For our Second Life series, we work with writers and publishers to present selected essays, magazines, ephemera, and other previously published material that is out of print or hard to find, giving it a second life online. Our contributing editor Bruce Hainley starts us off with two out-of-print books from his personal library.
1. Peter James, Down Under: To Glorify the Australian Lifesaver, 1985.
Click here for an excerpt, courtesy of the author.
2. Boyd McDonald, “Star of Stars” from Cruising the Movies: A Sexual Guide to Oldies on TV, 1985.
Geoff Dyer’s recent takedown of Michael Fried’s prose style in The New York Times fascinated for many reasons, not the least of which is that it should serve as a wakeup call for anyone who still thinks that those who practice what’s often disparaged as belles lettres can’t pack some serious heat when it comes to, well, thinking. New forms, new grammars, provide the only way to express new ideas. Not that Dyer would be one of my belletristic paradigms of choice. For that, I’d turn to Jamaica Kincaid on gardening, Renata Adler on political media, and George W. S. Trow on just about anything—or to Boyd McDonald, who dedicated his life to tracking the blunt textures, fractal abrasions, and wayward odors of men encountering men in public bathrooms, Marines barracks, greasy pit stops, and just about anywhere else they happen to pop up. I’m tempted to state something like, “Foucault drools”…but, um, not now. Grindr just pinged me.