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This is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life by David Foster Wallace

MG Dear Barbie: Too Many Puppies by Golden Books

Stealing the Ambassador: A Novel by Sameer Parekh

Green Brain by Frank Herbert

The Visible World by Mark Slouka

Roadside Picnic by Arkady Strugatsky

The Fine Art of Chinese Cooking by Su Jan Lee

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Member: EnriqueFreeque

CollectionsFreequessential (454), On Books (10), Lit Crit (106), Short Stories (61), Poems (214), Plays (135), Psych (525), Scary (30), SF (731), Philosophy (371), Fantasy (23), Bios (303), History (225), Historical Fiction (210), Western (43), Nature (543), Religious (633), Mystery (157), Esoteric/Occult (242), Innovative (506), Kids (846), ARC (46), Omnibus (182), Anthology (380), Rotten Reads (28), Wishlist (13), Sound (641), Film (452), All collections (8,258)

Reviews187 reviews

Tagsbooks (3,723), fiction (2,568), novel (1,862), 20th century fiction (1,614), u.s. literature (1,570), non-fiction (1,121), cool cover (892), british lit (585), classic fiction (556), sound recording (451) — see all tags

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Recommendations28 recommendations

About meI used to follow the sacred teachings of Kûmãré.

Entre Nous

"I make no distinction between memory and imagination."
~ Raymond Federman, Return to Manure

"He told himself he was inching closer to the poem of no return."
~ Steve Erickson, Rubicon Beach

"You too must not count overmuch on your reality as you feel it today, since, like that of yesterday, it may prove to be an illusion tomorrow."
~ Luigi Pirandello, Six Characters in Search of an Author

"My life is for itself and not for a spectacle."
~ R.W. Emerson, Self-Reliance

"Her absence is like the sky spread over everything."
~ C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

About my library"I do not know which of us has written this page."
~ Jorge Luis Borges, Borges and I

"It's a floating opera, friend, fraught with curiosities, melodrama, spectacle, instruction, and entertainment, but it floats willy-nilly on the tide..."
~ John Barth, The Floating Opera

signed copies from my library
collections are incomplete; some more than others.

neglected books page, writers no one reads, bc archive, david brass, talkingcovers, lemuria books, books tell you why, ken lopez, antiqbook, the private library, double room, gingko press, gorey's vintage bcs, quill & brush, proteus gowanus, ellipsis press, doug's bunker of vintage horror pbs, book frog, small press dist, artcyclopedia, pictorial arts, jeff hirsch, ben grasso, l.w. currey, cinémoi, realitystudio, rimbaud, amer. short fiction, brickbat books, biblioklept, ubu web

Groups1001 Books to read before you die, And Other Stories, Antiquarian Books, ARC Junkies, Bestsellers over the Years, Biographies, Memoirs and Autobiographies, Books about Peru, Books in Books, Books on Books, Books on the Paranormalshow all groups

Favorite authorsAlex Austin, Robert Bingham, Paul Bowles, Joseph Brinson, John Brunner, Solla Carrock, C. P. Cavafy, Charles Dickens, Joan Didion, Steve Erickson, Raymond Federman, William Gaddis, William H. Gass, Frank Herbert, Hannah Holborn, John Hollander, A. M. Homes, Langston Hughes, Victor Hugo, Denis Johnson, Terri Brint Joseph, Wyndham Lewis, Yngwie Malmsteen, David Markson, Larry McCaffery, Cormac McCarthy, Joseph McElroy, Ted Mooney, Steven Moore, Tim O'Brien, Flannery O'Connor, Neil Peart, John Cowper Powys, Marcel Proust, Arthur Rimbaud, John W. Robinson, William Sansom, John Steinbeck, Terese Svoboda, The Smiths, Leo Tolstoy, William T. Vollmann, David Foster Wallace, Claire Vaye Watkins, Marguerite Young (Shared favorites)

VenuesFavorites | Visited

Favorite bookstoresA Castle of Books, Bart's Books, Book Alley, Century Books, Farenheit 451 Booksellers, Gatsby Books, Once Read Books, Seite Books, Skylight Books, The Book Frog, The Bookman, The Last Bookstore, Vroman's Bookstore, {open}


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Real nameEnrique Mas Freeque

LocationClaremont, CA

Account typepublic, lifetime

URLs /profile/EnriqueFreeque (profile)
/catalog/EnriqueFreeque (library)

Member sinceJan 19, 2007

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Truly, Infinite Jest
Ah! I just assumed they were brickenmortar. I ran across them searching for -- what else?-- Cabell books and then I happened to notice them on a British collector's list of sellers he liked, And then I noticed they were in Pasadena (not far from you, right? isnt that where Book Alley is?). Hence my message. But I have nothing in partick to point out abt them...
The shop will be open Saturday but unfortunately Denice and I will not be here, we're going up to San Francisco to table at their Zinefest. Her mother opens up the shop so you would be welcome to stop by, but we won't be back until Tuesday.
Arroyo Seco Books?
I actually considered you when I picked that Sorrentino up, we don't have many others who pick up those lesser known American classics from Dalkey like the D. Keith Mano you got last time.
Hi Brent,

It's been awhile...

Well it happened.

Got an e-mail from my agent yesterday informing me that

The Permanent Press, a small but well-respected publisher whose books get reviewed everywhere, has picked up Nakamura Reality. It will come out in January/February 2016.

That's only six years and 3,000 pages later. But I'm very happy.

You helped enormously. Thanks, friend.

Here ya go, a few more, Freaky!


Denis Johnson's first published book. Of poetry. Signed. 1969! Wow, he was 20 years old! I didn't realize he was that old. Man, I wish I could afford that! And the D. A. Levy too. Good stuff!

I had to look up what that was. I'm so out of touch. I'm so sorry. I'm not a true metalface anymore. :|

Significant other is training to do special education, currently practicing with elementary students falling behind in reading. I've been going NUTS reading kidlit old and new with her at the library and bookstore I obsessively do all my work from for the past few months. JUST LOVE THE STUFF, BRO.

I miss you, Enrique. :( I miss you.
Anything you say, you book devil, you.
Thank you so, so much! I just got the signed McCarry--you are an angel!

Ooooh, a signed McCarry. Can't say that I have any of those...

Happy 4th to you, as well!
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They are wearing matching sweaters? Hmm.
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this is such a great pic. :)
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Megs doesn't think much of your driving, dude!
Thanks so much for the comments about my review of the Cheryl Strayed memoir. It left me feeling like a spent dishrag. She easily conveyed the oppressive conditions during her hike so I'm fairly impressed by your trek on the PCT. Thanks also for the recommendation for The Pacific Crest Trail. It's been duly added to the WL.

I just realized I had misspelled Claremont as Clermont. I'm just reading a history of the First Crusades and the Council of Clermont - books! They screw you up all the time!
If it was the old ML, with Oliphant Smeaton as editor, you were wise to pass on it. That's the one I started out with, and is the main reason I've never been able to finish reading it (hopefully now, with a much better one, the Womersley, I will finally be able to realize my dream.) I even wrote a blog post about that edition. Here, in case you're curious to read my rant at the time:
Hey man, yeah, Fare Forward was good. But short, man, too short. Still, gave me a good insight into Markson the man (not the writer, though--he didn't talk shop in these letters.) You know, what I most took away from it was that he was someone I really would have liked to have known. Contrast that to what I felt after reading Gaddis' letters, which is just the opposite reaction.

Still slogging through Gibbon (but still loving it!)

Yay Spurs!!!
Dayum, both LA & SA up 3-1, huh? How about that? Stanley Cup, World Cup, and NBA Finals. It's good to be a sports fan right now.
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The music instrument ( a lyre ) gives it away. It is orpheus and eurydice
Man, I turned the toob off in the 3rd quarter, and went up to bed to read. Spurs were playing so poorly (turnovers practically every possession, bad shots and porous defense) I was about to heave the remote through the screen, it was pissing me off so much. But I just googled the score and see they won by 15? Wtf? Heat get overheated?
This is a saga. No one is more surprised than I. Well, in searching Rolandʻs Google site for the date of a book by him that we have no copy of (readily at hand), I found that FIVE OF HIS MONOGRAPHS on Greek, Latin, Hawaiian,/ the romance langauges, religions, history and other languages/cultures IS ALSO AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOADING. One source is the University of Hawaiʻi, which, with Harvard, have all the monographs of that series that I am aware of. Other sources bought their copies from book dealers of different kinds, places, countries. But Google is the Downloading source for most. Under the etc. These monographs are very rare, only 50 copies were published (because of the want of interest, as I gauged it); but one is an archival item world wide. Itʻs a small study; but the only one of its kind in existence (so far --on Hawaiian and the Greek Bibles) SO if Google is after SMALL MONOGRAPHS, they might have asked us. Nobody did. Recently, came after me for some of the titles, including my dissertation (which I said ran 351pp. and they could easily buy it from U. Michiganʻs Dissertation Microfilms for $15, printed and perfect bound). They were also after a 16v. ser. Moʻolelo that we produced (and are now finishing the last four 4. which may take things up to 21v.) -- as though one just pops the stuff off! Itʻs a privately printed family internal production etc. çovering 200 yrs. etc. including some notable chiefs etc. Only one library has the volumes which the Director promptly Digitized, so in time, he may share it with the Univ. The point is: SOMEBODY asked for these out of the way titles, of small numbers published, of rare subject matters, in not usual languages ancient and modern and so forth. I now think it is
because suddenly I see on the internet my dissertation, listed for Downloading, by the U. Pennsylvania. Like The Oxridge Woman, many on the internet asked for it. So now theyʻve got it. . . .I BELIEVE THAT ALL OF EVERYBODY"S WORKS Are GOING DOWN THIS ROAD.
IT"S JUST A MATTER OF TIME. and Googleʻs fees (subscription) are not exorbitant. you should see JSTORS, which treated everybody needing scholarly access like cringing beggars. Do you remember a young man named Aarom Schwarz? He hanged himself because he went after JSTORS put all their stuff (paid for in part by PUBLIC MONIES, especially to MIT -- for which I worked and ®ēµēµ∫ē® †˙ē GRAd Studentsʻ uprising against the Research Profs getting all the credit for THEIR HARD ph.d. work . . .so after graduation, they had little to refer to as their own . . ..well, they took MIT to court and lost, like Aaron Schwartz. Schwartz is a hero to me). Google on the other hand is helping itself like JSTORS but charging for upkeep of the services. Anyway,
for small publishers, few copies of works published, special languages and subjects etc., this
world sharing is quite amazing. There is GATE KEEPING everywhere by the BIG COMMERCIAL businesses -- that keep out the indigenous, etc. This is a counter balance. It is all so amazing to me. I tell Aaron -- Googleʻs for you. If MIT and JSTORS arenʻ†. So, youʻre in good company now. Aaron hanged himself because he knew that MIT was going to throw the books at him.
And they were. They tried to -- when the grad students protested and went to court. A very close friend at MIT was involved. It had told him: his multiple year grant was THEIR DOING through the US GOVT. and so on. He finished as quickly as he could and when he got the Ph.D. moved over to Berkeley where, he said, democracy really worked, at least for him.

I am so very weary of the COMMerCIALIZING of knowledge beyond what is necessary. Almost any account to contravene that massive push 24/7 is like the SONG OF THE LARK.

In time, all LT authors will be facing the Googling. Count on it. Unless thereʻs a war. Here in
Hawaiʻi, where the PACIF RIM WAR EXERCISES will be held soon (as annually), itʻs coming. As soon as the U.S. has sold everybody its guns, warships, stealth planes,drones, AND THE WARFARE METHODS AND TECHNIQUES FOR EFFICIENT CONDUCT OF KILLING.

The earth is being murdered.

Legit? Depends who youʻre talking to, which country (donʻt try it in France; Google "lost" but in some ways it won more), and whatʻs at stake. A friend in Europe who checked my initial notice (the first time it came to my notice occurred via a German site offering a pdf eline version, free, or almost free) said it came from a "GERMAN MEDICAL CENTRE." !!!!! Then I noticed it (again among the announcements under my name) a SECOND time as Google, with directions how to Download, cost initial ($2 for first 3 days, $40 for subscription etc.). I emailed a friend at Oxford who complains often about the heavy LIFTING; she sent me a THIRD email address. She explained as the first (investigator) that there are two forms of Downloading books in Google. One concerns the LIBRARY PROJECT (like the Gutenberg Project --that Amazing affair) . . .which, e.g., included the DIGITIZING OF THE supposed ENTIRE HARVARD LIBRARY! Giant MINDS these. OR if not the Library PRoject then a PARTNERSHIP Project that GOOGLE is invested in. Googleʻs charges for subscription has to do with the downloading costs, so itʻs not SELLING the book. IT"S LIKE GOING TO YOUR LIBRARY DOWN THE STREET AND GETTING A BOOK OUT ONLINE, downloading by pdf eline.

Well, the French Publishers fought Google for years, lost a mint. Page and his partner Sergio take only $1 a year (weʻre told) -- the rest gets plowed back into the project. (But the two men are rich, despite themselves.) Anyway, I thank Google EVERY DAY for their free services. Then when it came to my personal book -- well, it was in the dungeons for 16 years . . .loved AND spurned alike by the few that read it (or pretended to); now, Suddenly, itʻs in 7 countries. Itʻs
like being elbow to elbow with the Big Publishers. Itʻs humbling, to tell the truth. Iʻm not going to fight it (now that I understand whatʻs happening). CIVILIZATION IS BEING REINFORCED. NOBODY WHO CAN"T AFFORD TO BUY THE BOOK NEED BE IGNORANT OF WHAT IT SAYS. SO, I am glad to share. As others have. And THEIR books COST A MINT, vastly, vastly different from mine, which is vast only in subject matter.

Sorry to have bothered you. What do YOU think of it? Iʻd love to know what the LTers think of it.
Got it! Itʻs Googleʻs LIBRARY PROJECT. Lord!
Okay, my message got cut off. Damn!

Here's our website:

I did it myself so it's a little lame, but I'm working on it. Transferring old reviews over.
That time works fine. Like I said it's not a big deal, we most likely would been around anyway. We do have a section of children's books but it is a bit small, a few hundred. We are small and just off the main street so if you have any problems finding the shop feel free to call our number, 323.526.1369
Yes, I would be interested in taking a look at the group, thank you for the offer.

We are closed Sundays but often we are around the shop anyway doing work, we live just across the street. Give me an approximate window when you might come on Sunday and the shop will be open.
Hola y gracias re Erickson. Based on your batting average for bespoke recommendations (PKDs Exegesis) I will take this one seriously.

