Like if I watched you brushing your teeth, you pick up toothbrush this way, start on this tooth, move that way, spit, start there, that tooth…the same method every morning. You don’t believe me? Videotape yourself.
You drive to work two ways. Two routes, maybe. Same roads/signs/stores/sky. You could easily take some other roads/paths, maybe 40. You would see 40 new things. But you don’t.
I want you to go eat something new. Don’t cheat. Go the ethnic restaurant, produce aisle, international market—select something you have never eaten before. Eat it.
What is the point?
So yesterday I sent out an email asking a fairly large group of writer, editor and publishing friends to send me their top 3 books published this year. I told them to interpret “top” any way they chose to, and to feel no pressure to expound on their choices. One of the first responses was this exuberant, flame-throwing missive from Zak Smith, author of the eminently top 3-able We Did Porn (Tin House Books). I decided that Zak’s note was worth publishing in full, as is, but that it was really too long for the post of mini-lists I was compiling. So here, now, is Zak’s top 3, offered as a kind of advance payment on the full list of lists, which will hopefully be forthcoming next week.
Scott Esposito of The Quarterly Conversation is giving away a copy of Zak Smith‘s Pictures Showing What Happens On Each Page Of Thomas Pynchon’s Novel Gravity’s Rainbow.
If you want to win this book, all you need to do is be a member of our Facebook group and write on our wall telling us why you should get the book. Out of all the entrants, we’ll pick the winner the week of September 7.
Give TQC some of your time, everyone. There’s an interesting excerpt in the latest issue from Macedonia Fernández’s The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (forthcoming from Open Letter). The editors of TQC write:
Museum is a collection of prologues to a book that is not yet written, and, reminiscent of Viktor Shklovsky, part of Museum’s logic is to frustrate the readers’ expectations with continual digressions, as well as to challenge their attempts to predict what kind of a book will follow this series of prologues. That all is to say that Museum is one of those books that makes practically no sense at first and then slowly gets better and better as the reader acclimates to its sensibility.
I have been reading Zak Smith’s We Did Porn this weekend. I am pretty sure you’re going to want this. One of those books that once you open you don’t stop thinking about wanting to read until it’s over. Plus it’s about porn and art. What else do I need to say?
Oh, it has drawings, along with the memoir, which follows Mr. Smith through his alt-porn career:
Quite quite engrossing, and in one of those voices that sounds fresh enough to not sound like anyone else while still maintaining the maximum fun and punk sass.
It was going to take a pretty amazing thing to follow up the Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon’s Novel Gravity’s Rainbow idea, but yeah, halfway through I am ready to profess: Buy.