I read the second Ferrante and am now in a self-imposed recovery period before I trust myself to open the third. Same goes for the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, which I read in a half-day of relentless, clammy dread. A Little Life gave me a similar liquidy fear through its hundreds of pages: what devastation comes next.
I’ve been reading Inferno: A Poet’s Novel (toting it under my arm on hot morning walks, greasing the pages with sunscreen on long beach Saturdays) and I feel like I’m being opened up. Like somehow this portrait of a young Eileen Myles making her way in New York has given me permission to use my voice, to say “art” and mean it.
What else. I became a dog walker for a week and a half, then quit. I build routines every Monday and find them broken by Thursday. Turns out it’s possible to subsist almost entirely on Trader Joe’s veggie potstickers and black bean dip. I read The Diver’s Clothes Lie Empty while disappearing into my own New Orleans getaway: four days of bookstores and flower-lined streets and fried food with my best friend. I peeled my first crawfish in the dark, willing myself not to think of roaches. We danced to zydeco between sloppy frames at an old bowling alley. And now it's back to deadlines.
“What is it like to be fun? What is it like to feel like you’ve earned this?” I loved this piece on the surreal world of 2013’s Silicon Valley.
Carrie Brownstein’s 10 desert island books. And Tilda Swinton’s.
“There is a certain clinical satisfaction in seeing just how bad things can get.” Sylvia Plath’s self-commandments.
“I like to think that what literature can do that op-ed pieces and other communications don’t do is describe felt experience, the flickering, bewildered places that people actually inhabit.” Maggie Nelson. (No surprise that I loved The Argonauts.)
“What I really want is body neutrality: for none of it to matter. For our bodies to move through the world unremarked upon.” Lucy Morris.
For a belated tribute to National Poetry Month, a grab bag. I loved “Service” by Ada Limon, “Notes to a Young Poet” by Sara June Woods, “Young” by Anne Sexton and especially “Walking in the Woods” by Grace Paley.
Junot Diaz visits Hokkaido, “Japan’s great wild frontier, the North Beyond the Wall.”
The poetics of cruising / The fiction of farm-to-table food / Goodbye to a dress / Viral dance moves / So woke / A need to disappear / 10 books about loneliness.
“All I wanted was anesthetic, the very opposite of a book.”
Pop culture in a small town / Evolution of a first novel / A friendship affair / Piers / These maps! / "A lonely ambulance ride will do that to a person."
In love with the art in this Australian home and these dreamy studios.
“Most of my books are like this. They act as physical placeholders for my thoughts and memories, and they create a sort of map to the past and future for one part of my life.”