I'm glad you found it interesting, and yes it is very difficult to know a place unless you spend a lot of time in it. There are many misconceptions about East Los Angeles as it currently exists.

I actually check in on your blog regularly, the breadth of your selections always leaves something interesting to read about. Hopefully if you come out you'll be able find something to add to your collection.
I enjoyed your review of Smiles on Washington Square. You neatly captured the essence of the book, and gave me even more to think about post-read, so thank you for that.
Very good. Kinda wish I had gone back and reread Origin, though--so many characters and plot lines referenced that I've forgotten. Surprisingly a ton o' sex. If there were a West Condon Condom Co., they'd be making money hand over ----. Jesus made an early appearance, and I am eagerly awaiting his return--he's a very funny guy.
Ha! Yeah, I dropped everything else to start reading it. It's a library copy, as my local b&n had never even heard of Coover (philistines!) Have you snagged it yet? And how about the Markson letters book?
Ah, lovely. Thanks for letting me know. Have set it aside till I can take it in properly, ideally I suppose after listening to Paris Texas soundtrack & then recalling sounds of cicadas & chatter/clatter in truck-stop cafes & distant train whistles.
*10 hours, not 12. Must be accurate!
In the words of that great patriot Bill O'Reilly, "Who's looking out for you?"

But seriously, I love the fact that a) there's to be a popular movie on the subject of DFW and b) it's the subject of debate and strife.
Hmm...the plot thickens.
Hi, thanks for adding me to your interesting libraries. I see you are just a stones throw from me here in Chino Hills. I checked out your library and we have 326 books in common. Wow, great minds think alike don't they!
Why, thank you kindly. I was very surprised to find that in Denmark it's apparently considered a crime novel . . . ? Either I got it very wrong or Sarvig was a prophet without honour or the guns & broads & brooding/quirky detective were left out of the English translation. Couple questions: Is there a link on your site I've missed that would take me to all posts on your grandfather's journey? And I put Double or Nothing on a wish list yonks ago, but I seem to remember reading at the time that there was a shabby excuse of an edition that printed the book in standard format: do you know anything about that? Cheers.
Good gods, it's a bargain! I must gather all my pennies together and purchase it.

Oh wait...I need that money to pay my mortgage. Sigh.
I wish! I have a first edition of the reissue...I'm pretty sure it's worth, well, maybe the cover price. Great book, though.
Hmmmm... I may have to go with the conspiracy factor. Well, I know you're my friend, anyway...
How come... LT won't give me the option of adding you to my friends list? You're in my Interesting Libraries and Contacts, and I see that I'm your friend. Hm, a mystery. (AKA Lisa has too much time on her hands today.)
Oh, and (I should never try to answer LT mail on my phone -- can't see the original) I loved Voyage of the Narwhal! Just a really good narrative, meditative but also propulsive. I remember reading it during a particularly vicious bout of middle-of-the-night insomnia, and it was just the thing, kind of exciting and soothing at the same time. I haven't read "The Church of No Reason" but I'm interested in more by Barrett. I like her scientific sensibilities, even when the stories aren't science stories. And of course I love her beautiful hair.
Hi, just sent you an add. I'm in the midst of transitioning over from Goodreads and I recall reading evidence of your legacy in the Buried Book Club over there. Got me reading Gil Orlovitz, if I remember correctly. I'm sure your library holds many more wonders that I hope to discover.
Oh, that's a fantastic idea for a thread -- go for it! It'll give me a prod to get back here more often -- I have a few I can hold forth on.

Doing OK here, looking for work which is kind of a glum process, but other than the running-out-of-money part it's not so bad. At least I'm getting some writing done.

How're you? I hope that spring has sprung on that other coast and that it's full of things to warm your heart. This was a hell of a winter.
Just to say: read some of your reviews. Impressive. When you write about Nature, of somebody elseʻs take on it, you make it your own. Brings things home. When you write of grief, itʻs not somebody elseʻs but oneʻs own. Now, to read some of your own works. Thanks for the read.- LP
What is going on with the Erickson interview? Is that still happening?
Came home from work today to find the book in my mailbox. Ten thousand thank yous! I took it right out the back, sat on the green grass and read it till the sun went down (which in truth didn't take very long). I'm going to love it. Quick arrival, too, huh!

(Apologies for popping up again)
Got my books today, pal. Can't wait to try the new ones. You're very generous. Thank you.
I did feel it...but I thought it was the wind rattling the shoddily installed shower enclosure in our upstairs bathroom. Pete was driving and felt it but good, though.

Rock and roll and rattle!
I did feel it...but I thought it was the wind rattling the shoddily installed shower enclosure in our upstairs bathroom. Pete was driving and felt it but good, though.

Rock and roll and rattle!
Thank you, sir! Hope the books it sent were helpful on your project.
No pressure for you either, pal. Put the Bely book in a mailbox this am, priority mail. So, you should get it this week. Very generous for the books you're planning on sending. I'm excited about reading them. Put a comment on the Shiprock pic at the group. Cool pic.
Glad to see you back - haven't seen you in a few days. I promise I will get that Bely book out to you soon.
Ah. Hope your reboot was successful.

Yes, I'm rereading Harry Potter. Again. What can I say--it makes me happy.

Did you see this picture of Jason Segel as DFW?
Ha ha! I just ignored the image police. I'm not really even exactly sure what they were going on about, to be honest. Thanks for the compliment about my review. :) You should read it, especially since you liked the movie.
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Wonderful photo!

Damn, we're up to 318 shared books, etc. including Wyndham Lewis and Skvorecky, two of many old favorites. Self-condemned is my fav Lewis, although it's been many blue moons since I read it.
Brent, your book ships today via Media Mail. Sorry, it would have shipped sooner but crazy-ass family has been in town.
Great! Glad to hear it!
I received Baise-Moi today. Thanks so much. I really appreciate that. Did you move? Your return address looked different.
Thanks! My friend who designed the art for a The Kickstarter Letters was also my book designer for A Greater Monster.
Let me know when you get it. Expected delivery is tomorrow. Cheers!
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Ha! I saw this cover and I had to look it up to make sure I have it. Hooray for catalogs!
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Nice cover! Have you read it? I loved it--the movie is pretty good, the book is awesome.
Awesome. Thanks so much Brent. I owe you one.
Not yet. But feel free to nominate us...
EF! Thanks for the very thoughtful message. I've been active on Goodreads for so long, I'm having a hard time adapting to LT. I find it confusing by comparison. I'm sure I'll get it eventually. Thank you so much for sharing the link to my book. I've been fortunate to have a large number of reviews on Goodreads (I'm up to 66 ratings!) I'd be more than happy to post about my books in your group in any way that would be non-pushy. Is there a particular area that I should post in the group an introduction that would be polite?
Haven't even read this myself, but wanted to be sure to share it before I forgot.

How are you?
:) Nah, she is just goofy. :)
You have a twin. His name is Rob. From the Ask a Book Buyer feature at Powells

Q: My two favorite novels are Joan Didion's Play It As It Lays and Bret Easton Ellis's Less Than Zero. So I guess I'm looking for novels dealing with alienated protagonists, the desert, the dark side of L.A., minimalism, nihilism, etc. –Rob

A: You should check out the work of Richard Lange, especially his short story collection, Dead Boys and his debut novel, This Wicked World. I think you'll find his writing has all of the elements you're looking for — and then some. –Jeremy
Tee hee and LOL.
By the way, reading what Becky wrote below, I have to disagree. I thought Divergent was a far superior book, better writing, better story, better characters. Sorry Becky.
Thanks for the invite to your group, Enrique, and the compliment about my books. I only just saw your message! I'm new to LibraryThing, and I haven't figured out how to set email preferences yet. I never got a notice that you had messaged me an invite.
I have read Divergent. I have to say that I thought it read exactly like what it was: a novel written by a college student who had read and loved The Hunger Games. The second book was marginally better. Couldn't read more than the first couple of chapters of the third book; the alternating POVs were absolutely indistinguishable from one another, and I had to keep looking at the chapter heading to see whose mind I was supposed to be in...

Thanks for the recommend! Haven't read The Pet, but it looks right up my alley. And has blurbs by several authors I like.
Merry Christmas, my friend. Love to you and Linda and the brood.
Yes, I have seen that. I enjoyed it very much and will definitely watch it again (maybe tonight!) You know, when you listen to LA Woman, it almost seems that Morrison had aged 20+ years since the first album from the way his voice sounds.
Just checking in to say that I hope your wife is still okay. Sounds like it was scary.

Not much time to hang out at the Tropics, but will return.

Presently trying to survive as Ski and I chaperone a holiday party comprised of about 45 16 and 17 year-olds. They're having a great time and I'm upstairs trying to get some work done, which is very, very difficult, as teenagers having fun are very, very loud.

Happy holidays!

Thank you!
Hey Brent thanks for keeping my addiction in mind. Yes I have that one, signed, In fact all copies of it are signed -- it was a sign ltd ed. It's a pretty book, but except for the brief proem it consists of older poems extracted from his larger volume of verss "From the the Hidden Way". The title is to be take literally... these are ballades FROM...
WOW! I had not heard of that collectible. Just got a set of his Ghosr Brothers of Darkland County CDs and manuscript. Amazing music you'd like. You should check it out.
Melville, I have decided upon Melville.
Hey brent. I somehow managed to never read truman capote. I note you have a lot of his books. How crucial is it for me to read "in cold blood" RIGHT NOW?

I am only a little bit drunk right now, in case you are wondering.

Sasquatch Lives!
It's on BeckyJG's profile page. Looks like you already know where to find her . . .

Hadn't realised the diary layout was the result of trying to align. Bit like Land of Punctuation, that, with a constraint enhancing the content--the text wouldn't I think have been so appealing had it been in conventional form.

Ta for the thumb. Came very near to turning to Urban Dictionary before I copped on to meaning of thumbing.
Didn't notice the place for posting on your blog--which was recommended by another member--but wanted to let you that I'm very much looking forward to next instalment of your grandfather's road diary. Odd, how charming the personal & utterly mundane can sometimes be. (And the formatting is perfect choice as is photo closing the post.) Thanks for sharing, as I think they say over there and as they emphatically don't say over here . . .
Thank you, and interesting. I have O'Brien's [Going After Cacciato] on hand to read, but haven't had any interest in TTTC. Would you recommend it?
Thank you, as always.
Hey Brent--

Thanks for posting our widget on your blog. The campaign is over--79% to goal, of which we get just about 70% (fees and all, doncha know).

Hope all's well. The Goldfinch is awesome, and I (despite most reviewers and many posters here on LT) loved The Circle by Eggers. So there.

Happy day!

No, but I watched the kids while she took her mother here:
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I married her!
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just saw Penguin Classics have reissued this.....Dr Benway, I presume?
Thanks! We're hopeful. At least business is finally doing a bit of a Q4 pick up.

Started the new Donna Tartt today. Just a few pages in but I'm quite enamored of her prose--just gorgeous.
I actually did follow slick's advice and skip chapter five. Also, like slick, I don't think ill be moving on to The Loop. One day, maybe.

How are things in your world? I've got two sick girls in my house: wife has a cold, and daughter has strep. Bacteria doesn't have a chance with me--bourbon keeps those little beasties at bay.
Don't think I miised that little reminder about that retail value of Rising Up.
Hi! Just saw your note. We're doing well. I've had a tough year, an unexpected death in the family, and my husband has been ill, but citybaby is gorgeous and clever and quite droll. How are you!
What hubris I had to think I could even BEGIN to compete with BW!
Hi Enrique --

You are so right about my not having time for a group, but that never stopped me from doing anything. I might not be the most prolific contributor, but this looks like a simpatico bunch and I haven't really gotten my feet wet with any LT groups, so... this seems like a good place to start. Thanks for the invite!

i got the maddest profil pic eva brutha got all my lattst tatts on it
Thank you Rique :)
Yes. Yes it does make you a bookseller. I mean, you've already sold about a third of what I've sold...
Kind of reminds me of a couple of book reviews we both wrote once upon a time: McSweeney's Store. Funny.
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It's yooou! I happened to be sipping non-Starbucks coffee myself when I saw this, so I lifted my cup and silently said 'cheers' :)

You somehow remind me of a high school science teacher.
Didn't realize Jo liked her, too. If I can swing it, I'll get her to sign a couple, and send you each one. She's coming down for the Texas Book Festival.
Ever hear of some writer called A. M. Homes? ;)

She's coming to town in a few weeks. Any questions you'd like answered?
Love the new look of your blog. Very, very, very coool!
oops, that was last month wasn't it? I was thinking it was still to come, hence my pulling yr sleeve. I've now lost all sense of time...
Is Travis Bickle INTJ or INFJ?
Thank you.

I'm afraid I don't remember. I think it was a library book; at any rate, I didn't keep it. I didn't think I'd be coming back to her. However, this novel took hold, despite the fact that it's in the present tense--normally an impenetrable barrier for me.
Nice review of The Mistress's Daughter. That was my first experience of Homes's work, and then I sampled her short stories but couldn't get into them. On a LT recommendation, I'm currently reading May We Be Forgiven and expecting to give it a strong review. The author has an extraordinary way of delivering details that feel as solid as nails in wood, building and wounding in the same stroke.
I hope you have a fantastic holiday, Rique! I know you need a break, from work and from us. We'll miss you tho :)
Enjoy your vacation, Rique! Hope y'all have a great time.
Hi Brent,

After some unsettling developments at the literary agency (the agent who had worked with me for six months on the project got canned), Nakamura Reality has gone out to the first round of publishers. Now we'll see...

I did read and liked These Dreams of You. Reality and fiction thoroughly intertwined.


So, we have a YouTube channel now, and our first video. We plan a series...
Oh my god...I want it. When I sent a copy of my review to our rep at Penguin I casually mentioned that if he should stop by the offices to sign stock (ha ha) she should get a copy for me. I have first editions of all of his books except for Gravity's Rainbow.

hey there brutha if u dont add me to yoor groop man ill take ur i out with my ten inch red heals and then force u to look at my kittn tatt

Send the link to your webstore, please! What a great idea--if anybody has a ready-made collection to start selling off (and barely see a dent made in it) it's you. And sticking it to the evil empire, well, that's just a little something extra.

