Random Literature Thread

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linguoboy
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Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby linguoboy » 2020-05-25, 16:00

Well, this is pretty damn random: Acclaimed Cuban-American writer H.G. Carrillo wasn't.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/cuban-american-author-hg-carrillo-who-explored-themes-of-cultural-alienation-died-after-contracting-covid-19/2020/05/21/35478894-97d8-11ea-91d7-cf4423d47683_story.html

"And this weekend, in his grief, he suddenly learned that his husband (true name Herman Glenn Carroll, it turns out) was not the childhood Cuban immigrant he claimed to be — that Hache’s personal origin story, which he shared publicly and with those close to him throughout his adult life, was an extension of his fiction, a product of imagination....“At first, I was just so downcast,” he said Saturday, in a quiet voice. “I’ve only met his family by text. I never understood why he would never introduce me. Now I do.”"

(I tried reading Losing my Espanish once but never made it through the first chapter. If I ever do get around to reading it, this will certainly add an interesting subtext.)
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Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby Yasna » 2020-07-15, 3:06

Ein Buch muß die Axt sein für das gefrorene Meer in uns. - Kafka

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Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby Yasna » 2020-11-17, 21:14

Der Boxer ist zurück: Sczepan Twardochs tiefdüsteres Epos „Das schwarze Königreich“ (Królestwo) beschwört im Weltkriegs-Warschau die Hölle auf Erden herauf.

Warschau zwischen dem deutschen Überfall, der Kapitulation und dem Kriegsende. Eine schwarze Epoche, in der auch der Vorkriegskönig Jakub Shapiro aus der polnischen Halbwelt ein König ohne Untertan ist. Dunkelste Schwärze herrscht auf Warschaus Straßen. Und so ist auch der, der jahrelang von Schutzgelderpressung, Auftragsmord und Straßenkriminalität lebte, am Ende. [...]

Szczepan Twardoch ist ein Autor der sogenannten dritten Generation, der man eine Ästhetisierung des nationalsozialistischen Horrors wieder zugesteht. Die Debatte um Jonathan Littells Roman „Die Wohlgesinnten“ hat vor knapp fünfzehn Jahren gezeigt, dass man sich einer literarischen Auseinandersetzung mit dem Judenmord nicht aus der Erinnerung, sondern aus der Überlieferung heraus stellen muss. Twardoch gelingt es als Vertreter dieser Generation, das große Geschichtsactionrad so geschickt zu drehen, dass die Opfer dabei nicht zum Spielmaterial einer zügellosen Phantasie werden.
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Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby Yasna » 2021-01-31, 6:17

The three books that drove Glenn Loury away from the right in the 90s.

1. The End of Racism by Dinesh D'Souza
2. The Bell Curve by Charles A. Murray and Richard Herrnstein
3. America in Black & White by Abigail Thernstrom and Stephan Thernstrom

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myN-Nwik_fI
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Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby Rí.na.dTeangacha » 2021-01-31, 14:56

Yasna wrote:The three books that drove Glenn Loury away from the right in the 90s.

1. The End of Racism by Dinesh D'Souza
2. The Bell Curve by Charles A. Murray and Richard Herrnstein
3. America in Black & White by Abigail Thernstrom and Stephan Thernstrom

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myN-Nwik_fI


I haven't read The End of Racism or America in Black & White, but I did read The Bell Curve. Did I miss it in the video, or did Glenn not really say why he didn't like The Bell Curve? He said that it's a serious book that can't just be dismissed out of hand, but I didn't catch the part where he explained why it pushed him away from the right (not that I couldn't guess or anything, but I'm wondering if I just wasn't paying enough attention to the video...).

EDIT: I think he simply says "We could go into it" and "It's a deep rabbit-hole", essentially saying that his critique would take too long to go into here, which is totally understandable given the amount of material in the book.
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Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby Yasna » 2021-02-01, 6:19

Rí.na.dTeangacha wrote:I haven't read The End of Racism or America in Black & White, but I did read The Bell Curve. Did I miss it in the video, or did Glenn not really say why he didn't like The Bell Curve? He said that it's a serious book that can't just be dismissed out of hand, but I didn't catch the part where he explained why it pushed him away from the right (not that I couldn't guess or anything, but I'm wondering if I just wasn't paying enough attention to the video...).

