Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

he visits Masafuera (off the coast of Chile) to: take a break from novel promotion; mourn DFW while scattering his ashes; and do some birding. also talks about Robinson Crusoe being commonly thought of as the first English novel (he disputes that claim tho). the stuff on DFW makes the whole thing worth it even if I don't care about Robinson Crusoe or birds

Franzen, J. (2012). Farther Away. In Franzen, J. Farther Away. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, pp. 15-52

19

[...] she'd given me the ashes as much for my sake as for hers or David's. She knew, because I had told her, that my current state of flight from myself had begun soon after David's death, two years earlier. At the time, I'd made a decision not to deal with the hideous suicide of someone I'd loved so much but instead to take refuge in anger and work. Now that the work was done, though, it was harder to ignore the circumstance that, arguably, in one interpretation of his suicide, David had died of boredom and in despair about his future novels. The desperate edge to my own recent boredom: might this be related to my having broken a promise to myself? The promise that, after I'd finished my book project, I would allow myself to feel more than fleeting grief and enduring anger at David's death?

—p.19 by Jonathan Franzen 1 year, 7 months ago

[...] she'd given me the ashes as much for my sake as for hers or David's. She knew, because I had told her, that my current state of flight from myself had begun soon after David's death, two years earlier. At the time, I'd made a decision not to deal with the hideous suicide of someone I'd loved so much but instead to take refuge in anger and work. Now that the work was done, though, it was harder to ignore the circumstance that, arguably, in one interpretation of his suicide, David had died of boredom and in despair about his future novels. The desperate edge to my own recent boredom: might this be related to my having broken a promise to myself? The promise that, after I'd finished my book project, I would allow myself to feel more than fleeting grief and enduring anger at David's death?

—p.19 by Jonathan Franzen 1 year, 7 months ago

(adjective) thick or opaque with or as if with roiled sediment / (adjective) heavy with smoke or mist / (adjective) deficient in clarity or purity; foul muddy / (adjective) characterized by or producing obscurity (as of mind or emotions)

26

I filled up the skin with someone turbid water

—p.26 by Jonathan Franzen
confirm
1 year, 7 months ago

I filled up the skin with someone turbid water

—p.26 by Jonathan Franzen
confirm
1 year, 7 months ago
37

David wrote about weather as well as anyone who ever put words on paper, and he loved his dogs more purely than he loved anything or anyone else, but nature itself didn't interest him, and he was utterly indifferent to birds. Once, when we were driving near Stinson Beach, in California, I'd stopped to give him a telescope view of a long-billed curlew, a species whose magnificence is to my mind self-evident and revelatory. He looked through the scope for two seconds before turning away with patent boredom. "Yeah," he said with his particular tone of hollow politeness, "it's pretty." In the summer before he died, sitting with him on his patio while he smoked cigarettes, I couldn't keep my eyes off the hummingbirds around his house and was saddened that he could, and while he was taking his heavily medicated afternoon naps I was learning the birds of Ecuador for an upcoming trip, and I understood the difference between his unmanageable misery and my manageable discontents to be that I could escape myself in the joy of birds and he could not.

—p.37 by Jonathan Franzen 1 year, 7 months ago

David wrote about weather as well as anyone who ever put words on paper, and he loved his dogs more purely than he loved anything or anyone else, but nature itself didn't interest him, and he was utterly indifferent to birds. Once, when we were driving near Stinson Beach, in California, I'd stopped to give him a telescope view of a long-billed curlew, a species whose magnificence is to my mind self-evident and revelatory. He looked through the scope for two seconds before turning away with patent boredom. "Yeah," he said with his particular tone of hollow politeness, "it's pretty." In the summer before he died, sitting with him on his patio while he smoked cigarettes, I couldn't keep my eyes off the hummingbirds around his house and was saddened that he could, and while he was taking his heavily medicated afternoon naps I was learning the birds of Ecuador for an upcoming trip, and I understood the difference between his unmanageable misery and my manageable discontents to be that I could escape myself in the joy of birds and he could not.

