Karl Rove: Fox News commentator, conservative who caused consternation on election night, major Republican strategist. And fan of metafictional writer Jorge Luis Borges. Yes, really.
The news comes from Rove's own website (via Twitter). Since 2010, Rove has been posting his recently read books on his website, Rove.com; Borges' "Everything and Nothing," published by New Directions, is No. 65, read by Rove this year.
He writes, "I don't read much fiction but the stories, tales and essays of the Argentinan fabulist, Jorge Luis Borges, are worth reading and re-reading, as I did when I picked up a new collection of his work EVERYTHING AND NOTHING (NEW DIRECTIONS PEARLS), with stories drawn mostly from FICCIONES (English Translation)."
To put Rove's enthusiasm about Borges in perspective, other books he has recently read and praised on his website include "The 4% Solution: Unleashing the Economic Growth America Needs" by the George W. Bush Institute, "War’s Desolating Scourge: The Union’s Occupation of North Alabama" by Joseph W. Danielson and "The New Leviathan: How the Left-Wing Money-Machine Shapes American Politics and Threatens America's Future" by David Horowitz and Jacob Laskin, about which he writes, "Read this and be afraid."
New Directions comes from a pretty different political perspective. It has published, for example, the most recent collection of poetry by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who famously published Allen Ginsberg's "Howl" and went to court to fight charges that it was obscene, outspoken rocker Patti Smith's "Woolgathering" and many of the works of leftist novelist Roberto Bolano.
The New Directions Pearl series -- small books priced at just under $10 -- includes "On Booze," alcohol-saturated stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Tales of Desire" by Tennessee Williams and a macabre holiday story, "The Night Before Christmas" by Nicolai Gogol. And "Everything and Nothing," which contains works by Borges from the 1930s and 1940s.
On his website, Rove writes, "I enjoyed dipping back into Borges, with his stories about the encyclopedia on a nation that doesn't exist to a murder mystery to a lottery in Baghdad at the dawn of civilization, that I devoured the larger volume ["Ficciones"] from which most of EVERYTHING AND NOTHING was drawn."
David Foster Wallace once called Borges' work "scalp crinkling." Same goes for the match of Jorge Luis Borges and Karl Rove.