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Member: ChimeraObscura

CollectionsYour library (1,240)


Tags"Voyant Publishing" (5) — see all tags

MediaBook (1,240), Paper Book (1,239)

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About meI was born in a geographically large (28 square miles), demographically small (12,500 people) town in northern NJ in 1971. I live there now with my wife, in the house I was raised in. Not counting a semester at Tulane University in New Orleans, I’ve lived all my life on a 400-mile line along the east coast. From north to south, it’s been western Massachusetts, northern New Jersey, southeastern Pennsylvania, and Annapolis, MD (because I’m not sure how you’d describe its position in the state).

My brother (3 years older) and I are first-generation Americans. Our parents met in Israel, but their family histories canvass Europe and Russia (Mom was born in London, Dad in Bucharest). My dad’s never been a reader, but my mom always had plenty of books around in our youth.

Our earliest reading was comic books, starting with scavenged, coverless copies at flea markets and HAMfests. From there, I moved on to science fiction novels, some of which may have been a bit inappropriate for a young’un, but I was also listening to The Who around the age of 8, so maybe we should just settle on “precocious.”

In my mid-teens, Alan Moore’s comics turned me on to more “serious” writers, like Thomas Pynchon. In my undergrad years at Hampshire College, I did a big project on “the encyclopedic novel,” which I’m now convinced was just a ploy to read large books that I knew most other students wouldn’t come near.

Which is to say, I’m not sure what I learned from that study, or from my three-plus years there. I mean, I read a lot in college, but I read a lot now, and my parents aren’t paying $20K+ per year for my privilege. Growing up, I never really got what college WAS; neither of my parents had gone to college, and it literally never occurred to me to ask anyone what it’s for.

Honestly, I’m still not sure what purpose college serves, but I think that’s because my education didn’t prepare me in the slightest for my career as a trade magazine editor. Everything I do now is based on my writing ability, my organizational skills, and my ability to learn. In all likelihood, I could’ve had a more rewarding experience as an undergrad; I blame myself (and my attendant lack of discipline) for that.

I’m quite fortunate that my brother nudged me toward St. John’s College, where he got his master’s degree. I pursued that same path and discovered what are colloquially termed as The Great Books. The two years I spent in Annapolis with those books and the students and tutors were the most fruitful of my life, if you consider learning, basketball and skirt-chasing to be major priorities.

After finishing St. John’s in 1995, I moved back to NJ and found work as an associate editor on a trade magazine. I’ve worked in that field ever since. I was named editor when my company decided to launch a pharmaceutical magazine in 1999, and that's where I work today.

Actually, there was a caesura between “back to NJ” and “found work”. I spent six weeks on a job-hunt. This left my days pretty free, so I began reading William Gaddis’ The Recognitions. I finished that giant novel the day before I received the job offer that started me on this career.

From 1998-2004 I also used to run a small press known as Voyant Publishing. I put out a few books by Vincent Czyz, Samuel Delany and Paul West before I gave up. Books can be a harsh mistress.

As with The Recognitions lot of books are tied to times and places in my life; that’s why I’ve been keeping a list of all the books I’ve finished since I started college in 1989. That covers just about half of my life, and there are plenty of dead periods in there, books I never finished, and titles I either can’t remember reading or can’t imagine I was ever dopey enough to read, but that’s what our lives are, isn’t it?

About my libraryLike a lot of people on this site, my life has revolved around books for about as long as I can remember.

Fortunately, I've been using Delicious Library to catalog my books for a while now. I'll try to get around to tagging things and posting some brief reviews sometime soon.


Favorite authorsAeschylus, Aristophanes, Peter Bagge, Eddie Campbell, Robert A. Caro, Daniel Clowes, Samuel R. Delany, Euripides, Paul Di Filippo, David Gates, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Homer, Dylan Horrocks, Norman Maclean, Henry Miller, Vladimir Nabokov, George Orwell, Charles Portis, Marcel Proust, Thomas Pynchon, Ron Rosenbaum, Philip Roth, William Shakespeare, Sophocles, Thucydides, Lewis Trondheim, Bill Watterson, Paul West (Shared favorites)


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Real nameGil Roth

LocationRingwood, NJ

Account typepublic

URLs /profile/ChimeraObscura (profile)
/catalog/ChimeraObscura (library)

Member sinceAug 10, 2007

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