Friday, May 23, 2008

Is it a 'Table-Talk' if I don't use Roman numerals?

Levi e-mailed me recently, pondering whether to start on Nabokov's Ada. William Grimes's piece on 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, in today's NYT, gave him pause:

Drop the bloated, self-indulgent “Ada” from an otherwise correct Nabokov list (“Lolita,” “Pale Fire,” “Pnin”) and insert “Laughter in the Dark” or “The Gift.”

I can't argue with those substitutes; I might add: "Or Glory, or Bend Sinister, or The Real Life of Sebastian Knight..."

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The Grimes piece mentions Brautigan's In Watermelon Sugar; I wonder if this edition of 1001 Books still includes RB's Willard and His Bowling Trophies?

I actually bought a Brautigan recently—$10 for Sombrero Fallout, hc, with dj! On the streets of New York, baby! (Good bookseller on the sidewalk on Columbus in the 70s.)

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Confession: I heart VN and RB but have not read Ada or IWS! Summer project? Who's with me?

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Random thought: Start a list of 1001 essential books on this blog? Write to me [thedizziesATgmailDOTcom] and I'll post...

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A list of essentials from Jenny D, including The Fountain Overflows. (Um, which I also haven't read!)

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In the NYT piece, I concur with Grimes as to the other Powell books! I think those are the two best non-Dancers.

A little more Anglophilia might have been in order. Anthony Powell shows up with “A Dance to the Music of Time” — which is actually 12 novels, so Professor Boxall cheats — but I would have made a play for a few of the pre-“Dance” novels, like “Venusberg” or “Afternoon Men.”

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Personal Days surfaces in Hoboken:

This edition of PD likes to go to Maxwell's and listen to Yo La Tengo! And is "for dog lovers"!

(Photo courtesy Hannah Frank)



Blogger Glenn Fleishman said...

I read Laughter in the Dark almost by accident. I was curious what book Sting meant in Don't Stand So Close to Me. He didn't mean Lolita. Laughter in the Dark is a much creepier book. Shades of Death in Venice within it.

1:24 PM  
Blogger Idalia said...

In Watermelon Sugar is seriously one of my favorite books seriously. Read it and guess whose side I come down on in Margaret vs. Pauline.

8:15 AM  

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