Of Reading Lists

I stumbled across this post at The Essayist covering Donald Barthelme’s Reading List. Though I don’t have anything more substantive to say, I found it intriguing and wanted to pass it along.

By any other name

Publisher’s Weekly had an article up recently regarding the alternate titles of famous books. I saw it when I was sick and then promptly forgot about it. I found the one on Steinbeck to be particularly interesting in the sense of “what could have been.” Frankly, I’m glad he read Robert Burns.

In which I whine a little

If you follow me on twitter, you’re probably well aware that I’ve been sick as all get out over the last week or so. The combination of a variation of the flu and a throat infection has knocked me pretty much entirely out of commission. Oh sure, the inability to eat, drink, or speak normally due to the worst sore throat I’ve ever had has been loads of fun and all, but frankly I’m ready to get back to life now. (Ask me about the year and a half I had reoccurring tonsillitis as a kid and I’ll now say “tonsillitis smosillitis. They took those babies out and I was fine. Now that throat infection…”)

Aside from the fact that my work’s been on hiatus until I can actually think straight, I’ve also paused my 365 project. I managed to keep it up the first day or two I was sick, but that was when I was still convinced I was going to be over it in a day or two.

Oh to be young and naive again.

I’ll be picking up that project again as soon as I find my camera. You read that right. I’ve barely left the house for the last week and I somehow lost my camera. In my defense, I had a fever. Until today. I’m feeling a bit better today (hence the brief return to blogging). Aside from the exhaustion (there were a number of naps that went into the writing of this post) my symptoms are all slowly fading. I am really looking forward to returning to a semblance of health so that I can get things back to normal around here.

So Much for Progress

Kurt Andersen writes an interesting article at Vanity Fair about how our cultural landscape has become essentially stagnant. There’s a lot in this article to unpack and I have to say that I disagree with Andersen’s criteria in a number of areas. The short version is that I think Andersen ignores a number of areas of culture and perhaps is very select in what he considers to represent the avante garde. The comment section was actually quite intriguing. The parallels between Andersen and Fredric Jameson’s thoughts on Postmodernism struck me as compelling (primarily because I have similar issues with both). Further, someone in the comment section brought up video games as an area where culture has radically changed in the last twenty years. Both comments seem to hit home the limitations of Andersen’s take on contemporary culture. Still, interesting article that’s worth some thought.

[As a disclaimer I should probably note that I read this article during a bout of insomnia the other night and I’m writing based on some fuzzy memories. Hence I’ll refrain from going into too much depth and instead let the article speak mostly for itself.]