I don’t believe that I have ever heard a critic or a reader accuse William T. Vollmann of writing tight, exacting prose. Fact is, most of Vollmann’s work is a little shaggy. But it’s still good, fleas and all. If you are interested in a gritty representation of the world of sex, drugs, and hobos riding the rails, then I recommend Vollmann’s novel Royal Family. This big, hairy novel is the third text in Vollmann’s Prostitution Series which started with Whores For Gloria, followed by Butterfly Stories. In these novels the author deals with sex trade, street drugs, violence, social hierarchy, spiritual awakening, death, Lady Boys, and the best way to hop a train to Barstow. I don’t believe there is a strong requirement to read the novels in order but since they go from shorter to longer, it might be a good idea.
Deciding what to stack on the corner of your desk for possible reading during the month of June is too much of a Sophie’s Choice, but it has to be done. I will admit that the stack is much smaller nowadays, not because I’m reading less (although I used to select forty titles for each month) but because so many upcoming titles are just entries in a digital list and waiting for me to read them on my iPad.
I might not read as much this month since it’s getting hotter out on the lanai and I tend to fall asleep in the lounge chair where I read in the bedroom (with the overhead fan swirling and a hot dog-body draped across my lap). Also, old age has forced me to downsize my musical urges: I have given away the dreadnaught, hidden the guitar, gifted the mandolin, and now I am intending to fool around on my newly purchased ukulele: I figured, four strings of soft nylon might work with my gnarled old hands, at least for a while (then I pass it on to my son-in-law to go with the guitars and mandolins).