Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Artaud as Super-Proust

[...] Artaud's first mark on the notebook page forms the initiatory gash in language and image upon which he would amass a vast accumulation of interconnected fragments, maintained and recapitulated over the subsequent three years, honed in fury through thousands of pages, far exceeding Proustian dimensions (and violently 'in search of lost anatomy' rather than of lost time). The notebooks simulataneously negate language and image, and build into an immense and intricate corporeal architecuture.

Stephen Barber, Artaud: Terminal Curses (2008)

My two major tasks for the year 2009 are... still kept in secret. But I'll be working a lot on Antonin Artaud. Watch out for what happens.

Feliz ano novo!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Seymour's girl

On rereading RAISE HIGH THE ROOF BEAM, CARPENTERS, I came to remember the core of Seymour's trouble; the existence of Charlotte and the unending pursuit of a femme-enfant. And interestingly, the anecdotic charm of Charlotte comes mostly from two elements: violence (slight but dangerously menacing) and accent (verbal).

Here is how Buddy our narrator reports about her:

"On certain nights when he was in especially good form, Seymour used to come home with a slight limp. That's really true. Charlotte didn't just step on his foot, she tramped on it. He didn't care. He loved people who stepped on his feet. He loved noisy girls." (81)

And then:

"We were playing stoopball on the side of the building one afternoon after school, Seymour and I, and somebody who turned out to be Charlotte started dropping marbles on us from the twelfth story. That's how we met. We got her on the program that same week. We didn't even know she could sing. We just wanted her because she had such a beautiful New Yorkese accent. She had a Dyckman street accent." (82)

As a self-contained novella, this work doesn't hold well. But Salinger is brilliant in his unexpected move from one sentence to another. The real weakness, then, comes from Seymour's only partially developped (throughout the saga) character.

It has been construed that Seymour stands for "See more." To me, it's "Say amour." And on saying that a dark shade is already ripe in the name.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Scribe labours

Writing on parchment, moreover, was a two-handed operation. As the right hand held the pen, the left held a knife against the springy surface of the page in order to keep it steady. Intermittently, the knife was also used for sharpening the quill and erasing errors. Medieval scribes would sit bolt upright, often on a tall-backed chair, with the manuscript laid before them on a steeply sloping desk or on a board attached to arms projecting at an incline from the chair itself. Theirs was not light work. On the contrary, writing was perceived as an act of endurance in which, as one scribe lamented, "the whole body labours."

Tim Ingold, Lines.

This december I failed to answer the questionnaire from Misuzu Shobo publishers on "The books you read in 2008". You are supposed to pick about 5 titles that impressed you most during the year. I have more than a handful, of course, but I can easily name the BEST.

Tim Ingold's illuminating Lines, which my friend Daniela Kato recommended to me. This work belongs to the same league up there with Elias Canetti, André Leroi-Gourhan or Alphonso Lingis. A book that truly changes your attitude toward LIFE.

Come to think of it I have had a copy of What is an animal? edited by Ingold for a long time! My laziness led to my overlooking his other works. Tant pis.

And thus my personal prize for the year 2008 goes to Tim Ingold. I'd love to come and visit him in Scotland next year.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Taking a walk with John K.

From Ayr they walked north to Glasgow, then headed northwest into the Highlands. [...] The wild country farther west, around Loch Fyne and Loch Awe, was more to their liking. Here they could walk for miles through the heather and hear no sound but mountain streams, or see no living thing but a few sheep on the hills or an eagle soaring overhead. The Highlanders spoke Gaelic, the first foreign language Keats had heard; they were intelligent and friendly, with nothing of the Lowlanders' suspicion of the English, but their living conditions were still more primitive.

Aileen Ward, John Keats: The Making of a Poet (1963)

And this passage makes me want to fly to Scotland even more.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Billy Black

"Oh, God, if I'm anything by a clinical name, I'm kind of paranoiac in reverse. I suspect people of plotting to make me happy."

So says Seymour in his diary, read by Buddy. A very weird novella I've been trying to decipher over years... Salinger may not be the greatest of all novelists, but he is PECULIAR. Peculiar enough to attract my attention for more than half a life.

His quote from Saigyo:

What it is I know not
But with the gratitude
My tears fall

I know not what to say.

Mika Ninagawa/ Light Insight

Went to see Mika Ninagawa's solo exhibition at Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery.

Rather crowded on a Saturday afternoon; this must be one of the most succesful photography exhibitions today anywhere in the world. She is immensely popular among young girls and the demography of the audience was wildly different from usual shows.

The title is "Earthly Flowers, Heavenly Colors." True to the statement, or the declaration thereof, every room is filled with mad, exhilarating colors. This is her staple. Also she has taken portraits of so many girl/woman icons. Hence part of her popularity. It's so girly. Room after room, it's a wild ride. I ended up laughing.

But my vote goes to her Mexican works. Photographs framed in wooden, hand-made frames. These works are somewhat dated in her career, I know, but the charm is lasting.

Also the goldfish room was fascinating.

After this I went upstairs to ICC for the first time in donkey's bitten-off tail (am I making any sense) to see Light Insight (Light in Sight) exhibition. This is about those multimedia works using light as their major component.

Nam-jun Paik's Candle TV was almost sublime. Ingo Gunthar's Thank You Instrument was very powerful, Yukio Fujimoto's LIGHT was ever-lasting (you'll know when you experience it with your own retina), and Anthony McCall's You and I, Horizontal was VAST.

This "light sculpture" using tiny mists was quite addictive. I could stay there for about ten minutes.

Then Joseph Beuys's Capri Battery's was a cute joke.

All in all, it was a nice stroll at the end of the year. Happy holidays to y'all.

Friday, December 26, 2008

No kidding!

This from AbeBooks' "A year in review":

" Unknown outside France, Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio won the Nobel Prize for Literature."

No hard feelings, but can it be? UNKNOWN OUTSIDE FRANCE? Most of Le Clézio's works are translated into Japanese and well received. And this for over forty years!

And don't imply he's ONLY a French writer... he's avowedly and factually FRANCO-MAURICIAN; so to call him a French writer is but halfway true.

In other languages, too, J.M.G. has been an imposing presence. And to my eyes he's one of the two most important writers, along with Gary Snyder, actively writing.

English-speaking (reading, rather) world, awake.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Lovely things

I found a piece of paper in the drawer on which is written the sentence:

"Lovely things can be done when you know how to make it happen."

I don't even recall if it's a quotation or not.

On the reverse side is the name: Grand Funk Railroad.

And a Japanese name that I don' t even recognize.

Strange how we accumulate these verbal bric-a-bracs for unknown purposes.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Robert Hurley's intuition

I am hoping now to write an entry every day for the rest of my sojourn...on this planet, quoi. Mostly about the books I lay my hands on.

Today I took up Robert Hurley's translation of Deleuze's Spinoza: Practical Phiosophy and liked Hurley's preface immensely.

It's funny, come to think of it, that City Lights publishes this book. But when one hints upon the axis Spinoza-Bateson-Deleuze, it's all too natural that a Frisco house does so. This is such a Californian take on Deleuze!

"The environment is not just a reservoir of information whose circuits await mapping, but also a field of forces whose actions await experiencing."

So Batesonian,eh. I also like Hurley's great sentence: "the intuitive or affective reading may be more practical anyway."

And then, almost maxim-sounding: "Deleuze maximizes Spinoza."

That's exactly what we should aim at when reading; to maximize the author you are dealing with.

I don't know much about Hurley except that he's a translator of Foucault, Bataille, and Donzelot, among others. If anybody knows anything about his writings, pray let me know.

We belong to the invisible non-community of translators of the French texts: Richard Howard, Alphonso Lingis, David Macey, my friend Michael Richardson, and myself alike.

I still got some homeworks to do in this stream of collective-bodily consciousness.

Like Boo Boo says

One thing I regret (already) about the year 2008 is that I couldn't write more entries on this blog. Which I promise to do once the year turns around. I really need to habitually (read, daily) write in English and this is about the only way I can do so. Without being paid or anything. My pleasure is unarguable.

Today I took up Salinger's RAISE HIGH THE ROOF BEAM, CARPENTERS for the first time in several years and I am instantly hooked!

Take this enchanting enchaînement, for example, from Boo Boo's letter to her brother Buddy (talking about Seymour):

"He weighs about as much as a cat and he has that ecstatic look on his face that you can't talk to. Maybe it's going to be perfectly all right, but I hate 1942. I think I'll hate 1942 till I die, just on general principles."


Friday, December 12, 2008


It seems sleep is his problem. Several ominous signs scattered around.

Here he is facing "la rue des Mutilés," he talks about "le monsieur de Rouen" (charged with regularity, and Flaubertian), then "le tramway 7" is that of "Abattoir-Grands Bassins" (two terms of death, submersion).

He goes on to say "Je vais me coucher. Je suis guéri." But nobody says that when s/he is really cured.

Alas. Now "Journal" begins on the following page.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Then comes "Feuillet sans date".

This looks too much, way too much now. Too contrived. But at the time of its publication, probably it looked cool enough.

Something has happened to the narrator. It changed his perception. So much is true.

"Je pense que c'est le danger si l'on tient un journal: on s'exagère tout, on est aux aguets, on force continuellement la vérité."

But this happens even before actually writing a diary. The very moment of writing itself tends to force la vérité, or at least veracity.

