A genius baby is born to a Maine family with an alcoholic mother and a cocaine-addict older son, but the kicker is that the baby knows that a stray comet’s going to destroy the world in 2010. The novel goes in wildly varied directions from here using different narrators and styles, with no two sections alike and plenty of black humor. The second-person sections take some getting used to but add an otherworldly flair that becomes essential plot-wise, resulting in a thoughtful meditation on what it means to enjoy life and find meaning in the face of tragedy.
For an entire week in September I ask my wife to feed me only Swiss chard. There is a day when I eat a can of tomatoes bigger than a toddler.
This is a 43-page small press book that fits easily in a pocket—a series of prose poems about bizarre deaths. I don’t write this kind of prose myself or read it very often, but I’ve developed an odd kind of respect for it, and enjoy it in small doses that evoke an emotional response before I move on. In that sense, this little book accomplishes that nicely.
More About this book from Subito Press
I loved this book. I loved how its stories are meaningful but also speckled with Miranda July’s dry humor (“As with the whole-grain bread, Carl did not initially leap into the idea with enthusiasm”) that stops them from ever being too pretentious. I love that these stories are about relationships that don’t always work. I love that July’s characters undergo real emotional turmoil. I love how there are things about these stories I don’t understand, and that I’m OK with that. Finally, I love that this paperback comes in five different colors and that mine happens to be orange.
This 600-page tome from the McSweeney’s journal packs a hard punch—not just because of how much they’ve crammed inside, but because the writing is straight-up good. There’s a comics section, a play starring three cavemen, an account of a NASCAR weekend by a man who knows nothing about racing, a list of facts about Spokane, Washington, two stories based on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s notebooks, and a scattering of 20-minute fiction. Extra points go to the fine design: the dustjacket folds out into a poster and the bonus materials include a box of postcards and colorful booklets.
Marshall McLuhan is the guy Woody Allen pulls from offscreen to prove his point to the pretentious academic in Annie Hall. His work in the 1960s tackles the power of media and its ability to deliver information in different forms; this book is a short, coherent explanation of how media affects us, assembled by graphic designer Quentin Fiore with black and white photos to enhance McLuhan’s points. There are comics, two-page spreads, ‘60s pop culture, and a page printed in backwards text to keep things interesting, pushing the limits of what the printed form can do. Very cool.
Where I Got It
Found in a free box outside my apartment building with a bunch of other textbooks and books on programming, sometime in the fall of 2015. This was the only one that looked interesting.