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).

project/secret-life

Eric Bennett, Annie Dillard, Jennifer Egan, Francesco Pacifico

All I had were words, but I had no warmth to infuse them with. I felt I had nowhere else to go but satire. Satire shares something with empathy, but it’s a contorted relationship. Maybe they’re stepsiblings. They’re forced to live together, but satire spends all its time bullying empathy. The first version of Class had a big satire problem. Since all I felt was sadness and loneliness, and guilt about the pleasures of traveling and partying, and also about the way literature had provided a way away from my family and that specific church across that specific street, I retreated to my French literature gods—Proust, Maupassant, Zola, Balzac, Flaubert—and chose to make fun of society. Fucking society! I crushed those characters and their mannerisms. I didn’t know what else I could do.

—p.111 American Dream (105) by Francesco Pacifico 3 years, 2 months ago

People at Iowa love to love Prairie Lights, the local independent bookstore. In Prairie Lights I found myself overwhelmed by the literature of the senses and the literature of the quirky sensing voice. I wanted heavy books from a bunch of different disciplines; on hermeneutics, on monetary policy, on string theory, on psychoanalysis, on the Gospels, on the strange war between analytic and continental philosophers, on sexual pathology. I was twenty-three. I knew I wanted to write a novel of ideas, a novel of systems, but one also with characters, and also heart—a novel comprising everything, not just how icicles broken from church eaves on winter afternoons taste of asphalt (but that, too). James Wood did not yet loom over everything, but I wanted to make James Wood barf. At Prairie Lights, I would have felt much better buying the work of Nathan Englander (alum) if it had been next to that of Friedrich Engels. I felt there how I feel in bars that serve only wine and beer.

—p.57 The Pyramid Scheme (51) by Eric Bennett 2 years, 4 months ago

When I was at Iowa, Frank Conroy, Engle’s longest-running successor, did not name the acceptable categories. Instead, he shot down projects by shooting down their influences. He loathed Barth, Pynchon, Gaddis, Barthelme. He had a thing against J. D. Salinger that was hard to explain. To go anywhere near Melville or Nabokov was to ingest the fatal microbes of the obnoxious. Of David Foster Wallace he growled, with a wave of his hand, “He has his thing that he does.”

Conroy hated what he called “cute stuff,” unless it worked, but it tended never to work. Trying to get cute stuff to work before a sneering audience is like trying to get an erection to work before a sneering audience. Conroy’s arsenal of pejoratives was his one indulgence in lavish style. “Cockamamie,” he’d snarl. “Poppycock.” Or “bunk,” “bunkum,” “balderdash.” He could deliver these quaint execrations in tones that made H. L. Mencken sound like Regis Philbin.

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—p.63 The Pyramid Scheme (51) by Eric Bennett 2 years, 4 months ago

What! How can so many thoughts and observations possibly have elapsed in so brief a period? An impressionist will answer along the lines of “The distortions inherent in our perception of time,” but to us counters, time is a bore— and not just because too much has been said and written about it. Time is irrelevant to math. [...]

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—p.86 by Jennifer Egan 10 months ago

AFTER THEY MARRIED SHE learned to feel their skin as double-sided. They felt a pause. Theirs was too much feeling to push through the crack that led down to the dim world of time and stuff. That world was gone. They held themselves alert only in those few million cells where they touched. She learned from those cells his awareness and his courtesy. Love so sprang at her, she honestly thought no one had ever looked into it. Where was it in literature? Someone would have written something. She must not have recognized it. Time to read everything again.

cute

—p.31 by Annie Dillard 2 months, 1 week ago