At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I'm taking one of my infrequent forays into civilization tomorrow. Will post again next week.

Book Reviews

Williamson, Edwin. Borges: A Life. Viking.

New York Times: “Williamson is an atrocious reader of Borges’s work; his interpretations amount to a simplistic, dishonest kind of psychological criticism. In case after case, the readings are shallow, forced, and distorted. The biography is probably most valuable in its account of Borges’s political evolution." Economist: “Williamson has done his homework, reading just about every scrap that Borges wrote and interviewing many who knew him well. He has some new theories about his subject, although the deconstructions are a little laboured and repetitive. He is remarkably incurious about some aspects of his subject’s life.” Publishers Weekly: “Dynamic. With just the right balance of fact and insight to make for a composed and not overly inflated biography, Williamson’s psychoanalysis of Borges in love and in alienation is compelling. Replete with the most detailed facts about the air surrounding Borges, the book maintains human drama without overloading on unnecessary facts to create a poignant overview of a peculiar man.” Kirkus: “Trenchant…vividly convincing…Williamson expertly summarizes the years of Borges’s international fame…A literary life of major importance, authoritatively told in an exceptionally fine biography.” Library Journal: “Includes previously unexplored interviews and resources. Williamson’s biography is evidently the first to tackle Borges’s entire life. Recommended for all academic and most large public libraries.”

Monday, November 22, 2004

Book Reviews

Posting this in resposne to the movie coming out this weekend...

Cartledge, Paul. Alexander the Great. Overlook $28.95.

Military History: “Cartledge is one academic whose narrative can catch the reader up in the journey and shed some new light.” PW: “Riveting. Carledge’s knack for bringing history to life makes for an absorbing new biography of the legendary Greek leader.”Kirkus: “A literate rendering of Alexander’s life, drawing on the most reliable ancient and modern sources.” Library Journal: “Ultimately, this work presents not so much a new understanding of Alexander as a provocative survey of how historians have perhaps misunderstood him. Lucid. Recommended.”

Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Old Curmudgeon continues to annoy and fascinate simultaneously. Recently he wandering into technical services with a videotape in hand. He wanted to use our TV/VCR to watch a few minutes of the cassette to make sure it was playable before depositing it in a time capsule. It turned out to be a recording of an old "Arthur C Clarke's Mysterious World" episode about explorers looking for rumored extant dinosaurs in the jungles of Africa. One of the featured explorers was none other than Old Curmudgeon himself, some 25 years younger but still wearing his infamous Beatles mop wig. "When I had money I could afford to take the time and explore the world," he said. "Now I live in poverty."

Some other stories about O.C.:

--He got banned from a church for pulling out a knife and cursing in the middle of a sermon.

--He has used our library phone to call local bars "private clubs" to verify happy hour specials.

--He shares an address with someone who's been banned from our library for viewing porn.