I think it is very important for creative people to absorb other creative work as often as possible. I find myself constantly in awe of and humbled by great art. Even just good art. Even bad art. It all feeds the same thing and all can be learned from.
I read a tweet from an author who thinks pretty highly of themselves that they can’t enjoy reading anymore because they have obtained mastery and can’t help but be obsessed by the flaws of other authors’ work. I’m sure, I’m doubly sure, they didn’t mean it to come off as arrogant as it read but it changed my perspective of the author and the authors that were chiming in in agreement. If you can only focus on what you would have done differently and can no longer enjoy other folks’ work then, my friend, you need to stop masturbating in the mirror.
I Miss the World by Violet LeVoit
Hypnotizing. A treatise-as-conversation on the beauty and plasticity of modern culture, modern art, etc. It is a beautiful book and engaging as hell.
Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
For as great of a writer as he is, he has some pretty hilarious characterizations of women in this collection. Hilarious as in unintentionally bad. Best story in here is Drive My Car. The movie adaptation is phenomenal. The story has the same heart and soul but the movie really fleshes things out. The movie actually combines elements of another story in this collection and it really works better in the movie than it does in the other story. I’ve been on a Murakami kick and this was simply all right.
The Hole by Hiroko Oyamada/The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada
Oyamada is one of the most original writers I have read. I love that there is no easy digestion of these novellas. They are dreamlike, nightmarish, and confounding. They are short, they are full of opportunities for the reader to project meaning, they stay with you. Highly recommend.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Otessa Moshfegh
Hilarious. Dark. I tore through this.
The Sluts by Dennis Cooper
Utterly hypnotizing narrative told via message board postings. If you grew up on the internet pre-social media you will immediately be taken back to a crazier time. This book can be dark as fuck but it also plays heavily with the narrative being completely unreliable, sparse, inconsistent, etc. For as many books that do this and it’s pure gimmick, Dennis Cooper has created a timeless narrative that only makes sense told this way.
Liarmouth by John Waters
Pure John Waters. I’m glad it’s being turned into a movie. John Waters is God.
Though I’ve read more books than just those, I no longer feel like half-assing these reviews. Max Booth and I are doing a double feature at the Alamo Drafthouse on March 24th in Katy, TX, and we’re having a book release on March 28th at Radio Coffee and Beer in Austin, TX at 8pm. Hope to see y’all there.
I'm all for being confident in your work, but to say you achieved mastery and can't enjoy any other book is mind-blowing. Major turn-off...