November 19, 2004



Not sure if it's true or not but Stoppard suggested once that Lenin was ashamed of himself for crying at the 'bourgeois' music of Beethoven ( in Travesties, I think).

TPB, Esq.

That sounds like projection to me, TEV.


I could never love a woman who didn't like Rachmaninoff. But that's just me.

Jimmy Beck

"Penetration is too sentimental--it's all there on the panties. I prefer the tension that's never resolved, i.e., dry humping."


She's not into Wagner?

Tod Goldberg

The only thing that gives me pleasure about this profile is that, at some point in my lifetime, there will be an interview with a government official that goes like this:

"Secy. of State Taylor believes that Ice Cube did lose his edge after leaving NWA, that Dr. Dre truly provided the background he needed to get his rage across. And though the Bomb Squad made him sound progressive on his first solo album, from then on, Taylor thinks, filmmaking (especially Anaconda) and his eventual decision to continue rapping about being a gangsta when he was already near 40 and worth several million dollars, made the rest of his work insignificant and lacking the tension one needs to jack muthafuckas up."

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald


    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe


    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."