Book Notes: Thanksgiving Reading

Here is what I’ve read over and since Thanksgiving:

Jane Robins’ White Bodies – I like British mysteries because their authors don’t try to make at least one character into an idealized goody-goody person that readers will want to identity with. This novel’s characters are all utterly disgusting and creepy. The novel itself is a total mess. But it’s an enjoyable, mindless read for the holidays, especially if you have a very strong stomach because eww, disgusting perversions of incestuous nature. I won’t read anything by this author again but I had a good time with this one.

Sophie Hannah’s Keep Her Safe – maybe not her best because it’s a standalone but Hannah is a profound person, if a bit given to indulging in a about Americans. A good, intense mystery with its own cast of deeply unlikeable characters.

As for more serious stuff, I read Joseba Zulaika’s brilliant 2006 essay The Dust of ETA. It’s the best, most intelligent and deep thing I have read on ETA so far. The only thing I didn’t like was the epilogue because it was repetitive, reductive, and needlessly weepy. But the analysis of nationalism in the age of post-nation state is superb. 

These days I’m all about Basques and murder mysteries. I have no idea where the Basque obsession is coming from. It’s nationalism, I guess. I want to keep talking about it but the Catalan literature is leaving me cold. Which is obviously my limitation and not the Catalonians’.


9 thoughts on “Book Notes: Thanksgiving Reading”

  1. ” Catalan literature is leaving me cold”

    Catalan nationalism is all liquidity – they don’t want independence per se, they just want to re-draw bureaucratic lines in Brussels so they can get money directly from the EU without going through Madrid and they hate the idea of sending any of their precious precious capital to those poor losers in andlusia and extremadura (madrid is a smokescreen here – Catalan nationalism is the haves wanting to kick the have nots in the teeth). It’s Thatcher-Reaganist materialism wrapped up in leftist rhetoric. It can’t help but repell someone like you.

    Basque nationalism is a very different thing and much closer to the 18th 19th century models. It’s also about nation building (trying to create a canon and cultural body of work).


    1. Zulaika talks post-national nationalism that’s all about entertainment and expecting tons of gratification without doing any actual work. And yes, it’s totally like the Catalán nationalism we are seeing today.


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