Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

21

The first is the fiefdom of Osvaldo Soriano, who was a good minor novelist. When it comes to Soriano, you have to have a brain full of fecal matter to see him as someone around whom a literary movement can be built. I don’t mean he’s bad. As I’ve said: he’s good, he’s fun, he’s essentially an author of crime novels or something vaguely like crime novels, whose main virtue — praised at length by the always perceptive Spanish critical establishment — is his sparing use of adjectives, a restraint lost, in any case, after his fourth or fifth book. Hardly the basis for a school. Apart from Soriano’s kindness and generosity, which are said to be great, I suspect that his sway is due to sales, to his accessibility, his mass readership, although to speak of a mass readership when we’re really talking about twenty thousand people is clearly an exaggeration. What Argentine writers have learned from Soriano is that they, too, can make money. No need to write original books, like Cortázar or Bioy, or total novels, like Cortázar or Marechal, or perfect stories, like Cortázar or Bioy, and no need, especially, to squander your time and health in a lousy library when you’re never going to win a Nobel Prize anyway. All you have to do is write like Soriano. A little bit of humor, lots of Buenos Aires solidarity and camaraderie, a dash of tango, a worn-out boxer or two, an old but solid Marlowe. But, sobbing, I ask myself on my knees, solid where? Solid in heaven, solid in the toilet of your literary agent? What kind of nobody are you, anyway? You have an agent? And an Argentine agent, no less?

not entirely sure why but this makes me lol

—p.21 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago

The first is the fiefdom of Osvaldo Soriano, who was a good minor novelist. When it comes to Soriano, you have to have a brain full of fecal matter to see him as someone around whom a literary movement can be built. I don’t mean he’s bad. As I’ve said: he’s good, he’s fun, he’s essentially an author of crime novels or something vaguely like crime novels, whose main virtue — praised at length by the always perceptive Spanish critical establishment — is his sparing use of adjectives, a restraint lost, in any case, after his fourth or fifth book. Hardly the basis for a school. Apart from Soriano’s kindness and generosity, which are said to be great, I suspect that his sway is due to sales, to his accessibility, his mass readership, although to speak of a mass readership when we’re really talking about twenty thousand people is clearly an exaggeration. What Argentine writers have learned from Soriano is that they, too, can make money. No need to write original books, like Cortázar or Bioy, or total novels, like Cortázar or Marechal, or perfect stories, like Cortázar or Bioy, and no need, especially, to squander your time and health in a lousy library when you’re never going to win a Nobel Prize anyway. All you have to do is write like Soriano. A little bit of humor, lots of Buenos Aires solidarity and camaraderie, a dash of tango, a worn-out boxer or two, an old but solid Marlowe. But, sobbing, I ask myself on my knees, solid where? Solid in heaven, solid in the toilet of your literary agent? What kind of nobody are you, anyway? You have an agent? And an Argentine agent, no less?

not entirely sure why but this makes me lol

—p.21 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago
34

[...] a writer can have many homelands, and sometimes the identity of that homeland depends greatly on what he’s writing at the moment. It’s possible to have many homelands, it occurs to me now, but only one passport, and that passport is obviously the quality of one’s writing. Which doesn’t mean writing well, because anyone can do that, but writing incredibly well, and not even that, because anyone can write incredibly well. So what is top-notch writing? The same thing it’s always been: the ability to peer into the darkness, to leap into the void, to know that literature is basically a dangerous undertaking. The ability to sprint along the edge of the precipice: to one side the bottomless abyss and to the other the faces you love, the smiling faces you love, and books and friends and food. And the ability to accept what you find, even though it may be heavier than the stones over the graves of all dead writers. Literature, as an Andalusian folk singer would put it, is danger [...]

—p.34 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago

[...] a writer can have many homelands, and sometimes the identity of that homeland depends greatly on what he’s writing at the moment. It’s possible to have many homelands, it occurs to me now, but only one passport, and that passport is obviously the quality of one’s writing. Which doesn’t mean writing well, because anyone can do that, but writing incredibly well, and not even that, because anyone can write incredibly well. So what is top-notch writing? The same thing it’s always been: the ability to peer into the darkness, to leap into the void, to know that literature is basically a dangerous undertaking. The ability to sprint along the edge of the precipice: to one side the bottomless abyss and to the other the faces you love, the smiling faces you love, and books and friends and food. And the ability to accept what you find, even though it may be heavier than the stones over the graves of all dead writers. Literature, as an Andalusian folk singer would put it, is danger [...]

