His name (Jobs) is listed on the patent for the white power brick used by the MacBook as well as its magnetic connector with its satisfying click.—steve jobs, by walter isaascson, chapter twenty-six: design principles
Sorry, dear blog readers. If you are interested in reading K: A Novel, you might as well know that self is reading at a snail’s pace because she keeps posting quotes (There is something she wants to quote on almost every page). She’s also reading Book # 4 in the Ruth Galloway mystery series, and she alternates between reading about Ruth Galloway or about Professor K.
When K: A Novel opens, Professor K is already in Kun Chong Prison. No idea how long he’s been there, but it’s long enough for him to have an established routine.
He thinks back to the months leading up to his imprisonment:
When did I cross the line?
In my fourth year I started sending students online news articles that were blocked in mainland China, say, a story about peasants in Anhui province getting bumped off their land with paltry compensation, while a Party official received a fat kickback from developers. Nothing new there. Some of my students were curious about international perspectives, so I’d send them an article or two, and they’d reply, “This is so inspiring. Thank you for the articles! I definitely will take it into account.“
There is something very droll about the way Professor K recalls his interactions with his students, and it’s clear he was such a naif, so American. Wonder who reported him. Could it have been one of his students? One of those who thanked him for his lectures by saying, “This is so inspiring”?
Taking a wee break from the Ruth Gallowary series (Finished Book #3 last night: Five Stars!) and tackling K: A Novel, which self has been itching to read since she bought it at the AWP Bookfair in March!
From the back cover: Professor Francis Kauffman has unwittingly landed himself in prison where he’s faced with an insurmountable task: execute a fellow inmate.
I know, right? That’s a hell of a one-sentence synopsis.
- In my darker moments, I look at his eyes — the right pupil is enlarged from some injury — and wonder if he is really that much different from an animal. Because he is the only one besides me who does not read the propaganda books piled on the crate, we assume he cannot read. Let’s say he has an IQ of 70. Through no fault of his own, his abstract reasoning is limited. Nor can he truly enjoy fine art. Would it be a sin to say the man is more animal than me? This is the kind of comment that could get me fired from any number of jobs in civil society, not to mention putting off friends of all stripes. What I mean to say is that if I’m perfectly honest, I can admit that Xu Xuo seems less than human. The blank look in the eyes. He seems to think of nothing. He lies on his cot staring at the ceiling, waiting to be nothing. He is sentenced to death for a crime so terrible as to be unknown in our circle.
Met the author at the just-concluded AWP Book Fair, and it was grand. Turns out he read self’s short stories in college. (Therefore, self is old. Now her secret’s out!!!! LOL)
Seriously, it was exciting. He even mentioned a book report he did on self’s work. And his teacher was DIANA ABU-JABER.
From the back cover:
- Professor Francis Kauffman has unwittingly landed himself in prison where he’s faced with an insurmountable task: execute a fellow inmate. Charged with igniting a political insurrection among his students at a university in Beijing, Kauffman is sent to the notorious Kun Chong Prison, where his existence grows stranger by the hour as he struggles with the weight of his imprisonment and his incurable need to write about it in a place where art is forbidden, and the inmates must act as executioner.
Opening sentence of this (dystopian) novel:
- “I don’t know why we don’t eat with the other prisoners on the first floor.”
Wow, Ted! Very cool opening!
From her novel Blue Water, Distant Shores, which she is re-naming Camarote de Marinero: Voyages
(Also, self is considering not going to AWP, for it would be such a distraction. No kidding. All she would end up doing is hole up in her hotel room, writing. Which she can very well do at home. But ooops, she’ll be charged a penalty. Aargh)
Trigger Warning: Run-On Sentence
To Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth I
From Martin de Rasa, Viceroy of New Spain
June the 8th, 1579
A Relation of the Circumstances of the Loss of the Nuestra Señora de la Concepcion
80 pounds of gold, 26 pounds of silver, 13 chests of silver coins, and jewels (pearls, jades, rubies, and other precious stones) for which the residents of Manila demand restitution. For that cargo was intended for the Audiencia, and other vital instruments of government in these Islands. And now the soldiers must go unpaid, and are close to mutiny.
But, truly, Viceroy of New Spain, why should Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth I care if Spanish soldiers are close to mutiny? lol
Self has just introduced SIR FRANCIS DRAKE into her narrative.
At the last AWP Book Fair, self saw a familiar face at the Word Works table: Karen Alenier of Brooklyn. Self hung around and ended up buying a few books, one of which was Bad Names for Women, by Hilary Tham.
Tham is no longer with us, but her book is, and it is wonderful.
Mrs. Wei in Peking
All my life I’ve wanted to see
this Ten Thousand Li Great Wall,
Now I am sixty-five, too old for change
and Communism, the Malaysian Visa Office
permits I visit the land of my ancestors,
Oh, my arthritic knees! This wall was built
for mountain goats! The Emperor’s soldiers —
perched on the edge of the world, wanting
to sow rice and children, making do
with mulled wine against snow and ghost voices
wailing in the stones. Poor dead soldiers —
their breaths chill the stone, the summer wind,
I feel it. The Wall is haunted.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.