Category Archives: confessions of a logophile

“Here”

Via Flavorwire:

 

Rick Moody has one of the coolest tattoos possible (in our opinion), because it’s part of Shelley Jackson’s Skin project, a 2095-word story published exclusively in tattoos, one word each on as many willing volunteers, so it can never be read in its proper order, but just exists, pulsing, out in the world at all times. Photo via NY Press.”

How very post-modern….

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50 Books to Read Before You Die

A list of 50 books to read before you die, though I’m not sure according to who…but nonetheless, a great group of novels here. I’ve bolded the books I’ve read.  Anyone make it through the entire list already??

“50 Books to Read Before You Die” bookmark

  1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien
  2. 1984 by George Orwell
  3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  6. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  7. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  8. A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
  9. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  10. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  11. A Bend in the River by V. S. Naipaul
  12. The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald
  13. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  14. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  15. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  16. The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
  17. Don Quixote by Miduel de Cervantes
  18. The Bible
  19. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
  20. Ulysses by James Joyce
  21. The Quiet American by Graham Greene
  22. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulke
  23. Money by Martin Amis
  24. Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
  25. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  26. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  27. His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
  28. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  29. Alice´s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll
  30. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  31. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
  32. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  33. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (side note to Heart of Darkness–I have never hated a book with as much passion as this one. A hatred that burns with the heat of 1,000 fires. But I made it through…)
  34. The Way We Live Now by Antony Trollope
  35. The Outsider by Albert Camus
  36. The Colour Purple by Alice Walker
  37. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  38. Frankenstein by Mary Selley
  39. The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
  40. Man Without Woman by Ernest Hemingway
  41. Gulliver´s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  42. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  43. Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  44. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Dafoe
  45. One Flew Over the Cockoo´s Nest by Ken Kesey
  46. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  47. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  48. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  49. The Divine Comedy by Alighieri Dante
  50. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Words.

Words are funny little things, aren’t they? At once both fleeting and concrete, they take different forms when shoved together next to one another in bulky sentences or careless phrases. Precise and lithe, words are my worst enemies and my best friends.

I’m a firm believer in words.  True, they’re tricky, and oftentimes there’s more to one of them than first appears. But that’s where the hunt begins, the chase, the burning desire to know, just know, what that one damn word is trying to tell me. Where’s the fun in something that lacks mystery? Where’s the intrigue? Words play with me. They actively engage me, and yet somehow keep me at an arms distance at all times, as if to say, “Come and get me…!” and I, knowing full and well that I will never catch them, run to join the game.

People say to me all the time, “Yeah, but what are you going to do with a Literature degree?” What am I going to do? I’m going to do something that makes me fall in love every single day. I’m going to be surrounded by words and I am not going to regret for a second my choice to do so. I have no doubt that I will be able to find something “to do.”  I refuse to give up the convoluted and fascinating world that is words for something someone else deems “practical.” I am an informed, passionate, educated adventurer/rocketeer for the English language, and now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a book sitting next to me that’s screaming my name.

Awwww yeah…

An Eternal Abyss: House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielweski

Never before have I encountered a more complex, haunting, and sorrowful novel than Mark Z. Danielewski’s 400+ page tomb House of Leaves.

Eerie, sad, visceral, and yet highly experimental and cerebral, House of Leaves tells the story of a young man named Johnny Truant, who discovers a manuscript in the apartment of a dead man named Zampano.  This academic dissertation explores a movie entitled “The Navidson Report,” a tale of a family who moves into a house, inside which lives, quite literally, an ever-changing abyss of a labyrinth.  “The Navidson Report” is written as scholarly article, citing sources, providing charts and graphs, and using footnotes to cite and recommend further reading.  However, Truant discovers that the movie never existed, and nor do any of the sources referenced in the manuscript.  And yet Truant begins experiencing strange phenomenons-hallucinations, insomnia, increased paranoia, and a haunting growling sound that follows him like an angry lover.

Danielewski uses an extremely interesting technique to present this story, as the reader experiences the novel through three layers of narration: first, the primary author, Zampano, of the original manuscript on “The Navidson Report,” second, Truant, who reads the manuscript and comments on it through footnotes interjected within in the manuscript, and third, the “Editors” of the book itself, who pitch in their own two cents every so often, too.  Additionally, by choosing to have Zampano deconstruct the central story (the story of “The Navidson Report”) in an academic (and, admittedly, at times rather dense) way, Danielwski both denies the reader the (dis)pleasure while also creating a criticism of academia itself.

Furthermore, the purposeful textual layout of the novel is highly representative of both the state of mind of the characters, as well as the labyrinth itself (see below).

A claustrophobic logophile’s worst nightmare.

While many might classify this novel as a horror story, it is so much more.  Perhaps a love story with no happy endings, or a reminder of the enduring and permanent darkness that exists within every facet of life, would be better categories in which to shove this unconventional, yet frighteningly relatable, book.

After all, aren’t each of us attempting to navigate our own personal labyrinth?

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“A Literary Chili Cheeseburger”: Broetry, by Brian McGackin

“I have finished/the beer/that was in/the icebox/and which/you were probably/saving/for Friday/Forgive me/this girl came over/so sweet/and so hot.”

So begins “Broetry,” a collection of “poetry for dudes” by Brian McGackin. Humorous, short, sweet, and to the point, like a beer and fries after twenty meals of steak and wine, “Broetry” is also much more than it initially seems.  McGackin touches on topics from hangovers, girlfriends, roommates, and the poverty of being a 20-something right out of college. Surprisingly, though, this seemingly jocular read is startlingly touching.  Written in blank verse, McGackin’s frankness on love, happiness, and masculinity are shrouded behind a layer of comedic relief, and for that, his poems are all the more emotive.  We can appreciate his disillusionment because he speaks in layman’s language; his musings on love and girls are painfully honest in their simplicity (the hilarious illustrations are also a plus!).

For a short, yet honest, look at the average life of a “dude,” like, totally check that sh*t out, bro.