Monday, April 27, 2009

Boy o boy

More overrated books/entities:


No. First you start me with a Beatles reference, and THEN have to have the book be a coming of age of a foreign student with a wacky affability? Why this book is getting taught to young writers... PORLERJ! Course, had I known it was a Beatles reference in the first place I never would have picked it up, but man, dang. No.


"Dang I'm weird. I'm gonna write something weird. And now that I can do anything I want, it will be cool enough that its 'weird.' I am captain of the weird. Fuck yeah." I don't know, yeah he's good when he's good, but really? Is he really the boss? No, he's not the boss. He's just a guy with some weird sleep habits most likely who throws it down now and again. Get off the D.


Not buying it. Not buying that these stories are that 'new' or even that great really. That she wasn't doing anything that wasn't done better and with more BOOM in the butt by Barthelme or Hannah. I mean, it's cool that she was an old lady kicking ass on paper, but, eh, I just can't figure out what it is that makes people tout her to the grave, except that 'Grace' is a rad name.


If one more person mentions this book in a 'here's how to do ____ in fiction'...


Put this guy back walking around aboveground and breathing and no one would be reading him, at least not in the mindset of the second coming. I know supposedly after the first 130 pages of the narrator here supposedly finally shuts up running his mouth about being a 'poet' and trying to fuck this one girl, and how he's a poet, and how he wants to be a poet, and poet, poesy, peep. I don't give a fuck if it turns into BLOOD MERIDIAN after that: anyone who opens the first third of their book slavering over supposed 'revolution' and 'poetic fame' can eat a megacock.

I'm reading in Ann Arbor real soon for Hobart with some crazy kats.

Titular asked me to send a piece of Joyce-like for their Ulysses collaborative, and I did: a paragraph from DECADE. Right now it's at the bottom of the page.

I am finally reading Rikki Ducornet. She's real good.


clarkknowles said...

Hey! the first to comment! I have a soft spot for Things They Carried. I was teaching the title story once and my dad came to visit and saw the book and picked it up and...gasp... started reading it. Now, my dad is a smart man, a Veteran... but he doesn't really read... and seeing him getting into a book helped me understand how powerful the right book at the right time can be. I like these lists. I like how they make be ponder the effect of books in my life. For instance, I bought Tree of Smoke because everyone on the planet seemed to think it was awesome. What? I'm embarrassed to have it on my bookshelf. I keep it in a guest bedroom, under a blanket, lest it infect the other books. I'm going to be checking out some the books you mention... plus, this Dalkey publishing thing... see... you learn me good things today.Be well.


hey clark! that is a nice story about your dad, i am bout books for people at the right time. heh, tree of smoke: for some reason even though i've never really cared much for a DJ book, i still consider buying each one. dunno why. yes, dalkey!
good to hear from you brother

Rauan Klassnik said...

Finally, I agree with you (really agree with you) on something here.

The Things They Carried is total Pigshit and Pigslop. It is worse than swineflu.

That book's tongue changes ghastly colors so many times I nearly went blind yawning. Rolling my eyes.

That being said, Butler, you
are a Malcontent, a Rabblerouser, and you are JUST ITCHING



'the things they anally slept with'

i also stink and i'm a fuckface

what can we do?


Crispin Best said...

"Behind the sky the second sky..."

shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit man

Anonymous said...

Felt the same way about Savage Detectives. Could not finish that book. I got lost somewhere in the middle when all the different narrators rambled and not in a good and interesting way but in a boring, rambly way. Maybe it was the translation? I dunno. Bored the fuck out of me.

pr said...

I like Hemon's short stories in general, but did not that novel.

I'm not a Russell Edson fan.

I liked The Things They Carried- I read it eons ago.

But MAN- I am so with you on Grace Paley. It's been awhile since I've read her but I remember being greatly underwhelmed. And feeling guilty about it. Like I feel vaguely guilty about thinking Lorrie Moore is overrated and Geoff Dyer is annoying.

And lastly, I will not be picking up Savage Detectives. I do want to familarize myself with some of his shorters works. We'll see if I get around to that.

The Man Who Couldn't Blog said...