Yeah, I almost literally haven't written a word for a year and a half. Thought I'd ease back in with a YA review--they're so quick. I finished the upcoming Pynchon (Bleeding Edge) last week, and am going to give that one a review. It was awesome, by the way. NYC in the period just after the dotcom bust to just after 9/11. It's one of his fun, accessible ones.
This is a video from my brother mountain bike riding in Breckinridge, CO. I thought you might enjoy it. It reminds me of your virtual hike video.
Hi Brent,

The agency's owner signed the contract and sent it back to me today. They're now firming up the list of editors to send Nakamura Reality to. The agency has a solid reputation, so the manuscript will get read. Whatever happens, I'm happy that the project has gotten this far, and I'm sure grateful for your support and input.

I've started reading Steve's novel, and it is weird having "Zan" as the main character, who is modeled very closely on Steve himself. I haven't gotten to the "coincidence" aspect yet, at least anything overt, but I'm sure intrigued by how it will play out.

The agency wants to go with Alex Austin as the author, and I'm not arguing, although Zan would be fun. Yeah, Steve could very well be psychic. Pretty mysterious stuff.

I am in complete agreement about Black Sparrow!
Just saw the book collecting thread and my question is answered. :)
It is a supplement to The End of Alice
I just purchased a signed edition of Appendix A by A.M. Homes from his website. Whoo hoo!
No I haven't. But I have been browsing his site today when I should be working. Thanks a lot! :) He has some really good stuff that I cannot afford.
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Best title ever.
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that painting is ripe for an update
I just watched that virtual hike video that you sent me. That was awesome! I want to go on that hike! I may make a special trip to Cali just to do that. (And of course visit some really cool used bookstores while I am there.)
Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog post :)

Hope you're feeling better.
Check out this new David Lynch track: You might dig. MAYBE? IDUNNOANYTHINGBOUTYOURMUSICTASTE. But if you like Twin Peaks' soundtrack and Julee Cruise, it's a wonderful ode to it. I only wish Lykke Li sang on all the tracks for his forthcoming album. (There's been another single released and, while musically similar and awesome, it has him doing his bizarre talk-singing in a nasal voice. Not bad, but this type of music just..I dunno...NEEDS a female voice leading it forward.)

I agree with your Lydia Davis review. I read some of her work a few years ago after reading and surprisingly enjoying Dave Eggers' collection inspired largely by her, and seeing comparisons to Barthelme for innovating 'flash fiction.' Completely killed my interest before it could really go anywhere.

Over on GR, someone linked to this on a comment on Jim's (of Brain Pain) review of DFW's Consider the Lobster. Didn't know if you were familiar with it or not. I haven't had a chance to read the whole thing yet, nor the particular essay it's supposedly "demolishing."
Wow, what a fucking review of Rubicon Beach Brent. I thought you read that last year. Did you recently reread it? After reading your review I felt like I just reread it too.
Thanks, Brent. Your encouragement helped me to keep going on this project.

Hi Brent,

I finally landed a New York agent for the new novel, now called Nakamura Reality. Her name is Claire-Anderson Wheeler and she's with Anderson Literary. She's quite amazing, giving me fifty pages of single-spaced notes over the last six months. Everything she had to say was smart and helpful. Terrific insights into character and plot. I've just finished up a revise based on her last set of notes (only six pages this time). This will likely be the last revision and she'll start sending the manuscript to publishers. Hell and back endless times on this one.

I hope things are going well for you.


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awesome book cover!
Hi Brent, hadn't come across the Searle book before. For its write up on Amazon it looks to be good at illustrating the types in a lively way.

I do have Archetypes of the Enneagram by Susan Rhodes WG hitch uses films and characters to illustrate the 27 subtypes (I.e. the 9 types as filtered through the instinctual variants), which I know we haven't even got to yet! But any books that help bring the types to life, make them more than just numbers, have to be good value.
Sure scan what you like. The stories were all excerpts - read some advice on how to get a novel published, which didn't work out. 34th parallel did also publish one of my paintings, walking through the morning with horses, which they found for themselves after I submitted the story. They were very nice to work with. Bartelby Snopes also used some of my art, all available on my web site, though.
I don't think you can even comprehend the number of dogs involved in this dare right now.

Double? naw. Triple? like hell. Try looking up, chumpsky.
I don't know. Were you listening to Hello Nasty and To the 5 Boros all last week?
So strange, I put that in the car this a.m.!
Love the Go-Gos review
Guns 'n Roses is a blight upon music and radio stations everywhere! Muah! muah ho ha!

(I said it!)
You are oh so kind.

Per my previous post, I've taken the hint. I'm checking out your "Daily Essentials". Now I have to actually read this K2-sized TBR pile...
Jeezus H Joseph Roscoe Christmas in a bucket! Every time I add a (virtual) book to my library, your name is listed as well. 'Same interests. Were we separated at birth? 'Hope all is well with you and yours, Freeque-man.


Steve and Sandy (the wonder dog)

News! I was hired by the ichthyology department at UTAustin to do georeferencing (and some other stuff--we just got a frozen Komodo Dragon we'll get to feed to the polishing bugs soon :D) for good pay until August, and keeping in contact with Western Washington U. has landed me both an acceptance and a teaching job doing intro to physical geography (oh boy! freshmen!). (This is the school that sent me the "This is not a rejection letter" stuff in Feb.)

So guess I'm moving to Bellingham!

Reading's been slow, and I've been obsessed--a return--with music lately, kind of because of that California job where I had that snazzy new phone to hold lots of tunes on, and I was always hunting for cheap music to listen to and learn to play. I've also been meeting a close friend and fleshing out this story I'd been working on a few years ago that's got me a tad excited if anything comes from it. Woo!

And how goes Cali?
Salut, ca va, c'est qui? C'est moi!
yeah, big earthquake in the middle of Taiwan, but didn't feel a thing here!

I can't check out your GR profile without creating an account, and I hate doing that. Good job on Amazon, love the line about paving over the jungle.
Luv your primary picture
Oh now that is very cool. I wouldn't mind contributing to those once I finish with my own library.
The Brain Pain/Buried group sounds cool, but I can't guarantee that I'll be all that active. Invite away if that's fine with you.

Also, what are Legacy Libraries?
Yep. Most of them without tags, but I can fix that.
Dammit! GR won't let me check out your link without opening an account...frigging Bezos!
Good morning! Thought I'd let you know that as of this morning I've deleted my GoodReads account. I just can't be part of the Bezos empire.

But I'm still here...
Brent, are those few underlines from you that are in my copy of The Tunnel that you gave me?
Between faith and ashes lies.....
(See my gallery for the answer)
Sry, re: delay.

Definitely be doing my MS in the west, so I'll be back; and I have those friends in Sandy Eggs I need to visit again, too.

Regarding schools, I've heard back again from the WWU guy and it was even more encouraging, basically saying yes, I'm in, just not officially until people start choosing other schools--which will happen, he is sure--buutttttttt...chances of funding are extraordinarily low. (His letters are bizarrely worded...notice the first one says I'd normally be a definite yes + funding, then says I'll PROBABLY get in if MOST of those accepted change their minds, which makes it sound like I'm near the bottom of the waiting list! His newer message just sounded like he had no faith in his own university, sounding something like "Ehhh, we got a lot of superstars applying--I don't know why. Most of them will probably go to better schools, so you're likely to get in." Gee whiz. He actually said that.)

UCSB also got back to me with a generic rejection letter, which I expected. And don't really mind, because I can't say I had a good experience in Santa Barbara! Sure wish the other two schools, the two that are supposed to be easy ins, would get back to me. The rejection letters coming first from the schools I cared least about are not putting me in good spirits, and I'm so gosh danged antsy playing this waiting game forever and ever!

I think you were going to loan/trade me some history books to make the mountains more interesting traveling. I...well I just had that trilogy from Eastlake, and Sukenick's Up (which I think you actually own). For the most part, my entire library is open to plundering where physical books are involved. I'm planning on getting rid of most of them anyhow.

Where else was I going?


I thumbed your review !
Hello Enrique - thank you so much for your comment. Train Dreams is one of the best books I have read in a long long time. If you haven't read it, I really recommend it. I thought it was simply stunning. You read many books that I have liked, too. Let's be LT friends?
Javier Marias is slightly less than obsessed (only slightly) with nearly forgotten writer John Gawsworth. Looking up what is easily available by him - nothing, even in the computer age - I see he wrote a book about W. Lewis:
imma gonna b readin' the Gaddis letters tonite, doncha know? Cuz I got it on the kindle. O yayuh!
We finished Stone Canyon today. Glad, 'cause that'd be a bad walk to have to remake tomorrow. Yowza.

Top was very cool, tho, great view of all the fog rolling in that later nearly killed me driving down the mountain.

Grizzly Flats is on our to-do list, one of the last objectives, having been left to overgrow since some hiker trying his hand at rockclimbing died on it and remained there a week before anyone found him. Not sure when that was.

I am leaning towards not completing this job despite my stubbornness. It's starting to cost me a lot of money, as the pay is awful and the cost of living ridiculous. I just wish a dang university would hurry up and get back to me about being accepted and maybe having an assistantship! UBC says 2-6 weeks, starting I don't know when, and UIdaho's been saying 2 weeks to a few months for a while now. The others, nothing.

Next is I don't know. Either be forced to find Gold Canyon or Gold Creek, or possibly be pushed into doing Condor Peak (gulp).

Enjoying Sheltering Sky so far.
Woid. I'm down for all.

Would you mind if one of my friends from San Diego joins us, depending on whether he can leave SD between his dispatch interviews? Was planning to bring him down to volunteer with the USFS for the week, maybe get his foot in the door, as he's been desperate for work for the past many months now.

Doing Stone Canyon now. It's fairly well-maintained (but, IF'N YOU ASKS ME, permanent maintenance is an expensive and inevitably-losing situation given the incredible amount of erosion on the mountain itself) and a little bland just going straight up, amazing views of desolated housing districts and construction sites, pristine nature, &c.

Ever read any Stephen Dixon? Just curious.
You bet, buddy. 10th sounds good. And I can hike, bring along my camcam. 8)~

Oak Spring was odd, I'll tell you. It was well-worn and popular, but once you got to the tick-infested campsite, people seem to turn back. The sections after that get increasingly more overgrown and trenched by flooding until you hit the Yerba Buena Rd. (which the USFS tells me they haven't been on in years and don't know the condition of).

The paperwork they gave us said OS didn't end until you finished the Fascination Spring Trail (or 'Facination' as the signs all say), which starts 100 yards south on the Yerba, sign gone, and overgrown from the word Go, you have to stop every 20m or so to check your pantlegs for ticks. A rusted out car husk also greets you as you gaze down off the trailhead, and not far after a $3,000+ Pionjar is discarded the invasive trailside growth (they want us to make a run up there exclusively to bring this rusted, probably broken 100+lb equipment back).

I didn't get to finish that trail and don't know if I ever will. They were confused by its existence at the DO and it's likely they'll just let it disappear. A lot of those washed out trails seem to offer a lot of coolness, tho.

I'm going off again. Don't know about the publishing or even this job lasting through to the end. The SCA that hired us are apparently very upset at the conditions the USFS are putting us in: A supervisor on site was part of the agreement and we've yet to get that; most of the trails they've sent us to are immediately inaccessible or no longer exist (in the sense that what is there isn't worth the cost to maintain or revive), being incredibly treacherous to attempt. So: They might end up pulling the plug because of the danger, and our supervisor being kind of a lazy Do-Nothing.

(Today was embarrassing. We went to 8 a.m. catchup meeting, then stayed at the DO until 11 drinking coffee and slowly fixing up our paperwork for the OS Trail (kinda dicking around because we had no idea what we should do next: messages were mixed from the boss). After that we tried to drive the Yerba Buena, which was confusing as hell and finally my partner didn't want to drive anymore because she was scared of getting stuck (I haven't received my gov. license yet and have a problem with being a reckless, stubborn idiot (i.e., I totes would have pushed through the horrible road conditions), so we spent like 20 minutes trying to get her to successfully back out of this chunk of road. After that failure we tried to find the Gold Canyon Trail, which has changed entrances in the past few years, and all we found was no trailhead signage, snippets of probably social trails along a creekbed, tons of fucking garbage, Spanish Jesus posters, a stream full of rotting fruit and hobo dens, so we simply left. Then we tried to go down to Stone Canyon but whoever locked the gate up however many seasons ago is an asshole and it's shut fucking good. Walk down instead, eat our lunch, wander around looking at more pants and beer cans and look at the trailhead but it's so late we decide to go back in defeat, not starting a new adventure this day, and start cleaning up the pseudo-Oak Springs teenage hangout trail we accidentally surveyed the week before. I found an altar straight out of an '80s Satanic cult movie, tons and tons of candles and even candle holders nailed through these fallen logs, melted wax everywhere, a little den behind it. It was fucked.

Our first real day working the USFS way, eh? Nudge nudge, wink wink, nothing got done over a 10-hour period.

Also, you want to try some geocaching? I got myself an app for it, but unfortunately it only works with a signal, so not so much in the Nat. Forest unless we write down needed data.

Yeah, that was an interesting read. Although I was a bit disappointed with it upon finishing it. I guess mainly because I had expected it to be totally over the top, and it really wasn't--it was much more subtle. I think if I had gone into it without any preconceptions, I would've enjoyed it more. Hella good writing, though. I'm glad you're enjoying it. I haven't had much time lately for reading, myself. Looking forward to getting back into the Coover. Absolutely love that book.
Just checking to make sure they arrived. USPS tracking said they were, but I've learned to be skeptical about their claims.
Thanks B,

I've still no clue about IJ but will now pay particular attention to any references that may be related to Hobbes, masks, hearts, Joyce, non-vascular plants, Descartes, phrenology and the like!

Strangely, I was deciding between The Dissertation and Christie Malry the last time I had to select my next read. I really like that period when you have finished a good book and are mulling over what the next book should be.
True. For some reason we don't hold it against the reds the same way as we do the black shirts.
Nice pick ups there!
I am too, although my feelings are not unmixed. Here's what I posted yesterday:

I'm still ruminating and not quite ready to write a review.

Your response did factor in my deciding to go ahead with it, so thanks again.
Just dropped them off at the post office!
You probably already saw this, but here, anyway.
>_> I've yet to bring my camera, so it remains empty. I'm always nervous about it being extra baggage on dangerous terrain, waiting until leisure hikes on trails I know well--or that's what I'd like to do, at least, not carrying around so much work equipment!

So we're doing Oak Springs trail right now. We've been doing it since yesterday, actually...only today, after we decided the trail was a lost cause 3,000 feet in, and spending a good two hours scanning ahead for the trail (I swear, at one point we both froze, hearing what sounded like a baby mountain lion going off a bunch of times a few hundred feet ahead of us, and then something big shuffling around on the cliff above our heads!), we turned around...drove ten feet past the trail we were using, and realized we'd been on a no-name trail the entire time, surveying NOTHING that the USFS cares about.

