July 01, 2005
The Long Weekend Looms, and that is as good an occasion as any to post yet another cavalcade of links pointing elsewhere, that recurring feature known in this part of the Forest as "TW3." [Explanation in the footnote, here.]
- Indecent Indices:
Earlier in June, paleoconservative types buzzed happily over a list of the Ten Most Harmful Books of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Other than its choices of Marx/Engels, Mao and Mein Kampf, the list was, as are so many lists, basically Just Silly. (#4, Kinsey? #10, Keynes? Honorable mentions to J.S. Mill [On Liberty, no less], Darwin [twice], Ralph Nader and Margaret Mead? That's rather a broad definition of "harmful" you've got there, gentlemen....)
A more useful list is available at the Writing Fiction weblog, where Crawford Kilian [Capilano College, Vancouver, BC] nominates The Ten Most Harmful Novels, based on their baleful influence on other writers. He's too hard on Raymond Chandler, but otherwise largely spot on (especially, says I, on Salinger and Hemingway and that Kerouac fellow). Kilian's honorable mention candidates are credible as well:
Some novels are good but dangerous because they leave us dumbfounded. After Ulysses, what more can we say about the mythic echoes in modern life? Even Scott Fitzgerald couldn’t come up with a novel that could match The Great Gatsby, so how could we? I re-read One Hundred Years of Solitude every few years. Every time I find that the Maestro has broken still more of the rules we ordinary mortals must obey if we want to tell a story.
The bad novels give us at least this consolation: If those nincompoops could break into print, and even sell millions of copies, then we nincompoops ought to be able to do at least as well.
[Via This Is Not A Love Story.]
- Holy Hogwarts! Rome's Row with Rowling:
While we are on the topic of harmful books, take note that Pope Benedict is not amused by Harry Potter. Perhaps he objects to all the spurious Latin being bandied about in those spells and incantations. [Via The Elegant Variation.]
- This Offer Will Not Be Repeated:
Ted Frank reminds us that this weekend offers a last opportunity to snag some of the BBC's free Beethoven downloads.
- Evidence of Things Not Seen:
Behold The Invisible Library, a compilation site devoted to "books that only appear in other books."
Endless hours of distraction can also be had, assuming one has a supply of such hours readily to hand, by scrolling down to the "Other Sites" list in the Invisible Library Office. Links there lead to such treats as the mysterious Library of the Sphinx ("Things that are not real must, by definition, be endlessly fascinating, unbearably frightening, overwhelmingly important") and The Modern Word [aka The Libyrinth], with its wealth of materials on writers such as Beckett, Borges, Eco [those engaged in reading his latest will find a link to the Queen Loana Annotation Project], Pynchon, etc.
[Invisible Library link via bird on the moon.]
- All's Well With Rockwell, et al.:
What is going on with the few, the misguided, our most frequent readers and commenters? Happy to fill you in:
- For the Independence Day weekend, Cowtown Pattie -- who is Known By Many Names, not unlike Gandalf or Nancy -- posts the Four Freedoms, as painted by that skinny kid with the pipe.
- Rick, meanwhile, leaves off for the weekend with his lovable, lop-eared Safe & Sane Canine.
- And David Giacalone Declares himself Independent of Punditry for the month of July. Right, David; that's sure to work. Uh-huh. Absolutely. Not.
I will have some 4th of July thoughts of my own later. Broadway is involved.
Thanks for the great links! I had to look up Venus on the Half Shelf in The Invisible Library because it is 1) not a book and 2) a book. The not-a-book I thought was by Kurt Vonnegut. I did not know who wrote the "book" Venus on the Half Shelf and signed him/herself Kilgore Trout (Philip Jose Farmer? I didn't know/remember that. That almost doesn't seem correct.) Wondered where the mention of Vonnegut would be. I am confused. As usual. Always fun to read your blog. Thx again.
Posted by: bridget | July 01, 2005 at 02:04 PM