9.07.2014

Meeting My Grandfather on Route 66, Vol. V (Kansas & Missouri)




(25)


Into Kansas at
1:05.  Baxter
Springs thru
"archway" of lake
trees!
Yalena, Kansas

<><><>

Only six lines for Kansas.  Route 66 barely cut through the southeast corner of the state for a handful of miles, as it angled increasingly northeast toward Chicago and into Missouri.




Into Missouri

at 1:34.  Into
Joplin¹ at 1:45.  In
city, a young boy drove
up by car and
ask where we
were from.  Said
he was from
Redlands but
had been back
here about 6 mo.


WANTED FOR MURDER: BONNIE & CLYDE, Joplin, MO, 1933
(26)

Into Carthage
Leave U.S.
66 here for
first time
since leaving
California.  And
take 71 U.S.

Highway
as far
as Nevada
Came by camp
Clark Missouri
National Guards
south of Nevada
Leave U.S. 71
and take U.S. 54
out of Nevada, east

(27)

over terrible rough
detour and had
a flat tire.  Stopped
to fix it at 6:05
start on at
6:28
Happened to be in
shade to change
wheels.
Car registers
29937 when
he² put on
new Riverside
tire.  Back on
54 at 7:12

Seems like Heaven
if it can just

(28)

last on pavement
Stop at Bolivar
Mo. at Bolivar
Camp at 7:20
Had drove 418 mi
miles today
To bed at 10.
{erased line}
Up at 4:10.
Start out at 5:00
just as the town
clock struck
real close to
where we
camped.  Fine
morning.
Thru B____ and Buffalo
then Lunas.



(29)

out of Dallas County
into Camden county
at 6:10
Thru Branch,
Mack's Creek,
Roach, Beautiful
scenery, timber
     cross³
Niangua river
{two lines scratched out}
By Lako Cottage
auto
camp.  Real nice
looking
{"Pamdenton" or "Camdenton"}.
Pass another
nice tourist camp
by Lakeaway Cottage
Camp.



(30)

Linn creek {word scratched out}
{three lines scratched out}

Over Bridge
at River Glade
{"Glainge"?} River
½ mi long.  Sure
pretty.

Zebra --
crossed road

that goes to
Ozark Beach
Men working
roads

(31)

Enter Miller Co
at 7:30. a.m
Leave Miller Co
and go into Camden
Co. again.  Then
Back into Miller

Co again and
stop at Dam
at 7:35.  Had drove
80 miles this
a.m.
quite a sight
{can't make out words} hadn't
seen anything

like it.

(32)

{skipped line}
Aurora Springs
Into Eldon

at 8:12.  Stop
and eat at 
Cousin Julius
Roark's sandwich

shop.  See Cliff
Leisher, Cousin Willard
Roark, Clarence
Roy Currence.
Start on home
and stop at
Gertrude's cousin
Irene's.


Devil's Elbow Bridge, MO, today (photo: Greg Goodman)

(33)

Start on at
9:25.
Home at
9:50.  Had drove
102 miles this
a.m.  Making
a total of

2,065 miles
from San Pedro
to Dad's.  Take
{three lines scratched out}
I paid the kids
$26 for my trip
home.

_______________


1. Joplin, MO: birthplace of Langston Hughes
2. By "he" he meant his brother Stan. 
3. By "cross" he meant "across".
4. I'm assuming by "kids" he meant his companions -- his older siblings -- Stan and Gertrude. 


(more Route 66 posts)

9.06.2014

Archaic Review Copy Paraphernalia; or, How Publishers Once Actually Routinely Marketed Even Unknown & Unproven Literary Talent (case in point: The Night Letter by Paul Spike)



Interesting find today.  Tucked into the front flyleaf of Paul Spike's first novel published under his real name, The Night Letter (Spike also authored Jabberwocky under one of his noms de guerre "Ralph Hoover"), was his promotional shot (replete with typewritten credits); an official postcard from G.P. Putnam's Sons for reviewers; and an 11"x17" tri-fold gushing letter of praise from a member of their marketing department (a publisher with an actual marketing department with a budget for new writers -- who knew?) mailed to every major and minor book reviewer in the U.S.A. and to several prominent others around the world.




