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A Fabulous Opera

af Tropic of Ideas, Solla Carrock (Redaktør)

Andre forfattere: Joseph Brinson (Bidragyder), Solla Carrock (Illustrator), Scott Coffel (Bidragyder), EnriqueFreeque (Forord), Rick Harsch (Bidragyder)3 mere, David David Katzman (Bidragyder), Macumbeira (Introduktion), Mac McCaskill (Bidragyder)

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1631,018,881 (4.75)29
A Fabulous Opera is a volume of book reviews written by people from around the world, Belgium, Australia, the U.S., Taiwan, Canada, who come together in a virtual space, the Tropic of Ideas. This group is one of many nourished by the online book site, LibraryThing. These reviews, of loved books, some classics, others obscure, form a record of a new type of community, built not by geography but by a shared passions for books and ideas.… (mere)

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A Fabulous Opera repeatedly reminded me of an unmet need, often niggling when not reading: my wish for a central source of all things book-ish, from discussions of individual titles (both newly published and established) to reflections on undiscovered authors; spotlights on genres, book designers, illustrators; skeptical examinations of trends among readers as well as publishers; industry news of all kinds, if always in moderation. And more: celebrations of fan enthusiasms; a myriad of inspired lists; criticism and research agendas; translation; the art of copyediting, and other aspects of book preparations. Just -- everything interesting about printed culture, always emphasising context over headline or sound bite.

This central source, this literary crossroads could be an online aggregation site: the obvious approach, though I haven't found it yet, using instead LT and a random rotating set of sites to fill in. It might be something else, though. Perhaps a book. Even a book club's discussion, published as a book.

A Fabulous Opera goes a good distance toward realising that vision. It doesn't tick all the boxes, nor could it. It does well in what it attempts: knowledgeable discussion of a diversity of titles and authors, considerations of genres, thoughtful criticism, always with a coherent and considered perspective. And that perspective belongs not to the book, but always only to each entry -- the book overall is pleasantly fragmented, sentiments and ideas on one page contradicted by others a few pages later. Fragmentation and drift, a crossroads beckons.

My longing, I see now, is not for content but for convenience. Writing this, I see the content I seek is already there, in places like this. My need is met, actually, of necessity not in a single and reliable and consistent place, but in a smattering of places and interactions. A Fabulous Opera is a waystation, great for dipping into on my commute over almost three months, one 15-minute chat at a time. I won't know where or when the next station arrives, but this one reminds me: keep looking, keep moving, they'll be there.

Convenient enough.

//

Crowning achievement: tomcatMurr's view of Decadence Mandchoue, providing political / cultural history of Anglo-Sino relations, including some WWII secrecies; an overview of the Decadent Movement; and a tour-de-force analysis of the novel itself, including its cultural reception. The fabulous opera, embodied in this single contribution.

Murr puts in a few other contributions to challenge his own achievement, on Eugene Onegin and Infinite Jest. Crowding around these are other challengers, especially a consideration of Julien Gracq's Chateau A'rgol, a community tete-a-tete on Les Miserables, another on Zamyatin's We, opus (re)examinations of Bachelard's Poetics of Space and Mann's Magic Mountain, an argument for taking apart Bolano's 2666. ( )
13 stem elenchus | May 23, 2016 |
There are so many great book reviews posted on Librarything that one wonders why somebody has not had the gumption to collect some of them and publish them in a book format. Well if your still wondering if this could be done, well - too late somebody has beaten you to it and that somebody is the Tropic of Ideas. Who! you may ask, who on earth are they, well; you wouldn’t be too surprised to learn that they are the usual bunch of misfits who really don’t fit in anywhere: they have been driven by winds of ill fortune from group to group finally winding up on some tropical island hosted by the mysterious Sputnik-something-or-other. These misfits do however have one thing in common; they are all (apart from one sock puppet and we will get to that later) love books of a literary nature and can write damn fine reviews.

