What About This Wall?

From A Little History of Religion by Richard Holloway:

med_gallery_2_5_35255If daring to know how nature worked was one of the impulses of the Enlightenment, another was disgust with centuries of religious violence. Superstition was bad enough. War was worse. The thinkers of the Enlightenment noticed how religions always disagreed with each other. Each believed it possessed the truth revealed by God and the others were wrong. And when it got control of a country it tried to make everyone march to its drumbeat. That was bad enough. It was worse if there were just two religions in a country competing against each other. They would be at each other’s throats all the time, as they had been in Europe since the Reformation. But if there were thirty religions they all seemed to live in peace!

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The End

220px-Tin_House.jpgI have an interesting track record with literary publications … they keep disappearing, often just after I renew my subscription. Unfortunately, in this case it is one of my very favorites.  Tin House has accompanied me through many years of excellent reading.

I will miss it.

Dear Tin House Reader,

Tin House’s 20th Anniversary Issue, to be published in June 2019, will be the publication’s last. I’m grateful to Rob Spillman, Elissa Schappell, and Holly MacArthur, and the entire magazine staff, current and past, for their part in creating a vital, versatile outlet, and hosting important literary and cultural conversations over the past twenty years. It has been a remarkable run.

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Winter Reading

VOLUME 20, Number 2: Winter Reading

d51a43c9-f505-44d6-8d52-26baee6a8294.jpgOf that “season in hell” I very well remember the twenty days that I was interned in the military mental hospital. The reason? One morning in the barracks at a very early hour, in less than ten minutes I very methodically drank a bottle of cognac, smoked hashish and kef, and took five amphetamines. Two hours later during the military drills, under the influence of that ferocious mixture, I shot my gun at the clouds. They asked what had gotten into me and I explained that I was crazy.

—ENRIQUE VILA-MATAS, “The Literature of No”

Hunter S. Thompson said “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” To us this means, when the world is at its most chaotic, problematic, and inscrutable, that is when the outcasts, misfits, and true artists are able to make sense of the senseless, or at least transmogrify the disorder into their own order. Emotional turmoil—even pain—promises renewal, renaissance, new journeys, new projects, fresh ideas. In this Winter Reading, we celebrate our weird heroes, upheaval, and the surfacing that must precede art. After all, if anyone can find meaning in entropy and turn to freeze into a flower, she’s an artist.

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As Another Year Fades Away

download-1.jpgWell I’m walking well but my eyesight sucks. Thank goodness for electronic manipulation of the text (bigger and more distinct) otherwise I’d be back to the curved page of an actual book and the further distorted view through even the best magnifying device held in my shaking hand.

This last month of the year I have a rather diverse pool of proposed reading. I started with the Oasis trilogy which I finally got the order of the books right and just to keep up with the idea of a trilogy opted for the three collected short novels of Gina Berriault. I almost went back to three novels by Kurt Vonnegut but instead filled in the list with a scattering of previously suggested novels or books I have been wanting to read for some time.

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