Yesterday I got into library school. It is making me reflective. This was my first library card. It was handed to me with a Twinkie. Due to my upbringing, it was the first time I had ever seen a Twinkie, much less eaten one, and I decided whatever a library was, it had to be great. When I found out that they’d let me take up to 30 books home at a time, no questions asked, I was hooked. And now here we are!
Groundbreaking singer, songwriter and guitarist Ian MacKaye will speak at the Library of Congress on personal digital archiving and the need to educate creators and users in ways to steward our digital cultural heritage.
I am an archivist
I wait, I wait, I wait, I wait
For cool things to get old
Every time I read a Will Eisner book, I’m reminded why they named the most prestigious award in comics after him. I wish there was an award given out for effective, meaningful dialogue, in any medium, so it could also be named after him. We could also invent an award for “true insight into American history” and name it after him. Just pure genius.
I don’t always love quiet books, but Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi is so beautifully written that I fell for it, hard. When people talk about writing as a craft, they’re talking about writing like Selasi’s. I finished this book on the train and then worked on some writing of my own; this ended up mirroring an experience I usually have during the Olympics while watching ice skating, because they make it look simple to skate backwards in a circle and then launch their body into a triple whateverthehell, and then I stand up to go get more tea and skate myself down the hall in my socks, humming, and then trip on the floor and bruise a knee. She makes it look easy because the prose is basically perfect, so there’s no comparison, until you crash back to reality in your own journal. A beautiful family saga of sorts that brings not just her characters, but also contemporary Africa and the United States, to pulsing, vibrant life.
Dustin is usually hideously wrong about books (don’t believe him when he says it’s me) but he was less wrong than usual when he gave me Wolf Haas’s book Brenner and God. The voice of these books is incredible, like nothing else in crime fiction. I’m not even sure how to describe it. So blasé and conversational and a little mean, especially about the protagonist, private detective Simon Brenner. For example, here is how the book above, The Bone Man, begins:
Well, something’s happened again.
Spring’s a glorious time of year, though—poems and all that. And everybody knows, it’s in springtime that life awakens. That’s why nobody wanted to believe it at first when suddenly it was the other way around.
Yeah, I’ll say. A person has been using the bone grinder at a famous fried chicken restaurant to grind human bones and hide the homicide evidence. Something has indeed happened.
But where most books would use atmospheric language and cliffhangers to draw out such a story, Haas strips it all away, which has a chilling effect, like a picture on the Internet without an Instagram filter. Grade-A crime fiction, nice short paperbacks, nice covers, German coolness, the prestige of reading literature in translation—you have no excuse for not reading these if you are a mystery fan. NO EXCUSE.
Saved a few books to have World Book Morning at my coffeeshop today
World Book Night at the bar
World Book Night in the park