#amreading: SOLARIS, by Stanislaw Lem

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Stanislaw Lem was self’s first science fiction. She stumbled across it in a bookstore on Harvard Square. This translation (from the French) was by Joanna Kilmartin and Steve Cox.

Opening page:

At 19:00, ship’s time, I made my way to the launching bay. The men around the shaft stood aside to let me pass, and I climbed down into the capsule.

Inside the narrow cockpit, there was scarcely room to move. I attached the hose to the valve on my spacesuit and it inflated rapidly. From then on, I was incapable of making the smallest movement. There I stood, or rather hung suspended, enveloped in my pneumatic suit and yoke to the metal hull.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

 

Houellebecq: SUBMISSION, p. 128

  • He was born in 1922, if you can believe it. Exactly a hundred years ago. He joined the Resistance early on, in late June 1940. Even in his day, French patriotism was an idea whose time had passed. You could say that it was born at the Battle of Valmy, in 1792, and that it began to die in 1917, in the trenches of Verdun. That’s hardly more than a century — not long, if you think about it. Today, who believes in French patriotism? The National Front claims to, but their belief is so insecure, so desperate.

Trying, Not Succeeding

Self has moved on from Everlark.

She is still part of the fan fiction universe, only she’s switched allegiances to a new ship, Gendrya.

She is in complete awe of those fan fiction authors who drop Game of Thrones place names (Dragonstone, King’s Landing, Westeros, Highgarden, Casterly Rock, Stormsend, Braavos, The Red Keep, Winterfell, Volantis) as casually as bon bons.

She’s actually attempted doing a one-shot, but her lack of cred is immediately apparent because she’s only read one of GRRM’s books.

She doesn’t like AU Gendrya, it just doesn’t go well with the Bastard identity and Faceless Assassin plot lines. In the meantime, she lurks.

The number of Gendrya fics are about half the number of Everlark fics. But there are new ones appearing every day, because the ending of GoT Season 7 was so inconclusive.

Which brings us to:

The Books section of the Wall Street Journal, 12 – 13 August, 2017.

In Black Ships Before Troy, Rosemary Sutcliff (a rock star in her field) re-tells the Iliad. Now, the 1993 book has been re-issued and so it is with great pleasure that self adds the book to her reading list. It begins:

  • In the high and far-off days when men were heroes and walked with the gods, Peleus, king of the Myrmidons, took for his wife a sea-nymph called Thetis.

What. A. Fabulous. Opening. Sentence.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: Advice for the Chronic Worrier, Elizabeth Bernstein, Wall Street Journal, 28 February 2017

For most people, worrying is a form of problem-solving where you look at challenges in the future and work them out before they happen, which can be constructive . . .  But some people worry too much. Chronic worriers fret all the time, about everything. Pathological worriers are chronic worriers whose apprehension affects their functioning.

— Elizabeth Bernstein (from “You’re A Worrier? Don’t Worry”, p. A13, Wall Street Journal)

First, ask yourself: Are you a “chronic worrier”? Here’s a list of things you can do to end “chronic worrying” and be happy

  1. Start with a reality check. Is the emotion you’re feeling equivalent in intensity to the situation you are worrying about? Usually the answer is no.
  2. Tell yourself a better story rather than focusing on the worst-case scenario. Not only will this help you feel less negative, you will free your mind up to find solutions to your problem.
  3. Make a plan. Write down in detail how you will deal with the situation. It will seem more controllable.
  4. Set a timer. Give yourself 15 minutes to worry as much as you want. Then stop.
  5. Yell “Shred!” (in your head). Picture your worries going through a paper shredder. Visualize them being destroyed.
  6. Distract yourself with music, exercise, a good book or movie. It is hard to focus on the negative when you’re enjoying yourself.

You’re welcome.

Stay tuned.

