Would not have guessed that this was an extended discussion and even defense of autism. Some good points about the particular strengths of the autistic mind as aligned with the challenges of gathering and ordering information in the modern era. Cowen’s blog Marginal Revolution is on my daily to-read list, so anything he writes longer form comes highly recommended. I do find this comment from a review telling:
“we’re getting better and better at slicing information into small chunks and reordering it.”
“Question: what are we simultaneously getting less good at?”
I love this description: David Sedaris = equal parts SJ Perelman and Pee-wee Herman. Funny man, and his experiences with French might be best of all. In the essay “Jesus Shaves,” he and his classmates from many nations try to convey the concept of Easter to a Moroccan Muslim. “It is a party for the little boy of God,” says one. “Then he be die one day on two… morsels of… lumber.” That is in fact my understanding…
Historical fiction of the battle of Thermopylae and the making of the Spartan soldier. Maybe not quite the emotional impact of Killer Angels, but very much in that company. Apparently included (at one time?) in the Marine Corps’ Reading list.
Question from an author interview: “Which other authors do you admire most, and why?”
“Authors? Outside of Shakespeare, Chaucer and Tolstoy, nothing good has been written in the
past 2500 years. Just kidding. Well, only halfway. I really admire the ancients, Eastern as well as
Western. I can’t read novels and the more contemporary they are, the less they mean to me.”
Presumably his own work excluded…
Marilynne Robinson is a tough act to follow; crystalline prose followed by…”a-yup”. Still, a powerful collection of characters and a series of connected stories that force you to understand them, even if you (often) don’t much care for them. Purely admirable characters are like happy families I suppose, for a writer. It does take an awfully long time for Olive to gain something like insight though.
“Don’t be scared of your hunger. If you’re scared of your hunger, you’ll just be one more ninny like everyone else”
Poetry as prose. Spectacular first novel, impossible to read quickly. “She had lavender lips and orange hair, and arched eyebrows each drawn in a single brown line, a contest between practice and palsy which sometimes ended at her ear.” Might have liked Gilead even more; more spare and powerful, but this is an amazing piece of writing; every word counts.
Saw them 2 years ago at the Wexner; much bigger tour this time, but still a very tight set, loads of energy.
Resistance and being a Professional are good bits; the Muse and the angels of our creativity are…well even the guy that wrote the forward took issue with this part. Might read his “Gates of Fear” (“300” precursor); not tempted by “Bagger Vance”. Curious body of work.