All in Books

Selected Stories by Robert Walser

I write to you from the land of Walser’s Selected Stories. The edition with the Susan Sontag forward, and the man-standing-alone-with-umbrella bad cover. Everybody, including Sontag, says Walser’s at his best with his stories. I reread Jakob Von Gunten, Walser’s most famous novel, just to be sure, and have found that everybody is correct. The stories are the masterpieces.

Gutter Boys by Alvin Orloff

It was an Edenic time sexually: you could literally fuck whomever you wanted and the worst that could happen is that you’d get “the clap” or crabs, or wind up with a Reaganite prettyboy boring you about the stock market.

I Put a Spell on You by Nina Simone

I used to date a woman who was obsessed with vinyl pressing. She could rant for hours about how some records, depending on the location and year they were pressed, could become mimicries of the original recordings. It was something I would tease her about, tell her she was a snob, before blasting a track on my third-hand record player.

Feelings are Facts by Yvonne Rainer

When Rainer is talked about it is often in relationship to how she started dancing late, how her body was not typical for a dancer, and how her stubbornness and creativity changed the course of modern dance. In her writing, she draws astute lines between her ambition, her relationships, and her mental and emotional distress.