jazz. This is a likeable book: it shouldn’t be, and I’m not sure how Dyer manages to manage this.

  • Jen George, The Babysitter at Rest
  • It’s gratifying to see Dorothy become so successful – picking up the latest round has become de rigueur part of my trips back to the States – though I’m especially interested by the new writers they’re bringing into their increasingly defined aesthetic. This has the feeling of a first book, though it seems like it’s going somewhere.

  • Monique Truong, The Book of Salt
  • Picked up because it’s a historical novel involving Gertrude Stein: that part doesn’t add much to the picture we already have of Stein and Toklas. The non-historical aspects of this novel (Ho Chi Minh also shows up) work a bit better.

  • Julio Cortázar, Fantomas Versus the Multinational Vampires: An Attainable Utopia, trans. David Kurnick
  • Slight, though nice that it’s in print in English.

Films

  • หมอนรถไฟ (Railway Sleepers), directed by Sompot Chidgasornpongse
  • Diamond Island, dir. Davy Chou
  • Get Out, dir. Jordan Peele

Exhibits

  • “Lawrence Weiner: Inherent Innate Tension,” Marian Goodman Gallery
  • “A World of Emotions: Ancient Greece 700 BC–200 AD,” Onassis Cultural Center
  • “Exploratory Works: Drawings from the Department of Tropical Research Field Expeditions,” The Drawing Center
  • “Marginalia: Open Sessions 10,” The Drawing Center
  • “Jörg Immendorff: LIDL Works and Performances from the 60s,” Michael Werner
  • “Harvey Quaytman: Hone,” Van Doren Waxter
  • “Portable Art: A Project by Celia Forner,” Hauser & Wirth
  • “August Sander,” Hauser & Wirth
  • “Daniel Monfort Gil: Bangkok, Anytime, Our World,” Serindia Gallery
  • “Mode of Liaisons,” BACC
  • “Crossing the Dateline,” BACC
  • “Jakkai Siributr: Displaced,” BACC
  • “People, Money, Ghosts (Movement as Metaphor),” Jim Thompson Art Center