Completists' Club discussion

William T. Vollmann
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message 1: by Nathan "N.R." (last edited Aug 22, 2014 08:31AM) (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Novels & Collections
You Bright and Risen Angels (1987)
The Rainbow Stories (1989) (collection)
13 Stories and 13 Epitaphs (1991) (collection)
The Atlas (1996) (collection)
Europe Central (2005)
Last Stories (2014) (collection)

Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes (series)
The Ice-Shirt (1990) (Volume One)
Fathers and Crows (1992) (Volume Two)
Argall: The True Story of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith (2001) (Volume Three)
The Rifles (1994) (Volume Six)
The Dying Grass (2015) (Volume Five)

The "Prostitution Trilogy"
Whores for Gloria (1991)
Butterfly Stories: A Novel (1993)
The Royal Family (2000)

Non-fiction
An Afghanistan Picture Show: Or, How I Saved the World (1992)
Rising Up and Rising Down: Some Thoughts on Violence, Freedom and Urgent Means (2003)
Uncentering the Earth: Copernicus and the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres (2006)
Poor People (2007)
Riding Toward Everywhere (2008)
Imperial (2009)
Kissing the Mask: Beauty, Understatement and Femininity in Japanese Noh Theater (2010)
Into the Forbidden Zone: A Trip Through Hell and High Water in Post-Earthquake Japan (2011) (eBook)
The Book of Dolores (2013)

Unpublished and Rare Works
The Song of Heaven: Grammar and Rhetoric in Literature and Political Action (1981)
Welcome to the Memoirs (autobiography, later reworked as An Afghanistan Picture Show) (1983)[16]
The Convict Bird: A Children’s Poem (1988) (bound with steel plates)
The Happy Girls (1990) (hand-painted and bound with metal plates, later included in 13 Stories and 13 Epitaphs)[17]
The Grave of Lost Stories (1993) (bound in steel and marble box, originally included in 13 Stories and 13 Epitaphs)
Wordcraft: Hints and Notes (circa 2000)[18] (writer's handbook)
Burning Songs (circa 2000) (poems)
The Book of Candles (1995-2008) (ten poems, in wooden box)[19]

The "Unpublished and Rare Works" are included only for their curiosity. You will never ever read them, own them, and most likely will never see them. I believe there are more of them.


message 2: by Nate D (new)

Nate D (rockhyrax) | 120 comments Yes, but are you taking into account how many additional books he'll be adding to your pile in those same 16 years?


message 3: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Nate wrote: "Yes, but are you taking into account how many additional books he'll be adding to your pile in those same 16 years?"

I haven't done the math, but at four books a year inclusive or not of each year's new book, I thought 16 years might be a reasonable approximation. I think I've knocked out 8 this past year.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

A foolhardy endeavor. Abandon all hope, etc.


message 5: by Hadrian (new)

Hadrian (hadrian_gr) I was hoping you would bring this up, Nathan. (unironic use of smilie follows) :)

I think I'm just missing a few of the assorted essays and journalism now - although I'm not sure how much of those are just cannibalized drafts which became part of a novel later. As for longer works, I'm missing the Copernicus and Afghanistan Picture Show. I do have the Imperial photo book now, although I'm not sure if it'd count as something to read. So it's not too much.

And as Nate says, this is assuming he doesn't write another 1,000 pages and publish them before I get started.


message 6: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Adrian wrote: "I was hoping you would bring this up, Nathan. (unironic use of smilie follows) :)

I think I'm just missing a few of the assorted essays and journalism now - although I'm not sure how much of those..."


I've got a lot missing from my shelves, but they'll all show up in due time. My impression is that all of his journalistic work makes its way into a book publication in some form at some time. I'd have to do more bibliographic research be confirm that, however. And Into the Zone is e-pub only, so that one will have to wait until I break-down and join the herds.

Sean--Not so much a matter of hope as uncontrolled compulsion. I do not aspire to completism, I will will only be expired by it.


message 7: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Sean wrote: "A foolhardy endeavor. Abandon all hope, etc."

