Here at the end of the first week of our quarantine, two books made it over the wall, across the moat, and through the door of Library of Winkelman Abbey.
On the left is the new issue of the Boston Review, and the first of my newly-acquired subscription. They publish some seriously good stuff, and I am looking forward to digging in to this issue. On the right is the latest from Two Lines Press/The Center for the Art of Translation, Lake Like a Mirror, by Ho Sok Fong, which is only the second book from Malaysia in my collection.
I’ve been collecting works in translation for a while now. According to LibraryThing I have 197 books in translation, from 60 countries. The plurality, of course, come from Russia. At some point I may do a post about them, but for now, they serve to help alleviate the slowly growing feeling of isolation and cabin fever.
Poe feels it too. This afternoon my partner and I went for a walk around the neighborhood just to give the cat some alone time. I think she appreciated it.
As of a few days ago COVID-19 has made landfall here in West Michigan, so we are all hunkering down for a long haul of avoiding significant social interaction. Fortunately I have several hundred books in the house that I have not read. They should last me a couple of weeks. I also have a job where I can work from home so, until the toilet paper runs out, I have no real reason to interact with other human beings beyond my wonderful girlfriend. She is a school teacher, so she will be hanging around the neighborhood for the next three weeks until the schools reopen.
On the left in the above photo is the latest issue of the superb Rain Taxi, because of which I will undoubtedly order several new books in the upcoming months. On the right is the latest delivery from Deep Vellum, Girls Lost by Jessica Schiefauer. 2020 is starting out with a much slower acquisition rate than the previous several years, and for that I am kind of happy, as I was beginning to feel the pressure of insufficient shelving. I mean, I still feel that pressure, but it is not an immediate concern.
In reading news, I am hopping randomly through volumes III and IV of The Collected Stories of Roger Zelazny, published by NESFA Press. These stories are just wonderful! I have been a Zelazny fan since I first read Nine Princes in Amber back in the early 1980s.
I am also reading Tentacle by Rita Indiana, one of the books from my subscription to And Other Stories. One chapter in and I am fully hooked.
My writing game has been significantly off these past few weeks so I am switching over fully to editing several short stories. I have four so far which I think will be worthy of publishing.
Assuming there is such a thing as publishing as we work our way further through this very stupid timeline.
Since you’ve made it to the end of this post, here is a picture of Poe.
This week Poe dreams of more cultured climes as she browses and also nibbles on the new issue of The Paris Review, which was the only addition to the Library of Winkelman Abbey this week.
I finally made it to the end of Sayak Valencia’s superb Gore Capitalism. It was a difficult read, not because of the writing, but because of the subject, and also because I have not had to put my head into the space of deep theory in a long time.
Between Gore Capitalism, Jackie Wang’s Carceral Capitalism and Mark Fisher’s Capitalist Realism, I believe I now have the proper perspective to begin writing a series of Lovecraftian horror stories where the eldritch abomination is actually the free market.
In other words, they will mostly be non-fiction.
Poe is about done with this week.
Here we have the famous book critic, Poe Kitten, expressing her approval of the latest book from Two Lines Press, b, Book, and Me, by Kim Sagwa, Though Poe has not yet read this book she approves of it because it is another thing for her to be briefly curious about and possibly gnaw on.
Not much new on the book acquisition side of things which is a relief as I am still cataloging the many books I picked up at ConFusion two weeks ago.
(Jeez. Was it only two weeks ago?)
Reading and writing continues apace. I have a few pieces still out there seeking new homes, and I am collating the stories I read throughout January, for their own post.
Now if you will excuse me, the Superbowl is on, so I have some nature documentaries to watch!
As of yesterday we have had Poe, our little Yooper ginger kitten, for three weeks. In that time she has gone from this:
Out veterinarian say she is around five months old even though she is about as big as as three-month-old kitten. Or she was when we picked her up. Good diet, comfortable surroundings and lots of loving attention have turned her from a half-feral animal who hid in a bucket in our bathroom the first morning after her arrival, to the de facto ruler of the house, as all cat people will recognize.
I haven’t lived with cats in about fifteen years, and I have not “owned” a cat since the mid-1980s, and those were somewhat tame barn cats never allowed inside the house. So this is both a new experience and one with frequent spikes of nostalgia and deja vu.
She has adjusted well. She took to her litter box the first day and has had no accidents that we have found. She is wonderfully affectionate though still has the primal barn cat reaction to sudden loud noises or unexpected situations like my girlfriend or I changing our clothes. She is also still working on object permanence – a human being laying in a bed is fundamentally and ontologically different from that same human being walking around or sitting on the floor. And a human being sitting anywhere is an invitation to climb into a lap, which can be quite painful when the human in question is sitting on a cafe-height chair and the kitten in question has to climb the final bet because she can’t quite jump high enough to reach the lap in question in one motion.
So this experience has been absolutely wonderful so far, and we plan to keep Poe with us. We might even pick up a companion for her at some point.
Cats, I understand, do tend to accumulate.