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31 July 2012

Books read in July

Another month, and 15 more books down.  Expect things to come to a trickle as I make my way through the entirety of Proust.

Here's what I read in July:
Barça  by  Graham Hunter
The Mystery Guest  by  Grégoire Bouillier
The Lights of Home  by  Jason Weiss
Being Dead by  Jim Crace
Thousand Cranes  by  Yasunari Kawabata
Bad Nature, or Elvis in Mexico  by  Javier Marías
A Little History of Philosophy  by  Nigel Warburton
The Prince of Mist  by  Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Blow-up and other stories  by  Julio Cortázar
Les Miserables (stepping stones version with my daughter)
A Tale of Two Lions  by  Roberto Ransom
Bambert’s book of missing stories  by  Reinhardt
Chronicle of a Death Foretold  by  Gabriel García Márquez
Soul of the Age  by  Jonathan Bate
How to read a novel  by  John Sutherland

25 July 2012

awaiting her destiny

She heard the bear clawing at the door to the library, the place where her tutor used to read to her when she was a little girl growing up in this old hacienda.  Those days of childhood had dried up and the only things remaining were the tattered rooms of the great house, a library of dusty books, and the bear.  The bear was hungry.

She had shoved the green couch in front of the door when she first heard the roar of the great beast as it ambled through the halls, past the neglected skeleton of the manservant, and began to hunt for food.  It had eaten everything else.  In the minutes before the bear smelled her and came for her, she had piled up as many books on the couch as she could, trying to weigh it down, to prevent the creature from slamming down the door with its enormous paw.  And now she watched as, with each thud of the bear against the door, the couch jumped an inch and a sliver of light sliced through, getting bigger with each strike.  The wood was cracking.  The hinges were pulling away from the frame.  The door would only hold another minute, and then the bear would be inside the library.

She turned and looked out the broken windowpane at the fountain.  It was there, when the fountain had flowed, years ago now, where she had made her pact with Julian.  A distant, faded season of love, now gone.  Another blow from the bear.  The sound of the door splintering.  The smell of the beast.  She looked out at the fountain.  She waited.

18 July 2012

Book Milestone

There are now over 3000 books in my personal library, taking up much of the bottom floor of the house.  Do I get some sort of plaque for that?

06 July 2012

On a statue of Federico García Lorca

In a Madrid plaza, Federico García Lorca stands
In stone, a stone dove flutters in his hands
And tourists take their snapshots

The real García Lorca, the flesh and bone man, was shot
And his body tossed in an unknown ditch to rot
And fertilize the flowers of modern Spain

And in that statuary plaza in Madrid, in Castilian sun and rain
A leftist daily puts a red ribbon round the statue-neck in vain
As a Fascist daily cuts the ribbon down

In two gestures by old guards who plant and resurrect him from the ground
García Lorca smiles as the old war rages with neither blood nor sound
And the birds shit on his statuary head

The people want to rescue Lorca’s body and put it with the noble dead
But can’t remember what patch of flowered earth became his bed
And so reverently clean the birdshit off his statue head

For what is dead is dead, and cannot be undead, and memories remain instead
In the gestures of the old guards who put and cut the ribbon near his head
That noble ribbon, taken at night and in the morning glowing red

R. R. Shea

01 July 2012

Books read in June

I seem to be on record pace this year.

June's reading:
2666  by  Roberto Bolaño
Helena, or the sea in summer  by  Julian Ayesta
King Cophetua by Julien Gracq
The Garden of Secrets by Juan Goytisolo
The Skating Rink  by  Roberto Bolaño
A Land so Strange  by  Andrés Reséndez
Rivers of Gold  by  Hugh Thomas
Borges and the Eternal Orangutans  by  Luís Fernando Veríssimo
The General in his Labyrinth  by  Gabriel García Márquez
Trés  by  Roberto Bolaño
Dark Back of Time  by  Javier Marías
The Return  by  Roberto Bolaño
The Solitudes by Luis de Góngora
The Notebook  by  José Saramago
The Walk  by  Robert Walser