Category Archives: Women writers
Found it in my inventory today. What a gift.
Even though mine is only a First American Edition, not Hogarth Press, I can’t quite price it to sell.
In my late teens Virginia Woolf, Kate Bush, James Joyce, Billy Bragg, Joni Mitchell and Prufrock were my best friends. <heart>, as the kids say. I still cry every time I watch the movie Orlando, one of the few movies that take liberties with a great book yet capture the point beautifully.
Virginia Woolf’s The Waves with Vanessa Bell cover art. First American Edition (NOT Hogarth Press), Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1931. Dust jacket and text block darkened with age. DJ has chips and a one inch rip, is soiled and lightly price clipped. Former owner name and dealer marks on end papers. winecountrybooksnapa at gmail – 25% discount for anyone who purchases via this blog, or make me an offer.
I am digging through my books this morning. I often find the sweetest things.
I found these and loved them.
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends–
It gives a lovely light!
Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!
For some time I have been wanting certain friends to ‘play hooky’ with me and spend a day sipping fine spirits and reading poetry. I put play hooky in quotes because with our lives and obligations we will have to plan hooky ahead.
A while back we were listening to M read one of her father’s poems and I mentioned this again. Then H reminded me of Bloomsday. I wrote papers on Joyce in school and I am ashamed to say that I could not name Leopold Bloom and had forgotten about Bloomsday. What kind of literature lover, Kate Bush fan and librarian am I, anyway?
Never mind. Now we know. June 16 2014, 110 years later- Hooky, poetry and fine spirits on Bloomsday it is.
So how’s it going for you? How far have you read?
Pages 100 through 136 provide the context for the funny, ugly scenes approaching in pages 137-165. Tracks 4 Babbino Caro and 5 Nessun Dorma provide a sort of ironic, but not really, counterpoint to the illustrations and revelations. I won’t spoil it, but I will give my thoughts.
I think ‘Ironic, but not really” sort of covers it, for me.
I mean, the crazy new agey stuff Esquivel has Anacreonte and Mammon saying about life and their respective charges, well. It should be at best silly and at worst annoying baloney. But I find myself reading passages like
“When one forgets one is a part of the whole, that one bears the Divine Essence within; when one ignores the fact one is connected with the Cosmos– like it or not– one ends up foolishly lying in bed dwelling on nonsense.”
“One act, however minimal, unleashes a chain reaction in the world around us… One person’s inaction paralyzes the world.”
“The kind of alignment I’m talking about consists of getting oneself in syntony with the loving energy circulating throughout the Cosmos. This is achieved by relaxing and letting life flow among all the cells of the body. Then Love, the cosmic DNA, will remember its genetic message, is origins, the mission assigned it… her entire being will breathe cosmic energy, and will remember it is not alone– much less, without Love.”
and feeling myself agreeing and being comforted.
So in this cynical era, this work is sort of funny to me, but I have to be honest. I think this work has potential to be uncovered thousands of years from now and mistaken for an exalted philosophical and moral text, perhaps much like we see the writings of the ancients we have uncovered. And that perception would not be a bad thing, at all. Butterfly effect, Conservation of Energy, String and Chaos theories, whatever… I don’t want to give a light, ironic yet also soulful literary fun run short shrift just because it isn’t so highbrow.
What do you think?
Next time : Beginning at Track 6, page 167.
It seems that my supply of green cloth bound volumes in the U.S. Army in World War II series is limitless.
I wish I could sit and read each one. What caught my eye just now are the ones on ordnance and chemical weapons.
So that’s what they call Technical Services, eh? In the library world Technical Services means cataloging. Go figure.
But I must take a break from World War history to remind you- if you would like a free paperback copy of Laura Esquivel’s The Law of Love, including the cd of Puccini, Liliana Felipe and others and the amazing illustrations of Miguelanxo Prado, comment here or email me at winecountrybooksnapa at gmail. If you promise to read the book and comment on it once or twice for our discussion, it is yours. I will put it right in the mail. You can paypal me or mail a check. I trust you.
My romance with this book has been on again off again, but right now it is decidedly on. You can read my initial thoughts and some thoughtful comments in the previous post. The members of the Wine Country Books online book discussion (okay, my mom and I) are hard at it, and I just sent out a friendly reminder to others (okay, my cousin).
Stay tuned for my and other members’ thoughts regarding the first 62 pages and first two tracks on the cd and the next installment!
