May 20th, 2011 / 11:54 am

What are you reading right now and how is it?


  1. Kyle Minor

       The novels of Isaac Bashevis Singer. They’re awesome. Satan in Goray is a good place to to start.

  2. WF Householder

      Dreams of Distant Lives by Lee K. Abbott and Gringos by Charles Portis. Dreams is vintage Abbott and Gringos is…Portis, man, just Portis, that’s all. 

  3. GiovanniGF

      The Captive Mind
      by Czeslaw Milosz and The New York
      School: The Painters and Sculptors of the Fifties by Irving Sandler. Don’t
      ask why.

  4. Trey

       Lonesome Dove. it’s not bad.

  5. M. Kitchell

      I am in the middle of like 14 books which is why I’m not finishing any of them but whatever:

      MARCEL DUCHAMP NOTES: reading this is annoying because the translation is just basically done via end notes, which seems to defeat the purpose, but Duchamp is fucking brilliant so I’m doing it.

      CONTRA MUNDUM I-VII:  journal of collected talks from this series.  Good stuff in here, intersection of art & philosophy & critical theory & politics.  Really dug the talk on Private Issue New Age records, and Evan Calder William’s talk on zombie films is surprisingly awesome.

      LOST BOY, LOST GIRL by Peter Straub : when they were working on my computer at work I had to sit at my desk and stay occupied for 6 hours without having anything to do so I started reading this.  It’s pretty OK.  The mechanics of mass-market fiction kind of weird me out still, with the insistence upon elaborating a lot of dumb unnecessary details, but the events in here are interesting for sure.

      YALE ANTHOLOGY OF 20TH CENTURY FRENCH POETRY:  Kept on my desk at work & I read it whenever I get the whim.  I think I’m on the last section, but since I started on the second to last section, I’m actually in the like middle of the book.

      RENE’S FLECH by VIRGILIO PINERA:  picked this up based on Lily’s post, it’s fucking great.  I’d be done with it if I werent’ reading a million books at once right now.

      NEW LITERATURE AND PHILOSOPHY OF THE MIDDLE EAST: THE CHAOTIC IMAGINATION by JASON BAHBAK MOHAGHEGH:  this is awesome but it’s taking me forever to read and I have to return on Monday.  So i will try to power read it this weekend.  It’s sort of an ideology of chaotic literature that changes the world via routes taken by Blanchot.  If there is a future of literature, conceived of as such, I want it to be found in this book.  Lit theory as inspiration.

      MALLARME COMLPETE POETRY:  I have a hard time reading the symbolists, or basically pre-Surrealist poetry because it feels so stilted, but dude is important historically so I’m giving him a go.  His famous Throw of the Dice poem is amazing, but I’m not too into the rest of his shit. 

      POEMS FOR THE MILLENNIUM VOLUME 2: I keep this by my bed and read the work of a few poets every night.  There is a lot of amazing shit in here, and it’s really nice that this book takes such an overarching look at poetry across the entire globe.

      THE MEDIUM OF CONTINGENCY:  art & capital via urbanomic

      THE AESTHETICS OF DISAPPEARANCE: Virilio being really fantastic, speed, disappearance.  I have discovered that I love reading Virilio.

      THE WRITING OF THE DISASTER by MAURICE BLANCHOT: fragmented nature of these ideas leads to a disjointed reading.  Blanchot is fantastic.


      AFTER FINITUDE by QUENTIN MEILLASSOUX: this is sort of shaking the foundation of my thought, which is what it’s supposed to do, I read everything out of order, this is going slowly, but lovely forever. 

      Plus about 10 more art books, jesus.

  6. Bigdeadbat
  7. Jack M

       Ghostwritten by David Mitchell.  For a first novel, it is incredible.  I would love to be able to write the way he does.

  8. guest

      Libidinal Economy by Lyotard because ‘hysterical anxiety signals not that the god is too far away but that he is too close’

  9. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Cheever’s Wapshot Scandal. It’s great. An uptight antiquated style juxtaposed with ridiculous characters/events. Sort of reminds me of Gogol. Then again it seems everything I like reminds me of Gogol. 

