Mid June and it is finally hot as all hell here in Chicago. Just when I was beginning to think that this summer will be tame. Ha. The weekend was great. Some superb hanging on-s with friends and lovers. Some discussions of plans for the summer as well. All of this reminded me that I have no real plans beyond some interminable writing. Usually, by this time, I have a list of books that I want to read and movies that I am looking forward to and all that. Sadly, I have none for this year.
So. I thought that I can ask you, gentle readers. Tell me what to read and see. Tell me what you are reading and watching this summer. It will be all "interactive" and "blog-like", our little exchange.
Books: Things vaguely on the list: Ben Macintyre's The Man Who Would Be King : The First American in Afghanistan [looks quite a rollicking ride]; Janet Afary's Foucault and the Iranian Revolution : Gender and the Seductions of Islamism [now this ought to be interesting]; Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian[beach reading, no? And Dracula is my absolute fav. character]; Michel Houellebecq's H. P. Lovecraft: Against the World, Against Life [a writer I admire and a writer I can't decide on- woohoo]; Modris Eksteins's Rites of Spring : The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age [been on the list for a while.]. That's really all. What do you recommend? Incidentally, I have a wishlist for those wishing good thoughts to me.
Movies: Netflix rules summer. I am goinging through all of Peckinpah and all of Kurosawa [some gems are missing] as well as whatever comes out of Korea - like Sympathy for Lady Vengeance! Batman Begins or Rules or whatever looks mildly interesting. War of the World not even. Terry Gilliam's Brothers Grimm should be good. Um. That's about all I can think of.
So, let's hear it people [especially, people who call themselves Mysterians].
DEAR SCHOLAR, i AM NOT A MYSTERIAN BUT WOULD LOVE TO RECOMMEND YOU TO READ A HOLY BOOK ie QURAN, WITH A VIEW TO UNDESTAND WHAT aLLAH aLMIGHTY HAS REVEALED IN THIS BOOK FOR THE WELFARE AND BETTERMENT OF HUMANKIND. PERHAPS U KNOW MUCH ABT ALL THINGS IN THIS UNIVERSE BUT YOU HAVE TO LEARN,REMEMBER,ACT AND FOLLOW STRICTLY WHAT HAS BEEN COMMANDED IN THIS BOOK FOR THE BELIEVERS. IT IS HIGH TIME TO ENJOY ITS RECITATION AND IN DEPTH TEACHING. I AM CERTAIN THAT YOU WOULD LOVE MORE THAN OTHER FICTIONS, MOVIES ETC WHICH ARE CAUSING DAMAGE TO THE MIND AND SPIRIT AND BETRAYING TOWARDS A PATH WHICH IS NOT STRAIGHT. IN CASE YOU ARE INTERESTED I WOULD POINT TO YOU CERTAIN SURA`S WHICH ARE VERY BENIFICIAL? YOUR CHOICE IS NOT MY CHOICE. SINCE U ASKED FOR IT, I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SUGGEST YOU THE BEST READING. HOPE YOU WOULD CONSIDER MY PROPOSAL. MAY ALLAH BLESS YOU WITH SUCCESS, HAPPINESS AND PROSPERITY.
Now, no one can accuse me of NOT having read the Quran. But, I will add it to my list again, abba gee.
Book - You: Victor Pelevin, Babylon. Contemporary Russian half-insane hallucinogenic genre-hopping philosophical mentalism for the jittering. If I had to write one of those awful "name doing name"-type blurbs it would be: "Pelevin is a schizophrenic Murakami, blundering into a rave club run by Kafka". Staying in the almost-contemporary: Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell (or any of his books). Me: Personally, I'm reading Stendhal and Alain Badiou, but I'm getting a bit tired of the latter now. I thought Small Island, Andrea Levy, was pretty good, but I'm still waiting for my summer "blow me away" book. Film - You: Dogville, if you missed it. Me: Cronenberg Night, our house, Wednesday.
I wish I could share in your carefree exuberance about leisure reading and film viewing over the summer - that pesky dissertation and course preparation duties loom large though. In keeping with the class I am putting together, my first round of books on the docket have that distinctive postcolonial flavor to them. A few fictions and literary memoirs I plan to revisit:- -CLR James Beyond a Boundary and Minty Alley: the raceínícricket classic and a quirky novel about class in the West Indies -Albert Memmi A Pillar of Salt and The Colonizer and the Colonized: semi-autobiographical tale of a Jewish lad in WWII Tunisia, mapping new terrains of double-consciousness that combines well with his readable psycho-cultural theory classic; both are translated from French -Sara Suleri Meatless Days and The Rhetoric of English India): truly masterful personal history of upper middle class femininity in postcolonial Pakistan, the richness of which grows on me with each reading; serve alongside a tiny portion of her dense literary theory powerhouse The preoccupations of Empire Week continue (for some of us at least), and here are a couple imperial history books I have been meaning to read:- -David Scott Conscripts of Modernity: argues via examinations of the colonial and postcolonial histories of the Caribbean that tragedy is a more appropriate literary mode than romance for narrating the era of decolonization and thinking past the shortcomings of postcolonial states -Catherine Hall Civilising Subjects): based in part on an examination of missionaries in colonial Jamaica, Hall demonstrates the extent to which race (both the Ã«island raceí of the Ã«exceptionalí British themselves and blackness in the post-emancipation era) remained a crucial component of British imperial and domestic consciousness For a little more fun:- -Greil Marcus In the Fascist Bathroom: Marcusí astute and politicized music journalism from Johnny Rotten to Cyndi Lauper and Gang of Four to Prince -Roy Moxham The Great Hedge of India: a wacky British librarian presents in the form of a detective story his hunt for the relics of a customs barrier wrought of prickly pear bushes As for movies, a few things that are verified netflickable (in no particular order):- Cotton Comes to Harlem (early Ã«blaxploitationí gem), Joint Security Area (plays well alongside some of Mantoís partition stories on the theme of arbitrary borders), Dog Day Afternoon (from one hot summer to another), Ab Tak Chhappan (latest great Bombay police-crime flick, picks up where RGVís classics Satya and Company leave off; thanks to Rajeev for this suggestion in the first place), Soy Cuba/I am Cuba (a truly incredible and nuanced set of linked pieces funded by the Castro government) and Do the Right Thing (perhaps the best summer movie ever) And a trio of top basketball flicks, because the Heat lost and both Larry Brown and Tim Duncan are Sith Lords: Cooley High; Cornbread, Earl and Me; He Got Game