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“All my jokes are Indianapolis. All my attitudes are Indianapolis. My adenoids are Indianapolis. If I ever severed myself from Indianapolis, I would be out of business. What people like about me is Indianapolis.” - Kurt Vonnegut

Interesting that Vonnegut felt this way, because after he left his hometown as a young man, he never really returned, other than short visits. 

September 29, 2019 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

"Do not start a fight a fight unless you can destroy an opponent..."

In My Parents: An Introduction/This Does Not Belong to You, Aleksandar Hemon describes a street fight from his childhood in Sarajevo between the young thug Dule and the unfortunate bully from the next block:

The brutality was exhilarating, the exactness of the violence awesome, the exquisite skill inspiring, the release of the tension so pleasing, the victory so sweet. None of us in the little raja could ever simply walk up to another kid and annihilate him without hesitation or mercy; watching Dule do it, we learned that to win a fight you have to be willing to destroy your opponent totally, that you must never consider his body, worry about his pain. Do not start a fight unless you can destroy an opponent; do not start a war unless you’re willing to commit genocide. But I was not - am not - willing to destroy others; it is arguably my greatest shortcoming. From my high position, despite everything, I felt sorry for the kid.

My Parents... is an excellent but strange book. I’m accumulating my thoughts on it and hope to write more later.

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

Le Vrai Chic Littérère


This is wonderful.

Ideally seeking to make literature more accessible to folks both geographically and financially, Megel-Nuber realized that his business’ overall appeal also depended on the look of his venue. So, he set out to open his second-hand bookstore in a tiny house. “I needed a place that makes people want to enter,” he says.

I think I might have discovered my post-retirement stay-busy occupation.

September 22, 2019 in Books | Permalink | Comments (1)

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)


“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)