Friday, April 01, 2016

Weekend Long-Reads

Scads of long-reads to recommend, this week -- most of them from The Los Angeles Review of Books (when they get on a roll, hoo baby).

  • "I wouldn't mind dying, if dying was all" -- Perhaps, like me, you don't have much time for the last 15-30 years of Bob Dylan's catalogue. That's fine, because Max Nelson listens on our behalf, and uses Dylan's "loose tryptich" -- Time Out Of Mind, Modern Times and Tempest -- as launchpad into the weird and troubling aural soundscape of America's earliest Gospel singers.
  • "As one whom the Freedom From Religion Foundation would reckon among the culpably enslaved, I might not be expected to welcome Jacoby’s new book Strange Gods: A Secular History of Conversion, but welcome it I do, for in book after book this writer has been a paradoxically effective religion teacher, and this new book, her most ambitious yet, is no exception" -- Jack Miles is super-appreciative of Susan Jacoby. Miles wrote two books I've returned to several times over the past few years (but only mentioned once) -- God: A Biography and Christ: A Crisis In The Life Of God. Please, kids: take and read.
  • Someone else I frequently return to is Albert Camus. So much so, in fact, that I've thought it behooves me to roll up my sleeves and maybe just for once write something about the guy, already. Trouble is there are so many minds keener than my own who have gone and done so. Case in point, Robert Zaretsky's The Limits of Absurdity. Absurdity was, of course, the philosophical stance which Camus made his personal cause célèbre -- and which, in turn, made him an international intellectual celebrity. Camus later strove to change his stance. Zaretsky reflects, and wonders if that didn't occur the moment when America first confronted Camus, and he gently returned the favour.
  • So, yeah: I'm a dilettante. And I might as well admit, when it comes to the work of David Lynch I've consulted my watch through the duration of every film of his I've watched -- except for Blue Velvet. Dennis Lim pens an observant and wide-ranging appreciation of this film over here.
  • And finally, just for giggles: what's the point of being a freelancer for the glossies if you can't write a catty piece that sneers at everyone who's ever signed a paycheque for you?

Wishing you a happy weekend -- WP/dpr

"We call this pose, 'L'homme se répand.'"

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