Writing is always trop en retard... it's delay is unforgivable! What really bugs Roquentin is the gap between perception and reflexion.

"Et il y a eu aussi cette suite de coïncidences, de quiproquos, que je ne m'explique pas."

Ah, synchronicity. One subject that can turn anybody ENLOQUECIDO!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Famously, the work begins with "Avertissement des éditeurs".

A very dirty old trick, indeed. The Mock-author tradition.

"Ces cahiers ont été tourvés parmi les papiers d'Antoine Roquentin."

The name of Roquentin resembles somewhat to Rochefort. Why this name? Quentin? Faulkner?

And then: "A cette époque, Antoine Roquentin, après avoir voyagé en Europe Centrale, en Afrique du Nord et en Extrême-Orient..." Gide, as if?

And this final "le marquis de Rollebon" is only enigmatic.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

La nausee: 1

Now I am beginning to take notes on reading La nausee by Sartre. Everyday, if possible. But I don't want to spend more than 15 minutes a day on this. So I'll go page by page.

What a project.

Here is what Sartre quoted at the beginning of La nausee:

"C'est un garçon sans importance collective, c'est tout juste un individu."

And this from Céline's L'Eglise.

In the eyes of a group of which he is a member, the boy has no importance whatsoever. So? But without valorization of some kind does an individuality hold?

And why Céline? Think about the status Céline held around 1938, the year of the publication of this work.

And what Céline meant for Sartre, satyre. Very interesting.

"Importance collective" is a rather interesting phrase I'd love too keep in mind.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Dam and Us

, Here is roughly what I am going to talk about at a conference in Wuhan, China, the day after tomorrow.

Two recent Chinese films deal with the Three Gorges Dam. I am off to that area tomorrow. I first watched Lee Yifan and Yan Yu’s very interesting documentary film Before the Flood (2004), then Jia Zhang-Ke’s critically acclaimed Still Life (2006). These films called my renewed attention to the colossal project of building a dam and its consequences.

In Japan, there is an interesting case of the Tokuyama Dam in central Japan, completed this year, that produced the largest dam lake in this country. Hidden under the water today is the old, small village called Tokuyama Mura. By the time the village was officially abandoned in 1987, an elderly woman named Tazuko Masuyama had taken 70,000 photographs to record the daily life of her community and their ancestral land. This constitutes an archive of a lifestyle that is now forever lost.

Another example. “The Ship Rides on the Mountain” is a very interesting art project that took more than a decade to complete. When it was decided to submerge a rural area in western Japan under water for the new Haizuka Dam, a group of artists and architects together with the local community united to build a 60-meter long raft using local timbers. When the dam was finally completed, and as the level of water rose, the raft began its move toward the top of a hill and eventually stayed there like an ark on Mt. Ararat. A documentary film of the same title, directed by Takayoshi Honda, was released last year (2007). It invites us once again to think about the dam.

The impact that a dam gives to the water system and environments are variously stated. Photographer Kazutoshi Hieda, for example, talks about the threatening recent change at the bottom of a Hokkaido river where various fishes come up regularly to lay eggs. Now the bottom is covered with a layer of mud because the natural supply of pebble has been hindered by a series of dams. Still keeping a very high quality of clear, uncontaminated water, the river is now turning into a zone not fit for fish. But a new trend is currently being set by the case of partial demolition of a dam in Gunma. Will this open an utterly new way to restore regional biodiversity?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


It's historical, really. Let's see which direction the US will swerve to.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Here is a bit of Simone Weil:

Décréation: faire passer du créé dans l'incréé.
Destruction: faire passer du créé dans le néant.

"La pesanteur et la grâce" was first published in 1947. Derrida must have known it at the time of publication or soon after (when he was still a teenager in Algiers).

Déconstruction, rather than Ab-bau, seems to me to be décréation itself.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Novembering, or remembering de novo

Haven't written on this blog for a while; now I am trying to start anew. With only a couple of more days to prepare for my trip to China, it's hectic all over... . Maybe I'll stick to quotations here.

Here is a nice one from Anthony Kerrigan in his preface to Borges' Ficciones:

"Borges restates, in a few allegorical pages, the circular, ceremonial direction of our curious, groping, thrilling and atrocious ignorance."

Oh, our ATROCIOUS IGNORANCE... how sweet the sound! It is the very source of our quest into the verbal signs left behind by those who have passed before us on the surface of this planet. I don't mean humans, but everything, and all events.

Monday, October 13, 2008

What, what

Today I listened to the Dylan album Selfportrait for the first time in long years... and was ASTOUNDED by The Boxer.

Some of you may recall. It's sung by two Dylans, who in fact are one, yet utterly distinct one from the other. A beautiful-voice Dylan and that dirty coarse sounding Dylan.

It's so uncanny when you really listen to it. It reveals a structure of our voice; always on two levels on the way to go apart.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


Can't quite believe it and don't want to believe it, too.
But it seems that AUTUMN is written all over the place!
There's a bitter edge of remorse in every space.
I don't think I can ever keep up the frantic pace.
No district of my mind is slated for the ace.
Whatever I undertake is well out of the race.
A pitbull doesn't hunt for mice.
I better cook and preserve some rice.
For I need to go on a trip abroad.
Nothing soothing awaits me on the road...

After my viewing of the very fine documentary Freestyle I can't help but try some rhyming as if I was also a cipher!

But only another week to go before we lose August with the face of Augustus the reticent.

I have lots of work to finish up. And I am rather nervous for this up-coming, very important trip of my life.

I am off to Nuevo Mexico in a week.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Time is definitely NOT on my side

Time, time. So much to be done, so little space-time to take them in.

Now we are happily approaching the end of the term, but I got quite a few to finish up before I can EVER hit the road. But the tickets are there and I have to manage my schedule wisely so as not to cause unnecessary troubles.

My summer plans:

Trips to the Cook Islands, then to Nuevo Mexico.
Finish the Artaud translation.
Move on to the Glissant translation.
Make editorial plans of the Saroyan collection.
Prepare for the speech on Asian American lit.
Begin painting (inspired by Emily Kngwarreye)

Let's see what happens...

I am giving a lecture tomorrow at Waseda. You are all invited.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Use the mirror

"If the world and its cares are a 200-lb. weight, the mind can be a mirror reflecting the weight without carrying the poundage." (Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the Karmapa, quoted by David Van Biema in Time magazine)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Fringe Frenzy

Fringe Frenzy is the name of our newly established give-away paper issued by the members of my graduate seminar. Our regular attendees are:

Masaki Unozawa, an art activist and critic
Francisco "Paco" Garcia, from Montréal, a subtitle translator for Japanese anmimation films
Takahiro Ito, a would-be photographer
Koyo Kitamura, an experimental filmmaker

Our first issue is actually the issue number ZERO. In which I interviewed my friend Shuhei Hosokawa (musicologist) and wrote an article on painter Takako Hojo, as well as a travel diary from my trip to Lisbon in 2003.

This we will publish monthly, hopefully. Keep an eye on it!

And Artaud says

Time to resume my writing this blog. Here is what Artaud says, and it's very true.

"...pas de pensée si le corps ne se meut."

Exactly. And no écriture if we don't die one day...sooner or later.

It's between myself and death that I negociate this infra-space of writing.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

No longer listed

The list of books is discontinued because of its futility. There is no reason that I shouldn't list library books. And with that the list would become too cumbersome.

Now I am going back to occasional bits of thoughts, etc. Aux armes, etc. Tu restras hyène, etc.

This from Leiris:

...parce que rares sont les livres qui parviennent à fixer longtemps mon attention: j'en prends un, qui répond à mes préoccupations du moment, et j'en lis un certain nombre de pages... Partie paresse, partie instabilité, c'est ainsi que j'en viens à laisser s'accumuler les lectures inachevées... (Biffures)

Friday, April 11, 2008

A bunch

A box of mixed crops arrived, and then some.

354. Stephen Greenblatt, Learning to Curse (Routledge)
355. Bertrand Russel, Sceptical Essays (Routledge)
356. Bertrand Russel, In Praise of Idleness (Routledge)
357. Thomas Sotinel, Pedro Almodóvar (Cahier du Cinéma)
358. Tom Zaniello, The Cinema of Globalization (ILR Press)
359. Christopher Bracken, Magical Criticism (Chicago)
360. Nick Browne ed., The Godfather Trilogy (Cambridge Film Handbooks)
361. Ato Quayson, Aesthetic Nervousness (Columbia)
362. Lorraine Daston ed., Things that Talk (Zone Books)
363. James Chapman, Cinemas of the World (Reaktion Books)
364. Yvonne Tasker ed., Fifty Contemporary Filmmakers (Routledge)
365. Jacques Rancière, The Future of the Image (Verso)
366. Christian Metz, Film Language (Chicago)
367. Isabelle Vanderschelden, Amélie (Illinois)
368. Kyoko Okazaki, River's Edge (Casterman)
369. Godard et Ishaghpour, Archéologie du cinéma (Farrago)
370. Mike Davis, In Praise of Barbarians (Haymarket Books)
371. Konrad Lorenz, Man Meets Dog (Routledge)
372. Burgett & Hendler eds., Keywords for American Cultural Studies (NYU)
373. James Welch, Fools Crow (Penguin)
374. Salman Rushdie, The Enchantress of Florence (Jonathan Cape)
375. Jean-Joseph Julaud, L'Histoire de France pour les nuls (First Editions)
376. Shaffer & Wong eds., Conversations with Kazuo Ishiguro (Mississippi)
377. Mary Litch, Philosophy Through Film (Routledge)
378. Sharon Cameron, Impersonality (Chicago)
379. William Calin, The Twentieth-Century Humanist Critics (Toronto)
380. 西村頼男『草が生い茂り、川が流れる限り』(開文社出版)
381. 清水孝純『ルネサンスの文学』(講談社学術文庫)
382. 桜井満『花の民俗学』(講談社学術文庫)
383. メルヴィン・ブラッグ『英語の冒険』(三川基好訳、講談社学術文庫)
384. 松岡正剛『フラジャイル』(ちくま学芸文庫)
385. 五十嵐太郎『現代建築に関する16章』(講談社現代新書)
386. ジョン・マーハ『チョムスキー入門』(明石書店)

380 may be the fisrt full-length study in Japanese of American Indian literature by a realiable Americanist. 384 is my second copy; I will use this book as a reading assignment for one of the graduate seminars. 386 I bought on impulse because of the association from a conversation I had with a person from an institute that invited Chomsky to Japan around 1970.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

It's a raining-in-the-head day

Starting my seminar at 13:00, finishing at 18:00, then went to Digital Hollywood, all under the cold spring rain. But it was fun. Found a short time dropping in at the Librairie française at Shinjuku.

