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).

4

"The Small Rain" was my first published story. A friend who'd been away in the army the same two years I'd been in the navy supplied the details. The hurricane really happened, and my friend's Signal Corps detachment had the mission described in the story. Most of what I dislike about my writing is present here in embryo, as well as in more advanced forms. I failed to recognize, just for openers, that the main character's problem was real and interesting enough to generate a story on its own. Apparently I felt I had to put on a whole extra overlay of rain images and references to "The Waste Land" and A Farewell to Arms. I was operating on the motto "Make it literary," a piece of bad advice I made up all by myself and then took.

lol

—p.4 Introduction (1) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago

"The Small Rain" was my first published story. A friend who'd been away in the army the same two years I'd been in the navy supplied the details. The hurricane really happened, and my friend's Signal Corps detachment had the mission described in the story. Most of what I dislike about my writing is present here in embryo, as well as in more advanced forms. I failed to recognize, just for openers, that the main character's problem was real and interesting enough to generate a story on its own. Apparently I felt I had to put on a whole extra overlay of rain images and references to "The Waste Land" and A Farewell to Arms. I was operating on the motto "Make it literary," a piece of bad advice I made up all by myself and then took.

lol

—p.4 Introduction (1) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago
6

What I find interesting about the story now is not so much the quaintness and puerility of attitude as the class angle. Whatever else the peacetime service is good for, it can provide an excellent introduction to the structure of society at large. It becomes evident even to a young mind that often unacknowledged divisions in civilian life find clear and immediate expression in the military distinction between "officers" and "men." One makes the amazing discovery that grown adults walking around with college educations, wearing khaki and brass and charged with heavy-duty responsibilities, can in fact be idiots. And that working-class white hats, while in theory capable of idiocy, are much more apt to display competence, courage, humanity, wisdom, and other virtues associated, by the educated classes, with themselves. Although cast in literary terms, Lardass Levine's conflict in this story is about where to put his loyalties. Being an unpolitical '50's student, I was unaware of this at the time - but in hindsight I think I was working out of a dilemma that most of us writing then had, in some way, to deal with.

—p.6 Introduction (1) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago

What I find interesting about the story now is not so much the quaintness and puerility of attitude as the class angle. Whatever else the peacetime service is good for, it can provide an excellent introduction to the structure of society at large. It becomes evident even to a young mind that often unacknowledged divisions in civilian life find clear and immediate expression in the military distinction between "officers" and "men." One makes the amazing discovery that grown adults walking around with college educations, wearing khaki and brass and charged with heavy-duty responsibilities, can in fact be idiots. And that working-class white hats, while in theory capable of idiocy, are much more apt to display competence, courage, humanity, wisdom, and other virtues associated, by the educated classes, with themselves. Although cast in literary terms, Lardass Levine's conflict in this story is about where to put his loyalties. Being an unpolitical '50's student, I was unaware of this at the time - but in hindsight I think I was working out of a dilemma that most of us writing then had, in some way, to deal with.

—p.6 Introduction (1) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago
15

Such considerations were largely absent when I wrote "Entropy." I was more concerned with committing on paper a variety of abuses, such as overwriting. I will spare everybody a detailed discussion of all the overwriting that occurs in these stories, except to mention how distressed I am at the number of tendrils that keep showing up. I still don't even know for sure what a tendril is. I think I took the word from T. S. Eliot. I have nothing against tendrils personally, but my overuse of the word is a good example of what can happen when you spend too much time and energy on words alone. This advice has been given often and more compellingly elsewhere, but my specific piece of wrong procedure back then was, incredibly, to browse through the thesaurus and note words that sounded cool, hip, or likely to produce an effect, usually that of making me look good, without then taking the trouble to go and find out in the dictionary what they meant. If this sounds stupid, it is. I mention it only on the chance that others" may be doing it even as we speak, and be able to profit from my error.

cute

—p.15 Introduction (1) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago

Such considerations were largely absent when I wrote "Entropy." I was more concerned with committing on paper a variety of abuses, such as overwriting. I will spare everybody a detailed discussion of all the overwriting that occurs in these stories, except to mention how distressed I am at the number of tendrils that keep showing up. I still don't even know for sure what a tendril is. I think I took the word from T. S. Eliot. I have nothing against tendrils personally, but my overuse of the word is a good example of what can happen when you spend too much time and energy on words alone. This advice has been given often and more compellingly elsewhere, but my specific piece of wrong procedure back then was, incredibly, to browse through the thesaurus and note words that sounded cool, hip, or likely to produce an effect, usually that of making me look good, without then taking the trouble to go and find out in the dictionary what they meant. If this sounds stupid, it is. I mention it only on the chance that others" may be doing it even as we speak, and be able to profit from my error.

