I'm tempted to read new books by Don DeLillo and Martin Amis, although my infatuation with both writers died several years ago.
For years, the arrival of a new DeLillo book exhilarated me. But the horrible 2003 novel "Cosmopolis" shattered DeLillo 's spell. His novels ever since, including the Sept. 11 book "Falling Man," read like DeLillo parodying himself.
Amis' memoir, "Experience," is high on my list of all-time favorite books, and his early novels merit the critical acclaim they've received.
But "Yellow Dog" in 2003 and "The Pregnant Widow" in 2010 were two of the worst novels ever published. If written by an unknown author, they would have been rejected.
I did like the verbal energy of the 2012 book "Lionel Asbo, State of England," which many critics panned. But Amis lost control of his narrative.
Now, DeLillo has come out with the 117-page "Silence," which sounds like DeLillo light. An excerpt published in Harper's magazine had dialogue that resembled a bad Saturday Night Live sketch.
While the book was disparaged in the first wave of reviews, DeLillo has recently made some interesting comments in several interviews, including one in Sunday's New York Times magazine. The interviews raised my interest level a bit, but not enough to try to read the book.
Amis' "Inside Story; How to Write" awkwardly blends memoir and fiction, according to the critical consensus so far.
I'm somewhat intrigued by the book because it revisits material from "Experience" such as Amis' friendship with the late Christopher Hitchens, Saul Bellow and Philip Larkin, the close friend of Amis' father, Kingsley Amis.
The book also looks back his youthful affair with an older woman, who might be based on noted biographer Clair Tomalin, who reputedly had a relationship with Amis when they both worked at the New Statesman.
But the mixture of fiction, memoir and writing advice sounds like another self-indulgent exercise by Amis. As with DeLillo, Amis appears a declining writer seeking to cash in on his fame.
Besides, reading books seems more and more futile as American democracy hurtles toward an irrevocable crisis.