  10. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Cheever’s Wapshot Scandal. It’s great. An uptight antiquated style juxtaposed with ridiculous characters/events. Sort of reminds me of Gogol. Then again it seems everything I like reminds me of Gogol. 

  11. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Glad this posted twice, that’s how good the book is. 

  12. Amber

      Farewell Navigator by Leni Zumas. Which is killing me with how good it is. 

  13. Ross McMeekin

       “Townie” by Andre Dubus III.  It’s fascinating.  Very honest.

  14. marshall
  15. Penina Roth

      And Yet They Were Happy by Helen Phillips
      Us by Michael Kimball
      Open City by Teju Cole

  16. David Fishkind

       while typing that i’d finished ‘there is no year’ 20 minutes ago, my computer froze and terminated a bunch of programs.. pretty sweet

      i started deb olin unferth’s ‘revolution.’ seems sweet

  17. Roxane

      I’m reading a bunch of stuff:

      This Is Not Your City by Caitlin Horrocks (brilliant and a real pleasure to read)
      The Watery Part of the World by Michael Parker (a decent enough book but not grabbing me)
      These Are the Breaks by Idris Goodwin (really interesting and engaging)
      I Don’t Respect Female Expression by Frank Hinton (pretty great)
      A Sport and a Pastime by James Salter (too soon to tell)
      Us by Michael Kimball (incredibly moving)
      Damascus by Joshua Mohr (not what I normally go for but I’m liking it so far)
      the angel in the dream of our hangover by Mark Leidner (interesting)

  18. mimi

      Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker
      i’m almost done
      it’s like hundreds of soundbites (selective? spin? yeah, sure ) 
      i find myself “making up” my own “context” as i read them
      so surprisingly “imaginary” an experience for me

  19. Penina

      Forgot to talk about the books.  It’s interesting to read And Yet and Us at the same time — And Yet is whimsical and fantasy-based (a novel told in fables) and Us is soulful and mournful and intensely real (but the narrator does engage in magical thinking).
      Open City is very richly detailed and, like Us, much of its strength comes from its exploration of the narrator’s inner life.

  20. Hipposplatter

       Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we begin to intricate by Jonhannes Goransson (based on a suggestion from HTMLGIANT). I really like it and I’m almost finished but I keep having to stop and wipe the brain matter oozing from my ears. 

  21. Naomi

      The Shape of a Pocket by John Berger. It’s amazing. 

  22. lorian long

      jean-philippe toussaint’s ‘running away’ (gorgeous, exhausting)
      lynne tillman’s ‘american genius’ (might be in my top 10 best books of all time)
      gass’s ‘the tunnel’ (not sure if there’s anything else to read after this, seems like ‘the ultimate book’ or something)
      javier marias’s ‘a heart so white’ (breakin’ mah heart, sentences for miles)
      john hawkes’s ‘the beetle leg’ (read it once, miss the fucked nightmares, so i’m reading it again)
      stephen king’s ‘skeleton crew’ (i dunno.)

  23. Adam Goetz

      Wheel of Time Series…starting a reread. <3
      always (re)reading a Haruki Murakami novel.
      nearing the end of Pedro Paramo and i love it.

  24. Nathan Huffstutter

       I’m reading “Because A Little Bug Went Ka-Choo!” Over and over and over and over…

  25. Kevin Lincoln

      Infinite Jest, for the first time. In the midst of Mario’s showing his first film at the E.T.A. Interdependence Day gala. Whatabook.

      Read, as a breather from IJ, Markson’s Springer’s Progress earlier this week, which was awesome. Like the happy midpoint between the postmodern tricksters and James Salter. 

  26. cameron pierce

      Reading and re-reading tons of short stories for a “best of the decade” anthology. This has been a lot of fun. I’ve discovered new favorites and re-discovered old ones. Might be reading nothing but short stories until this project is completed in late summer.

      Also re-reading The Phantom Tollbooth, which was my favorite book as a kid.

