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What are we doing when we aren’t doing anything?

We’re waiting. Or, as Köhler would prefer, we’re passing time. As Mark Lilla notes in his foreword: “Man is the waiting animal….What exactly is it to wait?” Köhler, the cultural correspondent for a Swiss daily newspaper and winner of the 2003 Berlin Book Critics Prize, posits, “waiting is a state in which time holds its breath in order to remind us of our mortality. Its motto is not carpe diem but memento mori.” Now available in English, her extended essay is a hybrid: part meditation, part philosophy, part autobiographical musings. One comment about waiting leads to another, which leads to some author’s comment on the first comment, which leads to another comment. The book reads like a string of epigrammatic musings. Köhler goes on to describe all manners of waiting and their significance, creating a sort of taxonomy of waiting. There’s anxiety, hesitation, expectation, laggardness, etc. She draws on a wide variety of writers, mostly European, to help her along the way: Barthes, Benjamin, Foucault, Camus, Blanchot, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Peter Handke, the self-proclaimed “lover of waiting.” Köhler describes him as “one of the staunchest defenders of slowness in our time.” As she sees it, waiting is a good thing. It’s not a waste of time but rather a use of time. She also references Richard Linklater’s film Before Sunrise and its sequel, Before Sunset, both of which address an ages-old question: is there someone out there, waiting for me? Of course, Waiting for Godot makes an appearance. Poor Vladimir and Estragon “practice waiting for its own sake and with no particular goal in mind.” We wait with them, confronting matters of existence and eschatology while time is passing. As Vladimir says, “it would have passed in any case.”

A lovely jeu d’esprit for those waiters who like their abeyance with a touch of the metaphysical.

With the trailers arriving for Their Finest and The Zookeeper's Wife, and the news that the British drama series Home Fires is returning to PBS, it’s a good time to build a World War II display. There are plenty of new books to add to the wealth of backlist titles.

<—- OH YOU GUYS!!!! This may be my next techno-thriller!!! Humans, Bow Down JUST came out a few days ago, and it sounds creepy and thrillery, and right up my dark alley! The Great War is over. The Robots have won. The humans who survived have two choices—they can submit and serve the vicious rulers they [...]

The post James Patterson’s “Humans Bow Down” Giveaway!!!! Right. Here. appeared first on Maryse's Book Blog.

Welcome to our picks for Best Comics of February 2017, a month featuring graphic novels with mystery, science fiction, and war-torn heartbreak. Please see below for our Fave Five: My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics): Next big thing alert! This fictional diary (compete with lined paper and...
Ibram X. Kendi discusses the history of books about race and racism in America; Bill Schutt talks about "Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History."

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) had the most coruscating mind and enigmatic character of any writer in English. Sturdily built, with bright blue eyes, bristling brows and double chin, he was an energetic walker and long-distance rider. He loved congenial dinners, French wine, lively conversation and...

The Horror Writers Association announced the finalists for the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards, given to works of excellence in horror and dark fantasy. Read on to see who which authors made the final ballot for superior achievement in a novel, in a first novel, in a young adult novel, and in a graphic novel.

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25 of the latest Friday Finds (including a few new releases, like that one there, to the left). Tons are super-bargain priced, and so many of them have adamant personal recommendations, including one that I’m reading and loving right now (I listed it below), and the review is coming shortly. P.S. Holy moly. Next week. [...]

The post 25 Friday Finds and Reader Recommendations – February 24th 2017 appeared first on Maryse's Book Blog.

Guge was once home to a major inner-Asian dynasty whose artists and craftsmen produced a plethora of masterpieces over some five centuries—including some large-scale murals and exquisitely carved and painted sculptures depicting Buddhist visions of the cosmos and its deities. Little known in the West largely because of Guge’s inaccessible location, the works have now been richly and systematically documented in the photographer and art historian Peter van Ham’s astonishing new book, Guge: Ages of Gold.

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