I’m now officially a Bookslut

Let’s see how many people stumble across my blog now that the word “slut” is in the title of this post.  I can only imagine how my traffic will spike! I’m honored, though, to be associated with the word in this scenario. I’ve been reading Jessa’s wonderful blog and literary website for years now, and it’s definitely one of the best out there.

The April 2009 issue of Bookslut is now up, and features a LOT of good stuff. A sampling: interviews with Wells Tower (the new darling of the literary world), Jules Feiffer, and a book review of James Tate’s Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee.

I have two authors interviews and a book review published there:

  1. An interview with Jedediah Berry, author of the extremely fun The Manual of Detection.
  2. An interview with Samantha Hunt, author of the whimsical and captivating The Invention of Everything Else.
  3. A book review of Mari Strachan’s The Earth Hums in B Flat.
Posted in Author Interviews, Book Reviews | 7 Comments

For those with short attention spans…

Vincent Van Goghs The Poets Garden

Vincent Van Gogh's "The Poet's Garden"

Is it just me, or is March an incredibly hectic month? And to top it all off, Daylight Saving Time makes it harder and harder to concentrate on the tasks at hand.  We’re all antsy for the warmer weather, the longer bouts of sunshine, for an end to being cooped up in our homes or apartments.

That’s why one of my favorite forms of writing is always perfect to read in the spring months.  (Not that it’s not perfect other times of the year as well.)  Reading good poetry is similar to that enlightened, grounded feeling you get after an hour-long yoga class.  Best of all, it’s free, and you can find plenty of places on the internet to read some.

You can hear my review of a new book of poetry published by Norton, called Essential Pleasures, over at the Books on the Nightstand most recent podcast.  You can also see me blog about poetry over at Identity Theory’s Book Rate blog.

What are some of your favorite poems, and what do you read when you don’t have time to devote to a novel or long book? I’m also a huge fan of short stories. I think they are the most underappreciated form of writing.  If you don’t understand the big deal about short stories, just read Tobias Wolff’s “Bullet in the Brain”.  If he doesn’t change your mind, I don’t know who will.

Posted in links, poetry | 1 Comment

Links! News! Distractions!


  • I’ve written before about one of my favorite shows, LOST, and how naturally the redneck-disguised bookworm Sawyer is the best character.  Over at Jacket Copy, executive producers and writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse talk about their literary choices:

“It’s really more about the fact that we’ve been influenced by literature in the way we’ve shaped the show, and it’s a nod to that process,” said Lindelof, who is also co-creator. “We pick the books with a great deal of meticulous thought and specificity and talk about what the thematic implications of picking a certain book are, why we’re using it in the scene and what we want the audience to deduce from that choice.”

  • Very sad news for the family of one of the best poet’s to ever live. Sylvia Plath’s son, Nicholas Hughes, has committed suicide at the age of 47.
  • I usually have a hard time deciding whether I should be excited or nervous for a movie adaptation of one of my favorite books, but I’ve been looking forward to seeing “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” since they started filming it. The trailer is finally up over at The Elegant Variation.
  • My friend Tim Horvath’s short story, Circulation, has just been published as a novella by the good folks at sunnyoutside Press. It’s the finest kind of fiction, and features a librarian as the main character. I’m a sucker for books with bookish characters. Tim is a fan of Italo Calvino (clearly he has impeccable taste!), and the influence is notable in his writing.  If you live around seacoast New Hampshire, come hear Tim read at RiverRun Bookstore this Wednesday night (March 25th) at 7:30 PM with novelist Tom Paine and writer Clark Knowles.
  • I’ve officially registered to go to Book Expo America for the first time.  Can’t contain my excitement! Who else is going? The highlight of the weekend will be the author luncheon with Pat Conroy, Lorrie Moore, and other authors.  Lorrie Moore= writing goddess.
  • I love these images taken mostly at the University of Michigan’s Hatcher Graduate Library, posted on the userslib blog.
  • I kind of want these felt Nerdy Glasses.
Posted in Articles, links, LOST | 5 Comments

I’m still here!

I seem to have abandoned my poor little blog for over two weeks now.  Blame it on my business trip to NYC without internet access, and my time spent catching up. Or blame it on the fact that my computer power cord has decided to die and I’m waiting for the new cord and a new computer to arrive safely at my apartment. OR just blame me for neglecting my little corner of the web as I try to get a bunch of forthcoming book reviews, articles, and author interviews finished.  More on that as they are published!

