Quick Hits

October 21, 2009

The Road: A Comedic Translation (Part 1) 20


The trees dead, the grass dead, the shrubs dead also. The rivers dead. And the streams and reeds, the mosses and voles. Dead as well.

October 15, 2009

The Kakutani Two-Step 26


It goes like this: belittle a novelist’s finest work to date – preferably by tossing around unsupported adjectives. Then, five or six years later, when the novelist in question brings forth his next book, complain loudly about how lame it is compared to his previous masterwork, which, it is to be inferred, you adored. Bonus points if you actually use the word “masterwork.”

October 14, 2009

Small Presses and Nobel Prize Glory 9


The day after the Nobel was announced, the press had 3,000 backorders for Müller’s book Nadirs.

September 30, 2009

Domo Arigato, Mr. Erratum 5


To build his or her collection, the collector of this niche item has to do nothing more than sit around and read. Didn’t find one? Well, maybe next time. No big deal. It was still a pretty good book, right?

August 24, 2009

Magic for Grown-Ups 0


Wands and fairies – er, faeries – were never my thing, but John Crowley’s Aegypt Cycle is a revelation.

August 3, 2009

Dispatches from Vilnius 0


Three flights and twenty hours after departing New York, I arrived in Vilnius, Lithuania, the land of potato pancakes, sour cream, and Baltas beer, where “thank you” is pronounced “achoo,” like a sneeze. Vilnius is the city closest to the geographical center of Europe, and because it’s also at a cultural crossroads, the city has […]

July 30, 2009

Parker’s Back… The Anthology: Seeking the Literarily Tattooed 0


If you’ve got a portrait of Pushkin on your back or the complete text of The Waste Land on your shins, aspiring anthologists Justin Taylor and Eva Talmadge want you! Here’s their call for images of literary tattoos: We are seeking high quality photographs of your literary tattoos for an upcoming book. Send us your […]

July 26, 2009

Pynchon by Way of ‘Sally Forth’ 0


Readers of the Sunday funnies may have spotted an odd juxtaposition somewhere between “Garfield” and “Beetle Bailey” this morning. “Sally Forth” writer Ces Marciuliano has reimagined the opening lines of Pynchon’s postmodern classic Gravity’s Rainbow as a baseball-themed essay by grade-schooler Hilary. We will be running an essay here on literary mashups tomorrow, but this […]

July 21, 2009

Full Disclosure 3


Well, folks, it’s happened. The mainstream media has finally discovered the Internet’s sordid underbelly. According to an article in last Monday’s New York Times, a growing number of online outlets have begun reviewing products for reasons other than the simple joy of content production. Advertisers in search of buzz are plying them with freebies, and […]

July 20, 2009

A Bookshop Remembered: What Pages Meant to Me 0


The eulogies are already being written, but there are still six weeks of life left in Toronto’s best bookshop. There’s no escaping reality though: Pages, that literary hotbed amid the faux-cool of Queen Street West, is shutting its doors at the end of August. A casualty of skyrocketing rents, Pages has been THE place to […]