Recent Articles

January 15, 2008

Present-ing the 70s: A Review of Christopher Sorrentino’s Trance 1

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In his “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” the philosopher Walter Benjamin gives the old truism that all history is present history a characteristically gnomic twist. “Every image of the past that is not recognized by the present as one of its own concerns,” he writes, “threatens to disappear irretrievably.” Perhaps it’s a measure of […]

January 14, 2008

A Mexican Interlude: A Review of The Lawless Roads by Graham Greene 3

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This guest contribution comes from Kevin Hartnett. Hartnett lives in Philadelphia with his fiance. After graduating from college in 2003, he joined Teach For America and taught sixth grade in the Bronx for two years. He enjoys politics and travel and writing about both. In early 1938, at the behest of the Vatican, Graham Greene […]

January 14, 2008

Staff Picks: Murphy, Ondaatje, Chamoiseau, Loyd, Tosches, Boyle, Lethem, Miller, Gardner 0

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The “staff picks” shelf in any good independent bookstore is a treasure trove of book recommendations. Unmoored from media hype and even timeliness, books are championed by trusted fellow readers. With many bookselling alums in our ranks, we offer our own “Staff Picks” in a feature appearing irregularly. Signed, Mata Hari by Yannick Murphy recommended […]

January 13, 2008

Gonzo Got It: A Review of Gonzo by Jann Wenner 1

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After reading the new oral biography of Hunter S. Thompson, Gonzo, by Thompson’s friend and patron, Rolling Stone chief Jann Wenner, and former R.S. writer Corey Seymour, I have come to believe that Thompson deserves his iconic status in the history of American letters. Many will disagree, wondering how in the world a drug addicted, […]

January 13, 2008

National Book Critics Circle Finalists Announced 0

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The finalists for the annual NBCC award are now out. The fiction list pairs a couple of less buzzed about books with three that have already received either award love or copious amounts of ink in the book pages and on blogs. Here are the finalists for fiction and non-fiction with excerpts and other links […]

January 10, 2008

DFW Rides Again? 5

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For those of us wondering whether David Foster Wallace will ever publish another novel, the February issue of Harper’s seems to augur something good. The magazine’s “Readings” section features an excerpt from a “work in progress” Wallace first read at last year’s Le Conversazioni festival (heretofore notable mainly for its photo-ops of writers in short […]

January 9, 2008

Books and Politics 0

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Hillary Clinton may have bested Barack Obama at the voting box in New Hampshire, but Obama remains a big winner at bookstores, according to a recent report: According to Nielsen BookScan, which tracks about 70 per cent of industry sales, [Clinton’s] Living History averaged around 1,000 sales a week in December and early January, compared […]

January 9, 2008

Wednesday Links 1

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We’ve heard about the weak dollar making things tough on Canadian readers, but the pain is being felt by Canadian publishers as well, as profit margins diminish. The latest casualty is publisher Raincoast Books. Philip Agee died today. His Inside the Company in 1973 may have created a modern day genre, one that would be […]

January 8, 2008

Inter Alia #6: DeWitt Goes Digital 9

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From anecdotal evidence, Radiohead’s In Rainbows experiment – distributing the album via website, on a “suggested donation” basis – seems to have been a success. As it begins to market In Rainbows through more orthodox channels – CD pressings, iTunes – the band remains mum about the total number of downloads and the average donation […]

January 7, 2008

New Yorker Fiction from 2003-2007: An Analysis 4

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Recently I got a very interesting email from a reader. Frank Kovarik writes and teaches English in St. Louis. For the last five years, he has also been keeping meticulous track of the fiction that appears in the New Yorker. Not just the titles and authors, but things like gender, country of origin, and frequency […]