Saturday, February 18, 2012


The bridge reopened yesterday and today felt connected in a number of senses. It was also welcoming, or so I thought. I was walking in the highlands and was approaching Carmichael's to buy books for my niece. A man not much younger than myself sat outdoors at a table with a teenager, possibly his son. He wore a union hoodie and he distinctly glared at me and began singing a Billy Bragg song about "taking back our share from the wealthy." I paused and thought about showing the man my W-2s and then kept walking.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Brushing Away

January ended with mixed messages. The weather whispered renewal in defiance of the calendar. This confusion fortunately didn't extend to my reading. Balzac, Turgenev and Lampedeusa each affected me greatly. There was a bit of waddled after that. The puddles of uncertainty often irk. I read We The Animals by Justin Torres which struck me as a talking therapy submitted to a MFA Program. Itwasn't bad, but the ruminations on the feral didn't lead very far.

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray was dispatched next. This wasn't akin to Infinite Jest in any constructive sense. Thoughts towards such a thesis are hopeful, at best. Murray has an ear for the speech of adolescents but as a novel it was soggy and unsatisfying. I finished the week by enjoying a collection of essays On British Fiction, edited by Zachary Leader and featuring a number of favorite authors: Amis, McEwan and Hitchens. A fortunate byproduct of this reading has been an inclination to plunge back into the novels of Iris Murdoch.

Friday, February 03, 2012

My favorite title of the year, so far

No, it wasn't Hobo With A Shotgun, but rather the fascinating What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank by Nathan Englander. The rather forward indication of both Carver and the Shoah is a younger man's gambit. At least today, while exhausted from work, yeah, I say I find it a masterful stroke.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


From the AP wire: "Poland's 1996 Nobel Prize-winning poet Wislawa Szymborska, whose simple words and playful verse plucked threads of irony and empathy out of life, has died. She was 88."

When I went to NYC in 1996, I stumbled about toting my copy of Gravity's Rainbow and appearing lost. I finally went out to see Joel on Long island. He had a poem from Ms. Szymborska on his fridge. We communed over such. That was a lifetime ago.