I’ve just finished Borges’ The Aleph and I’m still bent on naming my first born son Jorge Luis. I’ve read two collections by him now and I think I can comfortably say that he is one of my favourite authors. How many books by an author must you have read before you can say that you love his/her work? I love Toni Morrison. I didn’t like Beloved at first, but I like listening to Morrison’s talks, I admire her personality.
Lately, I’ve been busy making cards. While drawing or painting, digitally, or on paper, I’ve been listening to Arnold Weinstein’s Ficciones lectures from The Fiction of Relationship. I highly recommend this course for anyone interested in studying literature, and I really hope that Professor Weinstein will hold more online courses.
There was one thing I didn’t appreciate about the course though, especially in the Borges lectures; Professor Weinstein spoils some of the stories. Borges, for me, is really good at twisting a story around with his endings and if you already know what the story’s about, it feels like the purpose of reading Borges is defeated. It’s not like it’s a waste of time once you know what it’s about though. Borges is also a poet.
I liked The Aleph better than Ficciones. The twists of Borges’s labyrinthine narratives (see what I did there?) are clearer and more clever. I think this is also because of the translation. The copy I have of Ficciones was translated by several people, while my PDF of The Aleph was done by Andrew Hurley who I think published the more recent editions. Maybe I should try reading a Hurley translated version of Ficciones.
From short stories about South America, I crossed the Atlantic to Dublin by joining another MOOC, “Dubliners” by Joyce: BerkeleyX Book Club. I feel a little guilty not sharing this sooner, in case you’re reading this and you’re interested to join. I don’t think it’s too late to get a certificate; we’re at the start of the third week.
I really like the short story genre. I like it’s conciseness and the charm of the variety (or lack of) that one can pack in a collection. Like a playlist. I like how the characters are presented fully developed; it reflects the temporariness a lot of things that happen to us are. This Reminds me of Borges’ The Aleph in which his character is afraid that by seeing the aleph (which is a sort of portal to everywhere) he will become jaded, but realises eventually that he won’t be, because people forget things.
The vocabulary of Dubliners is interesting, unusual to me. Words like “recherché” and “obliquely”. Most of the stories leave me with a feeling that I missed something, which I think is actually good because it makes me think more, though I’ve been thinking about the stories with the help of the course discussion forums which are very helpful for someone like me who does not have a lot of time to re-read and figure things out or learn about the history of Dublin; I’m leaving for college in four days.