In a sense, Thoreau was a homebody

Should i be doing something more valiant with my free time other than sitting in my chair reading all day, occasionally succumbing to a cat nap.

Reading-wise, i’ve been very gymnastic, bouncing between Ovid’s Metamorphoses (the Penguin Classics translation) and Annie John by Jamaica Kincaid, as well as Poetry 180, an anthology put together by Billy Collins, and re-reading Great Expectations in an exquisite and sparkly edition put out by Chiltern Publishing (pictured below).

I recently read Henry Thoreau’s Walden and was enamored not really by his lambasting of conformity and his boasts of individuality, but by his exhaustive accounts of certain features of the forest where he lived, most notably Walden Pond, unashamedly leaving no detail unmentioned. Eg., he describes its color through the seasons and different weather conditions, its aquatic life, its dimensions, how townspeople have used it, how it came to be developed and who once resided in the vicinity.

I had the thought of Thoreau as a writer who is anchored to place, as opposed to someone like Allen Ginsburg, whom I admire and whose life and writing were busy with near-constant and often dizzying movement, with rarely a moment of stillness, with the exception of spiritual interludes, such as Sunflower Sutra, or laments like Kaddish.

Book reviews and why I’m averse to ’em

I read a ton of books, but I’m too lazy to post book reviews. Also, reading for me is a personal experience, and I suppose that could become tainted in a way by sharing my reactions to a book. Like, to give an analogy, one time I was hiking at a high elevation in the mountains and it began to snow. It was so quiet up there that I could hear the snowflakes as they fell onto the trees and bushes. I thought it was so beautiful that my first reaction was to whip out my phone with the intention of taking video. But then I was like, the video would do this no justice. Also, it was a very personal experience that I felt would be corrupted and spoiled in a way by posting footage on Facebook or wherever else. Wouldn’t it kinda be like sleeping with someone then telling about it?

Best books and music

These were the top three books and musical discoveries for me this year. They’re alphabetized and not in order of preference.

BOOKS

  1. Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer – Inspiring essays on preserving our ecosystem and restoring nature, written from the perspective of Native American tradition and spirituality.
  2. Essays One by Lydia Davis – A very rewarding and lively 512-page book, generally about the art and craft of writing. Davis discusses her own practices, and she also looks at the techniques of a wonderfully curated group of other writers. In addition, she discusses elements of visual art and photography.
  3. The Terrible by Yrsa Daley-Ward – A memoir dealing with self-discovery, empowerment and family upbringing, conveyed through prose and poetry, written in a unique voice.

Continue reading “Best books and music”

What I did

Made every effort to avoid my housemate.

Spent most of the day in bed reading, drinking espresso and writing.

I did make a quick run to the bookstore to analyze the difference between Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast as originally published vs. the so-called “restored” edition. I found out the restored edition is largely a sham, with uninteresting filler to aid in the marketing ploy. Filler included a long-winded intro, images of Hemingway’s handwritten notes and a section dedicated to his revision process, which was an absurd addition.

Made popcorn and grilled cheese, as well as an omelet with broccoli, onion & parmesan. Spent 5 hrs in the morning doing chores & errands.

Started a Goodreads account at goodreads.com/cassandra_k.

Black coffee and saucer

Black coffee in espresso cup resting on saucer atop secondhand book purchased for 25¢. In bed I continue reading Allen Ginsberg’s Planet News. Morning outside: the sun struggles against the clouds. Reminded of Whitman while reading. Reminded of proclamations, with Ginsberg’s text stretching from end to end on page after page. Reminded of Ferlinghetti, with text drizzling downward in thin stacks.

An intro to pretty much every topic you can think of

This Oxford University Press book series is great for those of us who are curious about everything and want to know it all. I spotted them at a local bookstore.

My favorites:

  • A Very Short Introduction to Identity
  • A Very Short Introduction to Infinity
  • A Very Short Introduction to Nothing
  • A Very Short Introduction to the History of Time
  • A Very Short Introduction to the Antarctic
  • A Very Short Introduction to Plate Tectonics
  • A Very Short Introduction to Chaos
  • A Very Short Introduction to Genes

my poetry & art book wish lists

Is Santa listening yet?

POETRY

  1. The Collected Poems: Sylvia Plath
  2. New Addresses: Poems by Kenneth Koch
  3. Selected Poems: Frank O’Hara
  4. Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein
  5. Ozone Journal by Peter Balakian

ART

  1. Cy Twombly: Fifty Years of Works on Paper
  2. Marcel Broothaers: The Complete Prints
  3. Georgia O’Keeffe: A Portrait by Alfred Stieglitz
  4. Pablo Picasso: The Lithographs
  5. Une Semaine De Bonte: A Surrealistic Novel in Collage by Max Ernst