352. Jean-François Sabouret, La dynamique du Japon (CNRS)
353. Paul Veyne, Foucault (Albin Michel)

How soothing.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

New Semester

Tomorrow begins our new semester. We gave a guidance session yesterday and its addendum cum reunion today. All set for a new adventure!

344. 村山匡一郎編『映画史を学ぶクリティカル・ワーズ』(フィルムアート社)
345. ナタリー・ゼーモン・デイヴィス『歴史叙述としての映画』(中條訳、岩波書店)
346. エルンスト・ブロッホ『ルネサンスの哲学』(古川+原訳、白水社)
347. ナドー+バーロウ『フランス語のはなし』(中尾ゆかり訳、大修館書店)
348. ***『日本列島驚異の自然現象』(昭文社)
349. 柳沼重剛『地中海世界を彩った人たち』(岩波現代文庫)
350. 赤瀬川原平『芸術原論』(岩波現代文庫)
351. ***『アキバが地球を飲み込む日』(角川SSC新書)

346 is a book I've been reading for some time (with a library copy) and finally decided to purchase one. This year my graduate seminar will be on documentary films. No clues on this subject. A lightless walk in the cave continues.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Is this free? Wow.

341. *** The Best Books Ever Written (Penguin Classics)
342. Rufus Butler Seder, Gallop! (Workman)
343. カペラーヌス『現代ラテン語会話』(有川ほか訳、大学書林)

Dropped in at Kinokuniya and picked up a free copy of 341. It makes a lovely reading and I want more of this kind in every imaginable field... this kind of gift (from language itself to readers?) only saves the book and its culture!

343 is pretty funny and I can pick up a lot of locutions, etc.

We are holding an orientation session tomorrow.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

C'est la vitesse qui domine...

Geez, nothing going. Nothing whatsoever is going as was planned. And it's getting quite warm, too.

332. 青柳いづみこ『ドビュッシー』(中公文庫)
333. 谷口ジロー『冬の動物園』(小学館)
334. Ramuz, La Grande peur dans la montagne (Poche)
335. Ramuz, La Beauté sur la terre (Poche)
336. Ramuz, Si le soleil ne revenait pas (Poche)
337. Hagerman, Maria Eladia, Babel: A Film by Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu (Photo Books)
338. 鈴木カツ『こだわりアメリカン・ルーツ・ミュージック事典』(NHK出版生活人新書)
339. 増田義郎『図説・海賊』(河出書房新社)
340. 東京外国語大学アジア・アフリカ言語文化研究所『図説・アジア文字入門』(河出書房新社)

It's time to seriously catch up with my own LIFE.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

And the answer is...

325. 北道邦彦『アイヌ語地名で旅する北海道』(朝日新書)
326. 手塚治虫『手塚治虫傑作選<家族>』(祥伝社新書)
327. 吉田秀和『ソロモンの歌/一本の木』(講談社文芸文庫)
328. 山下聖美『賢治文学<呪い>の構造』(三修社)
329. エマニュエル・トッド+ユセフ・クルバージュ『文明の接近』(藤原書店)
330. 吉川恵美子『接続法を使って話そうスペイン語』(NHK出版)
331. 生田・村上・結城編『<場所>の詩学』(藤原書店)

Oh how the wind blows. It blows down bicycles near the station. It makes dogs happy. And it blows away the sakura petals.

331 is a collection of essays from our symposium last summer in Kanazawa, with Ko Un and Gary Snyder as special guests. My intervention (as the French calls it) is also included in the publication.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


321. 宮澤淳一『マクルーハンの光景』(みすず書房)
322. 本田勝一『俺が子どもだったころ』(朝日新聞社)
323. 鈴木孝夫+田中克彦『言語学が輝いていた時代』(岩波書店)
324. 海津ゆりえ『日本エコツアー・ガイドブック』(岩波書店)

Our new academic year began today and our brand new graduate program is now taking off. Let's make it a really exciting collective enterprise! In a decade we'll see. See what? See WHAT.

Monday, March 31, 2008

March ending, March on

315. エドワード・レビンソン『エドさんのピンホール写真教室』(岩波書店)
316. 秋山仁ほか『HOLGASCAPE』(池田書店)
317. 『We Love Holga』(池田書店)
318. 『We Love Holga Plus』(池田書店)
319. 熊崎勝『はじめてのピンホールカメラ入門』(風媒社)
320. 藤田一咲『ポラロイドの時間』(えい文庫)

Alas, alas, this month is ending and my mountain of work is not. And yet.

Having learned that Polaroid is terminating its production of instant films, I have decided to seriously take a series of Pola photos for exhibition. But my Spectra 2 is not working properly... why is that? Maybe it needs some cleaning. A machine is always a living organism... it needs attention, constant use, and love.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Walking about

308. W.B.Yeats, Selected Poems (Penguin Books)
309. 萩原延壽『旅立ち 遠い崖1』(朝日文庫)
310. 森山大道ほか『GR Digital Box』(東京キララ社)
311. 森山大道『t-82』(パワーショベル)
312. 白井雅人ほか『メディアアートの教科書』(フィルムアート社)
313. 山本精一『ゆん』(河出書房新社)
314. デリダ+ファティ『言葉を撮る』(港道+鵜飼訳、青土社)

Another exhausting day... and the new academic year is only days away.

Then at night a review copy came:

315. 黒川創『かもめの日』(新潮社)

I'm hoping to read it within a week, time permitting.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Y llego Vallejo

305. César Vallejo, "Spain, Take This Chalice from Me" and Other Poems (Pengin Classics)
306. Marcus Reeves, Somebody Scream! (Faber & Faber)
307. 鷲田清一『夢のもつれ』(角川ソフィア文庫)

307 I bought some time ago but failed to register. Here it is.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

On a short trip nearby

Picked up some books on the way:

297. 大竹伸朗『カスバの男』(集英社文庫)
298. 村井則夫『ニーチェ』(中公新書)
299. 池田葉子『マイ・フォト・デイズ』(エイ文庫)
300. 荒川洋治『文芸時評という感想』(四月社)
301. 清水哲朗『モンゴリアン・チョップ』(NNA)
302. 椹木野衣『なんにもないところから芸術がはじまる』(新潮社)
303. 高柳ヤヨイ『文字のデザインを読む。』(ソシム)
304. 島田裕己『日本の10大新宗教』(幻冬社新書)

Days, days. I'm dazed.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Los animales fascinantes

At my office for the first time in about 10 days and much mail awaiting. Books arrived, too.

286. 宮崎学『けもの道』(偕成社)
287. 宮崎学『水場』(偕成社)
288. 宮崎学『ワシ・タカの巣』(偕成社)
289. 宮崎学『ツキノワグマ』(偕成社)
290. 宮崎学『廃棄スイカに群がるイノシシ家族』(理論社)
291. Charles S. Peirce, Selected Writings: Values in a Universe of Chance (Dover)
292. Tao Lin, Eeeee Eee Eeee (Melville House)
293. J. Maarten Troost, Getting Stoned with Savages (Broadway)
294. Cohnitz & Rossberg, Nelson Goodman (McGill-Queen's)
295. Nelson Goodman, Fact, Fiction, and Forecast (Harvard UP)
296. Julio Cortázar, Queremos tanto a Glenda (Punto de lectura)

Miyazaki's photographs are simply fascinating! Yes, we are living, aren't we, on this planet with our many fellow creatures. Let's RESTRICT ourselves, humanity! Nothing at this historical moment is more important than that.

Cherry blossoms

Here is what I received and bought today:

284. 小沼純一『はたらくって何?』(アスペクト)
285. 西川治『世界ぐるっと朝食紀行』(新潮文庫)

Thanks to my friend Junichi Konuma for his latest book. It's exactly aimed at college students that we daily interact with.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

And another

Another Annie Leibovitz book arrived.

283. Annie Leibovitz, Olympic Portraits (Bulfinch)


Back from my trip south

Just got back to Tokyo from Tahiti and La Isla de Pascua. The latter offered me a mind blowing experience...

