Author Archives: Matt Borondy

Eudaemonic Reading

I recently purchased The Art of Happiness (by the Dalai Lama) at a tiny local used bookstore after watching an older man have an unemployment-related breakdown at the cash register because the manager would not give him a job application.

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"No" to AWP, "Yes" to Chris Bohjalian

No, Identity Theory is not attending AWP this year. We have never, ever attended AWP. 2009 seemed like a good year for that to change, but the combination of Chicago + Winter + Valentine’s Day did not exactly motivate us to endure the trials and tribulations of flying tiny regional jets. So, more power to […]

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Green Jobs for Whom?

Over at In These Times, Christopher Weber explores the development of green jobs and asks such questions as: “Will these jobs be as plentiful–and as worker-friendly–as the new administration and environmentalists would have us believe? And can green businesses really create opportunities for workers given the current economic crisis?”Good news for Christopher and others in […]

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Sloths, comics, and The Lagoon

A couple of months ago I read a pretty great graphic novel called The Lagoon, by Lilli Carre. It’s kind of hard to explain what it’s about–there’s a thing living in a lagoon, and weird stuff happens when it sings. The drawings are perfect. It’s actually a perfect book, or almost. Then, for Christmas, I […]

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Monday’s Margins: Shepard Fairey, 2666, Kindle

n+1 on Shepard Fairey, creator of Obama “Hope” poster: “The problem that Shephard (sic) Fairey presents also leads to a fear: that he may be, in fact, the perfect portraitist to render Obama. The purveyor of radical aesthetics is rendering the visage of radical hope–neither of whom is very radical.”Robert Birnbaum writes: “This is a […]

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David Foster Wallace and a Quiet Purging

Last we blogged I bragged. “I’ll read a slew of women and one man,” I wrote. Big talk.I started off well–beautifully, sadly, amazingly, actually–with Yiyun Li’s A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and Jennifer Pashley’s States.I had intended then to fold back the cover of Doris Lessing’s The Golden Notebook, but before I got to […]

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Roberto Bolano, Jim Harrison, and more

In no particular order: 2666 by Roberto Bolano, The Romantic Dogs by Roberto Bolano (poems), Saving Daylight by Jim Harrison (poems), Just Before Dark by Jim Harrison (non fiction), Flying by Eric Kraft, Runner by Thomas Perry, Waltzing with Bashir (graphic novel), Angels and Ages by Adam Gopnik, The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano, Life […]

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The Way Through Doors, The Elephant Vanishes

I just picked up the new Jesse Ball novel The Way Through Doors at Powell’s the other day, and I’ve brought it with me to Marfa, TX where I’m spending the month of February. That and The Elephant Vanishes by Murakami.–Anna-Lynne Williams, music editor

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Thelonious Monk, Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson

I’ve been taking my time through the Thelonious Monk Reader. Took it out from the MIT library and realized, hey, why would I ever buy old books again?I’m also reading Smoke and Mirrors, Neil Gaiman’s short story collection. And also Neal Stephenson’s ginormous book Anathem, which honestly I can’t imagine finishing–turns out I’m not so […]

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Here’s Looking at You, Susan Sontag, Words Without Borders

The February edition of Words Without Borders is online (theme: graphic novels).Here’s Looking at You: Robert Birnbaum does his TMN digest thing with Jonathan Baumbach’s You: Or The Invention of Memory.“Sontag: The Precocious Years”: Luc Sante reviews Reborn: Journals and Notebooks 1947-1963, a collection of entries from Susan Sontag with an intro by her son, […]

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Should Dean replace Daschle? Facebook says yes, The Nation not so sure

Now that Tom Daschle and his funny red glasses have been jettisoned from consideration for the Obama administration’s Secretary of Health and Human Services position, a logical replacement seems to be the passionate former Vermont governor (and physician) Howard Dean. In fact, the Facebook group “Appoint Howard Dean to HHS” has, as of this writing, […]

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Monday’s Margins: Narrative Mag, Soft Skull, Kyle Minor, & more

Maud Newton interviews Narrative Magazine editor Tom Jenks about the journal’s dual presence in print and electronic media as well as its popularity on Amazon’s Kindle. Happily, Soft Skull/Counterpoint Press reported its best year ever.Kyle Minor and Kathleen Rooney’s “Live Nude Girl in the Devil’s Territory” Book Tour is kicking off this week.At the Boston […]

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Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Jail?

Should the Obama administration prosecute the Bush administration for violating up to 269 national and international laws (you know little things like torture, wiretapping and “extraordinary rendition”)? Amy Goodman’s new article in the San Francisco Chronicle investigates the possibilities and wonders whether Obama’s claims of an “open government” will usher in an era of accountability […]

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R.I.P. John Updike and the WaPo Book World

Today there are two big stories circulating the lit-blog universe: John Updike is dead, and so is, according to rumor, the Washington Post Book World.We’re having some really bad weather up here in the northeast, so Birnbaum’s long-awaited talk with Lawrence Weschler has also been killed. However, Birnbaum recommends you check out Weschler’s chat with […]

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KAKUTANI: From Books, New President Found Voice

I’ve been slowly reading the two books written by Barack Obama (Dreams from my Father and The Audacity of Hope) for the past year or so, impressed by the depth of his experience and thinking. In a recent NY Times article, Michiko Kakutani discusses how reading shaped Obama’s life and how the new president discovered […]

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