Jump to content


"Nothing Serious" and "Weight"


  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 Ed Waffle

Ed Waffle

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 493 posts

Posted 18 January 2008 - 12:38 AM

Just finished two short books--one very short. The very short one is Weight by Janet Winterson which is part of the Canongate Publishing series of retelling of myths by modern writers. This one is Atlas--his birth, life and why he had to hold up the world. Not many words here but each of the obviously chose with great care. I am going to re-read it in a couple of months--Winterson's wordplay is wonderfully funny and illuminating and I must have missed a good bit of it the first time through. I read another of this series last year, The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood's take on what happened at home while Odysseus was taking 20 years to return from Troy, another I can recommend although not quite as highly as "Weight".

The other book is Nothing Serious by Justine Levy which I picked up because of the current coverage of Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy. It is well written although in a "look at all the horrible things that have happened to me" style. Even with all her whining Levy was an easy person to like. She is the daughter of Bernard Henri Levy, a person whose greatest fan I am not and who seems to be one of the leading public intellectuals in France, a place where such a thing still exists. The real point of the book is that one should be very careful when offending an author--Verses on the Death of Dr. Swift, D.S.P.D. is another example of many that come to mind. The tawdry details of Bruni and Levy are probably known to many here and others can find them quickly with an internet search and Levy's brief descriptions/discussions of Bruni are devastating even in translation. It is currently OOP in the U.S. but readily available online.

#2 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24,058 posts

Posted 18 January 2008 - 11:08 AM

Thanks for taking the time to post, Ed. These all sound worth reading.

Bernard Henri Levy, a person whose greatest fan I am not and who seems to be one of the leading public intellectuals in France, a place where such a thing still exists.


And he gets profiled in Vanity Fair.

#3 vagansmom

vagansmom

    Silver Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 543 posts

Posted 18 January 2008 - 11:12 AM

Ed, would you recommend Weight for the middle school crowd? Our students read many myths, and different versions of them, as part of an "Origins" unit in a Humanities class. That just might be a great addition to our current list.

#4 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,310 posts

Posted 18 January 2008 - 11:19 AM

I suspect I won't be reading the Levy book, but thank you, Ed, for reporting on it. At your suggestion, I did some internet searching and came up with the astonishing information that her former lovers include

Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, Kevin Costner, Vincent Perez, Donald Trump and former French Prime Minister Laurent Fabius .

Donald Trump!?

I do hope that Sarkozy, having been asked by Saudi Arabia to leave Mlle. Bruni at home, attempts to bring her to the White House. It would be fun to see the public policy debates in Washington about that. :thumbsup:

#5 bart

bart

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 7,310 posts

Posted 27 January 2008 - 03:24 PM

Adam Gopnik (in "Talk of the Town," in this week's New Yorker) has this great comment on the Sarkozy-Bruni affaire.

The Oo-La-La! division of the :P school of the American press has portrayed the bizarre story of this courtship, which came so soon after Sarkozy's very public divorce from Cecilia, the mother of one of his three children, as typically French. (Zey are a funny race.) The French press, by contrast, has seen in the story something so obviously second-rate and vulgar that it must be in some way American

So true! There may be a lesson there, somewhere, for those who brood about the American failure to appreciate Bejart or escargot.

The entire piece is here:
http://www.newyorker...aco_talk_gopnik

#6 Ed Waffle

Ed Waffle

    Bronze Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 493 posts

Posted 08 February 2008 - 10:25 PM

Ed, would you recommend Weight for the middle school crowd? Our students read many myths, and different versions of them, as part of an "Origins" unit in a Humanities class. That just might be a great addition to our current list.


Not sure if the passage of time has made your question moot but if not, I don't think it would be appropriate for middle schoolers. There are some very graphic descriptions of sex (brief, well done in context but still not for kids) and how Prometheus is tortured by having his liver ripped out by an eagle every day--again she doesn't dwell on it but there it is.

