Rushing the Review: September 27 2009

Folks, I’m rushing around and there’s no time for a real Reviewing the Review today.  A couple of highlights, though, from today’s New York Times Book Review.

— Jim Holt’s thoughtful positive review of Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou, a graphic novel about the career of philosopher, activist and analytic mathematician Bertrand Russell. I haven’t read this book yet but I’m very excited to do so.  An original treatment of an original thinker; this, in my opinion, is the kind of thing books were invented for.

— Suzann Cokal focusing tightly on the plot points of Audrey Niffenegger’s neo-Gothic ghost story Her Fearful Symmetry, which apparently contains twins with misplaced hearts and tree roots that unearth gravestones.  “Put on a plummy British accent to pronounce ‘symmetry’ and ‘cemetery’ and discover a pun in the title,” Cokall helpfully instructs.

— Arthur Krystal evoking Nabokov, Poe, Balzac and Steven Pinker in an essay about why writers are often so helpless at interpersonal conversation.

And, from elsewhere in the Times: Jim Carroll’s last days by Alex Williams.  It comes as a surprise to me that the elder Jim Carroll had a thick beard and struggled to get through each day.  I last saw him perform in the summer of 1996 on a double poetry bill at Central Park Summerstage with Richard Hell.  He looked exactly like the cover of his Catholic Boy, had a warm demeanor and certainly appeared to be the healthier half of the bill.

AFTERWORD: Farewell to the remarkable New York Times Magazine “On Language” columnist William Safire, dead at 79.

2 Responses

  1. Jim’s life imitates his
    Jim’s life imitates his fiction. That’s why much of the genre is called “Creative Nonfiction”. I admired Jim. He and I are about the same age. We came up in a world of the twentieth century and folks our age are the last twentieth century folks. We spent our formative years and most of our adult years in that century. Our mental feet still feel the grass in that century. Hope for a better life for the younger generation was and still is our driving force. We tried to make a difference so that folks coming up will know what it is like to be human in all its glory and decreptitude. Like the old riddle,in the future, I hope to be that man with the cane, ’cause otherwise I won’t be able to get around. Maybe I’ll have to rent a “hoverround”. HA!

    Staying on top of what’s happening is the key to fulfillment. We are the crown of creation on this planet. We need to fulfill our sustainable future. Otherwise, we too, will go the way of the dinosaur. Wrap your hoverround around that. Yeah. The old have much to teach the young about patience and sustenance. They’ve been there and done that. Youth may teach us well also. Just being around the energy of the young is exciting to older fellers like myself… Just like the song: “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. The underground culture is not always the inverse of TIME and those above ground.

    The internet is still an underground type medium. Expression is spun more freely here and there is an acceptance of others not seen in the mainstream. (Of course, we do have our trolls…) To conclude,Jim Carroll was a tortured, yet beatific soul, and I hope his writing lives on through all of us. He testified and I believe we are better for his message.

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