These days, even established writers (some National Book Award winning writers), find themselves on their own when it comes to marketing their latest novels.  They must approach venues like Goodreads or LibraryThing and hope some amateur reader will "interview" them regarding their new book.  Or, if they're (un)lucky, in lieu of a real review in print or in an online "magazine", plenty of eager readers without any writing experience whatsoever, are nevertheless happy to post their "reviews" on Amazon.  What a marketing travesty!  Self promotion was unheard of for authors just thirty years ago; it was, after all -- and rightly so -- beneath them.  Yet for 99%-plus of writers publishing today, self promotion has become standard practice in the business, that is if they hope to receive any advertising or promotion for their book. 

Just thought these images would be cool to see how publishing -- and marketing for authors -- once existed in the not-so-distant past.  Almost surreal considering that publishers once spent real money on relatively unknown and unproven literary fiction talent and not just on their dumbed-down genre blockbuster shit.  Cool to see G.P. Putnam's Sons promoting Paul Spike once upon a time, back in 1979.


Copy of my first printing, 1979



8.30.2014

Ofelia Dumas Lachtman's autograph (A Shell for Angela)





Better known for her ten young adult novels and numerous, award winning, bilingual picture books (in particular her Pepita series), Ofelia Dumas Lachtman published her first and so far only novel for adults, A Shell for Angela, in 1995, at an age (seventy-five) when most writers, I can only presume, might be contemplating retirement rather than taking a new challenge head-on and the manifold risks involved writing in a brand new realm like literary fiction. But  Lachtman, born July 9th, 1919, and who still resides in her native Los Angeles, seems to have managed just fine.  Mother of two, Lachtman worked as a stenographer during WWII.



more autographs

Mona Simpson's autograph, Off Keck Road







1st printing of Vintage Contemporaries ed., 2001


more autographs

8.24.2014

Ajay Sahgal's autograph (Pool)





Ajay Sahgal dedicated his first and, so far, only novel, Pool (1994), to contemporary literature's longtime dastardly Prince of Nihilism and Narcissism (or, N&N), Bret Ellis.  Ellis' kindred twin of N&N, Jay McInerney (why yes, I do believe I'm name-dropping), whose longtime literary niche, like Ellis', has drifted for redundant decades in the shallows of N&N, wrote the middle blurb for the back cover of Pool, teasingly intimating that Ajay Sahgal was a "mad scientist" whose novel Pool was "a scary experiment" that someone just had to do.  I wish Ajay Sahgal hadn't done it, write Pool, though I'll admit I must agree with McInerney regarding his "scary" assertion about Pool, insofar as it was suggestive of Ajay Sahgal's flat prose that was so flat and, frankly, so foul, it scared me considering there once existed a publisher deluded and/or pompous enough to believe the novel was fit for publication.
I suppose I get that Pool was deemed cool enough to publish, especially back in the early Nineties when practically every piece of crap, no matter how painfully average, banal, or glossy and cool its artistic book cover -- not to mention how derivative it was -- got galleys galore sent out left and right like so many unsavory Dominos Pizzas, so why wouldn't this forgettable (pedestrian at best) supposed satire of The Biz, as seen through the N&N eyes (presumably reflected on the book cover) of one of Young Hollywood's hottest models and elite leading men, Emery Roberts, find a, say, little brown Atlantic house to call home too?  Scarier, and more absurd, was the helium hyperbole-of-Hindenburg-proportions printed about Pool on Pool's front flyleaf: "Think Day of the Locust for Generation X". Uh, don't you think the estate of Nathanael West could've sued over such asinine and ludicrous bombast as that?  I do.  How about instead, "Think Day of the Dumb Tweet for Millennials".  For this Pool, predictably, is not deep.

more autographs

8.10.2014

A Child's Garden of Verses for the Revolution by William Eastlake



Yesterday, I finally bit on a first printing of poetry that'd been sitting on one of my local bookshop shelves for at least the last couple years, A Child's Garden of Verses for the Revolution (1970) by William Eastlake.  The book is prose poetry intermingled with narrative vignettes that are like a hybrid of short stories and social commentary blended in such a manner that they're practically rants. But lyrical, creative -- not shrill -- rants.  And though particular to their time, still resonates in our time today.  Here's an untitled sampling:

1st printing, Grove Press
"We will cut
The bad guys off
At the pass,
But this will not be
A revolution in which
We shoot off the congressmen's heads.
They must have their heads on tight
In order to look back and see the
Damage they have done.
Look!
Killed off our youth in Vietnam,
Our blacks in Chicago,
Spent all our money
To accomplish their great deeds.
They also spent forty billion,
Burned alive three astronauts
To bring back a couple of
Rocks from the moon,
While Death walked the ghetto
Rode the Indian reservation,
At the pass.
They must have their heads on tight
In order to look back and see the damage they have done."


William Eastlake (1917-1997) was a novelist, war correspondent, ranch hand, writer-in-residence, lecturer, cattle puncher, honorary doctorate recipient, short story writer and reviewer.  His work is well worth discovering for the first time, or rediscovering time and again.

8.03.2014

Hannah Holborn's autograph (Fierce: Stories and a Novella)



Hannah Holborn wowed me the first time I read her fiction.  Her short story, "Without Strings," included in the superb 2008 anthology, Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Special Needs, edited by the novelist Suzanne Kamata, blew me away it hit so close to home.

It was so painfully raw and honest, I was convinced that Holborn had to have had her own child with special needs in order to have written such a story so real, so true.  In the story, Alice is sharing with her mother the devastating news of her baby daughter's diagnosis: Angelman's.  Parents of typical children without chromosomal abnormalities cannot imagine* how crushing it is upon hearing the news that their child has a severely debilitating developmental disorder, and yet Hannah Holborn, who is not the parent of a special needs child, not only imagined it but nailed it.  After Alice receives little sympathy from her look-on-the-"upside"-of-life-mother and her mother's latest beau (unless the latest beau's "boo-hoo" can be construed as signifying genuine sympathy), she walks home and broods:

"...my neighbors slept with confidence inside their heavily mortgaged homes knowing that their children would be icons of socially conscious fashion, win athletic awards, read before kindergarten, earn honors, be beautiful or handsome or both.  When grown they would graduate with multiple degrees and then move to the United States because the wages are higher. They would marry well and buy nicer homes than these. They would make their parents proud.

They would avoid my daughter like the plague."

Knocks the wind out of you, a passage like that.

When Fierce arrived late in 2008 (in Canada only; it was released in the States in 2009), Hannah, who had read my positive review of Love You to Pieces and later contacted me through a social media website devoted to bibliophiles to say thanks, she was kind enough -- and quite generous too -- to send me, all the way from Canada, an autographed copy of her first book of fiction.  I think it's safe to say I prize her signature and inscription more than others I've collected over the years.  And autographed copy or not, Fierce is a stellar collection of short stories and one novella that sensitive readers and reviewers will savor, as her stories have that knack of staying with you as only the most powerful and impacting fictions can and do.



*I can imagine only because I was the parent of a special needs child (Down syndrome) for fifteen-plus years (August 11, 1998 to December 27, 2013).

more autographs

8.01.2014

Lawrence Ferlinghetti's autograph (Routines)



Nothing's routine about

Poet,
Painter
(see below),
Publisher
(ever heard a Howl?),

Indie bookstore owner,

Dramatist
(see The Center for Death
or read it in Routines
before you die sometime),
Patron saint of poets dead & alive,
Idea Dude,
Writer,

Lawrence Ferlinghetti --

Nothing's routine, that is, except
maybe this post about him; or,
this post that's not really about him at all, but his autograph.  Black felt ink that bled through the next two pages, on New Directions paper.




See, I have it.  And you probably don't!  Ha.  Look at that long slender "f" of ferlinghe#i.  Like a strand of escaped spaghetti!

But maybe you have one of his paintings?

Lucky you.


