Last 10 Books I’ve Read (vii)

1. Drndic. “Belladonna.” Had been wow-ed by “EEG” (See “Last” vi), so tried this. Also a “Wow!” – and a challenge. If you feel up to either, try this first.
2. Houllebecq. “Submission.” Someone seems to have been de-acquisitioning their Houllebecq holdings on the “Free Books” shelves at the café, for this one is the third I picked up there. Funnier than his others.
3. Meltzer. “LA is the Capitol of Kansas.” Meltzer can write like a fireball, but these seem a collection of quickly tossed off pieces that rarely burn bright.
4. Lepore. “These Truths.” A history of America unlike the one taught me 60-70 years ago. I learned some stuff, but I couldn’t help thinking that, 60 or 70 years from now they’ll probably be teaching a different one than this.
5. Dalachinsky. “The Final Note.” Decided I ought to learn to enjoy poetry and I’d liked what I’d heard him read on KCSM, so I tried this. The idea seemed good. He wrote a poem every evening he listened to a jazz musician play during a 20-year period, but there was nothing I could see in any poem that differentiated any evening. He could have written them all one night on a Nedick’s napkin as far as I could tell.
6. Tyler. “Redhead By the Side of the Road.” A gift to Adele from her sister. Anne Tyler is always fun – but Anne Tyler’s books are always the same. Nothing wrong with that, I guess, as a writer pal once told me, “if you want a career.”
7. McCarthy. “Suttree” (Third time). Since I’d read “Blood Meridian” for a second… Never read a novel with so many (English) words I didn’t know the meaning of – and didn’t mind at all. Would love to know the autobiographical facts around this one. McCarthy must have lived it – or damn close to it, but he keeps his mouth closed in the aricles I could find. Anyway, terrific.
8. “Six Macedonian Poets.” I had liked one (Gziezel, I think) quoted by Drndic in her novel – but ion this collection I liked Ivanovick more.
9. Faulkner. “Absalom, Absalom.” An amazing book – which, I imagine, could not be taught – and maybe not published – maybe even not written today. (A century from now will they be re-discovering white, male, racist writers and deciding their work has been unfairly overlooked?) Faulkner hides these, almost soap-operish plots, in smoke and dazzle and magic, as you gape in wonder.
10. Kerouac. “Big Sur.” An sad story by an ultimately sad man, who can’t help himself, and who is surrounded by people who can’t either. But he delivers wonder. How can one going mad take notes on and/or recall that madness so adeptly?