The members of the Wine Country Books online book discussion group have been dying to begin the conversation about this book! Have you gotten your copy yet? If not, I still have one free copy to send the first person who comments here or emails me at winecountrybooksnapa at gmail dot com.
So what do you think?
Readers! Let’s get the comments rolling!
* * *
“Listen, Senorita. You have any idea how meretricious I’ve been?
“I beg your pardon?”
“I’ve levitated my soul enough to merit scatological treatment.”
– page 55
I don’t read enough Latin American literature. Whenever I do, it is unbelievable- enjoyable, earthy, usually darkly funny but not always, and beautifully written. My most recent read was Dona Flor and her Two Husbands by Jorge Amado. What a treat.
It all started when my mom gave me a copy of Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits when I was a teen, sealing my love for and fascination with Latin America for good. Some years later she gave me The Law of Love. I don’t know where that copy went, and I am so glad it cropped up again. It has everything, right? Music, illustration by Miguelanxo Prado, and, a silly yet really soulful premise- we are thrown into situations again and again, reincarnation after reincarnation, until we finally atone for whatever evil we did in previous lives, and only when we atone fully can we step free of our spiritual messes and find true love. The illustrations and especially the music really bring me right into the story, like the alarming realness of the news of the assassination on the Televirtual set.
When I read Cuquita’s conversation with the bureaucrat at the Astral Ascension desk in the Consumer Protection Agency, I just cracked up.
“Well, okay, I admit I was pretty nasty, but not enough to deserve this! I’ve spent enough time paying off karmas from posterior lives not to be stuck with a man guilty of default and battery. Just look at this eye! If you don’t grant me a divorce soon, I swear I’ll kill him.”
“Do what you like, but you’ll still have to pay. Next, please.”
I mean… what married lady has NOT felt this way at least for a time?
If she says she hasn’t she is LYING! And if she really hasn’t- well. Hum.
It is my favorite kind of humor- the humor that strikes right at the heart of a human situation, with compassion as well as cutting honesty. It seems like everything I read or every movie I watch from the Spanish Speaking World is so rich with this painful hilarity (or hilarious pain?). With the exception of Pan’s Labyrinth. That was not hilarious or witty, not one bit. It was amazing, but funny it never was, not for one moment. But in general, the humor in Latin American literature and film cuts deeply and truly.
I am sure Cuquita’s and Azucena’s sentiments fit just fine with other situations that have us wondering WHY ME? AND HOW DO I GET OUT OF THIS? Miserable jobs, parenting horrible children, putting up with some asshole coworker or family member day after day, or life’s many other more painful passages- and the common theme is that I don’t deserve it! How can I get out of it! Why am I having to put up with this? WHY ME? What agency can assist me out of this mess?
At the start of the book I was absolutely on board regarding the physical and spiritual violence done when colonial powers set themselves to bring indigenous civilizations and people to heel. But the story line made me uncomfortable, and it didn’t seem particularly well written… but I do wonder if the language and tone would sound much more literary in the original Spanish, and I do see the necessity of these brief passages and the first set of dark illustrations to the story.
And fast-forwarded to Azucena’s story, I am back on comfortable ground. Done well, this book could make an adorable, yet deeply thoughtful and soulful movie. And the whole book and cd are worth it just to read the words of Liliana Felipe’s song Mala, Track 2. Seriously.
I’ve read ahead a bit, through the thoughts of the Demon Mammon. I get a huge kick out of how he claims credit for human evolution, by making us suffer. His idea that violence is required to produce a masterpiece reminds me of the very insightful, cutting humor I value so highly.
I look forward to reading more, and to hearing what you think, dear reader! Get in touch and I will send you a copy free!!!
The first person who comments or emails me at winecountrybooksnapa at gmail and PROMISES to read, listen and discuss gets a FREE copy of our book for this month, Laura Esquivel’s hybrid treat of prose, illustration and music, The Law of Love. FREE!
I am mailing a copy of this month’s discussion book to a lucky friend of Wine Country Books (Okay. So it’s my mom) just now. (And the other three lucky friends of Wine Country Books are myself, my cousin and my best friend. AND?)
Won’t you join us? I have paperback used copies with cd for $15 with no extra charge for shipping, and next to new hardback copies with cd for $20 with no extra charge for shipping. You can send me a check. I trust you. 🙂
Unless, of course, you are the lucky winner of the free copy. Comment or email now! It is already September 4th!