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95 Books, Part 6

To continue on the 95 books project, the next few I’ve been pecking away at, each glad I have the opportunity to read. This time with excerpt of some that I found particularly wowing, and wanted as first impulse to hand-copy then retype as a way of thinking on it again.

  1. How to Live on 24 hours a Day by Arnold Bennett (1910),

    A good novel rushes you forward like a skiff down a stream, and you arrive at the end, perhaps breathless, but unexhausted. The best novels involve the least strain. Now in the cultivation of the mind one of the most important factors is precisely the feeling of strain, of difficulty, of a task which one part of you is anxious to achieve and another part of you is anxious to shirk; and that feeling cannot be got in facing a novel. […] Imaginative poetry produces a far greater mental strain than novels. It produces probably the severest strain of any form of literature.

  2. Scar Tissue: Poems by Charles Wright (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2006), p. 68

    it is hard to hard to imagine how unremembered we all become,
    How quickly all that we’ve done
    Is unremembered and unforgiven,
                how quickly
    Bog lilies and yellow clover flashlight our footfalls,
    How quickly and finally the landscape subsumes us,
    And everything that we are becomes what we are not.

  3. Phantom Camera: Poems by Jaswinder Bolina (Western Michigan University, 2013), p55 from Practicum,

    fraught and pensive in bleak abstractions of a cold front in April
    when the whole city is yearning for the shriek of bluebells
    which will in theory bloom though no theory is there
    in the pang of our longing for instance when a body longs for
    a medic no theory in the concussions that a body’s cussing makes
    as no theory in the obscenity of the wire reports of April
    in Tripoli in Dara’s mortar rounds are practice not theory
    as in no theory in what the orphan sees when she’s being orphaned
    people shriek not bluebells not the banshees of theory who would
    abstract and decipher this world its caution tape and shards
    in hopes of mending it for which I adore theory
    how it wants to give what’s almost not possible to give
    one day it might schematize the function of our suffering
    one day it might answer our eschatology and one day render
    a unified theory between a theory of the self and the theory
    of the Other but today we can ride out early with wineskins
    slung over our shoulders today we can drink sangria in the desert
    in its exorbitant ruin and you might kiss me hard on the mouth

  4. Writing down the Bones: Freeing the Writer within by Natalie Goldberg (Shambhala, 2005), p. 173

    Some part of us can walk through the cloud of humming mosquitoes and touch a very clear space inside us. We can ignore the negativity and constant chatter of the internal critic and continue to move our hand across the page. Our conscious minds are busy with the mosquitoes, so they aren’t always aware that we are writing something good.

  5. AR Ammons: Selected Poems, edited by David Lehman (The Library of America, 2006) [re-reading]
    from p. 14

    […] be in on the gist of “concrete observations,”
    must be pliant to the drift (roll with the kncoks):

    they say, too, I must halter my fancy
    with these blinding limitations:
    I don’t know that I can go along with that, either:
    for though I’ve proved myself stupid by 33 years
    of getting nowhere,

    p. 48, Play

    Nothing’s going to become of anyone
    except death:
          therefore: it’s okay
    to yearn
    too high:
    the grave accommodates
    swell rambunctiousness &

    ruin’s not
    compromised by magnificence:

    that cut-off point
    liberates us to the

    common disaster: so
          pick a perch –
    apple branch for example in bloom –
    tune up

    drill imagination right through necessity:
    it’s all right
    it’s been taken care of:

    is allowed, considering

  6. The Thoughts of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, book 4:

    the greatest part of what we say and do being unnecessary, if a man takes this away, he will have more leisure and less uneasiness. Accordingly, on every occasion a man should ask himself, Is this one of the unnecessary things? Now a man should take away not only unnecessary acts, but also unnecessary thoughts, for thus superfluous acts will not follow after.

    from book 5,

    In the morning when thou risest unwillingly, let this thought be present,—I am rising to the work of a human being. Why then am I dissatisfied if I am going to do the things for which I exist and for which I was brought into the world? Or have I been made for this, to lie in the bed-clothes and keep myself warm?—But this is more pleasant.—Dost thou exist then to take thy pleasure, and not at all for action or exertion? Dost thou not see the little plants, the little birds, the ants, the spiders, the bees working together to put in order their several parts of the universe? And art thou unwilling to do the work of a human being

    and book 6,

    The best way of avenging yourself is not to become like [the wrong-doer].[…] In this flowing stream then, on which there is no abiding, what is there of the things which hurry by on which a man would set a high price? It would be just as if a man should fall in love with one of the sparrows which fly by, but it has already passed out of sight.

I seem to be on a bent for things that are less clever surface gambol, more meaning-seeking than entertaining, more about contemplation, permanence, transience. It’s less tiring to watch for salient patterns that tumble in the chaos. What is that, aging? I can come up with diverting silliness and ADD on my own. I want a steadier pattern to entrain myself on. If I’m listening that which echoes me, I’m only really listening to me. Reading is in part to exit the self, expand the self not build thicker more airtight walls.

And in the mail, 2 more books arrived this week. A few dozen I take slowly, reading aloud or a bit each day.

Related posts:

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  2. a new books woo Waiting for my order to come, I ended up using a gift coupon and buying other things to hold me over. Never mind the 2 library books I haven’t finished,...
  3. DC Books Sasquatch was a reading featuring DC Books authors. DC Books, out of Quebec, was founded by Louis Dudek, and for the past several years has been led by Steve Luxton,...

Categories: Currently reading.

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One Response

  1. Wow…awesome quotes.
    The Wright and Bolina zone is to-the-bone deepcut.

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