- Editor: Brigitta Olubas
- Title: Essays on the works of Shirley Hazzard
- Read essay: Future Anterior: The Evening of the Holiday (2014)
- Read story: The Evening of the Holiday
- Pubished: 1966 (novel)
- Monthly reading plan
First reading: essay by J. Frow Prof. Literature University of Sydney
- The text was NOT educating despite this man’s stellar credentials!
- But that was my fault….I have to learn to read these scholarly works:
- I thought a literary professor would encourage me to read Shirley Hazzard’s
- book The Evening of the Holiday….he has done just the opposite!
- Frow has made the book so confusing (theme of punctuality…huh?).
- I was not going to let this happen…I read the essay a second time.
- I have now learned to gather specific information that
- I feel enlightening and if the author wants to
- go off on a tangent (punctuality)…I let him go but did to follow him!
- I’ve also learned to make a plan: if the words are ‘too academic’
- for example, comedy of incommensuration I must take the time to find
- …words in the dictionary that make the meaning clearer.
- Also in literary theory the words aesthetic and ethical are often used.
- As soon as I see these words my mind goes blank.
- Now I have learned the basic meanings of these words
- …so I can continue in the flow of reading without losing my mind!
- aesthetic – more concerned with the love of beauty, emotion and sensation…as opposed to
- ethical – more intellectualism ( accepted morals; principles of right and wrong)
- Despite my rocky start reading J. Frow’s essay
- …I do want to read The Evening Holiday!
- The story which quietly allows people to change their
- …minds about one another
- …and fall in love without melodrama.
- Middle aged, married Tancredi
- young Sophia (British/Italian descent) in 1950’s Tuscany.
- I am curious how Shirley Hazzard
- …brings this all together in just 144 pages.
The Evening Holiday (story)
- Published: 1962 ‘long short story’ in the New Yorker
- Published: 1966 novella
- Trivia: textures of Italian life and culture are bound up with the romance
- ch 1-6 courtship – ch 7 festival in village – ch 8-14 affair – ch 15-16 au revoir.
- Characters: are attracted to each other’s complications
- Weak point: Hazzard spends 50% book describing everything
- …fountains, gardens, piazza’s, villa’s countryside and even the post office.
- This sense of space gets ‘out of control’.
- Strong point: Hazzard uses inner dialogues to move the action along.
- We read what Sophia is thinking VS
- …what Tancredi THINKS she is thinking.
- This book was very short and easy to read.
- There is a rhythm to the sentences.
- Personally I found the love affair too sugar spin sweet.
- There were no passionate outbursts, pledges of love
- …just a ho-hum fling that was reaching an inevitable ending.
- I will not let one book discourage me….
- ..and will try to read more of Shirley Hazzard!
Genre: play “Infinity”
- When you least expect it….suddenly a
- small play can brighten my reading day!
- Characters I felt for…
- hopscotching places and times.
- Carefully observed..family dynamics.
- Prose that moves like a cheetah.
- Wise but not preachy….
- Reading time: 60 minutes!
- #Bravo Hannah Moscovitch
- Born June 5, 1978) is a Canadian playwright who rose to national
- ..prominence in the 2000s.
- She has been dubbed “an indie sensation” by Toronto Life Magazine
- CBC Radio calls her “the wunderkind of Canadian theatre”.
Elementary by Bill Blitt
Barry Blitt (1958) . He is a Canadian-born American artist. Blitt creates his works in traditional pen and ink, as well as watercolors.
- Cover: Robert Mueller…..the most mysterious man in Washington!
- Mueller’s inquiry has been at once expanding and narrowing,
- ...gaining steam and losing momentum, intensifying and wrapping up!
- Mueller has kept virtually silent about where his investigation is going.
- This mystery is the result of Mueller’s sharpest tactical decisions
- …setting off parts of his investigation to multiple U.S. attorneys’ offices
- …up and down the Eastern Seaboard.
- #SoftCollusion? #HardCollusion? #NoColusion?
- Jeffrey Toobin – Trump’s Red Line
- Article about Adam Schiff (Democrat)…a person to watch in the coming years.
