What Are You Reading?

Talking about Kindle, i just recently bought one and my first book was The Year of The Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion.

I liked it pretty much. Didion goes with brutal honesty about her life after Dunne's death, while their daugther were stuck to a bed in the hospital. Interesting reading.

Now i'm struggling to end This Side of Paradise, by Fitzgerald, and Living to Tell the Tale, Garcia Marquez autobiography


“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
I liked Magical Thinking a lot. My wife thought it was ok but that's because she works in grief counseling & hospice care so although well written, not very enlightening for her.


Art should be its own hammer.
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Available for under 2 bucks on Kindle.
I picked up a copy of Michelle McNamara's "I'll Be Gone in the Dark" last week about the Original Night Stalker (not Richard Ramirez). Guy raped fifty, killed eleven, taunted victims, etc., and was never apprehended. He is also known as The Golden State Killer. FBI put a $50,000 reward up in 2013 even though he was active back in the seventies. Guy is probably still out there. After reading this I think I need a gun and maybe a flamethrower.


Here is a recording of a message he left on a victim's answering machine. Christ...



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Have been reading the Southern Reach Triology by Jeff VanderMeer.

Part 1, Annihilation got me hooked.


Sort of a mixture of sci fi and horror, rather subtle psychological horror. Got made into a movie with Natalie Portman. Haven't seen it but the clips on Youtube appear to be a very loose interpretation of the novel. No scenes like these in the book.

Sadly part 2 Authority and part 3 Acceptance got progressively worse in my opinion. At the end I was disappointed. Anyway, liked part 1, Annihilation. Would recommend this one if you like this kind of weirdness.


“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
I just finished the memoir WORK by Bud Smith. Sooo fuckin good. A rambling, non-linear, down to earth, straightforward, honest, funny take on Bud's working & non working life in heavy construction. Someone here, Hosho i think, turned me on to the Otherppl podcast. On it i heard an interview/conversation with Bud. It was excellent. Discovering he's fr Jersey and goes in to NY i thought ok, cool. Then he did a reading in Philly, met him & discovered he as cool as i'd hoped. Good dude & great poetry too AND a Bukowski fan. Anyway, i think fans of Buk would like his work. He's prolific as well. Ended up buying that night WORK & his short story collection Double Bird. Now, it won't be as good as The Late Season but i look forward to digging into it next.
Currently reading Dispatches by Michael Herr. He was a vietnam war correspondent for Esquire in the late 60s. He co-wrote Full Metal Jacket and all Captain Willard narration scenes in Apocalypse. Here is an excerpt:

That could be the coldest one in the world, standing at the edge of a clearing watching the chopper you'd just come in on taking off again, leaving you there to think about what it was going to be for you now: if this was a bad place, the wrong place, maybe even the last place, and whether you'd made a terrible mistake this time.

He also mentions smoking a pack an hour one night waiting for the VC to do their thing. Good stuff...

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“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
I had a great time w the family in town yesterday. I was able to convince the wife to pop in to my favorite indie book store, Book Haven, on the way home. Jackpot. Someone had gotten rid of their Bukowski collection, about 15 in all, mostly BSP editions & in good shape. I was able to finally pick up these & get that much closer to BSP complete. So, this is what i will be reading on vacation next week.

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I'm reading Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything

Seinfeld is my favourtie show of all time, so I was excited when my friend gave this to me for my birthday. Almost finished and happy to take in so many new facts about it.


For the last year, I've slacked off from reading novels and short stories. A subscription to The New Yorker was to blame for that. That's a publication that hits you with so much good writing every week, it's hard to find time for other reading.

But I found time here and there. I re-read "Jesus' Son" by Denis Johnson back in March. Sat down to just do the first chapter and ended up snorting the whole baggie going through the whole work and enjoying it even more the second time around. Then "War And Turpentine" was an interesting piece that claims to be a novel, but I might quibble with that. Stefan Hertmans turned his grandfather's diary into a narrative about his service in WWI and his life afterwards. It's pretty compelling and heartfelt but it's not something he crafted entirely from his own imagination. I wouldn't call it a novel but that didn't stop his publisher.

Best of all though was Johnson's final work, "The Largesse Of The Sea Maiden". A strong collection of 5 short stories that turned out to be his final publication. It's all here: the vivid imagery, lean prose, dark humor, and most of all the empathy he had for characters who may or may not deserve it.
Chicago Breakdown - Mike Rowe (Excellent history of Chicago Blues)
The Roominghouse Madrigals - Buk (Excellent collection of early poems)
Just polished off "Bukowski's L.A." by Matt Dukes Jordan... I will not be able to rest in peace until I eat and drink at Musso and Frank's.
In 1989, as a kid on his first job out of college, I had a business lunch at Musso and Frank's. At the time, I had no idea of its historic significance but I was told about it over that lunch by someone associated with the movie business. I could feel the history. The food was okay but the atmosphere was electric. I hope you make it there one day.

GDPR 9733

I'm re-reading some Hemingway novels again. First I read 'A Moveable Feast' again, which is my favorite, and now I'm reading 'Across The River and Into The Trees'.


“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
This book, so far, so good. Signed by D'Ambrosio. We grew up in the sane neck of the woods & are almost the same age. Wouldnt be surprised if we knew/know some of the same people
The Nazi & The Barber, a novel by Edgar Hilsenrath.

Sometimes you only learn about people after they have died. Hilsenrath died on December 30th 2018 at the age of 92. A German Jew who lived in the US from 1951 to 1975. The Nazi & The Barber is the story of mass murderer Max Schulz. After World War II the former SS-Mann takes up the identity of Itzig Finkelstein, a Jewish friend he grew up with and who later was killed in a concentration camp, by Max Schulz himself. Itzig Finkelstein (Max Schulz) emigrates to Palestine, establishes a barbershop and becomes a well-respected citizen of the young State of Israel.

Despite the fact that Hilsenrath only wrote in German, this novel was first published in the US in 1971 by Doubleday & Company. It became a bestseller, not only in the US but also in France, Italy and England. German publishers were shying away from it; Hilsenrath's satirical undertone didn't seem to be appropriate. Only in 1977 a small German publisher decided to give it a try.

After reading a certain passage in the second half of the book I felt the need to put it down for a while. Max Schulz en passant remembered a day in a death camp when he killed about hundred children by injecting toxin right into their hearts. "Easy work." Total indifference. As if he remembered a nice day in the office. That passage is like a punch in the gut, suddenly the horror is right before your eyes.
But there are not only punches in this novel, most of all there is humor. Strange as it may seem.


“The essential doesn't change.” Beckett
Don't Skip Out On Me by Willy Vlautin. I've read most of his stuff. He's an excellent writer. Uncluttered, straightforward stories. This, so far is a great one. Willy gave a blurb on Hosho's latest classic Chinese Gucci.



Willy has written five terrific, down-to-earth books about folks scraping by and just doing their best...and he is absolutely as nice as advertised. I interviewed him for the underground paper I write for, and he was as honest and genuine as you can imagine. He also recorded some poems for the audio version of A DEEP & GORGEOUS THIRST...so it's understating to say I'm a huge fan.
Just finished McCarthy's The Road. Part of my surge to finally read well-known, recent and lost classics. Some great images/great lines. Humanity has fallen. I wonder if in reality, we'd be worse?

It's now one of my TopTen favorite Novels...a list that ebbs and flows but there are a few core titles that're in stone.

The Road as a last novel would be a fine way to go out. But I read of a forthcoming novel, The Passengers. Not much known on this yet...
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