An addendum to the post below about now being a full-time writer: Go buy Midnight Picnic and Fires if you don't own them. You can buy them both together on Amazon for $28. Or buy Midnight Picnic directly from Word Riot, the publisher. While you're at it buy Timmy Waldron's collection, World Takes. I'm getting a royalty check soon. Not pays-the-rent money, but it's good to get paid for writing. Support strange, independent literature.
LIST OF BOOKS TO READ
I've been meaning to do this for a while. At Readercon I made a list of many books I hadn't read/didn't own but wanted to read/own. I'm going to post some of them here. These are not in order of important, significance, or appeal--they are in the order I wrote them down. So if you're interested, read the whole list.
1. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan. I already ordered this but haven't read it yet. It won a Shirley Jackson award while I was there. But I first heard of it while watching a panel discussion on "upbeat vs downbeat in YA fiction." One of the panelists talked about Tender Morsels and said it had been marketed as YA fiction but it was "horrifically dark" and included "gang rape by bears." I resolved right there to read it.
2. The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages. Ordered this, too, haven't read it yet. I heard about this on the same YA panel. Klages was on the panel and said she had written it as a novel for adults but her publishers decided to do it as YA. It's about two kids becoming friends while their parents build the atomic bomb. I liked the idea, so I decided to buy this, too.
3. The Private Memoirs And Confessions Of A Justified Sinner by James Hogg. I mentioned this before. I already bought it but haven't read it. Nor do I quite know what it is. Just that I love the title and folks like John Clute, John Crowley, and quite a few others seemed to feel very strongly about it as one of the key "villain's voice" texts.
4. "They're Made Out of Meat" Not a book but a slight, amusing short story that someone mentioned to me at one point. I just like the title. You can read the story in about 120 seconds.
5. The Happy Prince and Other Tales by Oscar Wilde. I can't remember in what context this was recommended to me. Odd children's stories by Oscar Wilde. Okay, it's on the list.
6. The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. Wolfe was at Readercon and he is a pretty remarkable presence. Wheelchair-bound, elderly, and clearly exhausted, he is at the same time apparently inexhaustible and capable of summoning astonishing reserves of wit and charisma. He basically owned every stage he appeared on. I haven't read much "fantasy" but I'm told these "New Sun" books are extraordinary. I believe they're about a torturer in a society that exists on earth ten thousand years after the end of human society as we know it. If you need to be assured that something is "literature" before you deign to read it, don't worry--I'm told that this qualifies.
7. Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany. Speaking of "literature." Dhalgren is apparently one of the great unheralded works. (Unheralded in "literary circles," that is. In other circles, they'll know what you're talking about.) Again, I haven't bought this yet, but I absolutely will, and will read it, and am looking forward to it. Just the synopsis sounds fucking awesome. (I'm told some find the book extremely challenging to read, though.) And hey, Delany wrote Hogg (Its title perhaps a reference to an earlier book on this list?), so you know it's gonna be interesting.
8. The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay. Tremblay was at Readercon and appeared on a panel with me. I already knew who he was because he's one of the only people in the world who read Midnight Picnic, and he liked it. I bought and read The Little Sleep and to my relief it's really really good. Modern noir--a narcoleptic detective. It has one crazy coincidence that I had to suspend my disbelief at but the writing is top-notch and the plot is funny, cool, a pleasure to read. The half-assed comparison is to Motherless Brooklyn, but I didn't like Motherless Brooklyn that much--The Little Sleep is smarter, stranger, better.
9. The Fatal Shore: The Epic of Australia's Founding by Robert Hughes. I can't recall in what context this nonfiction book was recommended to me. It's about the origins of Australia as we know (prison island saga and so forth, obvious dramatic potential there), and it sounds completely terrific.
Bilge Ebiri at the Vulture today posted one of the best posts in the history of blogs, embedding a 25 minute short Park Chan-wook short film. Fucking cool.
Where can I see other hard to find short films by great directors online? I want to see Paul Thomas Anderson's short films Cigarettes and Coffee and Flagpole Special.
Look, here's Jack Nicholson.