Category Archives: Lineup

NPR’s Concierge Care

This time of year brings out not only the list-makers, but the list-lovers and list-haters as well. The literary ether seems to be especially ripe for that kind of debate, maybe because these end-of-year best-ofs can seem wan in comparison to the the jockeying of all the literary awards scattered throughout the calendar. Or maybe […]

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Open Letters Monthly’s Year in Reading

I realize I haven’t been writing all that much these past few months. Or rather, not all that much that Like Fire readers want to read—ask me about metadata schema analyses, library service analysis literature reviews, and exhibit plans, if you dare. But I have been reading, and not only of the required variety. Pleasure […]

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On Beyond Chekhov: Introducing The Russian Library

When Russian writers come up in conversation, as they are wont to, you can always count on someone—or an entire chorus—admitting to huge gaps in their reading and confiding that they really need to address the situation. I know because I’m one of them. I fully intend to read War and Peace and Anna Karenina […]

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Seasonal Shorts

All right, here comes the extra-long holiday weekend! Full of festive fun, family, and friends… or a host of other F-words: fatigued, forlorn, fractious. Maybe it’s just a blessed break from work or school. Or maybe you are working, either because you’re indispensable or just happy to take the overtime when things are quiet. Maybe […]

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The Imaginary Library of Charles Dickens

It’s corny but true: Book people are always fussing with their shelves. Forget about the cliché of art books artfully arranged on the coffee table; forget about shoving that copy of Vogue underneath the London Review of Books when company’s coming. The tendency to be voyeuristic with one’s own home library and rearrange it now […]

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Are Bare Trees in Snow the New Legs?

I know every armchair book design critic remembers when it seemed like every other trade novel had a pair of legs as its main cover element. I want to say it was just a few years ago, but a quick search pulls up this Chicago Tribune article on the subject from 2003. And that makes […]

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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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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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The Lineup: The Tomes of Mitford, By and About

In its first draft, this list comprised several dozen titles—too much even for rabid Mitford aficionados, although it seems a piker’s tabulation to me. Nevertheless, it made sense to winnow it down to a more approachable chunk here. Caveat: There may be more such lists in future, if you’re good. English-speaking peoples (not to say […]

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