Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Best American 2010 — Neither Here Nor There™ — Kimchi news — Borges vs. England

I. The latest edition of The Best American Travel Writing features F.S. Avi Davis's "The Undead Travel," about vampires and tourism, which appeared in The Believer. I picked it up at the bookstore the other day and was reminded that one of the great things about it is how it channels a Sebaldian tone, in a way that's well suited to the topic...a tour de force!

II. Today the latest The Best American Nonrequired Reading landed in the mailbox, or rather on the doorstep, and it contains F.I. Rachel Aviv's great Harper's piece, "Like I Was Jesus."

III. I was thumbing through it, thinking vaguely Wow there's a lot of good stuff here, why can't I ever write something that would be a best nonrequired piece, hmmm, etc. etc. and then saw my name! In the back there are a few pages listing "Notable Nonrequired Reading of 2009," and it mentions my story "Untitled," from Gigantic's debut issue. File under: A nice surprise!

IV. Neither Here Nor There™: This is a rather long LAT article about the Korean kimchi shortage! It's all due to a cabbage shortage, the result of rainy weather. Not that funny excerpt that gets sort of funny the more you look at it:

In recent days, a black-market cabbage trade has sprouted. Police say many residents are hoarding the vegetables for resale. Four men were recently caught stealing more than 400 heads of Chinese cabbage.

V. I've been reading with considerable delight Fernando Sorrentino's Seven Conversations With Jorge Luis Borges (as, I see, has Levi). I love how you think, Well, I've pretty much used up all the Borges that I can easily acquire, and then—pow! Here's another Borges book you didn't know about! This bit made me laugh: "[I]t's strange that England—which I love so much—provokes so much hatred in the world but that nevertheless one argument that could be used is never used against England: that of having filled the world with stupid sports."

VI. F.S. Sam told me that his Lorriemoros joke was the first thing he thought of upon waking up that morning! Heyo!™

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Blogger James said...


Congrats about "Untitled" getting into Best American Nonrequired! It's always been one of my favorite stories we've published.

I, too, have been reading with considerable delight Borges. I've been thumbing through Selected Nonfictions and I just finished Seven Nights (he, or his estate or publisher, seem to really like that number), the series of lectures he delivered in Buenos Aries in 1977. One of my favorite moments comes when he talks of James Joyce, describing him as the author of "those two vast -- why not say it? -- unreadable novels, Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake."

Looks like I'll have to pick up Seven Conversations...

12:23 PM  
Blogger Ed Park said...

Seven Conversations is a real treat! I like that description of Joyce, too....

Have you read Other Inquisitions? Much (most?) of it is probably in the Selected NF, but there's some good stuff that isn't.

And — thanks for publishing "Untitled"! (I should clarify that it was simply noted, not included, in the Best Nonreq.)


8:49 AM  

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