Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it. ~P.J. O’Rourke
When it was proclaimed that the Library contained all books, the first impression was one of extravagant happiness. All men felt themselves to be the masters of an intact and secret treasure. There was no personal or world problem whose eloquent solution did not exist in some hexagon. The universe was justified, the universe suddenly usurped the unlimited dimensions of hope. At that time a great deal was said about the Vindications: books of apology and prophecy which vindicated for all time the acts of every man in the universe and retained prodigious arcana for his future. Thousands of the greedy abandoned their sweet native hexagons and rushed up the stairways, urged on by the vain intention of finding their Vindication. These pilgrims disputed in the narrow corridors, proferred dark curses, strangled each other on the divine stairways, flung the deceptive books into the air shafts, met their death cast down in a similar fashion by the inhabitants of remote regions. Others went mad … The Vindications exist (I have seen two which refer to persons of the future, to persons who are perhaps not imaginary) but the searchers did not remember that the possibility of a man’s finding his Vindication, or some treacherous variation thereof, can be computed as zero.
– J.L. Borges The Library of Babel
Thank to [smeary first name] Keith in [smeary city] MI. for the copy of Denis Johnson’s Nobody Move. Amazon needs a new printer.
All in all, with books by Jonathan Lethem, Thomas Pynchon, William Vollman, Margaret Atwood, Philip Roth, Paul Auster, Pat Conroy, and Richard Russo still to come, it looks like a fine year for fans of fiction.
Okay, Vollman’s book isn’t exactly fiction. Sue me.
Of course, the combined sales of all of the preceding books won’t amount to much compared to the shitload of money Dan Brown’s next shitload will bring in.