Last weekend, I went down a Breaking Bad, Season Five, Part I wormhole just as Season Five, Part II was downloaded to Netflix, thank god. That’s ecstatic television, the most riveting I’ve ever watched. Meanwhile, I find myself less and less engaged with The Walking Dead. The show’s oscillation between the group’s struggle to find a home and then survive on the road wears thin. It lacks a macro-narrative, a larger arc; its feels episodic at best, static more often. That the core group has been scattered makes it all the more atomized. Consequently the show struggles to build suspense. In the last episode, I also found it hard to believe (spoiler alert) that Rick could manage to choke out that guy in the bathroom without being discovered. I’ve lived in an old house like that. From the third floor, you could hear a basement mouse clipping its toenails. So many loose joints in the place the structure was like a tin-cup telephone.
If you’re a Marisha Pessl fan (Special Topics in Calamity Physics), here’s our Salon@615 talk at Nashville’s Main library about her new novel, Night Film. Loved her shoes. (It was a torrentially rainy night, btw). If you can’t get enough of me in person—I know I can’t, I can’t get away from myself—I’ll be teaching an evening class at the University School of Nashville on Tuesday evening, March 4. If you’re a New Yorker, I’ll be appearing at Brooklyn College on March 19 with the poet Dana White and playwright Donna Di Novelli—a brief reading from each of us will be followed by a Q & A. Nashville’s Parnassus Bookstore has acclaimed young novelist Amy Greene (Bloodroot) stopping by on Monday evening, March 3, to read from her new novel, Long Man, which has received wonderful advance word. I’ll also be in the audience at Princeton University’s Berlind Theater to hear The Story Award, Dylan Thomas Prize, and New York Public Library Young Lions Book award winner Claire Vaye Watkins read from her novel-in-progress on March 12. She and I enjoyed a nice mention in Chang-rae Lee’s New York Times Book Review “By the Book” interview. While I haven’t yet read On Such a Full Sea, I highly recommend his previous novel, The Surrendered, a 2010 Pulitzer finalist. The last book to move me as much was Salter’s Light Years.