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.


Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


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