The Elkins public library is terrible. Terrible. I got a library card there yesterday because I wanted desperately to find something hip, easy to read, and not necessarily stupid for this trip to Chicago I’m going on tomorrow (note: Apparently the Powells in the South Loop in Chicago is closing on September 1st, so they’re having a big ol’ sale). Something along the lines of Zadie Smith or Jonathan Lethem, you know. Something you know you’re gonna eat up because you can relate to the cultural references (Zadie Smith: Oh, being frustrated with Foucalt AND minimalist German electronic music? That’s me!) As you might expect, the Elkins library leans more towards novels about divorcees who love cats and shoe shopping murdering people.
WHICH IS FINE. It’s not that there isn’t a better representation of the types of books I was looking for that makes it so terrible, it’s just that there’s a really lousy representation of any other types of books at all.
That doesn’t matter. The point is that I chose the book Birds of America by Lorrie Moore because I had no other choices. Her name sounded familiar to me, which I later realized was because I had read her story “Dance in America” at some point (google points me towards the new yorker). And it is really, really impressive. It reminds me of all the reasons that I cannot be a writer, nor can I write anything worthwhile about a book, because instead i just want to write “It’s soooooo good. It’s soooo good for so many reasons. Like, it’s just like things that are real but it isn’t!” And that’s embarassing.
So I won’t. But it’s a collection of short stories, and I’ll recommend that you read “Community Life” if you only read one.