spliced comma

a blog about books and their desire to be loved

David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas (2004)


While I don’t always follow it, I have a simple rule when choosing to read an unfamiliar novel. I will read an unfamiliar book if it has been independently recommended by two people. Like all rules, it has an arbitrary quality. Yet, I have to admit, by following this rule, I have had the good fortune of a long streak of good novels.* Read the rest of this entry »


Listen: Dramatization of Orwell’s 1984

BBC 4 has a radio dramatization of 1984 that is available online for the next year. Part One and Part Two, which has a link but will be available soon. – [via Open Culture]

Is It Bacon Day? Happy…Valentine’s Day!



Take the time to write a sweet letter to your beloved.

Out of Print Clothing

Anybody a fan of their apparel?

I wore out two of their shirts. One was a great Animal Farm t-shirt, and the other one was this:


Herbert Marcuse’s One-Dimensional Man


I have read One-Dimensional Man four or five times. My copy is now falling apart. The binding has come undone, the thin layer of plastic on the cover is peeled, and many of its pages have coffee stains.

One-Dimensional Man is certainly Herbert Marcuse’s most popular publication. The cover of my copy boasts of more than 300,000 copies sold, which makes it a huge bestseller in the academic world.

Many would recommend One-Dimensional Man because it provides the best introduction to the critical theory of Marcuse and the rest of the Frankfurt School. I agree, but with a slight amendment. I would recommend this book because it is an introduction that warrants many re-readings. It is incredible how ideas and even sentences of One-Dimensional Man can be clear for the novice yet stimulating for the reader that has returned to it.

One-Dimensional Man is the type of book that makes you wonder why other social philosophers fail to do the same. Many so-called “Introductions to…” can be frustrating because the essence of a philosophy is eviscerated by a type of writing that assumes the book is only good for providing an introduction. At the other end, books for so-called intermediates and experts tend to needlessly alienate everyone else when the complex language of text is superfluous to the meaning of the argument.

Bonus: I recently came across a video with the following description:

Partly figurative, partly abstract, Drux Flux is an animation film of fast-flowing images showing modern people crushed by industry.

Inspired by One-Dimensional Man by the philosopher Herbert Marcuse, the filmmaker deconstructs industrial scenes and their terrifying geometry to show the inhumanity of progress.

A good Sunday read: an excellent essay on J.M. Coetzee.

While in Barcelona…


We Need You Now More Than Ever, George Orwell


I am loving these new designs of David Pearson for the new editions of Orwell’s classic works. I also agree with Mark Frauenfelder of Boing Boing that the design for 1984 is particularly brilliant.


– [via Creative Review]

Woodie Guthrie’s New Year’s Resolutions in 1942

  1. Work more and better
  2. Work by a schedule
  3. Wash teeth if any
  4. Shave
  5. Take bath
  6. Eat good — fruit — vegetables — milk
  7. Drink very scant if any
  8. Write a song a day
  9. Wear clean clothes — look good
  10. Shine shoes
  11. Change socks
  12. Change bed cloths often
  13. Read lots good books
  14. Listen to radio a lot
  15. Learn people better
  16. Keep rancho clean
  17. Dont get lonesome
  18. Stay glad
  19. Keep hoping machine running
  20. Dream good
  21. Bank all extra money
  22. Save dough
  23. Have company but dont waste time
  24. Send Mary and kids money
  25. Play and sing good
  26. Dance better
  27. Help win war — beat fascism
  28. Love mama
  29. Love papa
  30. Love Pete
  31. Love everybody
  32. Make up your mind
  33. Wake up and fight

– [via Brain Pickings]

Samuel Delany keeps on truckin’

Here he is reading from his newest novel. I have not read it, but I am getting flashbacks to the science fiction course I took in undergrad. – [found via Boing Boing].