Bluebird’s Bookshelf is a brand new feature on Bluebird Blvd. that’s just about the bookishness of books.
We’re always talking about specific books on Bluebird Blvd., so it seemed the thing to do now was talk about books in a more general way.
Why? Because everyone I know reads a hella* amount of books.
Are there any books that you recommend I should add to next month’s bookshelf?
What are you reading right now?
NO, REALLY! What are YOU READING RIGHTHISSECOND?
*Clears throat* *Tries to act casual* So, like, no rush or anything. But I’m sort of dying to know what’s on your bookshelf lately.
Okay, more things: If you’ve read any of the books on this list, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them (but no spoilers without warnings, okay?).
Also, if you’d like to read along with me this month, I’ll tell you where I’m at on the list right now: I’m in the middle of reading “Super Sad True Love Story” by Gary Shteyngart, and I am just about done with John Scalzi’s “Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded.”
I’m probably going to jump from those two books to “Heart of a Dog,” a short allegorical novel by one of Joseph Stalin’s favorite writers, Mikhail Bulgakov.
I have no idea how that guy made it through the revolution, as he was quite disillusioned with Soviet communism by the time he wrote “Heart of a Dog.”
Yet, Bulgakov did survive the, um, whimsies of Stalin. This potent writer’s subversive works sustained three generations of Soviet peoples in hard times. His work still delights present day Russians. (You know that Russia has a 99.58% literacy rate, right? That’s one well-read country!)
A question for my Russian friends: Could you possibly answer a question for me? I just finished reading Gary Shteyngart’s “Absurdistan” last month, and I was shocked by the idea that many Russians have read their own literature, extensively. Is this true? Do Russians read their own literary canon? Do they allude to their own literary figures a great deal?
At this writing, I hope to consume Bulgakov’s slender novel alongside Maira Kalman’s “And the Pursuit of Happiness“—I didn’t intend to juxtapose one political system against another, I just wanted to pair something visual with something textual, and both of these books are meaty.
Kalman’s books are generally a gorgeous marriage of illustration and text, and she maintains this playful yet melancholy voice I absolutely love.
Following that pairing, I’ll be re-reading Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood—the most truthful examination of girlhood I’ve ever read— simultaneously with Lynda Barry’s “What It Is,” a visual creation that explores the linked ideas of childhood, art, and memory. (I’ve read Barry’s “What It Is” many times, but I’m getting ready by reading Barry’s canon for her next book, which will be released in October.)
I’ll probably finish this month with “Naïve” and “Ripped.” Naïve discusses the resurgence of motifs from 1950s and ’60s graphic design, whereas “Ripped” showcases a riot of new design ideas and revolutionary thoughts from the late 1970s and 1980s. (Plus, there’s an introduction by Lydia Lunch.) Both of these books are more image than text. I’m not sure where I was going with that, except to say, “more image than text.”
SOME NEW(ISH) THINGS TO KNOW
In order to keep the lights on at Bluebird Blvd. HQ, I’ve started to do a few things differently around here. I don’t talk about it too much, but I am an Amazon Affiliate.
What this means for you: If you click on a book link on Bluebird Blvd. that takes you to that same book on Amazon and you purchase that book within 24 hours, I receive a small percentage off of your book purchase from Amazon. (No weird fees or anything like that–just a percentage of the ordinary, everyday purchase price of the book.)
You know what? You can always come back and click the link again if 24 hours pass and you realize you want a book I mentioned and you would like me to make a little bit of money. That would be nice, right?
I’m always talking about books I think you’ll love anyway, so this seemed a much better and more honest way of providing income to keep me and Bluebird Blvd. going than direct advertising, which I find incredibly distracting.
How distracting? I don’t watch network or cable television because I’m not interested in being a passive recipient of constant advertising. Keep this in mind, because bombarding you with advertising is something I will not be doing to you.
Actually, I won’t be doing anything especially different than we’ve always done. We talk about books I’m reading all the time here, right?
The only thing that’s going to be going on now, is that I’m going to have to go back into hundreds of Bluebird Blvd. stories and update the Amazon links so that they have my Amazon Affiliate tag. Thousands of links, y’all. Turns out I talk about books a flappin’ ton!
The same goes for music, where applicable. And I listen to a metric TON of music, so…there’s that.
However, if I can find a way for you to purchase items directly from the artist without any intermediary, I will most likely do that—even if I don’t earn income from it—because I’m a put-your-dollar-on-the-artist kinda guy.
One more thing—I will be selling some specially designed t-shirts and greeting cards and whatnots as well. I’ve got some pretty silly things mocked up and ready to go. (I love doing design work, y’all.)
Oh! And in the next few months, I’ll be offering photographs through one of the really nice print-on-demand retailers.
*Claps hands* I am SO EXCITED, y’all. I’ve got lots of little free and fun goodies planned this year for Bluebird Blvd. Plus, I am setting up my schedule so I will be able to finish Bluebird’s Modern Photography within a year-and-a-half. EEEEEEE! Excited!
Okay, enough talk about this stuff—let’s talk about books in the comment section. Are you ready? LET’S! TALK! BOOKS!
*1980s California slang for “a hell of a lot of.”