Lyric Escape by Lawrence Ferlinghetti




7.30.2014

The American Way of Death Revisited by Jessica Mitford



Once upon a time, straight out of college, I almost took a job in funeral sales. I'm glad I steered clear of that lucrative career path.  The money would've been great, but not at the expense of all that absurd psychological manipulation and sales shenanigans I'd of had to have conned the bereaved with, every day, 9-5.

"Wouldn't your loved one have wanted to be buried in this gold embossed coffin?  I understand he was a man of modest means, and made great personal sacrifices for you and your family, doesn't he now deserve the best now for his eternal rest?"

What shysters, just a small step removed from their sleazy, used car salespeople, next of kin. I wouldn't be caught dead working in the funeral industry, preying upon people's raw emotional weakness in their greatest -- and gravest -- time of need.  What a disgusting, self-serving industry the funeral business became in the twentieth century in the U.S.A., and remains so, even now, despite occasional promises of reform that have arisen in reaction to persistent whistle blowers like Jessica Mitford, whose American Way of Death elicited a similar (though smaller scaled) legislative response that The Jungle did for the meat packing industry.

Jessica Mitford wrote a wonderful, smart, and snarky exposé on the closed culture and shady sales tactics of these embalming-crazed bastards -- or "memorial counselors" -- as their business cards allege they are today, who don't bat an eye inside their posh offices insisting that embalming is "required by law" when in fact no such laws requiring the dead have to be embalmed exist on the books or have ever existed.  This lie has been so ingrained in U.S. culture, as Mitford observes, that these memorial counselors don't even ask the bereaved if they want "the deceased" to be embalmed; they just assume you do unless you say you don't.  And if you don't want embalming, but rather, refrigeration, the average memorial counselor will proclaim, because of health reasons, that "the law requires it."  But the law doesn't -- and never has -- required it.  It's a lie.

But as Mitford pointed out, if you're not an attorney or legal expert, and in your vulnerable condition (you may still be in shock), having just lost a loved one, you're probably not going to argue with them that it isn't the law, but will take their good word for it; because, after all, they're the experts right?, they're the authorities on the matter, and you automatically accept their authority unconsciously.  They're dressed in their Sunday best and their speech even sounds, the way they talk, if they're smooth at it, sympathetic.  Like they care about you.  Certainly they wouldn't dream of taking advantage of you at a horrible time like this!  

But they do.  They have.  And will continue to do so.  They've been screwing all of us over, in fact, for almost one hundred years: first our great-grandparents, then our grandparents, then our parents, and now us, doing so when we're at our lowest, screwing us over with flowery lies.  How many poor people that the funeral industry has purported to serve have only been made poorer by exorbitant, debt-inducing price tags for services that are often unnecessary to begin with, such as embalming or air-tight coffins?  Bless Jessica Mitford for exposing the industry's collective ruthlessness and unprofessional practices throughout the last thirty-plus years of her life.

7.27.2014

Ana Menéndez's autograph (Loving Che)



2-12-04
To Lina,

     With all my best
wishes   Happy Birthday
and many more.

Ana Menendez



I found this signed and inscribed first printing of Loving Che, the first novel by Ana Menéndez, at a local Goodwill last weekend.  It was half-off; I paid one dollar for it, even though it's worth at least twenty-five times that. 

Ana Menéndez
I don't know why people get rid of, or donate, signed and inscribed first printings of first novels in almost brand new condition by talented writers like Ana Menéndez.  But I'm glad they do.  What they so carelessly toss, I carefully treasure.



Doris Lessing's autograph (The Grass is Singing)






Another serendipitous thrift store find: A signed copy of Doris Lessing's first novel, The Grass is Singing.  Adding to the serendipity and unlikelihood of the find (I do love that word, "serendipity," one of my all time favorite words, in fact) is finding out this Paladin edition of The Grass is Singing (the book cover is pictured below) is a UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada edition that was never for sale in the United States.

On the dedication page, the next page after the title page, in the top right corner, in beautiful cursive script (though the pencil lead has faded over the years), the previous owner -- perhaps the original owner? -- left their own mark for posterity:

"P D Beach
Aug. 1993
Edinburgh".
illustration by Ruth Rivers

more autographs

Joseph Brodsky's autograph (To Urania)



Joseph Brodsky by Alexey Kurbatov


Inscription & signature from my copy of To Urania (1988)

more autographs

Keep at it



For
David





From

Joseph Brodsky
3 . III. 1990

Milwaukee.



