Thoughts on Books I Read This Year Pt. 5: Kazuo Ishiguro
"What I’m interested in is not the actual fact that my characters have done things they later regret. I’m interested in how they come to terms with it. On the one hand there is a need for honesty, on the other hand a need to deceive themselves - to preserve a sense of dignity, some sort of self-respect. What I want to suggest is that some sort of dignity and self-respect does come from that sort of honesty."
- Kazuo Ishiguro
The Remains of the Day
Inspired by Emily, I read The Remains of the Day for a second time in five years. It is one of the best books I’ll get to read in my life. It’s a book that I think about often and it is one that I recommend often and it is one that I will probably re-read often.
The story really opens up the second time, and re-reading it showed me how artfully Ishiguro composes Stevens’ story. Someone can tell a true story and still not be honest with himself or his audience, and the second time reading this I was able to focus on the interplay between the story Stevens is willing to tell and the story that Stevens denies himself and the reader as he wrestles with the implications that his past imposes on his present and remaining days.
An Artist of the Floating World
I read Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating World right after I read The Remains of the Day. It’s the story of a Japanese father whose life as a propaganda artist during World War II bears negative influence on his life as a family man in a homeland that is recovering from the physical and psychological devastation that the war has wrought upon the country and its people.
The book explores many of the same themes of memory, duty, dignity and honor that The Remains of the Day explores and Ishiguro employs a lot of the same techniques with Masuji Ono’s narrative that he will employ with Stevens’. The passages between Ono and his grandson are unique to this novel and are the best parts of the book.
Both of Ishiguro’s books are ones that I recommend. Ishiguro achieves so much in both novels with lucid and simple language, and for what it’s worth, they are “easy to read,” which is kind of a silly thing to say about them because they are such rich experiences.
11:32 am • 6 December 2013
Turkey Trot 2013. Downtown Los Angeles. November 28, 2013.
Emily and I did the inaugural Turkey Trot LA to start off our Thanksgiving and then spent the rest of the day resting, watching Catching Fire and eating a “classic” Thanksgiving meal.
It was a really beautiful day and running the Turkey Trot was a great way to start our day. I’m so proud of Emily. This was the longest she’s ever run! I definitely recommend this race and I hope we can do it every year.
10:04 am • 29 November 2013 • 1 note
Reading Ishiguro with Emily for the rest of the month.
10:12 am • 25 November 2013 • 3 notes
Thoughts on Books I Read This Year Pt. 4
The Plot Against America by Philip Roth
The most imaginative Roth work I’ve read so far. It’s about the Roth brothers coming of age in a bizarro version of WWII America in which Charles Lindbergh, the famed aviator and apparent closet Nazi sympathizer, becomes POTUS. It’s a pretty typical Roth-ian affair from there: Americana, Jewish identity, indignation and outrage. His humor is unsparing and scathing as ever, but unfortunately the whole alternate history thing wears thin towards the last third of the book at which point the answer to the novel’s problem literally (and unconvincingly) falls out of the sky.
I read Roth’s books often, but my indifference towards him increases as time goes on. I think he’s a great writer, but the more I read, the more it seems like all of his characters are stuck in adolescence, even when they are old and dying. Adolescence (a fruitful topic for many writers, even at one point for Roth himself) seems less interesting in Roth’s hands after a while.
Andrew’s Brain by E.L. Doctorow
The story of a man whose presence ruins everything. It even ruins his own book. I read it in two days. Not a fan. The ending is really clever but poorly executed. Someone else more dedicated to lampooning the Bush administration (or any other historically inept leaders) should pick up Doctorow’s idea and run with it.
But Beautiful by Geoff Dyer
A collection of imagined vignettes on great jazz artists from Thelonious Monk to Art Pepper. It isn’t fiction, but it isn’t non-fiction either. Though at points it seems kind of self-indulgent, I appreciate Dyer’s desire and attempt to bring his subjects to life in ways that mere biography is unable to do. He riffs on the artifacts of each artist’s life (music, photographs, apocrypha) which is probably the most a writer can attempt to do when writing non-non-fiction about jazz.
I liked this, but it should go without saying that the writing isn’t equivalent to even a fraction of either the music or the lives it wants to describe. While the collection doesn’t coalesce into something greater than its parts, it does feel like a sincere attempt of an author— alas, a lowly fan like the rest of us— who wants to share his own private mythology of artists whose lives and art come across as both fragile and tremendous.
7:28 pm • 21 November 2013 • 2 notes
“There is a place. Like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger!”
The Last Bookstore
Los Angeles, California
This place is on my bucket list to visit.
this is the only place i buy books from anymore ((and im going there tomorrow i need some new trashy romance novels)))
cool fact: up on the second floor, 1 book only costs $1. and the amount of cool books up there is endlessssss. so if you have $5 to spend well lucky you
This place looks, like it smells sssoooo gggoooodd
For Dale :)
Some of the best booksellers in Los Angeles work there.
10:23 am • 20 November 2013 • 319,037 notes
Los Muertos. November 9, 2013. Highland Park.
12:54 pm • 16 November 2013 • 1 note
“Suppose, then, it were possible, not only to swear love “forever,” but actually to follow through on it - to live a long, full and authentic life based on such a vow, to put one’s allotted stake of precious time where one’s heart is?”
— "The Heart’s Eternal Vow" by Thomas Pynchon
2:05 pm • 13 November 2013 • 19 notes
D+E. Little Soul Art.
David and Sara are staying over for the weekend and Sara gave us this amazing portrait of Em and me. Thanks Sara! This is really cool.
2:53 am • 9 November 2013 • 2 notes
Emily and me in Mammoth earlier this year.
8:37 pm • 8 November 2013 • 2 notes
We need 1 more dollar for this pizza party to happen. And I need some orange soda to go along w/the pizza . #warehouseblues #pizzapartywednesday
2:15 pm • 30 October 2013 • 1 note
How to Do...The Last Bookstore
Navigating a former bank that’s now a maze of literary riches…
6:44 pm • 29 October 2013 • 4 notes
“Californians invented the concept of life-style. This alone warrants their doom.”
— White Noise by Don DeLillo
9:07 pm • 27 October 2013 • 6 notes