the indiscernible library

Reading Philip K. Dick's essay "How to Build a Universe That Doesn't Fall Apart Two Days Later," in which he mentions a book published by a friend titled Snakes of Hawaii, which may be this. Published, not written. There are no snakes in Hawaii (according to Dick) and no words in the book. My inner Jim Fingal kicked in. I checked that fact. Well, there are, in fact, snakes in Hawaii, at least according to this site. In fact here's a picture of the Island Blind Snake:

Still, that would be a pretty short book since this is the only established species on the islands. What I started out to say, however, was that the book reminded me of a library I have written about briefly in my novel-in-progress. Here's the passage:

When he got home, Wayne went online and updated his blog, which he called In Private and in Publix. He linked to a Borgesian website called The Indiscernible Library which, it turns out, is a collection of books that have only appeared in other books. The books were unwritten, unpublished, unread, and they cannot, of course, be checked out. And then Wayne wrote that he had not written a number of books himself, and he listed three of them: Until Nevermas; Boffo!; and Practical Gastromancy.

I thought I had seen a reference some time in my life about that library, but apparenly I made it up. Or Borges mentioned a similar insitution an dI can't recell where. There is the Library of Unwritten Books, which is actually short summaries and interviews with people about the books they would like to write--a fabilous idea. That might be where I got the notion.


blue christmas

Blue Christmas is now available online at Books & Books. Contributors include Diana Abu-Jaber, Preston Allen, Steve Almond, Lynne Barrett, Tricia Bauer, Colin Channer, Jon Clinch, Ed Falco, Robert Goolrick, Ben Greenman,James W. Hall, Jane Hamilton, Ann Hood, Lee Martin, Anna Menendez, Les Standiford, and me. You can bulk order with a discount by contacting Mitchell Kaplan at the store. Make all your friends happy with the gift of stories!

die laughing

Louis Lowy reading from his debut novel, Die Laughing, to an overflow crowd last night at Books & Books in Coral Gables. Louis is an FIU MFA student and a long-time member of the Friday Night Writers.

the last resort

"So this is a tale, first, of an enchanted childhood, then a murky drama of marriage and adultery, all played out against a background of bitter American struggle. I found it splendid in every way." FIU MFA grad and my good friend Norma Watkins got a rave from Carolyn See in the Washington Post.

daddy's money

My friend Jo McDougall has a new memoir out this spring from the University of Arkansas Press. We went to school together in Arkansas, taught together in Louisiana, and I've been a great fan of her writing from the first poem I read. I can't wait to read this! 

debra monroe

My pal Debra Monroe's memoir, On the Outskirts of Normal was selected as one of the ten best nonfiction books of the year by Barnes & Noble. You can also read her review of Barry Hannah's posthumous collection here.

the chicago


Bookforum has a fine piece by Ed Park on my favorite reference book, The Chicago Manual of Style

Only connect: As I clocked—over months, years—the recurrence of certain names, hints of plot tantalized. There was the elliptical story of the powerful Porkola clan, with their Toronto roots (5.65), diplomatic legacy (5.96), and interest in Finnish design (15.151). Meanwhile, I learned that "Babs had gone to Naples with Guido, and when Baxter found out about it he flew into a rage" in 5.35; in 5.41, the free-spirited Babs "was seen entering the Villa Sorrento, where Tom was staying."