All entries for Monday 29 May 2006

May 29, 2006

"Guy lit": books for the 'Top Gear' generation?

Writing about web page http://chronicle.com/temp/reprint.php?id=w5nt0m56vb6544g9t4nl592zb66h49v0

High Fidelity cover

Difficult not to agree with the thesis here about the gap between The Catcher in the Rye and much contemporary literature. However, apart from the Hornbys, both of which I've read and enjoyed (although High Fidelity is a much better read than About a Boy), I've never even heard of the books and authors mentioned which do rather sound like poor McInerney/Easton Ellis imitations.

Mind you, anything actually branded as 'guy lit', just really isn't going anywhere – who on earth will buy it? Literature for the 'Top Gear' generation?

Actually, now you look at it, this new cover for High Fidelity seems to have a touch of the Wendy Holdens about it rather than the classy feel of the original.


Scientists shouldn't get married?

Writing about web page http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/2006_05_26/scientific_success_what_s_love_got_to_do_with_it

Scientific Success: What's Love Got to Do With It?

So, case proven: getting married (for men) is bad for your scientific research. There does seem to be something of a male orientation in this work

Action Einstein

"The productivity of male scientists tends to drop right after marriage," says Kanazawa. "Scientists tend to 'desist' from scientific research upon marriage, just like criminals desist from crime upon marriage. Kanazawa's perhaps controversial perspective is that of an evolutionary psychologist. "Men conduct scientific research (or do anything else) in order to attract women and get married (albeit unconsciously)," he says. "What’s the point of doing science (or anything else) if one is already married? Marriage (or, more accurately reproductive success, which men can usually attain only through marriage) is the goal; science or anything else men do is but a means.

Darwinism rules, it seems!


'A Faustian masterpiece'?

Title:
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

Under the Volcano - Malcolm Lowry

This does seem generally to be regarded as a masterpiece, including by Burgess. Recounting the last day in the life of the former British Consul (Geoffrey Firmin) in a fictional Mexican town at the foot of Popocatapetl, it is a quite remarkably intense and stylistic exploration of an alcoholic descent during the celebrations on the 'Day of the Dead'. The Consul's ex–wife and his brother join the party but prove unable to divert Firmin from the inevitable and indeed Yvonne Firmin dies too.

Whilst not the most cheering of reads, this does deserve significant plaudits although I suspect the time of its peak popularity, the 60s, had more to do with some kind of druggy/mescal alignment than anything else.

Anyway, pretty great stuff and certainly one of the most compelling and hellish descriptions of extended drunkenness I have read.


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