Essays

March 16, 2007

Love: A Burning Thing 6

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I guess I re-enter the ring of fire at my own peril, but I feel compelled to return to what has become (or so the publish first, ask questions later crowd would have it) “n+1 vs. lit-bloggers.” At times, the whole kerfuffle has seemed to confirm some of the liabilities n+1‘s “Blog Reflex” sought to […]

March 10, 2007

Keepers of the Flame: A Reply to n+1 22

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It’s not that I’m biased… or, rather, my biases pull me in two directions. On one hand, I greatly admire the new journal n+1 – its moral seriousness, its elegant writing, its stewardship of the Frankfurt School legacy. On the other hand, I regularly contribute reviews to the blog on which this post is appearing. […]

March 6, 2007

Oprah Going To The Dogs? 2

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The latest in the burgeoning genre of book review-cum-anti-Oprah- screed, to which I made a humble contribution some weeks ago here, came courtesy of Peter Birkenhead writing for Salon.com. His excellent piece was featured on Monday, and has thus far garnered upwards of 300 reader responses, by far the most feedback I have seen to […]

February 12, 2007

War Poetry. What is it Good For? 2

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During the Second World War – unquestionably the “decisive, ideological struggle” of its time – the government instituted a draft, income taxes rose as high as 82%, food and luxury goods were rationed, and people further participated in the war effort by buying war bonds and planting victory gardens. What the President has often referred […]

January 28, 2007

The Fabulist: Ryszard Kapuscinski 0

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At Slate, media critic Jack Shafer cuts through the effusive eulogizing of Polish journalist Ryszard Kapuscinski (here at The Millions and elsewhere) to point out that it was “widely conceded that Kapuscinski routinely made up things in his books.” As a trained journalist, I recognize and respect Shafer’s insistence on this point (though the essay’s […]

January 19, 2007

The Myth of the “R-Rated” Book 1

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Want to sound out of touch? Start describing things by using movie ratings. That’s what school board member Wendy Day does in an opinion piece in the Detroit News as she tries to convince readers to back her in her effort to pull a book from school curriculum that she and some parents deem “inappropriate.” […]

May 27, 2006

Won’t Somebody Please Think Of The Children 7

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Of all the things in this hectic world to keep kids away from, why books? Leslie Pinney, a school board member from District 214 (located in suburban Chicago), wanted to have the following books removed from the high school reading list because of their “inappropriate themes”: The Awakening by Kate Chopin The Perks of Being […]

May 21, 2006

Book Expo Dispatch: Targeting Litblogs 4

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NB: I wrote the following post a few hours ago, and I’ve been letting it simmer a bit. I’ve since visited the blogs of several other folks who were at BEA, and it made me want to point out that despite what I’ve written below, BEA was a very fun event and that it was […]

May 10, 2006

Preach It: Tips for Publicists 1

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Amen. Dan Wickett writes an open letter to all the pushy publicists out there and all I want to know is where do I sign. Dan is writing about “the litblogging version of the Cold Call. An email from somebody I’ve never heard of, asking if I’d be interested in reading and reviewing their work, […]

April 23, 2006

A Ship of Books 4

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Recently, I happened upon a news story from a paper in India about a floating library, a giant ship of books, that was set to dock in Chennai. It sounded like something out of Borges, and I looked into it further. The MV Doulos is the world’s oldest active ocean-faring passenger ship. In its long […]