Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Adventures in Reading

Readers may be interested in the following books which have been added to stock at Galway City Library:

Good Blonde and Others, by Jack Kerouac
Beat doesn't mean tired, or bushed, so much as it means 'beato' the Italian for beatific: to be in a state of beatitude, like St. Francis, trying to love all life, trying to be utterly sincere with everyone, practicing endurance, kindness, cultivating joy of heart. How can this be done in our mad modern world of multiplicities and millions? By practising a little solitude, going off by oneself once in a while to store up that most precious of golds: the vibrations of sincerity. ( Jack Kerouac, who coined the phrase 'the beat generation.')

The Disappearance: A Novella and Stories, by Ilan Stavans
These provocative stories read almost like newspaper dispatches, conveying facts and stopping short of analysis. Stavans believes that "writing isn't about finding any words to express myself but about finding the right words. There is a plethora of examples to be found in the local bookstore - good ideas that have been poorly articulated. I'm allergic to verbal excess. What can be said at all can be said clearly. Complex ideas can be expressed with simplicity. This conviction of mine may be the result of my love affair with dictionaries. It may be a reaction to the obtuseness of academia, where language conceals rather than reveals meaning."

Dreams of Dreams and the Last Three Days of Fernando Pessoa, by Antonio Tabucchi
Tabucchi has imagined the dreams of twenty artists whom he loved from Pessoa to Caravaggio, from Goya to Garcia Lorca. Elaborately imagined, this book is a mini-catalogue of great artists' dreams and also the author's interpretation of the last three days in the life of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. Tabucchi's rich language and his magical-realist charm tinge the volume with a visionary glow. A lovely little book that keeps ringing in your head long after you've finished it.

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