Tuesday, January 7, 2014
As well read as I like to think I am, the list of books and writers I've never opened is gigantic. Immense proportions. With Salinger, I have never been a fan. Read Franny and Zooey in high school and was pretty unmoved. I have never read The Catcher in the Rye. If I did, it is completely erased from my memory banks. Another assignment, rebelled against. Oh dear, I wonder. Today I suspect the book of being a manual for brainwashed, hypnotized assassins. It scares me. Like Wagner and the Nazis.
Thomas Pynchon is somebody I never read till very late, and only one title. All his 'important' early works, I have still never read. The one title is Mason & Dixon, and that was in 1997 when the hardcover came out. I saw we both had similar verbal quirks and perhaps, in some ways, our minds ran down the same gutters. I know who my conscious influences are. One hates to be accused of unconscious ones. When I read Mason & Dixon, bits reminded me of the Firesign Theatre. Now I know I was influenced by them, but what of Pynchon & the Firesign? Could one inspire the other and in turn, the inspired re-inspire the inspiration? Or is it coincidence? Or, probably just the drugs, which means yes AND no. Either way, fool that I are, I'm trying Pynchon for the second time with his latest, Bleeding Edge. I'm under a hundred pages into it as I write, and when this twaddle is published, I should be finished. Some jokes remind me of stuff from Space Pirate Radio in 1974, but I'm taking it all in good spirits. I admire his work and think one will weather any calls that I went back in time and stole his stuff.
There are many sacrifices in marriage. One is giving up my library. Most of my collection of books are in tubs, hidden behind other stacks of tubs. These contain my wife's immense collection of Star Wars collectibles, Yes concert t-shirts and endless out of order back issues of Q and Mojo magazines. Like the penultimate scenes of Citizen Kane on acid, or a cat walled up in an Edgar Allan Poe story, my ancient volumes scream out to me, unheard behind a stack of Jar Jar Binks pizza boxes.
Umberto Eco is there. Two titles. Bram Stoker. Nabokov. Three volumes, I believe, including his script version of Lolita. Herrman Hesse. Arturo Perez-Reverte. The complete memoirs of Casanova. Orhan Pamuk. Kafka. Some folks have works of William Gibson. I have Walter Gibson, the creator of The Shadow. A lot of Sax Rohmer too. High art to low trash. That's what a good library should consist of. (I have a lot of biography, auto-biography and history as well.)
I loved libraries as a kid. Gravitated to the Science-Fiction and Mystery sections. At the Fullerton Library, the spines of the sci-fi books had Saturns on them. The mysteries had poison labels. Cute.
As mentioned above, biography and auto-biography always gives pleasure. Rich information, over the joy of immersion in language. Artists bios are seductive: Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, Nazimova, Vanessa Redgrave, Tamara de Lempicka, John Gielgud, Isadora Duncan, Sellers & Milligan are subjects still in the library that spring to mind. Politics and history: Leon Trotsky, the Opium War, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, suffragette Victoria Woodhull, Nazis, neo and retro (only the clothing changes).
Ah, the love of books. I started reading very, very early. A story I will bore you with later. But if I could step back into my Re-Tardis, it would be to go back to an earlier time and catch up on all of the tomes, pulps, periodicals and paperbacks I've missed, or wish to rediscover.
In the Beginning was the Word. And the Word was...A NOUN!
Who was the Author? He was A NOUN AMOS!!! :)