7.19.2014

Joseph McElroy's autograph (Ship Rock: A Place)




I suppose I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the bookseller I bought my limited edition, signed copy of Ship Rock: A Place, from -- an online book seller based in Albuquerque, New Mexico -- did not understand the true value of the slim volume by Joseph McElroy that he'd listed for sale.  Understandable.  Suppose you were a book seller without an appreciation for, or knowledge of, the so-called-critic/academic-labeled "postmodern movement" in U.S. literature of the 1960s-90s, why wouldn't you think automatically to yourself at first glance that this diminutive book, if it can be rightly called a "book" at less than fifty pages, was not in fact just a local guide about the real place, Ship Rock, a mere 160 miles as the crow flies from Albuquerque.  After all, the book, Ship Rock, even has "A Place" in its title, right? so why wouldn't you think it anything more than some touristy spiel regarding that mysterious rock outcrop in New Mexico's northwest corner that, for like the last forty years or so, the overseers of the reservation up there whose property rights include every rugged inch of it, Ship Rock, have seen fit, in their wisdom and because of its historic sacredness in their religion and native culture, to ban access to it to everyone forever, most notably daredevil climbers but also including other kooky looky-loos such as yours truly, who, if they were just a kooky looky-loo like me, were perhaps first inspired to take the journey to Ship Rock by Joseph McElroy's Ship Rock: A Place itself, and so went and made that long-day's drive from southern California to that remote corner of New Mexico in order to see Ship Rock themselves?

