Saturday Round-up: what some of us at Shelf Life Books are into right now…
Karlene: The paperback edition of Hilton Als‘ White Girls is covered in praise from Junot Diaz, Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist), Michael Robbins (Alien vs. Predator), John Jeremiah Sullivan (Pulphead) & others, for a reason. A blend of pretty exquisite literary non-fiction & fearless cultural criticism re: race, sexuality, art, Americana & the white girl in all of us (vis-à-vis Michael Jackson & Truman Capote etc).
Emily: reading Nabokov’s Ada, or Ardor. For a large number of reasons – specificity of time/place, precision of language, lepidoptera, alternate universe, footnotes, sweetness, sadness, the erotic & the taboo – no one but Nabokov could have written this book.
See also– The Millions: Difficult Books & The New York Times: An Erotic Masterpiece
Brendan: just finished reading I Will Never Be Beautiful Enough to Make us Beautiful Together: poems by Mira Gonzalez – accurate descriptions of anxiety beyond the tumblr variety. Similar to Spencer Madsen’s You Can Make Anything Sad – Mira is only 22, and maybe hasn’t hit her perfect poetic stride yet, but is a writer to watch.
Will: hyped on Velo-City: Architecture for Bikes by Gavin Blyth. Hyped for days. Ironic that the only piece of adequate biking structure in Calgary made it onto the cover of this international collection of cycling infrastructure. Good biking infrastructure has a drastic impact on the urban environment, contributing to any city’s base identity.
Karlene: halfway through Alone With Other People (poems & fiction) by Gabby Bess. Here’s what my favourite man Blake Butler (Scorch Atlas; There is No Year; Sky Saw; 300,000,000) says about it: “Alone With Other People orchestrates an impressive catalog of young human want with a uncompromising style. In the span between its first phrase /The sex can be rough/ and its last sentence, /Panic./, the reader moves forward through a virtual rolodex of self-inquisition shaped by boredom, horror, aspiration, fear for future, wonder, lust. There’s a lot of intense light coming off this book full of screens and suns and large black dots.”