Monthly Archives: February, 2011

New Yorker fiction (Feb 28) – “Paranoia”

The New Yorker has made the story available online only to subscribers. You write with your hand. You watch over your shoulder for the long arm of your past to catch up. You tousle your fingers through a youngster’s hair, soothing his anxious brow. Author Saïd Sayrafiezadeh elbows all of these elements into his story. […]

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Punctuated Equilibrium: Shady Characters

It’s true; you’re never alone on the Internet. And in a litblog paradise filled with word geeks and type geeks, there’s a certain sweet spot where etymology and typography intersect. There are those of us—you know who you are—who were disproportionately thrilled to find out that the hashtag, known in pre-Twitter days and by voice-mail […]

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Story Prize Finalist (2010) — Death Is Not an Option

There are all sorts of reasons to love The Story Prize. It promotes the art of the short story collection; director Larry Dark always puts together a first-class team of judges and does his legwork; and it’s completely possible to read all of the finalists between the time the shortlist is announced and the award […]

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Wednesday Moment of Zen: Organizing the Bookcase

I especially like the dancing dragon and bonsai on the side table. (via Housing Works)

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Steganography: Knowledge Is Powe

My new word of the day is steganography: The hiding of information in an innocuous format. It derives originally from the Greek for “hidden writing”: steganos (στεγανός), meaning “covered or protected”, and graphein (γράφειν) meaning “to write”. What makes it an extra-sneaky art, as opposed to plain old encryption, is that a steganographic message isn’t […]

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March Madness Approacheth: The 2011 Tournament of Books

Get ready for March Madness, boys and girls! The 16 Tournament of Books finalists have been announced, along with judges and bracket dates. The contest begins on March 7, which gives you plenty of time to read… well, some of them. And illustrator Jennifer Daniel, friend of the Rooster, has created an infographically handsome and […]

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Keeping Out of Trouble: National Book Award Poetry Winners and NBCC Finalists

Here’s something to keep you good folks out of trouble for a while… two somethings, actually. Back in the summer of 2009, the National Book Foundation started a countdown of its 79 Fiction winners since the awards began in 1950. The series ran through September, with notes on each book by National Book Award board […]

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Story Prize Finalist (2010) – Gold Boy, Emerald Girl

Yiyun Li has said on several occasions that she doesn’t consider herself a political writer. But Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, the second of The Story Prize finalists we’re looking at this month, stretches the definition just a bit. This collection, her third published work, offers a strong rendering of a particular place and time without […]

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Book Slam Book

Here in the middle of February, it seems like the whole world is ever-so-slightly over-attuned to sex: having it, not having it, having too much or not enough or exactly the right amount. It’s cold and dreary, we’re in need of comfort, and indoor activities look more appealing than ever. And then there’s the collective […]

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Design by the Books

Everyone knows that the all-time worst question you can put to a creative type is Where do you get your ideas? I’m going to come clean here, though, and admit that I think it’s kind of a great question. Maybe not to ask outright, but to wonder about. As readers of this blog are probably […]

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