Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator (ludickid) wrote,
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator

These books are not quite as bad as Hitler

Since I apparently forgot to start doing the Ludic Log again (but check back in '07, why not), I thought you might all be interested in what I'm reading right now. Because I know your lives are all so empty that they need filling with the cultural interests of an imaginary person on the internet.

I've just started Thomas Pynchon's Against the Day, and I'm about a third of the way into R.J.B. Bosworth's (relatively) recent biography of Mussolini. The latter is pretty good so far, but its strength is also its weakness: the lively, inquisitive prose style carries you along, but it also lets the authorial voice get in the way of the facts at times. At any rate, his approach is quite interesting: he's a structuralist, and this is his first straight-up biography, so it's heavily colored by his view that social hierarchies and mass movements, not invidual "great men", make history. Luckily, I agree with this view, but I can see it getting under the skin of more traditionalist readers.

Incidentally, both the Pynchon and the Mussolini bio are sort of homework: I'm writing about Pynchon for the next issue of the High Hat, and I'm doing an NPR panel show next month about the nature of fascism and why both the "Bush is a fascist" and "Muslim extremists = Islamofascists" camps are wrong. (NPR always wants me for the cheeriest subjects. War, genocide and fascism! Don't they ever want to know what I think of delicious candy?)
Tags: lit

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