258. Malú Sierra, RAPANUI: Náufragos del planeta (Editorial Persona)
259. -----, Ietu: Edición experimental (Diócesis de Villarica y Diócesis de Valparaíso)
260. Nelson Castro Flores, El diablo, dios y la profetisa (Rapanui Press)
261. María Eugenia Santa Coloma, Guardianes de la tradición (Rapanui Press)
262. Katherine Routledge, The Mystery of Easter Island (Rapanui Press)
263. Vaero Roa, El sueño de Haumaka (Rapanui Press)
264. Arturo Hernández Sallés et al., Rapa Nui: Lengua y cultura (Pehuén)
265. A. Elena Charola, Isla de Pacua: El patrimonio y su conservación (World Monuments Fund)
266. Jean-Marc Pambrun et al., No hea mai matou: Destins d'objets polynésiens (Musée de aTahiti et des îles)
267. Heipua Teuira et al., Mon premier dico bilingue reo tahiti / reo farani (Editions Vahine)
268. Guy Wallart, Akakai (Te pu tuhuna eo enata)
269. Christian Serres, Rencontre avec la Polynésie (Christian Serres)
270. Yves Lemaître, Lexique du Tahitien contemporain (IRD éditions)
271. Anne D'Alleva, Le monde océanien (Flammarion)
272. Catherine et Michel Orliac, Bois sculptés de l'Ile de Pâques (Editions Parenthèses)
273. -----, Littérama'ohi: Patrimoine en danger
274. Tavae Raioaoa, Si loin du monde (Pocket)
275. Sonia Faessel, Poètes de Tahiti (La Table Ronde)
276. Bengt Danielsson, Expédition Boumerang (Albin Michel)
277. Thor Heyerdahl, Aku-Aku (Phébus)
278. Catherine et Michel Orliac, L'Iles de Pâques (Gallimard)
279. Anne Brenon, Les Cathares (Les Essentiels Milan)
280. Mathilde Annaud, Les arts premiers (Les Essentiels Milan)
281. Johanna Sinisalo, Jamais avant le coucher du soleil (Babel)
282. Gazzotti/Verlmann, Seuls (Dupuis)

This interface between Ibero-America and Polynesia is my eternal source for... consciously being a tangata of this planet.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Step into the Desert

I am just about to go on a trip, and at the final moment this book arrived:

257. 工藤庸子『砂漠論』(左右社)

I am taking it with me to read in the air...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Milton, and Marvell, and Marlowe

Of them I will read probably only Milton, not knowing a line from Marvell or Marlowe, unlike Navokov from his Cambridge days. So be it.

254. ミルトン『アレオパジティカ』(原田純訳、岩波文庫)
255. ユクスキュル/クリサート『生物から見た世界』(日高・羽田訳、岩波文庫)
256. 三浦俊彦『ラッセルのパラドクス』(岩波新書)

I'm off to the Ocean in a couple of days.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It's been a hard...

246. Gwendolyn Dubois Shaw, Seeing the Unspeakable (Duke UP)
247. Nelson Goodman, Language of Art (Hackett)
248. Charles S. Peirce, The Essential Writings (Prometheus Books)
249. Hannah Arendt, The Jewish Writings (Schocken)
250. ジェイ・ボールドウィン『バックミンスター・フラーの世界』(梶川泰司訳、美術出版社)
251. 竹信悦夫『ワンコイン悦楽堂』(情報センター出版局)
252. 田中長徳『カメラは知的な遊びなのだ。』(アスキー新書)
253. 片倉もとこ『イスラームの日常世界』(岩波新書)

Spent the whole afternoon for a meeting at school. It was rather exhausting. But some books arrived to cheer me up. Goodman, Peirce, I got to be serious by now. 253 I already had a copy and couldn't find it. Then at night, there it is, as usual. INSANITY. But Katakura's way of showing the Islam world and culture is so attractive. Islam might be the most accomplished way of sharing the world view. This I say as an utterly non-religious person.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Pragmatism at Birth (ou presque)

242. 山根貞男『映画の貌』(みすず書房)
243. 田中英司『現代・映画・アメリカ』(河出書房新社)
244. 鶴見俊輔『たまたま、この世界に生まれて』(SURE)
245. 山田宏一『フランソワ・トリュフォーの映画誌』(平凡社)

After a very lengthy meeting at our school headquarter, I strayed into a used-book shop and voilà, I encountered 242, Yamane's magnum opus, at a very decent price (less than half the original price)! He's great, one of the best film critics in the world. This lead me to pick up a couple more and on the way home I read 245 that I treasured like nothing else. 244 is by an old philosopher who has been instrumental in introducing American phil., esp. pragmatism/pragmaticism. The book is his private lecture to a small group of thirty-something's. Looks very readable, too.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

A Trip to the Peninsular

Made a quick round-trip to Boso on a school-related business. A nice way to spend a perfectly sunny sunday... to get blown by the strong sea wind! On the way back went to Shinjuku with a muskrat-like state of mind. And then.

240. Cormac McCarthy, The Sunset Limited (Vintage)
241. Jules Verne, Voyage au centre de la terre (Le livre de poche)

240 looks so inviting with its peculiar style; it's a novel written in dramatic form. 241 I have to re-read for a project with a friend... a geo-aesthetic study of underground spaces, sort of.

Time is definitely not on my side, but who cares? Festina lente...

Friday, March 07, 2008

Que divino!

227. Alec Wilkinson, My Mentor (Mariner Books)
228. Alec Wilkinson, The Happiest Man in the World (Vintage Originals)
229. William Maxwell, Early Novels and Stories (The Library of America)
230. Barbara Burkhardt, William Maxwell: A Literary Life (U of Illinois P)
231. Baxter et al., eds, A William Maxwell Portrait (Norton)
232. Susan Sontag, The Volcano Lover (Picador)
233. Susan Sontag, Death Kit (Picador)
234. Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory (Penguin Classics)
235. Kristen Guest, ed., Eating Their Words (SUNY P)
236. Ian McEwan, Saturday (Vintage)
237. Pete Seeger, Abiyoyo (Aladdin)
238. 片倉もとこ『イスラームの世界観』(岩波現代文庫)
239. オノレ・ド・バルザック『ランジェ公爵夫人』(工藤庸子訳、集英社)

Days are getting really bright. The sunshine already reminds me of the summer solstice... my favorite day of the year. I have a big project in mind to write on Maxwell, but still got miles to go before I get there. Quant à YouTube, it's a joy to see Seeger, Pete, on some videos uploaded there. Pete Seeger. A truly great guy. A short piece in which he and Arlo Guthrie play together is so nice and uplifting.

239 is another superb translation by Yoko Kudo, one of our best French lit specialists. I am asked to give a bookstore talk with her in April. It's good, but I have to overcome my tendency to be needlessly stiff in front of an unknown / unknowable audience...

Monday, March 03, 2008

Flying In

Two books flying in from colleagues:

225. 森洋子『ブリューゲル探訪 民衆文化のエネルギー』(未来社)
226. 長尾輝彦編著『文学研究は何のため』(北海道大学出版会)

225 makes me want to go back in time, 226 makes me ask "Yeah, why? What for?"

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Stunning. This one photo will change my life.

224. Annie Leibovitz, American Music (Random House)

But I'm not gonna tell which one it is!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Marching in

218. Benjamin Lee Whorf, Language, Thought, and Reality (The MIT Press)
219. Colin MacCabe, Godard (F & F)
220. Judy Budnitz, Flying Leap (Picador)
221. Immanuel Wallerstein, World-Systems Analysis (Duke UP)
222. Kirby Dick and Amy Kofman, Derrida (Routledge)
223. 伊藤邦武『パースの宇宙論』(岩波書店)

A series of American thinkers I can't do without: Peirce, Boaz, Sapir, and Whorf on the one hand, Emerson and James on the other. Time to begin working on them.

Friday, February 29, 2008

On Rereading (Nabokov)

Here is what I have always known, yet I have often forgotten in practice:

Curiously enough, one cannot READ a book: one can only reread it. A good reader, a major reader, an active and creative reader is a rereader. (Nabokov)

Read it until the work turns into a painting.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


In Eureka this month (the March 2008 issue) that appeared today is a tri-alogue between myself, Tadashi Wakashima, and Kazuki Sakuraba, who has recently been awarded the Naoki Prize for fiction. The article is titled "From World Literature to Literature World." This was the editor's idea and I don't really know what it means... I'd probably throw in a hyphen and make it "Literature-World." Whatever.

Some books arrived from France (via Germany) and elsewhere:

204. Philippe Claudel, Le Café de l'Excelsior (Poche)
205. Philippe Claudel, La petite fille de Monsieur Linh (Poche)
206. Philippe Claudel, Quelques-uns des cent regrets (Folio)
207. Philippe Claudel, J'abandonne (Folio)
208. Stéphane Audeguy, La théorie des nuages (Folio)
209. Nimrod, Les jambes d'Alice (Actes Sud)
210. Dona Haraway, When Species Meet (U of Minnesota P)
211. 小沼純一編『武満徹 対談選』(ちくま学芸文庫)
212. 坂部恵『かたり』(ちくま学芸文庫)
213. 市村弘正『敗北の二十世紀』(ちくま学芸文庫)
214. ネルソン・グッドマン『世界制作の方法』(ちくま学芸文庫)
215. 北村・宮部編『名短篇、ここにあり』(ちくま文庫)
216. 川上未映子『先端で、さすわさされるわそらええわ』(青土社)
217. 川上未映子『乳と卵』(文藝春秋)

And it's spring. Enjoy.

