Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Book Notes

I read this book review in the Daily Yomiuri on Saturday and ordered the book from Amazon right away. It came the next day, Sunday. I have only spent an hour or two looking at the pictures and reading it, but I can recommend it as being even a little too effective at evoking the atmosphere and associative complexes of late Tokugawa and Meiji Japan. It took me a few days to stop seeing the Tokugawa world embedded in the Heisei and upon which the 20th and 21st century technologies are hung like Christmas tree ornaments. This book should be read in small, controlled doses to avoid synchronic reality distortion. The stereoscopic images are a favorite of mine; I always appreciated the embedding of an extra dimension in media. It was an interesting time to live but violent and unpleasant, overall, as I vibe it. So much progress has been made has changed, especially in the last fifty years. The book is Photography in Japan: 1853-1912, by Terry Bennett. You will want to have it in the cellulosic carbon form, at least until Google Books makes it available as a hi-def e-book around 2011. But even then….

I also recently stumbled across Chapter 17 (?) of 1984 on the web and had to read that. I haven't read 1984 since the 1970s (or maybe 1980s). The entire book is online at Mondo Politico. As I reread Chapter One, I noticed it could stand alone as a short story. The exposition and construction of the fictional world is my favorite part of both film and literature, and by the end of Chapter One, you are there. However, you assume that the police will be at the door, so it could be interpreted as the end. Well, the full novel just stretches that ending out, doesn't it? Eric Blair is a very 1990s-sounding name, by the way, I understand why he felt the need to use "George Orwell" as a pen name, for its evocation of decaying imperialist period. Had he stuck with his original name, "Orwellian" as an adjective would have never come into existence, replaced instead by "Blairian", which would have posed a political hurdle for Tony Blair. Imagine a candidate named "Orwell". But perhaps people don't really notice the surname; nobody thinks of Kate Bush and George Bush in the same sentence, for example.

Speaking of books, I was thinking…

New hybrid forms of literature currently under development:
litterature: Nonbiodegradable reading matter left in an inappropriate location.
unliterature: Literature composed in the dark, in poorly illuminated locations, as was the case with Abe Lincoln, or by persons who are not so bright themselves.
illiterature: Reading materials for illiterates. I'm not sure what that means.
cliterature: Pornographic literature.
obliterature: Great literature that we have never seen because it was destroyed.
gliterature: Not to be confused with glitterature!
glitterature: Not to be confused with gliterature!
quitterature: Slacker writings. Generally, these are unfinished works or notes.
spliterature: Secessionist writings, or writing done while seeking a divorce.
flitterature: writing which leaps from one topic to another with a surrealistic organization. Flitterature seeks to convey a butterfly-like approach to the world, and to the best of my knowledge, hasn't emerged yet.

No comments: