A Sanctuary of Sounds

The librarian John Griogair Bell reviews A Sanctuary of Sounds by Andreas Burckhardt.

Andreas Burckhardt A Sanctuary of Sounds

This high-concept experiment in cut-up literary soundscape, unfortunately, rang hollow and flat for me. The seemingly automatic writing, stream of consciousness style seemed very raw and unedited, which, while apparently intended, just seemed sloppy. I’m afraid this was annoying written noise, not the kind of noise worth a listen. I did finish it though, so I feel like I at least accomplished something.

Aphorisms to the Individual

The librarian John Griogair Bell reviews Aphorisms to the Individual: Notes for my Sons by Tom Taylor.

Tom Taylor Aphorisms to the Individual

I’m not sure what I expected. Probably something that celebrated the creative individual as a force for human advancement and good. This wasn’t that.

About 1/10th of the way into the book, I started to have an allergic reaction. Two tenths of the way, I’ve given up. I’m filing this book under “did not finish” and am glad for it. I haven’t had such an adverse reaction to finishing something since I tried to read the Bible, and that’s definitely ironic.

In general, I am not only sympathetic to the idea that everything is awful, but I’m inclined to agree. However reading this book is like finding a stack of note cards with painfully pedestrian complaints about religion, politics and humanity which somehow quickly fly right past anything interesting smack dab into the la-la land of Randroid rantoids.

For the author, religion is awful. In response to this, the author creates an elect of mythologized, denatured, inhuman, (dare I point out) classically heroic semi-divine “individuals”. For the author, politics is awful. In response to this, the author proposes that the elect “individuals” fight against the “herd” of humanity, and the not-good individuals who are running things from within the herd, that is holding them down by joining together in that glorious political revolution to save the United States from the apparatus that unites and defines the states. For the author, humanity is awful. In response to this, the author believes that individual humans somehow separate themselves from any relation, responsibility, or reciprocity to the rest of humanity are the answer to the ills of humanity.

This book is a disjointed and awkward collection of specious, uncogent, incoherent, and poorly crafted thoughts about the nature of individual in relationship to humanity. Don’t bother. Instead, try reading Liber Oz together with the Notebooks of Lazarus Long, and be glad in your heart for the existence of individuals who manage to be in relationship with each other, in spite of themselves, that make up humanity, in spite of itself.