August 2020: Read, Viewed

August was a hot month in which we stayed indoors frequently until it was cooler in the evening. I read in bed before sleeping, as is my wont.
Although this limitation of activity would seem to benefit consumption, insofar as the latter depends upon remaining stationary, I think I read and watched less.
We went nowhere, until the last weekend when Lucian and I drove down to Virginia to visit his Opa (my dad) and Nana. That was the first time I’ve left the state since before the pandemic—the modern era, if you will—began. Lucian had traveled with his mother to South Carolina back in the month of July.

G. W. F. Hegel a philosopher to read and not understand, especially during August
Have you read Hegel on Frozen 2? Sexy stuff. Very sexy.

Frozen 2 (2018)
Hegel, 5 pp.
Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday, 20 pp.: Started reading this in July, as a lark. It’s enjoyable enough, but I am afraid will be locked away in the file “Books I’d Heard of and Not Read and Maybe for Good Reason.”

Hegel, 10 pp.

Tolstoy, 25 pp.: Prince Nikolai Andreich Bolkonsky has died and Marya is both relieved and grief stricken.

G.K. Chesterton—a good read during August
G.K. Chesterton: Good head of hair and a healthy appetite

Chesterton, 15 pp.

Chesterton, 20 pp.: Yet another inner circle member is revealed to be a member of the police.

NYRB: Michael Pollan on food chain apocalypse: Try eating meat again after this, you sadist. [confession: I’ve eaten meat since reading this and not had trouble sleeping at night—but I’m hardly a moral exemplar]

Michael Pollan
Photo of Michael Pollan by Christopher Michel

Tolstoy, 10 pp. Rostov meets and saves Marya.

Tolstoy, 35 pp.
Baldwin, Go Tell It On the Mountain, 20 pp.: Began in July. A great novel, sad to finish.

Great British Bake Off

Great British Bake Off, 3.6: Have seen at least five seasons now starting with the most recent and going back to older seasons. Not sure why I’ve not admitted this before.
Baldwin, 20 pp.
Tolstoy, 10 pp.

GBBO, 3.7
NYRB on predatory real estate industry, DogEater, and the mystery d’Elix

Much like the consumption of the 19th century—namely, consuming people—viciously.
Image by Chris Walker, first published in Becky Yerak’s article in the Chicago Tribune

GBBO, 3.8
Baldwin, 35 pp.

GBBO, 3.10
Finished Baldwin

Finished Chesterton

My Life As a Dog (1985): Searching through movies on the Criterion Collection that I can watch along with the progeny. This one is tender and moving. [Talk about the dog days of August … sorry]

Promotional image for the film My Life As A Dog, watched during August
As if being a kid wasn’t hard enough … My Life as a Dog (1985)

Herrnsdorf, Sand, 30 pp.: To be read.

GBBO, 1.1

GBBO, 1.2

Tolstoy, 10 pp.
Heidegger, “The Origin of the Work of Art,” 10 pp.


GBBO, 1.3
Tankers (2018): My son Lucian (“progeny”) is fascinated by the vehicles of the second World War and so in a moment of exhaustion we decided to watch this as his mother was out. It being a Russian movie all about a tank crew of a KV on the Eastern Front. As a stroke of luck it turned out to be PG (although I had no foreknowledge of it being, but was, as I indicated before, merely exhausted with having to maintain my son’s attention). Horrible title but very watchable.
Bell, 10 pp.

The Incredibles 2 (2018): Had watched bits and pieces of this movie at other times. I just spent the entire time thinking of Craig T. Nelson playing the role of the father, and of Holly Hunter, and of Catherine Keener, and of Samuel Jackson. Craig T. Nelson of Coach (1989-97 [HTF did this show last eight years?!]) fame.

Craig T. Nelson
Now you know who I’m talking about?

GBBO, 3.9
NYRB on Max Weber

GBBO, 2.5
Bell, 20 pp.
Hegel, 5 pp.
The Wolf’s Call (2019): When thou bored at night ist, thou shalt weak films on Netflix consume.

GBBO, 2.6
NYRB on John Bolton (fucking asshole): It’s gratifying and I suppose disappointing to know that his book reveals the same confused person lacking self-regard and convinced of the truth of his own opinions.
NYRB on disinformation, on Bojack Horseman, and on the ICC

Bojack Horseman
Need I give this show a try? Bojack Horseman

Bell, The First Total War, 15 pp.
GBBO, 2.7

Heidegger, 10 pp.

Sink the Bismarck (1960), last hour: Until I looked at the Wikipedia article, I’d assumed this had been made in the 1940s because it was in black and white, but in fact it was made in 1960 … apparently the portrayal of German Admiral Günther Lütjens was historically inaccurate (not a bloodthirsty maniacal Nazi).
Heidegger, 10 pp.

Tolstoy, 25 pp.

Heidegger, 10 pp.
Ben-Hur (1959), 20 minutes: Pitiful, I know, that this is the most I’ve seen of this movie. And in truth I’d only seen it because it was on at my father’s house. Had we not been there, I’m sure I would not have watched it. I’ve seen Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes (1968) and Soylent Green (1973), do I really need to see him in this?
Alternatively, I do very much care for The Best Years of Our Lives (1959), also by William Wyler.

Poster from the film Casino Royale (2006)

Casino Royale (2006): Is there any argument that this not is the best Bond film? It really has everything that the original Bond films have, including a little bit of camp, albeit not too much, but so much more (a Bond with a psyche). My favorite line is the one where he’s just lost all of his money and he asks the barman for a martini, who in turn asks if it should be shaken or stirred, and Bond says, “Do I look like I give a fuck?”
Had this been a genuine homage to the original series, this moment would have been an opportunity for Bond to say, “Shaken, not stirred,” which is his trademark request for preparation. Instead, the new Bond film responds to the history of Bond films with more pique. Yet an evenhanded response, nonetheless.

What have I read since August? Funny you should ask.