Wild Ducks Flying Backward [EPUB]
22 October 2014, 07:49
2006 | EPUB | 0.4MB
Known for his meaty seriocomic novels–expansive works that are simultaneously lowbrow and highbrow–Tom Robbins has also published over the years a number of short pieces, predominantly nonfiction. His travel articles, essays, and tributes to actors, musicians, sex kittens, and thinkers have appeared in publications ranging from Esquire to Harper’s, from Playboy to the New York Times, High Times, and Life. A generous sampling, collected here for the first time and including works as diverse as scholarly art criticism and some decidedly untypical country-music lyrics, Wild Ducks Flying Backward offers a rare sweeping overview of the eclectic sensibility of an American original.
Whether he is rocking with the Doors, depoliticizing Picasso’s Guernica, lamenting the angst-ridden state of contemporary literature, or drooling over tomato sandwiches and a species of womanhood he calls “the genius waitress,” Robbins’s briefer writings often exhibit the same five traits that perhaps best characterize his novels: an imaginative wit, a cheerfully brash disregard for convention, a sweetly nasty eroticism, a mystical but keenly observant eye, and an irrepressible love of language.
Embedded in this primarily journalistic compilation are a couple of short stories, a sheaf of largely unpublished poems, and an off-beat assessment of our divided nation. And wherever we open Wild Ducks Flying Backward, we’re apt to encounter examples of the intently serious playfulness that percolates from the mind of a self-described “romantic Zen hedonist” and “stray dog in the banquet halls of culture.”
The Columbia Anthology of Japanese Essays [EPUB]
22 October 2014, 07:15
2014 | EPUB | 1.12MB
A court lady of the Heian era, an early modern philologist, a Meiji-period novelist, and a physicist at Tokyo University. What do they have in common, besides being Japanese? They all wrote zuihitsu -- a uniquely Japanese literary genre encompassing features of the nonfiction or personal essay and miscellaneous musings. For sheer range of subject matter and breadth of perspective, the zuihitsu is unrivaled in the Japanese literary tradition, which may explain why few examples have been translated into English. Springing from a variety of social, artistic, political, and professional discourses, zuihitsu is an undeniably important literary form practiced by all types of people who reveal much about themselves, their identities, and the times in which they lived. Zuihitsu also contain a good deal of humor, which is often underrepresented in translations of "serious" Japanese writing.
This anthology presents a representative selection of more than one hundred zuihitsu from a range of historical periods written by close to fifty authors -- from well-known figures, such as Matsuo Basho, Natsume Soseki, and Koda Aya, to such writers as Tachibana Nankei and Dekune Tatsuro, whose names appear here for the first time in English.Writers speak on the experience of coming down with a cold, the aesthetics of tea, the physiology and psychology of laughter, the demands of old age, standards of morality, childrearing, the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923, sleeplessness, undergoing surgery, and training a parrot to say "thank you." Varying in length from paragraphs to pages, these works also provide moving descriptions of snowy landscapes, foggy London, Ueno Park's famous cherry blossoms, and the appeal of rainy vistas, and relate the joys and troubles of everyone from desperate samurai to filial children and ailing cats.
The Birth of Korean Cool [EPUB]
22 October 2014, 05:43
2014 | EPUB | 0.2MB
A FRESH, FUNNY, UP-CLOSE LOOK AT HOW SOUTH KOREA REMADE ITSELF AS THE WORLD’S POP CULTURE POWERHOUSE OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
By now, everyone in the world knows the song “Gangnam Style” and Psy, an instantly recognizable star. But the song’s international popularity is no passing fad. “Gangnam Style” is only one tool in South Korea’s extraordinarily elaborate and effective strategy to become a major world superpower by first becoming the world’s number one pop culture exporter.
As a child, Euny Hong moved from America to the Gangnam neighbourhood in Seoul. She was a witness to the most accelerated part of South Korea’s economic development, during which time it leapfrogged from third-world military dictatorship to first-world liberal democracy on the cutting edge of global technology.
Euny Hong recounts how South Korea vaulted itself into the twenty-first century, becoming a global leader in business, technology, education, and pop culture. Featuring lively, in-depth reporting and numerous interviews with Koreans working in all areas of government and society, The Birth of Korean Cool reveals how a really uncool country became cool, and how a nation that once banned miniskirts, long hair on men, and rock ‘n’ roll could come to mass produce boy bands, soap operas, and the world’s most important smart phone.