For those of you who don’t follow my tweets, exciting news: I’ve been appointed the new Book Reviews Editor at identity theory, along with the multi-talented blogger, Condalmo.  Click on the link and check out the wonderful literary journal run by Matt Borondy. 

What’s everyone reading and recommending lately?

Posted in blogging, Book Reviews, links | 2 Comments

One very ambitious reading project

whole-five-feetI’m a sucker for books about books. Is that really a surprise? So when an advanced reading copy arrived in the mail called The Whole Five Feet: What the Great Books Taught Me About Life, Death, and Pretty Much Everything Else, I moved it up to the top of my to-be-read pile.

This reading memoir is coming out in May, and is written by Christopher Beha, an editor at Harper’s Magazine.  Beha decided to read the Harvard Classics in its entirety in one year, and write about not just what he absorbs from the books, but how reading these classics impacts his life.

As he deals with losing a family member and recovering from an illness, Beha reflects on his massive undertaking and shares some jewels from the books.

On talking about Emerson:

“Each age,” he insists, must “write its own books; or rather, each generation for the next succeeding.” It’s not that older books are no longer valuable, but as they age–as they become “Classics”- we become too respectful of them; we stop seeing them for what they are: “Meek young men grow up in libraries believing it their duty to accept the views which Cicero, which Locke, which Bacon have given, forgetful that Cicero, Locke, and Bacon were only young men in libraries when they wrote these books.”

At the time I read these words, it would have been possible for me to spend entire days without moving from that library, doing nothing but reading the books of an older period.  And some days I did.  But mostly I didn’t– not because I didn’t enjoy it there, but because reading someone like Emerson is bound to send you back out into the world.”

Beha successfully approaches the topic of reading to understand one’s place in the world, and he also talks about the necessity of reading with a foot in the past and the present.

I was still reading to some degree to acquire knowledge, and I was certainly still reading for pleasure.  But I was also reading to be a part in a great chain of readers.  Aurelius read Plato, then Aurelius died.  Milton read Auerlius, then Milton died.  And here I sat up in bed reading Milton, fighting off the time when sleep would overtake me.  Such is everything.

I’m endlessly fascinated by how readers react to what they are reading; whether it’s a classic or a contemporary novel. I love to read about the process of the reader mulling the words over in their mind, and then applying it to their own lives.  Beha’s book made me want to tackle the Harvard Classics myself someday.  It made me realize how completely different the educational system is today.  Most public school systems don’t have a lot of the classics on their required reading list. It’s a shame they don’t, because then usually only people who are liberal arts majors in college end up reading even some of the titles on the list.

As Patrick over at the Vromans blog relates, The New York Times recently reported on the problems with the economy making it an even tougher go for humanities programs. Let’s hope that humanities programs don’t disappear, and that more funding is out there to support these crucial studies.

For those of you who can’t afford to go back to school or just miss it, reading Christopher Beha’s book is like having a friendly, hip professor give you a syllabus with extended notes in the margins.  It’s anecdotal and lit crit at the same time, and a fine introduction to some of the best books ever written.

Posted in Books I Have My Nose In | 2 Comments

I thought my apartment was bad…

Via Topinambours, I came across this delightful CBS Sunday Morning segment on bilbiophiles (and bibliomaniacs) in Paris.  First of all, I want that first edition of The Great Gatsby.  I still remember Fitzgerald’s description of the light dancing across Daisy’s face years after reading it for the first time.  I’m due for a re-read of the book.  Second of all, how DOES that gentleman shown in the first part of the story FIND any of the books he owns? Of course, that often happens to me. Sometimes I will buy a second copy of a book I already own. (I say with a sheepish grin on my face!)

Posted in book lust | Leave a comment

Give me more time!

time_enough_at_lastSometimes I feel like our workdays make us a bit like Henry Bemis in my favorite episode of The Twilight Zone, “Time Enough At Last”. You know the one I’m talking about; where time is always against him. He’s a voracious reader but has to sneak down to the bank vault to catch some precious reading time during his lunch hour.  Then the world ends and he’s left with a bookworm’s fantasy: endless time to read.  No one to tell him what to do!   Minutes and hours to just devour any and all books.  Until he steps on his reading glasses, and the rest is history.

Sometimes I wish I could just freeze time and be able to read whenever I’m inclined to (which is pretty much all the time).  That way, you don’t miss out on “real life”, work, interaction with friends.  That all takes place in real time.  Reading time, though, could go on for as long as you wanted it to.  Think of all the books you could get through!

Posted in book lust | 6 Comments