The READIN Family Album
Me and Sylvia, on the Potomac (September 2010)

READIN

Jeremy's journal

The gate is wide open, the madmen escape.

José Saramago


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Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Leap day

It feels like spring now -- the daylight is noticeably longer than it was a week and a half ago, before we went on vacation. The last couple days have been very cold though. Dang, it would be March already if it weren't for those silly authors of the calendar deciding to put the extra day in February -- why not put it in a more pleasant month like May?*

Tickets go on sale tomorrow for the big Nick Lowe/Robyn Hitchcock show in April!

*And, why do the dates of the Equinoces and Solstices not vary with the leap year?

posted evening of February 28th, 2008: 2 responses

Free tunes!

Tonight at the open mic I met Dan Kinsley. I sure like his music -- go to his web site and you can download his album Antidepressant Blues for free! His band The Unpronounceable is playing tomorrow night at Here's to the Arts.

posted evening of February 28th, 2008: Respond
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Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Source?

...And I would be the proudest of wives, whispered his wife, slithering closer to him, as if touched by the magic wand of a rare brand of lust, a mixture of carnal desire and political enthusiasm, but her husband, conscious of the gravity of the hour and making his the harsh words of the poet, Why do you grovel before my rough boots? / Why do you loosen your perfumed hairs / and treacherously open your soft arms? / I am nothing but a man with coarse hands / and a cold heart / and if, in order to pass, / I had to trample you underfoot / then, as you well know, I would trample you underfoot, abruptly threw off the bedclothes and said, I'm going to my study to keep an eye on developments, you go back to sleep, rest.

I am wondering who "the poet" is -- is this piece taken from a poem that exists outside Seeing?

I notice that Margaret Jull Costa, translator of this book, spoke about translating Saramago at the occasion of his receiving the Nobel prize; a transcript is available online.

Later: well I sent Ms. Costa a letter c/o the publisher, inquiring about the source. Fingers crossed! I have not tried to contact a translator like this before. (Was going to ask Ms. Holbrook about the frontspiece to The White Castle, but the book ended up leaving me cold enough that I did not bother.)

posted evening of February 27th, 2008: 1 response
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Belly laughs

They weren't conspirators, they were simply afraid.

The first half of Seeing is different from the rest of these two books in that it is not tightly focused on particular characters -- the events being related take place at large in the city. This portion of the book strikes me as broad political satire, and here is where the highest frequency of really hilarious punch-lines is to be found. Mixed naturally with frightening images like the detainees being interrogated about their conversations on election day.

Saramago's punch-lines hit especially hard because of the rhythm of his voice -- the way he strings sentences together can become hypnotic, so as I'm reading along it's like listening to a chant recited -- then the punch-line breaks into that and snaps me out of the sing-song, and I laugh.

posted evening of February 27th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about José Saramago

Vacation reading

I finished both books that I took along with me to read on the beach; each was in its own particular way, a satisfying, affecting read, and I want to post some of the notes I kept about them, particularly about Saramago's Seeing. This will take a few days to get done -- the notes are not in a particularly readable format right now but it's my hope that I can coax them into one.

I want to retract my earlier suggestion that you ought to read Seeing whether or not you have read Blindness; I think that the two books are at their best when read in sequence and that while you could enjoy either one of them by itself, that would take away a bit from the great beauty of the pair. I was thinking while I read about various ways of arguing for one book or the other as the better of the two -- they are different from one another in such a way as to invite that kind of argument I think -- but in the end the only thing to say is that they complement and perfect each other.

There is also a lot to say about Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go -- and that is the book that I find myself emailing and calling people to recommend -- I don't know how much of it I will be able to get down on paper before I read the book a second time. This book just sucked me in -- I found it completely impossible to put it down and take notes on what I was reading. I can't remember the last time I read a book that so strongly fit the term "page-turner".

posted evening of February 27th, 2008: 2 responses
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Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

...And, we're back!


Back from lovely Water Island. More pictures here -- I especially like some of the shots we got of plants on the island, which was unusually lush because there's been a lot of rain this winter, and cool pictures of my and Sylvia's visit to the Coral World aquarium. We fed lorikeets!

I finished Seeing and Never Let Me Go, hope to post more about both books later this week.

posted evening of February 26th, 2008: Respond
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Sunday, February 17th, 2008

Out of here

OK, turning off the computer now. We're flying out early tomorrow. Hope the internets can get along without us for a week.

posted evening of February 17th, 2008: 1 response

Bleak Romania

This afternoon we watched 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, on Scott's recommendation -- gosh what a disturbing film that is. Recommended for sure but make sure you know what you're getting into before you go.

A couple of questions: what was the meaning of Otilia taking Dr. Bebe's id card that he had left with the hotel? Was it a fake id, so he had abandoned it? Was she going to use it against him somehow? And it seemed like she left her own id on the desk the last time she left the hotel. (Or, maybe it was his id that she dropped there.)

posted evening of February 17th, 2008: Respond
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The Sally Cycle

I'll record these songs when we get back from vacation. I think it's a nice sound.

  1. Sally's Sleeping
  2. Sally's Dreaming
  3. Sally Woke Up
  4. Sally in the Kitchen
  5. Sally's Dance

posted afternoon of February 17th, 2008: Respond
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Vacation Reading

Taking two books along this week: Seeing and Never Let Me Go. As noted below, I won't be blogging; but I am hoping to take notes the old-fashioned way, and compose some good posts on my return.

posted morning of February 17th, 2008: Respond
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