Essays

May 29, 2008

Writing the ‘Quintessential’ Book Review: ‘An Irresistible Story’ of Googling 4

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Book reviews are not the easiest things to write in the world. No, this is not an “oh, me, book blogging is so hard” piece. Though, judging from the New York Times Magazine‘s cover story of Emily Gould last week, that may be appropriate, too. I digress. The books I read motivate me. If I […]

May 6, 2008

Competitive Aesthetics 1

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Reading our recent graduate’s response to our book question #59 post, I’ve been thinking about taste and literature. Why is it, with bookish people especially, that taste (in books and film, and music, and other variables like visual art, food, wine, beer, architecture, interior design), is such a sensitive matter? Our reader seemed somewhat aghast […]

April 22, 2008

The Way We Read 8

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One of my favorite aspects of working in a bookstore was recommending stock to customers. Since I’ve kept a tight grip on my “to read” list my entire literate life, I was always puzzled and delighted by these strangers in need of book advice. What great power a bookseller has! It’s incredibly gratifying to watch […]

April 10, 2008

Introducing the War Nerd 1

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If there’s anything worth valuing after the last eight years, it’s straight talk. It turns out to be much rarer than you might think. When you find somebody truly unburdened by social mores or corporate expectations, you realize that all the stuff you thought was straight talk was just doublespeak. I’m no anti-media conspiracy theorist, […]

April 1, 2008

Horton Hears a Who! as Political Theater 2

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Todd Walters is a graduate student at The Fletcher School, Tufts University. He also co-authors the politics and culture blog Neither Property Nor Style Tonight, the roles of Socrates and Galileo will be played by Horton and the Mayor of Whoville, respectively. This past Friday night, I was dragged to see the new animated film […]

March 23, 2008

Year of the Wolf Totem 2

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Laurie Anderson is a science publicity assistant for a large Southern university. The San Francisco Chronicle appears to be the first major U.S. newspaper to review the English translation of Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong, and gives it a “thumbs up.” This was one of my “most anticipated books of 2008” (see comments). It won […]

March 18, 2008

Obama and the Faulkner Quote 0

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Barack Obama gave a speech today taking on the complicated history of racial relations in America. Considering the how difficult a topic this is to tackle, it was a brave move. Embedded within the speech was a quote from Faulkner, “The past isn’t dead and buried. In fact, it isn’t even past.” Andrew Sullivan at […]

March 12, 2008

Thorny Technology: Open Access Causes Problems at the Iowa Writers Workshop 3

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Emails are circulating among various current and former students from the famed Iowa Writers Workshop expressing concern over the University of Iowa’s new “Open Access” policy with regard to theses. These include MFA theses, which, according to our own Workshop grad Edan, might typically consist of a “book-length manuscript… poems, short stories or a novel […]

February 21, 2008

Anthologies Evolved 0

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When I was 16 or 17, it felt like Ernest Hemingway and Willa Cather were my own personal discoveries. I had read through all of Kurt Vonnegut, John Irving, and T.C. Boyle after discovering their books and then working steadily through their bodies of work until there was nothing left to read. (And it’s amazing […]

February 17, 2008

A Poet on the Road 1

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Jon Sands is a poet residing in New York City. A Cincinnati native, Sands was a finalist at the 2007 National Poetry Slam. He is currently touring across North America. Sands used to write poems on the bellies of his cabbage patch dolls, and he still does. More about Jon and his poetry CDs and […]