The Austin Chronicle


Books We Love and a Few Books We Don't

January 7, 2000, Books

David Garza

1. The Oval Hour: Poems by Kathleen Peirce
2. Hectic Ethics by Francisco Hinojosa
3. Encyclopaedia Anatomica

1. The Iliad translated by Robert Fagles
2. The Odyssey translated by Robert Fagles
3. Sex by Madonna, photographs by Steven Meisel
4. Fernando Pessoa & Co. Selected Poems, edited and translated by Richard Zenith

Desert Island
1. The Metamorphoses by Ovid
2. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
3. The Oxford Study Bible
4. The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire
5. Arabian Nights
6. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
7. The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke
8. Nostalgia for Death by Xavier Villaurrutia
9. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
10. Labyrinths by Jorge Juis Borges

There are days when the weather gathers itself and strikes with uncanny precision, and what can you possibly say in return? You fall in love with the daisies, or you rediscover the seduction of rainfall on the horizon, and that is exactly what I want to believe that books in these days should be able to do to their readers. Let's ask ourselves questions about the marriage we have forged between literature and commerce. This is no juvenile tirade against corporate mergers and Oprah Winfrey and the judgments of public schools. The truth is that as people in this country at this time in history, we might have just a bit more to say and to think, or am I wrong? I continue to love the poems put together by Kathleen Peirce, I think that worthwhile writers are still made to endure a bit too much in their quests for an audience, and who can argue that the books we all read have a grudge to bear against this greeting of silence? Baudelaire keeps telling me that we can't appreciate today's art because it's so close to our eyes, but I'm dying to believe that we know it and love it in ways that he can't.

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