Noy Holland’s Swim for the Little One First

Noy Holland’s new collection of short fiction, Swim for the Little One First, came out in September. I would like to encourage you to buy it and read it. I read the first page, and, despite my enormous stack of books-in-progress, I felt compelled to read the rest, immediately. Maybe you will, too:

Rose called.

I said, “Hello, Rose.”

“You sound funny.”

I was lying on my back with my legs in the air trying to make a baby with my mister. I had his seed in there. My poor egg had slipped out to meet it.

“Can’t you come out here and help me?” Rose pleaded. She had bunions. She had busted her elbow stirring oatmeal.

I was busy. My mucous was of a quality. I had just the least clutch of eggs left out of the millions I got when I started.

“Get off,” my man said, “and I’ll do it again.”

“Is that Tonto I hear?”

Tonto snorted. “She’ll talk all day if you let her.”

But maybe you need more convincing. Continue reading

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Reader Rage, Henry James Hate

Henry and Edith Wharton (seated) at the turn of the century. The man on the right is covering a sign that says, "Don't begrudge them their art."

To start, we have two simmering, searing proclamations:

In A Temple of Texts, William Gass quoted Arnold Bennett’s book, Literary Taste:

…your taste has to pass before the bar of the classics. That is the point, if you differ with a classic, it is you who are wrong, and not the book. (6)

In the comments section of a wonderful article, “Henry James and the Joys of Binge Reading,” by Charles-Adam Foster-Simard at The Millions; a person called Bill had this to say:

Thanks so much, Ward, for explaining why James isn’t really worth reading. While we’re at it, let’s get rid of all those other neurotic feedback-dodgers who write impossibly long sentences, like Faulkner and Woolf. These folks aren’t artists so much as mentally disturbed loners, incapable of engaging in the rich, healthy social contact that Flesch and his short, simple sentences give us. I plan to go to every bookstore now and throw away all the copies of James I can find, since it’s insane that this self-absorbed reader-hater is still in print. I can’t understand it: it’s almost as if bookstores are trying, doubtless because of their own neuroses, to create the illusion that there are people out there who like to read James. But of course that can’t be true, not with someone who suffered from a prolonged lack of feedback.

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