june 16–30, 2017

Books

  • Percival Everett, I Am Not Sidney Poitier
  • Percival Everett, Erasure
  • Percival Everett, So Much Blue
  • Percival Everett & James Kincaid, A History of the African-American People (Proposed) by Strom Thurmond, As Told to Percival Everett and James Kincaid
  • Sabahattin Ali, Madonna in a Fur Coat, translated by Maureen Freely & Alexander Dawe
  • Paul Beatty, Tuff
  • Paul Beatty, The White Boy Shuffle

Films

  • In Jackson Heights, directed by Frederick Wiseman

june 1–15, 2017

Books

  • Paolo Baciagalupi, The Windup Girl
  • Almost all fiction written in English about Bangkok (from Anna Leonowens on) is terrible, and science fiction about an imagined future Bangkok is not particularly promising. This book isn’t as terrible as it might be, though the supposition that Bangkok, a city which reliably floods every year in a country with horrific environmental policies, might be a bulwark against global warming is inadvertently hilarious. (Several locations mentioned as existing in the future have already disappeared, though the culprit there is the insatiable appetites of Bangkok’s developers.) The book falls too easily into ethnic stereotyping (those with scientific know-how are Western; Chinese are crafty; Thais are mystic; the Japanese are kinky), and one’s left with the feeling that once again the city merely serves as a signifier of exoticism.

Films

  • Saint Jack, directed by Peter Bogdanovich
  • Der müde Tod (Destiny), dir. Fritz Lang
  • 哀しみのベラドンナ (Belladonna of Sadness), dir. Eiichi Yamamoto
  • Арсенал (Arsenal), dir. Alexander Dovzhenko
  • The Mark of Zorro, dir. Fred Niblo
  • Underground, dir. Anthony Asquith
  • リリイ・シュシュのすべて (All About Lily Chou-Chou), dir. Shunji Iwai
  • The Informer, dir. Arthur Robison
  • Our Pet, dir. Herman C. Raymaker
  • 忠魂義烈 実録忠臣蔵 (Chushingura), dir. Shōzō Makino

may 16–31, 2017

Books

  • Raymond Chandler, Trouble Is My Business
  • Passing time.

  • Liu Xia, Empty Chairs: Selected Poems, translated by Ming Di & Jennifer Stern
  • A friend’s project: nice to see Chinese poetry given a decent presentation in English translation. Liu Xia’s photographs are astonishing, and one wishes there were more.

  • Anthony Burgess, Abba Abba
  • A dying John Keats meets the Roman dialect poet G. G. Belli and changes his poetic approach. Half of the book is a translation of seventy of Belli’s sonnets, ostensibly done by a fictional character. Maybe I’d be more interested in historical fiction if more of it were this strange?

  • Benjamin Lytal, A Map of Tulsa
  • Reminiscent of those Edgar Allan Poe stories where the narrator is utterly fixated on a dying woman, all the more strange for having been written a century and a half later.

  • Mark Dion, Katherine McLeod, Madeleine Thompson, editors, Exploratory Works: Drawings from the Department of Tropical Research Field Expeditions
  • The catalogue to the show at the Drawing Center, which nicely contextualizes the work. Also full of unexpectedly beautiful imagery: oil painting, it turns out, works just fine under water.

  • Ronald Firbank, Vainglory
  • Ronald Firbank, Inclinations
  • Ronald Firbank, Caprice
  • Finally getting around to Firbank’s first three novels, which are rather minor but still enjoyable. The best of them is Inclinations, which I’d be surprised if Gaddis hadn’t read before writing The Recognitions.

Films

  • Tokyo Fiancée, directed by Stefan Liberski
  • Wild, dir. Nicolette Krebitz
  • Toni Erdmann, dir. Maren Ade
  • Cleopatra, dir. Joseph L. Mankiewicz
  • Le Mépris, dir. Jean-Luc Godard