Sunday, May 22, 2011

Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century

I've been reading Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March and have stumbled upon another way to assign myself a D

In this case, it concerns the Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century edition I have, a gold and tannish six by nine with quality paper for pages--you've probably seen these around

Anyway, in the beginning they list the twenty books in the series, and as it turns out, I've read thirteen of them--so that's good for a 65, and you can see where this is headed

Well, which ones you ask? The ones by Delillo, Kafka, Pynchon, Kerouac, Golding, Conrad, Morrison, Proust, Steinbeck, Joyce, Marquez, Ford (as in Ford Maddox), and Cather

And who have I failed to read a particular novel of? Wharton, Bellow (as said, am reading, and perhaps ironic that aside from Delillo or possibly Kafka, I've read more of his work than any other writer on the list), Coetzee, Greene (as in Graham), Rushdie, and Lawrence

If you think "Big Book," you can guess the exact title pretty easily for most of these although the Joyce selection is Portrait of the Artist, not what you were thinking, and, yes, this works in my favor

Overall though, to me, this list seems decidedly more "central to the canon" than some of the other lists I've seen floating around the web, and for the most part, the book chosen is absolutely the right one for each author

Or so says this humble D student, relieved to have passed a literature test

PS--My periods have led several other poignant pieces of punctuation on a work stoppage, and I can't have this held against me!

Arghh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  (says the man reduced to the exclamation point)

PPS--I feel a need to confess that I was assigned William Golding's Lord of the Flies three times from grades 8 to 12, got it as a birthday present, and also had it assigned once in college and am almost sure I've read that [redacted] five times! Or, one less than the total number of Bellow's novels I've read (but to an extent, I cheated by dallying about the shorter ones here)

PPPS--Palmetto bug spotted--a huge [redacted]--no doubt from Kafka, his way of reminding me he never would have been a blogger! Or at least not one who overused his exclamation points!!!

PPPPS--[redacted] you, Kafka! At least I've read a title by all but three on the list (Greene, Coetzee, and Kesey)--possibly that means I'm counting a short story by D H Lawrence, yes, okay, I see what you mean, but I wanted to point out that I've read Alan Paton's Too Late the Phalarope, and if I expire tonight I wouldn't mind that this would be the last novel I ever mentioned

PPPPPS--Please God, don't turn me off now, when I was just getting warmed up! Pretty please!!!

PPPPPPS--Oy I really feel I've jinxed myself now

Saturday, May 21, 2011

IPPY Gold Medal for Fight for Your Long Day

Breaking new--Alex Kudera tells Times reporter, via blog, that he is literary god lost in the internet with five hundred million howling, scribbling mortals! And, yes, at times, his fingers hurt an awful lot and he's really bad at that
mind-over-matter stuff

And although he did fill up his tank at a lusty three five-niner per gallon yesterday, he is certain the world did not end today, and he eagerly awaits some edgy YA content from a 2012 Presidential candidate on these and other concerns!

Well, if anyone has better ideas, please post, and in the meanwhile, enjoy the lack of periods on this netbook

Thanks for listening!

Friday, May 13, 2011

friday the thirteenth

I was born on a Friday the 13th.

The resident who delivered me was born on a Friday the 13th.

My father was born on a Friday the 13th.

In my family, we had math, so there was emphasis on the fact that his half birthday was always my whole birthday. And vice versa.

I'm posting now, at 3:11 p.m. EST.

have a good weekend.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Don Riggs for Philly Poet Laureate!

Although Don has served with somewhat dubious distinction as the poet in residence of the United States of Kudera (yes, the blog you are reading, currently operating incognito as Big Lao Gu), at the risk of having him accused of double dipping, two-timing, or worse, I do want to nominate him for that larger office, Poet Laureate of Philadelphia.

As respected and talented poet (and mentioned in Heller's Inky column linked to above), Daisy Fried says, "Don would make a great Poet Laureate. He is also a topnotch catsitter." If I'm not mistaken, Daisy delivers those two sentences in iambic pentameter or almost so. And yes, I could be mistaken.

Well, the father topic has been in and about these parts lately, so in closing, here's a Dad sonnet from Don:

Don’t Ask

Unlike John Brooks Wheelwright, I do not ask

my eighteen-years dead Dad to undecease.

The specific way he puts it is come

home, but my father has gone home: ashes

in the base of the crematory furnace.

They offered to let us come pick the urn

up, who knows how long after he’d burned,

but I declined. Of what use that shovel

of gray particulate matter, mantel

adornment when I don’t have a fireplace?

And what about the ashes would be him?

I have what he imposed on me: the task

of being the professor he’d not been.

I’ve grown this beard to hide his lack of chin.

shivani on mcnally

I'm almost finished John McNally's After the Workshop, and am loving it to the point, where I did what every fan does--namely google the guy and see what shows up. One of the first entries I found was a McNally interview in The Huffington Post from our old friend Anis Shivani (he of Boulevard MFA-trashing fame). Read more here. 

(Note: The two cents above came to me seven to ten days ago, but I'm just now catching up, linking, sharing, and ensuring that. . . well, I don't know exactly what I'm ensuring, but I did finish the novel and would recommend.)

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