Partner wants to shuffle it under the radar and pretend it didn't happen...I dunno, man! We did find some neat stuff out there, however, like a car buried in a mudslide!

Maybe you know the trail I'm talking about, off a parking lot next to Oak Springs. It includes a burned out house with Ed Lewis, 1972 etched in the foundation. Teenagers like to trash it.
Just got word they forwarded my resume as one of the best for the photo media internship in Alaska! That's overwhelming, even if I don't get it (and I probably won't!), that still means they thought my photography was good enough for this: ! and all they saw was this: !
RATNER'S STAR! I must re-read!

Underworld looms in the distance.

I am scared. But soon. I've got it Kindle-fied. Wot a monster.

Sukenick is so much fun right now, can't stop the giggles! and I see why McCaffery would include it given his typical go-tos, buuuuttttt I'm not seeing it as a great American classic or anything. It's very much an Of Its Time booky, and its audience is fairly narrow: Literature geeks and-or those poor souls trapped in academia.

It's also misogynistic: No surprise. Much of that crowd...pretty horny guys going by their stories. Don't give no fucks 'bout them ladies 'less their boobs is a-dingle danglin'. :(
I enjoyed the Rilke, but it wasn't what I had anticipated. There were sections in the book where I was just reading to get through it (which was never the case with Bernhard's "Correction"--I was mesmerized the whole time), and I don't think it was until I finished it that I realized how much I had enjoyed it. His style of poetic prose just took some getting used to, I guess.

I'm not embarrassed to say that "The Road" brought me to tears. Been a long time since a book has done that for me, silently weeping in bed as I read the last few pages. Hard to say, though, where I would place it among his works. I'm tempted to say I still think "Blood Meridian" was better. Guess I'll be reading Suttree next. Still ambivalent about whether or not I'll read the Border trilogy.

I'm having a blast with the Coover. Dude could write, no doubt. I'm looking forward to getting to the rest of his now.

Just let me know where to send the two you want (you still want them, right?)

Oh yeah, I forgot to give you my schedule. It's Mon-Thurs 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. I'll get back to the barracks at that end time, and often from there travel down the hills to Foothill Blvd. for eats at Panera or Berge's (oh god, you have to eat there. Cheap, brilliant food, run by the most whimsical family I have ever seen. Dialogue straight out of Disney cartoons or the Goonies, and great folks to chat with).

I.e., I probably won't have service on those days until 6-7 p.m., if at all.
I'm sitting here writing my memories out of the Bronc People so's I don't forget it. Quick to reply for now!

Woah! re: same intro. I like the trail, just not repeating that same climb every day! Everything around that climb is great, but I need a break! (& I needed an updated pair of hiking shoes, solved yesterday at REI's mad sale!)

Work is INSANELY slow; we literally inch along with a wheel surveying the trail's length, and every few feet we need to stop to put code in areas that need maintenance, e.g., This trail is trenched for the next 30 feet, e.g., This retaining wall is slumping down and needs to be replaced and expanded by ten feet.

It doesn't help that my partner is very pushy, a somewhat obnoxious knowitall, having worked with the SCA before. We have to take photos of every little thing that gets logged so the supervisor (who doesn't give fuck-all) can go through the entire trail from his office, and one thing my partner is forcing us to do is to write down a number on a home-made dry-erase board so we can label each photo with an increasing number and refer to it in our notes. This adds between 90-120 minutes total each day as she has to stop and slowly write this number down and we have to get the photo perfect so's the numbers are legible.

It'd be so much easier, so much faster--not just on the trail, but in the office, as well--if we simply used the numbers provided in the camera's metadata, but that's "too confusing." Drives me nuts. To be a dick, if you've seen Arrested Development, picture Michael Cera's girlfriend Ann ("Bland"; "Who?"; "Her?").

....To get back on topic...I may know what cabins you're talking about if they're close-ish to the start. There are a lot of burned out cabins and the trail's direction gets a little confusing, as a nice trail going around a switchback heads to ex-housing (I need to bring my camera out there!), and what looks like a damaged social trail is actually the right way.

The waterfall was amazing. I climbed down there against my partner's wishes (the trail down is a social trail and we aren't supposed to use those, but mark them for OBLITERATION!!!!!!!!!! D:!) and spent some time wandering around.

We haven't made it too far past that point, because the washouts are severe and the trail is easy to lose at numerous points very close together. I think we're close to the first campground. Tom something or other.

At two points around there, losing the trail, I've found a social trail up a creek bed that looks like it was cut out and used only a couple times, with some trash left behind. I quickly turned around. There's also a brand new trail cut into the mountainside very, very badly, that the USFS knows nothing about. It's a zig-zagging mess of switchbacks 10-feet apart, and its existence is suspicious.

I half expect to stumble across bodies whenever I'm measuring hidden culverts and stuff....some Bones-ass smelly grotesquerie.

Trail leading to trailhead is in iffy condition, but I'd mark it as better than you're suggesting. People are making it up there every day I've been.

If you want another view of our boss...when we first were warned about pot farms and seeing any drip-lines or fertilizer bags, shit in the river, whatever, he told us to get out of view and radio it in. When asking the firefighters around to teach us how to use the radio (our boss taught us incorrectly and had us using the firefighters' lines! ugh!) their eyes widened at this shit and they said NO! DO NOT! cartels monitor all radio transmissions, they will hunt you down fast!...seems pretty obvious in retrospect....

Give my feet a week or so to get used to the daily hiking and I will likely no longer mind exploring the trails for fun. This last week with dying shoes has my feetsies all a-blister. But yeah, I would love to see LA more, too.

I've been very surprised by how much I like the surrounding cities so far. People have been super friendly, too, everywhere I go.
Gosh dang, Enrique!

Been working our first assignment all week, Trail Canyon, looking out for signs of cartel pot farms being set up among other things. A bad first assignment, sitting at 14+ miles long, with some of it blistering long walks up mountains with next to zero vegetation and way too much feldspar. Burns, oh, how it burns.

Going to try to switch to a new trail starting tomorrow: A shorter, easier trail.

Our supervisor, brought in at the lats minute after the original supervisor quit, is a friggin' hippie-ass moron. Monday was canceled this last week, giving us that three-day weekend that let me travel to San Diegs--only he sent out an e-mail on Sunday calling us into his office Monday morning for a 15-minute meeting about our schedule for the week. After I drove back late Sunday, in the morning on the way to work I received another e-mail canceling the meeting until Tuesday as originally planned. 10 minutes passed before I got a call telling me to come into the office, and as I'm parking 30 miles later, I get one last call saying it was canceled anyway. Whose fault is it? Me and my partner, of course (but mostly mine for being confrontational about the bad communication).

Thursday and Friday we were given meeting times for 3:30 and 4 p.m., forcing us to rush back early from Trail Canyon, not getting much done, only to get to the office to find it empty, Boss-ass Man having left hours earlier to go home. Office actually called him Friday about his being missing, and he called me back to inform me that he told us the meeting was canceled because we met the day before (excuuuuuuuse me??? when did that happen?), to which I replied I never heard that, to which he replied he only told my partner then, and that I need to relay to her that she needs to listen better. Never happened, of course.

I want to like the guy, too, b/c he's a really nice, laid back guy (who doesn't give a crap about what we're doing), but he's so amazingly inept, it's just comically stupid. (And closely in line with what professors have said about the USFS.) (We also got a long rant from the forest's resource manager about how burns are unnecessary for ecosystems, how that's just some giant myth created because kids today are learning the incorrect scientific method!--also the forests contain no endemic spp. Sigh. I know none of the region's wildlife, basically, but I know that's bullhonkey just by looking at a map.)

Anyway, killing time at the bottom of the mountains at Panera Bread. Starting to bring my laptop down for proper communication. Also finished the Eastlake trilogy FINNNNAAALLLLYYYYY. Fan-friggin'-tastic stuff, but I dug that Bamboo Bed more. MORE!
Thanks for a great list of things to avoid.

So I do not have a copy of The Apes of God by Wyndham Lewis like I thought. It turns out I rather have Apes, Angels, & Victorians by William Irvine. Two entirely different books. How could I have confused the two? I will blame it on my recent concussion.
I believe I have a first edition of that book. Haven't read it though. Let me know what you think when you're done.
Snow was s surprise! Didnt stay long tho. Spent the weekend in san diego sailing around. Text about ever coming down for a teip as i can reply to rhose over missed calls atm on this new phone. Also i cant rype for crap on it as you may have noticed.
Fiery Angel is sublime, so far.
Why three? First, don't forget 3 is a good book in my scheme. It had five star moments and a siginificant share of four star. If I used half stars, I'd give it the extra half. It just lacked ultimate punching power.
Didn't think this was appropriate for the group but I knew you would appreciate it. Who knew Natalie Portman was such a badass?
oh, i also meant to say
"dorky dorky dorky dorky dorky dorky dorky..."
You've been shopping!!!!!!!!!!
Just found out I'll be stationed at the Clear Creek Fire Station barracks. No idea where that is; I'm having some difficulty navigating the forest service's available information. :/ I've found the Clear Creek visitor center, but have no idea where in relation to that the barracks will be.
Dick Gibson is pretty low key so far. A character study. I'm still reading.
(Psst. Was just accepted to the position in Angeles NF doing an inventory of burned/lost trails from February 4th thru April 26th. OH MAN!)
Hey Rique, I woke up this morning and thought, it suddenly feels like years and years since I talked to Brent. How are things? I dunno if I have much news to tell you. I've been wandering about visiting family and friends, been back home for nearly two weeks now. Still off work :) :) I have a head cold and it's 41 degrees C today, which is something like 103F. The combination of cold and heat is most unpleasant as well as ironic. Not reading much at the moment, it's too hot.

Hoping things are better for you these days.

Hey dongalong. Yeah, I really closed myself off from the literary circles around the time of my changin' majors. Very disillusioned, very upset about things, snobbery--my own and others--, all that jazzy stuff.

I am glad archived comments stay around forever. I remember re-reading some tidbits not so long ago, reactions ranging from giggling "Oh, I remember that...I remember that..." repeatedly to "Boy, I was kinda obnoxious 'n' shit." But whatever, it was fun.

O Jeez, I'm trying to ween myself off physical books where I can, getting really into Kindle's cheap daily sales, but I think even I'd desperately hold on to any first edition Eastlakes if I saw them. Probably worthless due to his obscurity--BUT FUCKING HELL WHY IS HE SO OBSCURE?

The Bronc People is supposed to be his masterpiece, from what very little I've read, and I just started it. By page 2 I knew I was in for something special: It already eclipsed the first book in the series, and I adored the hell out of that one. (I'm looking forward to comparing it to the Bamboo Bed; the instant I finished that I was in awe, wondering how in the hecks could McCaffery not choose this one for The List™.)

Genoa. Your past review really helped me get it. At times it was too rough for me, especially early on--especially chapter two ("Genoa"), focusing on Columbus more than any other thread. By the end I was left in awe of its complexity and structure, how he actually got it to work so damn well. (I don't know how much of the memoir-ish part was fictionalized, but I did kinda feel like he should've just used himself as a relative of Melville rather than the unrelated Mills...?)

I wonder if we'll ever witness the discovery of obscure authors on here. Like they say about Melville being a failure until academia discovered his genius long after his passing, and countless other authors of the 1850-1950 timeframe. See Metcalf or Eastlake's readership numbers on here shoot through the roof in a decade, whatever.

Anywho, recent literature discoveries and a response to yours real quick:

2012: Haven't read Sheltering Sky, but it's near the top of my to-read list. I know nothing about it, tbh. I've been wanting to dive into Didion, too, but haven't known where to start. (Something I've become nearly obsessed with is trying to read more female authors, perspectives; too many dicks dominate the scene and my favorites list.)

Haven't heard of any of the rest ('sides Outer Dark, which I loved many years ago--only McCarthy I haven't read is the Border Trilogy; did you see that what's-his-fuck, James Franco! is adapting Child of God and As I Lay Dying? Dude's a huge literary scholar when he's not looking handsome, apparently. I hope he does them justice, and I presume his passion for the works will help a lot, but I still have no idea how you adapt Child of God, that book was just fucked), but I'll check them on Amazon as soon as I hit POST COMMENT.

Tidbits from my 2012 reading:
-I finally read Virginia Woolf. Immediate love.

-Djuna Barnes. I don't remember it, but I liked it. Wait, how the fuck did I forget that book already? That was only 3 months ago!

-John Hawkes. My reaction: Constant confusion. Most purple prose I've ever encountered; I could barely keep up. Actually, be more fair to say I couldn't, because half the time I didn't understand what was happening.

-Finally read In the Heart of the Heart of the Country. "The Pedersen Kid"--never have I read a short story (novella?) with that much power.

-Raymond Federman's Take It or Leave It. I'm sorry, Enrique, old buddy, pal, but...I didn't really like it. My expectations were astronomical, granted, but I just kept feeling This is fucking lame and obnoxious and the jokes on every page always run flat.

-Hogg from Delany. Jesus fuck what the fuck. Also: Respect.

-Diary from Chuck Palahniuk. Not bad. So not bad that I was stunned. I do not like Chuck Palahniuk, but two friends convinced me to give this one a shot.

-Ksthy Acker. Read her.

-Steve Erickson. Before Tours, I picked up Days Between Stations, and was crazy letdown by it. I don't think I care much for that magical realist writing style, though I don't have a lot of experience with it, but I found most of this book borinnnnngggggg. Devon, months later, read Tours and let me know just how fabulous it was: I gave him another shot.

And I'm glad I did. Back to back in August I had one of the best reading experiences I've ever had: Tours of the Black Clock followed by Housekeeping from Marilynne Robinson. Both in my top ten. I cannot wait to re-read both of these titles. But I've just about assaulted everyone I know since then to read these two books that I've pooped myself out on talking about them.

Seek out Housekeeping and read it ASAP. Kinda neat aside that may have enhanced my enjoyment: I've passed by the town it's based on a number of times driving through north Idaho, and my remote sensing teacher was from the area, and a lot of the imagery we used in the labs was of the town. (Teacher's one of the main reasons I've gotten back into reading, as we're always sharing books and talking about them: I've gotten her to read Gass and Erickson, recently.)

Anyway, where will I be stationed....

