Sunday, September 15, 2013
In the world of sports, Shea Stadium had always loomed large in Flushing, Queens, its shocking blue and radio-active orange facade an in-your-face statement to the traitorous manifest destiny of the legacy clubs from Brooklyn and upper Manhattan. In Dissident Gardens, Lenny (short for Lenin) Angrush has a slightly different idea for the replacement baseball team . He lives, along with his second cousin Rose, in Sunnyside Gardens, Queens, where - the Angrush family having transplanted their Russian Jewish roots to the outer boroughs earlier in the 20th century - he aspires, in the thrall of the American Communist Party, to pay tribute to the common worker with a team called the Sunnyside Proletariat ( the Pros for short). He goes to visit Shea equipped with a newly penned theme song for the proposed club. The team and theme both: enduring reminders of the working class's struggle over the power of wealth. Ah, what might have been.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: 'You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.”
~Doris Lessing from The Golden Notebook
Friday, August 23, 2013
The text is presented technically as Perina's memoir/autobiography written from his prison cell. It is prefaced, edited and footnoted by Dr. Ronald Kubodera; his good friend and colleague. Through this format we are treated to classic unreliable narration, but this time with a Nabokovian twist: the addition of an unreliable editor, the veracity of whose explanatory footnotes and editorial intrusion comes into question as well. Who do we believe? It's just this sort of ambiguity which distinguishes this work from what some might consider pandering pulp.
Sunday, July 28, 2013
|Emile Zola (1840-1902)|
Ever since watching a PBS Masterpiece Theater production of Nana back in the late '70s, I've been curious, perhaps without realizing it, about Emile Zola. Being fifteen years old at the time you may wonder what piqued my interest in such arcane material. Well, it didn't hurt that the BBC produced teleplay contained uncensored nudity; that'll grab a teenager's attention every time. Nana is about a prostitute who is "discovered" and becomes a stage actress at the Théâtre des Variétés in Paris. It is also the ninth out of a total of twenty works of fiction written by Zola known collectively as the Rougon-Macquart Cycle.
For better than thirty years I have had the more well-known Zola titles like Nana and Germinal tucked away on my "Eventually To Be Read" list, never even approaching one of them until just a few months ago. That's when I read a bit more about the complete works of this iconic French novelist. He has been compared to earlier French masters like Honore de Balzac who dedicated his life's work to a collection of novels entitled La Comédie Humaine (about 100 titles). Whereas Balzac's work deals primarily with scenes from various aspects of French life in general, Zola endeavored instead to focus his studies not only on the hereditary lines of two branches of one family, The Rougon-Macquarts, but also on the historical events occurring roughly over the twenty year period of Napoleon III's Second Empire in France (1851-1871).
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Below I've embedded a list of the Combined Top 100 Books; a compendium from 11 notable "Top 100" lists. The compiler lists the books by frequency of appearance (X/11) and then in alphabetical order. Interestingly enough, not one book made it on to all of the lists.
Saturday, July 13, 2013