Happy New Year, all. Seems the holidays aren't really so good for blogging: even less likely than usual that I'll be sitting in front of my computer for more than 15 minutes at a time.
The first week of term is perhaps not the best time to go into the Seminary Co-op Bookstore, whose basement warren is claustrophobic enough on a slow day; I kept getting poked by elbows and handbags. Still, I managed to do plenty of damage: the big offender being Ted Berrigan's Collected Poems, which I've been eyeing for weeks in two countries. You know you're at a good bookstore when the woman at the register (despite the crowd) says how much she loves Berrigan and that she'd given the book as a gift to an old teacher of hers.
I feel more or less professionally obligated to at least glance at any new book by an Asian American writer. The Seminary Co-op is remarkably cooperative (ha) in this respect; the new-fiction shelves surrounding the main table (always groaning with the latest scholarly hardcovers) always have a remarkably good selection of Asian American writing. I took a pass on Gish Jen's new novel--a line on the first page, something like "My Asian--or, should I say, Asian American--children..." struck me as a little too knowing--but did pick up Aimee Phan's story collection We Should Never Meet; the day before I'd gotten another collection, Sightseeing, by Thai American writer Rattawut Lapcharoensap.
I also picked up Tibetan American poet Tsering Wangmo Dhompa's second (!) book, In the Absent Everday. I haven't had a chance to read through it yet, but I think this is probably the first time I've seen a blurb on a book that's taken straight from a blog: it's from Ron Silliman, of course.