I don't know for sure yet, but I'm being interviewed by phone tomorrow for a position in Angeles National Forest that starts on the 28th and runs until late April. I've also been recommended for positions in backcountry Alaska and as a fire effects monitor in the North Cascades, as well as an interpretive guide at a dinosaur quarry. We're going to be figuring more of this out in the coming weeks as my advisor reviews my considered positions.
WTF!!!!!!!?????????? who the fuck put that there? how awful.
Hey, assbutt! It's been too many years, you know that.

End of 2012, I was hit with how little I had been reading that year, and I'm trying to turn things around, get back on track--even if there's not really a track to get on b/c reading is just reading--and fire through Larry McCaffery. And once again, I want to try to do more reviews again, but I dunno how that'll turn.

I say that because I'm now officially gradumatated. I have my BS degree in physical geography, I've dropped out of a guaranteed master's program to seek better opportunities in the west (long story; lots of BS), and I'm signed on with the SCA for the next 8 months, currently arranging conservation jobs with my newly-admitted advisor.

I'm also attached to two research projects and will be contributing to journal articles! Hopefully before I leave for the SCA gigs in national parks and forests and whatnot in the too-near future.

Anyway, yes! How's it fucking going? how's it been? what have you been up to? how's California?

Also, an enforced recommendation. From the McCaffery list: William Eastlake. I've read his Bamboo Bed before, and counted it among the best I've ever read. I can't wait to re-read it. Now I'm on McCaffery's beloved Checkerboard trilogy, and his distinct and brilliant style is all still there. Freakin' loved it, and hopefully will review it soon, mostly so I can remember it and what it strived for in the future. (Jeez, 5 years ago I never thought I'd forget books so easily, but I'm constantly forgetting what I read now and it's just...the worst! e.g., the Bamboo Bed...I don't remember shit, just that it was one of the best things I'd ever read at the time--all those intense feelings that came with it.)

Between the trilogy's works, I'm going to be switching elsewhere, and tomorrow I'll start one of your favorites: Genoa.
I've finished and reviewed the Hamilton book now. My comments are at odds with some others', so they may not be any guide for you. I won't be moving on to the sequels.
Hey Brent. I have never read William Gay. I will have to keep an eye out for him.

I am really enjoying the Larry Brown. I had never read him before this book. I read a review about his novels Joe and Fay and saw Father and Son in a bookstore and grabbed it. I am glad I did.
It is indeed the truth. Suffice to be said, my ears perked up when I got to the graveyard scene. Beyond spooky; an incredible coincidence. I had just chosen audio versions of Hamlet and Macbeth, from a local library.
OMG Brent,

As they say in the Bronx, "Why would I lie?"

My last "book" for 2012, was Hamlet. I had thought, "Hey, "time to read some Shakespeare". I wasn't even thinking of IJ. Hell, that's not dog-ma, that's karma.

I dozed through the first 17 pages (not good - blogs inform me that this is important stuff), but after the Maryjane planning and, Hal talking to the conversationalist "Dad", it's getting, well, interesting.

Is IJ going to be this "wavy" all the way through? I dearly hope so.
Yeah, I was at work, but now I'm home. I'm just about done with the DT Max bio. Been sort of a roller-coaster read for me. Will take some time to sort it all out, I think.
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This is great, I am looking to tie-in DFW for my next tattoo. I've been sitting on a few ideas.
I'll get some blue flags for that one. I was ripping off that great simian orator, Koko the Gorilla. Oh, wait a minute, she used to say "dirty, dirty, dirty..."
I'm going to be in Cleveland and not on LT for the first 4 days of January, but IJ is making the trip with me. No promises about the reading diary. :)
The Woman in Black is a really good example of its type, despite a few lapses. I couldn't give it a lot of stars because it is short, a genre piece, and not in a class with the sort of thing I do give four and five stars to, such as The Gold Bug Variations.. I've read nothing else by this author, but I'll seek out the one you mention.

The Hamilton book is science-geek world-building SF of a type that I haven't read in years, maybe decades. It's densely heavy with technical, environmental, and biological detail (and probably political, social, and religious yet to come). I'm not sure if I'm going to get through it, especially knowing that it's part 1 of book 1 of three two-part books. But it sure is a change of pace for me, and the other book at the top of my stack right now is a Sir Walter Scott, which does take a little bracing for. (Curiously, the POV character in The Woman in Black is reading a Scott novel, one that I read earlier this year.)
Like a Jehovah's Witness, I don't celebrate either of them. But unlike the JWs, I do celebrate birthdays; also Thanksgiving and Lincon's b'day. But if I had young kids like yourself, as I once did, I might go through the motions.
Alas, no moola, just braggin' rights. I added and dropped players constantly, but the one I stuck with through thick and thin was Matty Ice. Funny, I had him as QB the first year I tried FF. He was the main reason I won the championship, as he put up monster numbers last night.
Hey, guess what? My fantasy football team (The Howling Fantods) just won the championship tonight! How cool is that?!
How is discogs? I dig Pinckney B.
Just started "The Sound and the Fury." First chapter's kickin my arse. Wire and String was a walk in the park in comparison. Sheesh. Mebbe more bourbon might help?

I tried "Steps" by Kosinski. Just couldn't get into it. I know DFW loved it, but just not my cuppa tea, I guess.
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Um, yes: double bookmarks.
I saw this one, and since we're both fans of Dalkey Archive I thought of you. Weirdly hilarious.

Happy holidays!

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This image reminded me of this group:
I'm with you, I'm indebted to a number of Snobs for turning me on to writers I might have passed over previously. I also have an ex-bookseller friend who's always pointing me toward certain writers, like William Goyen, for instance (ARCADIO was stunning).

2012 was a busy year for me, with a couple of books edited and released...and right now I'm collating and correcting a new collection of tales drawn from the past decade which I hope to have done by the end of May. My reading time has been much diminished because of all this work, something I'm going to have to address in the new year.

My thanks for getting in touch--DFW richly deserves a thread of his own. Genius, the man was a genius.
Thanks for the invite but I am crazy busy and sadly no longer have time to read anything, especially a book like IJ that requires so much attention.

Good luck to you!
Finally responding! Sorry I am late - I can't read strange alphabets on my ereader and don't really have access to a desktop computer at home (have to fight 3 teenagers and 1 adult "gamer" for it) on the weekend!

In answer to your question can I read his reviews: I could if I squint and try real hard. They are in Arabic. I cannot read literary Arabic very well. I was trained to read newspapers and the vocabulary is much different. But yeah it is a language I sort of know! God I have gotten rusty....
Thanks for the invitation to the Infinite Jesters group. Although I truly love good postmodern fiction, there is no way I'd want to attempt a novel of that length (1,104 pages!) at this time.

With much appreciation and good wishes for the holiday season

Cool. Looking forward to the Swan Song review. I read as a teenager and really liked it.
I just posted what I think is the longest review I have ever written. Eh, it was mostly quotes though. But I think it represented the fairly lengthy book well. Are you working on any new reviews or having any thoughts of one? I don't think I have seen one since the excellent Sylvia Plath review.
Cool! Look forward to checking it out when I return to civilization.

Nope, still haven't finished the house for my doll. I'm hoping to get it done before Xmas.

Will be finishing Omensetter tonight if the coyotes keep it down. Brought Pale Fire with me to start immediately after. Read a few pages the other day and am really looking forward to it.

Have you picked up the new DFW? Saw it at Barny Noble yesterday, but just couldn't shell out the $27 for it.
Hi Brent,

Thanks for the DFW invite. Long time...true. But such is the journey. I try to keep myself blissfully unaware of most literature post-say-1940 or so (except for Cheever, PKD, Vidal, Salinger, Alexander Theroux and so forth) because life, particularly, it seems, my life is so damn short. Life, on the other hand, was so brutal, lovely, aristocratic and leisurely in the 19th century! I cringe at post-modernism just just just (I'm becoming florid) BECAUSE...... nevertheless, what the hell, I ordered (only yesterday) a copy of Infinite Jest on your say so, which arrived today, and thus far IT HAS, especially the chapter with #71 Orin putting glass tumblers on his yellow tiled shower floor to subdue the hard core AZ sewer cockroaches... WON ME OVER totally simply because it was crunchy and brutal and lovely. I think I'm ready to agree with dave Eggers in the intro to IJ that DFW is, well, like Proust.... and therefore looks to be just the thing to help me crawl through December (I hate Christmas - tho oddly not Dickens, although certainly if Christmas hadn't existed Dickens would have invented it?).

I added it but it won't let me select it as primary pic.
I recently reconnected with an old Army buddy. I had never heard of the Seychelles islands until I read the Manzarek book. My buddy has been traveling all over the world (in some government civilian capacity). He is currently in Afghanistan. One place he mentioned that he had visited was Seychelles. I couldn't believe it. He sent me a bunch of pictures. I added some to my profile in case you wanted to see them.
Thanks on the Wharton review!
The title story from The Usual Mistakes is extremely good. I really enjoyed it. I love how she writes. I had just finished it when I had to leave for my hometown for holiday visit with the family. I haven't read much while I have been here... not really an environment to read without distraction. Plus, you know, the whole reading in a social setting is deemed so impolite and all that... I think there are much more impolite things people can do.

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. I hope you guys are doing well.

Hi Brent,

Sometimes I wonder if it's a labor of love or a labor of hate, in that I would hate to find out that that my faith in this novel has been misplaced.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Thanks for the invite! I'm looking forward to it -- the New Year is a great time to tackle something worth tackling.

Funny you should mention McElroy. Been toying with the idea of finishing up the year with "Smuggler's Bible." That might be biting off more than I can chew, though. Especially since I'm taking it slow with the Gass, going back and reading passages over and over again.
Thanks for that. Very enlightening. At only 239 pages, I had thought I could knock it out fairly quickly (should've known it wouldn't be that easy.) Still though, after reading that piece, I'm more stoked than ever to start it! Sounds deliciously convoluted. I'm currently loving "Omensetter's Luck." What beautiful prose. Man, Gass can write, can't he?
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Your modest home? Gatsby's?
Sorry, just finished reading it and thought it seemed pretty brilliant at carving out the concerns at the heart of Infinite Jest and Pale King.
Wallace is famous for his ear for idiomatic expression, but he is often assumed to be merely listening rather than reconfiguring his generation’s impoverished English at every turn. Jonathan Raban, for instance, has written in these pages of Wallace’s “absolute fidelity to the patterns of [American] speech and thought I hear around me.”* Would that this were the case. In fact Wallace takes our unremarkable, stammering colloquialisms and works them into monologues that are verbally and grammatically complex and highly literary, while also sounding like a real voice speaking to us. But it could only be the voice of one person, and it could only be written. Imagine trying to adapt the above passage for dialogue or voice-over. Could you make the words sound natural if you had to speak them? Wallace has worked a reverse-Promethean theft, taking our humble spoken idioms and delivering them to the gods, to the firmament of high literary art.
You may have already referred to this article. Passing it along in case you haven't.

Hi Brent, Valleys of Neptune by Hendrix is great. I wonder what gems lurk in the vaults 40 plus years later?
Oh, and I received my copy of The Usual Mistakes and it happens to be a signed copy. Good surprise.
Hi Brent,

Just enlisted in the group. Thanks for the nice comments on The Father.... It will be done done soon.

Hey Enrique,

I've been keeping low as I continue to work on the novel. I've finally got it to the point where people are reading the whole damn thing and saying they enjoyed it (Anna posted a review). I intend to tinker a little more with it before publishing. I've also got an agent interested, but she has some "issues" that she wants to ponder before she agrees to represent it. No matter. If the novel works, I'll get it out there. For what it's worth, The New York Book Festival 2012 awarded an Honorable Mention to The Red Album of Asbury Park.

Take care,


Emotional interviews to say the least.
I have begun Manzarek's The Poet in Exile. (Only read the first chapter but very interesting so far.) How I would love to live on an island like that. At least we have our own virtual island...

I uploaded a photo of one of the Seychelles islands to our site.
• Small Gods, by Terry Pratchett
• Harvard Yard, by William Martin
• Eifelheim, by Michael Flynn
• The Casual Vacancy, by J.K. Rowling
• The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, by Jonas Jonasson
• The Gun Seller, by Hugh Laurie

Within the last few months I ditched all but one of these at some point of incompletion; they're listed in my reading journal, linked from my profile page. The one I finished was a slog, and I did it only because I was interested in the glimpses of Cambridge history and culture. I commented on some of them on my journal page and also one on the generic current-reads thread here (#7 & 31):
I've had a few total busts lately and am feeling very wary of investing anything in another dud. I've ranted about them in my reading journal thread. Would you be kind enough to offer me your evaluation when you're a little further along, maybe 100 pages in? Many thanks.
Hi--do you have any opinion yet on The Orphan Master's Son?
My reading schedule has been somewhat off of late, due to issues at work. Been short-handed going over two months, but was finally able to make an offer to someone yesterday, and he accepted, so hopefully relief is on the way.

Just this morning I was gazing at the stacks, contemplating my next read. A nice big dense one to carry me to the end of the year, or several shorter works? I can't decide!

I've just started the last chapter of Volcano. I really love, love, LOVE this book! I love the symbolism and the imagery. And I love how he just poured himself into it. Reminded me of the quote from Hemingway about writing: just sit down in front of the typewriter and bleed.

You know, I fell off reading the Max book, but I'll get back to it soon. I checked out "Conversations with David Foster Wallace," and have leafing through it, reading essays at random. Have you read this book? I really enjoyed the one where he insists on meeting the reporter at a Cracker Barrel, and then bums a shrimp off the photographer. Too funny!
Okay. I just ordered it from Better World Books. It had better be good though because it is going to mess up my perfect number of books: 2,222. I guess I should hurry up to 3,333. But I don't like that odd number. So I guess really I need to hurry up to 4,444.
I think someone was aiming a rifle with a laser scope site at me.
Is The Usual Mistakes book good? I like the cover!
Alabama. Where I grew up.
:-D Enjoy!
I would put it above Pollock. And let me add one more to your list (if it isn't already): Breece D'J Pancake. Benedict reminds me SO much of Pancake. And Pancake totally blew me away. He died much too early by his own hand (some debate that conclusion however) so he only had one posthumously-released volume of short stories.
Not yet. Currently reading Pinckney Benedict's first book (published when he was just 23 and highly touted by no other than Eudora Welty, Russell Banks, and Joyce Carol Oates) Town Smokes. Extremely impressed so far. But I will definitely get to Manzarek soon.
Great review for the D.T. Max. Wow! You are definitely a maximalist with most of your reviews. I want to go back and read it again to make sure I got everything out of it. Very nice job. Thumbed it of course.
Synopsis: The Doors Live At The Bowl ’68 – The band’s historic performance re–mastered in High Definition and 5.1 Surround Sound to bring the definitive version to cinemas for the first time
Brent, I don't know if you have a Studio Movie Grill near you, but if you do:

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There is a temple in Pakistan (?) Maybe it is in India.
The Lampedusa is a really nice find! Holbrook Jackson is one of those guys Porius is always bangin' on about and he is a reliable source.
I am finally getting around to reading The Devil All the Time. I am on Chapter 5. I like it. He doesn't seem to have any unique style (that I can detect yet) but technically he is very good. I wonder if he will keep using the fictional town/community Knockemstiff in future books like Faulkner did with his fictional county Yoknapatawpha.
Thanks for the review pimpage. I considered just using the first part with the poem. But I saw that mine would be the only (so far) review in English so I felt I should add more actual description of what the book is about so I added the second half.

That sucks that I didn't get to meet up with Bubba while I was in Austin. But I was there for such a short period of time. I didn't even see the real Austin. Just the outskirts where the clients and my hotel were located. Hopefully I will get to go back soon.
Just read your review of the Markson book. Wow. I will definitely be snagging that one for when I do a re-read of Volcano. What am I talking about? I've only just started the book, but I'm already thinking about a re-read?! But damn, I'm really loving it. It's giving me the same goosebumps that The Recognitions did. And now I just realized I need to add an extra tag: reread. First three tomes to get it will be Recogs, IJ, and Volcano.
You've probably already seen this, but if not, enjoy!
Yeah, I was disappointed. I was really looking forward to speaking tomes over some java with the Q-man! Oh well, I believe he said he gets down here fairly often, so we'll have to get together another time.

Great find on The Tunnel. I came close to picking up Omensetter's Luck before deciding on Under the Volcano. Was in the mood for a drinking book, I guess.

And don't get me started on the Rangers. I'm pretty disgusted with the hambone. He pretty much just put it on autopilot, and was there in body only. Everyone knows he's leaving the Rangers (probably headed your way if the damn yanks don't snag him.) Oh well, there's always next year. Good thing I'm a Tigers fan, too. I hope they destroy the Evil Empire!
Re Hottie's cousin: I first lost it when she was distracted by the airplane ;)
Related to the Naughty Hottie?
I've been meaning to tell you for ages that I read The Bookshop and loved it. Thank you!!! I particularly appreciated the character of Christine. A great little book, my only complaint being that there was always some barrier between character and reader; I'm not sure what, but I only saw everyone from the outside. I read it not long after our Tropics conversation about Lolita, which was very timely!

I've also not been keeping you up to date with my readings of Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I put it off for ages, actually, because Dreamers was so dark I was just never in the mood to revisit it. But I got it out again a while back and read on. They're awesome! I'm sure it doesn't hit me in the same way it does you - their place and time are both foreign to me - but there's so much in them of insight and humanity and intelligence. So far I'm most struck with that one about that little school of nonviolence, with the idealism and sense of drifting. And I really liked the one about weddings in Las Vegas too, light though it is. :) I've now finished that middle one, the long piece which is oh so bleak, ending with that little girl who's mother keeps her high. Incredible stuff.

♥ ♥ ♥
Do you have any book recommendations for me? I have like $20 left on a Better World Books gift certificate.
So I am trying to read Bukowski's Women but it just feels weird. I think reading it immediately after finishing Outer Dark has something to do with it. I went from a deep, poetic, dark novel, to very simplistic writing. I usually enjoy Bukowski but not this time so far. I enjoy his poetry more anyway. I thought about reading The Devil All the Time next but I figured I should read something a little lighter first. ...Don't want to go too far into the dark too fast.
Sounds very interesting! I'll definitely check it out. Haven't had much time to be on lately. Work is still killing me. Ugh.
I ordered Black Light today.
Brilliant review!
Oooh, books. Pretty. It's a wave of literature. (See what I did there?)
Aw man, I popped over expecting to see my old friend...instead, just a beautiful, awe-inspiring wave.
WG made Featured Legacy Libraries! How cool is that? I've been itching to get back into it, but work has been a drain of late. As soon as it lets up...
I know--that was right about when we became LT friends (or a couple of months later), you tranny granny you.
Have you seen the Infinite Atlas? I don't know my DFW at all well, but it certainly seems...intricate.
I hadn't heard of "The Bride of Texas." I must get it. My uncle tells a story of two our ancestors, two brothers fresh off the ship from Poland who were conscripted into the Confederate army and promptly killed in battle. Welcome to America!
Yay for Donald Ray, he's a blurbin' away!
I know! He's also so obviously the lesser of the two (maybe of any two?) writers he shouldn't even be allowed to have an opinion about DFW (or anyone else).

I'm just sayin'.
Interesting article in Salon>
Yes, I did enjoy "Outer Dark." But it was one of those books which left me with a bunch of questions once I finished it. I feel compelled to write about it, not a review, just working through some thoughts. I'll probably put it in a blog post. As soon as I get it posted, I'll let you know, and if you have time to take a look, I would really appreciate if you could provide some insight. Very strange read that is sticking with me.

And yeah, I'm glad I read "Devil All the Time" first. If I had read "Knockemstiff" first, I probably wouldn't have bothered. But I am glad I did read it, just to see how much better he got between the two. Amazing, really.

Good news about the interviews. But that commute is a major consideration, no doubt. Are the benefits better? Lots to consider.
I'm creaking along, doing a bit of writing, some editing, but mainly learning how to walk again on two feet. Like a child.
That one showed up as a recommendation for another book I was looking at (can't even remember which one, now.) I noticed Jo had it in his library, and after reading some of the reviews, figured, hell yeah, that's for me! I just wishlisted it for now, so I don't actually have a copy yet. But I will be on the lookout for it from now on.

And yes, I've been meaning to check out "Steps." I believe it was one of the five books DFW mentioned as being direly underappreciated.
Thanks for the link! I've seen lots and lots of the individual photos but never the site itself. I'm panting a little after spending 15 minutes scrolling through them.

Yes, I was a little confused, but figure out that it was you on the second post. Just read a review in the latest Harper's of the DFW bio. I didn't realize quite how tragic a figure he was. Sad.
My copy of The Royal Family is a pristine like new first edition hardback. Ha ha nanny nanny boo boo!!!
Libraries are so abusive to books, with their tape, and stamps and shit. We should start some kind of rebellion to save books from libraries. Rebellion in the streets!!! Burning cars. Libraries need to be kinder to books. This is the 21st century. Figure it fucking out. And don't say ebooks is the answer. Oooh. Puke. I need the smell of good ole 20th and 19th century paper. I need a book in my hand. But that's just me.
Are you kidding? How did you even get through that Larson book? I would have ended up throwing it across the room halfway through, if I even got that far. Great review though Brent. Wow, I wonder what he would have thought of Pentagram if he thinks Styx is evil.
Did you read The Royal Family recently or just rated it recently? Strange book, huh? Vollmann is the epitome of the prolific writer.

Gonna read your Larson review as soon as I get a moment...
Imma gonna start that sumbitch up tonight, soon as I knock off Knockemstiff. You know, of course, we all talk like that down here, right? :)
Very funny review. Burp! High God! Hell. I see it all very clearly. That spandex fits a little too tightly, don't you think?
Oh no, I like Confucius a lot. The particular Confucious translation I found myself reading through was a real lemon though.
But then I'd have to read it!
Not an auspicious first meeting...nobody came. It wasn't Treasure Island, it was Treasure Island!!! an odd, quirky little book that came out last year. Probably not a great first choice...Ah well.
One more: a not-terrible review today by the usually very cranky Michiko Kakutani of Every Love Story is a Ghost Story, which [I just found out] is out on 8/30.
Did you see this one? I have a Mac at home, but I'm not sure if I can figure out how to access it...but how neat!
My firstborn daughter was born to "Bohemian Rhapsody," back in '97

Ha ha, you really undersold that part of the anecdote. I am imagining a truly epic birth scene.

And that's adorable, of course. I totally understand where she's coming from--Queen makes me simultaneously choke up and pump my fist more reliably than any band I've ever met. The musical was a bit of a conceptual nightmare, but it's got a vibe somewhere in between Pink Floyd's The Wall and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (pushed through the usual cheesy Broadwayesque filter, of course), and the songs are right.
Nah, I trekked up the coast to Mission Viejo where I was an assistant manager at the big Borders there. Such a nice store! (Ah, they all were in their way...)
You betcha! That was a quick read. I just checked out "Outer Dark" and will be diving into that one, as well.

BTW, a friend just recommended "The Religion: A Novel" by Willocks, and I noticed you had a copy. Have you read it yet?

Oh, and another BTW: all the accolades you're getting for your latest review are well-deserved. Excellent stuff. Jo is right ;) Now, are you gonna review the others by RAW? I absolutely loved his and Shea's works. Hail Eris!
Just read your review of Masks of the Illuminati. Comparing it to Rabelais? Brilliant! Someone should pay you for this shit.
Enjoyed your review of 'masks of the Illuminati!', which had me scurrying to my bookshelves as I thought I recognised the cover. I soon found that I had a copy of 'The Illuminatus Trilogy' by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. A cult classic it says on the front cover, I dunno cos I've never opened it - perhaps I will now.
Hey buddy, nice review of Masks of the Illuminati!! (Is there a word for "review emulating the style of the work reviewed," because there should.) I might have told you this, but much of my early sexual education came from the original Illuminatus! trilogy, which were in a box of English sci-fi that constituted my only reading material when I was eight and at my grandparents' in Austria--leading to who knows what problems in later life.

How's things? I just got into London--first stop, the doctor, to get sea urchin spines removed from my foot and figure out why this jellyfish sting still stings after a week.
Damn, now that I've got a taste for this stuff, nothing else will do, it seems. Like a good bottle of shine, gonna keep drinking till I'm blind. So, you'd recommend "Outer Dark" and "Child of God?" Guess I'll take a pull from them after "Knockemstiff." Anything else along those lines you can recommend would be muchly appreciated, I reckon.
Welcome back to the daily grind. Hope your vacation was amazing.

I have heard a lot of good things about The Devil All the Time. I am going to have to order it.

Picked up Didion's The White Album at a used bookstore recently. Looking forward to it. The Year of Magical Thinking completely sold me on her (as well as your very informative pimps).
Most definitely! The darker, the better. Gothic hillbilly noir! Straight from the horse's mouth:

Are you back from vacation or just checking in?
In answer to your question on my blog, I've been engrossed in Donald Ray Pollock's "The Devil All the Time." My boss told me about it, and said it was so disturbing, he couldn't finish it, which, of course, piqued my curiosity. And as soon as I picked it up, I knew I wouldn't be able to put it down! I've never read anything quite like it. Southern Gothic, except it's set in Ohio. Dark, disturbing stuff. I love it!
Awesome! I used to live in Carlsbad--such a wonderful area. I was long gone by '06 when Fahrenheit 451 opened, though. You must let me know how it is!
Certainly. I'll give you a list, let you choose. Did I send you "Therapy"? I know we talked about that, and now it's done.

Just finished Denise Kaminsky and "Club Manhattan" for the final time. To my eye it's much better than the piece I sent you long ago, though the thrust and guts of it are the same. Turned out to be 300 or so words (about a page) longer this time around.
I don't know, Brent. He seems to be into the military, political sixties, which is not my thing. I'll check it out when a few people join and see where it goes, and if there's an opening there, maybe then. But thanks for looking out for me.

I'm redoing the Club Manhattan chapter, which you know, now that I've all but finished the last (country) part of the book, and will work my way forward until the two parts meet. Perhaps then I'll be done.
Good to see your review of Dog Soldiers, There was an excellent film of the novel made in 1978 directed by Karol Reiz I think. It starred Nick Nolte and the gorgeous Tuesday Weld.
Hahaha! Thanks for noticing. I had a blast logging those bad boys in, and then incorporating them onto my already overstuffed shelves!

How's the Crowley going? While we were on vacation, we visited an occult shop, and they had all of his works. I almost picked that one up, but decided to wait and find it used. Does he go much into mountaineering and chess? I seem to recall these were two of his pastimes. Quite a fascinating character.
Don't you just love Swan Song! It's a little dated (I mean, nobody worries about nuclear winter anymore, right?), but the characters and the prose--purple though it might at times be--just soar. I reread it a couple of summers ago when I was going through my post-apocalyptic phase, and thought it held up really well.

Just a quick note to let you know that even though our website is still under construction we're online as a webstore. It doesn't shop the store's inventory, so no used books, but does shop the Baker & Taylor database, so has many, many, many more things than we carry in store. And they're discounted. And free shipping over $25. Oh, and CDs and DVDs, too. Just sayin'.

Our event was crappy yesterday. Actually, the event itself was great--he's an awesome speaker and did a really nice slide show. But only one guy came. Sigh.

A signed Ferlinghetti?! Wow!!

Ciao for now.
Have I read Deep Survival? "OMG, OMG! We're all gonna die! Arrggghhhh!!!" Yes, I recall reading that one! 'Great book, and a great reason to work on one's emotional intelligence.

It was really great hearing from you,

How's it going Freeque! I was just chilling on LT; warming up for a massive (probably 140K volume) book sale in Westport, CT tomorrow.

'Just checking in and wanted to mention how much I've enjoyed your baby (Le Salon), over the years. As I always say, "big kids, help the little kids". I've learned so, so much from the gang.


Hey! I saw that you wrote me back in May. I have been busy working and stuff and have been neglecting my site here. When I get around to the books you mentioned, I'll let you know :)
Actually, I wasn't aware of that debate. Thanks, I can't wait to read about it!

Well, it looks as though I was a bit premature in announcing the stone's passing. It was just slumbering, and awoke in a really foul mood yesterday. I should have known it wouldn't be that easy. Sigh. But on a good note, I heard from Dalkey that they're finally shipping my order. Must've gotten temporarily misplaced, but better late than never. It will be my last book purchase for quite a while, until I've had a chance to read some of what I've got. At least that is what I keep telling myself.
Cute pic, huh? Yeah, my wife took it while we were vacationing. She didn't even realize my daughter and I were practically in the same position until she looked at it afterwards. Just turned out that way.
We're currently vacationing in Galveston. I snagged the DeLillo at the local library here (oldest library in Texas). Also raided a used bookshop where I found more Hawkes. Turning into a book-buying expedition!
I always figured that must be you! There are some pretty insightful reviews of that book at GR, but the scores tend to be exaggerated one direction or the other.
Crowley! Yes!!! Seriously traveled that path after my apostasy.
Thanks Enrique! Sorry for the late reply. I am deeply ashamed, one month... Also: glad that I am not the only one who had these thoughts about Freedom.