Both 208 and 209 were recommended to me by Jérôme from L'Institut. Look so interesting, too.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gathering Like a Powwow

Days are obviously getting longer. What a relief.

186. Nick Hornby, A Long Waydown (Penguin)
187. Nick Hornby, Housekeeping vs. The Dirt (Believer Books)
188. Nick Hornby, Slam (Putnum)
189. Dave Eggers ed., The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007 (Houghton Mifflin)
190. André Bazin, Jean Renoir (trans., Halsey and Simon, Da Capo)
191. Maxine Hong Kingston, The Fifth Book of Peace (Vintage)
192. José Saramago, Journey to Portugal (Harvill)
193. Gail Sakurai, Japanese American Internment Camps (Scholastic)
194. スティーヴン・ベラー『世紀末ウィーンのユダヤ人』(桑名映子訳、刀水書房)
195. 鈴木一誌『重力のデザイン』(青土社)
196. 鈴木一誌『ページと力』(青土社)
197. 鈴木一誌『画面の誕生』(みすず書房)
198. 石川九楊ほか『デザインのことば』(左右社)
199. 菊池良生『図解雑学ハプスブルク家』(ナツメ社)
200. 上山安敏『フロイトとユング』(岩波書店)
201. 上山安敏『神話と科学』(岩波現代文庫)
202. 上山安敏『魔女とキリスト教』(講談社学術文庫)
203. 上山安敏『科学と宗教』(岩波書店)

Some homeworks to be done...

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Election Day

This has been a big election day at our university, that of the chancellor. Later, I dropped in at Sanseido in Jinbocho and bought some, related to some of my upcoming writings.

181. Tim Flannery, We Are the Weather Makers (Penguin)
182. 柴谷篤弘『構造主義生物学』(東京大学出版会)
183. 北野宏明+竹内薫『したたかな生命』(ダイヤモンド社)
184. ヴェルナー・フロイント『オオカミと生きる』(今泉みね子訳、白水社)
185. 粕谷知世『ひなのころ』(中公文庫)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Spring Wind

An incredibly strong western wind brought yellow sands from the continent and our visibility was reduced to about 1 kilometer this afternoon. Just before that, before noon, we had a spell of warm southern wind which was declared to be "haru ichiban" (the first of spring, literally). Weather is great. I can't get enough of it!

178. エイミー・ベンダー『わがままなやつら』(角川書店)
179. アントワーヌ・ベルマン『他者という試練』(みすず書房)
180. 宮地尚子編『性的支配と歴史』(大月書店)

178 is my own translation of the second collection of short stories by Aimee Bender. 179 I received from an editor friend, a foundational text in this field (translation studies). 180 is based on a seminar held at Hitotsubashi University which I missed out as I was in NZ at that time.

179 has a Friedrich painting on the cover, 180 a Gauguin. Oh, books. What are you?

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Sparkling Evening

It's been such a warm day... in the evening had supper with two old friends, one from NYC and the other from DC, in Ginza. Just to see how each of us has aged? Ja, ja.

175. Muriel Spark, The Ballad of Peckham Rye (New Directions)
176. Muriel Spark, Robinson (New Directions)
177. John Updike, Terrorist (Ballantine)

I didn't know that Muriel Spark had a Robinson story...itself a staple genre in literary history. With her charming style, it must be fun.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Awakening to History

Is this a full moon night? The air is filled with spring...

173. 樺山紘一『ルネサンスと地中海』(中公文庫)
174. 関川夏央『現代短歌そのこころみ』(集英社文庫)

History is the best cure for any personal adversities. Happy reading.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Annie Get Your Camera!

After watching the wonderful, moving documentary film on the life and work of Annie Leibovitz, this is a welcome addition to my coffee table:

172. Annie Leibovitz, A Photographer's Life 1990-2005 (Random House)

She is super!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tuesday Evening

Got two books:

170. 西成彦『エクストラテリトリアル』(作品社)
171. 羽田正『東インド会社とアジアの海』(講談社)

170 is by the comparatist who has been my guiding spirit in the area... 171 seems to be a very interesting history of European expansion into Asia. The first step to a globalized world.

And the moon is shining in the sky...

Monday Morning

After a long, restless weekend I received a new crop of strangely assorted books:

159. Cynthia Kadohata, Cracker (Simon and Schuster)
160. Skenazy and Martin eds., Conversations with Maxine Hong Kingston (Mississippi UP)
161. Gordon and Okihiro eds., Drothea Lange: Impounded (Norton)
162. Hicks et al. eds., The Literature of California (UC Press)
163. Maxine Hong Kingston, To be the Poet (Harvard UP)
164. Wenying Xu, Eating Identities (U of Hawaii P)
165. Donna Haraway, The Haraway Reader (Routledge)
166. J.F. Sowa, Conceptual Structures (Addison Wesley)
167. Eric Gans, The Scenic Imagination (Stanford)
168. クリスチャン・オステール『待ち合わせ』(宮林寛訳、河出書房新社)
169. 『建築の記憶』カタログ(東京都庭園美術館)

169 is an exhibition catalog that's unusually interesting. With incredibly accmplished photographs by Yasuhiro Ishimoto and Naoya Hatakeyama, along with a refreshing vision of Risaku Suzuki.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Third Brain

The final day of this year's entrance exam related work... Phew. Picked up some books afterward. Now I get some chunks of time!

153. Howard Sounes, Seventies (Pocket Books)
154. Bruce Stewart, James Joyce (Oxford)
155. Rachel Carson, Under the Sea-Wind (Penguin Classics)
156. 伝田光洋『第三の脳』(朝日出版社)
157. ニコラス・ハンフリー『内なる目』(紀伊國屋書店)
158. 下鶴大輔監修『火山に強くなる本』(山と渓谷社)

Of particular importance is 156 which I believe is ASTOUNDING. The skin as a third brain, the touch as the basis of our judgment. Right on the mark!

Friday, February 15, 2008

On a Night Like This

Still walking past the deadline, deadman walking, zombie writing begins. To cheer up a little I bought the immer good-humoured fellow's talks with friends... and a case of désespoir.

151. 吉田健一『吉田健一対談集成』(講談社文芸文庫)
152. フロイト『幻想の未来/文化への不満』(中山元訳、光文社古典新訳文庫)

Nakayama's Freud translation is awesome... the kind of work I would have wanted to do.

Now a half of february's gone and I feel as if I was left behind.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Mathematics

In high school I was very bad at math, as I didn't put any time into it. To this day I am bad at math, or rather, I know practically nothing about it. Now is the time to overcome this deficit. Now or never. Thus:

148. 石山たいら・大上丈彦『マンガでわかる微分積分』(サイエンス・アイ新書)
149. 根上生也『人に教えたくなる数学』(サイエンス・アイ新書)
150. 桜庭一樹『ブルースカイ』(ハヤカワ文庫JA)

Much to be learned, no time to learn. Imagination morte, imaginez.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Some from Powell's

This is our entrance exam week and in Japan it's a big thing. A really big thing for a university like no other occasion of the year. We at Meiji had over 100,000 applicants this year! The second largest number in Japan, only after immensely popular Waseda.

Good news, ain't it, but it keeps us busy. To overcome this hardship by intoxicating myself with new books, I ordered some to Powell's in Portland, Oregon, and a package arrived today. I love Powell's because it's located in Portland, Oregon. If it was located in Portland, Maine, maybe still I would love it nontheless. It's a solid, good bookstore.


141. Rubén Darío, Selected Writings (Penguin)
142. Gabriela Mistral, Selected Poems (Aris and Phillips)
143. Rainer Maria Rilke, Uncollected Poems (F, S & G)
144. Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of Images (F, S & G)
145. Xavier Villaurrutia, Homesick for Death (SARU)
146. Shirley Geok-Lim et al., eds, Transnational Asian American Literature (Temple UP)
147. Rachel Lee, The Americas of Asian American Literature (Princeton UP)

Happy reading.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Orson Who?

Under a cold, grey rain, walking past the deadlines...

137. Karen Shimakawa, National Abjection (Duke U P)
138. Derek Attridge, J.M.Coetzee and the Ethics of Reading (U of Chicago P)
139. Scholes et al., eds., Text Book (Bedford/St.Martin's)
140. Andre Bazin, Orson Wells (Acrobat Books)

Got to take in a couple of flics to write up an essay tonight.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Two from Friends

Received books from two friends:

135. 黒田龍之助『語学はやり直せる』(角川ONEテーマ21)
136. 中沢新一・波多野一郎『イカの哲学』(集英社新書)

Mis agradecimientos and will talk about them in the near future!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

At Work All Day

Phew. It's been a long working day, and it continues. In the meantime some voices arrived:

128. Catherine Crawford ed., If You Really Want to Hear About It (Thunder's Mouth Press)
129. Kim Chernin, The Hungry Self (Harper Perennial)
130. Slavoj Zizek, ed., Lacan: the Silent Partners (Verso)
131. Slavoj Zizek, How to Read Lacan (Norton)
132. 十文字美信『感性のバケモノになりたい』(求龍堂)
133. 小柳学『宮沢賢治が面白いほどわかる本』(中経出版)
134. Bill Bryson, The Lost Continent (Harper Perennial)

133 I bought in preparation for my undergraduate seminar on Miyazawa Kenji. I'll be dedicating the seminar for a comparative study of Gary Snyder and Miyazawa.

