As I lay contemplating HARBART, a shadow betwixt the jaws of my dreams emerge. Despite the gruesome influence that pervades me -a rhythm bares its formless and lazy banter. I hoard each of Bhattacharya’s words as they burst in front of my eyes. Though while also disheartened by a tale as somber as this, it is one of sublime nature. Just as consciousness, like death, is mandatory. Our anti-hero, Harbart, receives a divine message in a dream from his closest friend Binu, one of the recently deceased. Binu who came to Calcutta to study Geology Honors at Asutosh College. Binu, who taught Harbart his first rhyme: “Chop-sticks, broom-sticks, nothing scares the Communists.” Harbart follows the instructions from the dead to reveal the truth about Communism. Thus an implausible rumor spreads across Calcutta. Neighbors, from the broke to the notoriously well-off, are knocking down his door, hungry for their turn to converse with the dead. A yellow signboard above Harbart’s office in the house is nailed up, and painted onto a sheet of wood-framed tin— in red letters, “Conversations with the Dead: Prop: Harbart Sakur.” The unwanted. Trapped in a world he never made.
Extraordinarily vibrant dream-like tales, and complex prose, that deserves your attention -especially if you gravitate more toward nonfiction. What does a neurotic ornithologist (living his life amidst a dense fog of decay and hallucinations) have in common with the peacock-eyed Bianca? Ah the sweet and lucid radiance of Bruno Schulz. I'm not always captivated by a collection of short stories, BUT I beg you to indulge in these exotic distortions of the imagination. You will never be the same again.
Time is hungry and never satisfied. Its jelly-like wingspan veils our vascular system, tugs at our quantum breath, our gravitational subconscious. We’re left at the mercy of time, begging for an understanding, an extension. We stand there sucking our thumbs while pleading for more—more time! —only to come to the realization that time is the anchor which we cannot always navigate. One may measure time by marking events along a continuum, but to define the order of time takes a specific set of skills. As inebriated as we may be, duration is a not always a leisure; it is a sharp persistence shoving us into the corner, laughing outside our peripherals, begging us to figure where to go from ‘here’, how to love, and how to better comprehend the feeling of the loss of time. Rovelli tells us we can make peace with this loss, and introduces us to the freedom of chance in quantum physics, while reminding us how the mystical tower of our past reflects a mighty shadow; one barely reliable (yet vastly relatable) as the grin on our face subsides.
Prepare your senses for one very unique perspective on the philosophical aspects of music and it’s historical context. Adorno also shares his critical and personal theories on the psychological mechanisms of music. There’s even a chapter that highlights and discusses Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffman”. I’m in heaven. A thick read by the way, so you won’t be disappointed.
Do you often dream of the color of a storm or observe the red of a seahorse? Allow Jarmen (yes, the mystical filmmaker) to take you by the hand, and guide you gently into the calm and madness of his obsession with color. His absence in the film world is massive, and what better way to bring Jarmen back, then by diving in deep into a world of chromatic-bliss.
Lot is a nightmarish glimpse into the lives of the working class, revealing tales of familial trauma, and the forbidden aspects of queer love. Washington leaves nothing to the imagination; highlighting how toxic ideologies of domesticity still runs rampant, and prejudice is everywhere, even in places that appear hidden. Bryan delivers his stories with a brutal honesty — and as readers we resonate with his voice, for we’ve had very few authors who provide us with this experience. Lot contains elements which do not only encompass the politics of race, infidelity, and poverty -as these are also stories which increasingly illuminate ideas of love; intimate monologues nodding off into a weightless symphony.
I can still recall fragments of Amparo Dávila’s stories waltzing through my subconscious days after finishing The Houseguest for the first time. Her novella sized collection of short stories had penetrated my senses. But these are more than bedtime stories for the neurotic. The Houseguest is a compendium of inescapable voices—ones which declare, rather than suggest, our author’s distinct devotion to the art of illustrating compassion, isolation, and trauma. Dávila introduces us to the unavoidable intruders of our minds, the darkness we don’t exactly want to address. Her stories are unsettling.
Engage in what lies beyond compulsory monosexuality. Cultural illusions and narrative ambiguities explore deeper how cinema perceives, and represents, bisexual relationships. Philosophical, and necessary for students of Paul Feyerband and Ingmar Bergman.
Raw, subversive, and hellish. With characters like Spook, Vinnie & Tralala bumming smokes, devouring salami sandwiches and engaging in public sex amidst their poverty stricken reality. Widl. A book that offers insight into the lives of the hopeless rejects of society. If Selbys Last Exit to Brooklyn hasn’t yet made it to your bookshelf, shame on you.
A lucid tale embossed with an array of the self-loathing characters we’ve come to expect (and long for) from Poland’s outspoken literary genius. In Tokarczuk’s grotesque comedy we are introduced to Janina Duszejko, an astrologer who cares for silent unkept spaces belonging to local Warsaw inhabitants -their summer homes are like corpses. Although Janina follows the Moon for guidance, she reluctantly confesses to being an amateur at such esoteric endeavors. Janina is anxious, and an insomniac by trade -the Sun is her Damsel. She wonders how the fields she knows so well will appear millions of years from today. We are led to believe that Janina has no real home herself. She is an outcast. Yet a string of murders in her neighborhood reveal themselves one by one; the Animals are seeking revenge on Mankind. Janina reflects, as she often tends to do, “We have a view of the world, but Animals have a sense of the world.” Yet the authorities only mock Janina’s findings. Tokarczuk’s words keep us warm (attention Polyglots and linguist lovers), as her 2019 Nobel Prize novel is also a book about translation.
