Video of the Day


Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

Live and Active Affiliates
This area does not yet contain any content.

Entries in martin amis (2)


In Which Martin Amis References Almost Everything

A Young Brit


Much anticipated and widely reviewed, The Pregnant Widow satisfied my desire for a weighty Martin Amis novel even if it did not entirely satisfy my desire for consistency. 

Keith, a young Brit summering in an Italian castle with several beautiful women, might be the least despicable of Amis's protagonists unless he is the most. Does one feel sorry for him, ashamed by him, or embarrassed for him? As for whether this one summer could truly impact the rest of his life in such a way: I am neutral on the point. In a novel, the central event is always the most important in the characters' lives because the characters don't have lives outside of the novel depicting that particular event.

The sheer amount of literary references struck me more than anything else. Here are the books read by the protagonist over the course of one summer:

Clarissa by Samuel Richardson (p 32)
Tom Jones by Henry Fielding (p 39)
Pamela by Samuel Richardson (p 43)
Shamela by Henry Fielding (p 43)

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (p 80)
Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne (p 81) [Closed after 15 pages]
Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen (p 108)
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (p 125)

Emma by Jane Austen (p 125)
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (p 135)
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (p 158)
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (p 197)

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (p 199)
Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens (p 202)
The Mill on the Floss by George Eliot (p 217)
Bleak House by Charles Dickens (p 253)
Pansies: Poems by D. H. Lawrence (p 278)

That's actually not as many books as I remember. I'm not including books read by other characters, and I'm not including some invented non-fiction books (such as Religions of the World) read by the author. I may have missed a few.

amis' room Books alluded to by the protagonist but not necessarily read that summer:

Dracula by Bram Stoker (p 161)
Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence (p 224)
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence (p 224)
The Odyssey by Homer (p 253)
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (p 253)
Middlemarch by George Eliot (p 268)
Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (p 268)

I'm not including books alluded to by other characters. I definitely have missed a few.

Most of all, I thought this novel did a better job of quoting relevant poetry than any other novel I've read. Unfortunately such quotes stopped after around page 100 and didn't pick up again until the end.

Sexual intercourse began
In 1963
(Which was rather late for me —
Between the end of the Chatterly ban
And the Beatles' first LP.

— Philip Larkin, "Annus Mirabilis"

Mind and Body run on
Different timetables:
Not until our morning
Visit here can we
Leave the dead concerns of
Yesterday behind us,
Face, with all our courage,
What is now to be.

— W. H. Auden, "The Geography of the House"

photo by tom craig

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell.

— William Shakespeare, Ariel's song from The Tempest

Action is transitory--a step, a blow.
The motion of a muscle--this way or that--
'Tis done, and in the after-vacancy
We wonder at ourselves like men betrayed:
Suffering is permanent, obscure and dark.
And shared the nature of infinity.

- William Wordsworth, "The White Doe of Rylstone"

Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guiltie of dust and sinne.
But quick-ey'd Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack'd anything.

A guest, I answer'd, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I, the unkinde, ungratefull? Ah, my deare,
I cannot look on thee.

— George Herbert, "Love"

Oh what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has withered from the lake,
And no birds sing.

I see a lily on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever-dew...

— John Keats, "La Belle Dame Sans Merci"

...where they work, and age, and put off men
By being unattractive, or too shy,
Or having morals...

— Philip Larkin, "Letter to a Friend about Girls"

O Rose, thou art sick!
The Invisible worm,
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of Crimson joy;
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

— William Blake, "The Sick Rose"

There is a willow grows aslant a brook . . . but long it could not be. Till that her garments, heavy with their drink, Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay To muddy death.

— William Shakespeare, Gertrude's speech from Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 7

What man has bent o'er his son's sleep, to brood
How that face shall watch his when cold it lies?
Or thought, as his own mother kissed his eyes,
Of what her kiss was when his father wooed?

— Dante Gabriel Rossetti, "The House of Life"

I think the above speaks for itself.