Add to the fact that this hard cover edition of Ship Rock: A Place, came as issued without a dust jacket or isbn, and was published by ...  William B. Ewert? ... whom you'd probably never heard of before, and was published, moreover, in a limited run of only "226 copies printed letterpress from Caledonia type on Mohawk Superfine text"... why wouldn't you think it was, sure enough, just another vanity press publication, certainly valueless, a locals-only-commentary about an eccentric example of New Mexican geography that no one outside the Four Corners region would ever give a hoot about?  I get it.  How could you, online book seller based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, possibly guess that the little book you had in your possession was the earliest published excerpt -- and arguably the most obscure (though there are others*) -- from Women and Men, the classic postmodern novel that was then, at Ship Rock: A Place's date of publication (1980) in your hands?  Little did you know that Women and Men's spine, when it rests on its side in the supine position (how could you have ever imagined this?) sits as thick as Ship Rock is high! (no hyper-hyperbole intended), and that after almost thirty years since its original (complete) publication in 1987 -- Women and Men's publication, that is -- during which it has become the priciest, scarcest, most sought after gargantuan novel of the postmodern era in U.S. history, commanding sums deep into three digits ($100 and up) -- and that for a copy that hasn't even been signed by the author!?  Of course you didn't know this, beloved online bookseller based in Albuquerque, New Mexico; otherwise, you would've had to have been mad to sell me that signed excerpt, subtitled "From Women and Men: A Novel In Progress by Joseph McElroy" for the humble sum of $9.49 including shipping, right!?

~~~~~

*  Another early excerpt from Women and Men that I've either lucked into over the years or been fated into obtaining, perhaps, is ... a copy of Conjunctions: 6 (1984) ...

It's not nearly as unique as Ship Rock: A Place (but it's still nice to have, if for anything else than examining what McElroy later cut or revised and kept), though it comprises a twenty-eight page chunk from Women and Men opening the issue.  In the prefatory NOTE, "J.M." explains:  "The following sections of Women and Men come from a long chapter entitled "The Hermit-Inventor of New York, the Anasazi Healer, and the Unknown Aborter."  These are unlike any of the chapters of Women and Men elsewhere published in being far from self-contained.  But they are unlike those other sections also in their style, which, in its memorial juxtapositions and sweep of feeling, is even more of the style of the book."

I've not yet acquired the many more chapters of Women and Men "elsewhere published" in journals prior to the book's publication, but I've had fun hunting for them in Very Good+ to Like New condition, scouring indie brick-and-mortars around town.

more autographs


7.13.2014

Reyna Grande's autograph (Across a Hundred Mountains)



Reyna Grande (by Ibarionex Perello)














Having grown up and lived within ninety minutes of the Mexico-California border for most of my life, I'm drawn innately, it seems, to movies, novels, or true life accounts involving border/immigration issues in what are typically sad, harrowing, and sometimes tragic, stories of survival and rescue.  Reyna Grande has one such harrowing (though ultimately hopeful) long story to tell, forged from her own hard times as an orphan and undocumented immigrant, in her debut novel--a 2007 American Book Award winner in fiction--Across a Hundred Mountains.

I salvaged this autographed copy yesterday afternoon from one of the local thrift stores I regularly haunt.  I had never heard of Reyna Grande before until yesterday, drawn to the book both by its title and its rugged, southwestern cover featuring what appears to be a VW bus (but may just be a regular city bus) attempting to navigate what looks as much like an impossible rocky arroyo as a so-called "road".  Terrible terrain and more terrible odds not unfamiliar to Grande or the roughly 300,000 human beings attempting to cross the U.S. border from Mexico every year.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled Reyna Grande's first novel off the shelf, opened it to the title page, and beheld her signature in purple felt ink.  Pretty cool.  Serendipity, I'd say.  Better yet knowing I've still the future pleasure (soon soon) of reading Across a Hundred Mountains ahead of me.  For more information on Reyna Grande, visit her website here.

more autographs






7.12.2014

Up Above the World by Paul Bowles



Been on a recent Paul Bowles bender of late -- just his novels, autobiography and letters -- not the smoke of incense or hashish wafting out of the waiting pages of, say, Midnight Mass or A Hundred Camels in the Courtyard, two of his story collections.  Perhaps its the close proximity of svelte palms ensconced in the seagrass'd hollows of sand dunes, the drowsy ssh of the evening waves, the warm aroma of Lamb Tagine carried on the offshore breeze from the Moroccan take-out just down the beach -- "Tariq's" -- that makes Bowles so resonate with me this past relaxing week on holiday.

