Monday, October 11, 2010


I have a number of library books at home right now. I am the jerk with six different books on his desk, each of them untouched for days on end, the bookmarks moving slow through the pages. I've also got chapbooks and thicker things that have come in the mail recently and I feel (sometimes pleasantly, sometimes un-) buried in words. Last night I read some of Tom McCarthy's C and got so anxious about finishing anytime soon so that I can move on that I had a damn nightmare about writing a review of it.

(C is making me particularly anxious because I liked Remainder quite a lot and C is heavy with singular characters and promise of weirdness but it's sort of densely narratively traditional, at least toward the front [I'm only 40 pages in] and I'm getting a little slogged down and feeling guilty for it.)

Anyway Thursday I decided to return some things to the library and when I looked at the website saw that the central location would be hosting Laura van den Berg, author of Dzanc-published What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us. I have not read every story in the collection but the stories I have read are strong. All the stories, as I remember, have appeared in well-known and respected journals. The stories I've read are about intelligent and resourceful people doing their best to navigate less-than-ideal situations, sometimes while wearing bigfoot suits. The plots aren't fantastical but they flirt with the fantastical.

So Saturday Sarah and I went to the downtown library and stumbled around feeling foolish and tried to log onto a machine to figure out where exactly this event was and then finally the Information Desk sent us to the third floor where Laura was reading from the first story in the book. We sat in the back and I was surprised at the turnout. After the reading, Laura conducted a Q-and-A on publishing, working with an indie press, etc., and was ultragracious in her moderation of topics and generous with her answers.

Anyway I recommend her book. When I've read it all I'll probably write about my favorite pieces, on Moonshot.

After the reading I met J. Bradley. If you've read the PANK blog, you probably recognize him as the interviews editor. He also produces poetry and fiction, a lot of which you can find around the internet and some of which you can find in books. His writing is very punchy and packed, which is to say that in the fiction you can see the close attention to word choice and feel the heat of the narrative engine.

Here's a picture of my cat sleeping with J. Bradley's book, The Serial Rapist Sitting Behind You is a Robot, published by Safety Third Enterprises:

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