Baltimore, MD -- August 24, 2007

At the hostel, reading Gravity's Rainbow, by Thomas Pynchon. He had a friend who said if you knew a little about taro cards you would be able to appreciate book more, but he said screw it and started reading it again anyway, for the second time. It’s worth it--a really big trip.

He also read Lineland, by Pynchon, which he said was a much more focused read than this. It's bits and pieces of stories and your memory is important, reconstructing someone else's life is like reconstructing own. A factoid—guy who started Sun Microsystems says it’s his favorite book.

Last damn good book that he read—The Windup Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami.

He tries to read the classics.

If he were to write his own book? He doesn’t like his own style of writing. Wouldn’t suffer the reader that. But, if he had to, he would do a modern adaptation of the Hatchet series, about a kid who gets in a plane accident, on his way to visit his dad, almost died, makes his way through woods. It’s a survival story, and he doesn’t know how it would stand up today, but he'd like to try.

Here's a quote by Wernher von Braun from the beginning of Gravity's Rainbow:
Nature does not know extinction; all it knows is transformation. Everything science has taught me, and continues to teach me, strengthens my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death.

Something else great--The Rat, by Gunter Grass. It’s a huge meta-fairytale, complex in kind of the same way Gravity's Rainbow is complex, but with a more focused narrative. It follows the apocalypse, the perspective of someone floating in Earth’s orbit and he’s given a rat for Christmas, a Christmas rat and the rat is telling him the history of world, told through dreams. The book is infused with classic fairy tales; he emphasizes the very germaneness of the source, recurring character, the tin drum character, a character who decides, at age 4, that he wants to stop growing, at time of the rise of the Nazis, …they finish out the story, and it has pivotal part at end of world.

He likes characters who are self-aware.

In San Francisco I interviewed a reader who had illustrated Gravity's Rainbow, page by page.

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