Although technically too short to qualify for five-books-at-a-time, I'm including it anyway. It's worth talking about and I'm getting pretty close to a hundred books on the year.....
091) Fountain City wrecked by Michael Chabon, finished December 20
After the success of his first book, Chabon tried and tried and tried to fail this second attempt. He eventually scrapped it (after thousands of pages and dozens of rewrites) and wrote Wonder Boys instead. (Which I have not read.)
This slim volume is the first four chapters of FC, as well as a large number of notes, an intro, a couple appendices. Essentially, it is an autopsy.
In theory, it is an autopsy. In fact, it's just as much a memoir. Which is not a bad thing. Art and life are inextricable, I suppose, and although, yes, occasionally this feels a bit self-indulgent, generally, it's rather heartening?
Why heartening? Because Chabon is one of the contemporary writers I most respect and seeing him spend a hella long time on a pile of crap makes me feel better about my own false starts. Sometimes, I wished he would talk about passages that I thought were particularly bad, but no matter. I enjoyed the trip with him and found it useful.
May I learn from other's mistakes.
Not that anyone ever did.
a couple weeks perhaps