Shopping cart is empty.

Birchbark Blog

Too Loud A Solitude

Louise Erdrich - Sunday, July 12, 2009
I have trouble writing this blog post because I take it all so seriously.  I still write by hand in art paper notebooks, and am thinking of getting out my old typewriter because I miss typed manuscripts.  Then again . . . I am also thinking of writing  a whole book on birchbark with my teeth.  I do have news of a terrific read.  If you like Borges, Saramago, Kafka, Angela Carter, or writers born in Brno in 1914, who died in Prague in 1987, if you liked Bohumil Hrabal's Closely Watched Trains, or if you have never heard of Hrabal and you love books -- this is your book. 

Too Loud a Solitude, by Bohumil Hrabal.  I read it a month ago.  Then I read it again last night.  Maybe I'll read it again today.  The book is about a man whose job is crushing books.  It is a book about loving books and destroying books, about love and destruction, the crushing of ideas, the drinking of beer.  It is not a long book, but you will read it again and again.  It is a perfect book, I think. 

Besides reading this one book again and again, I've been reading newspapers.  I have been reading lots of newspapers with the awful feeling that the wonderful feel of print under my fingers, the dry snap as you unfold a newspaper, the paging back and forth, the tactile reality of the newspaper, is going to vanish.  So I've suddenly subscribed to several newspapers that I casually picked up every other day at the grocery store.  And all I give people for birthdays now is newspaper subscriptions.  I am doing this not only for the integrity of the news and the selfish feeling of joy I get when unfolding a newspaper, but for the many people I know who rely on completing the puzzles on newspaper pages -- for the lovely Finnish-American-Upper Peninsula Geology Professor I met on the airplane.  He was in his late eighties and had a folded crossword puzzle in his hand.  He was stuck but did not want me to brainstorm on an answer.  He enjoyed looking at his puzzle last thing before he went to sleep, and waking with the answer.  His was too loud a solitude, and puzzles are a friendly noise.

Buy a newspaper today.  Or Too Loud A Solitude.

Kathy Streitz commented on 14-Jul-2009 09:30 PM
I enjoyed your address to Dartmouth graduates. Did you bring the podium with you? You could have. I just finished a teacher's course with St. Mary's of Winona. We met in Stillwater. Multiculturally Responsive Literature and Teaching English Language Learners. Your name came up many times. My husband have me your book Four Souls for my 50th birthday three years ago. I started it again for the third time and refer to the family tree often. Four Souls is so much more than a story. I enjoy reading and jumping in and out of the story. Mauser's son's condition makes me sad right now.

I teach at a charter school in East St. Paul. We have just finished our 14th year and have about 450 PreK - 8th graders. Hmong, Hispanic and other families speaking many languages
attend. I do love what I do. Thanks for your work and for your words.

Marybeth Lorbiecki commented on 27-Jul-2009 01:07 PM
I was so inspired and thrilled about your speech that I wrote a blog about it and about Ohiyesa, Charles Alexander Eastman -- hope that's okay!
Tracy Mangold commented on 05-Aug-2009 08:12 PM
Thank you for recommending, "Too Loud a Solitude." I just finished reading it today and I loved it. Hrabal's writing is rich and beautiful, simplistic yet powerful. It is indeed the perfect book, especially for those of us who adore our books and appreciate them for the friends and teachers they are. I look forward to reading more of his works and am thankful that I have been made aware of this wonderful writer.
Post a Comment!

Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


thanks Light in August H2Oil Wendy Makoons Geniusz Dogs The Round House language revitalization Nero Tar Sands The Birchbark House British Navy Gryphon Press The Wealth of Nature The Royal Prussian Library 2666 Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge Alice Munro Philip Roth Native Arts Anishinabe Bleak House fresh water Birchbark Books Islam italy bill mckibben Population Easter Island Wastepaper Catalyst Women and Trees Patrick O'Brian Up Late Again Green Team Bohumil Hrabal ireland The Blue Sky S.C. Gwynne the most romantic city in the world Aubrey/Maturin pilgrims cafe closing Bill Moyers Journal Collective Denial birchbark house series buffalo mississippi Love sweden Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive Ojibwemowin Gary Clement Greenland Let's Take the Long Way Home Kabul Peak Oil knowledge Ojibwe Minneapolis adventure show your love gratitude Keepers of the Trees Remarkable Trees Book Review Ice Emily Johnson NACDI:All My Relations joy Anton Treuer local economy School Gardens twins Roberto Bolano Rare Books Interview Aza favorite book Keystone XL Fireworks Video Canada plants Mankato Powwow boarding school President Obama leaves and snow Pembina ptsd Victory Gardens Empire of the Summer Moon Native People Stephen Salisbury post holiday reads ependent city of books green health care reform monkey in a dryer post holiday Small Bookstores as Commons thank you friends Wolf Hall State Troopers Chitra Divakaruni Beth Dooley Czech Writer Mohamed's Ghosts Dartmouth The Transition Handbook Too Loud A Solitude tree books Milkweed Press solstice, Thomas King Louise Hillary Clinton anniversary Alan Weisman Peak Water book and dinner club Guthrie Theater Magers and Quinn cafe japan neighborhood The Resilient Gardener favorite tree Climate Change Anishinabemowin peculiar touches of green and gold china Vic Glover Gail Caldwell William Trevor National Book Award World on the Edge gardens Tree Houses Crushing Books coyote customers favorite dog E.L. Doctorow The Farmer's Daughter Hilary Mantel The Ojibwe spring Brown Dog Education The Porcupine Year Kenwood Gardens Unnatural Disasters Afghanistan euphoria Nemesis Chickadee Poetry devoted customers Too Much Happiness Ha Jin This Green World Master Butchers Singing Club More Remarkable Trees aquifer photography france Michael Jackson germany how good looking you are Minnesota trees friends incarnation north dakota support Jim Harrison The Game of Silence graphix Makoons Botany Zombies Kate DiCamillo