There are Too Many Books and I am Losing my Mind Over How I Will Never Read Enough No Matter How Long I Live Even if I Read Every Second of Every Day and Stop Eating or Sleeping

There are too many books. There. I’ve said it. Stop writing books please. I’m only halfway through The Iliad and now David Mitchell has another fucking book coming out? C’mon Mitchell. Give me a break. Sure, your books are in turns puzzles, elegies, adventures, and epics–but can you slow down a little bit? I haven’t even read Mill On The Floss yet. How has this happened? I mean, it took me weeks to read Middlemarch nearly twenty years ago and I just haven’t had the time to get back to Eliot. And Marilynne Robinson has a new one coming out, too? It’s just generally very uncool of her to put out another book when I’m still thinking about Housekeeping. Bogus move, Robinson. It’s like all these writers are trying to say more words than the world needs. Stop putting your words together. It’s annoying and rude. I’m going right now to start a Facebook group that will demand all writers stop writing books for at least two hundred years so the rest of us can catch up. All except for George R.R. Martin. If that guy doesn’t hurry up and get Daenerys Targaryen up on a goddamn dragon, I’m going to lose my mind.

…from Delillo’s White Noise, #amreading #reading

white-noise1I’m totally surprised by Don Delillo’s White Noise. I don’t know what I expected. It’s fantastic. Here’s a small selection from early in the book:

“They had to evacuate the grade school on Tuesday. Kids were getting headaches and eye irritations, tasting metal in their mouths. A teacher rolled on the floor and spoke foreign languages. No one knew what was wrong. Investigators said it could be the ventilating system, the paint or varnish, the foam insulation, the electrical insulation, the cafeteria food, the rays emitted by micro-computers, the asbestos fireproofing, the adhesive on shipping containers, the fumes from the chlorinated pool, or perhaps something deeper, fine-grained, more closely woven into the basic state of things.”


A little #Rumi for what ails ya…

The Guest House

rumi116fThis being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.


Various thoughts on #Change and Entry into the New Year


I’ve had long hair for thirty years. On December 30th, I went short. It was simply time. I thought it would be a sad moment, but it was a freeing experience. I’d been holding onto the long hair for a long time even though I wasn’t quite sure why. It just “was.” I think I was mostly tired of braiding it every morning. I was holding onto the idea of the braid and not enjoying the braid. It was like giving up a character defect–once it was gone,  I couldn’t believe I’d carried it around with me for so long. It was a vanity. I’m glad that the braid (fifteen inches long) will be helping someone through Locks of Love soon.

I only have one new year’s resolution each year: Take better care of my teeth. I’ve used the same resolution for about ten years because I like my teeth and I want to keep them. It seems to be working. A few of the ones in the back are gone, but mostly due to wisdom teeth issues. I like the pointy ones up front the best.

But I do like the idea of having a plan for change at the beginning of the new year. All is change, after all. Here are some things on my plan:

Finish the novel I started in the summer of 2012. I’m transcribing my handwritten journals now. Lots of work ahead.

Write some short stories in Peter Markus’ online workshop. His writing is so different than mine. I signed up because I hoped working with him would shake something loose. I’m not sure what it means to be a writer any longer.

Read way, way more. I read fifty books this year. In 2014, I want to try and double that number. I need to breathe in more books. Not analyze, mind  you, simply read. Last year, I read all of Camus’ fiction published while he was alive. This year, I have a whole boatload of reading goals, but here are the three most important:

Read twenty novels by contemporary women writers. I’ve posted about this before on my blog before and I’ll update frequently. I’m reading Rachel Kushner’s The Flamethrowers now.

Also: Read all seven of Thornton Wilder’s novels. The only thing I’ve ever read of Wilder’s–and this was all the way back in high school–was Our Town. The man won a Pulitzer and a National Book award and hardly anyone talks about his fiction. In fact, I’ve never really heard his fiction mentioned in a class, ever. That may be my fault, but still I feel it should be rectified. Also, I’ll read the new Wilder bio by Penelope Niven.

Also: this year, I’m going to read all of Shakespeare’s sonnets. He’s the bard, yo.

Other goals of the year: more classical music. In particular, I’m interested in the symphonies of Mahler. I’m not saying I won’t rock, because I certainly will, but the classical realm has been calling me.

In my next post, I’ll reflect on the past year’s goals and add a couple more to this list.

#Reading #Novels #ShadowoftheWind

shadow-of-the-windThis long book grabbed me very slowly. I didn’t feel for many pages that I would continue reading, but after maybe 200 pages I fell under its spell. The last 150 pages are quite beautiful and surprising and fulfilling in the way that only great novels can be, full of all the joy and heartbreak one could hope for. I feel as though I ought to begin again, to see what I missed. I finished it last night at eleven and find myself this morning still in that post-reading haze, still wanting to return to the last pages, wanting to continue the transmission line between the characters and myself that Zafon created. This is the reason I read–and supposedly the reason I write–to help foster that feeling again and again. That gets lost for me sometimes as I read books that have different sorts of pleasures. The pleasures of Faulkner, for example, are not the same. When I finished Absalom, Absalom, I was not overcome with waves of chills, did not I weep for the beauty of the language nor the lives of the characters, but when I finished The Shadow the Wind, I did both of those things. I will return to read more Faulkner, or Woolf, or Joyce, or Miller, or O’Connor, because the satisfactions of a full reading life require a magnificently large palette of writers, but at the same time, I am grateful to be reminded by Zafon of the sheer joy of reading and finishing a novel with a different sort of impact, one that provides an emotional uncorking often lost  when I pursue literature for different reasons.