Here Comes Michael

IMG_6048Back in the fifties and sixties Michael was a very popular name for boys. Generally the very unscientific analysis of boys named Michael suggested either boys that were always getting into trouble or, later on, boys that whined a lot. My own experience with boys named Michael is a boy who grew up somewhat uneventful and now demonstrates his rebelliousness quietly reading Ezra Pound and Allen Ginsberg.

But almost without warning a new Michael is rapidly growing in the Gulf and heading right for my house.

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Tin House Is Poison

Tin House Volume 20, Number 1: Poison

TH77-Cover-800x1030One night after I’d turned off my reading light but not yet sunk into sleep, an uneasy feeling swept up my back. I was accustomed to the sweep of shadows along the walls as the train emptied its passengers and they marched by my windows and cars braked at the corner stoplight, but one shadow had stopped, its source blocking the stripe of light at the corner of my closest window.

‘Hey, baby’ a voice murmured from outside. ‘Are you sleeping?
—MELISSA FEBOS, Intrusions

Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.” So said Paracelsus, the sixteenth-century Swiss physician credited with creating laudanum. In our toxic times, it seems as if there are very few remedies and that all is, indeed, poisonous. What, then, must writers do? Come up with remedies? Use the poison to cleanse, to heal, or simply to attack what is attacking us?

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May My Reading Keep Me Young

download-4.jpgThe year is rapidly running down and soon I will have over 350 reading suggestions that make me panic. Time is running out. Sitting here in my office I scan the double files of books on my built-in bookshelves and realize that I will never read them all. Time is running out. If I stop and think about it, I’m torn between reading as many of the classical novels as I can fit in or concentrating on the more entertaining books that would probably be more fun to read.

So which would you opt for, Henry James or Mickey Spillane, the Venerable Bede or Agatha Christie? Do novels that are older than you, telling stories about a world longago keep you young, relatively, or are new books with modern problems and hip language force you to keep up with a younger group of readers and the topics that are of current interest?

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Ready Reader One

download-3.jpgThe last couple of months I have been trying out various methods of selecting my monthly reading pool with varying success. Along the way I have accumulated a few tempting titles, generally new or recent books, and this month I included several in what might be a fun and enriching group of reading or, perhaps the shiny object titles will leave me disappointed.

What’s a Mars Room? Is a parking lot attendant a hero or an anti-hero? Convenience stores can be quite useful for cigarettes or a half-dozen XLNTs but they can be dangerous too. Is Player One ready? For what?

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