—p.34 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago
35

[...] everything that I’ve written is a love letter or a farewell letter to my own generation, those of us who were born in the 1950s and who at a certain moment chose military service, though in this case it would be more accurate to say militancy, and we gave the little we had — the great deal that we had, which was our youth — to a cause that we thought was the most generous cause in the world and in a certain way it was, but in reality it wasn’t. It goes without saying that we fought our hardest, but we had corrupt leaders, cowardly leaders with a propaganda apparatus that was worse than a leper colony, we fought for parties that if they had won would have sent us straight to labor camps, we fought for and put all our generosity into an ideal that had been dead for more than fifty years, and some of us knew it, and how could we not when we’d read Trotsky or were Trotskyites, but we did it anyway, because we were stupid and generous, as young people are, giving everything and asking for nothing in return, and now those young people are gone, because those who didn’t die in Bolivia died in Argentina or Peru, and those who survived went on to die in Chile or Mexico, and those who weren’t killed there were killed later in Nicaragua, Colombia, or El Salvador. All of Latin America is sown with the bones of these forgotten youths. [...]

saving this less for the content and more for the style - just really good pacing and flow

—p.35 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago

[...] everything that I’ve written is a love letter or a farewell letter to my own generation, those of us who were born in the 1950s and who at a certain moment chose military service, though in this case it would be more accurate to say militancy, and we gave the little we had — the great deal that we had, which was our youth — to a cause that we thought was the most generous cause in the world and in a certain way it was, but in reality it wasn’t. It goes without saying that we fought our hardest, but we had corrupt leaders, cowardly leaders with a propaganda apparatus that was worse than a leper colony, we fought for parties that if they had won would have sent us straight to labor camps, we fought for and put all our generosity into an ideal that had been dead for more than fifty years, and some of us knew it, and how could we not when we’d read Trotsky or were Trotskyites, but we did it anyway, because we were stupid and generous, as young people are, giving everything and asking for nothing in return, and now those young people are gone, because those who didn’t die in Bolivia died in Argentina or Peru, and those who survived went on to die in Chile or Mexico, and those who weren’t killed there were killed later in Nicaragua, Colombia, or El Salvador. All of Latin America is sown with the bones of these forgotten youths. [...]

saving this less for the content and more for the style - just really good pacing and flow

—p.35 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago
50

And what is Ercilla left with before he writes La Araucana and dies? Ercilla is left with something — if in its most extreme and bizarre form — that all great poets possess. He’s left with courage. A courage worth nothing in old age, just as, incidentally, it’s worth nothing in youth, but that keeps poets from throwing themselves off a cliff or shooting themselves in the head, and that, in the presence of a blank page, serves the humble purpose of writing.

Exile is courage. True exile is the true measure of each writer.

—p.50 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago

And what is Ercilla left with before he writes La Araucana and dies? Ercilla is left with something — if in its most extreme and bizarre form — that all great poets possess. He’s left with courage. A courage worth nothing in old age, just as, incidentally, it’s worth nothing in youth, but that keeps poets from throwing themselves off a cliff or shooting themselves in the head, and that, in the presence of a blank page, serves the humble purpose of writing.

Exile is courage. True exile is the true measure of each writer.

—p.50 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago
61

Twenty days in Chile that shook the (mental) world that I inhabit. Twenty days that were like twenty sessions of humanity falling with a thud. Twenty days that would make anyone weep or roll on the floor laughing. But let’s start from the beginning. I left Chile in January 1974. The last time I flew anywhere was in 1977. I thought I’d never go back to Chile again. I thought I’d never get on a plane again. One day a girl called me from Paula Magazine and asked if I wanted to be on the jury for a story contest that the magazine organizes. Right away I said yes. I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe I was thinking about the glorious sunsets of Los Angeles, though not the Los Ángeles of Bío-Bío, in Chile, but the Los Angeles of California, the sunsets of the city that sprang up from nothing and from whose rooftops you can see see the radiance that oozes from every inch of the planet. I might have been thinking about that. I might have been making love. Yes, now I remember, that was it. Then the phone rang and I got out of bed and answered and a female voice asked if I’d like to come to Chile and then the city of Los Angeles full of skyscrapers and palm trees became the city of Los Ángeles full of one-story buildings and dirt roads. Los Ángeles, the capital of the province of Bío-Bío, the city where Fernando Fernández played foosball in yards that were like something dreamed up by deranged adolescents, the city where Lebert and Cárcamo were constant companions and where tolerant Cárdenas was class president at a boys’ school designed by some petty demon and where El Pescado suddenly went underground. City of evening raids. Savage city whose sunsets were like the aphasic commentary of privilege. So I said yes in the same tone that I might have said no. The room was dark; I was expecting a phone call, but not this one; the voice that spoke to me from the other side of the world was sweet. At that moment I could have said no. But I said yes because like a mountain cat, the capital of the province of Bío-Bío suddenly leaped onto the map of the city of happiness and was clawing at it, and in those (invisible) claw marks it was written that I had to return to Chile and I had to get back on a plane.

