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review 2016-06-23 00:00
Anatomia niepokoju, pisma wybrane 1969-1989
Anatomia niepokoju, pisma wybrane 1969-1989 - Bruce Chatwin It left me lukewarm, compared to Chatwin's collected letters, which are more informative and consistently rather amusing.

The first section, Horreur du domicile, is OK; the second, Stories, quite unremarkable; the third, The Nomadic Alternative, quite redundant if you know the letters; Reviews - might be useful to some, but not many; and the final section, Art and the Image-breaker forms an interesting analysis of Chatwin's attitude to art, possessions, and nomadism.
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quote 2016-02-21 17:32
The Dike Bridge, ugly and primitive and unrailed and unmarked, twelve feet wide and some seventy-five feet long, had been in place for twenty years, and no one had ever driven off it.
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review 2015-11-22 22:14
1969 And Then Some by Robert Wintner
1969 and Then Some: A Memoir of Romance, Motorcycles, and Lingering Flashbacks of a Golden Age - Robert Wintner

This memoir follows the author on his European motorcycle adventure when he is in his early 20s, through his college days, and then his earliest attempts to make a living as a magazine writer and then a real estate handler. It’s nitty gritty, the author not holding back ever on recounting his decisions and life path.

I recently read another book by this author (Brainstorm) and it wasn’t a good fit for me. However, this book was absolutely fascinating and I was a little sad when it came to an end. There’s lots of drug culture and counter culture stuff going on in this book. I don’t get all of it, and I don’t agree with all of it. However, it was so very different from my own life that I was swiftly caught up in the tale. The author became this main character that I sometimes rooted for and sometimes I wanted to kick. I became attached to the story line and was very curious to see how things would turn out.

The first big chunk of the book covers the author’s European motorcycle trip. There’s plenty of drugs, interesting male characters, and women who the author is interested in. He’s exploring life in general, seeing the sites on a dime and meeting interesting people. In listening to this section, I really felt that the author remembers this time with great fondness.

After some few months, the author returns home. The Vietnam war is in full swing and being drafted into it is a very real thing. So, he goes to college to get that draft deferment. Again, there are plenty of drugs, alcohol, and women. In general, college was a joke. Students aimed for a middle grade C in order to stay in college, and perhaps earn a degree eventually. The author and most of his friends didn’t take college seriously. There’s almost a fatalistic feel to this section of the book, like no matter what they do, sooner or later they will be swept up into one of three things: death by drugs & alcohol, the war machine, or the much slower death of conformity.

Eventually, the author has to get proactive about dodging the Vietnam draft. These endeavors take him on road trips across the country, and also mental trips of physical degradation. Both wore him down. After this section, the time line of the tale speeds up. Years or decades go by as the author talks about what jobs he was willing to do once the fear of being drafted had passed. He also keeps tabs on a few friends, goes on a few more motorcycle rides, has a few stints in the hospital, and in general, ages.

Here’s one of my few criticisms of the book. Nearly all the ladies mentioned are merely sex objects. The author’s mom, who has a small role at the beginning of the book, and again near the end is one exception. Also, an old flame nicknamed Betty Boop has a recurring role in the tale, though most of those encounters center around her sex appeal. Late in the book, the author’s wife Rachel (who played a pivotal role in Brainstorm) is mentioned a few times. The book started off with the 20 something year old author and so I could understand raging hormones and all at that during that time of life. However, the ladies never seem to matter much more even as the author ages.

There’s tons of drug culture stuff in this book, which I found fascinating. The author speaks often of how the drug use was a way to expand the mind and become a little closer with the universe, etc. I didn’t really get this. Of course, I had to wonder how small the user’s mind was to begin with, and then I wondered what these ‘enlightened’ folks did with the expanded minds. While both questions went unanswered, I found it very interesting how they repeatedly told themselves this, like it was a justification. Perhaps for some it was. Perhaps for others, it was exactly what they said it was – an expansion of their reality.

