A long-overdue closing tabs post. (Alas, the combination of Facebook and a general lack of exuberance is making my blog much less active than usual - the era of the blog is largely over, I am afraid, though I am hoping I will be posting more often again once I'm through the slump.)
Have had some good sessions at the rare book library with Johnson's Shakespeare, Bentley, Theobald and various other eighteenth-century stuff. I have my work cut out for me, only two more weeks in New York with library access - better start pulling some of this stuff together....
Have seen a few really wonderful plays written and performed by friends: first of all, Winsome Brown's immensely touching and funny This is Mary Brown; second of all, Abby Rosebrock's equally touching and funny but ALTOGETHER different (I was laughing out loud, it really is a play to make you laugh and cry) Singles in Agriculture. Both of these just had short runs for now but will be seen again in future in NYC and elsewhere, I'm sure. Abby is a comic genius!
Reading a lot for work is my only excuse that light reading has been so thoroughly brain-rotting (really it is like living on Pringles, Cheetos and SweeTarts!).
Three rather appealing urban fantasy novels by Jaye Wells, the Prospero's War trilogy; five novels of variable quality in a co-authored series by Edward Fallon and others (there are some wild implausibilities in three and four in particular, but the books are readable), the Linger books (strongly reminiscent of F. Paul Wilson's Repairman Jack books, and more like television episodes than full-length novels, but I applaud these experiments in publishing - I would certainly read more books like this if people were writing them); a novella by Mira Grant called Rolling in the Deep (she is always very good, but it's more appealing when you see glimpses of a world or characters you care about from the novels - I still think very regularly about the excellent The Day the Dead Came to Show and Tell!); Charlie Stross's new Laundry novel The Annihilation Score (harder for Stross to capture Mo's voice than Bob's, inevitably, though these books are always delightful); then a funny and disconcerting urban fantasy series by a MAN - there is of course no reason that urban fantasy shouldn't be written by men, Charles de Lint is one of its great pioneers, but I suppose the genre collided with romance/erotica in a way that makes it tend to be strongly female-dominated in terms of the writing, Kevin Hearne's "Iron Druid" books. Have read the first four and am happy that there are more. Also, an Amazon First giveaway, Sam Reaves' Cold Black Earth, which I thought was extremely good, particularly in the writing: will definitely seek out his others.
Massive number of tabs to close, in the order from left to right across the browser (sometimes I organize according to internal logic, but I don't think I have the energy!):
Marie Curie's work is still radioactive.
A new swim stroke - the fastest yet?
I am slightly horrified by the idea that Dune is the most important novel in the science fiction canon, but Hari Kunzru makes me consider a reread.
Warhol's cover illustration for The Red and the Black.
Lion facial recognition. (Reminded me of this.)
Donald Judd at 101 Spring Street.
Creepy but fascinating: the art of preserving tattooed skin after death.
A conversation with Mike Watt.
Lauren Klein on the carework and codework of the digital humanities. (Lauren is in NYC now for some weeks and we happily had a very good spin-swim session yesterday at Chelsea Piers - good for mood and morale!)
Wallace Kalkin on Deep Springs College, a place I've always had a fascination with ever since doing a Telluride Association summer program at Williams College before my senior year of high school.
I MUST DO THIS ONE OF THESE YEARS. It can be done, it's not a heroic exploit (contra Byron), but I will need to pay some attention to the logistics (this I think is the best option).
I wrote a short thing for the new Aeon Ideas site: is artistic talent innate?
The Amazing Acro-Cats! My mother and I had a funny conversation on the phone about this piece last night - I am overbooked until I am leaving NYC, and surely tickets are sold out already, but I might have to see if I can get some.... (Will pursue this as soon as I finish writing this post.) (Also, from Jane Yeh, list of cats!)
At the TLS, Peter Stothard on Antonia Fraser.
I am still sore about having to cancel my epic triathlon for September, but it made me think about this piece I liked very much - I think we could make up something similar for reading and writing, i.e. what you need to do in the way of writing during non-serious stretches to be ready to start up again hard and get a lot done in a span of some weeks.
I want this book!
Canadian slang terms (courtesy of B.). Over many years of fraternizing with Canadians, most of these terms were already familiar to me, but I still find them strange and frequently enchanting (double double!)....