Day 22 – Favorite book you own
When I like a book, I obtain it somehow. I'll buy a book if I have even the slightest feeling I'll like it. Unless I am impoverished, or am feeling overwhelmed. Having said that if I like a book, I will own it, I don't spend a lot of money on acquisitions. Acquiring things drives me a little crazy. I don't accumulate excess, so I tend to keep what I financially commit to, and so if I want to add to that, it is serious. Books are something I'm willing to amass. I owned a lot of books until I went to school, but not many of them were fiction. Most of them were about the state of psychiatric institutions before their mass folding in the 1980s. So books became a little more talismanic for me than usual after I started to love fiction and appreciate it beyond the same four or five books I read fixedly. A very important book for me at the apex of this time was Joan Schenkar's biography of Patricia Highsmith (which came three years ago, I think - that's adorable). More than any other writer, she (Highsmith) is the one with whom I have the most in common. Not in all respects - including the more riveting and weird ones - but she struggled at all, which continues to be really important for me to see. On one level of thrilling and comforting is Dennis Cooper and Nabokov who mow over stylistic and thematic restraints I imagined existed but as far as the experience of writing, reading about Plath and other women of note was only so reassuring. I reread Paul Alexander's Rough Magic regularly because her discipline inspires me and it is wonderful to see how often, in addition to her achievements, she was rejected or lost a competition, but she was still extremely privileged. Highsmith was, too, but she was not overachieving, which is a really exciting fact for me to encounter about anyone. She was not roundly understood to be very talented, except for those who thought she was a genius, and that did not affect her own criticisms about her work or her ambition to be understood as the kind of artist that she was. I think, or else I am projecting. It is a really excellent biography, and I love that she was so bitter about writing comic books.