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


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