The Diary of Anais Nin, Volume I (1931-1934) (1966) & Volume II (1934-1939) (1967)
I read Volume I a couple of years ago & thought it was much better written than her fiction (I’ve read A Spy in the House of Love and Winter of Artifice). I’d like to read all of them. I like to think of the diary as the form she innovated. She didn’t just hand over a bunch of notebooks to her publisher, these are edited. I’ve read that some women were angry at what she left out – that they took her for a feminist model & thought it dishonest that she left out the fact that she was supported by her rich husband, etc… But I say: it’s a work of literature, the diary tells the truth in the way literature does, not in the way “true stories” do. I remember at one point she calls the diary her drug, her opiate – she lived through writing it. It’s interesting to think of it as a form, a formless form (non-narrative, or loosely narrative form), anarchic.
Take It by Joshua Beckman & Ventrakl by Christian Hawkey
As part of my freshly minted commitment to approach contemporary poetry with an open mind & open heart (rather than a jealous heart & negative mind). I heard Beckman read from Take It at KGB Bar & really enjoyed the reading. Everyone was buzzing about the Hawkey book last year, which is a hybrid with translation (??). Thought: maybe my difficulty with poetry (keeping up with everything being published, reading it in large quantities), is that I need so much space around it. Today I felt as if I had some breathing space in the reading room in my mind, like it could handle some poetry. This is rare, I don’t buy poetry books very often when browsing books.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
I read this in college & have been feeling like I need to read it again. I listened to it as an audio book while temping in an office in downtown Denver. I was working in the HR department of a tech company, the HR ladies didn’t really know what the company did. I was stuffing envelopes, sorting benefits materials, etc. with headphones on, usually dressed in black, I think. I felt very bad ass listening to Plath while they discussed the day of the week (“Ugh, it’s only Wednesday.” “At least tomorrow’s Friday.” “It’s Friday!”).
El examen por Julio Cortázar
I hadn’t even heard of this novel. He had his wife publish it posthumously (1986). He wrote it in the 50s. What finally convinced me to buy it was the references to his sense of humour in the jacket copy.
The Philosophy of Andy Warhol by Andy Warhol
This crossed my path at Spoonbill & Sugartown, it just looks like fun.
I got these 7 books, these riches, for $54! (Everything used except the Warhol book, I also traded in 3 used books, got $8 credit.)
Authors I noticed, to look into at some point: Geoff Dyer, Arthur Nesesian (never heard of him, but suddenly he was everywhere. Manhattan Loverboy was deemed “Best Book for the Beach, 2000” by Jane magazine, its jacket copy declared – what could this mean?).
Also, I got everything but Warhol & Beckman at Book Thug Nation, a used bookstore with a terrible name, but an amazing selection of literary fiction, particularly in view of its tiny space. Bookstores like this have been disappearing, places that you can tell are owned by people who love literature, serious literature.