Reading Afghanistan

In 2001, when it became apparent that my country was going to invade Afghanistan, a country my knowledge of which was limited to the fact that I knew how to spell it, some people took to the streets. I took to the books. Here's a list:

The Complete National Geographic - Every Issue since 1888 This set of CD's can be every bit as frustrating to use as some of the critics say, but for me worth it for articles like Maynard Owen Williams' 1931 piece on the Citroen Trans-Asiatic Expedition. Read more about Reading Afghanistan


Stockholm Syndrome

This novel (John Cowper Powys' [amazon 1585673668 inline]) is, page by page, a veritable feast of words and images. Nevermind that sometimes I wanted to throw it against the wall. When I finished it I felt as if I had wandered long in a magical wood on acid, in which the play of light on lichen held as much meaning as any pesky action or dialog. It's a Stockholm Syndrome of a book. If you let it, it kidnaps you and even when someone offers to pay the ransom for your escape, you tell them "No, no. It's okay. I don't want to come home." Read more about Stockholm Syndrome


Salman Chanted Evening

Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa!

[amazon 0375504338 inline] , Salman Rushdie.

My first venture into Rushdie, but it won't be my last. Marvelous writing evoking one of my favorite periods of European history and one of my least-studied but quite intriguing periods of Indian history, weaving a magical tale with familiar figures at an intersection of east and west. Read more about Salman Chanted Evening


Sometimes A Great Notion

[amazon 0140045295 inline] , Ken Kesey

The first pages of this book made me want to put it down and flee. POV changes in the middle of paragraphs - I swear one was in the middle of a sentence, but I could exaggerate. I was thinking Ken, Ken, what are you doing? I don't know who's talking and I don't like anybody and nobody's having a good time. At All. Read more about Sometimes A Great Notion


Places to go, Things to do

Well, here's a place to go: Frank Delaney

And here's a thing to do: Read Ulysses

And if you do them both at the same time, starting of course with Delaney's first and following it in the text and through the archive, you will, a little at a time, finally read and maybe even understand - at least you might really, really enjoy, Ulysses.

Frank estimates it will take him about 22 years to complete the project. I will be 90. It's worth a shot. Read more about Places to go, Things to do