Sanity and Diet

In search of some sanity I bought myself a heavy dose of Deleuze in translation. I have been away from him too long...

121. ドゥルーズ+クレソン『ヒューム』(合田正人訳、ちくま学芸文庫)
122. ルネ・シェレール『ドゥルーズへのまなざし』(篠原洋治訳、筑摩書房)
123. ナイオール・ルーシー『記号学を超えて』(法政大学出版局)
124. ウンベルト・エコ『中世美学史』(谷口伊兵衛訳、而立書房)
125. 川下勝『アッシジのフランチェスコ』(清水書院)
126. Gilles Deleuze, Two Regimes of Madness (Semiotexte)
127. Douglas Hofstadter, I am a Strange Loop (Basic Books)

121 I bought for a long essay by Goda which I intend to read carefully.

Time to retrieve some THINKING with Deleuze. And I mean it!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Spring Approaches

All of a sudden walking on the street and I felt the light luminous in a different phase. And then:

117. Paul Auster, The Inner Life of Martin Frost (Picador)
118. マーティン・エイモス『ジェネシス・マシン』(ギボンズ京子訳、日経BP社)
119. ハラウェイ+グッドイヴ『サイボーグ・ダイアローグズ』(高橋+北村訳、水声社)
120. 池上高志『動きが生命をつくる』(青土社)

Need more grease on my elbows...

Sunday, February 03, 2008

You Can Ring My Bell

After the snowfall, the world is shining in our part.

110. Charlotte Gray, Alexander Graham Bell and the Passion for Invention (Arcade)
111. Elizabeth MacLeod, Alexander Graham Bell (Nelvana)
112. H.D., Collected Poems: 1912-1944 (New Directions)
113. H.D., Trilogy: The Walls Do Not Fall, Tribute to the Angels, The Flowering of the Rod (New Directions)
114. Benjamin Péret, From the Hidden Storehouse (trans. Keith Hollaman, Oberlin College P)
115. チョン・ソンイル『キム・ギドクの世界 野生もしくは贖罪の山羊』(秋那・南裕恵訳、白夜書房)
116. 桜庭一樹『青年のための読書クラブ』(新潮社)

My Sakuraba frenzy continues... H.D. along with Marianne Moore are somewhat like a homework to me. But February really slows me down...

Think North

Snow prodded me into buying a copy of this:

109. 太宰治『津軽』(新潮文庫)

But it feels so funny to read it in this regular pocket book edition, as for me Dazai existed as texts written in "kyu kana" (old orthography). The whole atmosphere look different.

Still, with this snow outside the window, it does feel like Tsugaru in winter (my imaginary topos).

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Lives under the snow

Tokyo today is covered with snow... my dog was so apprehensive. Her first exposure in life to a serious snowfall.

Received a great gift from Shun'ichi Mamura, one of our foremost book designers:

108. 間村俊一画集『ジョバンニ』(洋々社)

This is FASCINATING. A series of drawings inspired by Kenji Miyazawa's stories, and surrealistic collages deftly done. As a latter-day surrealist, I think Mamura (b. 1954) is as good as anybody in the world; or simply the BEST.

In the accompanying booklet, Yasuki Fukushima writes Mamura's biography in tankas. This is also unforgattable; an incredible tour de force. I'll probably write somebody's biography as a series of four-line poems... but of whom? Moe Norman? I'd love to.

Dark already; Joyce's The Dead kind of evening. Ainsi soit-il.

City Electric

There is a full-scale supermarket by our station and beginning 1 Feb it extended its business hours to 20 hours/day. Now it's open from 5 am to 1 am next day. This is outrageous. Do we ever need such a long shopping day? Some would say "Yes," followed by "It's so convenient!"

I'd say: "Let's just give up our labour-based time chart altogether and retire into the tranquility of NIGHT."

Just by limiting the business hours of such stores we can save huge amount of electricity. And the night would be quiet, dark, beautiful, dangerous.

I am often scared to enter into a builiding where every structural function is electric/electronic. Our Liberty Tower in Ochanomizu, e.g. It's lit like a candle, and once the power is out it's nothing more than a huge tomb stone.

What bugs me about those who preach "convenience" is that such convenience is but another side of our VERY alienated labour. Let's NOT work that way!

But then I did drop in at the store at 12 midnight to buy myself a can of beer and a bag of oranges...

Thursday, January 31, 2008


And the light is now bright. Two pocket-size books today:

105. 多和田葉子『旅をする裸の眼』(講談社文庫)
106. 桐野夏生『白蛇教異端尋問』(文春文庫)

105 has the end-of-the-volume essay by Shigemi Nakagawa who was my fellow presenter at the Tawada conference in 2004 at the U of Kentucky, organized by Doug Slaymaker.

I am also asked to contribute to a new collection of essays on Tawada, but so far can't come up with any new idea... Got to make a decision soon.

Then in the evening when my mind was going astray:

107. ヘルマン・ヘッセ『知と愛』(高橋健二訳、新潮文庫)

Why is this? Well, there is a series of associations, but too detailed and uninteresting to mention here. Hesse was one of my first authors anyway, and this is the first book of his in probably thirty years! This time I was only intrigued by its original title: Narziss und Goldmund. Golden Mouth! What was it about, I could barely recall. Thus, the purchase made.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

January Ending

Boy o boy o boy. January has run its course! Not much accomplished. Some more work to be done.

94. D.H. Lawrence, Complete Poems (Penguin)
95. H.D., Hermetic Definition (New Directions)
96. Paul Alfred Barton, Rap, Rhyme and Rhythm (1st Books)
97. Frank Hoffmann, Rythm & Blues, Rap, and Hip-hop (Checkmark Books)
98. Onwuchekwa Jemie, ed., Yo'Mama! (Temple UP)
99. Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping (Picador)
100. Nelson George, Hiphop America (Penguin)
101. 桜庭一樹『砂糖菓子の弾丸は撃ちぬけない』(富士見書房)

Of them 99 is my third copy, with my first two missing. 94, come to think of it, is my second copy and I gave away the first about 25 years ago. 101, my son has it with the tres charmante author's personalized autograph. This will be my actual reading copy!

Kanda is the district where you can't avoid dropping in at bookstores, and then you easily end up by buying some while giving up your coffee and dinner, often. It happens again and again. It's a pattern I can't kick.

102. Zadie Smith ed., The Book of Other People (Penguin)
103. エアハルト・ベーレンツ『5分で楽しむ数学50話』(岩波書店)
104. ガブリエル・ウォーカー『大気の波』(早川書房)

That's it for Janus's month.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Today's catch

86. Lisa Nakamura, Digitizing Space (U of Minnesota P)
87. Lisa Nakamura, Cybertypes (Routledge)
88. August Wilson, Jitney (TCG)
89. Forman and Neil, eds., That's the Joint (Routledge)
90. 桜庭一樹『桜庭一樹読書日記』(東京創元社)

My, my. Sakuraba reads day in day out, maybe 100 times more books than I do each year!

Then at night in Shinjuku:

91. フリオ・リャマサーレス『黄色い雨』(木村栄一訳、ヴィレッジブックス)
92. マリオ・バルガス=リョサ『楽園への道』(田村さと子訳、河出書房新社)
93. フリオ・コルタサル『愛しのグレンダ』(野谷文昭訳、岩波書店)

All needed for an immediate action.

Monday, January 28, 2008

This empire of signs in which we live

For the first time in years I bought a new book by Takatsugu Sasaki, who was an influential Lacanian critic in the 1970s. Thus:

85. 佐々木孝次『文字と見かけの国』(太陽出版)

Discussing "Japan" in Barthes and Lacan... sounds like good old days...

Sunday, January 27, 2008

John Carey again

Another anthology by John Carey plus some others arrived:

81. John Carey ed., The Faber Books of Utopias (FF)
82. J.M. Coetzee, Stranger Shores (Penguin)
83. Stephen Morton, Salman Rushdie (Palgrave)
84. 千住博『美術の核心』(文春新書)

Suffering from a bad toothache...

John Carey is somebody who can really write; if I ever write a who can really write; if I ever write a piece of criticism write; if I ever write a piece of criticism in English, his is the style I want to emulate. Nothing flamboyant, but very substantial.

At an exhibition

On Sunday-today (my way of putting it) I went to Setagaya Art Museum to see "Palau: Two lives." It's about the writer Nakajima Atsushi and the artist Hijikata Hisakatsu. A great exhibition. In my book list I am not including magazines or what they call "mook" in Japan. But hereafter, I am including exhibition catalogues. There is no reason not to. So.

78. 『パラオーーふたつの人生 鬼才・中島敦と日本のゴーギャン・土方久功』(世田谷美術館)
79. 中島敦『弟子 自筆原稿覆刻』(県立神奈川近代文学館)
80. 『Muttoniムットーニのからくり書物』(世田谷文学館)

All of them are so NICE. I bought 79 with the hope of learning Nakajima's beautiful handwriting. Can't quite believe he died at the age of thirty. Maturity shows in one's handwriting.

80, too, was a nice surprise. This guy makes multimedia kamishibai (picture stories) in his own peculiar imagination. Lovely.

