Drunken Library
Excerpt from A Long Way Down:: Nick Hornby

I once asked Dad what he’d do if he wasn’t working in politics, and he said he’d be working in politics, and what he meant, I think, is that wherever he was in the world, whatever job he was doing, he’d still find a way back, in the way that cats are supposed to be able to find a way back when they move house. He’d be on the local council, or he’d give out pamphlets, or something. Anything that was a part of that world, he’d do. He was a little sad when he said it; he told me it was, in the end, a failure of imagination. 

And that’s me: I suffer from a failure of imagination. I could do what I wanted, every day of my life, and what I want to do, apparently, is to get walloped out of my head and pick fights. Telling me I can do anything I want is like pulling the plug out of the bath and then telling the water it can go anywhere it wants. Try it, and see what happens.

"This Is Just To Say":: Poem by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which 

you were probably

saving

for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet 

and so cold

The goal of storytelling should be to make stories as ubiquitous as music.
Malcolm Gladwell
Excerpt from The Circle :: Dave Eggers

Mae finished her wine, and felt briefly aglow. She squinted into the sun, turned away, and saw a man in the distance, on a silver sailboat, raising a tricolored flag.

"How old are you?" the woman asked. "You look about eleven."

"Twenty-four," Mae said.

"My god. You don’t have a mark on you. Were we ever twenty-four, my love?" She turned to the man, who was using a ballpoint pen to scratch the arch of his foot. He shrugged, and the woman let the matter drop.

"Beautiful out here," Mae said.

"We agree," the woman said. "The beauty is loud and constant. The sunrise this morning, it was so good. And tonight’s a full moon. It’s been rising full orange, turning silver as it climbs. The water will be soaked in gold, then platinum. You should stay."

DRUNKEN LIBRARY’S ALBUM OF THE MONTH

This June’s listen is White Womenby Chromeo

Our featured listen is “Lost On The Way Home,” the perfect sound for a dreamy night drive.

This whole album will bring the best dance parties on the planet. With lyrics like “I can be your boyfriend and your counselor ‘cause the night might damage ya,” jamming to these sexy socialites will set the tone for your summer.

 Check out their tumblr here and see them live on tour at this year’s festivals!

Excerpt from The Art of Racing in the Rain:: Garth Stein

Here’s why I will be a good person. Because I listen. I cannot speak, so I listen very well. I never interrupt, I never deflect the course of the conversation with a comment of my own. People, if you pay attention to them, change the direction of one another’s conversations constantly. It’s like having a passenger in your car who suddenly grabs the steering wheel and turns you down a side street. For instance, if we met at a party and I wanted to tell you a story about the time I needed to get a soccer ball in my neighbor’s yard but his dog chased me and I had to jump into a swimming pool to escape, and I began telling the story, you, hearing the words “soccer” and “neighbor” in the same sentence, might interrupt and mention that your childhood neighbor was Pele, the famous soccer player, and I might be courteous and say, Didn’t he play for the Cosmos of New York? Did you grow up in New York? And you might reply that, no, you grew up in Brazil on the streets of Tres Coracoes with Pele, and I might say, I thought you were from Tennessee, and you might say not originally, and then go on to outline your genealogy at length. So my initial conversational gambit—that I had a funny story about being chased by my neighbor’s dog—would be totally lost, and only because you had to tell me all about Pele. Learn to listenI beg of you. Pretend you are a dog like me and listen to other people rather than steal stories. 

Excerpt from The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake:: Aimee Bender

     Mom was also in the kitchen, rinsing a colander of broccoli under the faucet.

     I looked at her when he was off and back.

     Nice boy, she said

     Not a desert, I said.

     What do you mean? She put the broccoli aside, to drip into the sink.

     You said Joseph was the desert?

     She ran her hands under the tap. Nah, not the desert, she said, as if that conversation had never happened. Joseph, she said, is like a geode—plain on the outside, gorgeous on the inside.

     I watched her dry her hands. My mother’s lithe, able fingers. I felt such a clash inside, even then, when she praised Joseph. Jealous, that he got to be a geode—a geode!—but also relieved, that he soaked up most of her super-attention, which on occasion made me feel like I was drowning in light. The same light he took and folded into rock walls to hide in the beveled sharp edges of topaz crystal and schorl. 

     He has facets and prisms, she said. He is an intricate geological surprise. 

      I stayed at the counter. I still held the Lego train in my hands.

     And what’s Dad? I said.

     Oh, your father, she said, leaning her hip against the counter. Your father is a big strong stubborn gray boulder. She laughed. 

     And me? I asked, grasping, for the last time.

     You? Baby, you’re—

     I stood still. Waiting.

     You’re—

     She smiled at me, as she folded the blue-and-white-checked dish towel. You’re seaglass, she said. The pretty green kind. Everybody loves you, and wants to take you home. 

Excerpt from Rage (1977):: Stephen King

There isn’t any division of time to express the marrow of our lives, the time between the explosion of lead from the muzzle and the meat impact, between the impact and the darkness. There’s only barren instant replay that shows nothing new. I shot her; she fell; and there was an indescribable moment of silence, an infinite duration of time, and we all stepped back, watching the ball go around and around, ticking, bouncing, lighting for an instant, going on, heads and tails, red and black, odd and even…I think that moment ended. I really do. But sometimes, in the dark, I think that hideous random moment is still going on, that the wheel is even yet in spin, and I dreamed all the rest. What must it be like for a suicide coming down from a high ledge? I’m sure it must be a very sane feeling. That’s probably why they scream all the way down.

Haiku by Buson

A lightning flash—
the sound of water drops
falling through bamboo

Lines Off My Mind’s Shelf::

Why do tears come so easy

when you look at the sun?