Wednesday, November 02, 2005

My Book Shelf

I may not be going to Harvard, but I am certainly getting an education here in Boston. I have a full slate of things to read and places to visit, not to mention martinis to drink and miles to go on my treadmill.

Partly to impose some order on my self-assigned curriculum, here is an account of what I am reading:

I slog through Saul Bellows' Augie March, which I have just re-checked out AGAIN from the library. Finally, I have had a break-through chapter and think that I will, perhaps, make it to the end. Good stuff. Just dense, dense, dense. Coming-of-age is hard work.

I will return to the library The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman--I have to be tough and make some choices....

I finished Ryan White: My Own Story and can check that off my list of Young Adult writing. A good story. The account of his friendship with Michael Jackson is a bit eerie, I have to say.

I also finished Typical American by Gish Jen, which I found compelling, and can return it as well and check it off the Indiana Recommended Reading list.

I need to read and finish Margaret Atwood’s newest book because I will go see her next week on Thursday, November 10th! So I will focus on that as my "light" reading. Let the Atwood countdown begin.....

But what I want to seriously read is from so-called experimental fiction. I recently read an article in Harper's by Ben Marcus called "Why Experimental Fiction Threatens to Destroy Publishing, Jonathan Franzen, and Life as We Know It." You must bow down to that title, at least. While I am spinning from the debate--I have jumped into literary fisticuffs for the first time, really--I am mostly happy that his article has excited me about nonnarrative fiction. Now I just have to figure out what that means. Marcus has turned me on, in several senses of that phrase, to an entirely new set of authors and I can't wait to dig in and see where they take me. . . I think I will dare to start with William Gaddis's Carpenter's Gothic.

I also checked out from the 'brare Alice Munro's collection of stories, Runaway.

Not to mention that I am reading about two stories a week from the O. Henry Prize collection for my fiction writing class at Emerson--which is a wonderful class made up of delightful minds.

And not to mention that I finally read a few stories from John Cheever.

I can't believe I have the audacity to write short fiction in the shadows of such great work. I am undaunted! My plan: immerse myself in fiction, especially short and experimental fiction, and then wait for an explosion--either of my brain or my imagination.

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