- He is per 01.01 2019 Chairman Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
- Schiff is investigating Trump.
- Is his Presidency a vehicle for advancing his business interests?
- Be ready to watch the sparks fly….again!
- Presidential candidate 2020 ?…Adam Schiff
- Ben Taub – is an American journalist. In 2017, he won a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award
- and a George Polk Award.
- Shallow Graves – Gruesome report of the aftermath killings after the fall of Mosul 2016-2017. Taub reveals that Iraqi government
- …claims numerous civilian massacres occurred at the hands of ISIS…
- when in fact Iraqi state-sponsored umbrella organization (Hashd Al-Sha’abi) did the killings.
- The Iraqi government has sought to minimize attention to such atrocities.
- Now Trump is visiting US troops who are (still) in Iraq.
- Several political parties in
#Iraq have released statements condemning Trump’s visit and
- ….calling for an emergency session in parliament to discuss
- the acceleration of legislation to evict American forces from the country.
- #NeverEnding conflict in Iraq!
- Adam Gopnik (Book critic) – How café culture created modern liberalism
- Unlike the synagogue, the house of study, the community center, or the Jewish deli, the café is rarely considered a Jewish space.
- Yet, coffeehouses profoundly influenced the creation of
- …modern Jewish culture from the mid-nineteenth to mid-twentieth centuries.
- Shachar Pinsker ( )
- Democracy was not made in the streets but among….the saucers!
- Irony: we all go to coffee shops
- ….just like they did in Warsaw, Berlin and Vienna
- …but today nobody talks.
- You only hear the click/clack of laptop keyboards.
- How…times have changed.
- I’ve looked at this book….good for a VERY interested reader of Jewish literature
- …but I found it difficult to like.
- Emily Nussbaum (TV critic) – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel –
- Pulitzer Prize winner Nussbaum is not impressed with this show.
- She even opened her heart for season 2.
- People change, shows change, critics change.
- Vinson Cunningham (Theatre critic)
- Slave Play – provocative and explosive new play,
- …Jeremy O. Harris rips apart history to shed new light
- on race, gender and sexuality in 21st century America.
- and To Kill a Mockingbird (classic by Harper Lee)
- …play by Aaron Sorkin.
- I read both reviews and believe
- …Vinson Cunningham is a master of writing reviews
- …but masking this true feelings.
- He is person in control of his tone.
- Sometimes the critic can only highlight items in the performances.
- The reader must decode Cunningham’s thoughts
- …and decide if the play is worth the time and ticket fee.
- Cunningham has a unique polished writing style!
- Hosted by Jay sign up here: @Bibliophilopols
- What is the goal of the challenge?
- To read 52 short stories in 2019 (that’s only one per week )
- What do I need?
- 1) fifty-two short stories
2) A deck of cards
- Stories published in 2018 The New Yorker:
- Ace – Whoever is there, come on through – Colin Barett
- Foreign Returned – Sadia Shepard
- Texas – David Gates
- Writing Teacher – John E. Wideman
- The Boundary – J. Lahiri
- Bronze – Jeffrey Eugenides
- Stansville – Rachel Kushner
- Mrs. Crasthorpe – Willliam Trevor
- Seeing Ershadi – Nicole Kraus
- The Poltroon Husband – Joseph O’ Neill
- Jack – No More Maybe – Gish Jen
- Queen – The State – Tommy Orange
- King – The Intermediate Class – Sam Allingham
- Ace – The State of Nature – Camille Bordas
- How Did We Come to Know You – Keith Gressen
- A Flawless Silence – Yiyun Li
- Treatments – Robert Coover
- The Boarder – Isaac Bashevis Singer
- Without Inspection – Edwidge Danticat
- The Long Black Line – John L’Heureux
- Stay Down and Take It – Ben Marcus
- Silver Tiger – Lu Wang
- Orange World – Karen Russel
