Five Essential Reads

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Five essential reads

GarcíaDavid L. Ulin, the Los Angeles Times Book Critic, published a short eulogy for Gabriel García Márquez, but, as my original training as a New Critic had me believe unconditionally, the works have a life of their own, independent from the author or the country or the history. Ulin, unlike many other commentaries I have read since the death of García, seems to recognize this and focuses on the books written by Gabriel García Márquez.

[From LAT, April 18, 2014]

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XFX: Fourth Quarter Reading

The new quarter has snuck up on us here and we want to introduce the exellent titles which have been selected for reading over the next three months.

The first book (10-16) is by an excellent German author that should be required reading for anyone interested in post-war literature:  Hermann Broch. The title we selected isn’t one of the author’s big and hairy novels but the more approachable novel: The Unknown Quantity. Here is a little review:

Born in Germany in the early twentieth century, mild and sensitive Richard Hieck endured a quietly difficult childhood. Raised in humble circumstances, Richard was profoundly influenced by his withdrawn mother and by his father — an enigma whose devotion centered not on his five children but on his mysterious career. From his father, Richard inherited an interest in the night sky, learning to love the constellations and to take comfort in the strength of Orion and the warm radiance of Venus. At the same time, his shadowy, elusive father influenced Richard to pursue studies in mathematics, a field offering the discipline Richard had craved as a child.In The Unknown Quantity, Hermann Broch examines the underlying chaos — and, finally, the impossibility — of life within a society whose values are in decay. As Richard seeks to reconcile the conflicting demands of love and science, of passion and reason, he and those in his orbit must endure the effects of societal and family values — even as the values descend into madness.

The second book (11-01) is another sorter novel from the twisted and always fascinating mind of William S. Burroughs. Many have read Naked Lunch and do not realize that Burroughs has many other novels to his credit; this one starts the Nova Trilogy and is titled, The Soft Machine.

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XFX: New Titles at Experimental Fiction

The fourth quarter titles for reading with the Experimental Fiction Group (XFX) are now posted. For convenience, here are the selections:

For the Fourth Quarter of 2012

  10-16 –  The Unknown Quantity – Hermann Broch

   11-01 – The Soft Machine – William S. Burroughs

   11 -16 – 40 Stories – Donald Barthelme

  12-01 –  Frog – Stephen Dixon

   12-16 – Love In the Time of Cholera – Gabriel García-Marquez