What are we reading? What are you reading? Reading reading.
I’m reading Evelyn Waugh’s Vile Bodies & Carina Finn’s Invisible Reveille. Waugh’s 1930 novel is a bratty, salty & saucy take on class & gender & “Bright Young People”; it begins on a boat and moves onto land full of grand houses & boring/decadent parties. Finn’s book of poems is a sharp move away from her first collection, darker and more urgent and dedicated to the revolution.
I’m reading Lee Miller: A Life by Carolyn Burke. After loving Alexis Coe’s biographical essays on Lee Miller at The Toast this summer I really wanted to spend some sustained time with Miller as a subject. I picked up the book on a trip to Portland — that was really just a trip to Powell’s — where I read Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things To Me and Jana Leo’s Rape New York in the entirety, in the middle of the night, in a hotel room where I had to cross the hall to use the bathroom. I would highly recommend both books, but I would just as fervently discourage somebody from reading them under that circumstance. I was bobbing along to Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend on the plane ride and cannot wait to get back to it. When I traveled to the west coast last year, I read Marquez’s 100 Years of Solitude on the plane ride, and the quality of reading Ferrante really recalled that experience.
Michael J Seidlinger:
Been reading the nutrition facts on the back of a bag of potato chips.
I’m reading Ray Bradbury, Stories Vol 2, and Michael J Seidlinger’s The Fun We’ve Had. The Bradbury is my bedside bible, in a sense. I keep coming back to stories, or magically finding ones I missed. Like ‘Colonel Stonesteel’s Genuine Home Made Truly Egyptian Mummy.’ What a story. A writers’ story—to remind us that generosity should be our first impulse, from which everything else will follow. Michael’s high-concept indie-weirdness makes a nice contrast to Bradbury’s stark but ecstatic prose and character-driven narrative. The Fun We’ve Had takes irony and stretches it so tautly it sings, kind of like Atwood: ‘…he saw, for once, what had already been seen, and because it felt so familiar, there was nothing else to do but blame her. She would be waiting to reciprocate.’ I keep having to reach for my glass of water, although I’m thinking that, in the spirit of Michael’s work ethic I should be reaching for the whisky instead.
What’s Important is Feeling by Adam Wilson. He seems like a troubled young man.
Michael T. Fournier’s newest novel Swing State
I’m grinning because it’s hard to read Ed Ochester’s poetry without grinning. The love child of Jackie Gleason and Frank O’Hara has a new book from Autumn House which has been following me around called Sugar Run Road. Like Robert Lowell lifted confessional poetry from his best students Plath, Snodgrass, and Sexton, Ochester takes a little something from the current trend of poetry being composed of simple, unadorned conversation with interesting angles and impressions rather than images. Since the ancient poet also directs the Pitt Poetry Series, it has me thinking we new alternative poets may have a shot at lasting.
Here is the book I am reading, The Nervous Breakdown‘s monthly book club selection. It took me a few pages to get into this, but I’m really hooked now (currently at page 150).
Currently I’m reading (and writing) material about humanity’s first landing on a comet, which will happen on November 12th! Maybe the water on Earth came from comets. And maybe the macromolecules that developed into life did too. I want to read (but haven’t bought it yet) Sovjetistan by Erika Fatland, about a writer’s journey through the former Soviet states of Central-Asia. Has lots of interviews and little known facts about these countries.
Midwinter Day by Bernadette Mayer
I’m reading Kindred by Octavia Butler, which is really good. But it’s the first sci-fi’ier thing I’ve read in a while and I just can’t get over how quickly the protagonist adjusts to the fact that she keeps randomly time-traveling back to 1815. But maybe psychological realism and time travel just cannot coexist?
The reissue of Bernadette Mayer’s Sonnets, over and over and over. Maybe the best book of poetry ever? Maybe. Also, Rashi and ibn Ezra’s commentaries on Exodus, and: oh man, medieval Jews do not pull any punches when duking it out over Torah semiotics. (Seriously you could probably spend a solid month reading just about the dispute over whether the burning bush was actually on fire and the implications of whether it was or not.)
Clifton Gachagua, MADMAN AT KILIFI (University of Nebraska Press, 2014), winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. If it is going to rage, then let the “controversy” over lyric subjectivity and avant aesthetics and privilege and historically disenfranchised peoples rage everywhere, all the time, as a matter of fact. “(My voice is a still life in itself, a shroud green and ultramarine deep blue, / a bowl of apples and tangerines on a table.)” “Mountain.”
