Book Reports

This is my blog about books I read and enjoy.

Read Local! – Minnesota press books:
SubmergenceSubmergence, J.M., Ledgard  An exploration of the meaning of life from the point of view of a British spy in captivity.  Held hostage in deteriorating conditions, the spies memories of a love affair with an astrobiologist are the only sweetness he has.  They are a great source of material for considering that life grows in the tiniest cracks, that creatures can sustain themselves on acid, heat, chemicals.  We dont all need (have) the sun and air to live.  He explores “norms,” the academic who has a life devoted to work, different African tribes and the rituals of circumcisions, promises of pleasure in this life or the next.  As if in captivity life is reduced to only considering what is the cost and the reward; while in peaceful moments we experience the claustrophobia that we are limited to a source of breath and energy that we must work for all the time.

Erotica Book Club – only the favorites

  I participate in a book club with ladies ranging in age from their late twenties to over seventy.  What I thought would be silly, a return to junior high sharing of smutty scenes turned out to be a process of discovery about play, leisure time, gender roles, life choices, and frustration.  In our group discussion these intimate topics became curious moments to share – like licking a rock to expose the brilliant stratigraphy dull when dry.

voxVox, Nicholson Baker  What a strange interplay we have between body and mind.  Sex, a purely physical act, is captured brilliantly in this book with only words shared across a landline phone.  In the world of writers it often feels that only cheep and inexperienced writers articulated how bodies zip and unzip. This book is only dialogue, a single episode, a phone call between a man and woman on a 900- number.  This premise alone is only one of numerous details of technology that ground the book in a time not long ago, but before chat rooms and the internet.  My favorite moment is their discussion of how fantasies are less stories and more like getting dressed for a party, trying one thing on, discard, try on another.  Holding up one vision then another to form a loose narrative, all the while the mechanics of the body steadily progressing forward.

Science books and not books

Stefanie_DearData_46+back Dear Data – by Giogorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec This website features two women sending weekly postcards where they draw data to represent things like the books in their house, people laughing in the park, tracking the times they apologized in a week, and so on.  It is magnificent.  The joy and art of something seemingly science sterile made extremely human.

the fly trap

The Fly Trap by Fredrik Sjoberg  A man lives on a small island off the coast of Stockholm, Sweden where he spends endless hours watching insects.  In particular he collects and studies a type of insect that pretends to be other insects – these are hoverflies.  They look like bees or wasps, they masquerade.  He dives into art thieves and other mysteries that tie back to hoverflies. But, the book is really just a way for Sjoberg to burry a jewel – the chapter, The Legible Landscape.  “So for a moment  let us consider the ability to read the landscape as if it were a language, how to understand nature almost as if it were literature, experience it in the same way that we experience art of music.  It’s all a question of landscape literacy…If you can’t read, you can’t read…to begin with you have to know the language…I’m afraid that our path to what is beautiful must first pass through what is meaningful.

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