in which the author discusses five books he’d read, if time permitted.
1. Into the Forbidden Zone: A Trip Through Hell and High Water in Post-Earthquake Japan, by William T. Vollmann.
I corresponded with literary genius William Vollmann (two “n’s”) once about an essay I wanted him to contribute to a publication at which I worked. He refused to communicate via email, at least with me, and submitted his story on a CD, which was, unfortunately, rejected by my superiors. So I had to send back the CD to him with a letter saying we couldn’t use the story I’d asked him for, which I feel kind of ruined things between me and William Vollmann (two “n’s”). However, I’d told him in a previous letter that I’d recently had a daughter, and in a subsequent letter he advised me to make sure I slept enough because, for new parents, not sleeping is a major psychological and physical shock. I appreciated this, and think of it from time to time when I’m not sleeping much, and look forward to the day when William Vollmann (two “n’s”) publishes a seven-volume series on parenting.
2. Professional Idiot: A Memoir, by Stephen “Steve-O” Glover and David Peisner.
This book would have been cooler—-way, way cooler—-had “Steve-O” not had a co-author. Oh—-RIP that other Jackass dude who died this week. Skateboarding is not a crime.
3. The Impact of Global Warming on Texas, edited by Jurgen Schmandt, Gerald R. North, and Judith Clarkson.
I don’t know if global warming is real or not, but if it is real, it only seems fair that it should affect Texas more than, say, low-lying Bangladesh.
4. Avian Architecture: How Birds Design, Engineer, and Build, by Peter Goodfellow.
A outdoorsperson-friendly, healthy-seeming book like this by a dude with a positive last name makes we want to wake up at the crack of dawn, drink an almond milk/spinach smoothie, and get in a few hours of birding before harvesting the organic vine-ripened tomatoes I planted on the back 40 this spring. Take a deep breath. Do you smell that? That’s fresh air.
5. Zazen, by Vanessa Veselka.
This is an apocalyptic novel about a bomb that goes off in Portland, Ore., or at least some kind of alternative version of Portland, Ore.—-or, actually, maybe it’s Portland, Maine. Anyway, some hipsters survive the bomb and the face a Road-like scenario where they have to fight for survival, or at least for a place in line at Voodoo Doughnuts.