Interlude

I shall be traveling, talking, giving papers for the next three weeks. Friends and lovers in Chicago, Boston, New York and Madison are urged to get in touch. Others are wished well. Kindly look forward to posts – like a bunch of ’em! I promise.

Sunday Reading for Rob Priest

It has been a while since the Sunday reading was last done and I actually didn’t even manage to do my sunday readings until early monday morning. Yet, here we are:

  • “He set it for 7.00. That was 7am on this thing. For 7pm, what he wanted, it should have been 19.00.” Lorraine Adams and Ayesha Nair’s Inside the mind of the Times Square bomber is an absolute must-read. It originally appeared in the Granta: Pakistan issue.
  • “In 1891, Gauguin headed to the south Pacific to escape “everything that is artificial and conventional”, though his impression of Tahiti as an endless, guilt-free erotic idyll was gleaned principally from the works of the then massively popular Romantic novelist Pierre Loti.” I once wrote a thesis on Gauguin, who is getting the full-treatment at the Tate Modern. Good times. On Pierre Loti, see this.
  • “The dead speak in Kashmir, often more forcefully than the living.” Basharat Peer’s Kashmir’s Forever War, also in Granta is a must-must-must read.
  • “Ngai, a union organizer turned historian, has chosen to write what she calls a “middle-class” history”: review of Mai Ngai’s The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America, NYT, September 17, 2010.
  • “When I die, that’s when I’ll be famous”: Lost libraries: The strange afterlife of authors’ book collections by Craig Fehrman, September 19, 2010.
  • “I should state up front that I am not a fan of programme fiction. Basically, I feel about it as towards new fiction from a developing nation with no literary tradition: I recognise that it has anthropological interest, and is compelling to those whose experience it describes, but I probably wouldn’t read it for fun. Moreover, if I wanted to read literature from the developing world, I would go ahead and read literature from the developing world. At least that way I’d learn something about some less privileged culture – about a less privileged culture that some people were actually born into, as opposed to one that they opted into by enrolling in an MFA programme.” Elif Batuman, Get a Real Degree, LRB, 23 September 2010. The one Iowa MFA/English PhD I know has not issued a public comment, so far, but Aaron has a nice round-up of responses.
  • “In any case, names you should know”: A Primer on Saudi Lit, Abdulrahman Munif to Present, M. Lynx Qualey, 19 September, 2010.