Due to various factors beyond my control, like aging (28 now!), acquiring a new niece, and watching too much football, I've fallen a bit behind on reading. Here's a list of books I would be reading if I could pull myself away from reality and/or ESPN:
1. The Fellowship: The Untold Story of Frank Lloyd Wright & The Taliesin Fellowship by Roger Friedland & Harold Zellman - I read a clip of this book in a recent issue of Interview magazine which described the odd sexual practices (including forced gay coupling of non-homosexuals) that took place in FLW's architecture-obsessed fellowship. Weird.
2. The Littlest Hitler by Ryan Boudinot - I actually have two copies of this story collection by Seattle resident/Bennington MFA'er Ryan Boudinot but haven't yet cracked them open. Now that I think about it, our Ross Simonini is in the Bennington writing program and lives in Seattle. Maybe they're the same person, in some strange and complicated metaphysical way.
[TIME OUT: On my self-invented radio, Neil Young is singing about a place where "even Richard Nixon has got soul." I forgot this song existed. It is a song I enjoy: "Campaigner."]
3. The Zero by Jess Walter - A woman to whom I only speak when drunk has alerted me to the fact that Jess Walter's 9/11 satire (?) got a fancy review in the Wall Street Journal. Here's a clip of that write-up:
"The Zero" lacks any ritual sense of piety or sentimental tribute to the usual 9/11 truisms. Indeed, it recasts many of those involved in the cleanup effort -- from the street cops and FDNY "smokers" to the brass -- as cynical opportunists who brag that they've never bedded so many women and fight about which celebrities they get to escort around Ground Zero. The story also metaphorically paints U.S. attempts to crack terror networks as blundering at best, morally dubious at worst. But the book's brilliant ironies, its deadpan truths, its insider smarts and its everyguy hero may lead even skeptical readers to forgive the irreverent point of view. "The Zero" could end up as the "Catch-22" of 9/11.
4. Democracy by Joan Didion - Some old lady at a coffee shop hustled me out of my brand-new hardcover copy of Year of Magical Thinking (which I'd just finished) in exchange for a beat-up old paperback version of Democracy. In my own fantasy world I like to think the elderly woman scribbled secret messages about the universe into the decades-old novel, top-secret truths that will change my life and the life of the world. I don't want to open it and be disappointed, so I've decided not to open it at all, for now. That's symbolic of pretty much my entire existence. Thanks for asking.