wow

—p.61 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago

Twenty days in Chile that shook the (mental) world that I inhabit. Twenty days that were like twenty sessions of humanity falling with a thud. Twenty days that would make anyone weep or roll on the floor laughing. But let’s start from the beginning. I left Chile in January 1974. The last time I flew anywhere was in 1977. I thought I’d never go back to Chile again. I thought I’d never get on a plane again. One day a girl called me from Paula Magazine and asked if I wanted to be on the jury for a story contest that the magazine organizes. Right away I said yes. I don’t know what I was thinking. Maybe I was thinking about the glorious sunsets of Los Angeles, though not the Los Ángeles of Bío-Bío, in Chile, but the Los Angeles of California, the sunsets of the city that sprang up from nothing and from whose rooftops you can see see the radiance that oozes from every inch of the planet. I might have been thinking about that. I might have been making love. Yes, now I remember, that was it. Then the phone rang and I got out of bed and answered and a female voice asked if I’d like to come to Chile and then the city of Los Angeles full of skyscrapers and palm trees became the city of Los Ángeles full of one-story buildings and dirt roads. Los Ángeles, the capital of the province of Bío-Bío, the city where Fernando Fernández played foosball in yards that were like something dreamed up by deranged adolescents, the city where Lebert and Cárcamo were constant companions and where tolerant Cárdenas was class president at a boys’ school designed by some petty demon and where El Pescado suddenly went underground. City of evening raids. Savage city whose sunsets were like the aphasic commentary of privilege. So I said yes in the same tone that I might have said no. The room was dark; I was expecting a phone call, but not this one; the voice that spoke to me from the other side of the world was sweet. At that moment I could have said no. But I said yes because like a mountain cat, the capital of the province of Bío-Bío suddenly leaped onto the map of the city of happiness and was clawing at it, and in those (invisible) claw marks it was written that I had to return to Chile and I had to get back on a plane.

wow

—p.61 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago
72

[...] Sometimes the fact that everyone in the world writes can be wonderful, because you find fellow-writers everywhere, and sometimes it can be a drag because illiterate jerks strut around sporting all the defects and none of the virtues of a real writer. As Nicanor Parra said: it might be a good idea to do a little more reading.

—p.72 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago

[...] Sometimes the fact that everyone in the world writes can be wonderful, because you find fellow-writers everywhere, and sometimes it can be a drag because illiterate jerks strut around sporting all the defects and none of the virtues of a real writer. As Nicanor Parra said: it might be a good idea to do a little more reading.

—p.72 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago
129

Instead, I like to walk with the dirty old men along the Paseo Marítimo in Blanes in the summer. I like to watch the beach. There, from that triumphal throng of half-naked bodies, beautiful and ugly, fat and thin, perfect and imperfect, a magnificent smell wafts up to us, the smell of suntan lotion. I like the smell that rises from that mass of bodies in all shapes and sizes. It isn’t strong, but it’s bracing. Though it isn’t perfect. Sometimes it’s even a sad smell. And possibly metaphysical. The thousand lotions, the sunscreens. They smell of democracy, of civilization.

funny in a weirdly nauseating way

—p.129 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago

Instead, I like to walk with the dirty old men along the Paseo Marítimo in Blanes in the summer. I like to watch the beach. There, from that triumphal throng of half-naked bodies, beautiful and ugly, fat and thin, perfect and imperfect, a magnificent smell wafts up to us, the smell of suntan lotion. I like the smell that rises from that mass of bodies in all shapes and sizes. It isn’t strong, but it’s bracing. Though it isn’t perfect. Sometimes it’s even a sad smell. And possibly metaphysical. The thousand lotions, the sunscreens. They smell of democracy, of civilization.

funny in a weirdly nauseating way

—p.129 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago
135

One is prepared for friendship, not for friends. And sometimes not even for friendship, but at least we try: usually we flail in the darkness, a darkness that’s not foreign to us, a darkness that comes from inside us and meshes with a purely external reality, with the darkness of certain gestures, certain shadows that we once thought were familiar and that in fact are as strange as a dinosaur.

