What It Is: 2/9/09

What I’m reading: Montaigne, Clive James, and a big photo book on Robert A.M. Stern’s buildings and projects from 1999-2003.

What I’m listening to: The soundtrack to The Darjeeling Limited.

What I’m watching: RuPaul’s Drag Race. And something manly. Oh, and Broken Flowers, in which all the roads Bill Murray is seen driving on are all north Jersey and New York state, generally along my morning commute. My wife recognized Rt. 4 instantly, when Murray drove past the Joyce Leslie store across from Bergen Mall.

What I’m drinking: Plymouth & Q Tonic, as well as some beer that my pal Sang brought over for the Superbowl last week.

What Rufus is up to: Getting drenched during our Sunday greyhound hike, courtesy of weather.com’s failure to give any word beyond “Cloudy a.m. / Sunny p.m.” Still, we got some nice pix! (Amy, of course, took better ones; if she posts ’em, I’ll link.)

Where I’m going: Nowhere special, but I should come up with something good for Valentine’s day (which is also the birthday of my brother and my dog)!

What I’m happy about: That I managed to replace a toilet flapper and supply valve stem without incident!

What I’m sad about: That when a new business contact for my day job proposed we have a lunch meeting to get acquainted last week, I suggested the White Castle on Rt. 59. He accepted and, while we had a great 2+-hour conversation, we couldn’t sit directly across from each other, on account of Slider-breath.

What I’m pondering: When it’ll be okay to listen to Katrina & the Waves again.


When I was a small press book publisher, I was put on the Comp list at Bookforum. Despite not having published a book since 2003 and closing down the company in 2004, I’ve remained on the freebie list. The new issue arrived last week, on the heels of my 0-fer festival (here, here and here).

So, of the 60+ books that got reviewed in this ish, how many of them was I interested in reading about, and possibly buying?

Two: The Philip Johnson Tapes: Interviews by Robert A.M. Stern and Herbie Archives. (Curiously, Dan Nadel’s review of Herbie — a comic book about a fat guy who gets superpowers from enchanted lollipops — was placed in the nonfiction section of the table of contents.)

I still need to check out William Vollmann’s essay on why Nazi photography is creepy. Or maybe I don’t. And Tom Vanderbilt’s review of books on how the suburbs and the internet are alienating or fragmenting or something seems pretty blatherous. I did have high hopes for this Richard Price interview, but then I discovered that it was a Richard Prince interview.

I’ve been going on lately about my inability to read contemporary books, but I realized that I should check to make sure I’m not full of crap. To that end, I checked through the last 3 years of my list of All The Books I’ve Read, sorted by date of publication, and realized that I am full of crap! Here’s a PDF of 2006-2008, each year sorted by book-date.

I decided to include all books from that year and the previous one as “brand spankin’ new,” arbitrary as that seems.

  • 2006: 5 new books (2 novels), 11 overall published this decade, 35 overall
  • 2007: 7 new (4 novels & 1 play), 14 from this decade, 31 overall
  • 2008: 8 new (6 novels), 13 from this decade, 29 overall

So I guess I have been more susceptible to book-hype lately! Or there were a bunch of good books out last year. Still, maybe I should follow the suggestion of one of my newer readers (hey, Zeke!) and put a ban on any books that are fewer than 3 years old.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: