Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wonder Boys (How does it feeeel?)

(Chabon at left, as pictured on The Simpsons, one of the great contemporary honors..perhaps cooler than his Pulitzer, with Jonathan Franzen, Tom Wolfe and Gore Vidal)

Birthday of two of my favorite writers today. Bob Dylan in 1941, and Michael Chabon in 1963.

Check out Jimi Hendrix doing “Like a Rolling Stone” here (oh, and also check out Zimmy’s 1966 version with The Band here). ’Nuff said.

If you’ve never read Chabon, start with The Amazing Adventures of Cavalier and Clay, which garnered him a Pulitzer for fiction. If you like that one, I’ve particularly enjoyed his two most recent books Yiddish Policemen’s Union and Gentlemen of the Road (the former a bizarre Yiddish Raymond Chandler opus of sorts, the latter a book thoroughly out of time, difficult to label—had it not been for its cover, which is contemporary and not awfully good, the book, with its odd old-fashioned illustrations, would feel like a treasure found at rare book shop).

Chabon said, “Literature, like magic, has always been about the handling of secrets, about the pain, the destruction, and the marvelous liberation that can result when they are revealed. If a writer doesn't give away secrets, his own or those of the people he loves, if he doesn't court disapproval, reproach and general wrath, whether of friends, family or party apparatchiks ... the result is pallid, inanimate, a lump of earth.”