I have been avoiding The Year of Magical Thinking as being too depressing. You have convinced me otherwise. A thoughtful and enticing review.

Best to you and your family for the season.

I'm very curious. How is it that you add so many books so often? Are you really that much of a monster reader? (If so I'm even more intimidated.) Does your crack dealer have lots of 25c paperback sales? How are you doing it and where can I get in on the action?
I saw your Chapman literary journal. Check out this young fellow, currently on the Chapman faculty.

P.S. I recommend both novels.
I asked them to, and my publisher is including Fierce in the Early Reviewer Program! I so hope you get a copy! I figured out the touchstone thing--click to see all the title with fierce and mine's part way down. There are a LOT of fierce's out there :)

Wow! Thanks, Lola. I hope I've earned your kind regard. And I loved your answer to my question about Til We Have Faces.

I chanced across this site today and thought of you, though I have no idea if you want to take reviewing to a professional level--I do know that you have a rare and amazing talent.

How Fiction Works by James Wood. Surprisingly eye-opening, as most often I read at breakneck speed and don't really analyze. A little disappointed in his dismissal of genre writers as artists but hey, we can't have everything.
I hope you don't mind that I used a comment you made to me here on my book blog today at

I was happy to get the information and passed it on to others. Please let me know if you have any objections at all. Your id was not involved of course and most people enjoy having their comments about books and reading used in my posts. I'm easy to get along with so feel free to demand it's removal if you like.
Hi Lola,

Funny thing, I had just finished reading more of your site & reviews for the pure pleasure of it, then found your lovely note. Fierce is available for pre-order now at, and will ship on Jan 2.

PS I'd love to know which part of "Til We Have Faces" tells part of your life!


How'd you do today? Right at the epicenter, eh? We felt it pretty dramatically even way down here in the South Bay.

Hope all's well.

No only are we SoCals both, but let me tell you: though I haven't reread it in years, I still consider Gravity's Rainbow to be my favorite book of all time, pretentions, purple prose, and all. Now everybody...
Thanks! I see you speak Owlish :)
I read the Christina Stead novel that you suggested and I liked it very much.Thank you for taking the time to recommend "The Man Who Loved Children". And I love big books so thanks again.

If you like the title of that book you may really like the companion book "I like Jesus but Not the Church" by the same author.

I thought it was an awesome book!
Those Junior Classics look awesome.
Yes, his style is a bit stilted. But, it's what he says. Read the following and tell me it's not worth reading:

34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.
39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.
41 No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;
42 By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—
43 Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy;
44 That he may know that thy faithfulness is stronger than the cords of death.
45 Let thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; and the doctrine of the priesthood shall distill upon thy soul as the dews from heaven.
I worked with him in Italy. He is very gifted.
Thanks for the note on the tattoo! Your review of [Infinite Jest] is phat :D
Hey there! Thanks for the great comment on my profile...I'm enjoying your library! What book of mine would I recommend as a starter? Either 100 Jolts (which is a hundred flash fiction horror stories) or the slightly pricier PROVERBS FOR MONSTERS (which is a 'best of Arnzen' career retrospective that recently won the Bram Stoker Award for Fiction Collection). Either way, I'd be honored by a read. Let me know what you think.. And keep that freeque flag flying high!

-- Mike Arnzen,
In! the! Infinite! Jest! Adventure! I! am! currently!...200 pages in...after 11 days of reading. Usual speed of 100 p.p.d. has slowed down dramatically as I spend my days ignoring my books. And JESUS! I.J. is one thick mother! The style changes so often. Up until around 190 I kind of wondered why it had such a tough reputation when it comes to use of obscure words, and then I had to suddenly start looking up 5 per sentence, and then I gave up and threw my dictionary in the trash and just read without knowing what in some god's name he was talking about goddamn. And I'm leaving on the 20th now...I think. Maybe. If I feel like it. If I can't finish IJ by then...I'll have to put it off. I don't want to lug that thing around with me for a month. I'm sorry! :( (I think I was chuckling all through that famed scatological GR incident...just wait for Shirley Temple...and planes and pie and drunken singing assholes...and, again, Byron....oh Byron!) (I think I'm going to say GR definitely is the better of the two books--but I'm only at p. 200, and I hear it really doesn't pick up until 300! or...maybe it was 700. I'm sure it'll find a place in the top 10 [I'm a bit reluctant when it comes to throwing out some Barth, finally able to push its way up that ladder and knock out the Brautigan, poor guy(s)...golly], but as it is now I don't feel it'll be as high a place as I expected before picking it up.)

MANNNN, I thought you were going to make shitlit a group for discussion, not another profile? I feel kind of bad, since I disagree on a number of your selections. >_>

Swear it! Swear the second you finish GR, you're going to jump into TI!T. You want to, no lies.

KATHY ACKER! KATHY ACKER! KATHY ACKER! I think my English teacher last sem. recommended her to me and I went to Amazon and I looked up one or two or maybe more of her books and kind of maybe definitely blindly just hit the button that says something about adding a product I am viewing to my wishlist on every one leaving them lost among five thousand items tossed in there since o-five.

So I looked her up on my trusty friend the Wiki, and she was...influenced strongly by porno? That's pretty hep. I don't recognise titles. Maybe she had some stuff published (posthumously) in McSweeney's? Sounds a name they'd pick up from the descriptions. I'll totally do it in my hunts. Sadly, seriously, some of the sites I'm most excited to get to in Arizona are book shops I haven't been to in years, untouched since by my hands and thus bound to have the goods. Oh actually Blood and Guts is familiar to me, the cover photo of it, so I must have been led to it at some point...I stopped caring; moving on: next paragraph.

Haw haw, reading your Barthelme review kind of made me stop lying to myself on the quality of it. You happened to pick up three of the four Barthelme books that really aren't worth reading. I don't know much about the coll. with the T. Pynchon intro., but uh, I hear kind of OH MY GOD THE PYNCHON IS LIKE THE ONLY THING WORTH READING RITE kind of comments. Dr. Caligari is a pretty mediocre collection. Continue to stay far away from Snow White, stick to short stories, any post-Caligari.

This last paragraph and the one I'm typing now are in response to your older post I never properly acknowledged and replied to. I read Ulysses simply to be a twat. I understood jack. I still don't understand much, more really just respect it, and can't wait to reread it later. I also read Mein Kampf the same year and actually enjoyed it OK. I also didn't soak much in from that book. I could have read anything.

Today I plugged in a 30-year-old blender (at least) and threw in random fruits and had my first own delicious and healthy fruit smoothie-like drink and BOY IT WAS GOOD. Kiwis rule. And so do--although not a fruit like the kiwi, but rather a bird, like the kiwi--kakapos. Silly bastard things.
Our little guy is gearing up for toilet training. I couldn't help but notice your latest additions to the library. Recommendations?

Enjoying the dialogue you have going with RSH.
Good suggestions. I've actually read Infinite Jest a few years ago, and I totally agree with you on Never Let Me Go, which I read last year sometime. Actually, I read the Ishiguro book just before my first Atwood book, another dystopian, Oryx and Crake. And the Ishiguro book completely ruined that Atwood book for me. The Handmaid's Tale was definitely stronger than Oryx, and its afterward added a twist that I thoroughly enjoyed. Still, I'd say the Ishiguro book is the best of the bunch.

Seeing as how I loved The Name of the Rose, I'm excited to read Foucault's Pendulum at some point in the near future. And Women & Men is the only McElroy novel I haven't read, and it's definitely a weight on my shoulders.

I decided for a quick read through Heshel's Kingdom, a book I picked up because it was mentioned by name in a W.G. Sebald book, and because my great-grandfather came from Lithuania at some point himself.

I did read about your Gravity goal. I'm glad to hear that you're working through it. I've said the same myself, but haven't succeeded. I should try. I did really like V.


Hey! Looks like you've got an amazing library yourself! Summer's slowed down my reading, and my buying. But I've got to pick myself something off of the shelf, having finally got around to reading and finishing Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Suggestions?
Hello backatcha! Glad you also enjoyed the movie; it seems to be continually relevant. Loved reading your interesting and eclectic profile, and look forward to browsing your shelves as I get time. I always have tons of books in my "to be read" pile thanks to Paperbackswap.
I just wonder how you could possibly do that. I can NOT leave a book unfinished. Only read two at a time in the rare occasion that truly calls for it. Train yourself! Do not give up 5 pages in! 50 pages in! 300! and cetera!

I thought GR REALLY picked up after about 200. I mean, I loved the first section and everything, but it was more of a long introduction, and it may sound unbelievable because that section was just so damn good, but it only gets better and better by the page.

And strangely--yes, I'm even weirded out by this--, I did not find Gravity's Rainbow a hard read. I was amazed while reading it what an addictive stroll it was. As I just mentioned to another fellow on here, I do kinda wonder how much I missed without any help. I did have the pleasure of studying the Story of Byron the Bulb (a nice digression that takes place about 750 pages in [my copy: longer than newer trades], that Harold Bloom calls the greatest example of 20th century art [books particularly], and by god! it truly is!) and discovered a lot I didn't realise the first time through for a freshman English class last year....Also strangely, I found every Pynchon book I read before much harder going, even V. and Vineland. (The latter is always called his easiest, the former always a warm-up experience necessary for GR. I don't really remember how difficult I found Lot 49, I know I read it in a day, don't remember much, and had no idea of Pynchon's difficult upon opening it, only knowing a lot of Robert Anton Wilson fanatics called it a similar book, the definitive conspiracy book, et cetera.) I didn't have a lot of trouble with Mason & Dixon when I read that last January either.

I kinda feel it was my absurd amount of enthusiasm I had going into it every day (for ten days). So after that, I've always told people to just read intending to have fun and laugh on every page (which I did), and don't worry about the deep symbolism or the lengthy digressions. Fun. FUN!

Oh god! no! seriously! I'm going to read Infinite Jest soon! AND I MEAN SOON! Gotta quickly finish up this Strugatsky book, and then it's time for Bond #5 and another review, and then? THEN!? I touch DFW's masterpiece, and then hopefully I'll have time to read Against the Day too before July 21st, when I board a train (with, I might and will fucking add, a selection of books including Paul Theroux's train travelogues through Asia and America, Bryson's A Walk in the Woods, and maybe some more Dorsey...perhaps?) and head to Tucson, Arizona, to meet friends and travel all over the state and scope out NAU for a transfer after this next year. (Really miss Flagstaff...beautiful place.)

I actually got into pomo around the time I read Ulysses (age 16? 17?), being a real snooty, arrogant high school kid. I wanted to, like, prove I was smarter than all my classmates, as usual. Good times. Didn't work, despite my delusions.

You read any Antrim? I only just picked up a book by him recently after hearing a small bit about him. Sounds decent enough.

And goddamn, I really enjoy that hunt for used, rare books. Almost always mass market. I really can not stand trade paperback, and try to only buy newer books in that format that will never be released in a shorter, slightly cheaper (these days) state. Not a fan of hardbacks either. Do enjoy finding first edition/printings of some favorite authors. I'm really kicking myself for not picking up a first edition of Barth's Giles Goat-Boy for $6 last weekend, or a signed (man! he's going to be dead soon...and speaking of dead...poor George Carlin. Not usually sad about celebrity deaths anymore than the death of your average Joe Blow, but he was one smart dude) 1st edition of Gary Snyder's Mountains and Rivers Without End (think that's right...) at this new shop I discovered in San Antonio (thus a little too far for me to just go back and pick them up any time) called Nine Lives that has palm readers, a Celtic folk group that walks around playing every Sunday, and cats always running around the aisles (as well as an adoption center). Uh, where was I? I took a photo of my new set-up for my mass market...collection...a few days ago, and should find somewhere to post it and link to you. It's a little scary. I get told by women all the time I need to get a life, and they're always referring to my massive book collection and obsession with literature in a pejorative manner. Punks. :( I started this paragraph intending to talk about the massive hunts I occasionally go on, usually accompanied by a friend or two with similar literary obsessions, where we'd go over two or three days to nine used book shops. During the first epic book shop pilgrimages, I went to 11 book shops over San Antonio, San Marcos, Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth over 2 weeks and bought over 150 books. This was in January. Lately I've been digging more into independent shops (the first was mostly made up of Half-Prices).

Oh, by the by, I also took the time to make a TOP 50! list of books. Enjoy. There may be some changes. I kinda want to add The Wasp Factory and the book I just read once it settles in, John Barth's Chimera--excellent, as you'd expect. Sort of an expansion on two stories dealing with mythology from Lost in the Funhouse. The first novella, Dunyazadiad, about the 1001 Nights, was a little rocky (see: boring) but Perseid and Bellerophoniad were up with his best. Only ever read that book once you get all of the following knocked out, because the 4th wall is frequently broken and the novels and characters are discussed: The Sot-Weed Factor, Giles Goat-Boy, and to a lesser degree, Lost in the Funhouse (the two -iad stories are discussed a bit). His first two novels are mentioned in passing, but hey! they aren't that great. In fact, I think my ratings are a little too kind for them.

I actually got in--I wrote that and then went back and added some to the paragraph above. No idea what I was going to say now.

Barthelme's a hard find. I often do run into 60 and 40 Stories but I don't have much interest in those now, since I've started reading all the individual books he took stories from to compile them. I also run into Snow White, his first novel, a whole hell of a lot, but that book wasn't that good. Dead Father wasn't that great now that it's settled in either. I think I've been a little generous with both (in fact, recently lowered my rating for the first novel). DF sounds much better in the summary/back than it actually is. Stick with the short stories.

Did you get the RAW? DO IT MANG! DO IT! Stick out until you find a mass market copy of Lot 49, if you ask me. Or finish V. as your first. Hmm. Why don't I read many women authors? I did read the title story for that O'Connor collection you mentioned months ago for my lit. class. I really enjoyed it. I need to get around to her soon, but have so much blocked up this summer it probably won't be until next semester Fall. Similar to her, why the hell have I still not read any Faulkner (ignoring one short story)?

