I’ve meant to write about the Zadie Smith and Nick Hornby readings I went to this week, and their books for that matter. I’ll be filling out the week with two more readings/signings. James Sturm & Dylan Horrocks signing their new comics on Friday and David Byrne signing his new book on Saturday.
I almost took a break from reading White Teeth because I thought it was dragging its heals a bit near the middle. I gave it another chance though, sat down to read another chapter, and got pretty engrossed in it again. That’s lucky, because it turns out that every aspect of the many layered themes developing through most of the book become focused at the climax. Suddenly the most ambiguous bits of dialogue from early chapters are revealed to contain levels of meaning. Not a word is wasted (except most mentions of teeth). Reading it is like watching a portrait being painted, seeing every line applied not having a very complete picture of the final shape of the thing until it’s finished. Zadie Smith’s reading was good, it was in a big packed lecture hall at UW. A couple of things she said, out of context of course: “I think there are too many opinions and opinion-makers.” “The writer as guru phenomenon is really unhealthy.”
The book I was going to interrupt my reading of White Teeth with was Nick Hornby’s How To Be Good. It’s pretty nice so far, I set it aside today for Banvard’s Folly though. Nick Hornby’s reading was alright, I was worn out that day though and probably could’ve skipped it.
I’ve started reading Banvard’s Folly, a book I was really excited to see. Paul Collins has had a couple of these stories published in McSweeney’s. (Okay, headcount. How many of the writers mentioned so far are McSweeney’s contributors? Three of six? Well at least it’s not more than half.) These are essays about long forgotten people who were big thinkers/doers and big failures. It’s really interesting. I always enjoy reading about people with big plans charging ahead alone. That, I guess is also why I like Lawrence Weschler‘s (Another McSweeney’s contributor. There goes the curve.) books.
Also when I went to pick up the new Built To Spill CD, I was excited to see a new Firewater disc. I’ve just put in Firewater, haven’t digested it yet. Woohoo, it’s so good to hear new stuff from both these bands.