- Jack – Fungus – David Gilbert
- Queen – Omakase – Weike Wang
- King – The Luck of Kotura – Gary Shteyngart
- Ace –The First World – Joseph O’ Neill
- Under the Wave – Lauren Groff
- The Dog – J.M. Coetzee (Dec 2017)
- No More Than Ever – Zadie Smith
- I Walk Between the Raindrops – T. Coraghessan Boyle
- Displaced – Richard Ford
- A Refugee Crisis – Callan Wink
- Ways and Means – Sana Krasikov
- The Wind Cave – Haruki Murakami
- Cecilia Awakened – Tessa Hadley
- Jack – Poor Girl – Ludmilla Petrushevssky
- Queen – When We Were Happy We Had Other Names – Yiyun Li
- King – The Rise and Rise of Annie Clark – John L’Heureux
- Ace – The Coast of Leitrim – Kevin Barry (Ireland)
- Flaubert Again – Anne Carson
- Waugh – Bryan Washington
- Backpack – Tom Earley
- Cattle Praise Song – S. Mukasonga
- Show Recent Some Love – Sam Lipsyte
- The Frog King – Garth Greenwell
- Snowing in Greenwich Village – John Updike
- Children are Bored on Sunday – Jean Stafford
- Chaunt – Jay Williams
- Jack – Time for the Eyes to Adjust – Linn Ullmann
- Queen – Acceptance Journey – Mary Gaitskill
- King – The Lazy River – Zadie Smith (Dec 2017)
- Author: Charles Dickens
- Genre: novella
- Title: The Christmas Carol
- Published: 1843
- Themes: memory, importance of family and friends , generosity
- Setting: London
- Charles Dickens was among the first members of The Ghost Club 1862 focusing on paranormal ghosts and haunting.
- Dickens was thought to have created the character of Ebenezer Scrooge after stumbling across the wealthy trader’s tombstone.He was shocked by the inscription, “Meanman” Dickens noted “To be remembered through eternity only for being mean seemed the greatest testament to a life wasted.”What Dickens failed to realise was that the tombstone actually read “Mealman” in recognition of the desceased successful career as a corn trader.
- Published in England in 1843, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol had an immediate
- and lasting impact on the Christmas holiday.
- The novel’s lessons of charity and family spoke directly to a Victorian society.
Characterization: Ebenezer Scrooge:
- Dickens always uses names of characters to attract the readers imagination.
- Dickens uses Ebenezer Scrooge to remind us of things we ought not forget.
- The first name appears 2 x Marley’s ghost. 1 x Fezziwig 1 x on Scrooge’s gravestone.
- Ebenezer is anglicized version of the Hebrew name eben = stone and ezer = helper
- Literally = a stone that would offer assistance
- Metaphor: the gravestone with the name ‘Ebenezer’ offers Scrooge help.
- It reminds him (and the reader) how his life might end it he does not become a new man.
Characterization: Ebenezer Scrooge by his words: (pg 9)
- Words like are there no prisons, Union workhouses, The Treadmill and Poor Law show Scrooge’s opinion about helping the poor.
- He is not donating any money to help the poor!
- “Nothing”, replied Scrooge. You wish to be anonymous? I wish to be left alone.“
- Workhouse: public institution in which the destitute receive board and lodging
- The Treadmill: machine designed to power a mill with manual labor
- Poor Law: allowed the poor to be brought to workhouses
Characterization: by physical appearance Ebenezer Scrooge:
- Scrooge’s cold heart has affected his appearance.
- Nipped his pointed nose
- shrivelled his cheek
- stiffened his gait
- made his eyes red
- his thin lips blue
- his grating voice.
- Scrooge represents a class of rich Victorians.
- They refuse to see the plight of the lower working class.
- They miss the warmth of family that the poor manage to maintain without money.
- Greed is “squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching” the life out of these Victorian snobs.
- Foil is secondary character who is used as a comparison to show the difference with the main character.