"At lunchtime the hotel's dining room was crowded with the sleek upper-class local population.  Here where they don't need it they've got air conditioning…"

So true, Mr. Bowles, even here on the California coast, half a century later, our balcony sliding glass door is open to the ocean with the air conditioner going…

"You'll never be happy until you do what you know's the right thing.  That's what life's about, after all."

"What life's about!" he cried incredulously.  What is life about?  Yes.  What's the subject matter?" He stirred the sauce.  "It's about who's going to clean up the shit."

"I don't know what you mean," she said, her voice hostile.

Life, I've found, is about stirring the shit just right so that it's palatable to both sides, be it protagonist and antagonist, husband and wife, politician and constituent.  Wouldn't you agree, Mr. Bowles?

"Words were deceptive, the very short ones most of all."

A short deceptive novel -- Up Above the World -- from which the above italicized quotes, excerpted with purposeful obfuscatory intent, were taken.  Overshadowed by The Sheltering Sky, Bowles' iconic first novel, this last novel by Bowles, published in 1966, regardless looms high like a dark cloud above a Spanish villa with a panoramic view of both the Atlantic and Pacific from its prominent, though precipitous, perch above the proletariat jungles of a slender, unnamed Latin American nation.  Panama, anyone?  Or a panorama, that is, except when it rains.  And it rains down cats and death -- and literal rain indeed -- in Up Above the World, a book whose outlook might be even bleaker, its relationships stormier, than Bowles' desolate, Saharan debut.

I've said enough (or not nearly enough) about this novel already, except the bit about the arson, curare, matricide, the "Slade" couple whose age difference was reminiscent to me of the late Anna Nicole's and J. Howard Marshall IIs -- around half-a-century (though in the former's case perhaps I exaggerate, but first impressions are genuine impressions after all) -- and that the novel was good but not quite great.

And I don't care if, like Luchita -- shrewd teenage duper of the alleged good doctor and his barely legal, brittle bride (and whose hostile voice is quoted above) -- you don't know what I mean.

6.08.2014

Recommended Summer Reading (or reading for any season): A-Z


(**this post is a long work in progress; book covers, blurbs, hyperlinks and revisions will appear--incrementally--over time**)



20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
Jules Verne / illus. Alphonse de Neuville
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 2010: Odyssey Two (1982) 2061: Odyssey Three (1987) by Arthur C. Clarke
A Book of Common Prayer (1977) We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live: Collected Nonfiction (2006) Play It As It Lays (1970) by Joan Didion 
A Clockwork Orange (1962) by Anthony Burgess
A Death in the Family (1938) by James Agee
alphabet (1981) by Inger Christensen
Alphabetical Africa (1974) by Walter Abish
An American Tragedy (1925) by Theodore Dreiser
Apes of God, The (1930) by Wyndham Lewis
Ariel (1965) by Sylvia Plath
Arthur Rimbaud (1961) by Enid Starkie



A Season in Hell (1873) by Arthur Rimbaud
At the Mountains of Madness (1936) by H.P. Lovecraft
Ava (1993) by Carole Maso 
Black Light: A Novel (1966; rev. 1980) by Galway Kinnell
Book About Books, The: The Anatomy of Bibliomania (1930) by Holbrook Jackson
Book of Disquiet, The (written 1920s-30s; published 1982) by Fernando Pessoa
Bridge of San Luis Rey, The (1927) by Thornton Wilder
Cardboard Castles (1996) by Mark Axelrod
Cathedral (1983) by Raymond Carver
Château D'Argol ~ Julien Gracq (1938)
Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (1975)
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater (1821) by Thomas de Quincey
Crime and Punishment (1866) by Fyodor Dostoyevksy
Darconville's Cat (1981) by Alexander Theroux 
David Copperfield (1865) by Charles Dickens
Days Between Stations (1985)  Rubicon Beach (1986) These Dreams of You (2012) by Steve Erickson
Death of a Salesman (1949) by Arthur Miller
Desert Solitaire (1968) by Edward Abbey
Divine Comedy, The (12th century, was it?) by Dante Alighieri w/Pape illustrations
Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time (2010) by Joseph Frank 
Dog Soldiers (1974) by Robert Stone
Dune (1965) Children of Dune (1976) /
The Dune Encyclopedia (1984) by Frank Herbert
East of Eden (1952) by John Steinbeck
Entering Fire (1986) by Rikki Ducornet
Executioner's Song, The (1979) by Norman Mailer
Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, The (2012) ed. by Johnathan Lethem
Fathers and Sons (1862) by Ivan Turgenev
First Circle, The (1968) by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
First Love and Other Sorrows (1958) by Harold Brodkey
Flight of the Goose: A Story of the Far North (2005) by Lesley Thomas
Flowers of Evil (1857)
~ Charles Baudelaire
