I got your iron rooster right here! To ride, even!
The Fall, Grotesque (After the Gramme)
Blut Aus Nord, 777 - Sect(s)
Dead Kennedys, Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables
Dead Boys, Young, Loud, and Snotty
Cormac McCarthy, Child of God
César Aira, Vamaro
Redd Kross, Researching the Blues (via NPR)
Rodriguez, Searching for Sugar Man
Patti Smith, Just Kids
Paul Theroux, Riding the Iron Rooster
Jimbo Mathus, Blue Light and Knockdown South
Barrence Whitfield & the Savages, Ow! Ow! Ow!
The Moonstones, Fuzz, farfisa y fiesta
Dylan LeBlanc, Cast the Same Old Shadow
Peter Bruntnell, Normal for Bridgewater
I'm reading books!
Varamo by César Aira
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I have a thing for South American poets that write novels about poets that are chasing poetry like a runaway kite. Especially in their short books. This has that charged kind of prose found on Bolaño's By Night In Chile or Aira's own weirdly cool How I Became a Nun, without being quite as good as either of those. I read this cover to cover sitting by the pool in 98° heat and it flew by without either the reader or the protagonist quite knowing what was going on or why we were following the trail this narrative was cutting, but we did anyway, ignoring the sun and the people having fun with their stupid lives just steps away. I think that's the message these self-righteous Chilean badasses are talking about - the real life is dogged, foolish, and will lead you away from the imagined life everyone else lives. I don't fully buy all that, but it is nice to run with this crowd for 70-80 pages or so and then jump in the pool.
Child of God by Cormac McCarthy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Devastating, brutal, and if one is honest with the filthy clown chuckling in the shadows of the heart's crawlspace, kinda funny. As funny as a story about a necrophiliac killer can be. The smartest thing he does in Child of God is set it up as a your general Southern "we are all really as bad as each other is" gothic morality flattener and then reveals that, no, some of us are significantly worse than others. The worst among us retains some humanity - we just want to be loved, is that so wrong? Apparently, that is judged on a case by case basis. That nascent humanity doesn't temper one's horror, in fact, that broken humanity actually worsens one's worseness. So yeah. Thanks, Cormac McCarthy.
I found the book to be ate up with the Persephone myth, but then I think most books about relative innocence being confronted with evil to be so, so I don't think this helps much.
It would be impossibly, blackly hilarious if this book were to be found on the shelves of a Blue Ridge tourist cavern gift shop.
View all my reviews up on the GoodReads
Also, I continue to be drawn to Just Kids in the same manner that Patti and Robert find every damn thing to be a talisman that reminds her of Rimbaud or something. I highlighted some particularly egregious passage but it looks like the Kindle ate the note, as if to say, don't go put that on the Internet. I should lighten up on her. It's still a good book. Anyways, what has Patti Smith ever done to me beside give me and the world Easter and this awesome song?
Also also, Paul Theroux is funny as hell. In a conversation with a German guy from the train to Mongolia, he relates:
"...I don't think the average American makes much distinction between Iranians and Libyans. They are seen as dangerous and worthless fanatics, so why should we waste our time on being subtle with them?"
"That's the way Americans think about us," Helmut said.
If he mentions the war, I thought, I'm going to say You started it.
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