I've been reading books about New Orleans and, from a book geek point of view, my favorite so far has been _New Orleans, Mon Amour_ by Andrei Codrescu (2006), because he name-drops a lot of other titles set in New Orleans, including _The Mysteries of New Orleans_, a nineteenth century gothic which I had never even heard of (have no fear, a copy is now on its way even as I write this).
It turns out I kind of like this Codrescu guy, so then I read _The Poetry Lesson_ (2010). _The Poetry Lesson_ is a fictionalized memoir about a university professor who is teaching the first class in a college course on poetry, which provides the opportunity to give a passionate defense of why poetry is still relevant, and to name-drop a bit about the poets with whom Codrescu has hung with, not to mention and flirted with their wives (oh, wait, tis is fictionalized memoir, so perhaps Codrescu himself has not actually done those things). I have the feeling this would be annoying if I had to sit through it in real life, but it makes a fun introduction to the poetry of the past four decades or so, about which I am sadly ignorant. Plus I love the idea of being assigned a "ghost companion" (GC), a poet to guide you through your poetry adventures. I wonder who my ghost companion would be?
After that, I was kind of digging the poetry thing, and it is poetry month, so I went ahead and read _The Anthologist_ by Nicholson Baker (2010), which is quieter but another poetry rollercoaster00and wouldn't that be a fantastic surreal project, The Poetry Rollercoaster?--with a perfect final page.
I plan on taking Codrescu's _The Posthuman Dada Guide_ (2009) with me to read in New Orleans, Codrescu's adopted city (Codrescu claims everyone who lives in New Orleans is a surrealist), and next I plan on reading Codrescu's _Messiah_ (1999), which is his version of what happens when the Messiah shows up in modern N.O. Thus, I was amused to read on the Amazon.com blog that James Free has a new book coming out
_The Final Testament of the Holy Bible_ http://www.omnivoracious.com/2011/04/final-testament-holy-bible-james-frey-interview.html
which is being hyped as a radical story about the coming of a modern Messiah, but my reaction was "Again??" because it seems to me this story comes along every few years. Also, I was intrigued not so much by the marketing of the book in two formats, a fifty dollar deluxe edition and a ten dollar digital edition, but by the way in which Free descried the two potential audiences:
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Frey: ...I think the future of publishing, or one version of it, is in physical books for collectors and serious fans and ebooks for mass distribution.
I believe in that future and want to be a part of it as early as possible.
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So being willing--not to mention, able--to pay $50 for a book is what makes you "serious", and ebooks are for what, non-serious readers?