Reading for the long weekend

Paper Cuts has posted a timely passage from Richard Ford's second Frank Bascombe novel, Independence Day:
Best maybe just to pass the day as the original signers did and as I prefer to do, in a country-like setting near to home, alone with your thoughts, your fears, your hopes, your “moments of reason” for what new world lies fearsomely ahead.
And if you are fortunate enough to be "in a country-like setting near to home, alone with your thoughts," here are some reading suggestions, courtesy of two of the best critics around, Albert Mobilio of Bookforum and Geoffrey O'Brien of The Library of America (a great conversation between the two of whom was published in the second issue of PEN America). Both have made especially thoughtful contributions to the "Critical Library" series that runs on the NBCC blog: O'Brien's list is decidedly international, and kicks off with the Collected Works of Borges; Mobilio's has a few of my own favorites, including Kill All Your Darlings by Luc Sante.

And as a postscript to the Paper Cuts post, here's an old interview with Ford in which he acknowledges the influence of one of Bruce Springsteen's better songs on his novel:
I was very attracted to Bruce Springsteen's song "Independence Day," in which a son sings a kind of lament to his father, especially the line, "Just say goodbye, it's Independence Day." I hadn't ever realized that independence in the most conventional sense means leavetaking, putting distance between yourself and other people, getting out of their orbit.
Happy reading.

1 comment:

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