I am reading Nova by Samuel R. Delany for Entropy book club and so will save my comments for that– I recently finished Eula Biss’s On Immunity: An Inoculation, which I found to be an incisive inquiry into the politics and communitarian aspects of vaccination. I still haven’t gotten my flu shot, sorry everyone :/
I’m still working on the same book…not much time for reading lately…but I did recently receive Andrew Plotkin’s Hadean Lands, alchemical interactive fiction, and I’ll be working on that when I can set aside some time for it. Also, I’m reading (and will have a review shortly) Super Mario Bros. 2 from Boss Fight Books.
I’m reading Rilke’s Book of Hours (trans. Deutsch) and his Duino Elegies (trans. Kinnell and Liebmann) simultaneously. I’ve somehow avoided thoroughly reading Rilke until now and all of a sudden need to read everything.
Nova by Samuel R Delany for the discussion, where I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say. Just finished reading Bald New World by Peter Tieryas Liu, which was so much fun. Lots of twists and turns and surprises. It sort of feels like it was written during a different generation but intended for this one.
1. The Box Man by Kobo Abe. It’s funny when folks ask me if I still read for pleasure with all the reviewing I do. For me, all reading is for pleasure. I started this one on Saturday morning because I was craving something different and I’ve been craving Japanese fiction since finishing Fuminori Nakamura’s Last Winter, We Parted.
2. Mira Corpora by Jeff Jackson. I know I’m really late to this party, but what matters is that I finally got here. This is superb. Jackson is a great storyteller, and this one offers a strange combination of grittiness and poetry that I’m really digging.
3. Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish. I’m reviewing this for Electric Literature, so I’m reading it carefully. It’s one of the best explorations of Otherness in this country that I’ve read in a very, very long time.
4. I Called Him Necktie by Milena Michiko Flašar. I’ve been celebrating the plethora of outstanding fiction by female authors for months now, and this one is on the list of titles I’m recommending (hey, maybe Alex publishes my review of it on Entropy!). Anyone who has even a remote interest in the life of hikikomoris needs to check this one out.
5. City Kaiju by Marc Rapacz. Music, death, and all the kaiju you could ever want. This is wild. Do check it out.
6. Our Love Will Go the Way of the Salmon by Cameron Pierce. I’ve been a fan of Pierce’s work for a long time, and this is his best collection yet. He took the best bizarro has to offer and replaced everything else with the best literary fiction has to offer. Simply great writing and very unique narratives that stick with you.
7. 77 Dream Songs by John Berryman. This is the first in what I hope will be a long and intense Berryman binge. I’ll report when I’m done. Also, I’m blasting Nick Cave any time I sit down with his poetry.
8. A History of New York in 101 Objects by Sam Roberts. This is a great addition to the list of nonfiction books that help me maintain my reputation as an encyclopedia of useless knowledge. Roberts has written about NYC for the New York Times for a few decades, and this is something like an ode to the city’s history. Entertaining stuff.
Dennis James Sweeney:
I’m finally at the end of an epic two weeks inside Robert Seydel’s A Picture Is Always a Book, which I’ll be reviewing soon for Entropy, so I shall say nothing more. Up next are two books by Sawako Nakayasu: Texture Notes, which she wrote, and For the Fighting Spirit of the Walnut, by Takashi Hiraide, which she translated. Both are from the Interlibrary Loan system, which is why they have those ugly white stickers on them, and why I had to get spooky and cover them up with my hair.
i stopped reading for quote pleasure a while ago and then found my self even more pleased by the texts i chose to read. heriberto yépez’s The Empire of Neomemory, translated by jen hofer, christian nagler & brian whitener, is the one i’m reading now. i wouldn’t call it one thing nor would i call it not another. this passage from a small section entitled Polychrony of the Text: “a text speaks various languages. various languages simultaneously. hermeneutics supposes that each text has a double. and structuralist semiotics treats the text as composed of parts. the text, in truth, as is well known, is various. but it is not a text composed of others’ parts (only). this has been the error of the ideology that has guided the post-modern school of thought. the text is various texts and the text we read is only the apparent text we perceive, the text-apparent is constructed in the reader’s perception through the superimposition of only some of its texts. the page is not a palimpsest, as has been said, but rather a tower-of-texts.” i’ve finished the first section so far. empire wants to b everywhere.