Wednesday, November 08, 2006

when it comes to reading, thrift and the public library i have no sense of humor

Ian Frazier, "Downpaging." So funny I forgot to laugh.

Will be reading Lagos, Stein and Toklas; will not be reading plastic surgery.

And if you missed the bio of Christopher Hitchens, the letters in last week's issue are worth a look.


Blogger mzn said...

I recommend the article on radical cyclists. It makes them seem ridiculous in the nicest possible way.

3:57 PM  
Blogger zp said...

As it turned out, that was the first thing I read.

Flipping through, lines from Bernadin (sp, I know, it's not in front of me) jumped out and grabbed me. With the trans fat thing and the dig at Koolhaas (sp, very nice) in the Lagos essay, I say the theme of the issue was late capitalist holier than thou. All good, too.

5:57 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

I'm afraid that article on cyclists really got up my nose. This is one of the subjects on which I have no sense of humor.
Another is the senseless abuse of Yiddish words. My teeth are on still edge from Malcolm's awkward, jarring, and just plain wrong use of the words "goyim," "yenta," and "erection." OK, I guess "erection" isn't Yiddish, but you know what I mean?

1:08 AM  
Blogger zp said...

Whew, that Malcolm peice was a stinker.

I've got a whole thing in my head about "Unbecoming Gertrude Stein" and how labels like "Lesbian" or "Jew", if two are in a creative sort of partnership, are entirely unstable and fictive and provisional and Stein's (or Hemingway's) rather offensive use of proper nouns is part of a larger strategy of resisting stable identities and how Malcolm is so wrong in the way she gives and takes away identity politics points and looks for biography in the aesthetics (rather than the other way round) that the light from right would take a thousand years to reach her. Although, to be fair, she tries to approach it from both ends. Anyway, Benj hates that phrase "light from right", he says its crude, but I'm finding it sort of expressive in this case.

Exactly which way does your nose go on this radical cyclist issue, though, Madame the Chocolate Lady?

5:25 PM  
Blogger the chocolate lady said...

My sensitive, delicate, and most civil nose is strongly for the cyclists. Not all are speed-crazed wackos or exploited restaurant employees (and I did not care at all for his dismissal of the latter category). A surprising number are large, middle-aged Yiddish ladies commuting to academic and pastry-related obligations.

You never notice all the cyclists *not* knocking you over.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous carolita said...

Ha! that's exactly what I said. What's so funny about overspending on books? As a person who has ruined herself often with too much book buying (too much, did I say? no such thing, except according to my accountant), I thought it was not funny either. It should happen to him! It should happen to everyone! It's happened to me. I used to tell myself I was spending as much on books as other people spend on cigarettes, alcohol, and unfruitful dating. People who spend lots and lots on cigarettes, alcohol and unfruitful dating....

11:30 PM  
Blogger zp said...

I have a story about what a bicyclist, who was riding on the sidewalk said to me in front of the public library . . .

11:23 AM  
Blogger clare said...

The Lagos article was great, but the big mystery is, how do I find it at It's either unavailable (are only the current and articles from >6 months ago available?) or miscatalogued. Very strange. As an avid train-reader of NYer I'm going to keep track of you. good stuff.

1:42 PM  
Blogger zp said...

welcome, clare.

i think i've found that not all print magazine articles appear - ever - in at the website. carolita j (see links and comments on my blog) usually mentions it in her weekly summaries when very good print articles don't appear online.

after the month has passed though, it's tricky to know what is/was there and what's not because, i find, the searching to be very very spotty. like, it's better to search by key terms than to try author's names or titles or dates . . .

6:10 PM  

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