Last week I finished last Coupland´s. No surprises here. The narrative experiments with a book within a book and the whole ouvre is a diary written by the main character all-suffering-lost-my-son Roger that ended up in a Staple and his never direcly speaking-to colleague a goth girl named Bethany. Doug makes Roger´s diary the plot epicenter by letting Bethany and others (her mom, others from Staples) getting to find it and starting to write stuff.

Bethany and Roger basically discuss the lives of losers (as they use to say in America) through short entries in this diary. In the meantime Roger keeps writing Glove Pond (a glamorous novel with witty people from the last century based on him and people in Staples). Glove Pond refers to Gum Thief itself (in a sort of recursive way) because the young writer that comes to visit the older one is also writing a novel taking place in Staples, the guy has a slight drinking problem just like Roger. Subtle geekish Coupland: creating strange loops.

The book is fun, but I think I am growing a little tired of pop-geek couplandish structure. But in a way, if books were restaurants, I keep reading him because I was once a very satisfied customer; the meal is just now not so much a novelty anymore.


from Seth Godin new book:

“A bootstrapper is determined to build a business that pays for itself every day. (…) it´s easiest to define her by what she is not: a money-raising bureaucrat who specializes in using other people´s money to take big risks in growing a business.”

 Yeah! rock it!

A MUST read for anybody that wants to leave the dull public job or the yellow-grey corporate cublicle and go start-up.

Intelligent and lazy

May 12, 2007

From the book Living The 80/20 Way: Work Less, Worry Less, Succeed More, Enjoy More by Richard Koch

German military chief General von Manstein said:
“There are only four types of officers.

First, there are the lazy, stupid ones. Leave them alone, they do no harm.

Second, there are the hard-working intelligent ones. They make excellent staff officers, ensuring
that every detail is properly considered.

Third, there are the hard-working, stupid ones. These people are a menace, and must be fired at
once. They create irrelevant work for everybody.

Finally, there are the intelligent lazy ones. They are suited for the highest office.”

Everything´s gone green

January 31, 2007

So my first posting in 2007. It´s been ages since I wrote here. And as my PhD deadline approaches, posting may become even more seldom. Well let´s talk about good things.

One of my favourite North American authors is Douglas Coupland. I just found a link for one of his rare appearances on TV (at least they´re rare for me) and the trailer of his first ever movie called Everything´s gone green. I like him because he is just a few years older than me and he seemed to be exposed to lots of stuff that I sort of did too. And more impotantly he writes about that, which I don´t. There is this piece in his interview where he apparently does a performance. Dressed on a grey suit, he goes to the center of a blank scenario and picks out of his pocekt a black rag shaped as a circle. He places the rag on the floor and expects something to happen. I think someone old enough might remember the cartoon where bugs bunny did just like that. The rabbit disappeared through that rag, which turned into a hole.

Now not long ago I found out two small coincidences that I think it might be worth mentioning here. I started readingPaul Auster´s “New York Trilogy” and I found that the main character of the first story whose name is Quinn calls himself “Paul Auster” when he answers the phone a couple of times and someone insists to speak to some Paul Auster. So I thought, who else featured himself in his own book? Coupland did. In his latest novel he appears as Coupland the author. Just like the Quinn character is also a mistery novel writer in “New York Trilogy”. And the second small thing I found out: Paul Auster´s first story title is “City of Glass”, which again strikes me as being a non-fiction book by Douglas. So I suspect he is a big fan…

Coupland’s interview is here.

And Everything´s gone green trailer is here.

Coetzee Pearl

October 16, 2006

From the Book “Slow man” by J.M. Coetzee

´And then?´

´After that? After Sunday? I am not sure there will be any more, after Sunday. Sunday may well mark the last of your dealings with the Jokics, Mrs Jokic included. Of Mrs Jokic nothing alas but memories will reamin to you. Of her supple calves. Of the splendid line of her bust. Of her charming malapropisms. Fond memories, shaded with regret, which will fade with the passage of time, as memories tend to do. Time, the great healer.´

Frankfurt book fair is huge. I walked relentlessly for almost 6 hours and I could not cover all of it. I was overwhelmed with so much to see. Talk about overload. Tons of new titles in several languages. A especial pavilion about India, its languages and most famous writers. Books for kids, books for gourmets, for travellers, for scientists. The list goes on and on.

Unfortunately the book fair is (still) pretty much focused only on… you guessed, books. This is of course a book fair so it could not be different, but I was expecting maybe some brand new electronics related to the market as well. Like the Sony Reader I read about last week, which finally makes use of Electronic Ink technology by a start-up from former MIT researchers/PhD Students that has been around since 1997 (!). I was disappointed not to see anything like that in the fair. Truth is Sony has chosen the U.S. market only for product initial release, so I think I will have to wait for a while.

Apart from that, the truly disruptive technology wannabe company in the show was from the United States. They gave an impressive talk about their business model and how they are going to change the publishing business world wide (yeah, sure). No I did not buy that they are going to be the Google of publishing, but I am sure they can make money publishing unknown authors targeted to small niche markets, it is like the long tail stuff, a meme that has been around these days. But they are not the only ones around and they haven´t really developed anything remarkable (like E Ink technology for example).

So All in all, the fair was somewhat tiresome and without much interest for the big public. However I bet it is a real trade happening for all the publishing business people. Not my case.