      Recently finished Of Thimble and Threat by Alan M. Clark (which isn’t out until October). This is a bleak-ass book. First time in a long while that a book has made me cry, let alone weep like someone smashed my LEGO pirate ship.

  27. Marian May Kaufman

       “The Year of Living Dangerously” by Christopher J. Koch. It’s part of my research on Indonesia which is kind of the best way to research ever. I am really enjoying it but it was kind of a buzz kill when I learned they made a movie of it…starring Mel Gibson….

  28. M. Kitchell

       man i kinda wanna read ‘the tunnel’ but i have a really hard time starting books that are more than like 300 pages max.  it seems really sweet though.  i mean, i didn’t really like the one gass book i read, but the idea of the tunnel seems awesome.  i haven’t read hawkes.  i have a copy of ‘the passion artist’ though.  i like books that give nightmares.


  29. dole

       Paying For It by Chester Brown – provocative, well worth reading 
      The Skating Rink by Roberto Bolano – great
      Story of the Eye – cooky fun
      Ana C & Frank Hinton chapbooks, Italian Futurist Poetry, Nicanor Parra, Mark Leidner – all great

  30. Ryan Sanford Smith

      Just finished Open City, enjoyed it quite a bit. 

  31. Ryan Sanford Smith

      Strangely like my own current summer reading spread; contemplating which Murakami to read next while rereading some fantasy novels akin to WoT, which is to say good enough that I’m not ashamed to admit to be reading them. 

  32. Ryan Call

      the living end by stanley elkin

  33. c2k

      1. Right now I’m reading this post.
      2. It’s “okay”.

  34. Jason Teal

      Ryan Seacrest Is Famous by Dave Housely and Big World by Mary Miller. Concerned with how far behind I am in reading great books. These books are no exceptions. Really.

  35. Josephriippi

      Roy Kesey’s PACAZO (very awesome, taking my time)

  36. elizabeth ellen

      am i the only one who hates being asked this? the question always feels so personal. or intimate. and then i get flustered and forget whatever i am currently reading and feel like an idiot. 

  37. Frank Tas, the Raptor

      Oh man I read The Skating Rink just recently too. Why isn’t every book written that way? 
      Also, is the Chester Brown anything like the stuff in The Little Man? I loved those minicomics but could not get into his Louis Riel book at all.

  38. Anonymous

       It’s worth it. What Gass did you read?

  39. Anonymous

      Nick Land’s FANGED NOUMENA’s great, but difficult.

      OBABAKOAK is bumming me out- so so good, but a translation of a translation? fuuuuuuuck

  40. stephen

      “camera” by jean-philippe toussaint
      i’m interested in it, but i’m not sure whether i like the prose style or not

  41. jtc

      art as experience. just finished the blue book. maybe start crying of lot 49. also just got lapham’s quarterly in the mail. wittgenstein’s mistress and brown book soon. good, good, and i assume good good good good.

  42. Don

      I’m reading THE ABSENT SEA by Carlos Franz.  Very good so far.

  43. M. Kitchell

       Willie Masters’ Lonesome Wife. considering how formally experimental it is, i was really bored.  read like ‘hippie shit’ to me.  it also might have just been way too heterosexual in a way that felt exclusive to me or something.

  44. Parker Tettleton

      Jonathan Baumbach’s You. Love it. Reminds me of Richard Yates’ style a bit.

  45. nick

      last two books i read were blake bailey’s richard yates bio and coetzee’s diary of a bad year. the tricky formatting of the latter became sort of annoying at times, and seemed a lot more gimmicky than innovative, but its effects in the end were palpable, the way it lingered. like the intermigling of non-fiction essay and straight realist fiction. makes me wish more writers would “fuck shit up” like that, yes. 

  46. nick

      try omensetter’s luck! more manageable length. clocks in at just over 300 pgs. not sure about the “hippie shit” factor. was written in the sixties, so yeah.

  47. nick

      that’s only my fourth favorite dostoevsky. 

