Reading Uniqueness: Books that Boldly Go Beyond the Known

This is what I search for, why I read. Books that most publishers won’t touch, that most editors would have nightmares over, that aren’t necessarily great books but reflect something that’s uniquely of the mind of the author. What do they have in common? Ambition? Yes, in the way that a challenge is tackled head on. A strangeness? Yes, oh yes, oh yes yes, these are strange books. Humour? That generally goes with the strangeness. A non-linear structure? Absolutely, absolutely. Tasking language? For me, this is a must: there are lot of unique books out there, but do they have the language – the diction, the rhythm, the metaphor – to match that vision. And they are all moving, affecting, human books. It’s easy to be odd but so much harder to be uncanny. So here are a bunch that have never left me, that are by and large under-read and unknown to the general reading public (which is why some of the other authors whose books have influenced me, such as Pynchon, Beckett, Faulkner, Joyce, Kafka, aren’t here). Clicking the images brings to Goodreads links.

Plus, Joseph McElroy
The Stones of Summer, Dow Mossman
The Journal of Albion Moonlight, Kenneth Patchen
The Dead Father, Donald Barthelme
The Third Policeman, Flann O’Brien
Wittgenstein’s Mistress, David Markson
JR, William Gaddis
Log the S.S. the Mrs. Unguentine, Stanley Crawford

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I’m sure there are many others I’ve forgotten, such as (thinking):

Hawthorn and Child, Keith Ridgway
Ice, Anna Kavan
Genoa: A Telling of Wonders, Paul Metcalf
Housekeeping, Marilyn Robinson
Les Chants de Maldoror, Comte de Lautréamont
Journey to the End of Night. L. F. Celine
The Crock of Gold, James Stephens

Any recommendations?

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Upgathering of thought

Oh, poor neglected blog that no one never reads, what ails thee? Time, time is the sickness… and also the cure. And furthermore, croaked the ravin’ mad lunatic.

What’s new over here? A long story has been started, about an aircrash, another in my Dr. Shabazz collection (a new project). An agent is reading my sheep novel (we think). I’ve read four consecutive books written by women  – Double-Blind (Michelle Butler Hallett), Hellgoing (Lynn Coady), The Town that Drowned (Riel Nason), Station Eleven (Emily St. John Mandel) – and am now reading Keith Ridgway’s Never Love a Gambler. Ridgway’s Hawthorn and Child was one of my favourite books last year. Tense, periscopic, and a kind of weirdness that had me smiling ear to toe.

I’ve seen the publication of a book I edited for Boularderie Island Press (Get More Power from Your Brain, Eileen Pease) and added a copy of Becoming Fierce to my publications bookshelf.

I am editing my 13th and 14th books of the year. One of those recently-edited books just became this.

There were two launches of the latest Breach House Anthology,  a writing group I’ve been deeply connected to since 2000. This was our third anthology. I also provided music at each launch, including a song based on one of the members’ lyrics (click here for that ditty).

I’ve edited, set-up, and now sent off for publication the revived Galleon.

I want to record another album soon. My reading series needs a new home. I continue to shed pounds (23 since July).

Lastly, it’s been a year since I had an underpaying overworking job, one I apparently left to focus on my writing career (insert raven laughter).  And how has that gone, you ask? The twitching has gone, I respond.