Day 109 of the "What are you reading, and why?" and Karl, who just had a birthday, is reading What is the What, by Dave Eggers, who rocks. Karl rocks, too. We also have a fancy hardback copy of it at Babbitt's, but I think the link might just take you to the general search page (for some unknown reason), but you can just type in Dave Eggers. (I think this link to the tote bag will work, though.)
Because I don't rock and am not hip or cool, and was in that no-books-no-movies zone of raising young children when he first hit the publishing scene, I did not know very much about Dave Eggers, just the title of that first amazing book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, a fictionalized account of raising his little brother after their parents died. There has been lots of trouble in the Eggers family. Dealing with it via genius and humor is the way to go.
Then I saw McSweeney's Quarterly at Babbitt's and went, "Whoa!" Each one is different. Some look like a conventional paperback quarterly journal, some like hardback books, one like a newspaper, one like something that would come in your mailbox, one like a cigar box, etc. We got some in at Babbitt's (some still shrinkwrapped), and I see some are on sale at The McSweeney's Store.
I think it's wonderful that McSweeney's began as a journal that would publish only stuff rejected by other journals! Now it is sought out by writers who love it, major pagers (made-up term), and writers with that peculiar ingenuity in mind. It really makes me wish I were hip or cool.
I could, of course, become more hip by reading the Believer, the McSweeney's magazine (samples online), separate from McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, and from Believer Books (which does books, book club, used books via garage sale, etc., and McSweeney's also publishes its own Books, separate from the Quarterly and the Believer Book offerings), and maybe I will. But it might be too discouraging, as in litost, that sudden realization of one's own miserable existence, since Nick Hornby (famous, funny) writes a column called "Stuff I've Been Reading" that of course is hipper and cooler than mine.
I realize we have a stack of Believers on a shelf at Babbitt's. I am going to have to look at those when I get back to work, and maybe become a weensy bit hipper. Sunday afternoon. We are closed Monday, for Memorial Day. I will be picnicking and asking my parents what they are reading. We are taking dessert--blueberries, strawberries, Cool Whip & angel food cake torn up together in a red, white, and blue trifle like thing I will make up as I go along. I am so not hip.
I have hips.
Happy Birthday, Karl. Have a wonderful life, Dave. It's time for breakfast, coffee and le toast.
New York Quarterly Reading at The Bowery Poetry Club
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