Jeff Goldberg is a contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in Manhattan. You can find his blog here.

digg delicious reddit stumble facebook twitter subscribe

"Feels So Real" - Rusko ft. Ben Westbeech (mp3)

"You're On My Mind Baby" - Rusko (mp3)

"Kumon Kumon" - Rusko (mp3)


In Which We Have The Page Turners for the Plebes

You can find Andrew Zornoza's summer reading list here.

Summer Reading


Summer is a time for reading. We used to have a game at our library (with useful prizes) for books completed. I am sure I bested everyone, but reading, like the acquisition of all knowledge is its own reward. To find that first explicit sex scene, to tell of Dumbledore's death, to make the round hole in your heart full with Robert Heinlein.

These days my friends tell me of what they are reading. I am always cringing! If you like to read, read it all. If you do it grudgingly, consign yourself to only the best. Stick with the classics — the real classics, not what gives Harold Bloom bloomies. Find something readable and rewarding and forget the rest. A real page turner.

Heinlein's most ragtag fun adventure. Great for engineering majors; lovers of robots and cats. It begins in the dark recesses of a bar, it ends someplace a lot more fun. The greatest revenge fantasy ever written, you will literally be cheering so loudly that they'll hear you in cold sleep. Why would you want to read anything better than this?

If you can't get the good Heinlein, settle for an inspired imitator. Awesome scale, moving feeling for the victims of interplanetary war. Here's Scalzi: build a real universe, with some of the vagaries of our own. Put everything on the line. Pack with bludgeoning sense of humor and moral responsibility. Enjoy on the beach or with cocktails.

Since girls don't usually like spaceships (I sympathize, they're so damned big), there's something for everyone. If you can't read this book in an afternoon, consider retiring to Florida.

John Irving's had his moments. Hell, he's had more than a few moments. Despite being a major dickhead, he can really write and his family histories are extremely engrossing. For tears and such there's Garp but Hotel New Hampshire is best for really weeping and has a million endings, each better than the last. It made it to the movies, but it could never really be a movie — it was too wild and wonderful.

There are lots of great multiple narrators novels (Joe Haldeman's Seasons, Faulkner's As I Lay Dying) but this is my favorite, American Psycho before there was an American Psycho. (Have you read American Psycho? It's brilliant.) Yet Bret Easton Ellis weeps his Lunar Park dream about being a fad and Amis just releases quality novel after quality novel. He's a very funny man.

His father had the more perverse sense of humor.

Morgan decided to write a fantasy novel. He'd never written one before. So he wrote a combination steampunk/Guy Gavriel Kay/Future Earth missile of a fantasy novel. It's a bit thick in places, but the mythology is just breathtaking and there's a sequel coming.

The greatest Canadian novelist ever, Kay's imaginativeness knows no bounds. If this guy was in a supermarket, he'd probably be high on acid and praying to the Budweiser display. This is the first book of a fantasy trilogy that makes The Lord of the Rings look like Spongebob Squarepants. That's not really a putdown but do I have your attention. Six Canadian college students get transported to Fionovar, first of all worlds. I love multi-world fantasy with sex and boners and Princes and insane mage battles. I could bathe in The Fionovar Tapestry, I really would.

If you're going to rip somebody off, go straight to the top. Ishiguro took Kafka's measure and turned out a long book that could be 50 pages for what it feels like. Deeply moving, strange and wonderful, it holds your attention like an exciting dream, and although I can't remember any sex in it, that's OK this time.

A collection of all his short stories with generous introductions for each, GRRM got a profile for his Game of Thrones series but he's also an extremely versatile genre-hopper with a devious mind for the unexpected.

His stand-alone novel with Lisa Tuttle is the perfect beach read. A spaceship lands in a ocean-dominated world. To get from island to island, they refashion the materials from the craft into wings handed down through families that allow passage around their strange but vibrant little world. One girl changes all that.


I couldn't put it better myself.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording. He tumbls here.

"Dismantle" - Collarbones (mp3)

"Weatherman" - Collarbones (mp3)

"Voltaire" - Collarbones (mp3)

Also, do not read Donna Tartt's The Little Friend. I warned you.

digg delicious reddit stumble facebook twitter subscribe