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Another fine mess

Reader fan critic teacher reader fan.

Currently reading

Ottessa Moshfegh
Knife Fight and Other Struggles
David Nickle
Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity
Andrew Solomon
The Good Lord Bird
James McBride
Ancillary Justice
Ann Leckie
Our Underachieving Colleges: A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (New Edition)
Derek Bok
Dissident Gardens
Jonathan Lethem
Nightmare Movies: Horror on Screen Since the 1960s
Kim Newman
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood
James Gleick
Complete Novels
Dashiell Hammett, Steven Marcus
The Surf Guru - Doug Dorst I preferred his (very fine) first novel, but then the long form is more my speed. (I like to see a writer get lost--in deep background for stray characters, in plot digressions, in prose meandering and showing off--more than I appreciate the distillation key to many great stories.) And collections seem almost always to me scattershot, like too many albums--a couple great singles, some fun b-side grooves, a few too many echoes or too many bandly jams.

But Surf is a great album, in many ways, almost no track sounding like any other ('though occasionally sounding like some other artists). I adored the quasi-academic "portraits" of a prickly botanist, the plot emergent in the vicious snark against his (incompetent) colleagues; a late story about a semi-lost late-twenties woman ("Astronauts") was beautiful and full of eccentric humor. My favorite was sort of an adventure tale, sort of a political tale, sort of a spoof of both, and consistently vividly visual in its details. A couple I skimmed, admittedly, and maybe I'm grading up the curve because I was so often surprised as the music faded out only to return in a different rhythm, hitting different beats and tones. But I really like Dorst's stuff. (And I'll again rec Alive in Necropolis!)