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


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