Category Archives: Books

Obligatory Thanksgiving Post From Your Pals at Paragraph Line

Pop Thanksgiving Quiz!

Q: Did President Truman pardon a turkey?

truman

A: No. Not the man who dropped the bomb. He most definitely did not pardon a turkey, not after vaporizing two cities filled with The Enemy. What’s not shown in this photo is Truman whipping a straight-razor out of his pocket and slicing the throat of this bird, then rubbing the spurting turkey blood all over his face and screaming out the battle cry of Battery D, 19th Field Artillery: “Fuck all of you! Fuck you all!” And then there was the cackling. The hideous cackling. Secretary of Labor Lewis Schwellenbach had a gripper on the spot and died next to the twitching turkey carcass. 

Now we shall take a moment to say a prayer that turkeys can fly.

Done a-prayin’? Good! Mainly, what I’m thankful for is that we have the best Congress that money can buy. If I was German, though, I’d be thankful for Heino.

What’s the real meaning of Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown? Why, it’s commerce, you blockhead! Remember: If you don’t participate in Black Friday, our annual patriotic orgy of consumerism, Jesus will appear in a pancake and smite you.

Johnny Rotten

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction. I prefer my truth to be unsullied by facts. But another autobiography by John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten, the hero of my youth)? Count me in! The Guardian has a review ready for your perusal.

What was the home life like, Johnny?

His mother, he says, suffered several miscarriages: “It’s quite a thing to carry a bucket of miscarriage – and you can see the little fingers and things in it – and have to flush it all down the outdoor toilet.”

Any other traumatic experiences?

The most moving passages in the book describe how, at seven, he contracted meningitis (from rats), endured a long coma, and lost most of his memory. “I hadn’t forgotten how to read, yet I couldn’t talk – language was gone,” he says. When his parents came to take him home from hospital, nurses and doctors “told me that they were my mum and dad, and I had to believe them”.

More at the Guardian.

Namedrop-A-Rama

If I had a nickel for every 1980′s/1990′s vintage literary name DARCEY STEINKE drops in this remembrance about BARRY HANNAH, I’d be as wealthy as STEPHEN KING by the end of the article.

Reminds me of the time I was hanging out with LLOYD BRIDGES on the set of Sea Hunt, when JACK WEBB came by to complain about the noise coming from the set of Have Gun Will Travel. GENE RODDENBERRY shouted, “I love you, Lloyd!” and said that he wanted to cast him in a new show he was writing that was tentatively called Wagon Train in Space. We all laughed when a young JEFF BRIDGES performed a little jig…

Yo, fatty! When you gonna finish them books?

His Majesty, Lord Puddin’ Pop

Fantasy gasbag George R.R. Martin complains about being famous and the high demand for his next book at the Guardian. His fans actually have the gall to want to take selfies with him! Oh, tsk, tsk, swords and dragons people!

…he recently snarled “fuck you!” at a questioner who queried whether, as a 65-year-old with a high body mass index, he was sure he could complete the last two books.

Don’t they know how very taxing it is to write 100,000 words about people in chain mail riding from one town to another all while having conversations in tortured English? That stuff doesn’t just write itself, kids.

I recommend that all of his fans gather outside his estate in New Mexico and protest him instead of immigration. (Sample Sign: Spit out that cookie, and finish the book!) If he emerges, don’t forget to whip out your iPhones and take a picture with him. Then hand him a bottle of Glucerna.

A literary triumph from ‘the next great American writer’

I subscribe to things. That’s what I do. When I was promised free books by Netgalley, I subscribed. I had no idea that I was about to be blessed with an email offer to read “a literary triumph from ‘the next great American writer.’” Oh… my… God.

Not only is Benjamin Whitmer “‘the next great American writer’” but, in the lede of the email, we’re told that he’s written his “literary triumph” “in the tradition of Cormac McCarthy and Larry Brown.”

At first, I thought it was some hack publicist at Simon & Schuster hanging this albatross around the dude’s neck:
“Hey, he writes about rednecks… let’s compare him to Larry Brown and Cormac McCarthy! Hell, let’s say he’s better than Faulkner!”
“Faulkner?”
“Ah, forget it. Let’s just stick with Brown and McCarthy.”

