Mel Bosworth

Mel Bosworth is the author of When the Cats Razzed the Chickens & Other Stories (Folded Word Press, 2009).

what are you reading now

Kamby Bolongo Mean River by Robert Lopez. Me see him read in September. Him read good. Me buy book, shake hand. Words like nerf bullets fired from boom stick. Words fast, hit hard, but always nerf.

classic you’ve been meaning to read

Moby Dick by Uncle Melville. I’ve been meaning to read it for years but I have this fear it’s going to bore me to death. But once I sit down and dig in I’m sure I’ll be pleasantly surprised. Maybe.

last book you finished in a single sitting

I read Conrad’s Heart of Darkness in a single sitting, but that’s a short one. I’m not the fastest reader in the east, so even if I’m tearing through a book it takes me at least 2-3 days. I like to make friends with the books I read. Take them places. Take naps with them. Age with them. Then when I’m finished it’s kind of sad, like saying goodbye. When I run into them years later I’ll say, “My friend!” (I honestly do this.)

strangest book you’ve ever read

Wow. Hm. Strangest. The strangest movie I’ve seen is Dee Snider’s Strangeland. Or maybe I’m just thinking that because of the word “strange.” Or maybe that was the funniest movie I’ve seen. No, that would be Leaving Las Vegas. Watching Nicholas Cage fill a shopping cart with booze gets me every time. But we’re supposed to be talking about books, right? Books. The strangest book I’ve ever read would have to be… Magick Without Tears by Aleister Crowley. Read it from cover to cover. Not sure why. I don’t think I’ve been the same since.

book you borrowed and never returned

I’m not that guy. Although I did hang onto a copy of Lolita for a couple of years. I recently gave it back.

weirdest dream involving a book, writer, or literary character

Well, I once had this dream where I was making breakfast for Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson. Walt was all grumpy. He may have been hung over. Emily was at the window, talking to a squirrel. I was at the stove pushing around bacon and eggs in a big frying pan. The bacon popped and hot oil landed on my forearm. I screamed and then Walt screamed and then Emily screamed. I turned to see Walt with the squirrel in his mouth. Emily was kneeling on the tile, scribbling furiously on a napkin. Walt pulled a big knife from his boot. He scratched words into the tabletop as he chewed the squirrel. I wrapped my arm in a towel and then served breakfast. Walt didn’t eat because he wasn’t hungry. This pissed me off and I scolded him but he didn’t care. Emily ate a little bit of egg, but she was more interested in having me read aloud what she’d written. So I did:

Whitman is an asshole. He ate my friend, the squirrel. Bad beard, crazy man. Breakfasts, fools, longing for a solitary now lunch.

Walt got all agro for a second and made like he was going to hit her. When she flinched he laughed and then asked if I wanted to go for a walk. I told him to get his coat. When he left the room I apologized to Emily for his horrible table manners. She just shrugged. Then I noticed what Walt had carved into the table:

Wally loves Emily.

Then Dickinson morphed into a rose bush. Walt returned with his coat. When he saw the rose bush he cried and cried and then leapt out the window. I lifted a forkful of delicious looking egg to my mouth and then woke up.

funniest book title

Anna Karenina. I credit Tolstoy for inadvertently inventing the name game.

book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone

Naked Pictures of My Ex-Girlfriends by Mark Helfrich. Well, to be honest, I didn’t buy the book nor was it my coffee table on which it was planted. But I did campaign pretty hard for the purchase and placement. It was enjoyed by men who reeked of hot sauce and chicken wings. A few women may have enjoyed it as well. I don’t know that it truly impressed anyone, but the book had some fans, that’s for sure. I miss that book. I wonder where it is now. I hope it’s safe. I should find its phone number, give it a call, late at night, whisper, weep.

if you could subscribe to only one literary journal

Annalemma. Because it comes from a planet far superior to ours. It has to. No other explanation.

best thing you’ve read online recently

Attendance” by Eric Beeny.

most anticipated upcoming release

Light and Trials of Light by Cynthia Reeser

recommended reading list:

Ten Books I Read Once, Enjoyed, But May Never Read Again

- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

- The Aeneid by Virgil

- Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby, Jr.

