John Pistelli

writer

Why I Don’t Finish Reading Some Novels

Art is long, and time is fleeting, so how do I decide not only what to read, but, just as important, what not to read? I have no settled method, … Continue reading

24 May 2017 · Leave a comment

César Aira, Ema, the Captive

Ema, the Captive by César Aira My rating: 4 of 5 stars Reading and rereading Wilde over the years, I note a fact that his panegyrists seem not even to … Continue reading

22 May 2017 · 6 Comments

Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine

Love Medicine: Deluxe Modern Classic by Louise Erdrich My rating: 4 of 5 stars Browsing in a library the other day, I came upon a reference—in I don’t recall which … Continue reading

14 May 2017 · Leave a comment

Marianne Moore, Observations

Observations: Poems by Marianne Moore My rating: 4 of 5 stars I have never known how to read Marianne Moore, either in the most elementary sense (as in, what book … Continue reading

12 May 2017 · Leave a comment

Georg Lukács, The Meaning of Contemporary Realism

The Meaning of Contemporary Realism by Georg Lukács My rating: 2 of 5 stars I have always been attracted to the idea that art was more than about taste. Tabooed … Continue reading

10 May 2017 · 1 Comment

Gillian Rose, Mourning Becomes the Law

Mourning Becomes the Law: Philosophy and Representation by Gillian Rose My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is a posthumous 1996 essay collection by the British philosopher, who died of … Continue reading

9 May 2017 · 1 Comment

A Personal Canon

A number of book bloggers are posting their personal canons. They are very fun: see here, here, and here, for instance. (It reminds me of the “literary pillars” exercise inspired … Continue reading

30 April 2017 · 8 Comments

In Defense of Aesthetic Criticism

Vox explains the new political pop culture criticism: But whether it’s superficial or perceptive, today’s pop cultural criticism can’t seem to ignore social issues. Another excerpt, on how today’s “your … Continue reading

23 April 2017 · 4 Comments

Susan Howe, My Emily Dickinson

My Emily Dickinson by Susan Howe My rating: 4 of 5 stars The two greatest American poets are Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson; we have to take them together, like … Continue reading

23 April 2017 · Leave a comment

John Marsh, In Walt We Trust: How a Queer Socialist Poet Can Save America from Itself

In Walt We Trust: How a Queer Socialist Poet Can Save America from Itself by John Marsh My rating: 4 of 5 stars In Walt We Trust is blessedly less … Continue reading

17 April 2017 · 1 Comment