Recent Articles

November 29, 2006

Lay of the Land by Richard Ford: A Review 0

by

Frank Bascombe, the narrator of Richard Ford’s The Lay of the Land, must be the most eloquent real estate agent on God’s green earth. Indeed, he once was a writer, as those who have read the other two Bascombe books, The Sportswriter (1986) and Independence Day (1995), will recall. The latter garnered Ford some impressive […]

November 29, 2006

Seeking Tales of Vonnegut 0

by

Biographer Charles Shields has already put this request out on many book blogs, but since he asked, I thought I’d share it here, as well: This past June, I published Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee. Now I’m beginning work on the first authorized biography – the first biography at all, actually – of Kurt […]

November 28, 2006

Remembering Bebe Moore Campbell 0

by

Yesterday, I was watching the headlines as I often do, and I was shocked to see the obituary for Bebe Moore Campbell, author of Your Blues Ain’t Like Mine, 72 Hour Hold, and many other books, come across the wires. She died, at 56, from complications of brain cancer. Campbell was a well-known writer, but […]

November 28, 2006

Dave Eggers Waffles 3

by

Dave Eggers, as you may have heard, was tapped to write a new introduction to the 10th anniversary edition of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. The piece glows with praise for the gigantic novel, as one might expect (since such intros are, in many cases, packaging to sell the novel.) However, as The Rake has […]

November 28, 2006

Jonathan Safran Foer is a Dog Person 0

by

As an urban dog owner I greatly enjoyed Jonathan Safran Foer’s article in the New York Times about the trials and tribulations of having a dog in a city. This op-ed piece is an argument against a plan to eliminate “off leash” hours in city parks. As someone who has many times appreciated the ability […]

November 25, 2006

Curious Travel Books Plumb the Arcane and Imaginary 2

by

Travel guides are often utilitarian. The prose alternates between bubbly praise for “must see” attractions or “hidden gems” and parental tones of warning admonishing would be tourists to stay out of areas too dangerous for sore thumbs from overseas. Even though some books cater to the upscale, spare-no-expense traveler and others to the off-the-beaten-path adventure […]

November 25, 2006

Penguin’s Blank Slate 0

by

Penguin, well-known for classics with sophisticated packaging, has decided to cede creative control to its readers with a new slate of books that feature “naked front covers… printed on art-quality paper.” Penguin announced the initiative on its blog and they have already posted some reader-designed covers in a gallery on its site. So far, the […]

November 25, 2006

Google Books Finds Forgotten Plagiarists 0

by

At Slate, Paul Collins points out that Google Book Search heralds a new era of outing plagiarists. The searchable database of many thousands of books is a boon to researchers, but it also greatly eases the discovery of co-opted passages. Collins mentions a couple of examples and posits that “given the popularity of plagiarism-seeking software […]

November 25, 2006

Inside the Writer’s Brain 0

by

Check out these mind boggling photos of author Will Self’s writing room with post-its, maps, and notes covering nearly every surface. This is how one might try to portray the writer’s mind in three-dimensional space. (via texts & pretexts)

November 25, 2006

Going the Distance 0

by

In Elmira, NY, six high school students banded together to break the Guinness Book of Records marathon reading record. Says the AP: They whizzed through more than 20 beloved children’s books, including the six-volume Harry Potter series, seven Goosebumps thrillers and Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia. They wrapped up their epic, 128-hour performance on the […]