- Hunger by Knut Hamsun

- The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

- The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

- The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess

- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

- Reality Is What You Can Get Away With by Robert Anton Wilson

- Listen, Little Man! by Wilhelm Reich


Molly Gaudry

Molly Gaudry is the author of We Take Me Apart (Mud Luscious, 2009) and she is the fiction reviewer for East&West Magazine, which is based out of Hanoi, Vietnam. Send her an email; if she's not avoiding you, she'll respond – maybe even with a funny photograph.

what are you reading now

I just finished Esther Williams's autobiography, The Million Dollar Mermaid, and I'm really looking forward to having some time to begin a long project about her contribution to synchronized swimming. The idea of synchronicity is interesting. Very Benjaminian (as was first proposed by Synthia Sydnor). And old-timey Hollywood in its heyday is hopefully a great backdrop. I'm trying to watch all her movies in the weeks and months to come, and the ones I've seen lately have been viewed while simultaneously reading Saramago's Baltasar and Blimunda, Curtis Smith's The Species Crown (Press 53, 2007), and M. Thomas Gammarino's Big in Japan: A Ghost Story (Chin Music Press, Inc., 2009).

classic you’ve been meaning to read

Bleak House. Or maybe Lolita. These two come highly recommended by my favorite former fiction professor, Michael Griffith. If you haven't read Michael before, learn his name now and buy his novel Trophy as soon as it comes out. One chapter, that I had the pleasure of hearing him read, is titled "A Perfectly Respectable O'clock for Your Turkey." Anyway, I'm supposed to be leading a discussion on The Brothers Karamazov over at Big Other. I might go revise this to Bleak House. Or maybe Lolita. The reading is to begin on the first day of winter.

last book to bring you to tears

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, circa eleventh grade. Singer, man. Whew.

favorite book from childhood

Shel Silverstein's poems. I read all of them, all the time. I want them now on huge white canvases, with his illustrations of course. I would hang them all over my house, if I had a house.

most scribble-ridden book in your collection

Either The Catcher in the Rye or One Hundred Years of Solitude. I've written too many papers on both, which means I've got multiple sets of notes in each. I also have two (or three?) copies of each, but I only write in the already-messy ones.

book you borrowed and never returned

My long-lost friend Drew might kill me for this first-time-ever confession. When I left college a year-and-a-half in, I stole his tattered, coffee-stained copy of Tales of Beatnik Glory. I still have it. Sorry, Drew.

most challenging book you’ve ever read

The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism

book you’ve planted on a coffee table to impress someone

Boring Postcards, and, my god, are they boring. I can't recall actually trying to impress someone specifically, but this was on my coffee table for a long time, all by itself. I'm unsure now what this indicates about me. Interesting.

if you could subscribe to only one literary journal

Ninth Letter, because that's where I discovered Blake Butler, who opened me up to all of this. I'll forever be grateful. Plus, it's just so darned good-looking.

best thing you’ve read online recently

Official Brown MFA Blog #1, which I just discovered yesterday because it was linked from Brandi Wells's blog, and, as always, Christopher Higgs's Bright Stupid Confetti, which I love and look forward to like a crazy woman in a bathrobe.

most anticipated upcoming release

Mine. Am I allowed to say that? I mean, it's true. Like, I will have copies of my first-ever book in less than one month. Twenty-two days from now, I will be standing in Cambridge, MA and reading from it--it will be in my hands--and the next day I will be reading from it in Providence, RI, and maybe Brian Evenson will be there. Brown is my dream school. I do not currently have an MFA. I'm ready to be in a writing program again. I'd like to finish some of these projects that I haven't been able to devote time to because I teach full-time and all I do is grade and read and prep and grade and prep and grade. So it's like, one month, huh? Seriously? It's terrifying. And unbelievable. And I'm really, really excited.

Of course, I am also looking forward to Kate Bernheimer's The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold; Michael Griffith's Trophy; Brock Clarke's Exley; and Kevin Wilson's novel, which, if I'm not mistaken, was only recently submitted to his publisher.

recommended reading list:

Books I Refuse to Leave Behind Any Time I Move to a New City

- Midnight's Children and The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie

- Blindness by José Saramago

- The Baron in the Trees and Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino

- Cluny Brown by Margery Sharp

- The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold and The Complete Tales of Merry Gold by Kate Bernheimer

- My Happy Life by Lydia Millet

- Hopscotch by Julio Cortázar

- The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr

- The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories

- Tunneling to the Center of the Earth by Kevin Wilson

- Scorch Atlas by Blake Butler

- Light Boxes by Shane Jones

- The Persistence of Objects by Richard Garcia

- Encouragement for a Man Falling to His Death by Christopher Kennedy

- Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids by Kenzaburo Oe

- Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson