Monthly Archives: August, 2013

When in Doubt, Ask the Past

Everybody needs advice sometimes. Whether everybody wants it is another matter, but there’s a reason so many people love Cary Tennis, Dan Savage, and Dear Prudence (although I do NOT like the videos, Prudence—such a lack of intimacy). In my day, kids, we had the choice of Ann Landers and Dear Abby, and god forbid […]

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How to Get a Book Written

1. Don’t wait for inspiration to strike. The photographer/ painter Chuck Close said, “Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work.” 2. For first drafts, quantity is better than quality. Five adequate pages are better than one good page. Ten pages of crap are better than zero pages of […]

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Open Letters Monthly, August 2013

Forget about the dog days—this is the time of year that turns August from a proper noun into an adjective. And there’s nearly a week left in which to read the August (in both senses of the word) issue of Open Letters Monthly. There’s a lot of good stuff here, including a couple of novels […]

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The Browsing Algorithm

Charles Simic has one of his gently bookish rants up at the NYRBlog, on a subject that’s always near and dear to my heart: the uncertain future of browsing. The gradual shuttering of used bookstores all over the country, says Simic, will surely curtail those moments of finding books that were never on our radar […]

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Sunday Links, August 18, 2013

Not the Booker Prize published its long list. Some really marvelous-sounding books there. The shortlist was announced a few days later, and Neil Gaiman is at the top. Sounds like I need to pick his new book up soon. The winner will be announced on October 12. The finalists for the David Gemmell Legend Awards […]

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Poetry Friday: Robert Louis Stevenson and Patti Smith

I came to poetry early, thanks mainly to my parents’ throwing a few good anthologies my way as soon as I could read. I loved it all, the rhyming stuff especially, and the more fanciful the better—Coleridge and Blake being particular favorites—and also the stuff you’d expect a kid to like: John Ciardi, Edward Lear, […]

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Pocket Review: Blue Plate Special by Kate Christensen

Blue Plate Special: An Autobiography of My Appetites Kate Christensen Doubleday, 2013 Disclaimer: I owe Kate Christensen cookies. About nine years ago, she did a guest author stint over at Readerville.com after a group read of her wonderful The Epicure’s Lament. It was the kind of book that invited rambling, and made for a convivial […]

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Sunday Links, August 4, 2013

The 2013 Prometheus Award winners have been announced. The awards are given by the Libertarian Futurist Society, and will be presented at the World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio, which begins late this month. The 2013 Sunburst Award short list has been announced. These awards are for excellence in Canadian science fiction. Unfortunately, only […]

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Belles-Lettres: The Archives of American Art’s Art of Handwriting

It seems to me writing letters is a lot like running: great while you’re doing it, great having done it, and the rewards are many, but making it part of your routine is the stumbling block. I always have the best of intentions, and own things like stationery and note cards and pretty stamps and […]

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