Too many books
Here's a good and timely interview with son-in-law discussing the role of the literary journal in all of this. Agni, he tells us, is going to introduce a blog by editor Sven Birkerts. I'll be looking forward to it.
In the meantime, here are some of my recent book encounters:
Brainiac, by Ken Jennings. Combines a history of trivia as an idea and the story behind his Jeopardy success. An easy, entertaining read.
Shopgirl, by Steve Martin. Listened to this on tape, read by the author. I have enjoyed Martin's short humor in The New Yorker and expected more of the same. Instead, it's an X-rated (OK maybe just R nowadays) urban fairy tale about the intersecting lives of Mirabelle, the artist and glove salesgirl at Neiman Marcus, Mr Ray Porter, the gentleman millionaire who is infatuated by her, and Jeremy, a young man who has a lot to learn about everything. Beautiful writing, highly recommended. There is, apparently, also a movie, starring Martin as Mr. Ray Porter. I think I'd enjoy seeing it, though it's hard to imagine how it could tell the story any better.
The Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel, and Blankets, by Craig Thomson. I'm lumping these together because they are both "graphic novels", or grown-up comic books. Also R- rated. I loved them both; Blankets is a fairly traditional "first love" coming of age story. The Fun Home, an unusual memoir, refers to the funeral home run by the author's family.
In the works right now, for future reporting:
Georges Perec. Life A User's Manual
Doug Psaltis. The Seasoning of a Chef
George How Colt. The Big House
Pico Iyer. Falling off the Map (audiotape)