Essays

June 27, 2008

Pleasures and Disturbances: Reading Abroad 2

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This guest post comes to us from Joan Silber. Joan Silber’s most recent book is the novel, The Size of the World, described as “magnificent fiction” by Publishers’ Weekly. She is the author of Ideas of Heaven, Finalist for the National Book Award and the Story Prize, and four other works of fiction, including Household […]

June 15, 2008

Leaving the Bedside: Creating a DIY Literary Scene 1

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Bryan Miltenberg is 22 and he lives in Brooklyn. On occasional Friday and Saturday nights, my otherwise highly domestic living space (couches, TV, dining room table) is transformed, with the help of roommates and friends, into an impromptu artspace/music hall. For anywhere between five and zero dollars, anyone can come in and enjoy the show. […]

June 8, 2008

A Belated and Brief BEA Debriefing 1

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Buzz Poole, the managing editor of Mark Batty Publisher, has written for the likes of The Believer, PRINT, Village Voice and the San Francisco Chronicle. He is also the author of Madonna of the Toast, a look at the cultural ramifications of unexpected religious and secular icons. Keep up with his adventures in surprising iconography […]

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 […]