Well, again, here's hope:
http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...

But Adrian is a ridiculously talented reader.


message 8: by Nathan "N.R." (last edited Sep 16, 2015 09:51AM) (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments William T Vollmann, goes something like this:

Have Read
You Bright and Risen Angels
The Ice-Shirt
An Afghanistan Picture Show
Whores for Gloria
The Rainbow Stories
The Royal Family
Thirteen Stories and Thirteen Epitaphs
Riding Toward Everywhere
Butterfly Stories
Expelled From Eden (A Reader, containing otherwise unpublished material)
Fathers and Crows
Rising Up Rising Down (unabridged)
Argall
The Book of Dolores
The Rifles
Poor People
The Atlas
Kissing the Mask
Last Stories
Europe Central
Imperial
Imperial (photos)
Uncentering the Earth
The Dying Grass

Will Have Read
Into the Forbidden Zone (ebook only, therefore don't count -- I anticipate its inclusion in his current coal/nuclear project, and therefore, 'forthcoming')



What am I missing?


message 9: by Tom (new)

Tom Willard | 17 comments I have made it through 10 so far, I need to take down another soon. He told me has has a book of ghost stories done, a book on Bosnia, and a book on trannies & the 5th installment of the dream series. Even if you complete all of the above, you will be staring down the barrel of another 1500 pages.


message 10: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments I might have asked this of Mr. NR before, but where on earth does one start with this peculiar man? I'd like fiction please.


message 11: by Tom (new)

Tom Willard | 17 comments Rainbow Stories seem to be a decent landing place; I started with Butterfly Stories, seemed to be a good place. You could not go wrong with Europe Central as well. There are different Vollmann's though: historically based novels, journalism/informal history, whore books.


message 12: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments In addition to Tom's wonderful suggestions:

Historical Fiction -- The Ice-Shirt (If you intend to read the Dream series in chronological order, but you needn't).

Pynchonianisms and Broom of the System Twin -- You Bright and Risen Angels.

Noir -- The Royal Family


message 13: by MJ (new)

MJ Nicholls (mjnicholls) | 211 comments Thanks, you pair. I'll bite down on Rainbow.


message 14: by Tom (new)

Tom Willard | 17 comments I agree on The Ice Shirt, great book. You Bright and Risen Angels looms over me...


message 15: by Pete (new)

Pete (moonmoylan) | 2 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "And Into the Zone is e-pub only, so that one will have to wait until I break-down and join the herds."

You can download the Kindle for your computer for free (at least, you can for a Mac, I'm not sure about Windows-based computers) and pick up "Into the Zone" from Byliner.com. Reading 70 pages on a laptop isn't great, but for someone like me (who really just wanted to read the new Vollmann piece) it was the best way to go.

Also, to each their own, but as far as starting out on his fiction I would go with Europe Central. It's a beautiful book.


message 16: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Pete wrote: "You can download the Kindle for your computer for free (at least, you c..."

A Friend recently provided me with some kind of multi-platform e-reader, so my defenses have begun to crumb. Thanks for the tip about the free Kindle software as well. I will very likely pick up a copy of Zone before too long.

I am very interested in getting to Europe Central in the next year's time. I've been intrigued by some of the comments I've read which give it a thorough trashing because I have a tendency to believe that those trashings are completely wrong. ; )


message 17: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Hadrian wrote: "I'm missing the Copernicus and Afghanistan Picture Show."

Only one to go? Till the next one drops.


message 18: by Hadrian (new)

Hadrian (hadrian_gr) Only the Copernicus remains now. Time to tally re-reads. Maybe it'll be the Seven Dreams in sequence...


message 19: by Nathan "N.R." (last edited Nov 15, 2014 09:22AM) (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Vollmann Completionism 2014!!!!!

