Recent Articles

November 25, 2006

Going the Distance 0


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 […]

November 22, 2006

One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson: A Review 0


With One Good Turn, Kate Atkinson returns to Jackson Brodie, the hero of her last novel, Case Histories. However, where Case Histories was dark and brooding, dwelling on and in the troubled pasts of many of the book’s characters, One Good Turn is antic and madcap. It should come as no surprise then that the […]

November 19, 2006

Quick Links 1


A teacher’s charming poem in which he winds the imaginative grammar and spelling of his students into a feast of clever words. (via) A cornucopia of palindromes. “Rot can rob a born actor” and many, many more. And don’t miss the Palindrome Drama at the end of the page. Stephen Schenkenberg looks at how people […]

November 18, 2006

Ngugi wa Thiong’o Victim of Racism at San Francisco Hotel 5


Exiled Kenyan Novelist Ngugi wa Thiong’o was in San Francisco promoting his novel Wizard of the Crow and staying at the Hotel Vitale. According to a report in a Kenyan paper, the author was sitting in a common area of the hotel and was confronted by a hotel employee who said, “This place is for […]

November 17, 2006

Quarterly Report: Book Industry Trends 0


As I did three months ago, I once again delved into Barnes & Noble’s quarterly conference call to get some insight into the latest book industry trends. Here are the highlights: CFO Joseph Lombardi is cautious but guardedly optimistic about sales in the all-important fourth quarter, saying that “the hardcover book business has improved” but […]

November 16, 2006

National Book Award Winners Announced 0


The winners of the 2006 National Book Awards have been announced. A year after William T. Vollmann won the fiction award it has gone to Richard Powers for The Echo Maker (excerpt), marking a shift in focus (though perhaps not yet a “trend”) toward honoring some of the names on the leading edge of American […]

November 15, 2006

More NaNoWriMo 2


Sloganeering rightly takes me to task for my sloppy framing of the NaNoWriMo debate – primarily the fact that I make no attempt to present the opposite point of view – and does it for me by pointing to Websnark’s pro-NaNoWriMo post from a year ago. Clearly some people find NaNoWriMo useful (or at least […]

November 14, 2006

Chabon Leaves the Internet 0


Michael Chabon’s official Web site doesn’t get much attention from the author. He’ll post longer items from time to time as well as the occasional cryptic note about the various projects he’s working on. Chabon has now, however, decided to pack it in with this Web site business: Lately I have been suffering from Repetitive […]

November 14, 2006

The NaNoWriMo Backlash 8


November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a group project which encourages participants “to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30″ – (they couldn’t have picked a month with 31 days?). The quality of work produced by such speedwriting is questionable at best, I’d guess, but people seem to have fun doing it, […]

November 13, 2006

Amazing Grace 3


A Review of Dave Eggers’ What is the What On paper, Edward P. Jones and Dave Eggers seem to have little in common. The former grew up poor in predominantly African-American Northeast D.C., made his critical reputation with a collection of deceptively understated short stories, and even after a National Book Award nomination, continued to […]