Peacock Underwing, Inachis io
The peacock is considered by many to be the most beautiful butterfly in the world. It is also one of the most widespread species, found throughout most of Europe and into Asia. Our friend the peacock is not all flash, however. While its dorsal wings are dazzling, the ventral side is dark and drab, offering protection from predators by mimicking dead leaves.
Flamboyant peacock on one side, conservative pea hen on the other. No one likes a show off and the peacock underwing knows how and when to shine.
Until next time, my lovely grubs…
I don’t think I understood it
I couldn’t engage with it because I kept getting hung up on logistical contradictions
I’m not an abstract thinker
My brain hurts from tossing around this idea of many reflections of one’s self wandering through life doing whatever it is they do and yet the object being reflected does not actually exist
Smurov’s conflict didn’t jam with me
A desperation to be a part of something warring with a desire to step back and simply watch
Maybe that wasn’t his conflict at all…
I probably didn’t get it
For me The Eye is not so much a story as it is a romp with the technical and philosophical nature of perspective and point of view
I definitely didn’t get it
What books are currently on your night stand?
How the Dead Dream by Lydia Millet, which is about a man who is obsessed with money and possessions amidst a life filled with loss and regret. A slice of life type of novel that might seem generic if not for the rich language and detail that Lydia Millet writes with. I’m also starting Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence because fantasy nerd blogs I follow continually talk about how great it is and I keep on putting it off. No more.
Who is your favorite novelist of all time? And your favorite novelist writing today?
Vladimir Nabokov, duh. This blog is all about his writings and the way in which he has crept into my life. My sister understands this deeply. We are both hopelessly and endlessly in love with him. It shall continue until our death. My favourite novelist writing today is George Saunders. His short stories are like worms that burrow into your skin and refuse to leave. There is a rich political and social texture that makes you think about scenes and characters days & weeks after you have read them.
Sell us on your favorite overlooked or underappreciated writer.
Banana Yoshimoto is a Japanese writer who is fairly well known in the East yet still relatively unheard of in the west. She frequently writes about lonely characters who live quiet lives. Last year I read Yoshimoto’s The Lake which was an eerie ghost story about two young lovers who bond over their mutual social dysfunction.
What was the last book to make you laugh?
Ghost World by Daniel Clowes, a graphic novel had me in giggles. Two young women in the early 90s who observe life with the kind of fatalistic irony that only someone who grew up in that time-period truly comprehends.
The last book that made you cry?
The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Tóibín. A novel about Ireland, mothers, & AIDS. The book had me wrecked. I read it in a single day. I don’t think I’ll ever read it again. I don’t think I could.
The last book that made you furious?
Books that make me furious tend to be set aside. Usually it is because I am bored or disappointed with the hype that is frequently built around such books.
What books are you embarrassed not to have read yet?
Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. I can already hear my dear sister *tsk *tsk-ing at this literary reading crime. I keep meaning to and I never do.
What book(s) are you most eagerly anticipating this year?
Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, his latest novel will be translated and coming to the west later this summer. I cannot wait. Armada by Ernest Cline who wrote my favourite book of 2011, Ready Player One. This one also seems to be all about 80s nostalgia, but a bit more SF’ish. There’s always something on the horizon to look forward to.
With that in mind, here is my list of books you should read (if you want to):
- You should read the book that you hear two booksellers arguing about at the registers while you’re browsing in a bookstore.
- You should read the book that you see someone on the train reading and trying to hide that they’re laughing.
- You should read the book that you see someone on the train reading and trying to hide that they’re crying.
- You should read the book that you find left behind in the airplane seat pocket, on a park bench, on the bus, at a restaurant, or in a hotel room.
- You should read the book that you see someone reading for hours in a coffee shop — there when you got there and still there when you left — that made you envious because you were working instead of absorbed in a book.
- You should read the book you find in your grandparents’ house that’s inscribed “To Ray, all my love, Christmas 1949.”
