Essays

September 4, 2005

A Perspective on Orhan Pamuk 0

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Funny how things work. I got 3 emails from friends asking what I think about Orhan Pamuk’s prosecution. As you might have heard, Turkey is bringing charges against the prominent writer for denigrating the country. Clearly, this is a rather backward move in a country with aspirations of joining the EU. The issues at hand […]

August 26, 2005

Amazon shorts: a good idea, but a missed opportunity 0

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One of the bigger stories in the literary world this week was the launch of Amazon Shorts. As you may have read, the program allows authors to sell short works (the program offers many varieties of fiction and non-fiction and includes essays, book chapters and short stories) at the flat rate of 49 cents a […]

June 27, 2005

The Reading Queue Revisited 8

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I created my reading queue about a year and half ago because I decided I needed a system to help me work through my big to be read pile. The main problem, as I wrote at the time, was that there were a number of books in my TBR pile that I was interested in […]

June 23, 2005

Distinguished in a David Niven mustache 0

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I suppose it’s what you do with luck that ultimately determines whether it was good or bad. The luck itself is kind of ephemeral, landing in your lap, ready to be spun and twisted into something more substantial. Ready to be given a direction. I was on an airplane recently – destination Norway via Frankfurt. […]

April 26, 2005

Battle of the Sexes (Part Deux) 0

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I’m glad to see my last post got people talking. I guess I have to get into specifics now. Keep in mind that I’ve only read about ten books this year because it took me all of January and February to read Robert Caro’s massive biography of Robert Moses, The Power Broker: Robert Moses and […]

April 25, 2005

Battle of the Sexes by Patrick Brown 0

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Earlier in the year, I took a look back at the books I’d read in 2004. I was surprised to find that most of them were by men. I’d always thought of myself as a guy who reads good books, regardless of who wrote them, but the facts proved otherwise. My girlfriend, meanwhile, pointed out […]

February 9, 2005

Books to Laugh with 0

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In 2001, the New Yorker treated faithful readers to Fierce Pajamas, a comprehensive survey of humor culled from the 75-year history of the magazine. When I heard about this, my well-honed cat-like reflexes snapped into action and, three years later, I bought the book. These short pieces, known as “casuals,” include parodies, absurdities and flights […]

January 4, 2005

Leonard Cohen, Master of Prose 0

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Leonard Cohen turned 70 a few months ago and, amid the celebration, was the subject of countless pieces of reflection. Most of them concentrated on the music career that has consumed the last half of his life, and on the poetry which runs as a current through everything. But this is not a music blog, […]

November 30, 2004

Tis the Season 0

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It occurred to me over the Thanksgiving weekend that after three years of paid participation in the holiday retail experience, this year I am free to don my civilian garb and stroll blithely past the giftwrap lined trenches in which I used to toil. I have to admit before I started working in a bookstore […]

November 24, 2004

Classic Shorts 0

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The recent news, here in Canada, of our great lady of letters, Alice Munro, taking the Giller prize for Runaway (excerpt), her latest collection of short fiction, gives us a chance to praise that wonderful literary form – the short story – and the authors who have practiced it with precision, humanity, and wit. Collected […]