—p.37 by Jonathan Franzen 1 year, 7 months ago
39

The curious thing about David's fiction, though, is how recognized and comforted, how loved, his most devoted readers feel when reading it. To the extent that each of us is stranded on his or her own existential island--and I think it's approximately correct to say that his most susceptible readers are ones familiar with the socially and spiritually isolating effects of addiction or compulsion or depression--we gratefully seized on each new dispatch from that farthest-away island which was David. At the level of content, he gave us the worst of himself: he laid out, with an intensity of self-scrutiny worthy of comparison to Kafka and Kierkegaard and Dostoyevsky, the extremes of his own narcissism, misogyny, compulsiveness, self-deception, dehumanizing moralism and theologizing, doubt in the possibility of love, and entrapment in footnotes-within-footnotes self-consciousness. At the level of form and intention, however, this very cataloguing of despair about his own authentic goodness is received by the reader as a gift of authentic goodness: we feel the love in the fact of his art, and we love him for it.

—p.39 by Jonathan Franzen 1 year, 7 months ago

The curious thing about David's fiction, though, is how recognized and comforted, how loved, his most devoted readers feel when reading it. To the extent that each of us is stranded on his or her own existential island--and I think it's approximately correct to say that his most susceptible readers are ones familiar with the socially and spiritually isolating effects of addiction or compulsion or depression--we gratefully seized on each new dispatch from that farthest-away island which was David. At the level of content, he gave us the worst of himself: he laid out, with an intensity of self-scrutiny worthy of comparison to Kafka and Kierkegaard and Dostoyevsky, the extremes of his own narcissism, misogyny, compulsiveness, self-deception, dehumanizing moralism and theologizing, doubt in the possibility of love, and entrapment in footnotes-within-footnotes self-consciousness. At the level of form and intention, however, this very cataloguing of despair about his own authentic goodness is received by the reader as a gift of authentic goodness: we feel the love in the fact of his art, and we love him for it.

—p.39 by Jonathan Franzen 1 year, 7 months ago
40

[...] If love is nevertheless excluded from his work, it's because he never quite felt that he deserved to receive it. He was a lifelong prisoner on the island of himself. What looked like gentle contours from a distance were in fact sheer cliffs. Sometimes only a little of him was crazy, sometimes nearly all of him, but, as an adult, he was never entirely not crazy. What he'd seen of his id while trying to escape his island prison by way of drugs and alcohol, only to find himself even more imprisoned by addiction, seems never to have ceased to be corrosive of his belief in his lovability. Even after he got clean, even decades after his late-adolescent suicide attempt, even after his slow and heroic construction of a life for himself, he felt undeserving. And this feeling was intertwined, ultimately to the point of indistinguishability, with the thought of suicide, which was the one sure way out of his imprisonment; surer than addiction, surer than fiction, and surer, finally, than love.

We who were not so pathologically far out on the spectrum of self-involvement, we dwellers of the visibile spectrum who could imagine how it felt to be beyond violet but were not ourselves beyond it, could see that David was wrong not to believe in his lovability and could imagine the pain of not believing in it. How easy and natural love is if you are well! And how gruesomely difficult--what a philosophically daunting contraption of self-interest and self-delusion love appears to be--if you are not! And yet one of the lessons of David's work (and, for me, of being his friend) is that the difference between well and not well is in more respects a difference of degree than of kind. [...]

—p.40 by Jonathan Franzen 1 year, 7 months ago

[...] If love is nevertheless excluded from his work, it's because he never quite felt that he deserved to receive it. He was a lifelong prisoner on the island of himself. What looked like gentle contours from a distance were in fact sheer cliffs. Sometimes only a little of him was crazy, sometimes nearly all of him, but, as an adult, he was never entirely not crazy. What he'd seen of his id while trying to escape his island prison by way of drugs and alcohol, only to find himself even more imprisoned by addiction, seems never to have ceased to be corrosive of his belief in his lovability. Even after he got clean, even decades after his late-adolescent suicide attempt, even after his slow and heroic construction of a life for himself, he felt undeserving. And this feeling was intertwined, ultimately to the point of indistinguishability, with the thought of suicide, which was the one sure way out of his imprisonment; surer than addiction, surer than fiction, and surer, finally, than love.

We who were not so pathologically far out on the spectrum of self-involvement, we dwellers of the visibile spectrum who could imagine how it felt to be beyond violet but were not ourselves beyond it, could see that David was wrong not to believe in his lovability and could imagine the pain of not believing in it. How easy and natural love is if you are well! And how gruesomely difficult--what a philosophically daunting contraption of self-interest and self-delusion love appears to be--if you are not! And yet one of the lessons of David's work (and, for me, of being his friend) is that the difference between well and not well is in more respects a difference of degree than of kind. [...]

—p.40 by Jonathan Franzen 1 year, 7 months ago

(noun) an intervening space

42

However continually he was suffering in his last summer, there was still plenty of time, in the interstices between his identically painful thoughts, to entertain the idea of suicide

—p.42 by Jonathan Franzen
notable
1 year, 7 months ago

However continually he was suffering in his last summer, there was still plenty of time, in the interstices between his identically painful thoughts, to entertain the idea of suicide

—p.42 by Jonathan Franzen
notable
1 year, 7 months ago
44

[...] He'd loved writing fiction, Infinite Jest in particular, and he'd been very explicit, in our many discussions of the purpose of novels, about his belief that fiction is a solution, the best solution, to the problem of existential solitude. Fiction was his way off the island, and as long as it was working for him--as long as he'd been able to pour his love and passion into preparing his lonely dispatches, and as long as these dispatches were coming as urgent and fresh and honest news to the mainland--he'd achieved a measure of happiness and hope for himself. When his hope for fiction died, after years of struggling with the new novel, there was no other way out but death. [...]

quitting Nardil being spurred by a bunch of different things: potential food poisoning, wanting control, feeling blocked in his work

—p.44 by Jonathan Franzen 1 year, 7 months ago

[...] He'd loved writing fiction, Infinite Jest in particular, and he'd been very explicit, in our many discussions of the purpose of novels, about his belief that fiction is a solution, the best solution, to the problem of existential solitude. Fiction was his way off the island, and as long as it was working for him--as long as he'd been able to pour his love and passion into preparing his lonely dispatches, and as long as these dispatches were coming as urgent and fresh and honest news to the mainland--he'd achieved a measure of happiness and hope for himself. When his hope for fiction died, after years of struggling with the new novel, there was no other way out but death. [...]

quitting Nardil being spurred by a bunch of different things: potential food poisoning, wanting control, feeling blocked in his work

—p.44 by Jonathan Franzen 1 year, 7 months ago

the philosophical attempt to describe things in terms of their apparent intrinsic purpose, directive principle, or goal, irrespective of human use or opinion

45

if the phenomenology and the teleology of suicidality are the same as that of addiction, it seems fair to say that David died of boredom

—p.45 by Jonathan Franzen
notable
1 year, 7 months ago

if the phenomenology and the teleology of suicidality are the same as that of addiction, it seems fair to say that David died of boredom

—p.45 by Jonathan Franzen
notable
1 year, 7 months ago

causing vertigo, especially by being extremely high or steep

46

The vertiginous point where I turned back in the rain

—p.46 by Jonathan Franzen
notable
1 year, 7 months ago

The vertiginous point where I turned back in the rain

—p.46 by Jonathan Franzen
notable
1 year, 7 months ago
47

[...] telling myself that it was okay that I'd failed in my attempt to see the rayadito in what would surely be my only visit to the island--that it was better this way, that it was time to accept finitude and incompleteness and leave certain birds forever unseen, that the ability to accept this was the gift I'd been given and my beloved dead friend had not.

—p.47 by Jonathan Franzen 1 year, 7 months ago

[...] telling myself that it was okay that I'd failed in my attempt to see the rayadito in what would surely be my only visit to the island--that it was better this way, that it was time to accept finitude and incompleteness and leave certain birds forever unseen, that the ability to accept this was the gift I'd been given and my beloved dead friend had not.

—p.47 by Jonathan Franzen 1 year, 7 months ago