This goes hand in hand with the need to not conform, ever. That seemed to be a driving force in the author’s life and definitely added some interesting aspects to the story. First off, there was a whole generation of people who decided they would not conform…. so that kind of created a new branch conformity. Having a standard 8-5 job with benefits was something of a death knell to these folks. It was very fascinating to watch them work so hard to avoid this conformity, and to keep enjoying drugs, alcohol, and free sex. Indeed, I didn’t get chunks of this book, and I don’t agree with all the philosophies woven through the narrative. Nevertheless, it was a fascinating look into someone else’s life. In the end, I simply enjoyed the ride.

I received a copy of this audiobook at no cost as part of the iReads Book Tour in exchange for an honest review.

The Narration:  Robin Bloodworth did a great job with the narration. He had  a variety of regional and European accents for the tale. Also, his character voices were all distinct. His female voices were believable. He imbued the story with emotion as needed and I really liked how he brought the author’s memoir to life. 

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review 2015-05-25 08:07
Ajax Penumbra 1969
Ajax Penumbra 1969 - Robin Sloan

It's been quite some time since I read Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But I really enjoyed it so this short novella was something I wanted to read for a long time.


It's a very fast and entertaining short story about the younger years of Penumbra and how he ended up owning a 24-hour bookstore. Though I'd rather see a complete sequel to the first book, this is a good surrogate.


But I think it very likely that I'd been a bit more invested in the characters had it not been 2 years since I read the first book.


Ajax Penumbra 1969 is the prequel novella to Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore.

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review 2015-02-26 00:00
Selected Poems, 1908-1969
Selected Poems, 1908-1969 - Ezra Pound Alphabetical List of Titles

from Personae (1908, 1909, 1910)
--Na Audiart
--Villonaud for this Yule
--The Tree
--Sestina: Altaforte
--Ballad of the Goodly Fere
--Planh for the Young English King
--"Blandula, Tenulla, Vagula"
--Erat Hora
--The House of Splendour
--La Fraisne
--A Villonaud: Ballad of the Gibbet
--Piere Vidal Old

from Ripostes (1912)
--Portrait d'une Femme
--An Object
--The Seafarer
--The Return

from Lustra
--The Garret
--The Garden
--Salutation the Second
--The Spring
--A Pact
--Dance Figure
--The Rest
--Les Millwin
--A Song of the Degrees
--The Bath Tub
--Liu Ch'e
--The Coming of War: Actæon
--In a Station of the Metro
--The Encounter
--"Ione, Dead the Long Year"
--The Tea Shop
--The Lake Isle
--Villanelle: the Psychological Hour
--Alba from "Langue d'Oc"
--Near Perigord

--Song of the Bowmen of Shu
--The Beautiful Toilet
--The River Song
--The River-Merchant's Wife: a Letter
--Poem by the Bridge at Ten-Shin
--The Jewel Stairs' Grievance
--Lament of the Frontier Guard
--Exile's Letter

--Four Poems of Departure
--Separation on the River Kiang
--Taking Leave of a Friend
--Leave-taking Near Shoku
--The City of Choan

--South-Folk in Cold Country
--Sennin Poem by Kakuhaku
--A Ballad of the Mulberry Road
--Old Idea of Choan by Rosoriu
--To-Em-Mei's "The Unmoving Cloud"

--Homage to Sextus Propertius (1917)

Hugh Selwyn Mauberley
--I E. P. Ode Pour L'Election de son Sepulchre
--II "The age demanded an image"
--III "The tea-rose tea-gown, etc."
--IV "These fought in any case,"
--V "There died a myriad,"
--VI Yeux Glauques
--VII "Siena Mi Fe'; Disfecemi Maremma"
--VIII Brennbaum
--IX Mr. Nixon
--X "Beneath the sagging roof"
--XI "Conservatrix of Milésien"
--XII "Daphne with her thighs in bark"
--Envoi (1919)
--Mauberley 1920

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