The Age of Wire and String

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The Age of Wire and String is, apparently, the “period in which English science devised abstract parlance system based on the flutter pattern of string and wire structures placed over the mouth during speech.” “Patriarchal systems and figures, including Michael Marcuses, were also constructed during this period – they are the only fathers to outlast their era.” First Reading: I …

American Pastoral

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I love the last sentence. “What on earth is less reprehensible than the life of the Levovs?” I love the Swede Levov character. I don’t know if I have ever identified with a fictional character (or even another real person) in the same way I identified with Levov. (Who, whether coincidentally or by design, is a literary alter ego of …

The Long Tail

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Chris Anderson must have a great press agent. There were reviews of his book, The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More, in the Economist, the New Yorker, Newsweek and BusinessWeek, all at the same time. From the perspective of a store like Wal-Mart, the music industry stops at less than 60,000 tracks. However, for …

One Dead in Attic

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I would think that years from now One Dead in Attic will be but a footnote to the Hurricane Katrina story. Someone important will write the “authoritative” account – which will, itself, be to most of the world little more than a footnote to Bush’s failed presidency. But for the people living in New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina, …

William Gaddis’ JR

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JR, by William Gaddis, is really an ingenious book. Funny. Interesting. Thought-provoking. Novel, in style. And captures, both substantively and in form, many elements of modern society. It is, in many ways, like A Day in the Life of Timothy Stone. The dashes. The absence of chapters, or other section breaks. The interruption, or inspiration, provided by sounds streaming in …

U.S., by chris bachelder

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The thing that caught my eye about U.S.! was the blurb on the back cover from Heidi Julavits, who was at Dartmouth when I was there. I am not sure if I ever actually met or even saw her in the flesh, but I do remember always hearing people refer to her by her nickname, “Heidi the ’90.” (She was …

Rabbit, Run!

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I re-read Rabbit Run shortly after watching the “In Depth” interview. I finished it this time, but still didn’t like it. I guess I can understand how it could have been “shocking” or “groundbreaking” when introduced to the Leave-It-To-Beaver readers of 1960. I was thinking at times that maybe it was a genius experiment to see whether you can sympathize …

Infinite Jest

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From: Steve Herman To: Bill Chisholm Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 12:36 AM Subject: Book of Last Ten Years What was “the” book of the last 10 years I am supposed to read? ————————————– From: Bill Chisholm Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 11:12 AM infinite jest by david foster wallace ————————————– From: Steve Herman To: Bill Chisholm Sent: Sunday, March …

The Castle (with a touch of Michael Chabon and a lot of James Frey)

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The Castle is one of those books that is sitting on a shelf which I have been meaning to read for years. It really wasn’t as Kafkaesque as I would have expected. Why didn’t the guy just leave? But the book did have those great passages. The Castle, whose contours were already beginning to dissolve, lay silent as ever; never …