  48. peter

      The Diary of Samuel Pepys and it’s great

  49. Tummler

      “The Complete Works of Marvin K. Mooney” by Christopher Higgs
      “ntst: The Collected Pwoermds of Geof Huth” by Geof Huth
      “OcNUX” by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen
      “Selected Poems” by Gwendolyn Brooks
      “Otherwise Elsewhere” by David Rivard

      Those last two I’ve sort of abandoned. Both are great, but I’ve found that unless a poetry collection really grasps me somehow, I tend to toss it to the wayside.

  50. Cwinnette

      Zoo, or Letters Not About Love by Viktor Shlovsky.

      “As a cow devours grass, so literary themes are devoured; devices fray and crumble.  A writer cannot be a ploughman: he is a nomad, constantly moving with his wife and herd to greener pastures.”

  51. NLY

      Cages, Dave Mckean
      The three volume Richardson Picasso, and the two volume Spurling Matisse
      “The Writings of William James”, selected and edited on thematic grounds
      Bye-and-Bye, Charles Wright
      The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson
      Out of the Vinyl Deeps, Ellen Willis
      and the first ever fully annotated edition of “The Bridge”, which came out this year.
      All good.

  52. dobbs

      Helene Cixous in various texts on a singular text, a first draft of Jacques Derrida’s, written on a jet, handwritten, a “flying manuscript.” 

  53. dobbs

      I found it published in a mirror, my own mirror in which where my own mirror image had been writing a mirror book, a story in which I caught enough sentences of to tell that it was mine and yet completely strange, something completely not myself. And once it saw me seeing though, the writing returned to normal.

  54. Ken Baumann

       ABOUT A MOUNTAIN by John D’Agata: Wow.

  55. Karen Biscopink

      Golden Gate by Vikram Seth
      Museum of Accidents by Rachel Zucker
      Magenta Soul Whip by Lisa Robertson

      All of these are completely delicious so far.

  56. Karen

      Golden Gate by Vikram Seth
      Museum of Accidents by Rachel Zucker
      Magenta Soul Whip by Lisa Robertson

      All of these are completely delicious so far.

  57. kevocuinn

      a little Proust, tax reminders, summonses  

  58. Rachel Y.

      I just ordered “Bigfoot Observer’s Field Manual: A practical and easy-to-follow step-by-step guide to your very own face-to-face encounter with a legend.” I am pretty sure it will be awesome.

      Also re-reading “City of Boys” by Beth Nugent, which kills me.
      Also “Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls” by Alissa Nutting which is delightful.

  59. alan

      The Bible, dude! Don’t you know what day it is tomorrow? 

  60. alan

      The Bible, dude! Don’t you know what day it is tomorrow? 

  61. kb

      Kitaro Nishida, Thomas Mann, Annabel Thomas.

      I am, surprisingly, wrapped up in Buddenbrooks.

  62. Andy Linkner

       Ken Sparling’s novel “Intention Implication Wind” which is utterly fascinating and gorgeous.


      Kit Robinson’s “The Champagne of Concrete” which is an extremely good collection.

  63. aaron b

      BJ Hollars has an awesome Bigfoot essay coming out in Ninth Letter. Should be the next issue, I think. Watch for it!

  64. aaron b

      I liked this a lot, though a part of me thinks I liked the condensed/excerpted section in The Believer even better than the full book.

  65. deadgod

      I’m going back and forth between “2 people liked this.” and these very words.  Not digging the narrative arc, but minutely fascinated or ‘fascinated’ by the suspense.  Frustrated by the interactivity, especially when a misspelling occurs.

  66. deadgod

      It is a challenge, elizabeth ellen, crafting such a list, but surely you can imagine suitable guidelines for Shining the Light of Brilliance:

      a)  Name a couple of classics that are safe to admit you haven’t yet read.

      b)  Add a couple or few old and new titles that you doubt will be recognized by 95% of even aggressive readers or fakers.

      c)  Throw in a naughtily mass-popular book that you can be knowledgeably – if ironically tee hee – enthusiastic about.

      – and your list is In Like Flynn!

