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.
On 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.
On 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.
On 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.
On 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.
Today 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?