My reading has really slowed down around the time I picked up Chimera. Also read another Dorsey, and boy golly, his Serge books are so damned fun! You should really check them out. But uh, anyway, this slowing down is thanks to an hour or so I pondered on my daily activities. I waited too long to apply for a summer job, until after my visiting friends left, and came up unable to get one, so I thought about how I've been spending my days lately, literally doing nothing, watching TV (how I've hated TV for so long...WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME?....Gee, "Scrubs" sure is funny...STOP IT, TODD! STOP IT!), reading, and all the while getting more out of shape (summary of life in relation to health: athlete until appendicitis in 4th grade, became a fat sumbitch until 10th grade, since have hovered between tubby and normal, always lacking any muscle to speak of), so I started exercising (I wrote exorcising first...) an unhealthy amount and gave up meat, and SHOCK! SURPRISE! starting actually chowing down on vegetables daily, all out of desperation and a attitude that says "Why waste my time doing nothing?" and after a few days I somehow stumbled upon Parkour, which has gotten me excited about getting fit and is keeping me interested and yeah isn't it obvious I'm full of glee about it? What has this got to do with literature? Not a thing, but I feel the need to mention it. Gawrsh, Parkour looks fun, and what I can do so far is fun.

Long post. Damn.

Cheers to you, sir!

If you ever want, I could possibly look for books (Barthelme?) for you and mail them out. Ahh, back in high school after I moved, the old best friend since childhood and I used to send 25-pound boxes of books to one another on our birthdays, and for a short period I did the same with music demos when I was an obsessive black metal fan. Once again: good times.
I've been looking at Terry Southern a whiles now, always coming across his books and giving them a look after the title Red-Dirt Marijuana caught my eye. I've heard pretty good things from a brotha, too, about that one and the Magic Christian.

How did you enjoy Coover's Brunists? I don't really know what to think about it. The story, the characters (except Tiger), the setting, none of it really appealed to me, and I wanted to maul just about every character at least 30 times, but the writing was great; I feel it was at least 250 pages longer than it should have been. Not at all what I expected. Wheres was the pomosss? the humour??? Does that appear in Coover's books later? It kind of reminded me of Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion, except switch out coal-mining with logging in Oregon....and, you know, the religious cult was new. 'Cept it wasn't as good. (READ KESEY!)

How's the Farina goin'? Oh mannnn, I found a copy of Long Time Coming and a Long Time Gone, his second, posthumously-published book, a few weeks ago and nearly shat myself (so rare!).

Anyway, recommendationz, huh? Well, well, well....looking at what we share....(Why are the Barth only PARTIALLY READ?! AND Catch-22!? AND NABOKOV? and the Kerouac!? [Did you say once you went through a beat-phase? You read any other Kerouacs? Dharma Bums is...incredible...)...I was going to recommend DeLillo, but it doesn't seem like you're a big fan? If you are interested in trying another of his sometime, go RATNER'S STAR! his most Pynchon-influenced. YEAH DELIVERANCE, just read that last month and was blown away by the sodomy captured so poetically. If you like that Ellis you've, American Psycho is the sheet, full of lols. That Flann O'Brien should not remain unread much longer, either, goddamn (same with Auster). WAIT. WHAT IS THIS. WHAT. IS. THIS? UNREAD MASON & DIXON? UNREAD VINELAND? PARTIALLY READ V. / GR????!?!? YOU. YOU CRAZY. Get on that sheet, right nao! Mason + D. has Popeye the Sailor. Reason enough to read it.

You ever read any John Hawkes? I just picked up that Second Skin not long ago, hearing good things from a pomo-obsessed prof.

OK, OK, I can't believe you don't have Robert Anton Wilson (and Robert Shea)'s The Illuminatus! Trilogy, man. Why is that? You've at least heard of it? I read that back in Jan. '05, junior in high school, and it changed my life. I wouldn't even have this LT page if not for RAW's writing. It's directly or in- introduced me to nearly every writer I love now, the pomo movement, the beat movement, etc., whatever. Got me away from only pop pulp fiction, like Michael Crichton. Had a complete obsession with Crichton before then (and still have a soft spot for him...grew up on Jurassic Park).

Brautigan? Remember him? He is required reading. Most of his books are worth reading, and pretty hard to come by these days, half being OOP. Look for In Watermelon Sugar, Trout Fishing in America, The Abortion especially, though many others come highly recommended as well.

I'm also surprised you haven't read any Dave Eggers. He's pretty close with DFW. Enjoyed everything I've read by him THOROUGHLY.

Breece D'J Pancake died before he could really get his career started, and a few years after his death, his stories were collected together. Really should pick that'n' up. Kind of a mix between Hemingway and Raymond Carver, but better than both at their best (well, maybe not Hemingway...maybe).

Last week I read two INCREDIBLE books back to back, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which ye're familiar with, and the Strugatsky brothers' sci-fi epic Roadside Picnic, which I got interested in after getting somewhat obsessed with Tarkovsky's '79 adaptation, Stalker, the recent PC game S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and the similarities between the Zone of the book and the Chernobyl Zone in Ukraine. The original Zone of the Strugatsky bros., full of it's gravitational anomalies, is one of the most fascinating creations...(and the Tarkovsky movie rules too).

Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory, for rills.

You have no Donald Barthelme? You're really missing something there.

Arthur Bradford, frequent contributor for Eggers' quarterly pomo lit. mag, released Dogwalker a few years back, and it's a fun little collection of humourous and quirky short stories I can easily recommend, if you can possibly find it. Similar to Bradford, Edward Carey's Observatory Mansions is a great and strange cult read you should look for.

And previously mentioned, Fleming and Dorsey are both a whole hell of a lot of fun to read. Dorsey is supposed to be similar to both Hiaasen and Barry, neither of whom I've yet read anything by, but he writes comedy-noir set exclusively in Florida, surrounding a murderous, goofy psychopath obsessed with Florida history. His sense of humour can be easily compared to Pynchon's (but his writing can't).

I don't know what else. I recently picked up this book The Nightclerk, old Grove Press release, compared on the book itself to Naked Lunch. I can't find anything on it anywheres. Looks good. Robbe-Grillett's books look damn good, too.

You may like Tony Vigorito's Just a Couple of Days, and Kris Saknussemm's Zanesville.


OH, I actually looked at your last message I never replied to. Mentioned in it Fear and Loathing. Forgot about that. And yeah, definitely, I read Tom Wolfe's book and enjoyed it, enjoyed it so hard.

Hey! you talked about the Brunists too! Wow-how-how, did I even read this message? I don't remember any of these words! Yeah, Lost in the Funhouse was thrown out, I don't remember what for, and I still don't quite know how much exactly I liked that book. Some equal the best short fiction evar, others not so much, but none were bad. Once past the 9th spot on that list, things become somewhat unstable, and I no longer am ever sure of that's how I want them, and thinking about it for ten or fifteen minutes I just have to force myself to stop because it's a fucking list of favorite books and my god it's a waste of my I might do a top 50 sometime soon. It's so tempting now. But I kinda feel like waiting until after I've read 500 books (411 ATM). Why do I set little objectives like that or reading a certain book before replying? BLAH BLAH BLAH. Peace out.
The "poofed out pecs" are amazing! "Without Strings" was inspired by a beloved friend with Angleman's who lived much of his life in an institution, but still loves people and life.


Thanks for your lovely review of Love You to Pieces. Your words made me cry!
Nah, I don't really write poetry. I wrote senryu/haiku-like thing mentioned before was actually my first, discounting high school english assignments, because now I actually like poetry. Seriousness: I only started reading poetry a few months ago, or late last year when I got into Brautigan, but only kinda liked his stuff at first, then I had this lit. class where we covered poetry first, which I dreaded, before moving on to fiction (in the end, I very much enjoyed the poetry section more...the fiction choices are boring as hell [and he SKIPPED Barth's "Lost in the Funhouse!" (COME ON!)]), and I've got a couple hippie-like beliefs stirring around, so the name in class I was drawn to most was...dear old Walt. Leaves of Grass led to all else. Already liked beat prose authors, and ahhh, hippie mysticism of Tim Leary and the Pranksters and RAW, so I've mostly been reading beat and SF renaissance poets. Not much else outside of the beats, actually. Read some Rimbaud (didn't know what to think about A Season in Hell (or is it in quotations?) but I really loved "The Drunken Boat"...and, uh, I dunno. William Carlos Williams. Started a little Mayakovsky today. All of these mentioned are thrown around a lot in Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti poems.

But, uh, yeah, I'd like to write poetry. Romantic youthful visions (see: dreams [see: bullshit; not gonna happen]) again, sitting in a jazz bar and snapping out some improv to Thelonious (this is what being young and reading beats does to ya).

A pantoum: I don't know how to explain poetry, really.
But I picture it being:
A/B/A/B//B/C/B/C//C/D/C/D//D/E/D/E//E/A/E/A ?? McSweeney's where I learned of them has a brief explanation here:

I don't know if they're still accepting. I think I'm going to quit on it anyway. I did not act when I was inspired, and seriously forgot most of my ideas I felt satisfied with. Sitting down now I come up with trash, high school material. Or so I feel, since I'm sure what I'm satisfied with is also rubbish.

When I think of the words "published writer" money does not cross my mind. I see myself more dabbling, always doing it on the side. I guess. ...

Have not see The Last Waltz; would sort of like to, more-so for the Ferlinghetti I've heard about before. Not actually a big fan of Scorsese. Or the Band. (If that's right.)

How was Brunists? and what cult be ye talkin'?

I'll see if I could possibly find some authors to recommend later. It's late.
Once I put off replying a day I end up extending it to weeks and sometimes months, especially when it calls for an excess of words, so forgive the delay.

How much does it cost to rent fire lookouts? I'd rather try working there on a summer, but...whatev, man, whatev. I'm actually reading Deliverance right now. Dug some of Dickey's poetry early in this semester and have been meaning to read the book since. I'm only after about 5 days on page 50--so much slower than I usually read: 100 pages a day, but I've been distracted as the dickens lately. Currently doing finals, although I'm not really studying for those (tomorrow I have English, and I was s'posed to write a pantoum [because McSweeney's is accepting and I figured for school it'd force me to actually practice writing (I'm always too lazy to)] but I just don't feel like it, and wrote a back-up haiku-like possibly senryu I don't know I don't know much about haiku poetry as it's never grabbed me but I've sorta liked a few and not so much many others just in case I was too lazy to get off my ass and write out this pantoum [right now I just have a long list of images and words I wanted to throw in] but now I'm just thinking "fuck it--I don't feel like doing anything" so I'm not doing a thing with my time instead damn it what is my problem?), instead I've been playing the latest Zelda game day and night. (Haven't played a game this obsessively since I was a lad.)

Also taking a break from it to read Ferlinghetti's A Far Rockaway of the Heart. I dig Ferlinghetti.

I've also been thinking of devoting a couple years to joining the FFL (YES, France) and teaching English to youngsters in Korea after college now. Hmmmmmmm!

Going Native's been sitting on my shelf a whiles. You're making me want to read it before starting this trip in a week or two. Should I? How is it? et cetera?

I picked up J R the other day for a buck! Ahhh, I really love those used book shops. Mark it as $8, but ask politely for a discount and you get $30 worth of books for $7.

On Coover, I got just about all of those in the recent past. Don't know much about him, but see his name alongside DFW and Pynchon and Barth and Barthelme all the time, 'specially that Pricksongs

From your recommendations, all the Hoban I've recently started hunting for, but not very hard, because I didn't look too much into what they were about, just wrote the names down to kinda look into at some other time, seeing them high up on a pomo-biased "TOP 100 OF 20TH CENTARURRTRYRY!!" list.

Man, too much stuff to read.

You yourself a published writer?

Someday I hope to visit the City Lights bookstore in Cali, knowing still the stuff would be way too expensive to me, I could just roll around and be happy (does Ferlinghetti actually spend time there?). Mmmm.
Thanks for stopping by! My cat is becoming very vain from all the attention she has been getting lately. I love your library and we share a lot of great books—so despite your living in SoCal I probably have more in common with you than I do with my next door neighbor.
Hey, now, V. is still a fantastic novel, and obviously a favorite of mine, but uh, ah, uhh, well, I guess ANYTHING would be a let down after reading GR, seriously. Most fun 900 pages I've ever read. Ahhh, those pomo crackers, they and the beats are all I need. (You should go ahead and suggest any more unknown authors if you know and dig any that I don't have. Yes, sir.)

I took a year off college doing nothing but books, alone in my room day after day, so now I'm not really studying anything, doing the basics, trying to figure out what I want to do. Originally business after family peer pressure, but fuck business, so I'm switching to my love--ENGLISH--at some point. I would like to spend a few years teaching, a few years living and working at the Arcosanti, maybe some time as a fire lookout on a mountaintop (if they still have those...obviously got that idea from Kerouac), some time in a faraway Buddhist monastery, and if I decide to double-major with biology, maybe some years traveling around and collecting specimens to sell to bastard corporations, and then settle down with a nice used book shop. I hope you enjoyed reading me attempting to decide writing that all out.

Gaddis, I always heard great things of him, and decided to start with Carpenter's Gothic (it was called his most accessible), and really didn't care too much for it. His other stuff much better? Never leave a book unfinished, but I don't know if I can go through 900 pages of that, and I hear it's a bunch of obscure references to art and cetera (talking strictly Recognitions). And stuff.

Hope you do well with those Danielle Steele fans (I really didn't know any existed).
No, I'm not a weightlifter, I'm a puny sort of fellow, out of shape and all that. Image of American health (OK not that bad right). Like to be, but I seem to be pretty shitty at keeping a regular schedule for exercising...and I'm going a little off here.

I have the Broom so high up because I've yet to READ I.J., dig. When I first got interested in DFW I read so many reviews saying how one will dislike Broom if you read it after I.J., so I decided to try reading his books by publication date. I've been putting off I.J. for a really long time now...meaning to read it at every break from classes I have, but end up not. Plan now is to read it over a trip in May. Probably won't happen. Once again, going a little off here. Thing is, see, I found Broom to be a hell of a lot of fun. Pretentious? yes! but I admit to liking pretentious, self-indulgent writing. Loved most everything about Broom, the characters, the Pynchonesque slapstick, and even the mid-sentence ending that everyone complains about.

Giles Goat-Boy, and most other Barth I've read, is fantastic. I still giggle thinking about those puns in the dramatic re-telling of the Oedipus story...

But, ahhh, anyway....the body-building thing is...real? (Picture certainly seems more of a joke in relation to THIS site...[?]) It's so strange for a lit. geek, you know? What's yr age?...a body-building, DFW-loving grandmother of three....So...weird...if...I may say without sounding like a punk.
You're a very strange person...if!'re real!
Oh, you're so lucky! I've been wanting a copy of Dore's illustrations for a while, but just haven't been able to buy it. I still haven't read Paradise, it's been sitting on my shelf for a while and I'm so caught up with school and all I just don't have the time. Have you read the whole Comedy?
Thanks for cheering me up
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