Recent Articles

March 30, 2008

Inter Alia: Authority, an Anniversary, and Book Reviewing 4

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In Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace imagines a fungus that grows on another fungus; a nuclear reaction fueled by the byproducts of nuclear reactions; and movies whose audiences watch an audience watching them. For this kind of derivative process, he invokes the adjective annular, which the O.E.D. defines as “ringlike” or circular, but which presumably […]

March 29, 2008

Generals and Soldiers: A Review of Rick Atkinson’s Day of Battle 0

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I’ve expressed my admiration for Rick Atkinson’s books in the past. His Pulitzer-winning An Army at Dawn is a history of the Allied liberation of Northern Africa, told in a style that glides easily from the the humblest infantryman to the strategies of generals and presidents. He offers the reader a glimpse of what it […]

March 29, 2008

Curiosities 0

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An excerpt of the lost and recently found Alexandre Dumas novel The Last Cavalier An assessment of poetic cliches in VQR. The surprise: some actually improve your chance of getting published. Jennifer Gilmore interviews the criminally underrated Max Apple. That novelists’ strike not working out so well. Despite some withering condescension, Robert Gottlieb has interesting […]

March 27, 2008

The Millions Reaches a Milestone 6

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Though it passed unremarked (I was on vacation), Monday was the five-year anniversary of The Millions. This blog started as something quite inconsequential. At the outset of The Millions, I would have put the chances of me sticking with it through the end of 2003, let alone for five years, at somewhere south of 5%. […]

March 27, 2008

Gladwell and Gopnik Return to Their Roots 0

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Malcolm Gladwell and Adam Gopnik, both incisive, witty journalists, staff writers at the New Yorker, and expat Canadians, return to Toronto this weekend for a live debate Sunday afternoon at the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall. The topic: Canada: Nation or Notion? (And as a proud and sometimes confused Canadian myself, I’m eager to learn […]

March 27, 2008

Adaptations and Imaginations 0

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I’ve never been a big fan of film adaptations of books. If I watch the movie version and then decide to read the book, as is currently the case with American Psycho, I can’t help but have an image of the actors in my head. If I read the book and then watch the film, […]

March 26, 2008

Quarterly Report: Tough Year Ahead 0

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As we have every quarter for the last several, we’re looking at Barnes & Noble’s recent quarterly report to gauge the trends that are impacting the book industry – which books were big over the last few months and what’s expected for the months ahead. With a recession threatening, Borders faltering, and some even suggesting […]

March 25, 2008

Appearing Elsewhere 0

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The Pacific Standard Fiction Series rolls on tonight at 7 p.m. with a reading by Colson Whitehead and Christopher Sorrentino. If you’re in or near Brooklyn area and are free, it would be great to see you. The Pacific Standard website has directions.

March 23, 2008

Year of the Wolf Totem 2

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Laurie Anderson is a science publicity assistant for a large Southern university. The San Francisco Chronicle appears to be the first major U.S. newspaper to review the English translation of Wolf Totem by Jiang Rong, and gives it a “thumbs up.” This was one of my “most anticipated books of 2008” (see comments). It won […]

March 21, 2008

Spy Story: A Review of William Boyd’s Restless 2

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When I picked up Restless, I expected the usual array of smart, twisted, unfortunate and hilarious characters that traditionally abound in William Boyd novels. I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw instead. Boyd, it seems, opted for a new genre in his last novel. Restless is a mystery that unfolds in a series of […]