About two years ago I was perusing the shelves of Louise Erdrich’s marvelous bookstore, Birchbark Books, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when, inexplicably, as if magnetized or drawn by some irresistible sexual attraction, I plucked Richard Brautigan’s 1967 novella Trout Fishing in America off the shelf. I do not know why exactly, but I suspect I was intrigued by the title and certainly at least dimly aware of Brautigan’s once white-hot literary fame. Anyway, I hardly need an excuse at all. I’m a book junkie and that day I walked out with Trout Fishing in America, Erdrich’s The Round House, and Patti Smith’s autobiography, Just Kids. In the coming months, I finished The Round House (wonderful) and Just Kids (I have an unhealthy fascination with Sam Shepard, so those parts had me swooning) and about a dozen other books.
And then, a year went by . . .