Foucault's Pendulum (1988) by Umberto Eco
Foundation (1951) Foundation and Empire (1952) Second Foundation (1953) by Isaac Asimov
Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road (2002) by Neil Peart
Going Places (1969) by Leonard Michaels...if you see anything by him anywhere, buy it--or discreetly steal it if you have to
Gravity's Rainbow (1973) by Thomas Pynchon
Great Divorce, The (1945) The Screwtape Letters (1942) by C.S. Lewis
Hard Rain Falling (1966) by Don Carpenter...his fourth novel, but the first novel he published, which helps explain why it is so wise beyond its years for a "first novel".
Heart of Darkness (1899) by Joseph Conrad
Hopscotch (1963) by Julio Cortázar
House of Leaves (2000) by Mark Danielewski
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957) by Dr. Seuss
Hunger's Brides (2005) by Paul Anderson
If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945) by Chester Himes
If on a winter's night a traveler (1979) by Italo Calvino
Infinite Jest (1996) by David Foster Wallace
Islandia (1941) by Austin Tappan Wright
Jesus' Son: Stories (1992) by Denis Johnson
Les Miserables (1862) by Victor Hugo
Less Than Zero (1985) by Bret Easton Ellis
Adrift on the Nile (1966), an Egyptian
Less Than Zero, only better, by Naguib Mahfouz
Place Last Seen (2000)
by Charlotte McGuinn Freeman
Lord of the Flies (1954) by William Golding
Lord of the Rings (1954) by J.R.R. Tolkien
Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, The (1974) by Heinrich Böll
Lost in the Funhouse (1968) by John Barth
Meaning of Culture, The (1929)/Porius (1951) by John Cowper Powys
Miss Lonelyhearts (1933) by Nathanael West
Miss Macintosh, My Darling (1965) by Marguerite Young 
Mulligan Stew (1979) by Gilbert Sorrentino
Night Shift (1978) 'Salem's Lot (1976) Skeleton Crew (1985) by Stephen King
Nine Stories (1953) by J.D. Salinger
Norton Anthology of American Literature: Volume 1 (1989) ed. by ???
Plowing the Dark (2000) by Richard Powers
Poems: Wadsworth Handbook and Anthology (1978) ed. by Charles Frederick Main 
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, The (1916) by James Joyce
Safety of Objects: Stories, The (1990) by A.M. Homes 
Secret Teachings of All Ages, The (1928) by Manly P. Hall
Selected Poems of Langston Hughes (1959)
Selected Short Stories (1963) by Henry James; read it for "The Last of the Valerii" alone.
Selected Stories (2009) by Stefan Zweig

The Sheep Look Up (1973)
by John Brunner

Sheltering Sky, The (1949) by Paul Bowles
Shock Treatment (1990) by Karen Finley 
Siddhartha (1922) by Herman Hesse
Sixty Stories (1981) by Donald Barthelme
Smiles on Washington Square: A Love Story of Sorts (1985) The Voice in the Closet (1979) by Raymond Federman
Stories of John Cheever, The (1978)
Swann's Way (1922) by Marcel Proust
Suttree (1979) Blood Meridian (1985) Outer Dark (1968) by Cormac McCarthy
The Jungle (1905) by Upton Sinclair
The Painted Bird (1965) by Jerzy Kosinski, true story or not (I don't care if he made it up or not), what a wild horrific trip through childhood, on the run from the holocaust.
The Plague (1947) by Albert Camus
The Rebel Angels (1981) by Robertson Davies
The Recognitions (1955) by William Gaddis
The San Gabriels: The Mountain Country from Soledad Canyon to Lytle Creek (1991) by John W. Robinson, more than a local travel guide: history, anthropology, mining, water rights, politics, "trail resorts" from The Great Hiking Era (1898-1938), before the Great Flood of '38 came and wiped out 90% of the stream side resorts and trails. Beautiful coffee-table book.
The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake (1983), twisted but tender, hopeless yet optimistic renderings of southern, West Virginian, life
The Things They Carried (1990) by Tim O'Brien, a self indictment on personal cowardice and courage.
The Tunnel (1995) by William H. Gass, hellish man from the holocaust; heavenly prose, poetry, erudition, literary name-dropping and allusions, textual acid trips, confabulated historical fiction. 
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (1994-95) by Haruki Murakami, one of the best dreams I've ever had.
3 by Flannery O'Connor (1962)
Two Fields that Face and Mirror Each Other (2001) by Martin Nakell, by my second university advisor and English/creative writing professor, and those aren't the only reasons I included it!
War and Peace (1869) by Leo Tolstoy, it only has the entire cosmology of human existence in it.
We (1924) by Yevgeny Zamyatin, could we call this the most innovative, influential novel of the 20th century? Yes we could, Enrique. See, I told you.
Wittgenstein's Mistress (1988) by David Markson, the most dense short novel of the 20th century? Was she sane or mad? How many Ph.D.s does a person need to unpack its multiplicity of meanings?
Women and Men (1987) by Joseph McElroy, just breathe....and enjoy the ride, this rich, philosophical read that's 250,000 words longer than War and Peace
Yawning Heights, The (1976) by Aleksandr Zinovyev, I learned more about the latter days of the former-Soviet Union from this first novel--a satire--that got its author exiled from his country.