March 16, 2008
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Books, Bodies, Blogs

Walking down a rainy street in Cork, I wanted to reread Howard's End. And then I asked myself, have I actually read Howard's End? Or, having seen the movie and read so many discussions of the book, do I simply feel like the book is an acquaintance?

Because I have this blog, I do know that I haven't read Howard's End in the last eight years.

Kim Acker makes a nice point about the literary conversation between weblogs. She's reading MFK Fisher, and came across my notes:

Fisher has a skilled, elliptical knack of leaving the big emotions and the impossible scenes offstage. She acquires, then loses, a husband suddenly and without much comment.

Acker turns to Amazon comments, which seem wrong-headed and small minded. "i felt that some of the most important events in her life lacked the background information for the reader to truly understand the significance they had on ms. fisher's life."

The soulful mystery that irks these Amazon reader is exactly what I'm loving. Thank God for Mark Bernstein.

I want to talk about the books I'm reading preferably with people who are reading them at the same time.

Notice, too, how the post begins with an interesting photograph of a dancer, a lovely image that pays off many paragraphs later (when an ex-boyfriend's new wife "served us an elegant dinner of mushroom risotto and asparagus, stood like an elegant dancer over her stove.”)

Books, Bodies, Blogs

Here's a slide from my Cork talk. The press almost always gets sex in blogs wrong, confusing blogs (which are doing one thing) with the quick-buck porn industry (which is doing something else entirely). Here, Acker moves gracefully from reading about food to eating with old lovers and their lithe, forgettable new wives ("maybe she was a dancer, I forget") with their unforgettable risottos. Then on to reading in bed beside her husband, who is gobbling up a golf book while she savors and sighs over Fisher's prose. But even this scene is redeemed, in the end, as we're off tonight to the Fan Francisco Ballet to celebrate his birthday, although "his buddy Dougie says to him .... ‘You actually like ballet?’"

The concerns of the body are conspicuous in weblogs, whether couched in confessional autobiography or expressed in cheese sandwiches.