Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Tired, sad.

Closing a few tabs:

An amazing story from Oliver Sacks' forthcoming book, about a novelist whose stroke cost him the ability to read but who learned to circumvent the visual cortex and 'read' letters by shaping them with his tongue. (Link courtesy of the tireless Dave Lull; I can't wait to read The Mind's Eye, Oliver Sacks is more truly my writerly hero than anyone else I can think of.)

Three things I liked at the Independent this weekend: the Anthony Burgess archive opens in Manchester (here was my post a few years ago on Biswell's wonderful biography); the beauty of the periodic table of the elements; an interview with Terry Pratchett.

I have nothing much to say about War and Peace except that it is an outrageously good book; I was mesmerized by it when I read it for the first time at age 17, and was absolutely captivated by it again as soon as I opened the first page last week. Not enjoying Anna Karenina so much: it might be that it is not so much my sort of novel. (Just as one is an Iliad or an Odyssey sort of person, one also has a strong preference for the one or the other of Tolstoy's big novels? I am strongly Iliad, strongly War and Peace...)

Will save more detailed thoughts on Tolstoy's narration for the novel book, whose thunder I will steal if I blog all of it here in advance. But I did like Matthew Engel's dispatch from Waterloo in the FT this weekend (site registration required).


  1. Thinking about you a lot. Let me know if there's anything that would help in any way, superficial or meaningful. Oh wait, I'm going to send you something that will make you smile for a moment.

  2. Thanks for the happy new that Oliver Sack's has a forthcoming book!

    I remember when I read War and Peace lo these many years ago being stunned by how much I was actually enjoying it...someday, just as soon as I don't have any other books in my life whimpering to be read,I'll get back to it...

    And I was so sorry to hear about your friend.

  3. What do you think about Dostoevsky - one either being big on the Brothers K or on C+P?