By end of this our year 2013 I'll also have tuck'd in The Rifles and The Atlas ; and what will remain for next year :

Uncentering the Earth
Europe Central
Poor People
Imperial
Kissing the Mask
Into the Forbidden Zone (ebook only)
The Dying Grass (forthcoming)
Last Stories


message 20: by Aubrey (last edited Jan 30, 2014 07:25PM) (new)

Aubrey (korrick) I'd like to say that 2014 will be the year of buckling down to WTV, but I'm horrible at keeping reading promises. I'll aim to at least get through Ice-Shirt and F&C, though, and see where that takes me.

Novels & Collections
Europe Central (2005)

Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes (series)
The Ice-Shirt (1990) (Volume One)

The "Prostitution Trilogy"
The Royal Family (2000)


message 21: by Hadrian (new)

Hadrian (hadrian_gr) I'd like to do some rereads in 2014 as well. Europe Central and Kissing the Mask at the very least, but maybe Argall as well. The forthcoming books also are very promising.


message 22: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments heh heh. Only four more to go.... then Last Stories hits.


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 57 comments Help! I'm confused about this:

Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes (series)

The Ice-Shirt (1990) (Volume One)
Fathers and Crows (1992) (Volume Two)
Argall: The True Story of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith (2001) (Volume Three)
The Rifles (1994) (Volume Six)
The Dying Grass (2015) (Volume Five)

There is a Volume Six, but only 5 titles, Volume 3 comes before Volume six, and Volume Five just released this year? Is that because they are numbered in time sequence, but not publication sequence? Or?


message 25: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "Help! I'm confused about this:

Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes (series)"


The seven Dreams are thematically and symbolically connected, but not narratively. So the order you read them is not so important ; but, yes, they are ordered chronologically. The unpublished Dreams are :: (#4) The Poison Shirt ("concerning the Puritans vs. King Philip of Rhode Island," or Captain Cook's voyage to Hawaii. [17th or 18th cent.]) & (#7) The Cloud Shirt ("Navajo vs. Hopi (or possibly Navajo vs. oil company) in Arizona." [20th cent]).


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 57 comments Nathan "N.R." wrote: "The seven Dreams are thematically and symbolically connected, but not narratively. So the order you read them is not so important..."

Oh, thank you for this! I came back to this because of the 2015 title, so instead of waiting around for Volume One to strike my fancy, I'll just add that one to my wish list immediately. Not going to be a completist, but one of the things I like about this group is that those of you who know these authors best can help the rest of us tiptoe through them.


message 27: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "I came back to this because of the 2015 title, so instead of waiting around for Volume One to strike my fancy, I'll just add that one to my wish list immediately. "

Yeah, no problem starting with the new one. I've been hearing good things about it.


message 28: by Lobstergirl (new)

Lobstergirl | 123 comments He was the subject of "By the Book" in the NYT this past Sunday.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/26/boo...

Sample:

What books might we be surprised to find on your shelves?

Kat Harding, “The Lesbian Kama Sutra”; Cathy Cade, “A Lesbian Photo Album: The Lives of Seven Lesbian Feminists”; and Kristine L. Falco, “Psychotherapy With Lesbian Clients: Theory Into Practice.”



message 29: by Nathan "N.R." (new)

Nathan "N.R." Gaddis (nathannrgaddis) | 258 comments Lobstergirl wrote: "He was the subject of "By the Book" in the NYT this past Sunday."

Yep. He's quite the voracious and diverse reader.

btw, most Vollmann traffic tends to head over toward Central ::
https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Naturally, there's no reason not to keep this thread alive too!


Elizabeth (Alaska) | 57 comments I will not be a completist. But I wanted to drop by and thank those who have posted in this thread in praise of Vollmann. I am currently reading The Dying Grass: A Novel of the Nez Perce War. Despite it being nothing like prose that I would normally embrace, I am fascinated. It is tough sledding in places and I'm sure I'm missing a lot. I like it enough already - and only 200+ pages in - that I also want to read The Rifles. Not immediately, but eventually. And then we'll see.


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