Paul Constant Made Mistakes All Year Long
• Paul Constant regrets not giving Miriam Toews's new novel, The Flying Troutmans, more attention, as it is a delightful book by a great author. Similarly, he should have spent more time writing about the John Irving–like All About Lulu by Jonathan Evison, the sad and inspiring The Word of God by Thomas Disch, the sweet and wise Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, and the meticulous and bracing memoir The Night of the Gun by David Carr.
• Also, Paul Constant should have done more to promote the Subtext reading series, as it is often a benchmark of good poetry in this town. And he further regrets starting his job a week too late to promote the reading for The Resurrection of Bert Ringgold, which is the last book by deceased Belltown poet Harvey Goldner. Harvey was a beautiful man in every way that mattered, and Paul Constant misses him a great deal.
• Paul Constant regrets sounding like such a doofus when he finally met Aimee Bender, who was and remains one of his favorite authors. The word "um" has never been so violently regretted by a bookish man of French-Canadian ancestry.
• It is a profound regret of Paul Constant's that he can now carry on deep, meaningful conversations with 13-year-old girls about the Twilight saga, since he read them all for an August 7 books lead.
• All of Seattle should regret the closing of the Couth Buzzard, that great old bookstore up in Phinney Ridge.
• Although the death of Stanley Elkin is still regrettable, 13 years later, Paul Constant doesn't regret getting a very nice e-mail from Elkin's daughter in response to his "Elkin test" of bookstores, as described in "The Future Is Behind Us Now," the August 14 books lead. He will treasure that e-mail forever.
• In respect to the May 1 books lead "A Midget Among Giants," Paul Constant regrets not writing much more this year about Amazon.com's weird, libertarian refusal to donate money to local arts organizations. It is shameful, and Amazon should be ashamed.
• The sad little chapbook publisher who fastidiously comments on every single one of Paul Constant's stories about Hugo House or poetry might regret Paul Constant—he frequently calls for the books editor's firing or resignation—but Paul Constant doesn't regret him; it's adorable the way he gets all impotently furious, like a tiny declawed kitten.
• Paul Constant regrets reading the following books: How Starbucks Saved My Life, The Film Club, Love Junkie, anything by Leon Uris and Herman Wouk, and just about every mainstream superhero comic book.
• In a piece about science-fiction book awards, Paul Constant claimed that the novel Light, which was released in 2006, was writer M. John Harrison's first novel. Harrison has been writing for four decades; his first novel is older than Paul Constant. Paul Constant doesn't know what the fuck is wrong with Paul Constant.
• You, the reader, will regret it if you don't shop at independent bookstores. Just because Amazon has every single book listed on its database does not make it a superior bookstore. A good bookstore is like a thoughtful art gallery—a selection of ideas, sort of a frame thrown onto a specific collection carefully chosen from the infinite ideas out there in the world—and Amazon will never be able to duplicate that singular pleasure. Paul Constant will regret it if you don't, some time in the next two weeks, wander into a noncorporate bookstore and buy a book that you didn't previously know existed. It is a feeling not unlike falling in love at first sight, and you will never regret it.