Tuesday, September 06, 2011

found my Swiss Army knife again

Been toodling around the internet too much. I try to limit the crap that I read by sticking to the only five sites whose full url I can remember, but sometimes twitter leads me to the wilds of the net, where good stuff hides. Here is some of it:

!!! At the Minneapolis bookstore blog Mr. Micawber Enters The Internets, the proprietor has asked several indie bookstore workers to make lists of 50 book, books that they love to handsell, their favorite books, or both. It is an interesting project and a great way to learn about new-to-you books and to get all huffy about your own taste. Huff, huff, huff, why would you recommend The Sun Also Rises, do you want people to stop enjoying their reading huff, huff, huff.

!!! At The Hairpin, Sarah Beuhler writes a good prose poem on the intersection of online lives and IRL deaths. It also touches on being the one to break the news. Having been that person myself, this rattles me with truth: "Now we dance nervously around our apartment in Canada covering our face with our hands, not wanting to be the one to tell her, not wanting to be that person again." Read it.

!!! Have I ever told you how much I love Elizabeth Bachner's essays for Bookslut? Well, I am sorry for the horrible omission on my part. She writes about books with passion and no excuses for the fact that, for her, for some of us, reading is life. She often writes about how writers' lives and work intertwine; so often I feel like I should avoid biography when considering a writer's work, a big finger wags in my face tsk, tsking me, but sometimes, as Bachner's essays prove, considering life and work as one reveals different stories, different ways to think about art. From her most recent, "$120.73: Reading Scandalous Women," she says: "And even in my own head, let alone out in the world, god knows I am too tired to try to make this point without the equipment to prove it, god knows I am too tired to raise the whole question 'would Francesca Zelda Sylvia Ana Mendieta Frieda have been so famous without the tragedy, without being married to him,' too tired even in my own head to make some tired point to myself about genius and merit and Tender is the Night and Save Me the Waltz and Alma Mahler and sex and race and bodies and 'art' and is it art and what is art. It’s a point that’s been attempted but never made. People sniff and turn away." Bachner's essays are hypnotic, as though she is whispering urgently in your ear—you are feeling, sleepy, but not safe, never safe.

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