Bullshit, Elegant, Kafkaesque, Details

First a nod to Chris because the Garden State soundtrack has become the music that works its way to the top of the queue several times a day. It's in rotation with Green Day's American Idiot, an album I hadn't listened to too much until the Rolling Stone cover story.

But this is about what we're reading.

I'm in the process of seeking the next total-immersion book. It's been about a month, but the last title to hold that spot was Nick Flynn's Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, and while I've read more harrowing memoirs (Alice Sebold), Flynn's isn't going to soon be knocked from those compelling and painful and necessary.

Bit more Flynn: In 1999 a friend passed along what was at that moment, that month, that week, her favorite book of poems: Flynn's Some Ether. Good stuff. Then a few years later tried to get into Blind Huber. I don't recall much from that one, though. The cover, a blurred beehive. But Another Bullshit Night was teased out last summer in a New Yorker article, which unfortunately is not available in any online archives. I've searched. I have friends. A few. I want to convince them to buy the book by sending them a copy of that article. I can't.

Since then I've gone halfway into Haruki Murakami's latest, Kafka on the Shore, but can't seem to push on and finish it. I petered out of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle as well, one hundred pages from the end. This says something about me and not about Murakami.

Because I've been copyediting some essays lately on quantum mechanics and physicalism and string theory and felt kinda duhhhh when I try to comprehend the subject, I picked up Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe. My good intentions last Sunday were cut short by a bout with the stomach flu. Fever, fluid-loss, and a few dreams in which I was a motorcycle--okay, a chopper--and unable to pull the covers over me because I was a motorcycle, forced me to give up the days’ devotion to Elegant; instead I spent nonsleeping hours with the Metallica: Some Kind of Monster DVD.

I want to watch the first season of Deadwood. This ties into what I'm reading. I want to see Deadwood because Mark Singer's profile of Deadwood creator David Milch (also writer on Hill Street Blues and co-creator of NYPD Blue) in the Feb. 14 & 21 New Yorker is wonderful. "The Misfit: How David Milch got from 'NYPD Blue' to 'Deadwood' by way of an Epistle of St. Paul." Did I say it was wonderful? It is.
One other book. . .

Fun in the David Sedaris way: Jennifer Traig's Devil in the Details: Scenes from an Obsessive Girlhood. Traig has OCD, but a specific form of it known as scrupulosity, which compels her to perform her OCD rituals according not to an arbitrary habit (closing the door five times, taking ten swallows of water) but to religiosity. From the dust jacket: "On a given day, Jennifer might be putting all her possessions in the washing machine to cleanse them of the pork fumes emanating from the kitchen. Or clipping the lawn according to Old Testament regulations. Or covering her hair with Kleenex while she maintained her constant state of prayer." Funny, sad, funny, and good.

- Eric Lagergren

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