WSJ Bookshelf: 24 January 2017

William F. Bynum begins a review of Is It All In Your Head? by Suzanne O’Sullivan with this amazing paragraph:

Over a century ago, Alice James (1848 – 1892), sister of the novelist Henry and the psychologist and philosopher William, spent her life going from doctor to doctor with vague symptoms, tiredness and pains most prominent among them. Like Henry, she eventually gravitated to England, where she was happier, because “the god Holiday (was) worshipped so perpetually and effectually.” There at last she got a definite diagnosis: breast cancer. Although it was her death sentence, she was ecstatic, recording in her diary: “Ever since I have been ill, I have longed and longed for some palpable disease, no matter how conventionally dreadful a label it might have.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2nd Quote of the Day: Will Schwalbe in WSJ, 25 November 2016

We overschedule our days and complain constantly about being too busy. We shop endlessly for stuff we don’t need and then feel oppressed by the clutter that surrounds us. We rarely sleep well or enough. We compare our bodies to the artificial ones we see on television. We watch cooking shows and then eat fast food. We worry ourselves sick and join gyms we don’t visit. We keep up with hundreds of acquaintances but rarely see our best friends.

— Will Schwalbe’s Books for Living is just out from Knopf.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

WSJ, Monday, 26 September 2016: Women’s Rights

In WSJ World News, a piece by Margherita Stancati: “Saudis Press King Over Women’s Rights”

Saudis sent telegrams to the king on Sunday pressing the monarchy to end male guardianship rules for women, the culmination of an unprecedented monthlong effort to abolish the system.

By Sunday evening, activists estimated hundreds of people had sent a copy of the same message to the royal court asking King Salman to cancel regulations that give men the final say on many important decisions in the lives of female relatives.

It is a change for which women’s rights activists in the ultraconservative kingdom have long campaigned. The telegrams are one of several grassroots initiatives that have sprung up since July, when an Arabic hashtag that translated to “Saudi women want to abolish the guardianship system” first went viral on Twitter in the oil-rich Gulf nation.

Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving has been criticized worldwide.

 

Seamus Heaney’s Translation of The Aeneid, Book VI

Earlier this year, self was in Ireland, cutting out book reviews from a copy of The Guardian at the breakfast table in the Main House of the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig. She was explaining to a writer from Belfast that back home in California she had file drawers full of book review clippings and now . . .

The writer just smiled.

What is it about the Irish? Self never has to complete sentences there. Never. They’re pretty observant and never waste words.

In the Wall Street Journal of Wednesday, 17 August 2016, there’s a review of Seamus Heaney’s last work, a translation of the Aeneid, Book VI, which according to reviewer Christopher Carroll, he completed just a month before he died:

  • It is his last published poem, a poignant rendition of Aeneas’ arrival in Italy and journey into the underworld to see his dead father.

Right. Self is adding it to her reading list, as well as Heaney’s “Station Island” (1984) and “Route 110” (2010).

Stay tuned.

News, First Friday in August 2016

APPLE MAKES SLIGHT DIVERSITY GAINS (Wall Street Journal, Thursday, 4 August 2016)

And that’s news?

LOL LOL LOL LOL

Stay tuned.

Wall Street Journal Books, July 23 – 24, 2016

Self found a couple of books to add to her reading list while perusing the Books section of the July 23 – July 24 Wall Street Journal:

  • Your Friend Forever, A. Lincoln, by Charles B. Strozier (Columbia)
  • The Castle of Kings, by Oliver Potzsch (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) — historical fiction, set in 1524 Germany
  • Abahn Sabana David, by Marguerite Duras (Open Letter) — “minimal, dream-like setting” and narration that has “the bluntness of stage directions.” Self adores Duras.
  • The Brotherhood of the Wheel, by R. S. Belcher (Tor) — Resourceful residents of a small town use a HEXapp — an actual HEXapp! LOL LOL — to show the most recent sightings of the local spectre!
  • Richard Cohen, literary critic and Tolstoy expert, shares his favorite British crime novels: The Cask, by Freeman Wills Crofts; Tragedy at Law, by Cyril Hare; Reputation for a Song, by Edward Grierson; The Shortest Way to Hades, by Sarah Caudwell
  • Brazillionaires, by Alex Cuadros (Spiegel & Grau) — nonfiction by a journalist

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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