Tag: book suggestions

The Wilding by Benjamin Percy

Percy’s muse is central Oregon, an area I’m quite familiar with, having spent a lot of time down there (between Bend and the high desert in Christmas Valley to the south). Like Dickey’s fictional Cahulawassee River Valley, Percy’s setting for The Wilding, Echo Canyon, is a rugged wilderness slated for destruction.

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Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon

Zenyatta would have no place at Indian Mound Downs racetrack in West Virginia. IMD is a home for has-beens and never-weres, the drifters and the longshots, the schemers and the hangers-on in Lord of Misrule. Jaimy Gordon loves this riff-raff – men, women, and horses alike.

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Interview with Mark Safranko

I don’t think I could presume to answer that question given that American society is so extraordinarily complicated today and growing increasingly so by the day. It’s very difficult to follow a dream nowadays, but maybe that’s always been the case. Certainly the economics militate against it. It seems to me that there are more people than ever attempting to escape a straitjacket and yet because of the economy we’re more tied than ever to the great economic monsters for survival.

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Move Over James Frey, Mark Twain Writes a Memoir

It’s like having Sam Clemens back with us again, resurfacing after 100 years to give us the once-over. I think he would have loved that idea and love the idea of creating such a stir with his avant garde Autobiography, the first part having just been released by the University of California Press. And it’s amazing that a writer 100 years ago can plan a century-delayed release with every confidence that it will come to pass and with the full support of his publisher who is willing to wait 100 years for the release date.

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The Tigers Wife by Tea Obreht Part Two

I’m trying to get to Mowgli not because I’m interested in him. I’m interested in his enemy, Shere Khan, the Tiger. Is there a name in literature that conjures up more magic and awe than “Shere Khan”? Okay, ‘Moby Dick” but Melville was no poet. Kipling is, and it shows to his advantage in the names of his characters. We have Mang the Bat and Rann the Kite. This is great naming, a neglected skill among our writers.

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The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht – Part 1

I am trying to imagine the excitement, the growing sense of astonishment, that Noah Eaker, the editor of The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht, must have felt when reading this manuscript. Did he stop reading and stand up in his chair, unable to proceed without taking a pause for breath or to pull himself together?

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JR's Pick 10-13

I’ve been over the moon about Dogfight: A Love Story by Matt Burgess for some time now, words can’t describe its greatness… and it’s a debut novel that takes place in Queens, NY no less! It’s about two brothers, one who has just gotten out of jail, Tariq, and his street dealer brother Alfredo. This story is told in the present tense, which makes it all the more thrilling, and can be really hard for a reviewer to describe, although Joseph Salvatore in this Sunday’s TBR does a damn fine job of it, (comparing Burgess to Richard Price, which is right on).

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That the Writer’s First Creation is Themselves

Avoid distractions. This is to cast a wide net since what counts as a distraction is pretty much everything except the writer’s own sensibility. But this is not selfishness in any obvious way. The writer’s self is the lens through which they have to see. You are looking within yourself, then outward. If you skip the first part and just look outward, then you’re not going to be an artist.

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The Privileges by Jonathan Dee

It takes a good writer to make me like characters, but an even better one to make me hate them. Franzen hates people, so he shows their bad sides, in spades, Dee does the same, and that’s not a knock, just hard to watch. This is a tricky novel, one part delectable, the other, well, as the saying goes, show me a supermodel, and I’ll show you a guy who is tired of sleeping with her.

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JR's Picks 10-4

At this point the subscribers of The New Yorker are reading and enjoying the different stories which appear in the magazine from the well known 20 Under 40 list, that essentially (or so it seems) has defined a generation of writers, at least those recognized by The New Yorker.

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How to Read, Write and Blog

Which is worse, bad writers or poor judgement in blogging books? It’s almost a nonsensical question since everyone is entitled to their opinion no matter how inept their call. If many are fools when they blog an opinion, well, it’s their right…as fools. But since bloggers outnumber scriveners by at least a million to one, let’s give the writers a pass for now.

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This Might Win The Booker Prize

I used to think that ‘The Corrections’ was the greatest thing I’d ever read, but I’ll have to say that ‘A Fraction of the Whole’ is better than ‘The Corrections’. Toltz did it in one book. Franzen took two to get ‘The Corrections’ out into the world. Granted, you have your whole life to write your first novel, but my God, ‘A Fraction of the Whole’ does things in 530 pages that most writers can’t do in a lifetime.

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