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½-red books for #888 in tribute to overflow river cultures + fixing dinner for 8 billion


20 June 2021> Post #888. Dat in itself cd be the subjet of this hear post. We din't start #ing these til post 331, in 2013... took us 10 years to get to #333 + 8 years to write the next 555. Yesterday was Juneteenth, today summer solstice. Haven't bin so journihilistic in our journeling lately, mostly cuz we've had our nose to the grindstone recording Tributaries... not much doing in the reel moondough, starting to go stir crazy in the 69 square miles of the district, things are opening up but seams every 1 + their mothers are making up for lost time. Weave bin to restraunts + had ppl over but not reddy to get on a plane yet, tho next weekend we're getting on a train. Still doing long walks 1 or 2x a week, today ~8 miles into Rock Creek + yesterday ~10 miles down to Buzzard Pt where the Anacostia meets the Potomac, still scouring book boxes, xchanging the shit books folks leave in our liebury boox for bedder 1s. For a while there during covid it was hard to keep our boox stocked w/ decent books but lately folks seem to giving back more than they take, here's our overflow stacks parked near our front door:

We haven't done a book round-up in a while (of ½-red books left in our boox or that we find in others that look intresting but not enough to pursue to completion so we'll add to the above pile):

  • Aboriginal Myths by A.W. Reed—we're intrested in dreamtime + aboriginal mythology but not sum white dude's retelling of them
  • Rag by Maryse Meijer—not our thing, seems she's trying to hard to be gritty, violent + shocking
  • Nothing But Soot by Sirwan Kajjo—this was sorta intresting cuz it takes place in D.C. (from a Syrian immigrant's p.o.v.) but perty ordinary
  • Samuel Beckett: The Language of Self by Frederick J. Hoffman—wd rather just read Beckett then what sum other guy thinks of Beckett
  • Steps by Jerzy Kosinski—Kosinski can definitely write + these sucked us in at 1st w/ their dreamy tone, but seems it all comes back to sex for him, creepy male fantasy scenarios
  • Whalestoe Lettersby Mark Z. Danielewski—a companion piece to House of Leaves, which we wasn't crazy about
  • The Man Who Shot Out My Eye Is Dead by Chanelle Benz—maybe we'll hold onto this 1 actually + read more. The 1st story was intresting (an experimental sorta western) + then the next stories were stylistically all over the map which threw us for a turn... but now we just googled her + saw what she looked like, certainly not what we would've expected the author to look like, at least not of the 1st story
  • Swerve by Vincent James, McCormick Templeman, and Rowland Saifi—admirable effort (to have a multi-authored novel) but felt too much like a writing exercise + we're not into the detective genre much
  • Facing the Congo + River of No Reprieve by Jeffrey Tayler—seems sum 1 in our hood knows we're on a river kick (thx!) cuz there's been bunch of river books left in our box lately including these 2, but much as we dig the idea of these they seam like a bored privilege white bloke exploiting these rivers/cultures to write a book for money or to resolve whatever existential crisis he's going thru

A river book left in our boox that we'll keep pursuing past 50 pgs is The Golden Serpeant by Ciro Alegría. It concerns ppl living on the Río Maranon in eastern Peru where the highlands pour into the Amazon river basin, same area Herzog made Fitzcarraldo + Aguirre, the Wrath of God (both of which have a lot to say about rivers). It ain't a novel so much as intertwined vignettes about the ppl living on the river + it ain't exactly literary high art (Alegría is a journihilist) but worthwhile as an anthropologic record tho Alegría is admittedly a "cholo" (a ½-breed) so it's an outsider p.o.v. Most of the folk in the book are subsistence farmers but most every 1's livelihoods are tethered to the river, which is rather volatile + turbulent, carrying dead trees + debris that make rafting (on balsa rafts) difficult. The ppl chew cacao leaves + drink to cope w/ the unpredictable hostilities that come w/ the river... "there is always some little sorrow sticking in the throat like a fishbone that you can wash down with a drink."

Our bedder-½ (the voice of Sound Furies) shares our current obsession w/ rivers + is incorporating it into her research (how rivers affect food systems). She's had 2 books come out this month that we haven't mentioned yet, Global Food Systems, Diets, and Nutrition + Can Fixing Dinner Fix the Planet? which we heartily recommend (tho obviously we're biased). We thought she shd call the later Table for 8 Billion but guess JHU press has a constraint that the title has to be in the form of a question. We red it 2x, tho we was proofreading for typos (which we found a lot, even tho the JHU copyeditors had gone over it). We haven't read the 1st book but being married to her we've heard all this, specially this past year working from home + we hear all her meetings, conversations + classes being taught so have learned it by osmosis.

Movie-wise last night we watched The Trees Lounge, which was OK, Steve Buscemi is a great actor but maybe not a director/writer, nor as a leading man in a romantic role, especially playing opposite the likes of Chloë Sevigny (her 2nd role, after Kids). Also saw My Name is Salt, which we heartily recommend, about a family in India that harvests salt. Started to watch The Getaway + Underground Railroad but weren't really into either of them. 2 nights we rewatched Down by Law + saw Multiple Maniacs which is 1 of the few John Waters film we haven't seen.

887 <(current)> 889> Dolphins, ostriches, pissing on hydrants, karmic gambling + marathon training for the book of dead
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