We thought we’d put some ideas here.

The Vagrants

I enjoyed Yiyun Li‘s The Vagrants, and am now tackling Benjamin Rosenbaum’s The Ant King & Other Stories.

Also posted in What We're Reading | Tagged | Leave a comment

A Great Time to be a Reader

Someone once told me a story that stuck in my mind — when Thomas Aquinas accidentally came across a piece of paper with some words on it, he was overjoyed! The discovery made him rejoice! That’s how rare reading material used to be…This is a great time to to be a reader: nowadays our main […]

Also posted in Everything Unfinished |2 Responses

Monday’s Margins: Amazon Hates on the Gays; Towards a National Short Story Month; New Stories from Stephen Dixon, Chris Adrian, and Lydia Davis

People at must be wishing for a lot of things this morning, not least of which would be an established presence on Twitter, which was swamped over the weekend with discussion of Amazon de-listing the sales figures for books that in some way involve gay and lesbian issues. The online retail giant’s search engine […]

Also posted in Book Rate | Tagged | Leave a comment

On High Concept

The Waxman Literary Agency blog explains this idea here — essentially it’s the same idea referenced in my last post, of being able to sum something up in a sentence or two so that it sounds catchy.Haruki Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase probably doesn’t exemplify high concept, since when I recommend it, I often find […]

Also posted in Everything Unfinished |2 Responses

DVD Review: Un Chant D’Amour

Long banned or heavily edited, this legendary transgressive short masterpiece is finally available in the States in its complete form. As the only film directed by poet, playwright, novelist, criminal and Saint Jean Genet, it naturally is saturated with images and emotions even his own overheated writing could rarely evoke. Un Chant D’Amour, first released […]

Also posted in Film Reviews, Side Shots Film Blog |Leave a comment

Activist Artists Document Housing Crisis in Providence

“We want to take beautiful photos but don’t want to aestheticize a real problem. This is not about urban exploration, lonely chairs, and peeling paint.”-Josh Oakhurst, Forgotten Providence-Artist Oakhurst, along with artists Sam Holland and Myles Dumas recently launched “Forgotten Providence,” an interactive web site where visitors will find images of abandoned homes as well […]

Also posted in Social Justice Blog |Leave a comment

Gary Lutz’s Stories in the Worst Way Reissued

Kevin Sampsell of Future Tense Press recently noted that Gary Lutz’s Stories in the Worst Way is being reissued by Calamari Press. Sampsell wrote, “This is my favorite book ever and a book that should never go out of print.”Former Identity Theory music editor Ross Simonini put it like this in his 2005 Believer interview […]

Also posted in Book Rate |1 Response

On Queries and Nathan Bransford’s "Be an Agent for a Day" Contest

America’s leading management theorist, Scott Adams, has claimed that you have to be popular first before you can start being any good. His examples are mostly TV shows. His argument is that even a really good show will probably be cancelled, unless people can sum up what it’s about in a sentence that makes other […]

Also posted in Everything Unfinished |2 Responses

Periodicals of Yesteryear: the Last Issue of Might

Yesterday I saw this post from Pete Mulvihill’s bookseller blog, about cool used books that will never sell, offering to give away After Dinner Science and the last issue of Might magazine to whoever asked for them first.I was too late for After Dinner Science, but I did score the last issue of Might, published […]

Also posted in Everything Unfinished |4 Responses

EPA Releases Most Wanted List

The EPA has just released its list of “fugitives,” people who have been charged with violating environmental laws or regulations.As the New York Times reports, crimes include smuggling ozone-destroying coolants, building a secret pipeline to funnel pollutants into a tributary of the Mississippi River, and dumping contaminated grain into the ocean.The idea to release a […]

Also posted in Social Justice Blog |Leave a comment

Robinson Crusoe Through the Looking-Glass

Quick theology quiz: the doctrine of the Holy Trinity teaches the substantive unity of which three beings?a) Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, and UFOsb) electrocution addiction, girls who skateboard, and the Playmates of 1976c) both a) and b)If you answered c), you must be Peter Rock, recently interviewed by me for Identity Theory, and by Kaui […]

Also posted in Everything Unfinished |1 Response

Henry James versus Historical Fiction

In a letter to Sarah Orne Jewett, in 1901, Henry James inveighed against historical fiction:“You may multiply the little facts that can be got from pictures & documents, relics & prints, as much as you like — the real thing is almost impossible to do, & in its essence the whole effect is as nought. […]

Also posted in Everything Unfinished |3 Responses

Monday’s Margins: Book Snobbery, Short Stories, Reading the Classics, and Author Interviews/Reviews

…Over at the Virginia Quarterly Review’s blog, Mandy Redig talks about book snobbery. “Despite its world-wide popularity and the fact that Stephenie Meyer’s debut novel has sold 17 million copies, I just can’t help my tendency to, well, smirk.”…A.O. Scott talks about one of my favorite literary forms, the short-story, over at The New York […]

Also posted in Book Rate | Tagged | 1 Response

Michelle Obama: Fist-Bumping Radical to Mom-in-Chief in One Year

“A supersmart black woman who’s also fashionable and fit — terrifying.”-Kate Pollitt, The Nation—Today, Michelle Obama was again the topic of conversation in media outlets globally. Her successful trip abroad and her fantastic style have made the media experience what Pollitt classifies as major whiplash (“from fist-bumping to mom-in-chief”). Though she celebrates Obama’s reception as […]

Also posted in Social Justice Blog |Leave a comment

Andrew Sean Greer’s The Story of a Marriage

This story is set in 1953. The heroine and her husband live in new housing built for returning soldiers, close to Ocean Beach, in the only district of San Francisco then expected to survive a direct nuclear hit on downtown. Greer deliberately reconstructs a San Francisco that’s unfamiliar, pre-gay-pride and pre-counterculture, the locals traumatized and […]

Also posted in Everything Unfinished |1 Response