I've been away on my annual Barcelona sojourn for the last 4 weeks, and have been dutifully ignoring the web while paying close attention to the world around me. I'll see if I can't post a few updates before heading back to Seattle and the world of work and bleach that awaits me. Since being here, I discovered the work of Quim Monzó, a writer often billed as the "foremost Catalan writer of his generation." Not reading Catalan myself, it's hard to say if that's true. But there is no question that his short stories and novels are odd and beautiful fantasies, dealing with the contradictions involved in every aspect of modern living, the hidden intricacies of family relationships, and the unknown fates of forgotten historical figures. Extremely thought provoking and unexpected, his books are published by Open Letter Press in the U.S. Allow me to recommend Guadalajara as a perfect place to start.