Monday, November 28, 2011

Literary Gifts

Shakespearean Insults Mug
With the exception of the weather, it's getting to be that time of the year. Just store-keeping today, but we'll be putting together our holiday window tomorrow. Come in and browse for books for yourself, your loved ones! We walk and talk, make thoughtful recommendations! Like, for instance: to go with your Twelve Plays by Shakespeare, I'd suggest visiting Boing Boing to pair it with a Shakespearean Insults Mug. It includes such gems as "clod of wayward marl" and "veriest varlet that ever chewed with a tooth" and is in keeping with the finest spirit of the holidays.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami

First Edition (Japanese): Wikipedia
I had no idea what Kafka on the Shore was about when I decided to start it, neglecting to read even the back of the book. And I believe entering into this story with as little background as possible is ideal. It allows you to be receptive and make your own discoveries as the book develops. And it is the book that has won me over to Murakami.

Ostensibly, it's about people standing apart from society, traveling towards one another. They alternate chapters on a measured drift together. And the fantastical elements of the world they inhabit are possessed of a naturalness, the feeling that they emanate from the story itself. Talking cats, entrance stones, magical gateways: for the reader, none of these images are obtrusive or extraneous. They are symbols that amass to add to a total meaning.

And I love these characters. Their story is told in a manner that acknowledges the story of any story, the story of any life, the story of time and the world. Did I exceed my 'story' quota? No matter. Loneliness, purity, dreams, music, imperfection, beauty, silence. I am forever happy to have read this.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Algonquin Cat

The Algonquin Hotel, famously known for hosting literary and theatrical notables, has a tradition of keeping a cat that has "run of the house." Myself, I have spied Matilda sitting quietly on a luggage trolley. Possibly in deference to the DOH, the Algonquin Cat has been placed on a leash. At least, it's satin! Still, the Post is inconsolable. Cat fancier? You can contact Matilda here to express concern and/or voice your support.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"Death isn't cruel – merely terribly, terribly good at his job."

Credit: Uploaded to Flickr by The Health Hotel
The Guardian reports that Sir Terry Pratchett "has received consent forms requesting assisted suicide but has not yet signed them." He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in late 2007 and among other great works, is creator of the fantastic Discworld Series. He has said of his decision that he does not "believe in a duty to suffer the worst ravages of terminal illness" and hopes to be "helped across the step" when the time comes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kafka on the Shore

"Like I said, it's because all the performances are imperfect. A dense, artistic kind of imperfection stimulates your consciousness, keeps you alert. If I listen to some utterly perfect performance of an utterly perfect piece while I'm driving, I might want to close my eyes and die right then and there. But listening to the D major, I can feel the limits of what humans are capable of - that a certain type of perfection can only be realized through a limitless accumulation of the imperfect. And personally, I find that encouraging."

Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami

A third of the way in. Expect a full report by week's end.

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Green Fairy

The Absinthe Drinker, Pablo Picasso
Absinthe and Other Liquors of Fin de Siècle Paris:
Lecture and Tasting
Date: Saturday, November 12th
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $10

Presented by Morbid Anatomy

November 12th approaches! Get thee to the Observatory for "an exploration of the exotic and often diabolic liquids of France’s antiquity." Learn about absinthe, green chartreuse, armagnac and ricard at the illustrated lecture by filmmaker Ronni Thomas. Plus, enjoy complimentary absinthe, courtesy of La Fée Absinthe.

The evening concludes with a dance party. I am not even kidding. Explore the cultural legacy of the drink here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Manhattan, When I Was Young

"I never did it again - walk like that in New York, I mean, alone for miles in the middle of the night. But I did it then, taking in the dinosaurs that were those old empty buildings as avidly as I had once taken in rustling trees and sleeping clapboard houses. I took in the smell, that curious confluence of asphalt and automobile exhaust and swill and, surprisingly, tidal flats, and most of all I took in the swollen, purplish sky, in which, in all the years I have stared at it, I have never seen more than two stars."

Manhattan, When I Was Young
Mary Cantwell