EDIT: I think he simply says "We could go into it" and "It's a deep rabbit-hole", essentially saying that his critique would take too long to go into here, which is totally understandable given the amount of material in the book.

This page appears to have most of Loury's review of The Bell Curve from 1994. But given his intellectual journey and 27 more years of data, it's possible that he thinks about the book a little differently today.

https://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/06/three-conservatives-on-why-charles-murrays-ideas-are-bankupt-in-the-academic-intellectual-marketplace.html

The authors will surely get more grief than they deserve for having stated the facts of this matter—that on the average blacks lag significantly behind whites in cognitive functioning. That is not my objection. What I find problematic is their suggestion that we accommodate ourselves to the inevitability of the difference in mental performance among the races in America. This posture of resignation is an unacceptable response to today's tragic reality. We can be prudent and hard-headed about what government can and cannot accomplish through its various instruments of policy without abandoning hope of achieving racial reconciliation within our national community.

In reality, the record of black American economic and educational achievement in the post-civil-rights era has been ambiguous—great success mixed with shocking failure. Myriad explanations for the failure have been advanced, but the account that attributes it to the limited mental abilities of blacks is singular in its suggestion that we must learn to live with current racial disparities....

The question now on the floor, in the minds of blacks as well as whites, is whether blacks are capable of gaining equal status, given equality of opportunity. It is a peculiar mind that fails to fathom how poisonous a question this is for our democracy. Let me state my unequivocal belief that blacks are, indeed, so capable. Still, any assertion of equal black capacity is a hypothesis or an axiom, not a fact. The fact is that blacks have something to prove, to ourselves and to what W. E. B. Du Bois once characterized as "a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity." This is not fair; it is not right; but it is the way things are.
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Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby Rí.na.dTeangacha » 2021-02-01, 11:43

Yasna wrote:https://www.bradford-delong.com/2018/06/three-conservatives-on-why-charles-murrays-ideas-are-bankupt-in-the-academic-intellectual-marketplace.html

The authors will surely get more grief than they deserve for having stated the facts of this matter—that on the average blacks lag significantly behind whites in cognitive functioning. That is not my objection. What I find problematic is their suggestion that we accommodate ourselves to the inevitability of the difference in mental performance among the races in America. This posture of resignation is an unacceptable response to today's tragic reality. We can be prudent and hard-headed about what government can and cannot accomplish through its various instruments of policy without abandoning hope of achieving racial reconciliation within our national community.

In reality, the record of black American economic and educational achievement in the post-civil-rights era has been ambiguous—great success mixed with shocking failure. Myriad explanations for the failure have been advanced, but the account that attributes it to the limited mental abilities of blacks is singular in its suggestion that we must learn to live with current racial disparities....

The question now on the floor, in the minds of blacks as well as whites, is whether blacks are capable of gaining equal status, given equality of opportunity. It is a peculiar mind that fails to fathom how poisonous a question this is for our democracy. Let me state my unequivocal belief that blacks are, indeed, so capable. Still, any assertion of equal black capacity is a hypothesis or an axiom, not a fact. The fact is that blacks have something to prove, to ourselves and to what W. E. B. Du Bois once characterized as "a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity." This is not fair; it is not right; but it is the way things are.


Nice, thanks for sharing!
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Re: Random Literature Thread

Postby Rí.na.dTeangacha » 2021-02-12, 16:48

Has anyone tried using Blinkist? It's an app that basically gives you audio cliffnotes for a load of non-fiction books. It seems to market itself as a replacement for or shortcut to reading widely, which initially made me que skeptical of it. I thought a bit more about it though, and realized it might be good as a way to quickly revise books I've read previously, or to discover new books I'd like to read. Basically, I think it could be usefully used in conjunction with reading, rather than as a replacement. I downloaded it yesterday and am on the trial period. I wanted to check out how well I thought the "blinks" as the call them stacked up against the full books in terms of value you can get from them, so I checked them out for some books I have already read. I imagine the quality varies from book to book, but I definitely think that as a refresher on a book you've already read, they can work very well. If you really wanted to internalise the arguments of a book better, you could do worse than listen to the "blink" of the book a few times after reading it so as not to forget. I also think it would serve well as a way to judge a book by a measure other than its cover - if you like the blink, the book might be worth a read. I would be curious to see if listening to the blink of a book before reading it increases your reading speed, given it's going to give you all the context and the major points.
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