BOOKS

AT THE READING STUDIO



There is very little that looks at the perversity of women, or girls, especially White, and their attempts at sustaining and invoking universal psychological consciousness and global forms of civility. Women tend to be perceived as alien, or as outside the parameters of power and of patriarchy, even when inside of it: they are characters who sustain power but do not believe in it; they do it to get by, usually to protect themselves from the violences and abuses of men.

Therefore, today, the female perspective on a salient or critical issue is always valuable, because all issues, all society, is perceived to be derogatory towards women. The Black Man and the White Girl, as an example, are in collaboration against the coveted and despised White Man.

But I am interested in something more elusive, that looks at women as bearers of social attitudes. I do not think women are not empowered, everyone is in a way, I think women are in power but not in a masculine way. This, I believe, is what I am interested in thinking and writing about: what does this power look, feel like, or espouse from; also how can we look at this power and not prove, or be in favor of, feminism and girl power. The list to the left shows you there are only a few books which look directly at this idea. And most of it is focused on White female authorship, and white femininity, as a silent but pervasive ideology and aspiration; an aspiration performed by both men and women.


These ideas are rough but I am working through them, by reading these books, and I am interested in discovering the implicated ideologies in these literatures, authors, and personalities, the books purport to critique and analyze.

I have read Hilton Als's White Girls; I believe it is my third time now. I'm halfway through Mary West's very academic and super interesting thesis, White Woman Writing White (a book I picked up at a Cape Town's Clarke Bookshop), on Post-Apartheid South African White Feminist Literatures. On a side note, I think it is very unfortunate that SA doesn't feature more prominently as a case study in discourses on 'modernity', 'global progress', 'democracy' etc from the Global South, or even race relations, and Black ideologies for governance and power. Instead, SA always gets relegated to an African, or as a 'unique' national example; unlike Britain or American or even India.

Next to read is this very intriguing title, White Women Writing White (the redundant titles only suggests that this matter is pressing), focused on HD Elizabeth Bishop and Sylvia Plath.







DEPOSITED INTO INFINITY (or books recently read)


 Flannery O'Connor - Everything That Rises Must Converge

"One of the awful things about writing when you are a Christian is that for you the ultimate reality is the Incarnation, the present reality is Incarnation, and nobody believes in Incarnation; that is, nobody in your audience. My audience are the people who think God is dead. "
 Vladimir Nabokov - Pale Fire

I learned 74 new words, like embower, Muscovey, regatta, pert, conchologist

Henry Miller - Plexus, from The Rosy Crucifixion Trilogy


Like having tantric sex
Julius Evola - Revolt Against the Modern World


"I am transmitting a testimony so that some 'who stand outside the world' could have a fixed point"

"The modern being/object lives out: utilitarian greed, without concern for consequences, for the sake of action itself, transforming an action into a rite and an offering"
Muriel Spark - The Ballad of Peckham Rye


Alien-ish and obscure.
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird

Fond of the meticulous diffusions of Southern ways of speaking throughout the pages of the book, as well as, the subtlety of township moral calibration, that is organized around an architecture of faith, church, both physically and psychologically.

At the back of this edition, it quotes Truman Capote, who says "Someone very rare has written this book" -- I agree.
Anne Rice - Vittorio The Vampire

"Pray that it doesn't take slaughter or rape for you to see this light in those around you. Forbid it should demand such caprice. Let me pay for you instead"
-- This phrase is a great metaphor for how I conceive the writing practice.  









IN PRODUCTION



Sharjah Art Foundation, where I work, and MoMa, New York, are co-producing this facsimile edition of Ibrahim El-Salahi's Prison Notebook. Wrongfully imprisoned in Sudan in the 60s and 70s, El-Salahi, during his house arrest in Doha, illustrated his experience of this Sudanese prison, and narrated it with some lyrical Arabic writings and prose.

The reproduction is printed on very similar papers, and materials, of the original notebook under the guidance of Verona Libiri, Verona, Italy, a printer specialized in artwork recreations and facsimiles. It is a bilingual edition in Arabic and English. It is bound in the Swiss format, so not attached at spine and unfolds out as a flat cover. The cover unravels into two books, basically, in which the English pages will be on the left, and the reproduction of the Arabic notebook will be on the right, following each languages' apparatus and sequence. Since the translations are on the English side, the reader is able to peruse the pages of the Notebook, and simultaneously look at its corresponding English translated page from the left side. There are also some English materials, essays, introductions, and the like, which contextualize the history of the notebook. It will be distributed by DAP, SAF, and Thames and Hudson. Release is planned for early June 2018. You can find it on DAP's Spring catalogue.  

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