Sunday, March 13, 2011

My week in media: Mar. 6-12

A new job with unprecedented downtime means I tear through books like a demon. Am I demon? Evidently so, as I've recently finished David Foster Wallace's Girl With Curious Hair and Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son. Neat ride! Let's do it again!

The stories in Girl w/ C.H. have celebrity characters like Alex Trebek and L.B. Johnson behaving in imaginative and probably uncharacteristic ways, and it is funny. The last piece, "Westward the Course of Empire Takes its Way," is a difficult exploration of meta-fiction and other stuff I don't pretend to understand, but the premise of staging a huge McDonald's commercial in Collision, IL and the characters inability to get there from the airport struck me and will certainly compel me to create bogus locations. Actually, Collision is a lot like Varna, IL, which is real and spectacular. The Pale King drops next month on April 15, tax day. Makes sense, except this year tax day is  April 18. My knowing that brings this blog post pretty much full-circle, wouldn't you agree?

The characters in Jesus' Son couldn't be more different. They are joes and janes with serious substance-abuse problems. These stories are gritty and sometimes terse, but Johnson drops awe-inspiring metaphors and similes on just about every page. A suffocating and uncomfortable collection, the last story, "Beverly Home," offers a brief respite from the gloom by taking us to Arizona, but things get all twisted, and we're left only seeing gray. 

I just ripped a record called Baby I'm-a Want You by Bread. Pray 4 me. 

Drinking: Stone Double Bastard Ale   

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