Book List


2) The Crying of Lot 49 Dec-2011 thru Jan-2012 (a pick by Mark M) by Thomas Pynchon

1) Walden Nov-2011 thru Jan 2012 - (a pick by Mary Lou): Walden, Henry D. Thoreau

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Crying of Lot 49 - What is Oedipa really searching for?

In this Thomas Pynchon short novel, we follow Oedipa Maas, the executrix of her former wealthy boyfriend, traveling from point to point trying to understand and uncover what Inverarity has possibly encoded/disguised in his estate holdings.

(Thus, in the end, was Inverarity trying to lead Oedipa to some grand prize/knowledge/adventure, or just frustrate her in a last jealous revenge?)

I found the novel full of great Americana-descriptions of what must have been certain aspects of the 1960's California, as Oedipa struggles and searches for clues, stumbling and mixing advanced scientific concepts (entropy, thermodynamics, Maxwell's Demon) with interesting new and old psychology (Freudian observations, paranoia, LSD experiments), with varying aspects of social and economic interplays, especially how communciations plays such a potent role in society - (the mail system being an underlying plot).

What may be the best part of the novel is Pynchon's (sometimes long) sentences describing these many things.

"The salvation... depends on communication .. Nobody could move troops, farm produce, anything, without us."

"... in the buses all night... trying to hear one of these (melodies) through snarling static from the bus's motor, hummed along as if she would remember it always, tracing post horns and hearts with a fingernail, in the haze of her breath on the window."

"...I came hoping you could talk me out of a fantasy. Hilarius(her psychiatrist): Cherish it! What else do any of you have. Hold it tightly by its little tentacle, don't let the Freudians coax it away or the pharmacists poison it out of you."

"...,with the courage you find you have when there is nothing more to lose, ..."

My overall thought: Nicely and shortly done - MM

Crying_of_Lot_49 - Mark's Flickr photo

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Is Thoreau my hero?

Well, Thoreau is kind of a hero figure in his Walden experiment - he just: goes-for-it - whenever - never giving in to the "grind" - being his own self (possible can be construed a bit selfish). So, don't let that door hit you on the behind there Mr. Thoreau - keep moving, keep writing - your descriptions of the (natural) world are intense/great - even the one where you look at a scene upside down (now what chapter did he say this?)

So - conclusion "I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there" ... "... if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will ...." "my insertion - (sic) be happy?"

So Yes, he's my hero - (I am Thoreau, I am ...)

Mark M.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Some thoughts on Thoreau Quotes

re: Mary Lou's found quote:

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone."

I think Thoreau is making light/fun-of that a rich man leaves many things he has untouched, where a poor man must use up everything they have. (Thoreau seems much in favor of only producing/using what you need and nothing more).

Here is another quote which seems to be a common theme of Mr. Thoreau:

"Let not to get a living be thy trade, but thy sport".

Mark M.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hello All

I am not sure if Thoreau would have approved of blogs (or cummunications like the web or twitter), but I am happy to read his book and discuss it with everyone.
Welcome to our first book Walden by Henry D. Thoreau, please feel free to blog your thoughts.