I took a nice 25-minute walk from Chitose-Funabashi and on my way ran into my friend Kamioka Nobuo. I've been running into everybody everywhere these days. Very strange. But it makes life all the more enjoyable!

Who am I?

It is baffling to see my name embedded in an utterly unreadable language; in this case, Vietnamese. Here it goes, from Saigon Broadcasting Television Network:

Ong Keijiro Suga, giáo sư đại học 48 tuổi, đến tham dự cùng với vợ và người con trai 9 tuổi, nói rằng, ông chưa bao giờ được chứng kiến một nhóm vũ công chủ trương đa dạng văn hóa và chủng tộc giống như đội tuyển túc cầu của Pháp trong giải World Cup, vì thế ông dã tận hưởng tât cả tâm hồn của buổi biểu diễn này. Trong cuộc họp báo sau buổi biểu diễn, bà Christine Coudun, vũ sư sinh sống tại vùng ngoại ô Paris, nơi có rất nhiều những người biểu diễn breakdance trên các đưòng phố, giải thích với các phóng viên Reuters rằng, bà nghĩ ra lối kết hợp tân cổ sau khi quan sát các thể loại nhảy múa của các dân tộc. Bà nói rằng chắc chắn mọi người sẽ ngạc nhiên khi thấy những vũ công cổ điển nhảy trong tiếng nhạc thời trang, và những vũ công của thời nay nhảy múa trong tiếng nhạc cổ điển; vì thế bà nghĩ sự kết hợp này có thể khiến cho khán giả cảm thấy hứng khởi hơn.

Could somebody please tell me what it says? Well, I have a rough idea. It probably tells about the French dance company Black Blanc Beur. When they performed in Tokyo, during the intermission, I was interviewed by Reuters. It was broadcast all over the world, with my appearing on video! 48 refers to my age then (back in 2006, good grief).

I looked around but couldn't find any free translation site. I am intrigued... but don't have time to learn Vietnamese... much as I love pho!

Friday, January 25, 2008


A colleague sent me his new book, a friend sent me her new book. Both look mighty interesting. Then a book I ordered a couple of months ago arrived, finally.

74. 菊池良生『ハプスブルク帝国の情報メディア革命』(集英社新書)
75. 田口ランディ『キュア』(朝日新聞社)
76. Robert Fine, Cosmopolitanism (Routledge)

All set for the weekend!

One addition after the faculty meeting:

77. John Carey, ed., The Faber Book of Science (Faber & Faber)

A great anthology.

French Audio Books and Such

Going through the Tokyo station area on my way to Ginza I dropped in at Maruzen and ran into some intrigueing audio books in French; I got them sold immediately, bought by me. So.

67. Marc Lachièze-Rey, Cosmologie (De Vive Voix)
68. Claude Jaupart, Volcans (De Vive Voix)
69. Jean-Louis Biget, La grande peste noire (De Vive Voix)
70. Jean Giono, L'homme qui plantait des arbres (Folio Cadet)

70 I am considering using as a text for the second-year French this year.

Happy listening, surtout.

And then at night a local bookshop:

71. ウラジーミル・ナボコフ『ロリータ』(若島正訳、新潮文庫)
72. 水木しげる『ほんまにオレはアホやろか』(新潮文庫)
73. 伊藤章治『ジャガイモの世界史』(中公新書)

71, a masterful translation by Wakashima, is the one I already have and this is a second copy. The first I left at my office, I guess, and I had to take a look at it. 72 has a great title that sounds like me. 73 is an interesting subject to be pursued anytime.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

La primera nieve

No, this may not be the first, but the first visibly and ostensively snow-white cityscape of the season. Here in Tokyo we get such whiteness only two or three times a winter. Under the snowflakes falling from the gray, strangely luminous sky, I went to l'Institut franco-japonais to discuss some plans. The brasserie there offers a nice menu for lunch.

Then on my way back, I met consecutively a couple of friends, who both work in the's so rare, such coincidences.

At Omeisha, another major French bookshop in Tokyo, I bought the following:

63. Marjane Satrapi, Persepolis (L'Association)
64. Etienne Wolff, Les mots latins du français (Belin)
65. Irène Nouailhac, Le pluriel de bric-à-brac (Point)
66. Rémi Bertrand, Un bouquin n'est pas un livre (Point)

My sudden rage for the language's insane vocabulary, I guess.

Omeisha is good because it is much more oriented toward general readers, targetted especially for the Francophone population in Tokyo. This is the most densely Francophone area around; you hear French children screaming and their mothers chattering. On the other hand, France Tosho in Shinjuku is mostly patronized by the academics.

I already have Persepolis's Portuguese translation that I bought in Lisbon in 2004. They are now showing the film. I hope I can go check it out... but first things first. Winter continues.

Monday, January 21, 2008

What's New

Some arrivals:

59. J.D.Salinger, For Esme--With Love and Squalor (Penguin)
60. 佐々木喜善『遠野のザシキワラシとオシラサマ』(中公文庫)
61. 針山孝彦『生き物たちの情報戦略』(化学同人)
62. 伊藤弥住子『NYヒップホップ・ドリーム』(シンコー・ミュージック)

59 of course is the British title for the famous collection Nine Stories. I have more than three copies of them SOMEWHERE, but can't find them at hand. I am trying a detailed analysis of the collection in relation to a reading of Le Clézio's short pieces.

60 I bought because of Sakuraba Kazuki's end-of-the-volume essay. The book itself looks interesting enough.

A cold evening but not cold enough to think of the snow-balled earth!

First French Books of the Year

Going through Shinjuku this afternoon I couldn't resist the temptation of dropping in at France Tosho (La librairie française). I don't want to buy any more books, as I said, but my stupidity forced me to buy some more.

I have been buying books at this shop for, what, 29 years now. I am pretty sure I once was one of the most-spending individual customers (outside of professionals such as French lit profs) but I haven't been treated particularly well. Anonymity never fails.

Here is a list of what I bought there today:

50. Philippe Sollers, Un vrai roman: Mémoires (Plon)
51. Guillaume Apollinaire, Poèmes à Lou (Poésie/Gallimard)
52. Guillaume Apollinaire, Le Guetteur mélancolique (Poésie/Gallimard)
53. Antonin Artaud, Pour en finir avec le jugement de dieu (Poésie/Gallimard)
54. Léon-Paul Fargue, Poésies (Poésie/Gallimard)

Then I went to our Surugadai Campus for a couple of meetings, and after that at a second hand bookshop:

55. Clarence Major, ed., Black Slang (Routledge & Kegan Paul)
56. Christopher Horrocks, Baudrillard and the Millenniun (Icon Books/Totem Books)

And then finally at Sanseido:

57. William Irvine, On Desire (Oxford UP)
58. Nouvet et al. eds., Minima Memoria: In the Wake of Jean-François Lyotard (Stanford)

There are so many things I want to do simultaneously I remain motionless... But these days I am getting VERY serious about on whom to write before I leave this world... Apollinaire, certainly. Lyotard, definitely. Artaud, if I could. Sollers, if just for fun.

Happy reading.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Avalanche continues

After our friday faculty meeting I found a new package happily sitting and waiting for me in the office. Hello puppy, and in it were:

46. Rainer Maria Rilke, New Poems (Northwestern UP)
47. J.M.Coetzee, Inner Workings (Viking)
48. Vikas Swarup, Q & A, (Black Swan)

All of them look so intriguing but alas, I don't foresee a free time for some time to come. Tant pis! 47 is prefaced by Derek Attridge. I'll probably read that part on the train home.

Then in the evening at the book launching I received a copy of the book designer Shun'ichi Mamura's first collection of haikus.

49. 間村俊一『鶴の鬱』(角川書店)

This, I tell you, is a masterpiece! It's so exhilarating... lovely, funny, and striking.

From London

Today received a nice edited volume:

45. Anim-Addo & Scafe, eds., I am Black/White/Yellow: An Introduction to the Black Body in Europe (Mango Publishing)

One of my former students and friends, Midori Saito, now at London's Goldsmiths, kindly sent me a copy. She contributed to it her paper "Gendered Negritude, Women's Representation and the Novels of Claude McKay and Jean Rhys." Sounds so interesting.

Thank you Midori and keep up your good work toward a doctorate!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

In the Garden of Cherry Blossoms

Some books I picked up this morning:

38. 桜庭一樹『赤朽葉家の伝説』(東京創元社)
39. 桜庭一樹『私の男』(文藝春秋)
40. 桜庭一樹『少女には向かない職業』(創元推理文庫)
41. 山川偉也『哲学者ディオゲネス』(講談社学術文庫)
42. 湯川秀樹『目に見えないもの』(講談社学術文庫)
43. 田所清克・伊藤奈希砂『ブラジルポルトガル語手紙の書き方』(国際語学社)
44. 山田善郎(監修)『中級スペイン語文法』(白水社)

I purchased some books by Sakuraba in preparation for an upcoming job and only then I learned of her winning the Naoki Prize last evening. Congratulations to Kazuki Sakuraba whom I know is a very fine writer and an attentive, voracious, sophisticated reader!

As for Mieko Kawakami, the singer-cum-novelist-poet who just won the Akutagawa Prize, I've mostly been paying attention to her as an exciting singer (whose CDs I've been listening to for the last several months). She's got a great voice and a very dramatic way of rendering. I'd love to see her perform one day.

