NYTBR July 30, 2006

Books I Am Interested in Reading (After Perusing the July 30, 2006 Issue of the New York Times Book Review):

(1) After reading Gary Kamiya‘s review of Scott Smith’s second novel, The Ruins:

Scott Smith’s first novel, A Simple Plan

(2) After reading Uzodinma Iweala’s review of Mia Couto’s Sleepwalking Land:

Mia Couto’s Sleepwalking Land

(3) After reading Neil Genzlinger’s review of Execution: The Guillotine, The Pendulum, The Thousand Cuts, The Spanish Donkey, and 66 Other Ways of Putting Someone to Death:

Execution: The Guillotine, The Pendulum, etc. etc.

(4) After reading Louise Jarvis Flynn’s review of Miracle in the Andes:

Miracle in the Andes

Reading for the Day

From Vasily Grossman’s short story, “In Kislovodsk”, in The New Yorker, June 12, 2006:

Nikolay Viktorovich was someone who had no choice but to appear better in the eyes of women than he was in reality. Women had always liked him, and his innate gallantry– as well as a certain protectiveness that he couldn’t help feeling with regards to his halo– prevented him from revealing the many ways in which he differed from his persona.

Even though his hair had gone gray, he was still a handsome figure– slim, tall, graceful, always tastefully dressed. His fine, distinguished face wore the expression that portrait painters aspire to give to the great, to those who are called upon to make our world more beautiful.

Women fell in love with him and never imagined that he was not in the least as he appeared; that, in truth, Nikolay Viktorovich was a very ordinary man, someone who didn’t care about the problems of the world, knew nothing about literature or music, and adored comfort, elegant clothes, and massive saffron-yellow rings set with large precious stones. No, it never entered their heads that he had no special love for his work as a doctor and that what he really enjoyed was dining in fine restaurants, travelling first class when he went on holiday to Moscow, being seen with his dear Elena Petrovna– who was also graceful, tall, and handsome–in the most expensive seats of a theatre, and intercepting people’s admiring glances, glances that said, “What a couple!”

Vasily Grossman was born in 1905 in Berdichev, Ukraine. He moved to Moscow in his twenties, where he became the protege of Maxim Gorky and began publishing novels and short stories. During the Second World War, Grossman worked for Red Star, the leading Soviet army newspaper, and in his role as reporter witnessed the siege of Stalingrad and the capture of Berlin. Grossman also reported on the Holocaust and its aftermath.

Quote for the Day

“Should I rationalize, or backpedal?”

My books!

Just completed: a new collection entitled The Lost Language. This one’s still looking for a home (Helloooo, any publishers out there??)

Mayor of the Roses (Miami University Press, 2005)

Ginseng and Other Tales from Manila (Calyx Press, 1991)

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Welcome to Kanlaon. This site is dedicated to EXPLORERS of all types– young, old, black, white, small, large, shy, intrepid. It will explore and celebrate STRANGENESS in all its aspects– wherever strangeness is found, whether on the streets of my neighborhood (Redwood City, California), in the news, or in my travels. Take the journey with me and enjoy!

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