Friday, May 18, 2018

Mario Vargas Llosa, The War of the End of the World (1981)


So the War of Canudos was an incident in Brazil the 1890s. The emperor had recently been deposed and a Republic installed; this did not sit well with a lot of people, and this guy started an eschatological religious movement which started a village in the north called Canudos. The government was not happy about this and there were a series of bloody skirmishes the upshot of which--naturally--was that the village was wiped out and almost everyone killed. Whee.
Read more »

Friday, April 27, 2018

Julio Cortazar, Blow-Up and Other Stories (1968)


Cortazar wrote six novels total, but none of the others have anywhere near the cachet of Hopscotch. So, I decided to read this collection of short stories, which is his second-most famous book, and that was a hella anglocentric thing I just said, since it doesn't even exist in Spanish: it's a collection of stories taken from a number of previous collections. That's okay, though!
Read more »

Monday, April 23, 2018

Concert Review: Martin Carthy


The man's a traditional folk music legend. I first heard his name because he was a member of Steeleye Span for two classic albums, Please to See the King and Ten Man Mop. Then I discovered his copious solo career, and we were off. These days I'm not as much of a fan as I once was (honestly, I'm more into his fantastically talented daughter Eliza), but he's still very important and responsible for some great music.
Read more »

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Marvin Cohen, How to Outthink a Wall: An Anthology (2016)


I just finished this book, but actually, I'd been reading it on and off since early fall--not because it wasn't engaging me, but because it's an excellent book to dip in and out of, so I was reading it in bits and pieces between other things. LET IT BE SO NOTED.
Read more »

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Julio Cortázar, Hopscotch (1963)


This was definitely the biggest lacuna on my reading list in Latin American literature, and very possibly my biggest one period. I obtained a copy of it ages ago, but never got around to reading it. Probably a good thing; it might've been a bit much for me at the time. These days I'm better able to handle things like this. I feel like Garcia-Marquez-style magical realism dominates our anglophone perspective on the Latin American novel these days, but this--which is very definitely not that--is still hella important. Also, for whatever it's worth, it's Gregory Rabassa's first literary translation. Anyway, I read it. Boom.
Read more »

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Um...what?

Electronic Gaming Monthly gave the SNES version their "Game of the Month" award, praising its dark tone, amazingly smooth animation, complex and intelligent gameplay, and the ability to kill prisoners after getting information from them.

I'm not saying that this should automatically be forbidden in a game, but this gives the very strong impression that EGM was just drooling over this digital sadism.  Which, in fairness, they may have been; as we've seen, old EGMs were not necessarily notable for their rhetorical discipline.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Gioconda Belli, The Inhabited Woman (1989)


I read this book because a friend lent it to me when she saw that I was reading Latin American novels. It's probably one of my less-lovable traits: I always feel annoyed at having my reading imposed upon in this way. I want to read what I want to read, how dare anyone make me modify my plans argh! And especially if someone actually gives you a book; if they just recommend it, it's easy to make vague, affirmative noises and then keep doing what you're doing, but in that case, you really feel obligated. Hey, as I say, I'm not saying these are particularly admirable thought processes, just that I have them.
Read more »