Pulp by Charles Bukowski

Sacrilegiously, the first I heard of Bukowski was when I watched Factotum starring Matt Dillon. It was a movie about being depressed and it was so good that after it finished I immediately called up my best friend at the time and said, I feel so depressed, I can’t be alone, I’m coming over. This, I’ve noticed since then, is what Bukowski does so well, telling with his straight-forward cynicism about life at the bottom. Drinking, horses, women, in that order.

This guy wrote some 45 volumes of poetry, filled with dirty, ugly bullets of truth fired from a rusty typewriter into the degenerate underbelly of modern America, but I don’t read poetry. Of his novels, I’ve read Post Office, Factotum, and Women. Pulp was his final novel, completed shortly before his death.

-Reading the Why

Daniela von Luise Rinser

Daniela von Luise Rinser habe ich auf der Straße gefunden, in einer Kiste von Bücher, die jemand zu verschenken hinausgestellt hat, was seltener und seltener in Berlin vorkommt. Es gab eine Zeit, vor drei, vier Jahren, nicht sehr lange, wenn man alles mögliches auf den Straßen finden konnte, und nicht nur Schrott, sondern gute brauchbare Sachen: Regale, Sessel, Geschirr, Schuhe, natürlich Bücher. Jetzt, verkauft man sie eher, lässt man sie im Internet versteigen, oder auch verschenkt man sie über Facebook-Seiten.

Rinser war eine Lieblingsautorin von einer ex-Freundin. Ich habe damals eine Sammlung Kurzgeschichten von ihr gelesen, Ein Bündel weißer Narzissen, und fand sie wenn nicht besonders fesselnd, zumindest schön geschrieben. Daniela liegt seit Monaten im Bücherregal, unbeachtet. Wenn ich nicht am Wochenende einen Sprachtest machen müsste, und als Vorbereitung mich vorgenommen hätte bis dahin nur Deutsch zu lesen, hätte ich es wahrscheinlich die nächsten Jahre auch nicht rausgeholt. Nicht gerade die glamouröseste Empfehlung, aber so oder so wollen Bücher einfach gelesen werden, oder?

-Reading the Why

[T]his collision between one’s image of oneself and what one actually is is always very painful and there are two things you can do about it, you can meet the collision head-on and try and become what you really are or you can retreat and try to remain what you thought you were, which is a fantasy, in which you will certainly perish.

-James Baldwin, Notes for a Hypothetical Novel

I am afraid that most of the white people I have ever known impressed me as being in the grip of a weird nostalgia, dreaming of a vanished state of security and order, against which dream, unfailingly and unconsciously, they tested and very often lost their lives.

-James Baldwim, The Black Boy Lools at the White Boy

It is hard enough, God knows, under the best of circumstances, to get an education in this country. White children are graduated yearly who can neither read, write, nor think, and who are in a state of the most abysmal ignorance concerning the world around them. But at least they are white. They are under the illusion–which, since they are so badly educated, sometimes has a fatal tenacity–that they can do whatever they want to do. Perhaps that is exactly what they are doing, in which case we had best all go down in prayer.

-James Baldwin, Nobody Knows My Name