Annals of Japery

November 20, 2014

Gather Your Acolytes About You: Advice for Aspiring Writers 4


Singer. Newly rich individual. Reality TV person. Naked blogger. Politician sexting victim. Politician. Tech mogul. Koch-brother style of oligarch. It is imperative, before you sit down to write, that none of these alternatives are available to you in either the short or medium term.

November 19, 2014

First Encounter of the Worst Kind: On Reading James Patterson at 32,000 Feet 29


Books like this are for people who don’t really like to read but love to be able to say they have read, much as fruity cocktails are for people who don’t really like to drink but love to get knee-walking drunk.

November 18, 2014

The Robert Burton Diet 4


Atkins, South Beach, Microbiome, Paleo: all these faddish regimens might slim you down, but can they regulate your humours? I think not.

November 12, 2014

Bookends from the New York Times Book Review: The Rejected Questions 1


Can the state of contemporary literature be used to forecast stock prices?

August 26, 2014

Nook (Kindle) and Cranny: Literary Travel Suggestions for a 400 Square Foot Apartment 1


If you can get used to my roommate, I promise it will be an incredible experience.

August 19, 2014

Back to School: Six Strategies for Effective Close Reading 1


Close reading produces knowledge, and knowledge can be painful.

July 23, 2014

Viral Professors 0


How would fictional professors, heroes of those quaint works known as campus novels, fare in the world of online education?

May 21, 2014

Epitaphs for the Novel 7


“Who would not sing for Lycidas?” asks Milton in his famous elegy. And who, indeed, would not sing for the Novel, which has once again been declared dead?

May 9, 2014

The Worst Book Review Ever 22


While professional duty compels me to deliver judgment on the work at hand, I cannot in good conscience reveal the title, author or any identifying details about its plot for fear that some perverse soul might be tempted to go out and buy it.

March 18, 2014

There Are Two Kinds of Novelists… 21


Owing to the vagaries of evolution and animal husbandry, there are lactose intolerant novelists (Dostoyevsky) and those blessed few for whom a latte does not ruin an afternoon (Marguerite Duras).