12 still frames from Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc

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From The Passion of Joan of Arc, 1928. Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer and starring Renée Jeanne Falconetti. Cinematography by Rudolph Maté. Via FilmGrab.

 

Infatuation — Konrad Klapheck

Verliebtheit (Infatuation), 1969 by Konrad Klapheck (b. 1935)

Freudian Woman, NYC — Louis Faurer

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Freudian Woman, NYC, 1947 by Louis Faurer (1916-2001)

much/little (Emily Dickinson)

In this short Life that only lasts an hour
How much – how little – is within our power

Emily Dickinson (poem 1287)

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Head of a Woman — Maruja Mallo

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Head of a Woman, 1946 by Maruja Mallo (1902–1995)

The Plan Maker — Salman Toor 

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The Plan Maker, 2018 by Salman Toor (b. 1983)

Michaelmas Term — Toyin Ojih Odutola 

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Michaelmas Term, 2016 by Toyin Ojih Odutola (b. 1985)

I haven’t written a review in sixty days–

—and even then I didn’t even label it even, the non-review, as a “review” —- what was it, sixty days ago?—a thing on Thomas Pynchon’s latest novel Bleeding Edge which I managed to pound out in time for Pynchon’s 83rd birthday on 8 May 2020, sixty odd days ago. (All these days are odd, or if not odd, then boring, and very hot humid heavy here in Florida lately, filled with smaller and bigger dreads and excuses for and away from screens, me spinning proverbial plates to distract my kids and myself from the yawning hot nothingness of a campless, socially-distant, non-vacationing summer, etc.) I signed my name, Edwin Turner, to that non-review. I also signed my name to another non-review, another thing I called a “blog about” (this is still a blog about books, isn’t it? Not sure), a blog posted about twenty-four days ago, a few days after my forty-first birthday. I let an image of a stack of books guide that post, a stupid trick I use too often, or maybe not enough, I don’t know. There were some good books and great books in the photograph in the non-review that I would like to have written proper reviews of: Muriel Spark’s Loitering with Intent (great), Graciliano Ramos’s São Bernardo (good),  Guillermo Stitch’s Lake of Urine (good/weird/good weird)—and a book I have absolutely loved, Jean-Baptiste Del Amo’s Animalia (excellent, I think), which I have stopped in the dead middle of, for reasons that I am not sure about but which are certainly uninteresting, these reasons. There was also Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Unconsoled, which may or may not be great, and which I loved, and which I have no interest in “reviewing.” And more Muriel Spark novels. And I bought some more Spark novels, including A Far Cry from Kensington, which is on this double-stacked shelf of books that I need to or at least want to write about or am in any case reading or have read or intend to read; look, here’s a picture, what most of you will simply scroll and scan and then move on, never having read any of this blather—

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—not in the pic is the large gorgeous alienlanguage graphic novel Anasazi by Mike Mccubbins and Matt Bryan, a really excellent and very different book that I’ve dithered around (not) reviewing for months now (starting painful starts and stabs at reviews, deleting pretentious paragraphs about Wittgenstein, deleting three word “reviews” (Get this book!), etc.): Get this book!—and etc. I’ll never finish The Complete Gary Lutz (that’s a compliment). I listened to the audiobook of Steve Erickson’s novel Zeroville (read by Bronson Pinchot of True Romance and Cousin Balki fame) and loved it and picked up another Erickson novel—Rubicon Beach. Zeroville reminded me of the fictional novel version of Biskind’s Easy Riders, Raging Bulls that I didn’t know I wanted. It also made me want to watch more films, and I’ve been watching at least a film a night for a while now (Can I remember the past few nights?: Princess Mononoke, Withnail & I, C.H.U.D., Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast, Week-End, Bringing Up Baby, Scanners, Lifeforce, The Battle for Algiers, Cutter’s Way); I listened to the audiobook of Nico Walker’s novel Cherry and liked it at first and then it really started to wear on me and then I kind of hated it by the end—my review of Cherry is “I would’ve fucking loved Cherry when I was 20″; I do not currently have an audiobook on deck. I read Claudia Rankine’s discursive memoir-poem-essay Citizen on July 3rd, and were I the kind of person who wore socks (I don’t wear socks if I can help it), they would have been knocked far, far from my hobbitfeet. I am not the right person to review Citizen but reading it was wonderful, painful, expansive. Reminded me a bit of David Markson and W.G. Sebald, but not at all like those things. Excellent stuff.

There must have been something else but I forget.

And I realize now that this post was not what I intended to write, but maybe I have to push this garbage out of me to move forward and actually write a review again (if, indeed, this is still a blog about books).

Azorka — Tilo Baumgärtel

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Azorka, 2018 by Tilo Baumgärtel (b. 1972)

Illustration for “The Hare and the Black-and-White Witch” — Barry Moser

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Barry Moser’s illustration for Lynne Reid Banks’s “The Hare and the Black-and-White Witch.” From The Magic Hare, Avon, 1994.

Mostryn — Rosa Loy

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Mostryn, 2020 by Rosa Loy (b. 1958)

Opportunity — George Petrovich Kichigin

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Opportunity, 1993 by George Petrovich Kichigin

“July 4th” — May Swenson

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Green Hell — Ryan Heshka

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Green Hell, 2018 by Ryan Heskha (b. 1970)

Claudia Rankine reading from Citizen

Selections from One-Star Amazon Reviews of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

[Editorial note: The following citations come from one-star Amazon reviews of Toni Morrison’s novel The Bluest Eye. Reading through these “reviews” has made me want to revisit Morrison’s debut, which I haven’t read in a dozen years (tellingly, many if not most of the reviewers fail to realize that the novel was published in 1970, not in 2000 when it was featured in Oprah Winfrey’s book clubI’ve preserved the reviewers’ own styles of punctuation and spelling. More one-star Amazon reviews.]


TRASH

f-words

b-words

Its sooooooo dirty!

unrelentingly grim

filled with sexuality

Call me a simpleton, but

politically correct posture

I felt dirty after reading it

over-the-top racial themes

Just another…(never mind)

horrible with no hope at all

full of cruel unlikable character

decorate her work with profanity

Did OPRAH actually read this drivel?

wallowing in the garbage of humanity

the gross aspects of sex and femine hygene

Granted I am a guy, a white guy at that, but

This author must be a good friend of Oprah’s

I loved To Kill a Mockingbird and Uncle Toms Cabin.

I like to read something that doesn’t pollute my mind

Sadly Toni Morrison has kept to her very low standards

write a letter to the school board to have them remove it

Evreythig revolved over sex and a lot of other horrible things

I read the book in one day hoping that it would eventually get better.

Good book packed intelligibly in a huge box with 2 32oz bottles of shampoo.

Half the time I didn’t even know what character they were writing about until I was well into the chapter.

my very well read and well travelled daughter said she was shocked by these stories

The author was very uneducated in her writing. She did not make since

I am an educated caucasian woman with a masters degree

we all live in the gutter and mix with the dregs of society

It just made me feel guilty just cos I’d been born white

I live in a town that has many African Americans

the appalling Common Core Curriculum

Common Core exemplar reading list

As highly educated as we both are,

random trashing of Dostoevsky

sexually explicit perversion

a very disturbing feeling

Common Core reading list

common core curriculum

common core standards

new CCSS(common core)

Common Core program

at times perverse

nothing but hurt

Oprah’s choices

“social justice.”

not literature

garbage

Phooey!

porn

VILE

 

Tipping Point — David Lyle

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Tipping Point, 2020 by David Lyle (b. 1971)