Posts Tagged ‘Primo_Levi’

Primo Levi’s Partisans

5 August 2012

If Not Now, When? a novel by Primo Levi

I am re-reading Primo Levi’s novel If Not Now, When? It’s a story of a band of Jewish partisans during World War II. The partisans tool their way through Russia and Poland surviving and sabotaging. It’s not my favorite Primo Levi book. Though it’s thoroughly researched and based on historic events and people… it comes off a bit as a sort of wish-fulfillment. For my personal perception it comes off as just a bit over-optimistic. Too many of the characters are just a bit too saintly; they all just get along a bit too well. (more…)

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Sondheim Rhyme: Sublime

20 August 2011

As I wrote about here, I’ve listening to a fair amount of Stephen Sondheim… and more you listen to Sondheim, the more his genius kind of sinks in. Like other great art, repeated listenings just get deeper and stronger. The first time I hear a Sondheim piece, I can get the basic gist, and I may like it – especially when it’s performed in a musical. I admit that, sometimes, hearing a piece for the first time, without knowing any of the plot that it hangs on and is completely integral to, it can be more difficult to appreciate. The first time I heard the soundtrack to Sunday in the Park with George, I didn’t get it… and now it seems like it’s part of the fiber of my being.

It’s repeated those listenings and viewings that deepen one’s appreciation for Sondheims work. It sounds deceptively simple… but then there are huge underlying complexities… both musically and in the rhymes. I am not a musician, so I can’t explain the musical textures (maybe watch this NY Times video to get a wonderful taste of it), but lately I’ve been thinking about the way Sondheim rhymes.

When my mom, the biggest Sondheim fan of my life, was in the hospital, I was thinking about her, cruising Youtube for Sondheim, I came across this 2010 PBS Newshour video:

Starting at minute 9 in the video, Sondheim talks about rhyming things based not just on sound but also spelling! This is something I’ve never thought of… isn’t rhyme just about sound? Isn’t that the definition? Sondheim says that he prefers rhymes that are spelled differently, because they surprise. The examples that he uses in the video is that “suffer” and “rougher” is a better or richer rhyme than “rougher” and “tougher.” The other example Sondheim cites is rhyming “journal” and “colonel.”  (more…)

Grrr – USA Book Retitling

28 September 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Last night, I just stayed up until 4am reading almost all of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – a fun smart well-paced Swedish detective novel by Stieg Larsson. (I confess that I am sort of a Swedish detective novel junkie, being a huge fan of the Martin Beck series by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö – looks the same, but it’s a different Ö than Mesut Özil!)

In Swedish, the title for Dragon Tattoo is Män som hatar kvinnor which translates literally to “Men Who Hate Women” which is an excellent title that actually offers insight on the book. I think that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an unnecessarily titillating title to cast on a fierce kick-ass book… why is Lisbeth Salander reduced to a girl?? She’s a 24-year old sexually-active smarter-than-I-am strong woman. I think if she really existed she might track down the publishing executive responsible, and kick that man in the groin.

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Thoughts on the end of 2010 World Cup Soccer

12 July 2010

Watching Korea lose to Uruguay – on Wilshire at Serrano. I was among 10,000 fans, mostly outside this picture to the right. The screen you see was the secondary public screen. I stayed across the street from the largest part of the crowd so I could easily sit and rest my knee.

I confess that I have been really enjoying spending way more time than I should watching World Cup futbol – aka soccer.

I don’t actually watch sports all that much. I don’t have a TV in my home. I generally don’t follow the big U.S. sports, other than very occasionally watching them when I am out or with friends.

I like to think that I play sports more than I watch them – I play pick-up Ultimate Frisbee nearly every Sunday. Or at least did so for the last five years, but haven’t for two months, since a knee injury in May; I’ve been icing and resting and my knee is nearly entirely recovered. I swim and I bike.

And, certainly lately, I do watch soccer. (more…)