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01 January 2007 @ 09:13 pm
Vintage Children's books
Letters from a cat : published by her mistress for the benefit of all cats and the amusement of little children (1879)

Three little kittens and, Mr Fox ([between 1864 and 1870])
more at the internet archive
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Current Mood: hungryhungry
Current Music: Bow Wow Wow - Hello, Hello Daddy (I'll sacrifice you)
I first contacted Daniel Clowes with Ghost World the movie like the majority of people I guess. Of course I liked Ghost World. After some time I found Ghost World the comic book in one of George's bookshelves. Read it breathless. I am still not used to the snobbish trendy kids that gather at downtown overpriced comic book stores, so I try to avoid going there. Last year at Ghent, if I remember well, we bought two more comic books of Daniel Clowes. Caricature and Eightball.

I've read both at the 10 minutes I spend from lying in bed to falling asleep, during the last month. Sometimes only one story per night, sometimes one page or two.
I didn' t even wanted to read more because I was afraid my two books would be over sooner.
I won't even try and make a positive critique on them.
If you have people-hating genes, ego-fat-as-my-ass personality and artsy-fartsy temperament you are simply obliged to read them.
If you feel (are) normal, you will still find (maybe more) things to criticize and hate.
In both cases you will find yourself laughing out loudly by yourself. Not a bad side-effect.
(oh and while you're at it, read Maus by Art Spiegelman. Guaranted Grabs-You-By-The-Neck storytelling.

Excuse me now I have to order and stock some more Daniel Clowes now.

Current Mood: tiredtired
When I look at my compost heap, I see a pile of disintegrating organic pieces. If I look closer, I can see the whole pile is breathing. If I focus, I can tell all these worms eating the organic matter, moving and making it breath. That image is very close to Flaumbert's Madame Bovary, the character, the events, the book itself. It is a book you can read breathless. There are possibly so many things written about it that it would be too much if I add more words.
Next to my miraculously big reading list is Pope Joan by Emmanouil Roidis. I wanted to read this book for years and I never expected it to be that fun AND entertaining AND witty. If you can read old greek choose it over the modern greek translation. After a while you will find yourself thinking in a roidesque language which is at least "interesting".
And now, let's hop alltogether to our third heroine of the day, Candy Quackenbush. If we should hop on top of the book she enacts in, I wouldn't care less.
This might come as a surprise, at least to me it was, but the new Clive Barker book was not good. What a big dissapointment from my favourite fairy-teller. Abarat by Clive Barker adds up many weaknesses of a bad written book and I will put them here in a few words.
*Few things happen in so many pages. This is not a weakness by itself in writing so maybe I should rewrite my comment. Too many non-significant events need an abundance of pages to be described. If you ask me that's bad writing for books intended to kids, except if you are Pynchon or Joyce or some existentialist writer and you can fill your pages creatively.
*The imagery of Clive Barker's work is fading in the Californian sun. One of his great assets was the dreamlike quality of images he could induce in your brain while reading. He still moves in the same context of creatures and places, but what he makes is not open to your imagination (like the Tsunami creature in the Weaveworld for example), it's drawn, finished and prisoned in words. I can put it this way. He used to give you blueprints for creating your own images of the things he wrote, now he just gives you the things, drawn, colored and signatured. I must say that I finished the plain book edition, just words, not his drawings. But still it didn't worked.
*Now let me tell you the biggest flaw and the main one too, which is the cause of all the other flaws. Because that's what happens when you write a book having a future contract with Disney Entertainment in mind. It makes a crappy director's guide for filming a crappy childish movie. "For Dummies". It explains the easily understandable. Mr. Barker is so scared that his book might fail to have a good director that he pre-edits the scenes. And he is not good at this if we remember his early attempts in filming. Everything is edited in a bad "action for kids" movie, like 101 dalmatians. You can have a drinking game of how many times in this book and the series to come, the foot of miss Candy Quackenbush will be captured at the last moment by her prosecutors, but she in a "magical" way will free it and run away. Played in all variations.
*Which brings us to the subject of the annoyning little heroine, Candy Quackenbush. In the first 100 pages you will wish that that Mendelson Shape will finally kill her, so that she will stop annoying you. But no, she 'ALWAYS' survives and I bet she will make it through the 100 hundred series of books Clive is going to write about her. Other than being an annoying little girl, as a character is empty, purpose-less and poor in fiction quality. And this brings us back to the Disney contract and you can imagine an annoying little girl already selected to play her role. Sets already designed, costumes too. So I finally can put in a sentence what's so annoying with this book. It's not fiction, it's just a detailed description of the movie that will be made from it. That's it.
*I will stop being a bitch, because I could say a lot about the timing of this book. Obviously the success of Harry Potter movies and Narnia made Barker jealous and he wants to grab the pie. Not a bad ambition, but approached in the wrong way. I will stop here cause Clive Barker is still my favourite storyteller and I hope that he will finish the Books Of The Art trilogy
So here I am again, writing more things about what I disliked than what I liked, but I hope you get the picture. Prefer reading The Thief Of Always, if you haven't already.
Current Mood: hothot
27 June 2006 @ 03:19 pm
"Last night I could get no sleep." Well, not actually last night but almost every night throughout my adolescence years. And the recent night that I stayed awake to finish J.Steinbeck's Cannery Row. This last sleepless night reminded me of all the sleepless nights I spent devouring words and characters and situations. It reminded me of reading books qualified as "classics", because i couldn't decide which of the new editions are good and which are not. Back then when I would state with certainty that "I like the russians, and I don't think that american literature is worth anything" even though I never till then had read any americans. At some point I read The Wayward Bus by Steinbeck and it became one of my favourite books. I always wanted to read more from Steinbeck but the list of "to-read-books" was getting longer and his turn never arrived. Then my taste in reading became more eccentric and post modern. Steinbeck was going down and down in the list. Until cheap "free with the newspaper" paperback editions arrived and combined with a tired and sleepy mind.This brought Cannery Row next to my sleeping pillow. I remembered why certain books are listed under the "classics" shelves in the bookstores and it made me wonder what this quality really is. The easy answer is that their quality is independent of time passing. They might lose their freshness but inside there is still something that the future reader will find interesting. So there is nothing "post" about it, no flashy technique, no word-go-rounds, just good old fashioned storytelling. It is divided in small chapters (ideal for the sleepy mind), it is easy reading and has class-A characters. Translation by Κοσμάς Πολίτης is more than just tragic, it's an ignorant word by word artsy transcription. Avoid or read and enjoy. And now that I got it started with the newspaper paperback titles, that I wouldn't otherwise bother to buy and read, I'll continue with it. So now I'm reading Flaumbert's Madame Bovary and i must say I enjoy it a lot.

