Recent Articles

November 15, 2007

50,000 Words in 30 Days 6

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This November, three of my bravest (read: most insane) students are participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). While some of you may make fun of NaNoWriMo enthusiasts, I hold my tongue, for writing 50,000 words (no matter how poorly chosen) in only 30 days is impressive. Besides, another student of mine, Kelly Wiles, participated […]

November 15, 2007

Denis Johnson Wins 2007 National Book Award 2

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Last year we noted that by honoring William T. Vollmann in 2005 and then Richard Powers the following year, the National Book Award seemed to be making a move toward “honoring some of the names on the leading edge of American fiction,” as opposed to the old guard or the merely obscure. One could say […]

November 13, 2007

Pandora Goes Classical 1

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I haven’t bought music in years, my interest in seeing live music has waned as well, but I remain obsessed with Pandora, a site where you can create your own radio station and hone it to your precise tastes over time by rating the music you hear. On Pandora, I have a few stations that […]

November 13, 2007

If you’re in New York tonight… 0

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Stop by the stately Mercantile Library at 7 p.m., where the literary magazine [sic] will be hosting a party. I’ll be reading from, and signing copies of, A Field Guide to the North American Family, and the illustrious Diane Williams, editor of NOON and author of Excitability, among other titles, will be reading from her […]

November 13, 2007

A Feast of Comics Goes Online 0

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Now, this sounds like a good idea: Marvel Comics announced today that is has put more than 2,500 comic books online with more to come. The idea is that with a subscription, readers can get unlimited access to the online comic vault. Clearly Marvel’s still working out the bugs – I tried to view some […]

November 11, 2007

From the Dark Corners of the Library 1

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Where’s Arthur’s Gerbil?; A Pictorial Book of Tongue Coating; The Fangs of Suet Pudding: all real books apparently. Inspired by Bizarre Books: A Compendium of Classic Oddities, a new book collecting history’s odd, obscure, and weird volumes, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Book Page is soliciting strange book titles from readers. The first entry might be the […]

November 11, 2007

The Little Strike That Could Do What, Exactly? 3

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The ripples from the Hollywood writers’ strike are felt well outside of the Hollywood pool. Broadway has gone darker than the plot of a Eugene O’Neill play as the stagehands show their solidarity. Production workers for NBC’s “The Office” are out on their ear. Ellen DeGeneres caught in the middle (She and Oprah have both […]

November 10, 2007

So Long, Sweet Scientist: Norman Mailer Dies at 84 6

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Norman Mailer, a colossus who bestrode worlds both literary and journalistic – and, at his best, combined them – has died of acute renal failure, according to the Times. Mailer had been in poor health for some time, and, given his hospitalization last month and his advanced age, his death comes as no surprise. And […]

November 8, 2007

Laura Ingalls Wilder Revisited 2

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Though the Washington Post’s Jonathan Yardley isn’t the most “sexy” of critics (Pete Dexter’s comments notwithstanding), I’ve always enjoyed his columns. He will champion anything he believes is worth reading, even naming a book by John Grisham as one of the “best” of the year in 2005. He also clearly loves to read, and it […]

November 7, 2007

Beowulf on the Big Screen 0

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Seamus Heaney’s seminal 2000 translation of the Old English epic Beowulf brought the work, first put to paper by an unknown Anglo-Saxon about a thousand years ago, into the 21st century. Heaney considers Beowulf “one of the foundation works of poetry in English.” Now that cornerstone is getting the Hollywood treatment, and, as you might […]