Quick Hits

January 7, 2014

Commercial Grammar 47

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On the spectrum of world problems that need bemoaning, is bad grammar really one of them? Yes. Yes it is.

December 31, 2013

Big Empty: On the Demise of Blockbuster 4

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These were the days when the Internet was new, cell phones were for stockbrokers, and if you missed a movie in the theater, you had to wait six months or even a year or more to catch up. We don’t have to wait for anything now. I’m not sure that’s an entirely good thing.

November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving: A Day of Infamy for Turkeys 0

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Out came my 12-gauge, and I loosed off a shot that at some 100 feet did no discernible damage, and after a brief bout of what-the-hell-was-that the turkeys continued to forage. A fusillade of two more shots finally brought down a 14-pounder. I hung him for four days, plucked him and by Thanksgiving’s end he was history.

November 11, 2013

Call Me Twitterer: Literary Twitter’s First Tweets 5

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Twitter appears to be here to stay, for a while anyway. And it will remain a pastime for writers looking for book news, inspiration, distraction, literary puns, and every other thing they might want. But it wasn’t always that way. In the not too distant past, the literary lights of Twitter pecked out their first 140 characters and waited to see what Twitter would bring.

April 24, 2013

What Should I Read on Vacation?: A Question I Never Took Lightly Again 1

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This theory of vacation books, which I subscribe to so heartily, all began with a vacation I took, to London, which was one of the worst decisions I ever made, and the book I took along, Banvard’s Folly, which was one of the best.

November 20, 2012

Goodwill in Brooklyn: On Donating Books to Unexpected Readers 13

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I am uncomfortable shedding books. The three boxes my husband and I were holding, plus three more in the trunk of the car, were the result of a careful purge executed after living abroad for a year.

November 16, 2012

Cyber-Babbittry: Conventionality and Banality Are Alive and Well on the Internet 2

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Whether the information comes via a Twitter newsfeed or from 20th-century church fellows, ads, and business pals, the effect is the same. Leave it to the crowds! Let the masses decide! This is still straight Babbittry.

October 26, 2012

All Hallow’s Read: A Parents’ Guide to Scary Books for Young Readers 6

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As someone who models most attempts to spread her personal taste on the Marshall Plan, I am apt to seize any opportunity for book-gifting with fevered delight

October 4, 2012

All Creatures Great and Small: On Animals in Literature 2

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A brief catalogue of non-human animals seen and discussed in its pages would include deer, bees, ducks, a turkey, cats, a caterpillar, a goat, a pig, some chickens, an owl, two wasps, a peahen, horses, bats, some birds that are not further identified, and a snake. This seems to me, if not quite excessive, then at least curious.

August 24, 2012

Excerpt: The Opening Paragraphs of D.T. Max’s Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace 18

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The first definitive treatment of David Foster Wallace’s life arrives next week.