What I’ve Been Reading This Week

So far I am at a 4-year low for the number of books I have read by this point in the year. It really bums me out. I get anxious and depressed when I don’t read as much as I want to. Seriously. Though, I have been reading more lately, so I’m feeling pretty good.

The Oregon Trail Is The Oregon Trail Gregory SherlOn Thurdsday I read The Oregon Trail Is the Oregon Trail by Gregory Sherl. This little book of poems is by far one of the greatest books of poetry I have read in years, as well as one of the best books, of any type, I have read recently. It is thrilling to see what words can do. This was such a fun and compelling book.

 

The Skating Rink Roberto BolanoOn Friday I read The Skating Rink by Roberto Bolano. This is the 4th Bolano I’ve read (after The Savage Detectives, Amulet, and By Night in Chile). It wasn’t exceptional until halfway though, and then it gained momentum like a landslide. I’ve noticed that with Bolano; his books begin very quiet and modest, but there comes a point when it gets good. Real good. I’m sure this quality weeds out a lot of readers that aren’t immediately grabbed, but those that finish the books are rewarded. Maybe that’s why he has such a dedicated following. Anyway, this one was about as good as Amulet, but not as good as Savage Detectives or By Night in Chile.

 

Meat Heart Melissa BroderOn Saturday I read Meat Heart by Melissa Broder. This is a book of poems. They challenged me. Not quite as immediately rewarding as the The Oregon Trail poems from Sherl, but I really liked it. I want to re-read it soon, because I think I’ll get more out of these poems each time I read them. Also, The cover is beautiful.

 

 

Nothing A Portrait Of Insomnia Blake ButlerOn Saturday night I started Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia by Blake Butler. It’s his first nonfiction book. I like it so far, though I’m not far into it. It seems to read slowly, which is nice because I enjoy it and I don’t mind taking my time. I like Blake’s fiction, and this one has the same linguistic style, which I’m sure has repelled many people who’ve only picked it up because they wanted to read about insomnia, or to find something about themselves and their sleeplessness within it. I could see how they could get frustrated. It’s not concise language; there’s more to it. Blake’s language takes over. If some people had purple prose, Blake Butler has black prose.

The Complete Works Of Marvin K Mooney Christopher HiggsToday I began The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney by Christopher Higgs. Straight up metafiction. ‘Experimental’, if you will. I hate that term to describe art. Anyway, I’m really enjoying this book. It’s actually very readable, as sometimes intentionally weird fiction can be more work than fun. I’m 60 pages deep, and I really want to read more.

 

 

So those were my books this week. What have you been reading?

I’ve Been Hacked! And I’ve Been Sick!

So I realized today that Wing Chair Books has been hacked, and I spent the whole afternoon fixing my database and searching for the evil coding that found its way in.

The site was a victim of a method called Pharma Hacking. It’s a sneaky type of spam that does not affect the general appearance or operation of the site EXCEPT for the page domains. When any of the site’s page domains, including the home page, appeared as a search result, they would take you instead to one of several spams websites advertising pills. My domains were hijacked. The old bait and switch.

Things should be better now. The Google search results still look a little funky, but they should be fixed as soon as the Goolge-bot recrawls my site, which, hopefully, will happen within the next few days.

On another note, I’ve been sick for the past week. Actually, I’ve been better for the past five or six days, but I was out with a terrible cold for seven days. I’m feeling much better now, but I haven’t posted here since before I was sick. Starting tonight, I’ll be back to a regular posting schedule. It feels good to feel good again.

I am Officially a Resident of Los Angeles

Los Angeles Public Library CardThat right there is a picture of my brand new Los Angeles Public Library card. I live a block from the closest branch [Pio Pico in Koreatown], and though it is a small branch I found a few books to check out. So far, it is the only branch I have been to, but I really look forward to visit some of the others. According to the website, there are currently 73 branches.

These are the first books I got with my brand new library card:

Vanishing Poin tDavid Markson
Vanishing Point: A Novel by David Markson

The Dog Of The Marriage Amy Hempel

The Dog of the Marriage: Storiesby Amy Hempel

Checkpoint Nicholson Baker

Checkpoint: A Novel by Nicholson Baker

Even though I am excited to have these books, I already have a shelf full of books that I desperately want to read. I don’t think I am going to be reading these ones right away, so I think I may actually be returning them tomorrow. I feel so guilty having these three books just sitting in my apartment when someone else could be enjoying them. So I’ll be returning them, though it is nice to know that they will be there for me whenever I am ready to read them.

What books have you gotten recently from the library? Which ones should I get next time?

VIDEO: THANK YOU SECRET SANTA!

In this video I show you the two books I got from my htmlgiant.com 2010 secret santa gift-giver. Thank you, secret santa! I can’t wait to read them.

The books they gave me:

Big Lucks #3

&

She Saw Ghosts He Saw Bodies by Ric Royer, published by Narrow House Press

VIDEO: BOOKS I GOT FOR GIFTMAS

In this video I show you all the books I got during the holidays this past December.

These are the books I got:
Flowing in the Gossamer Fold – Ben Spivey
Event Factory – Renee Gladman
Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead – Barbara Comyns
We Are All Good If They Try Hard Enough – Mike Young
Look! Look! Feathers – Mike Young
Pictures of Houses with Water Damage – Michael Hemmingson
Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls – Alissa Nutting
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe: A Novel – Charles Yu
Ledfeather – Stephen Graham Jones
Last Days – Brian Evenson
Camera – Jean-Philippe Toussaint
The Bathroom – Jean-Philippe Toussaint
Things in the Night – Mati Unt
The Golden Age – Michal Ajvaz
Siamese – Stig Sæterbakken
Homage to Czerny – Gert Jonke
Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things – Gilbert Sorrentino
Criers & Kibitzers, Kibitzers & Criers – Stanley Elkin
The Complete Butcher’s Tales – Rikki Ducornet
The Great Fire of London – Jacques Roubaud

PLANS FOR 2011

I haven’t been keeping up with posts this past December. I was starting to reach a good stride there, but then I dropped the ball. After an onslaught of travel, computer/camera problems, a new job, and a busy holiday season, I am back and I have big plans for the website. You can expect regular content from here on out. Make sure to sign up for the email list – just look in the sidebar to the right of the page. It’s just a way to stay updated with Wing Chair Books. I plan on giving away books to subscribers. I promise I would never spam you.

Since this is the start of a new year, I will begin posting my obligatory year-end lists. Some lists you can expect to read here within the next week or two will include a general best-of list, where I’ll talk about my favorite reads of 2010. Then you can expect a favorite-books-I-did-not-read list, in which I will talk about all the books that came out in 2010 that I really wanted to read, but did not have the time to do so. I will also be posting a complete list of all the books I read during 2010.

Also, from now on I plan on drawing a picture of the cover of each book I read. These illustrations will be simple black pen drawings, and I will include them in the post for each book I review.

That is all for now.
Let’s have fun together in 2011.

-Michael

BACK ON TRACK

I’ve been away, but now I’m back at it. Expect an ultrasupermega video review tomorrow, then some more fresh content every day for a over a week. The train is chugging.

If you want to stay up to date, sign up for the email list. Just fill out the form to the right. Also, if you want to read Wing Chair Books in your RSS reader, just click the SUBSCRIBE button to the right.

It’s on.