But visit his website, and behold! He’s wallowing in his hubris there. Why, he’s up for all sorts of Frenchie awards: Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, Prix des Balais d’or 2013, and Le Festival International du Film Policier de Beaune. Fancy!

My novel, Shake Loose the Dust From Thy Shoes and Trod Off On a Vast Country Road in Search of Whiskey and Meaning: An Allegory, is better. My protagonist, Toad, has syphilis AND a meth addiction. Toad keeps his girlfriend, Rose, locked up in the bedroom during the day. She doesn’t mind. Toad and Rose beltwhip each other for fun before heading off to the Pentecostal church to speak in tongues. Then she heads over to the truckstop to do some light whoring before Toad clubs her customers with an ax handle. The bodies of dead truckers are stacked like cordwood beneath the floorboards of their shotgun shack. The sheriff comes by on occasion to scratch his head at Toad’s collection of big rigs, parked higgledy-piggledy on his weed-choked lawn next to his collection of lawn jockeys and rat-infested living room furniture. The couple finally gets caught in the act, and Toad and Rose end up being electrocuted together (she sits in his lap, just like in that Bruce Springsteen song!).

My novel won the Prix de Pain au Beurre et du Vin from the Ligue Française des Intellectuels at their annual conference in the Gare du Nord rail station in Paris. I wear the medal around my neck while I write. It’s as big as a dinner plate. The reflection off it once brought down a small aircraft, setting its wing on fire.

I AM MELVILLE! Who are you, Whitmer? Larry Brown? Cormac McCarthy? I am HAWTHORNE, fucker! And TWAIN! With a smattering of Thomas Wolfe, Katherine Anne Porter, Robert Penn Warren and Tennessee Williams! But mainly MELVILLE! Fall on your knees before my GODLIKE PROSE! Tremble!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must enjoy my favorite beverage–a mixture of Jim Beam, Southern Comfort and Rose’s Lime Juice served in a one-quart Mason jar, best served cold with a half-dozen hand-rolled, shag-tobacco smokes while singing the Carter Family’s “Worried Man Blues.”

 

The History Of A Dog. Written By Himself, And Published By A Gentleman Of His Acquaintance. Translated From The French.

100 Actual Novel Titles from Real Eighteenth-Century Novels as Presented by the Good Fellows at The Toast, being a Blog Presented Through the Complex of Websites Known as The Internet as Translated by Google, a Company That Doth Claim to do No Evil.

And good day, sir! I said, “Good day”!

Hirsch love

Jedidiah Ayres, author of the excellent noir novel Peckerwood, throws some love at our very own Joseph Hirsch over at Hardboiled Wonderland. We dig you too, Jed!

Pick up a digital copy of the Paragraph Line Books original Kentucky Bestiary at Amazon.com, por favor, mis amigos. You’ll be glad you did!

Picnic, Lightning

Sue Lyons as Lolita

Over at Vice, actual pages from Vladimir Nabokov’s screenplay for Lolita are on display, including a wonderful scene that didn’t make it into the movie.

Humbert’s Voice

…she was killed by a bolt of lightning during a picnic on my fourth birthday, high in the Maritime Alps.

CUT TO:

A Mountain Meadow–A thunderhead advancing above sharp cliffs
Several people scramble for shelter, and the first big drops of rain strike the zinc of a lunchbox. As the poor lady in white runs toward the pavilion of a lookout, a blast of livid light fells her. Her graceful specter floats up above the black cliffs holding a parasol and blowing kisses to her husband and child who stand below, looking up, hand in hand.

Plus, you know, stuff about Kubrick. More.

‘They said they had come all the way from Amsterdam to f**k Charles Bukowski’

Spank Hank

Over at Vice, there’s an interview with John Martin from Black Sparrow about his long relationship, both professional and personal, with Charles Bukowski.

I mean, his public persona is very unlike the man.

Apparently, Hank was courteous, among other things. More at Vice.