PS-I also recommend watching Of mice and men Gary Sinise's adaptation with John Malkovich, if you can find it.
Current Location: green couch
Current Mood: crappycrappy
Current Music: wind
02 June 2006 @ 02:09 pm
Alexx is love! he bought me this and made me very very happy. Can't wait to read it.
Current Mood: okayokay
Current Music: matmos
22 April 2006 @ 11:23 am
I've stuck in the middle of Death in Andes by Mario Vargas Llosa for the past two months. It's not bad, it's really easy reading if you decide to go through it, yet I only manage to read 2-3 pages before going to sleep.
then came my new books about preserves. I was always looking for a specialized book on preserving. I have discovered a world of boiling fruits and syrups and jams and jellies and little jars. But without instructions half the attempts are ending in small disasters. Too thick, too thin, overboiled, ruined color and shit like that. So i found the queen of canning. Blue Ribbon Preserves by Linda J. Amendt is a 368 page (!!!) book for preserving. It enlists every fruit you can imagine and some that you won't too, with full instructions on all steps and a big troubleshooting guide at the end. there are simple one fruit recipes and gourmet combos like salsa jam and onion and garlic jam and even homemade ketchup and liqueurs. Contents include jams, jellies, marmalades, preserves, conserves, butters and curds, fruit, vegetables, juices, sauces, pickles, vinegars, syrups and specialty preserves. A save the day cookbook for regulars and not. you never know when you are gonna have 5 kilos of oranges waiting to rot in your kitchen and don't know what to do about it. not to menion that is fun to read because the forementioned lady is a regular at fair competitions and she is quite proud for winning all these blue ribbons. You read it and think of Grandma Duck baking pies in the midsummer heat of missisipi county.
The second book was bought by mistake. I had wishlisted in gemm and george made an order and forgot to delete it. This one Perfect Preserves is out of print. It is not as big as miss Linda's but has some specialty and unique recipes. It makes your saliva drool. Gingered Pineapple, Rosemary-Thyme Jelly, Lemon-Lime White Wine Jelly,Grandmama's pickled watermelon rind.
Anyone who needs help with preserves ask Grandma karmologyclinic.
Whenever a large quantity of jars is made I will let you know, so that i can ship around some of them.
Current Mood: grandmamish
Current Music: Fischerspooner - Turn On
23 March 2006 @ 11:43 am
I didn't even remember that I was subscribed to House of Leaves Forums and today they send me this link. soooo THAT is coming folks from Pantheon Books.
Current Mood: happyhappy
22 March 2006 @ 01:42 pm
milorad pavic

dictionary of khazars on amazon
on protoporia
paratextual plays

he seems rather interesting.
Current Music: the boxer rebellion - watermellon
11 March 2006 @ 11:14 am
Catch 22. Ό,τι και να ακούσατε για αυτό είναι αλήθεια. Είναι το καλύτερο βιβλίο για την παράνοια του μοντέρνου, εξ αποστάσεως, πολέμου, που κάνει τους συμπολεμιστές και τους ανώτερους πιο επικίνδυνους από τους αντιπάλους. Είναι το απόλυτο αντίδοτο για όσους πιστεύουν ότι αυτοί που κάνουν την προστασία των πάτριων επάγγελμα, είτε στρατιωτικοί είτε πολιτικοί, είναι εξ ορισμού άξιοι και ανώτεροι άνθρωποι. Είναι το πολεμικό βιβλίο που σε κάνει να υποστηρίζεις τη δειλία, τη λούφα και την απάτη, όλα με σκοπό να ζήσει κανείς λίγες στιγμές ακόμα.

Σουρρεαλιστικό, θυμωμένο, ανατρεπτικό, το Catch 22 είναι ανελέητο με τον αναγνώστη του. Σε κάνει να συμπαθείς τους χαρακτήρες και μετά τους σκοτώνει, όχι απαραίτητα από γερμανικές σφαίρες. Η ροή του βιβλίου είναι, εκ πρώτης όψεως, χαοτική. Flash back, flash forward, οι ίδιες ιστορίες από διαφορετικές οπτικές γωνίες...η δομή είναι πρακτικά άλλος ένας χαρακτήρας στο βιβλίο. Ξεκαθαρίζει τη θέση της όσο λιγοστεύουν οι σελίδες που μένει να διαβάσει κανείς ενώ ταυτόχρονα σε κάνει να αγωνιάς για το τι θα συμβεί μετά.

Συστήνεται ανεπιφύλακτα.