Friday, November 12, 2010

Disambiguations™ for November 12, 2010

I. Bookforum's Paper Trail catches up with Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Books, and focuses on its most surprising and important piece:

Published last month, Bound to Last is a new anthology for which thirty authors pay homage to their "most cherished books." There are some excellent and in some cases deeply inspired entries: Ed Park geeks out over the Dungeon Masters Guide; Nick Flynn assembles a series of personal, melancholic fragments about Ryszard Kapuscinski's Shadow of the Sun. But the most personal essay is by artist Karen Green, the widow of David Foster Wallace. Her topic is The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel, but the essay basically uses quotes from that book as a framework for her reflections about DFW's suicide—about selling the house that they shared, about describing what had happened in the house, about talking to her late husband's psychiatrist. "I was asked to contribute to this anthology because I am the widow, via hanging, of David Foster Wallace," she writes, "whose writing I enjoyed very much, but whose made-up potty humor songs on a road trip I liked even better." Green's humor is on a par with Hempel's: Her description of the gift shop at the L. A. Coroner's Office is both skewed and also, somehow, respectful of life. The piece is the most moving thing we've read about Wallace's death yet.

II. Dullblogger Mike 'fesses up: He loves Magical Mystery Tour! And if you read his start thinking...Hey...
In a related heresy, I always cringe a bit when people call the White Album their favorite. They're free to, of course, but it's a bit alienating because I wonder what they're hearing. I hear all the great raw material of India filtered through a brutal six months of international bloodshed, heroin paranoia, rockstar hubris and internal discord. I suppose what I hear is the conditions that allowed The Beatles to arise—in the Buddhist sense of this phrase—beginning to dissipate. White has some superb tracks and I enjoy those, but it's one long bad vibe for me. I hear the group starting to sicken and die, and it's the group that I love most about The Beatles.
(Side note, love how MMT enters The Social Network. Great moment in that movie.)

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Blogger Levi Stahl said...

I'm a Magical Mystery Tour devotee. Sometimes it seems like I could listen to "Flying" alone for days at a time. And there are few Beatles songs that are more fun to sing along to than "Your Mother Should Know" and "Baby You're a Rich Man."

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