august 1–15, 2023


  • Djuna Barnes, The Lydia Steptoe Stories
  • Robert A. Kaster, The Appian Way: Ghost Road, Queen of Roads
  • Anne Garréta, Not One Day, translated by Emma Ramadan & Anne Garréta
  • Nona Fernández, Voyager: Constellations of Memory, trans. Natasha Wimmer
  • H. G. Wells, The Croquet Player
  • John Ashbery, Something Close to Music: Late Art Writings, Poems, and Playlists, edited by Jeffrey Lependorf
  • Henry James, In the Cage
  • Amanda Montell, Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism
  • Henry James, The Turn of the Screw
  • Henri Charrière, Papillon, trans. Patrick O’Brian
  • Christian Kracht, The Dead, trans. Daniel Bowles
  • Kenneth Koch, Sun Out: Selected Poems 1952–54
  • Robyn Schiff, A Woman of Property
  • John Berger, Bento’s Sketchbook


  • Three Ages, directed by Edward F. Kline
  • Asteroid City, dir. Wes Anderson
  • 千禧曼波 (Millennium Mambo), dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien


  • “Martha Alf, Opposites and Contradictions,” Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles
  • “Salomon Emquies: Complex Systems,” Michael Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles

A bunch of scattered reading – part of this was due to travel and being on a plane and picking things at random as distraction from whatever was going on. My criterion for this is often things that are short and seem less imposing. More (re-)reading of Henry James’s novellas; I’m a little surprised that In the Cage, his novella about a telegraph operator, isn’t more widely known as an example of technological mediation. (It does turn up in Deleuze & Guattari’s Thousand Plateaus, though they’re doing something else with it.) The H. G. Wells book is an odd little book which isn’t really well-known for good reason; I always feel curious about how the books he’s still known for are all in the first decade of a fifty-year career. A couple of years ago I was interested by his The Wonderful Visit, which is maybe not forgotten in the French world; I can’t quite convince myself that he’s worth a thorough reading, though I would like someone to do that for me.

Papillon is maybe interesting as an example of an unverifiable narrative: it feels basically like a novel, though it is ostensibly a memoir; most of what happens is fundamentally unverifiable because there wasn’t anyone else to see or to comment on the truth of what Charrière says happened. A lot of it seems wildly unlikely. This seems more interesting read now, when it’s hard to imagine anything being that unverifiable, when everything exists in databases.

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