Read these books

It’s the 50th anniversary (more or less) of Saul Bellow’s Henderson the Rain King. I can see how elements of this book would rub people the wrong way, but what a voice. It’s like an undertow. I can imagine Wes Anderson making a risky movie out of this, with Gene Hackman in the title role. He’d be perfect. You read that here first. Don’t be put off by the morbid title of David Shields’ memoir/meditation, The Thing About Life Is That One Day You’ll Be Dead. Yes, it’s about mortality and decrepitude, but mostly it’s about living well. I read the first part of Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask at my friendly neighborhood Burgermeister but I had to switch to something else because it was making me laugh too hard for public appearances. At the risk of oversharing, I was worried that my happy-hour pint of Prohibition Pale Ale might pour out of my nose. Also, you must read John D’Agata’s About A Mountain. And that’s all for now.

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