Literary fiction predominates: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo has five reviews, while Moby Dick by Herman Melville and Ulysses by James Joyce attracts three reviews each, but this collection also reflects the nature of the reviews on Librarything which is eclectic to say the least. You will find therefore reviews of books by Doris Lessing, William Golding, E M Forster, Saint Augustine of Hippo, Joan Didion, George Eliot, John Fowles, Clarice Lispector, Chinua Achebe, Roberto Bolano, John Steinbeck …. the list goes on with over 90 authors covered. Included also are reviews of some classic science fiction and some authors that I am willing to bet you have never heard of; for example D.G. Pugh, DVM, MS’s unforgettable Sheep and Goat Medicine or perhaps Sir Edmund Trelawny Blackhouse’s Décadence Mandchoue

You will recognise some of the names of the reviewers as they regular appear in Librarythings hot reviews section, for example my favourite sock puppet names are; MeditationsMartini, tomcatMurr, Macumbeira, ChocolateMuse, PeckoeThecat, EnriqueFreeque, zenomax and blackdogbooks, oh yes and A_Musing. It would of course be amiss to select any one review for discussion as there are so many here that give fresh incites, fresh ideas and thoughts that will get the most tired reader thinking “I must read that book”

Having said that I wouldn’t select any one review I must however select one reviewer for particular comment: basswood: who annoys the hell out of me. How on earth he managed to muscle in on this project is a mystery. For a start lets take his review of Moby Dick (perhaps one of the greatest of literary masterpieces) and this fool says he doesn’t like it because he is not American. He then goes on to claim that Lady Chatterley’s lover is one of the great books of the English language …. well I ask you?: everybody knows that Kate Millets’ book Sexual Politics exposed D H Lawrence as the misogynist he really was. Not content with this he asks us to believe that Olaf Stapledon (little known outside his genre) science fiction writer could hold his own with the other literary giants on display in this book. This sort of rubbish made me want to hurl the book across the room, which would have been a great shame because of all the other wonderful reviews this book contains.

Over 120 reviews covering over 90 books are set out in a beautifully published tome with some gorgeous drawings by Solla Carrock and the odd poem by Rick Harsh and the odd film review by Michael Welch. This book would look great on your coffee table and people might even think that you appreciate great literature. Thank you Solla ( )
10 stem baswood | Nov 13, 2015 |
What does it mean to review? Re-view? Latin, revidere, the etymological dictionary tells us. French, reveeire (a lot of eees there) or reveue (obs.). The usage in English seems to emerge in the late Middle Ages. It combines the re- that is ultimately derived from the Latin for "thing" but somehow comes to mean "again" with the word for sight, a pure Latin combination. The first meaning for review (or reveeire) that emerges is to examine, as in the review of troops. Perhaps to examine with change in mind comes next, as a decision or judgment may be reviewed. A reconsideration. The idea of a critical assessment comes later, but not too much. How different is it to assess and to change?

This is not just a book of reviews, but of views, of opinions, of discussions, all re-stated, re-examined, re-considered (disclosure: it includes a few of mine). It is a discussion where reviews of the same book may talk with each other, and where thoughts developed in a review of one book may emerge for reconsideration in a review of another. The reviews don't come from isolated readings off in a dusty library. They come from conversations. From discussions. From re-viewings. Reviews from people who have thought together for some years. Courtesy of this library-thing-(libre, book + thing, German for the Latin re-)-a-ma-jig (dance!).

So sit back. Read. Re-read. Re-lax. And Enjoy.

Submitted for your review... ( )
16 stem A_musing | Sep 28, 2015 |
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Tropic of Ideasprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Carrock, SollaRedaktørhovedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Brinson, JosephBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Carrock, SollaIllustratormedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Coffel, ScottBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
EnriqueFreequeForordmedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Harsch, RickBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Katzman, David DavidBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
MacumbeiraIntroduktionmedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
McCaskill, MacBidragydermedforfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
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A Fabulous Opera is a volume of book reviews written by people from around the world, Belgium, Australia, the U.S., Taiwan, Canada, who come together in a virtual space, the Tropic of Ideas. This group is one of many nourished by the online book site, LibraryThing. These reviews, of loved books, some classics, others obscure, form a record of a new type of community, built not by geography but by a shared passions for books and ideas.

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