H.G. Wells

Wells was born on this date in 1866. Reading seven of his novels was a fascinating experience during my Summer of Reading in 2017. 

September 21, 2019 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

"A perfect homeland is never available..."

Aleksandar Hemon's family are ethnic Ukrainians who at one point migrated to Vucijak, Bosnia, then to Sarajevo and, after the civil war, to Canada. Here, in a chapter titled "Homeland" from My Parents: An Introduction, he muses on his father's form of nostalgia:

Wherever he went around the world, including Canada, he spent much of his head time being in Vucijak, talking about it, comparing everything to the standards once established there; he never mythologized Sarajevo, where he lived for most of his adult life, to a comparable extent. Yet at no point in his life did he ever consider or even mention the possibility of returning to Vucijak, where after my grandparents' deaths he even inherited some land. The whole nostalgic operation is contingent precisely on his absence from Vucijak since his childhood. A perfect homeland is never available; otherwise the ideal might run into an indelible and ugly reality. Nationalists resolve this tension by way of exclusionary reshaping and violence; they strive to make the actual country fit their fantasies, for which genocide is often required. My father just tells stories with a lot of nostalgic embellishments.

If only the white nationalists currently running the United States and several major European countries had a similarly harmless means of making their countries great again...

September 16, 2019 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

“...ominously close...”

“People had been asking me to write a sequel for a long time, and I always said no, because I thought they meant the continuation of the story of Offred which I couldn't do. But then I thought, what if somebody else were telling the story? And what if it were 15 or 16 years later? And it was also time, because for a while we thought we were moving away from The Handmaid's Tale. And then we turned around and started going back toward it, ominously close in many parts of the world.” - Margaret Atwood

September 9, 2019 in Books, Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Quote

“It’s gotta be fucking good. This is what you’ve sacrificed a lot of things for, dude, and this is what you were doing when you weren’t always there for other people, so it’d better be good.” - Iggy Pop

September 5, 2019 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

“Without water, it’s not even a moat. Yet it persists.”

I like this short story, “Everywhere She Went”, by Ethel Rohan. Her novel, The Weight of Him, didn’t work for me at all, but maybe short fiction is her strength instead. 

September 2, 2019 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Lyric

Move with me, Magdalene
I’m tired of the same old scene
Let’s go down to San Miguel
Let's go be somebody else tonight

- Guy Clark, “Magdalene”

Julie and I saw Clark perform years ago, at the Old Town School Of Folk Music in Chicago. A warm, lovely show. I’ve only discovered “Magdalene” recently, from Joe Ely’s cover version on his 2015 album Panhandle Rambler

August 31, 2019 in Music | Permalink | Comments (0)

Richard Booth

It was during his buying trips to the US in the 1960s and 70s that his vision for an independent, localised economy really took shape. He saw in America’s faceless shopping malls a taste of what was to come and was determined to battle against it. Secondhand books, in this sense, represented one-in-the-eye for corporate capitalism.

A bookseller who transformed a town. Can any other bookseller truly make the same claim?

August 28, 2019 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

“At least I'm remembered.”

This is brilliant.

August 23, 2019 in Sports | Permalink | Comments (1)

Quote

“The demise of newspapers, I think, is scary for any democracy. Because I think newspapers have been totally under appreciated for what they have done to keep the government in check. To prevent corruption, to keep people honest. That’s what scares me the most, is I’m not sure who provides that check. And you have to have it. History has shown you have to have that balance if you want to maintain a democracy. And we’re about to lose it.” - Mark Brown

August 21, 2019 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Quote

“I want to put a tag of shame on the greedy bastards who are responsible for this.” - John Steinbeck

The Grapes of Wrath turned 80 earlier this year. One of the greatest American novels, I think.

August 18, 2019 in Books, History | Permalink | Comments (1)