People often ask, what books do you love most? And why? I don't have a clue how to answer that. Some books I love because I feel as if they're so stunning. Some I love the story, some the language, some the paragraphs, some the smell, some the size, some the humor, some the mood, some the magic . . . Yes, the magic . . .
Like Brockmeier--I love him for his many, many beautiful paragraphs . . . Like this one from The Truth about Celia:
Here is Celia, running like a rabbit through the sunlight, on a day so perfectly pitched between winter and spring that she can feel streamers of warm air in the wind. The grass looks willowy and tender, and she very much wants to take off her shoes and flatten it beneath her feet, but her mom told her that if she went pounding around barefoot outside she might catch something. She is afraid of catching something. When she was six, she caught the flu, and when she was five she caught the chicken pox. She stops by the pond and looks into the water, creased by the breeze. There is a cluster of minnows swimming just beneath the surface, and when she tries to touch one they scatter away in a spray of silver Vs . . .
Okay that's not even the best one, but it's a first one I remember reading, the opening to the book . . .
One of my favorite Brockmeier's is the story, "A Fable of White Paper Spilling from the Pockets," which begins: Once there was a man who happened to buy God's overcoat. He was rummaging through a thrift store when he found it hanging on a rack by the fire exit . . .
Another good book, and a huge contrast, is the graphic novel, Fun Home, which is one of a kind--totally new to me, at least. I don't think I've read a book so honest. I totally believe every second of this book by Alison Bechdel. And I am suddenly aware that I've never really believed any of the memoirs or autobiographies or so-called confessional poems before this one. This one feels so totally real. Maybe because some of the story is mine, because I see my dad in this dad, but only a tiny bit of my dad. Maybe because it's a graphic novel. Maybe because it is.
But there is no singular paragraph or moment in the book . . . . And I don't mean that as a negative. Just that I usually have a page in a book that I remember better than any other page--a particular memory or thought or image or . . .
And with many books, all I need is to love one particular page, and the book is a winner.
Then there is Chris Barzak who dares to try to do everything I would like to do but can't ever try at the same time. In his new book,The Love We Share Without Knowing,--there's the personal tale, magical realism, the bigger than life issues--okay--life and death issues, the love story or the lack of love-- story, and the twisted myths and fairy tales of and for a strangely twisted world . . . and, and . . . . There is one character living on another's life stories. (Something I am so guilty of--always have been, feeding on other's tales as if they were a way to survive . . . though in the story it becomes dangerous to do so ). And his stories are connected like pieces of stained glass window, all the light shining together to make it a short story collection that is a novel . . .
Then there is this book, No Other Life, by Gary Young, which I bought ages ago and thought was boring. I picked it up a few months ago, and it's become one of those books I keep in arms reach. I don't know what he does and don't want to know or say right now because if I analyze something when the magic is happening, it stops the magic every time.
And then there's Galleano's --The Book of Embracess, a best- best friend, and Rick Bursky's The Soup of Something Missing, and of course, Henri Michaux's everything. And there's always the out of print The Prose Poem, an International Anthology, which is in so many pieces, floating around my office, and if I could ever find one, new and in working order, I'd be in heaven . . .
And then there's Michael Ondaatje's Elimination Dance. It's incredibly funny.
And of course, there are the children's books I totally love . . . Esp. books long out of print with pretty pictures like my copy of The Arabian Nights with illustrations by Maxfield Parish . . .
So many books, too many I guess, and yet never enough.
3 hours ago