I had a nice little break over the weekend, going to a fundraiser for our local radio station, visiting Memphis, TN, enjoying a huge boucherie in Como, Mississippi, and celebrating my anniversary in general. I subscribed to “Nightmare” magazine, and read some short stories while away; I may write a little bit more about them. With Monday off, I started reading a couple of things in earnest– however, owing to this break, the wretched sea was on pause, and I’ll resume crawling through it this week.
“You Can’t Win” which is a book by Jack Black (not that one) about his life as a thief and a hobo. It’s well constructed and interesting, but fairly straightforward. It has sometimes been cited as an influence on William S. Burroughs, and, eh? Maybe on “Queer” and “Junky”, but by the time we get to the more, er, Burroughs-y books, I don’t see it. There’s some of his jaunty use of slang– one of the real delights here is Black’s use and explanation of hobo cant. Bindle-stiff, gump, pennies, etc. Black’s language is natural and breezy, and he writes with a charm that probably helped him greatly in his chosen profession.
I also started, and got a substantial way into “The Doloriad”, which is both frustrating in its obfuscations, and delightful in the same. Told in thick, dense prose, it’s about a group of survivors after some kind of environmental apocalypse, who are unflinchingly cruel. It’s caused something of a buzz in the internet book-nerd world, which is how I heard about it in the first place, and I’ll give it a bit more consideration as I go into it. It’s fairly short, so there’s a decent chance it’ll get finished in a day or two.
Up next, I plan to read another Virginia Woolf novel– I bought two biographies of her, one recommended by my English professor friend, the other appears to be the “standard” one. Reading “The Waves” has been this year’s greatest revelation for me, and I’d like to continue the ride.