Lucky is an "Internet runner" he helps gather
books for your order. He has interviewed William Kennedy, Amy Bloom, and Emo
Phillips. He has also interrogated his younger sister about marbles missing
from his collection. Lucky swears he has a tattoo of a lava lamp on his biceps
that changes color and shape as he heats up. And, most important of all to
this endeavor, he reads books sometimes.
Auster is one of my favorites. Read anything by him. He is influenced
by writers such as Samuel
Celan, and Georges
Bataille. The first book of his I read was a book of essays, The
Art of Hunger, which led me to read many other fine writers, including
Hamsun. Auster is a very literate writer, his prose is spare and exact,
and he is a remarkably mysterious writer too. Start with The
New York Trilogy (City
of Glass, Ghosts,
Locked Room). The three stories in the Trilogy are separate entities,
able to stand on their own, but there's a certain amount of interconnectedness
that makes them very exciting. Another good book of his is In
the Country of Last Things.
The aforementioned Knut
Hamsun is a wonderful writer. Born in Norway, Hamsun won the Nobel
Prize in 1920. A book in the vein of Gogol
(but written 25 years earlier), Hunger,
is a good place to start.
Sibyl by Par
Lagerkvist, another Nobel
winner, is a lyrical novel in the guise of a parable or fable. Or maybe it's
a parable or fable in the guise of a lyrical novel. Either way, it's just
Read anything by Joe
Sacco he's greatbut start with Palestine. Sacco is extremely funny
and politically astute, and his drawings are genius!
And while I'm on the topic of funny political satire, check out Under
the Frog by Tibor
Fischer. I actually laughed out loud a good dozen or so times while reading
this great book wherein a nude, drunken basketball team careens around postwar
Eastern Europe. Tibor is part Hungarian, if that makes any difference to you.
If it doesn't matter to you, he's still part Hungarian.
Ever read Samuel
Beckett? Why, I really like this dead Irish writer! For those who've never
read him, I recommend starting with First
Love and Other Shorts. Otherwise, I highly recommend Murphy,
His first published novel. A very funny, sad book.
And how about those Russians?! Better read than dead! I love 'em! Try Turgenev's
Love. Or Gogol's
Overcoat, one of the greatest short stories ever written in any language.
Then there's that Russian/American Vladimir
is one of my favorite books. His opening to that book is the finest piece
of prose writing I've read in a long while.
I tend to like writers who are a bit nontraditional, and in that vein, Grace
Paley is one of the best. Try Enormous
Changes at the Last Minute, her second collection, which contains 15 years
worth of her city-set stories.
And finally, a poetry recommendation: It
is Hard to Look at What We Came to Think We'd Come to See by Michele
Glazer. Glazer lives in Portland. This volume was selected by Jorie Graham
for the Associated Writing Program's Award Series in Poetry, drawing comparisons