#7 Estelle

Estelle

    Platinum Circle

  • Foreign Correspondent
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,706 posts

Posted 09 February 2008 - 06:34 AM

I've just seen that the softcover version of Justine LÚvy's book now ranks #21 in the list of Amazon.fr bestsellers... I guess its sales increased in recent weeks (a sort of sweet revenge for her...)

I had a look at it when it was published, but had found it not very interesting and a bit too self-centered (and actually there had been some controversies about the media coverage it had, with many reviews, interviews, etc. Many people thought it was mostly because of her father. By the way, some French consider him as a "leading intellectuel", but quite a lot of others consider him as a sort of joke...) I'm a bit fed up with all the authors pretenting to write "novels" which are just thinly veiled self-serving autobiographies (generally including enough scandalous details to ensure selling...)

Thanks for the link to the New Yorker article, it's interesting to see a foreign point of view about those recent events (by the way, in the part about the photograph of Beauvoir in the nude on the cover page of "Le Nouvel Observateur", the article forgot to mention that the cover was criticized by many people as voyeurist and sexist- a lot of people mentioned that they would never consider publishing similar photographs of, say, Sartre or Camus...) Traditionnally the French press didn't talk much about politician's private lives, this is changing and I don't find is especially positive (the present situation with Sarkozy is all the more amusing- or infuriating- as a few months ago he had criticized the press harshly about talking to much of his marital problems with his former wife Cecilia and had said he wanted to protect his private life, while a few months before he was showing himself as much as possible in the media with her and their children...)

Bart, I wouldn't like to turn this board into gossip, but the list of former lovers of our present "First Lady" is indeed far shorter than what can be found elsewhere (and acknowledged by her), but I guess most of the other ones are not famous in the US...
It hasn't exactly improved Sarkozy's popularity with the most conservative voters.

#8 Ray

Ray

    Gold Circle

  • Senior Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 983 posts

Posted 09 February 2008 - 09:35 AM

Adam Gopnik (in "Talk of the Town," in this week's New Yorker) has this great comment on the Sarkozy-Bruni affaire.

The Oo-La-La! division of the :off topic: school of the American press has portrayed the bizarre story of this courtship, which came so soon after Sarkozy's very public divorce from Cecilia, the mother of one of his three children, as typically French. (Zey are a funny race.) The French press, by contrast, has seen in the story something so obviously second-rate and vulgar that it must be in some way American

So true! There may be a lesson there, somewhere, for those who brood about the American failure to appreciate Bejart or escargot.



Or Jerry Lewis.

#9 dirac

dirac

    Diamonds Circle

  • Board Moderator
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 24,058 posts

Posted 09 February 2008 - 02:18 PM

Traditionally the French press didn't talk much about politician's private lives, this is changing and I don't find is especially positive


Thank you, Estelle, for that report from the front lines. I don't much care for too much emphasis on private lives, either, but I prefer open discussion to the 'organized hypocrisy' described by Gopnik. All too often said hypocrisy meant an easier life for powerful men and stoic silence on the part of their wives and lovers. It still does, of course, but it's a lot harder now. That is not, all in all, a bad thing in my view.

It hasn't exactly improved Sarkozy's popularity with the most conservative voters.


I can well imagine. I think they have a point. :off topic:

the article forgot to mention that the cover was criticized by many people as voyeurist and sexist- a lot of people mentioned that they would never consider publishing similar photographs of, say, Sartre or Camus...)


I wondered about that, too. Gopnik seemed to think it was sort of cute.

#10 blackdiamond13

blackdiamond13

    New Member

  • New Member
  • Pip
  • 2 posts

Posted 24 June 2008 - 04:09 AM

hello, I'm new. - I just wanted to ask, this thread pricked a sour note with me. Umm.. why do people care about whom politicians bed? the only time I care is if it is adulterous because that shows a lack of loyalty and morals, (then again every other day there's a story about a wayward politician).. I don't know, is it because of what was previously mentioned, a voyeuristic bent? I mean, if people are busy living their lives, why bother writing books about people who have no bearing on them personally? I don't know, it bothers me.. anyway, hello... :)


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users


Help support Ballet Alert! and Ballet Talk for Dancers year round by using this search box for your amazon.com purchases (adblockers may block display):