Sam K

Sam was born on Long Island and lived there for many years. He then lived in various other parts of New York for fewer, but still numerous, years. He now lives in Seattle. He spends his time doing various kinds of things, some of which he finds interesting and some of which he does not.

Reviews & Recommendations

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Labyrinths Cover Image
By Jorge Luis Borges, Donald A. Yates (Editor), James E. Irby (Editor), William Gibson (Introduction by), André Maurois
ISBN: 9780811216999
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - May 17th, 2007

If you’ve yet to read Borges, get it together. This collection is the best way to get started.  A wonderful sampling of his strange and delightful, haunting fictions and his meandering but pointed essays, I cannot recommend highly enough picking up this volume from one of the greatest writers in both the great Argentine and great Modernist traditions.

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Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics Cover Image
ISBN: 9781472583550
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Academic - July 30th, 2015

Jacques Rancière is (and has been for some time now) doing some of the most interesting work in contemporary philosophy.  His gesture is a radical historicization, a situation of organizing categories in their historical context and logic (a gesture which leads Badiou to call him an anti-philosopher); it is a historicization which serves not to limit, but rather to open up new and creative lines of flight.  This is an excellent introductory collection to one of today’s most creative thinkers of art and politics.

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The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic ACT Cover Image
ISBN: 9780801492228
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Cornell University Press - August 31st, 1982

No facile understanding of the relationship between culture and politics is worth the paper it’s printed on or the time it takes to read.  Jameson is rare and beautiful, his analyses are unique in their breadth and subtlety and they have to be to take on the subject that they do.  Not only is this book  essential reading on political and social interpretation but it is also an shining example of how elegant and creative theory can be.

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The Musical Brain: And Other Stories Cover Image
By César Aira, Chris Andrews (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780811220293
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - March 3rd, 2015

Reading Aira is too easy.  You might think that serious literature can’t be this enjoyable.  Aira’s work makes you wrong.  This is what great contemporary literature looks like: it’s fun, it’s funny, it’s smart,  it’s absurd, it’s fast and it’s strange, but it’s also warm and relatable, and it never alienates.  Aira is Borges stripped of filter, having fun; he’s Calvino on the ground; Kafka in the sky.

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The Guest Cat Cover Image
By Takashi Hiraide, Eric Selland (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780811221504
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - January 28th, 2014

I read this for the first time while I was packing all my things for a move and I was floored, actually floored.  So sad and so beautiful.  And peaceful.  Not just for the cat-lover, this is one of those wonderful little books in which nothing much really happens and the whole experience of reading it is warmth.