Monday, April 13, 2009

Over the mountain through the land of Mud Men to the river .

Stopped by to clean up; St. Patrick's day is always exciting around The Shebeen.

Magic Mountain has been removed from the Shelfari widget, left, as I finished reading it. The thing was a wen on the page. I read a chapter or two a night,as I did with Vanity Fair years ago. A rinse in the river of words before lights out. The book has a nice heft. A new translation by John E. Woods, it seemed to flow better than the earlier Lowe-Porter translation; though some sections of text were very similar. I enjoyed every degree of fever, Mann's speculations on time, and the realist style of the novel. Dr. Faustus is out in a new translation by Woods.

I will have to buy it myself, as the whack to public libraries referred to in an earlier screed has landed. Just in time for increased use by job hunters, computer users, and readers. I do not know about other grid coordinates in the Old Dominion, but in our 914 sq.mile service area, relatives of prisoners MUST make an appointment online to schedule a visit. Now let us think about this a minnit, Deputy Bubba. Given the backgrounds of those in jail, do y'all really think there is a computer at home for Grandma to schedule a visit to her grandson? Can you say "Guan-tan-amo, USA"? The library is the place many families of those in prison turn to; we have the statistical and anecdotal proof.

Idiot regulations like the above make me look forward to my rinse in the river. I'm casting about for the next Big Read; maybe another run through Mark Twain's works. There was a pen "warmed in Hell". He appreciated, respected, and knew, as only a River Pilot can, The River.


Barrett Bonden said...

I appreciate an elliptical style and was once accused by my deputy editor of over-using that adjective. Your third para pushes out the boundaries of ellipsis into unexplored territory and I'm forced to re-read. But this isn't a plea for you to more explicit. I enjoy your blog for previously explained reasons to which I should now add your knotty, chewy highly individualistic writing style. Clearly a Pynchon outgrowth. But am I to understand you are now without gainful employment (you're so throwaway)? If so I feel compelled to do the secular equivalent of lighting candles and ordering a Mass. You and libraries were made for each other. My sympathies. Journalism is a volatile activity and on four separate occasions I found myself on the outside looking in.

Since you like to test yourself I could recommend "The man without qualities" by Robert Musil but I ask myself was it in any way enjoyable? And the jury's still out. With the exception of "Felix Krull" I fear I have run terrified from Mann until last year when I read "Doctor Faustus". A different world. Sooner rather than later I'll unship the crampons and the karabiners for an ascent of "Magic Mountain".

Both Mrs B and I are both immense Twain fans. Reading "Roughing It" and the Mississipi pilot memoirs while we were in the USA added to the sparkle since in Pittsburgh those two majestically named rivers, Monongahela and Alleghany, fused to create our own personal connection with Twain-land. Conversion had occurred many years before when someone on the BBC read aloud that marvellous hatchet-job he did on Fenimore-Cooper ("And the last Indian - he was waaay back.")

Exploring potential fodder for my Sony e-book reader I came upon Project Guthenberg where everything Twain wrote is available for free download (including the six-volume collection of his letters). I can tell you are a paper and hard-cover man but if times are hard and you've access to a computer that's all you'll need. Needs must as the devil drives, my granny used to say enigmatically.

The hairs stand up on the back of my neck when I read your reference to Deputy Bubba. No good ever came of that dubious display of Southern affection. Even Bubba Smith, ex Ohio State, bonecrusher extraordinaire of the NFL worried me. Sign carried by a student during the Ohio days: "Hail Mary full of grace, Notre Dame in second place."

Relucent Reader said...

BB, thank you for your comments.
I was looking for a lean style, not an elliptical one. I edit and pare 'em down, even after posted. Sometimes the thought process gets deleted and readers are left puzzled.My apologies.I appreciate your comments on the screeds.

Still employed, thank you.

Great to hear of more Twain fans. Heck of a wordsmith, especially when he is writing about the river.
E-book readers are an efficient way to carry a library, and Mrs RR and I will be getting one before our next trip. I bet Twain could write a fierce letter.

The Crow said...

"...a rinse in the river of words..."

Love that!

(I found you through visiting BB)