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


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