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Can't sleep. I will tell you about a couple of books.

I just finished reading Why You Should Read Kafka Before You Waste Your Life, by James Hawes. He does a great job of dragging you through Kafka's biography and a history the critical response to his writing. You may have guessed from the title that the author tries to be a little hipper than one might hope for and there is a bit of that. He tries to draw out the "intriguing" aspects of Kafka's psyche and actions but, really, there's no disguising the fact that Kafka's personal life was not terribly thrilling.

When Jennifer was visiting she left Robert Baer's See No Evil for me. I'm about halfway through it and so far it is a very exciting memoir by a pretty bad writer. He's writing in the first person about the CIA before 9-11. His prose is awkward, he tends to ramble, and he seems compelled to end each section with a real killer sentence. There is a police detective show where scene changes are indicated with a doleful trainwhistlish donk-onk; this book makes me think of that. "The bombers had disappeared like diamonds in an inkwell." That appears early on--I read it and stared into space for a minute or two, first trying to extend the analogy and then getting off-track with the whole How is a Raven Like a Writing Desk thing. Finally I shook it off, said donk-onk (in my head), and kept reading.

James Hawes, on the other hand, has got my attention. He's written some novels and I plan to check them out.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
starfyrone
Nov. 6th, 2008 05:52 am (UTC)
"Are the Jonas Brothers cool for college guys to listen to?"

You do not refer to them as by a political or military title, so one possible derailment of their cool factor is avoided. It is never cool for college guys to listen to authority figures.

You refer to them as the Jonas Brothers not the Uncles Jonas, so you're clear there - listening to your mother's brothers is almost as uncool as listening to _your mother_.

I've never heard of them, so you might be ok - as soon as more than 17 other people have heard of them, it is no longer cool to listen to them. Unless most of those people are over 50, then it becomes semi-cool, but that is properly refered to as "retro".

Do they play mellow 'cool jazz' of the sort that sleezy don jaun wanna-bes cue up when "on the make"? If so tres uncool.

Conversely, are beautiful co-eds offering their favors if you'll listen to the Jonas Brothers? That automatically makes it cool. Or maybe it doesn't - but at that point what college guy cares?

Are they touring in a large, nay, enourmous fiberglass whale whose open mouth and red velour tounge comprise their stage? Total cool for anyone.

Unless it's a fiberglass _sperm_ whale. Thats uncool for college guys, because you can't stay cool while snickering.


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