November 15th, 2010

cass, can you not

Books! (Books About Books Edition)

Michael Innes, "Hamlet, Vengance!": I thought that a detective novel with an erudite detective about a murder during an amateur performance of Hamlet would be awesome. Strangely enough, it was merely passable. Umberto Eco, Michael Innes isn't, or maybe it's just that the English are too proper for a really literary murder. Anyway, without being bad, it left me hungry for what I thought the book would be.

John Bender and Michael Marrinan, "The Culture of Diagram": The Encyclopedia, French theater, polemic paintings, and (I guess?) hypertext, as ways of looking at what diagrams are and how they are used. At one point, the book characterizes diagrams as articulated zones of density, which is both an inspiring concept and a good description of the book itself.

Borges, "Prologues, with a prologue of prologues": The best way of justifying my love of Borges comes from the fact that I know nobody else who wrote about reading, and about his readings, with so much understated passion. He almost never writes about anything else than books, their writers, and what they wrote about, but that covers entire universes. Uneven in interest, and sometimes repetitive (which we can forgive him, as the book's prologues were written along a period of decades,and without the intention of being put together), this book nonetheless shows, if not Borges' imagination, his passion and style.

P.D. James, "Talking about detective fiction": I didn't disagree with much written here, but it didn't quite say much, either. Still, I love the genre, and of course P.D. James knows and loves it.