Table-Talk of Parkus Grammaticus for May 21, 2008
I. Alice Boone has a lengthy, thoughtful post on Nicholson Baker and the method at work in Human Smoke.
II. Interestingly, AB favors Baker's Double Fold and recent Wikipedia essay (and the weird little story "Subsoil") over his earlier work; I find all aspects of Bakerdom interesting, but in the end I think it's those first three books—The Mezzanine (which I've been trumpeting loudly in interviews for PD), Room Temperature, and U & I—that establish him in the EP pantheon.
A few months ago, I don't know that I would have put RT up there—but a recent re-reading made me think that this was possibly his best book. Incredible! Some of this clearly has to do with my current situation—after all, the entire book takes place during the time it takes for the narrator to give his infant daughter her bottle. It's also, I think, a supremely well-conceived (and breathtakingly–ha!—written) variation on Burton's "Digression of the Air."
III. Spinster Aunt: "I've been reading short stories; I read an Ellery Queen story in which the perp was a man named Harry Potter."
IV. Huge thanks to everyone who came out for the reading/discussion last night at McNally Robinson! That was fun! (Next reading is Chicago, 6/5; next NYC reading is at Happy Ending on 6/11—more details here.)
V. Have said it before—will say it again: I like when Mollie complains! I've had grumblish dealings with the exact same post office she mentions, and reading her post made me want to reopen the case of "Why did you send a mailperson bearing a slip for an Express Mail package two days after I was supposed to get the package instead of just having her deliver the package itself"!
VI. I like that the NYT called me a poet—I'm not! I'm just a poet of...life?! Wha...