The Books of My Numberless Dreams

He kicked the bucket

Posted on: December 10, 2006

General Pinochet dies at 91. “Baroness” Thatcher’s response has me wondering about the quality of Britain’s crack. Here is a detailed obituary from the NYT.

Coincidentally I came across two articles on Chile earlier in the week. Lorna Scott Fox, in the London Review of Books, examines the progress of women in Chile’s political system in the context of its tumultuous political history and conservative Catholic culture in the 20th century. The Economist has an article, updated in light of Pinochet’s death, that gives a concise summary of Pinochet’s legal circumstances and current image in his former dictatorship. On a more continental front South American countries explore economic unification.

Further north Bernardo Atxaga writes about his relationship with Basque’s minority language euskara for The ThreePenny Review (via Literary Saloon).

The Guardian covers Random House’s strategic challenge to Penguin’s dominance of the classics market. Random will publish covers with one “iconic” image to contrast with Penguin’s more “traditional” covers–huh? What about Penguin’s Modern Classics line?–and have novelists and journalists pen the introductions. Eewwww. Journalists? Ewwwww. I’m fairly sure the Modern Library uses novelists for their classics and Penguin does similar for their special reissued lines like the Deluxe Editions; heck their Red Classics don’t even have introductions.

Of higher interest is A.S. Byatt’s critical essay on Willa Cather’s fiction. She proposes that Cather’s work is worthier of more focus than what has hitherto only been provided by the often narrow focus of ltierary feminist critics. I am nearly persuaded to give her work a look–the rural setting makes my eyelids droop but the promise of haunting death scenes and “great gift for showing the simultaneous beauty and terror of group life, domestic life” beckon.

There are so many authors I mean to try that I cannot mentally take on another for fear of feeling overwhelmed and frustratingly static.

On a more personal front feel free to congratulate me for drinking three car bombers, a gladiator and…a pint of beer (maybe?) and waking up this early afternoon fresh as a daisy (in winter). I look to all imaginary deities to help me on my real birthday as last night was a pre-drinker of sorts.


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