The Fall - New Facts Emerge: fell asleep to it last night and gave it a full listen this evening. I'll need to hear more but I like it -- as I liked Sub-Lingual Tablet until I didn't. Yeah, the first few tracks are repetitive and straightforward (it crossed my mind that "Fol De Rol" is almost nu-metal -- not really, though) but they point to the band's new, stripped-down rawk-and-roll sound. Didn't like "Couple vs. Jobless Mid 30's" at all but it seems the obvious candidate to come to like, once I sort out the song. The second half is pretty good, probably better than the first, but I've heard it only once so far: too little to say anything. "Nine Out Of Ten" is a great song, I thought. Every lazy hack who writes an overview of the Fall say that "Repetition" is their mission statement (a sentiment somewhere between "bull" and "shit"): here they can point to this song. Great hypnotic leadout. (The texture of the repeated bit reminds me of Suicide's "23 Minutes Over Brussels", where they're chased off stage and Martin Rev's synths are stuck on a loop playing over and over).
Chet Baker - Chet: Really good album. I didn't know most of these tracks and had to listen to it a few times for the tunes to sink in. The album falls neatly into three parts of three tracks each. At first I liked the first and third parts and didn't care for the second but that was quickly rectified. It's more subtle than the rest of the album. As it turns out I have other versions of "If You Could See Me Now" and "September Song" in this very HAUL!
Wes Montgomery - Smokin' at the Half Note: #### yeah.
Roland Kirk - Kirk's Work: I don't mind Jack McDuff's organ but he's billed rightly as co-leader and his share of the load can be a bit much. I liked this though I don't remember much about it.
Art Tatum - Capitol Sessions, Vol. 1: I like it. Took some getting used to and the accompanied tracks aren't much (the humming from the bassist can be overwhelming); the solo tracks are really good. I have to get used to the tunes -- I wish there were some album with basic versions of standards so you could get to know them without a piecemeal absorption from different versions of them, some of which stretch them quite a bit -- and once I do that I'll probably like this even more. It's definitely tuneful on its own.
Art Tatum - Capitol Sessions, Vol. 2
Lester Young - Small Groups 1949-1951
Charles Dickens - Oliver Twist: Billdude was wrong about Nostromo being difficult from age (really it's not); it's hard to think that about the Conrad and not think that about this. I must have been much more literate in high school or I just ignored the difficulties (the notes are few and not very helpful): there are passages opaque from the dated use of language, passages opaque from the language itself. Still, while it can be hard following the story sometimes, it's a good read. I remembered very little about it from my first (over-decade-old) read.
W. Somerset Maughan - The Razor's Edge: Shiftless loser goes to India and becomes enlightened and finds happiness; everyone else in his circle, materialists, end up dead or miserable. The end. I wouldn't spend too much time on this novel but it's breezily-written, entertaining, and can be read in a weekend.
Joseph Conrad - Nostromo: On the one hand Matt was right about this book: it never picks up; still I have to credit Joe for helping me stick to it. I gave it to the end of book II to get better and it did, indeed, get better: right after I posted about this book Decoud and Nostromo take the silver from the harbor and it seemed to be moving in the right direction. As it turns out it really wasn't, but the rest of the work is at least interesting -- things happen; they just happen off-screen -- though it ends very abruptly. I can see that Conrad is quite the word-painter.
Fabulae Syrae: Finished it. It's mostly easy but the last chapter incorporates poetry and I suck at poetry so I basically left it alone. I'm at the point where I can read hexameter pretty fluently metrically; it's just that I can read it either for meaning or for meter and not both. Elegiac couplets -- the second lines, in particular -- are a struggle. Since I avoided development in poetry here where it's easy I must be uninterested in getting better. Once I get around to the Aeneid I probably will.
Hans Řrberg - Roma Aeterna: Three chapters into this and while it's harder than the last chapters of the Familia Romana it's not an unreasonable jump. (I have pretty extensive reading experience noe so I have a leg up on the student who started this book immediately after the first one). However the second chapter, and the next several, are prose adaptations of episodes from the Aeneid with a few lines of the original poem thrown in here and there, and the book goes on to adapted Livy. You're not turned loose on unadapted Latin for some time.
Plato - Apology: In every classical work thus far it's in the main pretty smooth sailing until you come across a confidence-shaking hard passage. That's basically the idea here. I've been getting better at it; I haven't needed the sentence diagrams for those half-page-long complicated sentences with a million subordinate clauses (experience with Cicero probably inured me to them) and on several occasions I've worked out entire sections and paragraphs without error, taking a few leaps of faith on the way. Obviously Plato's eloquence is lost on me and I'm nowhere near fluent except maybe for in the easiest parts.