Monthly Archives: August, 2011

Strata: Sue O’Doherty

Susan O’Doherty is a writer who truly understands the struggles of other writers—she’s also a clinical psychologist who deals with issues involving creativity. In her guise as Dr. Sue, she writes a popular advice column, “The Doctor is In,” each Friday for the publishing blog, Buzz, Balls & Hype. Her book, Getting Unstuck Without Coming Unglued: […]

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Hunker Games

After this last weekend I’ll be perfectly happy never to have to hear the phrase “hunker down” again. Although this time around it was used mostly to mean “dig in,” “stay put,” and “procure extra D batteries by any means necessary,” the technical meaning of the phrase is to squat down on one’s haunches in […]

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Kind of Sort of Riffing on Maud Newton’s Riff

In Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, Maud Newton has an interesting riff—that’s actually a capital-R Riff, one of their many new categories to keep us all reading. In it, she posits that David Foster Wallace’s casual, slangy rhetoric is the precursor of blogging’s conversational style. By her reckoning, it’s the written equivalent of a friendly […]

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Dull Roar

Because Fridays in August really shouldn’t be that complicated, I give you Bookride’s The Joy of Dullness, a collection of books that are not just dull, but weirdly dull. Or as the Bookride blokes put it, “The collection is devoted to dullness mixed with the curious and the odd which includes the oddly dull and […]

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Zeitgeist: n., The Spirit of the Times

Last December we were having all kinds of fun with the Google Books Ngram Viewer, playing around in Google’s digital library comparing word usage over the past couple of centuries. But eight months is a long time in tech years, and the fine art of text analysis hasn’t stood still—nor has it remained the jurisdiction […]

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Pocket Review: All My Dogs: A Life by Bill Henderson

All My Dogs: A Life Bill Henderson David R. Godine, 2011 Anton Chekhov had a theory that if there’s a rifle hanging on the wall in a book’s first chapter, by the second or third chapter it will be fired. And I have a corollary theory that if a book has a dog as one […]

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Dancing About Architecture

While no one can agree on who first came up with the saying that writing about music is like dancing about architecture—Frank Zappa? Laurie Anderson? Thelonious Monk? Martin Mull?—it doesn’t really matter anyway, because it’s wrong. Many good words have been devoted to music over the years by fans and critics and scholars and auteurs, […]

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Email to Snail Mail

The Snail Mail My Email project ends tomorrow, and while it certainly wouldn’t have been practical to keep up indefinitely—experience bears out the fact that you can only get people to work for free for so long, no matter how much fun it is—I would have loved to see it grow and morph over a […]

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Dueling Duels and Illuminations from Melville House

Inasmuch as duel has its meaning in the root for “two”—a modification of bellum, the Latin word for war, to result in duellum or “fight between two men”—Melville house has expanded the parameters of that particular duality. This Tuesday, August 16, they’ll be publishing no fewer than five books in their Art of the Novella […]

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Pocket Review: Domestic Violets by Matthew Norman

Domestic Violets Matthew Norman Harper Perennial, 2011 Way back last summer, when Jonathan Franzen had just published Freedom, there was a lot of talk about the ghettoization of certain types of fiction—you remember the discussion. Most notably, it was pointed out in several corners that a certain kind of domestic drama or comedy was thought […]

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