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 …