Appreciating David Berman, Ascending Menthol Mountains

I’ve long been a fan of Berman’s music and prose, but I think Menthol Mountains (his blog) is my favorite of all of his outputs. It speaks to me as a person who considers himself thoughtful and big hearted and is profoundly confused by what it is to be a person In These Times. By way of the various texts shared, there are nods to the absurdity, the economic realities and complexities, the existential dread, and the hilarity of this moment.

And so this is our ode to David Berman and Menthol Mountains. I did something similar around this time last year, though that episode was specific to Nashville focused mentions in the blog. This go, I wanted to paint a broader picture of Mountains, what it contains, why it resonates so deeply with me, and why I feel like I owe it—and Berman—a debt. To do so, I reached out to friends and fellow Berman appreciators to help bring the blog to life.

Caitlin Rose
Tyler Mahan Coe
Erin Rae
Jes Skolnik
Sean Nelson
Sarah Marshall
Jack Evan Johnson
Bess Winter
Luke Kennard
Thomas Bryan Eaton
Carolyn Kendrick

And we are fortunate to be joined by the Nashville based painter, and Berman’s friend, Kevin Guthrie.

I should also say that I appreciate Nicole Atkins for helping to honor Berman himself with this week’s illustration.


David Berman died of suicide on August 7, 2019. If you, or anyone you know, is suffering from depression and grappling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. If anyone you know is struggling with the hardships of being an artist, please donate to MusiCares; an organization focused on providing relief for “music people struggling with financial, medical or personal crises.”


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“Other David Bermans”, read by Carolyn Kendrick, was posted to Menthol Mountains by David Cloud Berman on May 29, 2019

The Job Application by Robert Walser read by Sean Nelson, was posted by DCB on January 22, 2019

Man and Camel by Mark Strand, read by Bess Winter, was posted without a title by DCB on August 23, 2012

Excerpt from Human, All-Too-Human by Fredrick Nietsche, read by Kevin Guthrie, was posted by DCB on June 9, 2011

The untitled parable about a rich man from Koznitz, read by Erin Rae, was posted without a title by DCB on June 18, 2013

Shel Silverstein’s Someone Ate the Baby, read by Luke Kennard, was posted by DCB on October 30, 2011

The Same Jew, read by Jes Skolnik, was posted without attribution by DCB on February 10, 2011

Excerpts from Mark Twain’s essay Concerning the Interview, read by Tyler Mahan Coe, was posted by DCB, January 24th, 2011

Excerpts from Fifteen Theses on the Cute by Frances Richard, read by Sarah Marshall, was posted by DCB on June 13, 2012

Excerpt of Golems Among Us by Byron Sherwin, read by Kevin Guthrie, was posted by DCB on October 22, 2013

Excerpts from Ian Frazier’s essay Count on Crows, read by Caitlin Rose, was posted by DCB on October 19, 2011

Basil Bunting’s Advice to Young Poets, read by Carolyn Kendrick, was posted by DCB February 22, 2011

ATTILA JÓZSEF’s Grief, read by Luke Kennard, was posted by DCB on June 30, 2019

Excerpt from Art and the Artist by Otto Rank, read by Jack Evan Johnson, posted with the title The Artist’s Fight With Art by DCB on June 24, 2019

Forest and Fruit Trees Talmudic Fable, read by Bess Winter, was posted by DCB with the title The Forest Trees and the Fruit Trees on November 26, 2012

Thomas Bernhard Quotes, read by Tyler Mahan Coe, Posted by DCB, July 26th, 2019

Successful lawyer parable from the Pirkei Avos Treasury, read by Jes Skolnik, posted by DCB with the title The Uncomfortable Train on January 29, 2011

Excerpt from Becoming Object by Masha Tupitsyn, read by Jack Evan Johnson, posted by DCB on June 16, 2013

Excerpts from Manufacturing Generation Me by Ned Resnikoff, read by Sarah Marshall, was posted by DCB on June 24, 2012 with the extraordinarily Bermanesque title: “1. Liquidate Society 2. Denigrate Community 3. Promulgate Rapacity 4. Castigate Your Progeny”

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