It was strange. Volume One of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s six-volume memoir/novel was, with one traumatic exception near the end, the story of a typical young man. He had a typical childhood broken up only by a typical divorce. He was a typical teenager; excesses of emotion, dreams of stardom, and experimentation with substances....more
Posts Tagged: Last Book I Loved
It’s fitting that Nicole Blackman leads into the poems of Blood Sugar with a quote from the confessional poet W.D. Snodgrass: “I am going to show you something very ugly. One day it may save your life.” The chief construct of confessional poetry is the brutally honest autobiography of the poet and the act of writing bravely, honestly and transgressively....more
Building on our Last Book I Loved series, we’re teaming up to highlight Tumblr writers and the books they love.
Got a book you can’t stop thinking about? Send us a writeup – a little bit book review and a lot about why you loved it – along with a short bio....more
If Thomas McGrath were a painter, he would apply fat brushes to giant canvasses in complex color and texture. Gershwin’s gloss and the landscape of Copland are tame music compared to his. McGrath writes in the dissonance of Ives – American cacophony in contrasting threads of autobiography and cause, the red-white-and-blue Midwest against a vein of committed activism....more
Jericho Brown’s Please explores the way love and violence coexist with each other and how the two sometimes intertwine. The collection of poems is categorized by four sections: “Repeat,” “Pause,” “Power,” and finally, “Stop”; the first three sections address self-identification both psychologically and sexually, his relationships with his father, mother, and lovers, and what it is like to tame terrorized beauty....more
I read a lot in the bathtub.
This isn’t because I’m particularly drawn to cleanliness, but because I’m drawn to the readerly space that a hot tub of water can create. The stillness of a full bathtub—that sporadic spigot drip, the lazy drawdown of heat, the tiles’ passionless whiteness—spins a hive of deep focus for me....more
“When the imminent demise of the great writer Prétextat Tach became public knowledge—he was given two months to live—journalists the world over requested private interviews with the eighty-year-old gentleman. …Monsieur Tach viewed his diagnosis [of the rare Elzenveiverplatz Syndrome, cartilage cancer] as a hitherto unhoped for ennoblement: with his hairless, obese physique—that of a eunuch in every respect except for his voice—he dreaded dying of some stupid cardiovascular disease.”
And then the unsuspecting journalists begin to arrive for their long, sharp, demeaning lashings....more
How do we know what we know ’til we learn what we’ve learned? Once upon a time I fashioned myself to be one of those thinkers who, as I sophomorically put it, “find the deep in the superficial.” When I write that Robyn Schiff’s second poetry collection surpasses all of my heavy thoughts of mundane, I mean it as an intense compliment....more
Ask a group of book-loving Oregonians who their only Pulitzer Prize winner in fiction is, and what do you suppose the percentage of correct answers might be?
Easier to predict would perhaps be the most frequent incorrect answer. My money is on Ken Kesey’s Sometimes A Great Notion, although H....more
I’m always hunting for great nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century histories. Something about those rolling, periodic sentences, the lofty diction, the Olympian “great man” narratives gives the books an air of eternal authority I love.
Compared to them, recent popular histories feel tentative, as if all we can do now is apply incessant conceptual tweaks to the work the Victorian titans of research have already done....more
HTMLGIANT is sponsoring (moderating? overseeing?) their Second Annual Indie Lit Secret Santa. All you do is head over there and sign up between now and December 15, then when you get your person’s name, send him or her a book from an indie press or a subscription to an indie mag, which will hopefully arrive by December 25....more