In Chapter 3, Peter talks about Mistletoe. A plant that is more of a parasite than just a x-mas decoration. “One of the strangest yet most haunting myths of some Australian Aboriginal tribes, concerns the fate of Spirit Babies. Who are sent out into the world to find a mother. They hide in the trees and rocks until women walk by. Those unable to find a mother, wail dismally for a time, until they are changed into mistletoe. Legend says that the red orange flowers are stained with fetal blood” Playful, revealing, and contains a bit of mythology in there too.
A bewitching glance into Gallardo’s violent yet eloquent work. Shake the sorrow from your raincoat my fellow savage – slip into the infinite sun, and prepare for food distribution policies, abandoned train lines, a suicide, trash burning outside a church, clouds of thistle flowers…you will never be the same again after reading from Gallardo’s captivating Land of Smoke.
Kincaid is one of my literary heroes, and remains an outspoken author of our times. Annie John is an enlightening and tragic tale narrated by a tough-as-nails young black girl, whose intelligence sets her apart from her classmates. She acquires an intimate friendship with a girl named Gwen, which is overshadowed by Annie’s obsession with her own mother. It’s here we are granted access to the struggles of depression, colonization, and life in the Caribbean. Follow young Annie from puberty and into her adulthood -whose mother’s laughter is like a crocodile’s grin, whose vivid dreams haunt her waking life; an intro to physics class, turning 15, funeral visitations, escaping to the cinema… a coming of age story highlighting poverty and class alienation that you can’t pass up.
Flights is terrifying, vulnerable, unapologetic, thoroughly saturated with object-affection, dismembered bodies, travel psychology & cursing in Polish at a video rental shop. Olga’s brooding characters garner us access to our own inner maps, and the pleasures & pains of being an observer in a world where we all seek to obtain something more than decades of loneliness.
I still can’t put this one down. It’s been a little over a year since I first discovered Olga’s work, and Flights has me caught up in round three. Tokarczuk’s work has me laughing out loud to myself, while at the same time cringing at all of the gruesome details concerning the microcosms of death, travel, and the poverty of adulthood.
I’ve always been curious as to how a conclusion fully impacts my experience with a film. What better way to make this analysis, than summoning the disappointment of desire, the somber Jewish-ness of Chaplin, Kurosawa’s examination of humanism, post-modern depression, Brechtian language trajectories! If you are in fact looking to elaborate on your film facts, this could be a deal with the devil that you will never regret. More books on the progress of film history must look to Sheila’s work for the way to a truth that is no longer immitatable. Deleuze and Claire Denis would be proud.
Are you on the search for more insights on tentacles, hermaphrodites, and strawberries? It is here that you are presented with this option, as well as one profound research experience. The Seven Mysteries of Life consists of 659 pages that cause my cerebral cortex (and, my heart) to spin itself into about a million different directions. As a reader, you’ll find yourself overwhelmed with information. Yet, as a researcher, you’ll discover a new side of yourself -amidst the midnight wind, awakening the prose admirer and science geek that lies deep within. Further your studies on pollen, mice midwives, ambiguous three dimensional illusions, limestone, eardrums, worms, dreams, amnesia…imagine if Mary Roach had created a massive compendium on all the natural curiosities she has yet to write about -and you will then find yourself arriving here, at the crux of poetic intellect.
So honest it hurts. This is a dark and disturbing read, but if you enjoy reading someones diary as much as I do, then your search ends here. Skomsvold’s 488 page autofictional nightmare sucks you in and spits you out. I’ve never felt so intrigued yet, so nauseous, during a read. From endless trips in Welfare shuttles, painful childhood memories, too many pills, and waiting to die in a nursing home at the age of seventeen…don’t say I didn’t warn you. One long panic attack that you can’t avoid surviving. An essential Norwegian classic.
A few years back, I had the rare opportunity to look through Bunuel’s personal library. I prepared my senses, put on my archival gloves, and one by one, turned through the delicate pages of the same books that Luis spent his whole life collecting. I’ve always had so much respect for his work, with hopes to one day know more about the filmmakers life. When I came across My Last Sigh, I knew that this intimate account on his life was an existential treat. An abundant confessional for those of us who are interested in reading more on fascism, the Communists Party journal for children, and aspects of repressed desire via Catholic guilt. Bunuels dialogue on the birth of surrealism, his paternal Grandfather, and the culture wars in Spain will sweep you away, causing you to subsequently spend the next few romantic escapades licking your lovers toes until your tongue goes dry.
A much more committed read; 373 pages. Weidensaul shares multiple accounts of his research on snow geese in the Gulf of Mexico, facts on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, as well as in depth accounts of his time spent with biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (U.S.F.W.S.). I can assure you that tales of broad-winged hawks roosting alongside scissor-tailed flycatchers along the Mississippi offer engaging accounts for all of your ornithology-induced needs.