Books! What are you currently reading or just finished?


Oh, jeez - Walser. There’s another obsession! I feel like I got slightly overwhelmed by the sheer volume of short story collections that were published over the last few years, but I really must get back to them. Microscripts is such a joy, as is Carl Seelig’s semi-biographical sketches of his walks with Walser, written in the last decades of Walser’s life at the Herisau sanatorium.


Yah! I read Jakob von Gunten years ago and enjoyed it. It looks like I have access to an eBook copy of his" Schoolboy’s Diary and Other Stories" through work. I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks for the Walser shout-out / reminder.


the ND translation/printing of Microscripts is such a revelation.


revisiting the poetry of Jaime Saenz. The Night is maybe the most powerful, hallucinatory and dark evocation of death I’ve ever experienced.

also his short bio is nearly unmatched:

Poet and novelist Jaime Saenz (1921-1986) is considered the greatest Bolivian writer of the twentieth century. His poetry is apocalyptic, transcendent and hallucinatory. He lived his whole life in La Paz, Bolivia, seldom venturing out of the city. It is that indigenous culture of the place which features so prominently in all his writings. His life was defined by an intense experience of alcoholism and struggle. He sought God in unlikely places: slum taverns, alcoholic excess, and the street. Saenz was nocturnal. Occult in his politics, unashamedly bisexual, secretive in his leadership of a select group of writers, Saenz mixed the mystical and baroque with the fantastic, the psychological and the symbolic. He once stole a leg from a cadaver and hid it under his bed. On his wedding night he brought home a panther.


wow, i love this. these are adorable


you might also enjoy ‘The Rings of Saturn’ by W.G. Sebald. it’s a bunch of fragmented, hallucinatory hospital-bed-ridden thoughts on time, life, and memory. jaime saenz is excellent btw.

also found a nice piece on Sebald:


great rec - I read that Sebald when I was in college. probably need to revisit as I’m sure I would appreciate it more now.


oh nice, i read it with the flu once and my mind exploded. highly recommended


@_opial – thanks also for this.

this year I’m on a reading path that’s focused on very specific problems, one that has me reading mostly nonfiction, so I have to fight the urge to pick up anything else!

2019 for sure will be a “depth year” focused on Sebald, Perec, and Krasznahorkai.


Can’t claim to have read all of it, but this series of Portuguese books about underground / DIY music scenes looks interesting (and is free)

Vol 1:
Vol 2:
Vol 3:


This was my second or third read of this book. I am happy enough with my process enough right now that I’m not really looking for solutions to problems, but it was good to check in.

I especially appreciate how few assumptions are made about the kind of music the reader is making – even if most (but not necessarily all) of the advice applies to a DAW-based workflow. So many “advice” books mean “EDM” when they say “electronic.”

But this makes me think that a modern book on modular and algorithmic synthesis – written for people used to the paradigms of East Coast fixed architecture synths and piano roll/X0X sequencers – would be fantastic. I know I felt like I stepped into about four new worlds simultaneously when I got into modular.


oooooh, thank you for reminding me that I own this book and should read it!


I read Capital a few years ago and followed along with David Harvey’s online course. I got so much more out of the experience than I would have if I read it alone. Also I probably wouldn’t have gone on to vols 2 + 3 without Harvey’s argument for why Marx’s project needs to be considered in its entirety.


been looking forward to this one. currently blowing up (guessing in large part due to the allure of the author’s path: student -> army medic -> war hero -> heroin addict -> bank robber -> currently serving 11 year sentence) but not worried about the hype considering one of the best indie publishers (Tyrant) edited it all and refused to publish it because he said it deserved a wider audience (thus sending it to Knopf). the editing process involved going through waste baskets full of typed pages in no order…

I love Denis Johnson so those comparisons are enough to get me to read almost anything. plus the cover is beyond beautiful.


Read about this book in the NYTimes last Sunday, would like to read it. I’m not sure I buy their hand wavy explanation of how this doesn’t violate the Son of Sam law though. I mean, he’s in jail for bank robbery and they’re using that fact to promote his fiction novel about a bank robber. From wikipedia (clearly not a legal authority), A **Son of Sam law** is a [US English]( term for any law designed to keep criminals from profiting from the publicity of their crimes.

If I was on the pointy end of a gun that Nico was waving around during one of his robberies, I’m pretty sure I’d be irritated right now. I totally get that this is PTSD / opioid related and a novel of the times that will most likely transcend the crimes and be seen as a record of what it was like to live in the 2000’s, but…sigh.


well, they always do say to “write what you know” :wink:


I’m not sure exactly how it avoids that but I’ve read elsewhere that they confirmed it is not in violation. It might have something to do with paying the banks back. I’ll try to dig that up.


Damn I just had this in my hand in the local book store, thought it looked awesome but convinced myself to “be good” and finish the novels I’m in the middle of… but after reading your post I wish I had let myself slide just this once :sweat_smile:

(And of course by just this once I mean every time I go to the bookstore except this evening.)


This one was mentioned in the DeSantis book above, so I thought I’d give it a try.

The overall idea is that a relentless force called Resistance wants to stop you from doing your thing (art, or your true calling) and has many clever ways to do that. The cure is to “go pro” – to work without fail, ignore all the distractions and whether you actually feel like doing it right now, and do the thing like it’s a factory job or like you’re a soldier in a war. Inspiration and genius follow that, not the other way around; muses, angels, God(s) etc. provide the brilliance while you provide the labor and you need to stay humble before them.

There’s a bit where he’s dismissive of several mental illnesses, claiming they were invented by Big Pharma and are just excuses not to work; I take some exception to that.

I also feel like the book gets fanatical in places, and should have mentioned the value of rest, a change of perspective, the study of seemingly unrelated things you can connect to your calling. It’s been shown that productivity and cognitive function both fall off after some number of hours. There’s a mini-chapter where he describes his typical workday and it involves about four hours of writing, but he doesn’t really address that.

But I think overall I like it. I’ve often felt like “showing up” is the hardest part, and if I turn on my synths and fire up my DAW I have won a small battle. Setting things in motion is the second hardest part. Everything flows once I’ve overcome that. And those difficult parts are made easier with discipline and habit. I’m not sure how helpful the ideas are to people who have trouble finishing, rather than starting.

There’s another bit on “hierarchical” vs “territorial” motivation, which I also appreciated. Essentially: are you doing this thing to gain the approval of others and ensure your place in a social hierarchy, or are you doing it because it is your domain and it’s what you do? Would you still do it if you were the last person on Earth? Would you want to keep improving if you were already the best? Your “territory” is something you build up through work (honing your skills, finding your voice etc.) and becomes a source of power. (A somewhat different angle than the “muses love a dedicated worker” of the rest of the book.)


came in the mail this AM