The Husky Western Bookworm Rides Again.

by Serge Bielanko

Here are some random things on a Friday. Nothing revolutionary. Or even exciting, really. So, if you skip out right now, I understand.

Ok here we go.


--  I've been reading MIDDLEMARCH by George Eliot and its becoming this real problem for me. I like the book a lot but it's also a little bit of work to navigate. Eliot's super duper Victorian writing style is hard for me to snack on at the end of the day, when I'm pretty whipped and laying in my bed to read until I fall asleep. Yet, I have that problem where I know if I put it back on the shelf for another day down the road, I'll probably never dive into it again, and I really wanna read it, since it's a mega-classic. Some say it's one of the best novels ever.

Sometimes I get to thinking that I wish I had a time machine and that I could go back in time and find Eliot and somehow keep her from writing this one book, thus ensuring that many years later: I wouldn't have to deal with this conundrum.

Then I get to thinking: what are you, a fucking lunatic? Just put it down. No one will ever care.

The book will never come up in discussion at a dinner party. NO ONE EVEN EVER INVITES YOU TO FUCKING DINNER PARTIES, DIPSHIT! And even if they did, do you know how many courses it takes until MIDDLEMARCH rolls out of its musty old coffin and dances out on to the table like some skelatal granny all hopped up on her own reincarnation?

Do you?!!

It takes at least three hundred courses, I tell myself.

And your stomach stretches to a bubblegum bubble and then simply Jackson Pollacks across the room after about forty or so.

But still. I want to be able to finish it. I need to.


--   Monica bought me a pizza stone for my birthday back in December. It came with a pizza book and a pizza cutter. She got it for me because I love pizza and I miss pizza and I want to make my own pizza maybe more than anything in this world. So, a few weeks after the holidays were over, I was up one Saturday morning/gave Violet some microwave pancakes/got her situated with some Great Pumpkin on her little dvd piece of shit/ and I started Googling around trying to pick up some pizza making tips.

That was sort of a bad move. One thing led to another, links led to message boards. Messages led to pictures of bags of some kind of .00 flour, and voices from the electric wilderness screaming at one another that they didn't know fuck-all about making your own dough; people telling other people that if you don't understand why you want to use expensive cans of imported Roma tomatoes for your sauce than you should smoosh a grenade launcher barrel against your eye socket and pull the trigger because you will never know how to make a goddamn pizza or anything else for that matter.

After about two hours of absolutely pummeling my own desire with the thick oak switches of the people of the pizza, I was a mess. I had no idea where to start or what to do. To be honest, I think my research had made me know less about making homemade pizza than when I started.

I wanted to make my own Margherita Pizza. I ended up scaring the shit out of myself. It's February now, and still: my big Friday pizza is one of those Wal-Mart 5 cheese jobs. I rip up some basil and throw it on there after it's cooked and I eat it with three fast shots of Chianti while we watch House Hunters or something.

And it is what it is.


I took a break from MIDDLEMARCH, in case you were still wondering about that. I didn't put her back on the shelf or anything; I just left her there on the little table by my bed. I figured maybe she might need a little time too, ya know? Time to really look at herself and think about how she is going to fit into this changing world. It's hard being an old book, I guess. It's not easy to be the late-night stromboli stuffed with Vicars and Parishes and winding lanes leaking your insides off the paper, dripping your old-recipe grease down into the half-moon eyes of someone from the future who wants to gorge himself to sleep. You gotta fight to stay relevant/ you gotta struggle just to remain even a little hot.

Maybe it's me. Maybe it's the book. It's probably me. She's had so many lovers, she has to know what's up. Anyways, we're taking a little break. And you and I know that shit never sounds good.


-- So I read THE GLASS CASTLE instead. It took me about a week of nights. Moving from MIDDLEMARCH into this one was pretty much like going into any pizza joint in Brooklyn or Philly and getting a slice and just eating the hell out of it right there at the counter, by the garlic salt and the oregano and the napkins. There was no baking it myself. No fucking cans of this or that. Nothing to understand/ no temperatures or yeast bullshit. I just walked into this lady's story, ordered a slice, and ate the hell out of it. Five nights in a row.

I'm not going to lie to you. It was really nice. It was really motherfucking nice at the end of the day.


-- Now I'm reading a book I found at Savers the other day for three bucks. THE WHITE TIGER by Aravind Adiga. It was a Man Booker Prize Winner for 2008, which evidently wasn't enough to keep it from the nasty fate of landing on the paperback shelf under the bright halogens down at Savers, but whatever. I'll tell you this: it is super awesome. It's a tale of India. That's usually enough to get me interested, so I bought the thing. But it turns out that it's also one badass slice of mind pizza. Adiga is a pretty spectacular writer. He's comical. But he's also an intensely great storyteller. Too many novelists forget about that, about telling the story. Too many people forget about the pizza when they build these big pizzerias.


-- I can't wait to meet our son. We have three names picked out and we still haven't decided which one it's going to be. I like them all. One day I wake up in the morning and pour myself some coffee and one of the names pops into my head and it's like:YEAH THAT'S IT/ THAT'S HIS NAME. Then that lasts for like half a day and then another one of the names slams into the Honda when I'm cruising down the freeway, and I get to thinking that: of course, THAT'S the name.

It's been the same for my wife, the same names coming and going.

Oh well, he'll force our hand if he has to.  And that would be just fine, too.