  67. paulb

       the psychopath test by jon ronson. started off with a bang but hasn’t maintained it.

  68. jh

      The Kindly Ones

  69. Guestagain

      Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It/Meloy which I think is aces.
      Also, Patterns of Enterprise Application Architecture/Fowler and The Pale King/Wallace. These are kind of the same thing except Fowler favors roles over characterization. 

  70. adrian

      I just finished reading “Suicide” by Edouard Leve, and it blew me away. Short, powerful, and extremely sad. A loving portrait of (the narrator’s) friend who decided to end his life at the age of 25. Very fucked up, once you learn that the author killed himself about a week after he handed the mss. to his publisher. Strong stuff.

      Finished “Paris 60” by Harold Jaffe about a week ago. It’s basically the wry thoughts of a lovable curmudgeon who stayed in the City of Lights for three months back in 2008. Killer stuff. Very funny. Spot-on cultural reportage, from an Outsider.

      Started reading “American Genius” by Lynne Tillman a few days ago, had to put it down. I found it incredibly boring. What’s all the fuss about? If there’s an inside joke, please, if you have read the book, fill me in…

      Just started “The Explosion of the Radiator Hose” last night, by Jean Rolin. The author is supposed to be sort of like a French W.G. Sebald. I’m only a few pages in, but I’m really digging it. Too early to really tell, though.

      Ordered “S P R A W L” on Amazon just today, looking forward to receiving it in the mail soon. I’ll tackle it after I finish “Radiator Hose.”

  71. reynard

      rereading ulysses, fucking phenomenal
      rilke’s dunio elegies, felt like the sixth was on-point, a little cryptic overall
      i’ve been reading anti-oedipus for like over a year, starting to make more sense in context of other things and some of my own epiphanies, wikipedia reading re: psychology, etc.
      machado’s dom casmurro, loving it
      read a robert walser microessay every once in a while, killer
      joe wenderoth’s no real light, somewhat disappointing
      random donna haraway pieces on the interwebs, so good i don’t want to talk about it
      seven controlled vocabularies, i think i get it

  72. Coffeehound

      There Is No Year, p. 24. 

  73. Anonymous

       Democracy by Didion and occasionally reading little bits of Varieties of Disturbance by Davis. 

  74. Dawn.

      In the Devil’s Territory by Kyle Minor (so fucking good)
      Fairy Tale Review Blue Issue (too soon to tell but really enjoyed the first story)

  75. shaun gannon

      fellowship of the ring, for work (re-reading, it owns, duh)
      there is no year, for fun (not as much time spent reading this as i’d like, due to having to read 7-8 books in the past couple days for work

  76. TonyONeill

      “Will Work For Drugs” by Lydia Lunch.  How is it?  Fucking great actually. 

  77. mimi

      are you reading it all by your lonesome, Nathan, or in the company of a young’un ?

  78. Craig Ronald Marchinkoski

      re-reading _infinite jest_.* the section after the violent eschaton incident involving ann kittenplan – the section focused on gately at the boston area aa commitments – the section describing the drooling, diddled, IT in the raquel welch mask, and the dried-out stillborn on the floor of the welfare-hotel room and the mother, her denial, carrying around inside her the impacted placenta… some gut-tugging shit, for sure. i cried, no doubt, reading all that.  

      last night i read the subtitles while watching _13 assassins_. fiercely entertaining. some formulas just work.

      and i agree, _open city_ was a good read.thanks to this list, i’m looking into jean-philippe toussaint.

      *while purchasing+ _i.j_, amazon suggested i try _there is no year_ which brought me here.

      +i had to re-buy _i.j._ because i brought my copy to the 2009 rainbow gathering outside of taos, new mexico. and after bringing professor anarchy^ to ok city, we headed to the woody guthrie festival where i gave my copy to a fresh-faced high school graduate that was dying to read it.

      ^professor anarchy is now phoebe xavier. warning: he/she will rap and rap well for food or cash, but if you invite him/her to sleep on your couch for a month, he/she will steal food/clothes/weapons from your family.

