The Pacific Rim Review of Books, Summer 2008 Issue

It is a bee-yoo-ti-ful day, dear blog readers!

Self doesn’t know why, but she finds herself becoming extremely reticent about sharing family stories these days.  One would think self would just be bursting with juicy stories (especially asDearest Mum is currently visiting), but alas, today self is feeling quite sedate.  Perhaps she is simply overworked?  And her brain has gone into hibernation?

What self has been able to do without flagging, however, is read  —  as, witness the amount of quotes she posts daily.  Here is self, commenting on the Pacific Rim Review of Books, published in Vancouver by Trevor Carolan.  It’s an old issue, the Summer 2008 issue, but the reason self wishes to post about it is:  this is the issue which contains self’s interview with Linh Dinh.  And Linh is such a fascinating character (as she is sure all dear blog readers will agree), that self can never get enough of him, and so anyone who harbors anything more than just a passing fancy for Vietnamese literature should check out self’s interview in said issue of PRRB.

Another reason why self feels that dear blog readers should rush out and order this particular issue is that there are quite a number of wonderful reviews in it, including one by that literary prodigy, Frances Cabahug (She’s 23, so that qualifies as a “literary prodigy,” in self’s book)

Anyhoo, here is a short list of books self is interested in reading after reading their reviews in the PRRB Summer 2008 issue:

1.)   After reading Fred Young’s review (Young is identified as “a professional accountant with decades of experience in paper recycling and the packaging industry”) of Robyn Meredith’s The Elephant and the Dragon:

Robyn Meredith’s The Elephant and the Dragon

2.)   After reading Hillel Wright’s review (Wright is identified as the “author of the novel Border Town“) of A Wild Haruki Chase:  Reading Murakami Around the World, a compilation of essays from The Japan Foundation’s 2006 symposium on Haruki Murakami:

The Japan Foundation’s A Wild Haruki Chase:  Reading Murakami Around the World

3.)   After reading Richard Wirick’s review (Wirick is identified as the “co-founder and editor of the journal Transformation“) of David Samuels’ The Runner:  A True Account of the Amazing Lies and Fantastical Adventures of the Ivy League Impostor James Hogue:

Geoffrey Wolff’s 1979 memoir, Duke of Deception

David Samuels’ The Runner:  A True Account of the Amazing Lies and Fantastical Adventures of the Ivy League Impostor James Hogue

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Origin of the Word “Antisemitism”

The credit for this turn, if credit is the right word, is generally given to the obscure writer Wilhelm Marr, whose pamphlet “The Victory of Jewdom Over Germandom Viewed from a Non-confessional Standpoint,” published in 1873, was the first to insist that, as he put it in a later work:  “There must be no question here of parading religious prejudices when it is a question of race and when the difference lies in the ‘blood’.”  Borrowing from the fashionable theories of the French racist Count Joseph Arthur de Gobineau, Marr contrasted Jews not with Christians but with Germans, insisting that the two were distinct races.  The Jews, he declared, had gained the upper hand in the racial struggle, and were virtually running the country; no wonder, then, that honest German artisans and small businessmen were suffering.  Marr went on to invent the word ‘antisemitism’ and, in 1879, to found the League of Antisemites, the world’s first organization with this word in its title.  It was dedicated, as he said, to reducing the Jewish influence on German life.

(The irony of all this is that Marr’s “second wife, who was Jewish, supported him financially until her death in 1874 . . . “)

—   from Richard J. Evans’ massive (and fascinating) The Coming of the Third Reich

Books Self Might Want to Read After Reading First Lines From the List of First Lines in the Page One Section of the Latest Poets & Writers

Whew, would not dear blog readers say that self has certainly outdone herself —  in terms of titles of posts, that is  —  with the above?  Without further ado, the list:

Gregg BottomsFight Scenes (Counterpoint).  Here’s the first line:

“The dog had nearly hanged herself, in her maniacal aggression, from a stout oak tree.”

Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).  Here’s the first line:

“The first time that Jean-Claude Pelletier read Benno von Archimboldi was Christmas 1980, in Paris, when he was nineteen years old and studying German literature.”

Per Petterson’s To Siberia (Graywolf Press).  Here’s the first line:

“When I was a little girl of six or seven I was always scared when we passed the lions on our way out of town.”

Wally Lamb’s novel, The Hour I First Believed (Harper).  Here’s the first line:

“They were both working their final shift as Blackjack Pizza that night, although nobody but the two of them realized it was that.”

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