Et Tu, Mark

As I finish up some new entries for here — I’m making my way through the Curacao trip and all the notes I took there — I’ve been sorting through things (call them short essays… sashays?) that wrote in the past year. This is from late July 2011, and it’s fitting because in a month I plan to call in my first exemption from Book Fast 2012 and purchase the new Mark Leyner book.

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TOWER GROVE — In the wilderness of read, half-read and unread books that are piling up on and all around the bookshelves of my office, I found this morning a thumbed-over copy of a book that I abused in college: Et Tu, Babe by Mark Leyner. I’ve read stories of writers, like Hunter S. Thompson, who would retype their favorite books to get a feel for how sentences created rhythm, momentum, and the changes in tempo that powered a story. Judging by the dog ears in the book and Post-It notes that fell out of it when I pulled it off the shelf, that’s what I did with Et Tu. Guess that says a lot about what I was thinking at the time. I read some of the pages right out of the binding, apparently, and recently realized a quote from the book has been taped to my desk for, oh, about 18 years now. Continue reading

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Book Fast of Champions (Month 1)

TOWER GROVE — It’s time for a confession: I arrived home yesterday to find a package from Amazon.com lounging on the front porch. Here I was nearly a month into my year without buying a book (see here) and I knew that nestled inside that envelope was the very thing that I swore I wouldn’t buy this season, wouldn’t even think of buying until I’ve made a dent into the pillars of books that surround my office. It was a book.

But it wasn’t a break from my resolution.

Inside the envelope was John Jeremiah Sullivan’s Blood Horses: Notes of a Sportswriter’s Son. Technically, I put the book in queue for purchase in 2011 — yes, near the end of 2011 — so that it wouldn’t spoil my resolution before it truly had a chance to start. It took several weeks to arrive (or find, not sure which), and here it was — a nice, tidy package from the past. The resolution continues.

Within days of starting my book fast, I put it to the best test I could think of: Continue reading