cute

—p.15 Introduction (1) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago
21

Why I adopted such a strategy of transfer is no longer clear to me. Displacing my personal experience off into other environments went back at least as far as "The Small Rain." Part of this was an unkind impatience with fiction I felt then to be "too autobiographical." Somewhere I had come up with the notion that one's personal life had nothing to do with fiction, when the truth, as everyone knows, is nearly the direct opposite. Moreover, contrary evidence was all around me, though I chose to ignore it, for in fact the fiction both published and unpublished that moved and pleased me then as now was precisely that which had been made luminous, undeniably authentic by having been found and taken up, always at a cost, from deeper, more shared levels of the life we all really live. I hate to think that I didn't, however defectively, understand this. Maybe the rent was just too high. In any case, stupid kid, I preferred fancy footwork instead.

—p.21 Introduction (1) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago

Why I adopted such a strategy of transfer is no longer clear to me. Displacing my personal experience off into other environments went back at least as far as "The Small Rain." Part of this was an unkind impatience with fiction I felt then to be "too autobiographical." Somewhere I had come up with the notion that one's personal life had nothing to do with fiction, when the truth, as everyone knows, is nearly the direct opposite. Moreover, contrary evidence was all around me, though I chose to ignore it, for in fact the fiction both published and unpublished that moved and pleased me then as now was precisely that which had been made luminous, undeniably authentic by having been found and taken up, always at a cost, from deeper, more shared levels of the life we all really live. I hate to think that I didn't, however defectively, understand this. Maybe the rent was just too high. In any case, stupid kid, I preferred fancy footwork instead.

—p.21 Introduction (1) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago
50

[...] Mangrove and moss closed in on them. They drove for a mile until they came to a dilapidated building, out in the boondocks of nowhere. It turned out there was a mattress inside. "It's not much," she said between breaths, "but it's home." She quivered against him in the dark. He found Rizzo's stogie and lit up; her face trembled in the light of the flame and there was in her eyes something that might have been a dismayed and delayed acknowledgement that what was hazarding this particular plowboy was deeper than any problem of seasonal change or doubtful fertility, precisely as he had recognized earlier that her capacity to give involved nothing over or above the list of enumerated wares: scissors, watches, knives, ribands, laces; and therefore he assumed toward her that same nonchalant compassion which he felt for the heroines of sex novels, or for the burned out but impotent good guy rancher in a western. He let her undress apart from him; until, standing there in nothing but T-shirt and baseball cap, puffing placidly on the stogie he heard her from the mattress, whimpering.

not sure what exactly but there is something here

—p.50 The Small Rain (25) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago

[...] Mangrove and moss closed in on them. They drove for a mile until they came to a dilapidated building, out in the boondocks of nowhere. It turned out there was a mattress inside. "It's not much," she said between breaths, "but it's home." She quivered against him in the dark. He found Rizzo's stogie and lit up; her face trembled in the light of the flame and there was in her eyes something that might have been a dismayed and delayed acknowledgement that what was hazarding this particular plowboy was deeper than any problem of seasonal change or doubtful fertility, precisely as he had recognized earlier that her capacity to give involved nothing over or above the list of enumerated wares: scissors, watches, knives, ribands, laces; and therefore he assumed toward her that same nonchalant compassion which he felt for the heroines of sex novels, or for the burned out but impotent good guy rancher in a western. He let her undress apart from him; until, standing there in nothing but T-shirt and baseball cap, puffing placidly on the stogie he heard her from the mattress, whimpering.

not sure what exactly but there is something here

—p.50 The Small Rain (25) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago
58

