A Charles Portis miscellany, a signed Stanley Elkin oddity, and Rudolph Wurlitzer’s cult novel Nog (Books acquired, 21 Feb. 2020)

I went to my beloved used bookstore the first three Fridays in February, searching for a few things: novels by Rudolph Wurlitzer (no luck); Titus Alone, the last novel in Mervyn Peake’s “Gormenghast” trilogy (no luck; might have to order it); the penultimate Harry Potter novel (for my nine-year-old; plenty of copies—apparently his sister never made… Continue reading A Charles Portis miscellany, a signed Stanley Elkin oddity, and Rudolph Wurlitzer’s cult novel Nog (Books acquired, 21 Feb. 2020)

Stanley Elkin/Flann O’Brien (Book acquired and book not acquired, 23 May 2018)

I went to my favorite local bookstore today to pick up my daughter’s sixth-grade required reading list and to offload some books I’ll never read again. I have far too many tasteful trade paperbacks that I don’t need. I try to bring three or four in on each trip and only come out with one… Continue reading Stanley Elkin/Flann O’Brien (Book acquired and book not acquired, 23 May 2018)

Stanley Elkin reviews Stanley Elkin’s novel The Dick Gibson Show (kinda sorta)

[Ed. note: I finished Stanley Elkin’s 1971 novel The Dick Gibson Show a few days ago. I read The Dick Gibson Show immediately after finishing Elkin’s 1976 novel The Franchiser. I want to write something about these novels, which seem of a piece to me, but I also wanted to get a bit more context first, and the most basic… Continue reading Stanley Elkin reviews Stanley Elkin’s novel The Dick Gibson Show (kinda sorta)

Passionate extremists (From Stanley Elkin’s novel The Dick Gibson Show)

He could not depend upon his listeners; he had no notion of them. They were as faceless to him as he to them. (They didn’t even have a voice.) His panels, his Special Guests were more real. As for his listeners, he guessed they were insomniacs, cabbies, enlisted men signed out on leave at midnight… Continue reading Passionate extremists (From Stanley Elkin’s novel The Dick Gibson Show)

HIC SUNT DODOS! (From Stanley Elkin’s novel The Dick Gibson Show)

The report has come back. It’s official. HIC SUNT DODOS! The dodo is an extinct species of ungainly, flightless bird of the genus Raphus or Didus. Its incubation ground and later its world was the island of Mauritius. It was closely related in habit and aspect to a smaller bird, the solitaire, also extinct but… Continue reading HIC SUNT DODOS! (From Stanley Elkin’s novel The Dick Gibson Show)

Men will the laws of nature (From Stanley Elkin’s novel The Franchiser)

They drove up to the Broadmoor, a pink Monaco castle at the foot of the Rockies, and he showed her the hotel in a proprietary way, taking her through the nifty Regency public rooms with their beautiful sofas, the striped, silken upholstery like tasteful flags. He showed her huge tiaras of chandelier, soft plush carpets.… Continue reading Men will the laws of nature (From Stanley Elkin’s novel The Franchiser)

How crowded is the universe (Stanley Elkin’s The Franchiser)

“How crowded is the universe,” his godfather said and moved the plasma arm vaguely. “How stuffed to bursting with its cargo of crap. Consider, Ben. You could have been a pencil or the metal band that holds the eraser to the wood, the wire of lead that runs through it. The black N in ‘Number… Continue reading How crowded is the universe (Stanley Elkin’s The Franchiser)

Books acquired, almost for their covers alone, 4.25.2016 (Elkin, Fine, Michaux)

I swung by my favorite used bookstore this afternoon; it’s right near the grocery store and I needed to pick up some mint and some ricotta. I was hoping to pick up Elena Ferrante’s novel My Brilliant Friend at the bookstore. I started the audiobook of My Brilliant Friend today, after finishing the audiobook of Adrian Jones Pearson’s… Continue reading Books acquired, almost for their covers alone, 4.25.2016 (Elkin, Fine, Michaux)

Barry Hannah/Stanley Elkin (Books Acquired, 5.29.2013)

I was thrilled to find a somewhat tattered copy of Barry Hannah’s Geronimo Rex, after trolling the [huge, unorganized] “HA” section of my favorite used bookstore. Years ago, I found like seven of Hannah’s books used there and picked up only one. I devoured it, returned, the rest were gone. Regrets, regrets. I will review this… Continue reading Barry Hannah/Stanley Elkin (Books Acquired, 5.29.2013)

A few sentences on every book I read or reread in 2022

☉ indicates a reread. ☆ indicates an outstanding read. In some cases, I’ve self-plagiarized some descriptions and evaluations from my old tweets and blog posts. Red Shift, Alan Garner ☆ Three plots, three eras, one place: Roman-conquered England, English Civil War, contemporary (early seventies) England. Great read, reminded me a bit of Hoban’s Riddley Walker. Tyll,… Continue reading A few sentences on every book I read or reread in 2022

On Fran Ross’s postmodern picaresque novel Oreo

Fran Ross’s 1974 novel Oreo is an overlooked masterpiece of postmodern literature, a delicious satire of the contemporary world that riffs on race, identity, patriarchy, and so much more. Oreo is a pollyglossic picaresque, a metatextual maze of language games, raps and skits, dinner menus and vaudeville routines. Oreo’s rush of language is exuberant, a joyful metatextual howl… Continue reading On Fran Ross’s postmodern picaresque novel Oreo

John Barth’s brief description of Donald Barthelme’s so-called postmodernist dinners

In John Barth’s 1989 New York Times eulogy for Donald Barthelme, Barth gives a brief description of two so-called postmodernist dinners, both of which I’ve written on this blog before. …though [Barthelme] tsked at the critical tendency to group certain writers against certain others ”as if we were football teams” – praising these as the true… Continue reading John Barth’s brief description of Donald Barthelme’s so-called postmodernist dinners

New Snake Creek comix from Drew Lerman

I’ve been a fan of Drew Lerman’s strip Snake Creek for a few years now. Reviewing Lerman’s first collection (simply titled Snake Creek) in The Comics Journal, Brian Nicholson wrote that, Looking at these strips, you’re looking at something that recalls George Herriman, Harvey Kurtzman, Robert Crumb, Daniel Clowes, Matt Groening, but also thinking: What if Stanley… Continue reading New Snake Creek comix from Drew Lerman