What I Read: Out of Sheer Rage: In the Shadow of DH Lawrence (Geoff Dyer, 1997): The narrator is trying to write a book about DH Lawrence, but keeps getting sidetracked: by trips to Greek islands where everything is dull but the traffic, the unpredictable unavailability of cornetti at his favourite café in Rome, his […]
Read: Stendhal & George Saunders. Wrote: a fair bit of short fiction. Fared: energetic, optimistic, & focussed, bordering on manic territory.
What I read, wrote, & published, & how I fared.
Bukowski & Shakespeare. Some writing; some publications. Another depressive episode, followed by introspection & course correction (ongoing).
Lots of stuff.
Voltaire, Hitler. Gladwell, Shakespeare, bipolar disorder, & speculative short fiction.
Where Mein Kampf is a sprawling, ill-organised rant overflowing with hateful conspiracy theories, Zweites Buch is a succinct, mostly cogent, well-reasoned statement of Adolf Hitler’s foreign policy views. The ongoing German-Italian crisis regarding the South Tyrol has motivated Hitler to critique Germany’s current foreign policy, and develop a suitable alternative. This he does in the context of considering abstractly the proper motives and goals of any nation’s foreign policy. Zweites Buch is an aetiology of politics itself. If Mein Kampf was an endless parade of Hitler’s destructive delusions and obsessions, Zweites Buch is a glimpse into the mind of an astute politician, a committed if misguided patriot, and a man both “logical and fanatical,” as one observer put it. Zweites Buch puts antisemitism and antibolshevism mostly on the backshelf, and articulates the broad points of the policies Hitler was soon to enact. This analysis of problems and potential solutions – of economics, international rivalries and inequities, and fierce competition over limited natural resources – is a unique window into an important mind, and remains relevant in global politics today
What I read this year.
Places presents the reader with a range of colourful characters having interesting experiences in locales scattered across the globe. Ana Vidosavljevic’s trademark flair for colour, description, humour, and empathy enliven these nineteen tales. Places is an assorted chocolate box so savour over the course of a lazy weekend.
Mithran Somasundrum’s debut novel climaxes during the political protests in Thailand in 2010, where communists revolted against the repressive regime. The novel’s events are a protest in microcosm against old Thailand’s entrenched power systems: the old and new wealthy whose privileges included partial immunity from the law. One of Mask’s two protagonists is the middle-class son of a murdered policeman; the other is the upper-class murderer. Mask’s achievement is twofold: first, it heralds democracy in Thailand; second, it gets us to understand, if not to sympathise with, both sides of a murder story. Mask is a promising debut from Somsasundrum, who has previously published short fiction in some of the world’s most prestigious literary magazines.