Sunday Salon 4-1-12

Happy Sunday, all! Just to make it clear from the start, I know what day it is, but this edition of the Salon won’t include any April Fools jokes or pranks (the only April Fool to be found here is your humble author). It was a pretty good week in terms of ideas, but far from my most productive in terms of actual writing. I have just about finished my review of Haruki Murakami’s Underground, which should be appearing tomorrow, a mere four months after I actually finished the book!

Wandering at random online, I found myself getting interested in the famous Scrovegni (or Arena) Chapel in Padua, the interior of which is covered with fresco paintings by Giotto. Among the amazing paintings in the Chapel is one that has often been singled out as a masterwork and which particularly moved me, The Lamentation. With Easter Sunday coming up, I thought it would be interesting (so I hope, anyway) to do a fairly detailed look at this painting and why it has the effect it does on so many viewers. That should be coming later this week.

Scoping out future reading, I’m about halfway through A Brief History of Ireland by Paul F. State, which, despite the parade of unfamiliar names, places and events, has been very interesting. Once that’s done, I think I’ll be returning briefly to the subject of Van Gogh (on which I spent a few months while reading and writing about Naifeh and Smith’s Van Gogh: The Life), with Martin Gayford’s The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Provence. After that, my stack of Japanese novels is calling again, especially Shusaku Endo’s Silence (the story of which, the persecution of Christians in sixteenth and early seventeenth century Japan, is already familiar to me through Masahiro Shinoda’s excellent film of the novel), and others by Murakami, Yasunari Kawabata, Natsume Soseki, and Jun’ichiro Tanizaki.

That’s enough ambition for one Sunday!

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