- Fred, Scrooge’s nephew, embodies the joy of sharing Christmas
- “..a good time,a kind, forgiving, charitable time […]
- when men and women consent to open their shut up hearts freely…”. (pg 6)
- Scrooge reacts with bitter clearsightedness:
- “…every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’s should be boiled with his own pudding,
- buried with a stake of holly through the heart.” (pg 6)
- Fred: face ruddy, all in a glow, eyes sparkled, – Scrooge: shrivelled cheek, red eyes, thin blue lips
Expression: to come down handsomely (pg 3)
- ‘they often “came down” handsomely, and Scrooge never did.’
- This is an ‘old fashioned’’ expression, but if you don’t understand it you will not see the reference to Scrooge.
- The weather gave more in rain and snow than Scrooge gave in money.
Expression: I’ll retire to Bedlam (pg 8)
- Bedlam was a popular name for St. Mary of Bethlehem hospital in London at the time of Dickens’s classic.
- It was a hospital for the mentally disturbed.
- Scrooge felt that it was more sane there than outside where people foolishly were celebrating Christmas.
Expression: St Dunstan (pg 12)
- Dunstan was a monk, archbishop of Canterbury and a Saint.
- In an old English folk rhyme he pulls the devil’s nose with red-hot tongs.
- Scrooge feels St. Dunstan should have nipped the devil’s nose with some of the cold wintery weather.
Imagery: vivd example of a mental picture is on page 3
- “Even the blindman’s dogs appeared to know him; and when they saw him coming on,
- would tug their owners into doorways and up courts and then would wag their tails
- as though they said ‘No eye at all is better than an evil eye, dark master.
- ’The dogs say that being blind is better than having an evil eye
- This refers to having some part of you that drives other people away.
- Unfortunately, Scrooge couldn’t care less what the dogs think of him.
- One piece of coal fire in counting-house: Scrooge’s miserly ways
- Knocker: symbolizes ‘welcome’, becomes ghostly head of Marley = beware those who enter.
- Merry Christmas….and to all a good night!
- Author: E. Pisani
- Title: Indonesia ect.
- Published: 2014
- List of Challenges 2018
- Monthly planning
- Non-Fiction Reading List
- Finished: 22.12.2018
- Genre: non-fiction
- Rating: B+
- “Indonesia etc”….I know nothing about it.
- But Elizabeth Pisani’s book is the perfect place to start.
- She seamlessly blends her personal travelogue with fascinating facts
- about the most invisible country in the world.
- Indonesia occupies a unique place in among Asia’s major powers.
- The stronger Indonesia becomes, the more it could protect
- …other lands against China becoming THE dominant power in Asia.
- If it keeps its act together, will grow fast over the next few decades.
- and become a serious strategic player in Asia in its own right.
- Author: Brian Friel (1929-2015)
- Title: Philadelphia, Here I Come!
- Published: 1964
- Genre: tragicomedy
- Reading time: 1,5 hr
- Trivia: this play made Friel famous in
- …Dublin, London and New York
- List of Challenges 2018
- Monthly plan
- List of Plays
- The play describes Gareth’s last night in his home town of Ballybeg.
- He is an Irish lad about to set off for America.
- Friel recognizes an idea of home
- ….at the moment it is about to disappear.
- Gareth is played by 2 actors: Public and Private.
- Friel reveals in this way the difference between
- how we see ourselves (lonely, emotional life)
- and how we appear to others (gregarious, social).
- Other characters are:
- Gar’s surrogate mother Madge; housekeeper
- Gar’s speechless, affectionless father
- Gar’s ex-fiancée Kate
- This play grabs you by the hand not your throat.
- It is sentimental piece of writing with the
- right blend of regret….loveless youth, distant father.
- and laughter….on the threshold of escape to,
- “a vast restless place that
- …doesn’t give a damn about the past.”
- The reader must decide is this play about
- ….and exile or emigration?
- This play is really meant to be seen and not only read!
- The interchanges between the two actors ‘Public and Private’
- bring a real dynamic that captures the audiences attention.
- The maternal touches/gestures of Madge
- …the surrogate mother show her loving character.
- She stuffs snacks and a few pound notes in Gar’s luggage,
- …invites 3 mates to come and say good-bye.
- She warns Gar to be strong…because he will get homesick.
- Her exit the end of the play will pluck a heart string!