Geronimo Diaz was clearly insane; but it was a wonderful, random sort of madness which conformed to no known model or pattern, an irresponsible plasma of delusion he floated in, utterly convinced, for example, that he was Paganini and had sold his soul to the devil. He kept a priceless Stradivarius in his desk, and to prove to Flange that this hallucination was fact he would saw away on the strings, producing horribly raucous noises, throw down the bow finally and say, "You see. Ever since I made that deal I haven't been able to play a note." And spend whole sessions reading aloud to himself out of random-number tables or the Ebbinghaus nonsense-syllable lists, ignoring everything that Flange would be trying to tell him. Those sessions were impossible: counterpointed against confessions of clumsy adolescent sex play would come this incessant "ZAP. MOG. FUD. NAF. VOB," and every once in a while the clink and gurgle of the martini shaker. But Flange went back again, he kept going back; realizing perhaps that if he were subjected for the rest of his life to nothing but the relentless rationality of that womb and that wife, he would never make it, and that Geronimo's lunacy was about all he had to keep him going. And the martinis were free.

lmao

—p.58 Low-lands (53) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago

Geronimo Diaz was clearly insane; but it was a wonderful, random sort of madness which conformed to no known model or pattern, an irresponsible plasma of delusion he floated in, utterly convinced, for example, that he was Paganini and had sold his soul to the devil. He kept a priceless Stradivarius in his desk, and to prove to Flange that this hallucination was fact he would saw away on the strings, producing horribly raucous noises, throw down the bow finally and say, "You see. Ever since I made that deal I haven't been able to play a note." And spend whole sessions reading aloud to himself out of random-number tables or the Ebbinghaus nonsense-syllable lists, ignoring everything that Flange would be trying to tell him. Those sessions were impossible: counterpointed against confessions of clumsy adolescent sex play would come this incessant "ZAP. MOG. FUD. NAF. VOB," and every once in a while the clink and gurgle of the martini shaker. But Flange went back again, he kept going back; realizing perhaps that if he were subjected for the rest of his life to nothing but the relentless rationality of that womb and that wife, he would never make it, and that Geronimo's lunacy was about all he had to keep him going. And the martinis were free.

lmao

—p.58 Low-lands (53) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago
70

[...] Three days out from Port-au-Prince Porcaccio had stormed into the captain's cabin with a Very pistol and threatened to turn the captain into a human flare unless the ship were turned around and headed for Cuba. It seems there were several cases of rifles and other light armament down in the hold, all destined for a gang of banana pickers in Guatemala who had recently unionized and desired to abolish the local American sphere of influence. It was Porcaccio's intention to take over the ship and invade Cuba and claim the island for Italy, to whom it rightfully belonged, since Columbus had discovered it. For his mutiny he had assembled two Chinese wipers and a deck hand subject to epileptic fits. The captain laughed and invited Porcaccio in for a drink. Two days later they came staggering out on deck, drunk, arms flung about each other's shoulders; neither had had any sleep in the intervening period. The ship had run into a heavy squall; all hands were running around securing booms and shifting cargo, and in the confusion the captain somehow got washed over the side. Porcaccio thus became master of the Deirdre O'Toole. [...]

i love the chaos

—p.70 Low-lands (53) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago

[...] Three days out from Port-au-Prince Porcaccio had stormed into the captain's cabin with a Very pistol and threatened to turn the captain into a human flare unless the ship were turned around and headed for Cuba. It seems there were several cases of rifles and other light armament down in the hold, all destined for a gang of banana pickers in Guatemala who had recently unionized and desired to abolish the local American sphere of influence. It was Porcaccio's intention to take over the ship and invade Cuba and claim the island for Italy, to whom it rightfully belonged, since Columbus had discovered it. For his mutiny he had assembled two Chinese wipers and a deck hand subject to epileptic fits. The captain laughed and invited Porcaccio in for a drink. Two days later they came staggering out on deck, drunk, arms flung about each other's shoulders; neither had had any sleep in the intervening period. The ship had run into a heavy squall; all hands were running around securing booms and shifting cargo, and in the confusion the captain somehow got washed over the side. Porcaccio thus became master of the Deirdre O'Toole. [...]

i love the chaos

—p.70 Low-lands (53) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago
82

This was in early February of '57 and back then there were a lot of American expatriates around Washington, D.C., who would talk, every time they met you, about how someday they were going to go over to Europe for real but right now it seemed they were working for the government. Everyone saw a fine irony in this. They would stage, for instance, polyglot parties where the newcomer was sort of ignored if he couldn't carry on simultaneous conversations in three or four languages. They would haunt Armenian delicatessens for weeks at a stretch and invite you over for bulghour and lamb in tiny kitchens whose walls were covered with bullfight posters. They would have affairs with sultry girls from Andalucía or the Midi who studied economics at Georgetown. Their Dôme was a collegiate Rathskeller out on Wisconsin Avenue called the Old Heidelberg and they had to settle for cherry blossoms instead of lime trees when spring came, but in its lethargic way their life provided, as they said, kicks.

