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The first three months of 2015 were rather productive for me reading-wise. I had read 14 books in those months to put me well ahead of my goal of reading 36 books for the year. Since I was well ahead of pace, I decided to read a Big Fat Book in March. I decided to re-read Don DeLillo’s Underworld, which I had read when it first came out in 1997. I recalled liking it but didn’t remember much about it other than the opening “Pafko at the Wall” section.
That opening, which recounts Bobby Thomson’s home run that helped the New York Giants win the 1951 National League pennant, is one of the best things I have ever read. I first encountered it in its short story form when it was published in Harper’s Magazine a few years before the book came out. The ball from that game remains unaccounted for and, in Underworld, DeLillo creates a provenance for it tracing how the ball found its way from one owner to the next.
But the novel is much more than a baseball story. Covering a time span encompassing most of the second-half of the twentieth century, Underworld touches on racism, the cold war, the nature of art, the rise of the suburbs, and much more. It qualifies as a Big Fat Novel not only just because it is nearly 900 pages but also because of its historic scope and willingness to take on big ideas.
Without a doubt, Underworld goes on my short list of all-time favorite books.
I finished 15 books by the end of March:
- The Golden Compass
- The Subtle Knife
- The Amber Spyglass
- The Best American Essays of 2014 (ebook)
- I Know I Am, But What Are You? (library book)
- Wreckage (ebook)
- What Next: A Memoir Toward World Peace (library book)
- White Space Is Not Your Enemy (library book)
- The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (library book)
- The Martian
- Seconds (library book)
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
- The Best American Short Stories 2014 (ebook)
- The Trouble with Being Born (ebook)
Back in November, I received word from Contraposition that they had accepted my story, There Must Be a Full Moon, for their site. I’m happy to report that it went live in April and you can read it here.
Having never expressed any interest in art before, Seth Maguire had a hard sell. Not only did he want to go to Virginia Renquist’s art show, but he also wanted to not have to spend his Friday night with his brother and his brother’s tubby friend, Drew, who was also Mrs. Renquist’s son.
“They’re old enough to keep themselves entertained,” Seth argued. He followed his mother, Colleen—usually referred to as ‘Leen by their father without a shred of irony—into the kitchen as she frantically searched for her car keys. She was always frantically searching for something…read more…
This publication marks the fourth story I have gotten published. In addition to this story, Six Minutes was published by Ayris Magazine, The Vacation Fight by Compose, and The Day When JoAnna Cowley, Without Warning, Quits Her Job by The Casserole.
April was otherwise a fairly quiet month for publishing and blogging.
On Being and Formulating: