Shopping cart is empty.

Birchbark Blog

Too Loud A Solitude

Louise Erdrich - Sunday, July 12, 2009
I have trouble writing this blog post because I take it all so seriously.  I still write by hand in art paper notebooks, and am thinking of getting out my old typewriter because I miss typed manuscripts.  Then again . . . I am also thinking of writing  a whole book on birchbark with my teeth.  I do have news of a terrific read.  If you like Borges, Saramago, Kafka, Angela Carter, or writers born in Brno in 1914, who died in Prague in 1987, if you liked Bohumil Hrabal's Closely Watched Trains, or if you have never heard of Hrabal and you love books -- this is your book. 

Too Loud a Solitude, by Bohumil Hrabal.  I read it a month ago.  Then I read it again last night.  Maybe I'll read it again today.  The book is about a man whose job is crushing books.  It is a book about loving books and destroying books, about love and destruction, the crushing of ideas, the drinking of beer.  It is not a long book, but you will read it again and again.  It is a perfect book, I think. 

Besides reading this one book again and again, I've been reading newspapers.  I have been reading lots of newspapers with the awful feeling that the wonderful feel of print under my fingers, the dry snap as you unfold a newspaper, the paging back and forth, the tactile reality of the newspaper, is going to vanish.  So I've suddenly subscribed to several newspapers that I casually picked up every other day at the grocery store.  And all I give people for birthdays now is newspaper subscriptions.  I am doing this not only for the integrity of the news and the selfish feeling of joy I get when unfolding a newspaper, but for the many people I know who rely on completing the puzzles on newspaper pages -- for the lovely Finnish-American-Upper Peninsula Geology Professor I met on the airplane.  He was in his late eighties and had a folded crossword puzzle in his hand.  He was stuck but did not want me to brainstorm on an answer.  He enjoyed looking at his puzzle last thing before he went to sleep, and waking with the answer.  His was too loud a solitude, and puzzles are a friendly noise.

Buy a newspaper today.  Or Too Loud A Solitude.

Kathy Streitz commented on 14-Jul-2009 09:30 PM
I enjoyed your address to Dartmouth graduates. Did you bring the podium with you? You could have. I just finished a teacher's course with St. Mary's of Winona. We met in Stillwater. Multiculturally Responsive Literature and Teaching English Language Learners. Your name came up many times. My husband have me your book Four Souls for my 50th birthday three years ago. I started it again for the third time and refer to the family tree often. Four Souls is so much more than a story. I enjoy reading and jumping in and out of the story. Mauser's son's condition makes me sad right now.

I teach at a charter school in East St. Paul. We have just finished our 14th year and have about 450 PreK - 8th graders. Hmong, Hispanic and other families speaking many languages
attend. I do love what I do. Thanks for your work and for your words.

Marybeth Lorbiecki commented on 27-Jul-2009 01:07 PM
I was so inspired and thrilled about your speech that I wrote a blog about it and about Ohiyesa, Charles Alexander Eastman -- hope that's okay!
Tracy Mangold commented on 05-Aug-2009 08:12 PM
Thank you for recommending, "Too Loud a Solitude." I just finished reading it today and I loved it. Hrabal's writing is rich and beautiful, simplistic yet powerful. It is indeed the perfect book, especially for those of us who adore our books and appreciate them for the friends and teachers they are. I look forward to reading more of his works and am thankful that I have been made aware of this wonderful writer.
Post a Comment!

Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


Easter Island incarnation Master Butchers Singing Club State Troopers NACDI:All My Relations Islam fresh water Greenland Victory Gardens ptsd Gryphon Press Botany Aza adventure Makoons E.L. Doctorow how good looking you are Peak Oil Gary Clement Patrick O'Brian neighborhood favorite tree Bill Moyers Journal Gail Caldwell Bleak House Too Loud A Solitude Keepers of the Trees The Round House Canada local economy Crushing Books gardens Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive Dogs buffalo William Trevor boarding school city of books Unnatural Disasters Anishinabe World on the Edge Ojibwe Czech Writer Hilary Mantel Philip Roth The Resilient Gardener Hillary Clinton Stephen Salisbury Nero Wendy Makoons Geniusz coyote The Ojibwe Ice Emily Johnson Bohumil Hrabal 2666 italy Climate Change Ojibwemowin The Porcupine Year devoted customers Tar Sands euphoria spring post holiday reads ependent Chickadee Kenwood Gardens Jim Harrison Interview Let's Take the Long Way Home Mohamed's Ghosts solstice, Thomas King Michael Jackson Keystone XL Population Too Much Happiness Light in August germany north dakota The Birchbark House anniversary Native Arts Anishinabemowin france photography Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge japan Chitra Divakaruni thank you friends This Green World favorite dog bill mckibben Roberto Bolano The Blue Sky S.C. Gwynne Native People plants Minnesota ireland health care reform Small Bookstores as Commons china support sweden pilgrims The Royal Prussian Library graphix trees joy Collective Denial mississippi Poetry Nemesis Love thanks Mankato Powwow Guthrie Theater Minneapolis Dartmouth British Navy Wastepaper Empire of the Summer Moon knowledge Fireworks Vic Glover green Kabul tree books post holiday School Gardens peculiar touches of green and gold monkey in a dryer favorite book cafe closing Alice Munro Green Team Birchbark Books Aubrey/Maturin language revitalization The Game of Silence More Remarkable Trees Alan Weisman friends The Transition Handbook Beth Dooley Magers and Quinn Louise The Farmer's Daughter aquifer Up Late Again President Obama The Wealth of Nature Brown Dog H2Oil Women and Trees Ha Jin show your love birchbark house series Zombies Anton Treuer Tree Houses Video cafe Rare Books Remarkable Trees customers twins National Book Award Milkweed Press Wolf Hall Peak Water leaves and snow Pembina gratitude book and dinner club Catalyst Afghanistan Kate DiCamillo the most romantic city in the world Book Review Education