Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Exiles of the New York Times

I set up this blog to make it possible to discuss books after the NYT forums closed, but another forums poster has set up a site called Exiles of the New York Times which is wonderful and extremely easy to post on. Of course, if anyone wants to post here, I'm up for that, too.

I've gotten hooked on Nabokov as a result of this month's discussion over at the NYT. I'm currently reading "The Defense," "The Stories of Vladimir Nabokov" and "Strong Opinions." I hope to read as much of Nabokov's stuff as I can get my hands on. I love Nabokov's awareness and skill at observing every aspect of his surroundings, his sense of humor and the puzzling games he plays with reality.

Also reading "Lover of Unreason," by Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev; a biography of Assia Wevill. Hopefully next month's NYT selection. Very interesting perspective on life in Israel for the European emigres. Really like this image: "...the social ethos of the pioneers was one of ascetism and austerity, khaki shorts and sandals, and of denouncing the bourgeoisie with their tailored suits and bow ties." Tough times for little Assia, even moreso for her Gentile mother.

Started Joseph Campbell's "Masks of God" and alongside it, "The History of the Ancient World" by Susan Wise Bauer. Don't know if you read this blog, Johnr, but couple of things you might find interesting. First, Bauer describes the Sumerian King's List which tells of the Sumerian kingship as having "descended from heaven " and records the first king Alulim as reigning for 28,000 years. His heir (not his son) reined for 36,000. Also tells of the appearance of Sargon, who according to his own telling, appeared from across the water....ala the Danish King Sheaf (and his son Shield Sheafson) as related in Beowulf.