—p.82 Entropy (79) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago

This was in early February of '57 and back then there were a lot of American expatriates around Washington, D.C., who would talk, every time they met you, about how someday they were going to go over to Europe for real but right now it seemed they were working for the government. Everyone saw a fine irony in this. They would stage, for instance, polyglot parties where the newcomer was sort of ignored if he couldn't carry on simultaneous conversations in three or four languages. They would haunt Armenian delicatessens for weeks at a stretch and invite you over for bulghour and lamb in tiny kitchens whose walls were covered with bullfight posters. They would have affairs with sultry girls from Andalucía or the Midi who studied economics at Georgetown. Their Dôme was a collegiate Rathskeller out on Wisconsin Avenue called the Old Heidelberg and they had to settle for cherry blossoms instead of lime trees when spring came, but in its lethargic way their life provided, as they said, kicks.

—p.82 Entropy (79) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago
92

Meatball had abandoned Saul to a bottle of tequila and was about to go to sleep in a closet when the front door flew open and the place was invaded by five enlisted personnel of the U.S. Navy, all in varying stages of abomination. "This is the place," shouted a fat, pimply seaman apprentice who had lost his white hat. "This here is the hoorhouse that chief was telling us about." A stringy-looking 3rd class boatswain's mate pushed him aside and cased the living room. "You're right, Slab," he said. "But it don't look like much, even for Stateside. I seen better tail in Naples, Italy." "How much, hey," boomed a large seaman with adenoids, who was holding a Mason jar full of white lightning. "Oh, my god," said Meatball.

i think i just love the use of 'invaded' here. it's obvious but still nice

—p.92 Entropy (79) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago

Meatball had abandoned Saul to a bottle of tequila and was about to go to sleep in a closet when the front door flew open and the place was invaded by five enlisted personnel of the U.S. Navy, all in varying stages of abomination. "This is the place," shouted a fat, pimply seaman apprentice who had lost his white hat. "This here is the hoorhouse that chief was telling us about." A stringy-looking 3rd class boatswain's mate pushed him aside and cased the living room. "You're right, Slab," he said. "But it don't look like much, even for Stateside. I seen better tail in Naples, Italy." "How much, hey," boomed a large seaman with adenoids, who was holding a Mason jar full of white lightning. "Oh, my god," said Meatball.

i think i just love the use of 'invaded' here. it's obvious but still nice

—p.92 Entropy (79) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago
95

"Well first let me just say, that I am no Mingus, no John Lewis. Theory was never my strong point. I mean things like reading were always difficult for me and all - "

"I know," Meatball said drily. "You got your card taken away because you changed key on Happy Birthday at a Kiwanis Club picnic."

"Rotarian. But it occurred to me, in one of these flashes of insight, that if that first quartet of Mulligan's had no piano, it could only mean one thing."

"No chords," said Paco, the baby-faced bass.

"What he is trying to say," Duke said, "is no root chords. Nothing to listen to while you blow a horizontal line. What one does in such a case is, one thinks the roots."

A horrified awareness was dawning on Meatball. "And the next logical extension," he said.

"Is to think everything," Duke announced with simple dignity. "Roots, line, everything."

Meatball looked at Duke, awed. "But," he said.

i actually dont know what they're talking about here but i kind of love this dialogic format for epiphany?

—p.95 Entropy (79) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago

"Well first let me just say, that I am no Mingus, no John Lewis. Theory was never my strong point. I mean things like reading were always difficult for me and all - "

"I know," Meatball said drily. "You got your card taken away because you changed key on Happy Birthday at a Kiwanis Club picnic."

"Rotarian. But it occurred to me, in one of these flashes of insight, that if that first quartet of Mulligan's had no piano, it could only mean one thing."

"No chords," said Paco, the baby-faced bass.

"What he is trying to say," Duke said, "is no root chords. Nothing to listen to while you blow a horizontal line. What one does in such a case is, one thinks the roots."

A horrified awareness was dawning on Meatball. "And the next logical extension," he said.

"Is to think everything," Duke announced with simple dignity. "Roots, line, everything."

Meatball looked at Duke, awed. "But," he said.

i actually dont know what they're talking about here but i kind of love this dialogic format for epiphany?

—p.95 Entropy (79) by Thomas Pynchon 1 year, 2 months ago