these were my favorites!
The (Diblos) Notebook, James Merrill
A friend lent me this book and made me promise to return it when I was done. Instead, I moved to Chicago. hahahaha take THAT, friend! Merrill is first and foremost a poet. It shows. Done in the style of a novelist's notebook, Merrill uses telegraphic jottings, real-life reminiscences, crossed-out paragraphs, lists and fragments to create his story. Together, these impressions create a tale all the more complete for its shattered telling.
Travels in Siberia, Ian Frazier
Maybe it's cheating to include this one since I'm not finished with it yet. But so far it's really good!! Frazier shares his obsession with, and travels in, the Russian continent. He also remixes a fair amount of Siberian history without coming across too droney. I'm confused, though. Why is it taking me so long to finish this book? I've seriously been at it for weeks. Maybe Frazier wants to replicate the experience of traveling in Siberia through his prose?? If so: I'm onto you, you sneaky fuck.
Fun Home, Alison Bechdel
Sometimes, halfway through a book, you realize you're reading too quickly. You don't want it to end, so you start to slooowwwww dooowwwnnn. Lingering on every word. Pausing between sentences to stare out the window. Setting the book aside for hours. Wandering around your house. Resisting its gravitational pull. This was like that for me.
Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice, Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.D.
Some notes from my envelope bookmark: "Alkaloids in plants manifest as bitterness. This astringency clues people in to a compound's medicinal and poisonous properties." "Often the only difference between a medicine and a poison is dosage." "Medieval witches used broomsticks to apply alkaloid-rich substances to body parts with high concentrations of nerve endings and blood vessels. People who said that witches 'flew' were probably referring obliquely to them tripping." "A Tirio shaman: 'At night I slept underwater and made love to the spirit of the river.'" You probably already know if this shit sounds cool to you.