  79. Nathan Huffstutter

      She likes the pictures and I like the sound of my own voice. We could go on forever.

  80. I.B. Banging

      The Deputy – Victor Gischler.  Hardboiled junk fiction. It’s okay so far but not nearly as entertaining as his first novel, Gun Monkeys.

      Will To Power – Friedrich Nietzsche

      Rereading the complete run of Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan.

  81. hannah

      I just started Mona Simpson’s Anywhere but Here…I like it a lot. 

  82. Susie Anderson

      reading James Franco’s novel, it’s actually quite good.  

  83. DK

      I’m reading Ishmael Reed’s “Yellow Back Radio Broke Down,” which is awesome, and Michael Chabon’s “The Adventures of Kavalier and Klay,” which is good but overwritten in the beginning.

  84. jesusangelgarcia

      Winding to the end of Justin Taylor’s Gospel of Anarchy. I want to see how it plays out.

  85. herocious

      No one here is reading Austin Nights? Why not?

  86. dole

       yea, it is more like The Little Man than Louis Riel.  Brown himself describes it as a polemic, and I certainly didn’t agree with all (or even most) of his points, but I’m glad I read it. 

  87. Zan McQuade

      Andre Dubus III’s Townie, which is as fantastic as everyone says. Patiently waiting for someone to tell me which James Salter novel to start with so I can read him next.

  88. val

      Game of Thrones. first fantasy book i’ve read since outgrowing the genre in high school. on the whole it’s pretty dull, except for the Tyrion Lannister chapters. he’s the only interesting character in the book.

  89. Adam

       Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima.  Trying to find some evidence of the man who set himself on fire in real life in this Japanese novel of manners.

  90. Neil Griffin

       On a violent man-book kick: 1974, Volt, and Knockemstiff. I need something light and fun now. 

  91. deadgod

      Solo Faces would be a suitable choice, because its story is a hard, clear arc.  Light Years is an equally fine novel – or better – , but one might feel that the gorgeousness of the prose dissolves the sadness of the story.  The story of all of Salter’s stories (that I’ve read) is the texture of glamor that his sentences plunge the reader into – sentences lapidary like Nabokov and Updike, but with Salter one doesn’t constantly see the magician’s fingers.

  92. mimi

      no wonder i feel so ‘dim’
      but then, i’ve never been good at following guidelines . . .

  93. STaugustine

       (caveat: to be really effective, this list should be no less than 7 items long. I never bother responding to The Question; I’m usually only [re-] reading one book… with retarded slowness)

  94. STaugustine

       (caveat: to be really effective, this list should be no less than 7 items long. I never bother responding to The Question; I’m usually only [re-] reading one book… with retarded slowness)

  95. Anonymous

      I have never read any Stephen King books, but if his books are half as good as some of the movie adaptations of his books, I should probably start.  Dolores Claiborne?  The Dead Zone?  Misery?  Fuck.

  96. M. Kitchell

      no, his books are infinitely worse than the movies, and most of the movie adaptations are terrible. you should not read stephen king.  stephen king is terrible and does everything wrong with the horror genre and then people jerk off all over him for and and he has basically ruined everything important ever. 

      if you want to read MM horror read peter straub

      if you want to read really good horror read thomas ligotti

  97. Anonymous

      Louis Riel was a departure for him.  Paying For It is one of his autobiographical comics along with I Never Liked You and The Playboy.

  98. Anonymous

      I don’t want to read really good horror I want to read a book that is as good as the movie Dolores Claiborne.

  99. Anonymous

      revolutionary road by richard yates
      branwell by douglas martin
      a visit from the goon squad by jennifer egan
      the mutation of fortune by erika adams
      from the fjords by zachary schomburg

  100. Sean

      Bills. They are very high.

  101. The Frank Hinton Realization «

      […] fully reconstruct it, but I think I saw our very own Roxane Gay mention Hinton (of Metazen fame) in the HTMLG comments as part of what she was reading. Then I saw something else positive about Hinton’s new book, […]