nah, Robert Walser didn’t annihilate my soul

The quiet is a result from in part of genuine laziness and in part to evacuation to Austin for a week for Gustav. (Bill offered to let us stay in Jackson, Mississippi, but we decided to turn the event into a vacation of sorts.) Half Price Books in Austin was having a 20% off sale, so i snagged some good stuff:

  • Flann O’Brien. At Swim-Two-Birds.
  • Flann O’Brien. Further Cuttings.
  • Raymond Queneau. Exercises in Style.
  • Raymond Queneau. The Last Days.
  • Ishmael Reed. The Last Days of Louisiana Red.
  • Kevin Brockmeier. The Brief History of the Dead.
  • Victor Pelevin. 4 by Pelevin.

The funny thing is that until i just typed this, i thought that i had picked up two more O’Brien books and had no memory of grabbing these Queneaus. I’m extremely happy of that, as i don’t need to bve oversaturated with one author. It was odd as the store had every book by Ishamel Reed, but since i never finished Mumbo Jumbo, it would be a little premature in grabbing all of those too. If this keeps up, i won’t need to buy the Dalkey Archive 100 books for $500 deal, which i don’t know is available anymore anyway.

Not so sure about this particular Pelevin, but it was too cheap to pass up. Also, i’ve already read The Brief History of the Dead, but i want Kat to read the first chapter at least.

We hung out in Book People a little too much as well. (I keep intending to check out in other bookstores, but get caught up in other things.) I read the first pages of a lot of books that i’ve been intending to investigate, resigned myself to acquiring all of them one day, and bought two other books unread: Howard Waldrop’s Howard Who? and Thomas Bernhard’s Frost.

  • Howard Who? Lots of fun. I went with the Small Beer Press collection rather than the other one just because i already have other Small Beer stuff and didn’t realize that the cover was drawn by Kevin Huizenga until i held it in my hands. Attractive book design. Anyway… Waldrop hits the spot. Not every story was my taste, but it’s easy to appreciate how he plays with ideas so deftly. It’s easy to see why Kelly Link pays homage to him. I also realized that a writer that i quite like (but forgot,) Don Webb, has connections to him through the Turkey City Writer’s Workshop. It’s going to be fun tracking down more of Waldrop’s collections.
  • Frost. This deserves its own post. I’m two-thirds through it. There’s gotta be something wrong with me. Jakob von Gunten eviscerated me, but this book, supposedly a minor work of Bernhard that is bleak and existential, seems hilarious. I must be misreading it, but it’s a very fucking funny misreading.

No, i’m not playing Spore, but doing something even more ridiculously unproductive. It’s best not to get into it.