- You should read the book that you didn’t read when it was assigned in your high school English class. You’d probably like it better now anyway.
- You should read the book whose author happened to mention on Charlie Rose that their favorite band is your favorite band.
- You should read the book that your favorite band references in their lyrics.
- You should read the book that your history professor mentions and then says, “which, by the way, is a great book,” offhandedly.
- You should read the book that you loved in high school. Read it again.
- You should read the book that you find on the library’s free cart whose cover makes you laugh.
- You should read the book whose main character has your first name.
- You should read the book whose author gets into funny Twitter exchanges with Colson Whitehead.
- You should read the book about your hometown’s history that was published by someone who grew up there.
- You should read the book your parents give you for your high school graduation.
- You should read the book you’ve started a few times and keep meaning to finish once and for all.
- You should read books with characters you don’t like.
- You should read books about countries you’re about to visit.
- You should read books about historical events you don’t know anything about.
- You should read books about things you already know a little about.
- You should read books you can’t stop hearing about and books you’ve never heard of.
- You should read books mentioned in other books.
- You should read prize-winners, bestsellers, beach reads, book club picks, and classics, when you want to.
- You should just keep reading.
(via: The Millions)
Kashmarin had borne away yet another image of Smurov. Does it make any difference which? for I do not exist: there exit but the thousands of mirrors that reflect me. With every acquaintance I make ,the population of phantoms resembling me increases. Somewhere they live, somewhere they multiply. I alone do not exist. Smurov, however will live on for a long time.I enjoyed this book more than I expected to. It was a bit slow at first but I found myself turning pages faster and faster.
I enjoyed this book more than I expected to. It was a bit slow at first but I found myself turning pages faster and faster.
A young Russian man who finds his life has no meaning and resolves to end it. The life is ended and yet the story continues. This man walks outside of himself and becomes obsessed with another man, Smurov.
And so the reader, along with our young Russian man, follows Smurov and his many adventures. Smurov who is many things to many different people: lover, liar, fop, sexual ‘leftie’, thief, ghost.
Nabokov has crafted a brilliant story about the fragmented self. Which version of Smurov are we to believe? Our young Russian man’s obsessive idealized point of view? Or one of the many reflections that is presented to the reader through the other characters we meet in The Eye (keeping in mind that these other reflections are filtered through our young Russian).
Sister made the comment that this is “an experiment in point of view.” And I agree. The Eye is The Real Life of Sebastian Knight 1.0. We see the early trappings of a man in search of another man. It is as if Nabokov is testing the waters to see how well he can explore this idea of ‘self’ and ‘identity’.
I think he did a remarkable job. This is definitely a novel worth reading and I also think that it would be a great place to start for anyone who feels intimidated by Nabokov. You have familiar Nabokovian tropes but without the frustrating complexity of some of his larger works like Ada or Lolita.
I will be thinking about this for days.
European Nightjar - Caprimulgidae - Caprimulgus - C. europaeus
The Nightjar is a nocturnal bird that breeds in Eurasia and northwestern Africa. The Nightjar mostly live in open environments or open forest. In Europe, on the open moorland and scrub, but in its northern distribution mostly in sparse pine forest and in clearings. The Nightjars diet consists of flying insects caught in flight.
The male establishes the territory by singing from invisible boundaries, and defends it strongly against rivals. The male sings strongly towards the singing neighbour. Both may adopt aggressive posture with dropped wings and fanned or raised tail.
Physical contact can occur in more extreme disputes. Two males fly at each other while hitting out with the wings and bill-grappling. Usually, these fights end when both birds fall to the ground before to break off, and then, each one goes its own way.
Poets sometimes use the Nightjar as an indicator of warm summer nights. Caprimulgus and the old name “Goatsucker” both refer to the legend, old even in Aristotle’s day that nightjars suckle from nanny goats, which subsequently ceased to give milk or went blind.
I love the idea of two of these birds going at each other and then walking away super pissed. They’re like angry bros at a nightclub.