Re Edson's D and getting off it:



thanks crispin :)


michael, i doubt its just the translation, i dont see how the language could be that much better

pr, we almost fully agreed! movin up

matthew :P

peter markus said...

Brother Butler, we're brothers for sure, but I'm not with you on the Edson diss. While it's true that he's been doing the same thing over and over for 45 years, I still don't know of another sentence writer who brings both invention and language to the page the way that he does it. Ben Marcus, maybe, in "The Animal Husband." I also have to say that there are moments in the O'Brien where he hits the mark ("Style" and "Spin" are two that I sometimes go back to). And I know you're not nuts about Denis Johnson, but I'd say read (if you haven't already tried it) his most overlooked book Fiskadoro. It's the book of his I like the best. That said, it goes without saying that we could probably both name a couple of dozen lesser-known writers who deserve the sort of recognition that Paley and O'Brien have received. I've been re-reading Norman Lock's Trio of late and am amazed that there's not a statue of Lock in the vicinity of the Liberty Bell.


Brother Peter,

its not that i hate edson by any stretch, i just think his percentage of great to merely mediocre or even 'fart in a bag' is way off. i'm way more often left cold and bored than i am thinking 'damn'

as for ben marcus, well, mr. edson couldn't touch ben marcus with ten thousand hands. ben marcus runs circles around edson's career with that first book alone.

but yeah, edson's got his moments where i'd agree w/ your assessment fully.

'fiskadaro': i read that so long ago, but i do remember liking it more than 'jesus' son': perhaps i'll must the oompha


norman lock is indeed the fucking master.

sasha fletcher said...

i like a lot of the stories in enormous changes at the last minute i like the way the words move in general in them. i don't care for her other two books and her poetry sucks but i am saying i am proud to have enormous changes at the last minute in my bookshelf. whatever.

peter markus said...

Just got off the horn with David McLendon. We're there for your reading in Ann Arbor. Looking forward to it most mightily.


that is great news peter. really looking fwd to seeing you and david again. can't wait...

Jon Cone said...

One day, one year I like something, the next year I don't. I don't even know why people bother to announce favorites. I don't even know what a books is anymore. Sometimes I think I don't even know how to read anymore. I look at words and nothing makes sense. I like something, for a while, then forget about it. I give everything five stars or one star, what difference does it make. I like looking at my cats sleeping. They hold each other. Me? I'm off to look at pages in a book, hoping there will be something there for me though I don't know if there will be. Bags. Books. Salt. Bones.

One hundred billion novels of one word each. What a library that would be.

Rauan Klassnik said...

except for the parts about tits hanging Fiskadoro's a real sleeper...I beat my head against it for a few hours...

Scott Garson said...

more fun!

*DJ's novels are a mess, for sure. But even in the worst of them--maybe Stars at Noon?--there's some sure-fine parts....

*Grace Paley. I am so with you. Just don't tell anyone.

*Edson: Blake said it, not me!

*Things: there's a reason everybody teaches this in high school now. It breaks down cleanly. It succumbs nicely to the old-fashioned critical approaches--Brooks and Penn Warren, Understanding Fiction, all that. Teachers say, Wow, I can cook this shit! I can get my students to eat it!

I'm not sure that's all on O'Brien, though. So the anthologized stories--"Things," and "Sweetheart"-- are conventional. Not everything is totally conventional in there. I still like some of the shorter ones a lot.....

Mike Young said...

You're just not a good enough cook to like Grace Paley, Blake. Make some decent omelets and get back to me, BIZNITCH.

Michael said...

Re: Savage Detectives

Blake, it is called satire. As in, not sincere, meant to be funny. Loosen up a little!


satirizing wallpaper is not funny


also: I'm not convinced, what are the clues it was a satire?

BlogSloth said...

They just asked me for the Ulysses deal and I made you the main character. Man, you will be pissed.



sasha fletcher said...

hi mike how are you? do you want to have a party where we cook omeletes?

Matt DeBenedictis said...

Never read any of those books. They all seem boring any way.

Darren Demers said...

hey clark! that is a nice story about your dad, i am bout books for people at the right time. heh, tree of smoke: for some reason even though i've never really cared much for a DJ book, i still consider buying each one. dunno why. yes, dalkey!
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