H on what I got him for his birthday and what's next on the pile:
"I just finished the Leonard Michaels collection. The first set of stories made me feel like someone was sitting on my chest and gutturally dictating their descent into hell (Obvious Celine influence with the cadence). Damn you Henry, Phillip & Marjorie! The next set of stories was a Borges/Nabokavian head scratching puns bookended by two of his best short stories. The third section was also tremendous. The over the top Hemingway homage "Tropicana" being a highlight along with the handball one. I wasn't as impressed with the Nachman stories. What impressed me most about Michaels is that each collection sounds like it was written by a different author. I also finished Vital Parts and loved it (Splendor Manwaring buy his parents old house). For Christmas I will be alternating between "Bats Out Of Hell" and Ann Beattie's just released "New Yorker Stories". Seems appropriate. Happy holidays fuck face."