Annals of Japery

March 18, 2014

There Are Two Kinds of Novelists… 19

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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).

February 11, 2014

How to Tweet Like Boris from The Goldfinch 6

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Apply nicknames to anyone at any time. They should come from references to your life, rather than theirs. Spend time convincing others of things with an exclamation point, especially when you know to opposite to be true. Remember that the weather is always against you. It singles you out.

February 10, 2014

One Stay in the Life of an Olympics Journalist 0

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I’ve found myself subconsciously pairing Sochi’s absurdities with their analogues from the canon of Russian literature. And as I’ve come to learn, the Russian masters saw the writing on the wall well before the Olympic torch made its way to the Black Sea’s coast.

January 21, 2014

Read Me! Please!: Book Titles Rewritten to Get More Clicks 60

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As Upworthy-style headlines sweep the internet, aiming to snag as many clicks as possible by pandering to as many whims and obsessions as possible, the dignified mystery of the great book title stands in stark contrast.

January 13, 2014

“Dumbest Thing Ever”: Scribbling in the Margins of Dan Brown’s Inferno 46

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WARNING: There are probably Dan Brown spoilers here, but come on, seriously.

November 1, 2013

A Will Shortz Murder Mystery Reviewed 4

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Stylistically, Shortz is perhaps over-fond of the pun, haphazardly abbreviates words, and is allergic to apostrophes, but no other living author can so seamlessly integrate crosswordese — those rare words that pop up frequently in grids — into a narrative.

July 26, 2013

Détente by Index: On Earl Sprague’s Invitation to a Subheading 0

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How fitting that their notorious feud end via the healing powers of a well-constructed index, which Indexer’s Weekly proudly presents here in full.

May 30, 2013

The Things I’ll Ban when I Get Elected Mayor of New York City 8

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Since everyone else in the city is running for mayor, I figure I might as well get in on the fun. My qualifications? I have never posted pictures of my erect penis on Twitter.

May 10, 2013

The Adjunct 4

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Avoid passive voice. When you write in the passive voice you sound like a landlord or a lawyer; you sound like you mean to avoid responsibility. Is that true? Do you eschew responsibility? Were you up until four a.m. writing on the walls of girls’ Facebook pages before you started this paper?

April 26, 2013

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Poets 3

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I once had a real-life encounter with a poet at four a.m. in a Las Vegas Denny’s. He leaned over the back of his booth, made some awkward introduction, and began reciting lines from a wrinkled paper about the haunting sound wind makes or some nonsense.

This encounter gave me an acute poet-phobia that lasted for years.