Category Archives: Personal

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Must You Try Again?

I’m trying to move on from my promotion debacle–honest! But I recently went another round with someone about whether I will, or should, reapply, one consequence of which is that I want to sort out my response (literal and emotional) to that question. Since my final appeal was denied in November, I have actually had […]

YMMV: Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

It turns out I wasn’t entirely wrong to have avoided Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. A number of people recommended it to me after I posted last week about hoping that I can learn to approach my writing in the same spirit as I do my running: focused on my […]

A Minor Epiphany About Writing and Running

I had a minor epiphany this morning: I should try to approach writing in the same spirit I approach running. I’ve been running fairly regularly for over a decade now. It has turned out to be just the kind of exercise that suits me. Growing up, gym class was always a nightmare for me, from the […]

Back Again, Bearing Books!

I am back from my trip to Vancouver, where in spite of the rain (even, in some ways, because of it) I had a lovely time visiting with family and friends and drinking in the always inspiring sight of the mountains rising above the city and the sea. It was a a welcome interlude between […]

A Decade of Novel Readings!

My very first post to Novel Readings went up 10 years ago today. It wasn’t much: a quick comment on Zadie Smith’s White Teeth. Rereading it today, I’m amused to see that careless applications of the label “Dickensian” was already a pet peeve, but I’m also interested to see that my appreciation for Dickens himself, as a self-conscious and effective […]

The Soundtracks of Our Lives

On Facebook there’s a meme going around of people posting a list of the albums that inspired or defined their teenage identities. One thing all the lists I’ve seen so far have in common is that they’re all pop music of one kind or another. I wonder if that’s because it’s a genuine rarity for […]

2017: In with the New Year, Much Like the Old Year!

We don’t stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve anymore. I can’t remember when we gave up on this tradition, exactly. The last New Year’s Eve I specifically remember was 1999-2000: remember the Y2K panic? We didn’t really expect a dramatic catastrophe on the stroke of midnight, but it was hard not to wonder […]

Happy Holidays!

It has been quiet around here again! And what’s my excuse, since I turned my grades in so long ago? Well, in my infinite wisdom I had committed to three book reviews to be done by the end of the year, so while I have been reading and writing, it hasn’t been for Novel Readings. […]

Fear of Failing

Earlier this year there was a lot of buzz when a Princeton professor published a “CV of Failures.” I know: “Princeton professor” and “failure” hardly seem to belong in the same sentence. But that was pretty much exactly why Johannes Haushofer decided to make his record of rejection public. “Most of what I try fails,” […]

Time Passes

I’m reading To the Lighthouse for the first time. I know, I know. I also know that I should love it, because it is beautiful and moving and brilliant and original — and I sort of do, so far, except when I don’t. I am not a particularly good reader of Woolf’s fiction: it was only […]

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