The 2010 National Book Award Winners have finally been announced. Here are your winners: Fiction winner: Jaimy Gordon,…
Growing up my father’s preferred answer to the question, “What does ‘insert alien word here’ mean?” was, “Go and look it up.” Because he was an English professor uninterested in dialing down his words when his kids could tune up their vocabularies, it was a question I asked a lot.
The first ‘real’ book I ever read all the way through was Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Although I have little memory of the novel’s plot, I still claim it as one of my favorites. What I do remember is the name Sal Paradise, the weight of the pages, the feel of the back cover on the pads of my fingers. But only one short scene still lingers in my mind. “It was always mañana,” Sal narrates. “For the next week that was all I heard—mañana, a lovely word and one that probably means heaven.”
I had a friend who always rode his bike with his pet rat perched on his shoulder. He let me try it too, and we had a great summer biking, losing the rat under the patio and coaxing it back out with some peanut butter, and getting into trouble for nailing our plywood fort to the side of his apartment. We were at that perfect age when the world is still entirely good, before puberty sets in and children mock one another for playing with rats or having the opposite sex as ‘just a friend.’
On the new release list this week are a few tp reprints, including Matterhorn and Ann Beattie’s New Yorker Stories. Also, if you were paying attention last week, you’ve already gotten a dose of Mark Safranko. You know what to do to get more. There’s also the new Patrick Somerville from our friends at Featherproof books – look for a review later this week.
I was confused that this pair were meeting at a train station to go off together when they barely seemed to know each other. What a great tease. Trevor also signals that they are in different social classes. The da Tanka woman tries to repress her “chirpiness” and Trevor remarks that her clothes are expensive. She’s upper middle class or pretending to be. Mileson seems as well worn as year-old newspaper, lower middle. These distinctions break into open class warfare at the end of the story.