30 January 2009

Nabaneeta Dev Sen

"my time in the jungle is over, mother,
now the jungle lives in me."

Nabaneeta Dev Sen, The Jungle Story. Found via Bookake.

It's something more of a cry or a chorus than a great quote, really.

27 January 2009

Jeanette Winterson on T.S. Eliot

"A tough life needs a tough language – and that is what poetry is."

Found a great article on the poetry of T.S. Eliot by the very wonderful Jeanette Winterson today, Shafts of Sunlight (originally from The Guardian).

24 January 2009

Virginia Woolf by Nigel Nicolson

I could hardly put it down.

«Therefore if you insist upon fighting to protect me, or ‘our’ country, let it be understood, soberly and rationally between us, that you are fighting to gratify a sex instinct which I cannot share; to procure benefits which I have not shared and probably will not share; but not to gratify my instincts, or to protect myself or my country, ‘For’, the outsider will say, ‘in fact, as a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world.’»
Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas (1931). Read it in full here.

By the way, it becomes more evident for every day that Orlando is one of my greatest reads ever. Ever.

23 January 2009

Currently Reading: Barnes

«Tom said he had "wasted his life" (May 1954). I said, "So have I." He replied, "Yes, but think what you did when you were not wasting it!"»

Djuna Barnes on T.S. Eliot, 1981.

No More Hjälp

Am very sad to find out that Hjälp, one of my favourite Swedish comics magazines will be no more.

Rest in Peace.

[A few days later: Suddenly it seems like the decision isn't definite anymore. Kartago might continue, or they might start something new.]

17 January 2009

A Propos 2008

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.

T.S. Eliot. From Little Gidding, Four Quartets.


I was dissatisfied reading through last year's list of books. Bored, even. Too little, too all over the place; a lack of fiction. The other day H. said I ought to keep a separate list of all the books I don't finish. With that in mind, I did read a lot that I loved last year, especially poetry. However, this year should be more about challenges.

14 January 2009

Lubiewo by Michał Witkowski

Lubiewo, my love.

The author and his webpage.

06 January 2009

Något bara kvinnor kan. Normer, biologi och graviditet by Ulrika Lorentzi (Swedish only)

Swedish journalist Ulrika Lorentzi has written a great book about pregnancy and, to some extent, parenthood. Great intervews with queer feminist Tiina Rosenberg and feminist Ebba Witt Brattström. Read it. Get it here.

Lorentzi's blog (in Swedish).

05 January 2009

Baby Love - Choosing Motherhood after a Lifetime of Ambivalence by Rebecca Walker

Baby Love is a memoir in diary form, written mostly during Rebecca Walker's pregnancy with her first child. She writes about the ambivalence she's been dealing with, the worry that she would lose herself and that it would complicate her already complex relationship with her mother (more about that relationship in this book).
"With a few small power plays—a skeptical comment, the withholding of approval or praise—a mother can devastate a daughter. Decades of subtle undermining can stunt a daughter, or so monopolize her energy that she in effect stunts herself. Muted, fearful, riddled with self-doubt, she can remain trapped in daughterhood forever, the one place she feels confident she knows the rules."

"It seemed that these mothers did not realize that they had to give adulthood to their daughters by stepping down, stepping back, stepping away, and letting the daughter take center stage. These mothers did not seem to know, with all their potions and philosophies, their desires to rehabilitate ancient scripts of gender and identity, that there is a natural order, and that natural order involves passing the scepter to offspring with unconditional love and pride.

Or pay the price."

To protect her unborn child, Walker decides to not have too much to do with her seemingly indifferent mother.
"I can see the importance of making decisions that enable your child to be not just physically safe in an environment, but emotionally and logically safe as well. If the well-being of my own child doesn't inspire me to break through my ambivalence about a person or situation and act more decisively, I have no idea what will."

She also recalls her mother telling her as an adult that she had had to decide to, choose to love her as a child. After Walker's own son is born, she finds that there is absolutely no choice for her loving him. And that bringing him up finally might help her heal her own painful childhood - the divorced parents, the moving all over the US every other year...

It is a quite wonderful book. Read the first chapters here and an interview here. Lastly:

"Human beings create narrative because we glimpse the universal through the specific and feel less alone."

04 January 2009

Moomin by Tove Jansson

What could be better than starting 2009 with Moomin and his friends? Have been looking for these stories in the larger size hardbacks, since that's what they looked like when I was a kid. Luckily Swedish publisher Alfabeta took after Drawn and Quarterly's beautiful hardback editions recently.

Drawn and Quarterly's Moomin page here, with a preview.