I just read All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers (McMurtry) and The Family Fang (Wilson), and starting June 10, I'll be in an Infinite Summer book club so I'll be pretty strapped the rest of the season. What should I read in between??
If you liked Wilson’s The Family Fang and want more like it you could try Joe Meno A.K.A That Guy in Chicago. You might also try Zadie Smith, any Zadie Smith, but particularly her On Beauty for the familial hijinks. She has another out in September, which, fuck yes. Also try Marisa Silver, because I think you’d dig her.
“Walking for half a day along an avenue might be more exhausting than, but was definitely equivalent to, spending a week anywhere in the countryside among the simple and isolated scenery of the interior. Yet they were not able to draw anything palpable from this urban plenitude, because it was deceptive: experience in the city might be more varied and abundant, but it was always less significant. There was no room for imagination (or the other way around: they could not find the imagination necessary for places that had already been defined and categorized).”—
Have you noticed? The great literature of our time is about being unable to think through things by walking in cities. See also Edouard Leve, Teju Cole, Juan Goytisolo. This is the age of counter-Borges, from whom Auster served as a bridge.
“'May I' I asked with diffidence, 'take a moment to acquaint myself with, and taste the fine qualities of, the most sterling and serious, and therefore of course the most read and most quickly acknowledged and purchased, reading matter? You would pledge me to unusual gratitude were you to be so kind as to lay before me that book which, as certainly nobody can know so precisely as you, has found the highest place in the estimation of the reading public, as well as that of the dreaded and thence surely flatteringly circumvented critics, and which furthermore has made them merry.'”—Robert Walser displays the correct way to approach your bookseller. From The Walk, out June 5th from New Directions in a newly mulled-over translation by Susan Bernofsky.
As I was giving a little tour of McNally Jackson Books to a Californian, a New Jerseyite, and two Japanese, I brooded over the evidently unacceptable condition of the book. I complained about it several times in the European literature section, and the NJ friend suggested that I buy a new copy. And I would have, were it not for the staff member at McJ organizing the books in the section at the time. She took a quick glance at the book, said it’s okay—now it looks loved, and walked away. That got me thinking: about the books on my shelves; about my attitude toward them. Afterwards, I certainly couldn’t bring myself to get a new copy.
We are still unclear on the whole selling part of bookselling.
“I’m thirty years old and eleven of those years have been wasted. I’m thirty and I still don’t know who I am, and still don’t know what it’s all for. I’ve seen nothing but blood and sweat and filth. I’ve done nothing but wait, wait, and wait some more.”—
Stefan Zweig was himself a wunderkind, born into wealth, certainly, as well as almost effortless acclaim. He had published six books and three plays by the time he was thirty-one. All of which I tell you in order to say, simply, shut up Stefan Zweig.
“Russian literature is marked by one overriding tradition, that is, never compromise and never become subservient. Any writer who is too concerned about marketing issues and who starts writing a novel by calculating its readership ceases to be a writer and becomes a slave to the market instead. You cannot simply go out and join some kind of “ism” and write according to its rules. You cannot give birth to somebody else’s child, but only to your own. Writing is always a ritual, an application or repetition of a magic formula.”—Mikhail Shishkin, in an interview with PW. He’s in our store alongside his translator and publisher on June 2nd at 7pm.
“Wait, where’s One Chase Plaza? I lost my affinity group.”—David Graeber at eleven-ish last night. Consider it your reminder to read the pretty-much-mandatory Debt: The First 5,000 Years, which just earned him the inaugural Bread and Roses prize from the UK’s Alliance of Radical Booksellers. Consider it, too, a reminder not to lose your affinity group, even while sprinting down the barricaded canyons of lower Manhattan.