23 March, 2007
I'm struggling with Adorno and Horkheimer's Dialectic of enlightenment, but I think with a bit of serious study I'll beat it yet.
Rousseau's Reveries d'un promeneur solitaire
Grossman's Life and fate
Barbusse's Le feu
HAL Fisher's History of Europe
Need to reread:
Freud's Civilisation and its discontents
Montesquieu's Lettres persanes
I'm also reading four different poetry books at once at the moment - The Penguin book of Spanish civil war verse, The terrible rain, an anthology of WWII poetry, and the two Oasis collections of Second World War poetry. The Spanish civil war book also includes letters of the writers who fought in the International Brigades, and a fascinating introduction about the perception of the war as the poets' war. The Oasis books focus almost entirely on poems by combatants and are marvellous because of this; there's a certain amount of barrack room doggerel but some of the poems are really wonderful. I've decided to use my spare blog as a poetry blog, now that I have a bit more time to spend on such a thing (some of my readers may have realised I've stopped posting on GU indefinitely) so I may post some of my favourites over there.
21 March, 2007
This has prompted me to start reading Marcel Reich-Ranicki's Thomas Mann and his family, which has filled me in on what an insane egotist and neurotic Thomas Mann was. I'm never sure how I feel about this kind of literary gossip; there a part of me that feels that you shouldn't concern yourself with what an author is like, but with what he writes. The Heat reader manquée in me loves all the gossip and the details of the nasty letters Thomas Mann wrote to his brother and the insanely self-obsessed diary entries, though. 
Incidentally, Wikipedia has given me a link to the FBI's file on Thomas Mann. Which other writers are there with publically available files?
20 March, 2007
I've also discovered that Radio 4's In our time programme has an archive of old programmes which one can listen to (you need RealPlayer).
19 March, 2007
1. The right not to read.
2. The right to skip pages.
3. The right to not finish.
4. The right to reread.
5. The right to read anything.
6. The right to escapism.
7. The right to read anywhere.
8. The right to browse.
9. The right to read out loud.
10. The right to not defend your tastes
I agree with all of those... 
In the plane on the way out I finished Elisabeth Badinter's Dead End Feminism, which was madly interesting although I skipped some of the more theoretical bits (typical French feminist). It's a little book arguing for a more positive kind of feminism, in which the advances that feminism has already made are fully acknowledged, and where the abilities of women to shape their own destinies takes a more central role, moving the focus away slightly from male oppression and towards female power. I enjoyed it a lot although will have to reread it and write a fuller review at a later date, but definitely food for thought. 
- The Penguin book of Spanish Civil War verse.
- The Mirror and the Mask: Portraiture in the Age of Picasso. Catalogue for the excellent show at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid.
- Postwar: a history of Europe since 1945, which was recommended to me by someone or other.
- Twentieth century German poetry: an anthology. Edited by Michael Hofmann. The long US one, not the very short Faber paperback.
- The biography of Karl Marx by Francis Wheen
- The English Auden
02 March, 2007
01 March, 2007
Gah. Every time I try and put a link in this post it deletes everything following it. An exerpt from the book was published in the Guardian Weekend magazine a few weeks ago and is available here:
I also finished Alan Furst's Kingdom of shadows which I have now written about twice and had blogger delete it for me so I'm not writing it out again. Gah.