This time the couple of recipients (the Akutagawa/Naoki) is the best in recent years, it seems. Not that I pay much attention to literary prizes in general. But both of them are destined to become strong, fresh voices in this stagnant island country of repetitive desolation. Bon creative voyage to them.

Other books I bought on impulse--my bad. But it tells about the area toward which my desire is now working its way. It betrays a lot. Shame, shame, shame.

Happy reading, after first giving my finals!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Give me Jamaica and I'll give you this...

British history is so full of crazy instances that I'm stunned. Here is a passage from Niall Ferguson's Empire:

In much the same way, it was to settle a debt of L 16,000 to one of his supporters -- William Penn, the admiral who had captured Jamaica -- that Charles II granted Penn's son ownership of what became Pennsylvania. Overnight, this made William Penn junior the largest individual landowner in British history, with an estate well over the size of Ireland. (67)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Of Forests and Leaves

Here are two more books, both in Japanese:

35. 田島謙三、神田リエ『森と人間』(朝日新聞社)
36. ホイットマン『おれにはアメリカの歌声が聴こえる』(飯野友幸訳、光文社古典新訳文庫)

36 is a translation of selected pieces from Whitman's immortal Leaves of Grass. Splendidly translated by Tomoyuki Iino, whom I recently met and found out to be a neighbor! It's a bilingual edition, very aptly. Whitman's greatness, comparable only to Wordsworth and Baudelaire, and infinitely much broader than each of them, surfaces again from these simple-looking pages.I cherish this little book!

Then came in another:
37. 福島富士夫『アフリカ文学読みはじめ』(スリーエーネットワーク)

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Two more books I received as gifts from friends; I can't thank them enough.

33. 渡辺利雄『講義・アメリカ文学史 第1巻』(研究社)
34. 吉増剛造『わが悪魔祓い』(青土社)

The latter is one of the best books of poetry by the maître Gozo first published in 1974. The book itself is so GOrGeOus! Splendidly designed by Mitsuo Kano, it is emanating PRESENCE, at the present tense, after all these years. The beauty of Japanese books should be known to the world and I have often wondered if there are some serious collectors out there even if they can't read a word of Japanese. I, personally, wouldn't mind seeing this book auctioned at Christie's.

The title, Waga akuma barai (My own exorcism), is obviously inspired by Le Clézio's Häi, translated in Japanese as exorcism. Gozo somewhere avowed that he considered Le Clézio as his contemporary "rival" , by which I think he meant he shared a certain goal to be reached in their vision quest of the world.

This book is so nice to read, too. It reads, to me, like an extraordinary cartoon, where a rapidly alternating landscapes and visions appear one after the other. Hallucinating succession. Or, "illuminations" in the rimbardien sense?

A discursive epidemic, EXTRA-VAGARI

A couple of nice expressions I picked up from Steven Connor within the following passage:

The 'work of Joyce' is more than just a particular collection of texts; it is a generative code, a discursive epidemic, a chain letter. To write about Joyce's work, to add another act of reading to this immense unfolding, is a humbling, exhilarating, intimidating thing. Inevitably, any such reading will be given, conscisouly or unconsciously, to reflect on the nature and implications of the extravagance (literally extra-vagari, to wander outside), at once amicable and appetitive, of Joycean reading and writing, a writing that seems so strangely and stubbornly to resist reduction to an œuvre, or mere 'body of work.'

(James Joyce, 2)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Some from Powell's

Some used books arrived from Powell's:

30. Egmond and Mason, The Mammoth and the Mouse (Johns Hopkins UP)
31. Humphrey Carpenter, A Serious Character (Delta)
32. Houston Baker, Jr., Long Black Song (U of Virginia P)

Red herrings?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Books given

I occasionally do receive books as a gift, either from their authors, friends, editors, students, or simply acquintances. Considering that these books, too, pass thorough my office, I will also list them. I am not making any marks or anything to designate these books I didn't buy myself. But here is the first gift I received this year; grazie mille for its translator Koji Toko!

29. DBCピエール『ヴァーノン・ゴッド・リトル』(ヴィレッジブックス)

Books arriving

My pre-Christmas frenzy is now resurfacing as a seris of packets arriving in my office frm overseas; books only. I bought a couple of boxes too many, it seems. Still I need them incorporated in my list for the sake of honesty.

I am already puzzled why in the world I bought this and that, knowing very well I would never have time to read them all. This will be a historical testimony of my temporary insanity.

10. Zoë Wicomb, Playing in the Light (The New Press)
11. Zoë Wicomb, You can't get lost in Cape Town (The Feminist Press)
12. Zoë Wicomb, David's Story (The Feminist Press)
13. Salman Rushdie, Shalimar the Clown (Random House)
14. Salman Rushdie, The Moor's Last Sigh (Vintage)
15. Michael Reder, ed.,Coversations with Salman Rushdie (U of Mississippi Press)
16. August Wilson, Two Trains Running (TCG)
17. August Wilson, Seven Guitars (TCG)
18. Edouard Glissant, Monsieur Toussaint (Rienner)
19. Victor Duran ed., An Anthology of Belizean Literature (UPA)
20. Dino Buzzati, The Tartar Steppe (Canongate)
21. Dino Buzzati, The Bear's Famous Invasion of Sicily (HarperTrophy)
22. Jacques Derrida, On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness (Routledge)
23. Alisdair Gray, Lanark (Canongate)
24. Augenbraum and Stavans, eds., Lengua Fresca (Mariner Books)
25. Ari Marcopoulos, Even the President of the United States Sometimes Has Got to Stand Naked (JRP Ringier)
26. Houston Baker, Jr., Rap and the Academy (U of Chicago Press)
27. Houston Baker, Jr., Singers of Daybreak Howard UP)
28. ゲーリー・スナイダー『惑星の未来を想像する者たちへ』(山と渓谷社)

A second copy occacionally happens, and I do sometimes buy translations of a work, but there will be no special mention of these instances.

Happy reding.

Book Buying

Two books I bought today after giving a course at Komaba:

8. プレマック夫妻『心の発生と進化』(鈴木光太郎訳、新曜社)
9. 吉本光宏『イメージの帝国、映画の終り』(以文社)

After the class I met up with a couple of friends to discuss Tout-monde by Edouard Glissant. Shin Kudo wrote a paper (possibly a chapter for his dissertation) on this difficultissimo work and we revised his translation of several passages. Very interesting.

The grand Edou turns 80 this year; my obligation is to finish my translation of Le quatrième siècle by September... A difficult task. Will try anyway...

Monday, January 07, 2008

At the Kanda Quartier Latin

Those of you who know Tokyo may have heard that the Ochanomizu-Jinbocho area is sometimes called the Kanda Quartier Latin, because of the high concentration of colleges and clam schools. This is also one of the largest, if not THE largest, bookshop / used-book dealer area in the world; just think of the British museum and the Harvard Library come together, each isle selling a range of books.

Our headquarter is located in the area and each time we have some meeting I go there; on the average once a week or so. So I went there this afternoon to spend three very FRUITFUL hours, for the first time this year. Fruitful, I mean it. My old habit of not concentrating on what is in front of me helped me a lot. (But let me tell you I did my share of participation in the discussion!)

After the meeting was dismissed I went to a full-scale bookstore (Sanseido, namely). Here is the list of my acquisition today:

5. Claire Tomalin, ed., Poems of Thomas Hardy (Penguin Books)
6. Niall Ferguson, Empire (Penguin Books)
7. Philip Ball, The Elements: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford)

Happy reading.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Books and such

Admittedly, nobody asked me to reveal my secret consummerism; but I will list every single book I buy this year on this blog. So be it.

Today I went to the Shin Maru-biru near the Tokyo station (a brand new shopping complex) to have a lunch with my friends who are just about to go off to Palau; afterwards I went to Maruzen by myself and couldn't come out empty-handed. I am too soft-minded. So here is my first list of the year:

1. Federico García Lorca, Selected Poems (Penguin Classics)
2. Tennessee Williams, In the Winter of Cities (New Directions)
3. Nick Hornby, The Complete Polysyllabic Spree (Penguin Books)
4. Samuel Beckett, The Unnamable, read by Sean Barrett (Naxos Audio Books)

For convenience's sake, I will include an audio book in the same category as a printed book. No discussions on orality, please.

Nick Horby's is quite fun and much to the point, in this case. It's his book-buying and reading diary; very honest and funny. Professional writers may have different opinions, but all I wish for the moment is to write in English as he does and to write in French as Philippe Delerme does. They are both simple, funny, slick, often clever, sympa, and mostly relevant to our daily states of mind.

Hornby is especially RIGHT in rightly distinguishing between the books he bought and read. In my case, they usually NEVER coincide.

Happy buying books, then, and happy reading.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Ralentir, plus lentement...

Happy new year 2008. My new year's resolution this year is to be slow in writing! and of course reading!

Here is what Valéry wrote in one of his letters:

Pierre Louÿs, par exemple, ne pouvait souffrir de poursuivre son travail sur une page qui fût le moindrement raturée; quand il avait corrigé son texte, il s'arrêtait, prenait un nouveau feuillet, et recopiait au net, de sa splendide écriture, le passage dûment réformé. Ces reprises étaient fréquantes, car, pour un écrivain si scrupuleux, les occasions de se sentir fautif étaient innombrables. Il y aurait une belle étude à faire sur le scrupule en littérature.

Ah! ce que j'ai toujours connu, and what I have always forgotten!