The Waffle House lady's inquiry
I'm not sure I can answer it, but here is Part II of my New Year's resolution to read 50 books. I realize that for a wannabe writer like myself this isn't an especially crazy goal. Many of my friends probably read twice that amount. But I'm a slow reader so what can you do?
17) Chord of Light – Zbigniew Herbert
18) Stars of the New Curfew – Ben Okri
19) Wittgenstein’s Nephew – Thomas Bernhard
20) Men and Cartoons – Jonathan Lethem
21) Ant Farm – Simon Rich
22) 60 Poems – Charles Simic
23) In Persuasion Nation – George Saunders
24) Paradise – Donald Barthelme
25) Partial List of People to Bleach – Gary Lutz
26) McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern #24
27) The Nimrod Flipout – Etgar Keret
28) The Elements of Style – Strunk and White
29) The World Doesn’t End – Charles Simic
30) I Killed Adolf Hitler – Jason
31) Rock Springs – Richard Ford
32) What I’d Say to the Martians – Jack Handey
33) The Wavering Knife – Brian Evenson
34) Ghost Town – Robert Coover
I enjoyed almost all of the above and won't bother bad-mouthing books here. I did read a stretch of sub-par books from authors I love (Herbert's first poetry collection doesn't stand up to his later work, Bernhard's Wittgenstein’s Nephew felt like a clumsy handling of themes he would develop fully in other works, In Persuasion Nation has several of my favorite Saunders stories, but also several half-baked ones).
As for my favorites, both Jack Handey's What I’d Say to the Martians and Simon Rich's Ant Farm humor collections were fantastic, especially standing out in an era of bland humor writing (Handey and Rich are the only good Shouts & Murmurs authors left going in my humble opinion).
Robert Coover's Ghost Town was a fantastic, twisted, hilarious and inspiring read. Charles Simic's The World Doesn't End was a re-read, but still remains one of my favorite poetry books of all time. Lastly, Rock Springs by Richard Ford was pretty much everything I was told it would be from numerous friends.
Alright, 16 books left to go and about 16 weeks left in the year. I'm currently in the middle of several books (by Roberto Bolano, William Gay, David Foster Wallace and others) so things are looking good for the first New Year's Resolution I'm actually trying to keep.