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putting it off

i am putting off grading really, really boring drafts of final papers…and i’ve got a whole host of stuff i’ve been putting off.

since the beginning of this fall i’ve wanted to write a review of the education of shelby knox: a nice, liberal, feel-good movie about a southern baptist girl who goes from sex ed to accepting gays. (yes, concomitantly both james dobson’s worst fears regarding sex ed and the aclu’s wet dream regarding sex ed) and, as all the awards attest, liberals loved it. did the cameras push her towards being more liberal? it is a very well done docu-drama…but shelby is also very histrionic (i don’t mean this in an overly negative sense, but she is very attracted to the limelight) and an overall high-strung, 15 yearold baptist girl from texas who is very into choir and things like this. i wondered, though, if shelby would’ve fully embraced her blatant liberal ways had she not had to very elegant new york filmmakers trailing her. that is, though i thought the documentary really, really good. and though it warm the cockles of my heart…as they wanted it to…”look!, here in the heartland, here in lubbock, texas, no less, a flag wearing, republican household has birthed a blue-blooded democrat.”

also, i’ve wanted to write about tracy chevalier’s the lady and the unicorn

i must confess i have neither seen nor read the girl with the pearl earing…nor, in fact, did i read this book. instead, we listened to it on the way to moms and pops.

the tapestries are fascinating and beautiful. the story is ok. i mean, it’s a nice audio book to keep you awake at 2 am when you’re driving the flatest land of this god’s country…but it’s not a novel like the dream of scipio by iain pears (which takes a few running starts to get through, but still a fascinating novel about art and civilization). i don’t know chevalier’s strengths (not having read her other two books), but she is able to get voice and character down nicely. given the stunning quality of the tapestries and the central role the images and the creation of the images play in the story, i would’ve thought that her ekphrastic abilities were better than they are. and given the multiple layers of meaning that the tapestries contain and that chevalier tries to play with, i would’ve thought that the novel never got beyond a period romance the novel would’ve gotten beyond a period romance (almost erotica) piece. the panels stand for the five sense…and the artist proposes that there are two ways to read the narrative: a spiritual journey away from the flesh or the awakening of the flesh and the loss of innocence. also, according to chevalier’s telling, there are pairs of women…mothers and daughters. it has the making of what could be a really, really stellar novel…and though all these things do make an appearance never is there a real mediation on art, it’s role/purpose, or a real examination of the above themes. all of this is preempted by the various love tales that propell the story forward.

(more half baked reviews that i’ve been putting off forthcoming)



I hate it when a book is ever so promising, but never quite gets where it might go. I wonder sometimes though, when that happens, if that’s more a function of a reader’s disappointment or a writer’s failure?

PS. I added the audiobook to our “Reading” list at right. :)

oh, i think this one is all me. i was wanting Literature (no, at first i wasn’t, i just wanted a story to keep me awake). but then, when the artist tried to explain what he was doing and only scratched the surface, i was wanting her to ponder the deeper things of life and art…and she is only a good story teller…and it is unfair of me to expect her to be profound in a way an academic likes, when she only wants to tell stories and sell books. but, who’s gonna get Literature at some pit-stop in Alabama. we were just lucky to get something that wasn’t the purpose driven something or lick my shiny, shiny red-patent boot of leather.

though, in reference to the racy scenes of the book, i ask you, and i ask you earnestly, why, why do people think that they are the ones who will be able to write the big oompah scene and it not come out risable?

once done with the semester i will try and learn that deliciouso stuff. :) ‘cuz i’ve got some books we should add.

Oh, the reading section’s not hooked up to del.icio.us—you can update it through other means. Check your email for instructions. (In other words, I’m not letting you get off that easily!)

Speaking of racy scenes did you read about Scooter Libby’s girl/bear love novel? Talk about trying to pull it all off at once. (He’s probably a big fan of Cormac McCarthy.)

oh i was only trying to put off the del.icio.us stuff till next week…not indefinitely :)

oh, yeah! and here i’ve been wondering what i should read next!

(i’m currently reading that book about the rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker, and do you think i’ve come across even one steamy ornithologist-birdie scene? that’s right, no. unbelievable.)

Ah, reading, reading. . . it’s almost enough to make me want to be unemployed again.

speaking of reading, i just finished howards end and am now moving on to on beauty, the new one by the great zadie smith (except for autograph man, which was decidedly ungreat, but hey, you can’t turn out a booker prize shortlister every time).

I’m still on the Benjamin diary (linked at right). I’ve learned from it so far that Walter Benjamin was a sad sucker for love…

well, now that we are doing a true confessions of the reading mind…

i’m reading v.s. naipaul’s middlepassage (his first travel book)

soon, i will review the greatest american novel ever…and i don’t mean american in the limited sense that unitedstatesians mean it :P

ooh, ooh! are we guessing? absalom, absalom?

i’m voting for a south american. which, i don’t know.

yeah, i’m thinking faulkner’s a bad bet…the suspense is growing!

as soon as i get out the article that i should’ve sent off years ago to the editors of a certain journal of colonial latin american literature, the suspense will be broken.