Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Hola, niña… look: an update!

There’s a whole lot to read in the world, not to mention my bedroom. I wasn’t able to commit to a book through most of July, so I’ve been looking at a lot of short stories. This makes one feel as though they have read a lot, when really it’s no different than reading a standard sized novel.

So what have I read?

I read Zoetrope All-Story’s Latin American issue, which contains this story and this one, both of which you can read a taste of online (shell out the $8, cheapskate), both of which were fantastic. There is so much going on south of the border, that I know nothing about, and it depresses me as much as it elates me to find a few fragments blowing up to these Yankee shores. Thank you, Mr. Coppola.

From there, I finished Bolaño’s short story collection (in English) Last Evenings on Earth, which is pretty good in a lot of ways, though some stories stand above others. The title story was incredible and had that same dread that was evident in Bolaño’s longer work. The book was cobbled from two sources in Spanish, and I’m guessing New Directions will publish the rest of the stories before long (There’s a new translation of Bolaño coming in August, another in January, and others shortly after), so I wonder why they opted to put these stories out first. I’ve read at least three others, two of which were published by the New Yorker and another was posted online (available here!), so I know they’re out there in English, as will be all of Bolaño’s work before long. I love the guy, as you know, but he has become something of a strange phenomenon in these United States. An unlikely one, if you ask me—while I think his work is pretty incredible, I wonder how a dead, foreign writer managed to become a bestseller.

I carry in my bag a collection of short stories from Central America called And We Sold the Rain… which I snagged from Chandler’s legendary bookshop for next to nothing. A goddamn treasure! Mostly I am excited because the book contains a story by Horacio Catellanos Moya, who may be my favorite living writer.

Tempting as that is to read, I decided to first read Tropical Animal by Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, who look a lot like my boss. Cassandra didn’t like it as much as his earlier book in translation, but so far I am enjoying this return to dirty, macho Cuba. It should prove to be a quick read, which will free me up to look at Eduardo Galeano’s Memories of Fire trilogy. I’ve wanted to read these books for some time, and with a friend’s recent interest in moving to Uruguay, my interest in Galeano has resurfaced. Look for a larger, better constructed book report soon (as opposed to this list of books to be read, which doesn’t amount to much, but hey, it’s a blog… gimmie a break, damn you).

Thank all, sucka