—p.135 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago

One is prepared for friendship, not for friends. And sometimes not even for friendship, but at least we try: usually we flail in the darkness, a darkness that’s not foreign to us, a darkness that comes from inside us and meshes with a purely external reality, with the darkness of certain gestures, certain shadows that we once thought were familiar and that in fact are as strange as a dinosaur.

—p.135 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago
165

[...] Now, at last, Cercas is back in Gerona. He’s here to take it easy. Or at least that’s the official explanation. Or so his wife and son can have a yard. Or to be closer to his job, so he isn’t killed in a car accident. The truth is, I doubt all of these explanations. Cercas has come home to write the big books that are up there in his head. He’s back home to become one of the best writers in the Spanish language. Only great challenges make it worthwhile to pack up and move all one’s books.

—p.165 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago

[...] Now, at last, Cercas is back in Gerona. He’s here to take it easy. Or at least that’s the official explanation. Or so his wife and son can have a yard. Or to be closer to his job, so he isn’t killed in a car accident. The truth is, I doubt all of these explanations. Cercas has come home to write the big books that are up there in his head. He’s back home to become one of the best writers in the Spanish language. Only great challenges make it worthwhile to pack up and move all one’s books.

—p.165 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago
196

In my long conversations with Rodrigo Fresán about Philip K. Dick in bars and restaurants around Barcelona or at each other’s houses we’ve never run out of things to say.

These are some of the conclusions we’ve reached: Dick was a schizophrenic. Dick was a paranoiac. Dick is one of the ten best American writers of the twentieth century, which is saying a lot. Dick was a kind of Kafka steeped in LSD and rage. Dick talks to us, in The Man in the High Castle, in what would become his trademark way, about how mutable reality can be and therefore how mutable history can be. Dick is Thoreau plus the death of the American dream. Dick writes, at times, like a prisoner, because ethically and aesthetically he really is a prisoner. Dick is the one who, in Ubik, comes closest to capturing the human consciousness or fragments of consciousness in the context of their setting; the correspondence between the story he tells and its structure is more brilliant than similar experiments conducted by Pynchon or DeLillo. Dick is the first, literarily speaking, to write eloquently about virtual consciousness. Dick is the first, or if not the first then the best, to write about the perception of speed, the perception of entropy, the perception of the clamor of the universe in Martian Time-Slip, in which an autistic boy, like a silent Jesus Christ of the future, devotes himself to feeling and suffering the paradox of time and space, the death toward which we’re all heading. Dick, despite everything, never loses his sense of humor, which means that he owes more to Twain than to Melville, although Fresán, who knows more about Dick than me, raises some objections. For Dick all art is political. Don’t forget that. [...]

i like this!

—p.196 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago

In my long conversations with Rodrigo Fresán about Philip K. Dick in bars and restaurants around Barcelona or at each other’s houses we’ve never run out of things to say.

These are some of the conclusions we’ve reached: Dick was a schizophrenic. Dick was a paranoiac. Dick is one of the ten best American writers of the twentieth century, which is saying a lot. Dick was a kind of Kafka steeped in LSD and rage. Dick talks to us, in The Man in the High Castle, in what would become his trademark way, about how mutable reality can be and therefore how mutable history can be. Dick is Thoreau plus the death of the American dream. Dick writes, at times, like a prisoner, because ethically and aesthetically he really is a prisoner. Dick is the one who, in Ubik, comes closest to capturing the human consciousness or fragments of consciousness in the context of their setting; the correspondence between the story he tells and its structure is more brilliant than similar experiments conducted by Pynchon or DeLillo. Dick is the first, literarily speaking, to write eloquently about virtual consciousness. Dick is the first, or if not the first then the best, to write about the perception of speed, the perception of entropy, the perception of the clamor of the universe in Martian Time-Slip, in which an autistic boy, like a silent Jesus Christ of the future, devotes himself to feeling and suffering the paradox of time and space, the death toward which we’re all heading. Dick, despite everything, never loses his sense of humor, which means that he owes more to Twain than to Melville, although Fresán, who knows more about Dick than me, raises some objections. For Dick all art is political. Don’t forget that. [...]

i like this!

—p.196 by Roberto Bolaño 5 months ago