Notes on Reading

Peter Orner at The Believer:

The book is Bernadette Mayer’s Midwinter Day. Mayer wrote it, the whole thing, every word, on December 22, 1978. Before today, I’d read only parts, but this is a book to be swallowed whole, hour by hour, the way Mayer wrote it. Therefore, I’m currently parked in a chair in the Lebanon, New Hampshire, public library, attempting a small degree of penance through reading.

Midwinter Day is a book that resists dumb hyperbole. And yet I’m going to go out on a flimsy limb and say, proclaim, ordain it to be the greatest celebration of family life ever written by an American—ever. Except, and here’s the thing, although Mayer’s husband, Lewis, and their two young daughters, Marie and Sophia, appear on every page—there’s breakfast, a trip to the library, lunch, dancing around the kitchen, reading out loud, squeezed-in sex, toys on the floor, dreaming—this book, at its core, is a dense 119-page record of Mayer’s fiercely individual consciousness across the seconds, minutes, hours of December 22, 1978.

more here.