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“I missed the press announcement of the introduction of the phrase ‘urban legend’…” –Oct. 28, 2002

I missed the press announcement of the introduction of the phrase "urban legend" into public blathering. I say this because I am made aware of references to such a thing (I was tempted to say concept but I will wait on that) and the examples that fall under that heading don’t seem to have a […]

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“Reading books is the most glorious pastime that humankind has yet devised” –Oct. 25, 2002

In preparation for vacating the Newbury Street space that has housed the estimable Avenue Victor Hugo Bookstore, Vince McCaffrey has placed his 150,000-plus-volume inventory on sale. Yesterday was the first day of that event, and though I expected that it would be a tad busy, I was not prepared for the crowded aisles and bargain-basement […]

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“we tend to ignore writers who are prolific (for some interesting reasons)” –October 22, 2002

Maybe Mark Winegardner is right that we tend to ignore writers who are prolific (for some interesting reasons). Although Sam Shepard doesn’t exactly fall into that camp, I was wondering why I had put off reading the slender volume of stories, Great Dream of Heaven, that was residing on my bookshelf. Other than the fact […]

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“Katherine Powers is one really good reason to wade through the sales circulars” –Oct. 10, 2002

As I have noted before, Katherine Powers is one really good reason to wade through the sales circulars and other evidence of useless deforestation in our local paper of record on Sundays. Somewhere along the line the powers-that-be at the Globe stumbled on the good sense idea of having Powers in every Sunday. Hurrah, I […]

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“The Boston Globe’s David Mehegan wrote a piece…” –Oct. 19, 2002

The Boston Globe’s David Mehegan wrote a piece on the year-end closing of Avenue Victor Hugo bookshop. Maybe he got Vince McCaffrey’s 4 page press release—which like so many things dedicated booksellers do, flew in the face of conventional wisdom (keep it short). Anyway, Mehegan was properly reverential and sympathetic. But in the end I […]

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“books we read when we were young” –Oct 16, 2002

I had a conversation with Daniel Mason, the young author of The Piano Tuner and the subject of books we read when we were young came up. I had recently watched Milos Forman’s film version of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and was thinking of the other books that were part of […]

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“Three very different writers remind me…” –Oct. 11, 2002

Three very different writers remind me why I don’t lose interest in this ongoing conversation with the literary planet/nation. I’m hoping that’s also why they (these talks) might be viewed as fresh and interesting. I’m not bound to anything but my own curiosity and the call and response riffing that a good conversation that produce […]

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“Busy week for me.” –Oct. 8, 2002

Busy week for me. I’m talking to Dorothy Allison about her republished story collection, editor and poet Jill Bialosky about her fine first novel, House Under Snow, and Mark Winegardner about his short stories and the world of writing, he being the chairman of creative writing at Florida State University…

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“One of the good reasons to read the Boston Globe…” –Oct. 6, 2002

One of the good reasons to read the Boston Globe is the appearance of Katherine Powers’ column, A Reading Life. Always, or almost always on the money, this weeks entry focuses on diaries—something I am acutely interested in—as I try for the umpteenth time in my life to keep track of well…That’s the nub of […]

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“On the hunt for some older hardcover fiction…” –Oct. 3, 2002

On the hunt for some older hardcover fiction (Dorothy Allison, Mark Winegardner), I stopped by Avenue Victor Hugo Bookstore on Newbury Street. I was neither shocked nor surprised but indeed saddened, by the news that Vince [McCaffrey] has decided to close his 27-year-old shop by the end of the year. I am sure I will […]

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“One of the seasonal blessings of each year is the fall publication of Houghton Mifflin’s Best American…” –Oct. 2, 2002

One of the seasonal blessings of each year is the fall publication of Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Stories and Essays, which has been expanded in recent years to include Travel Writing, Mystery Writing, Sports Writing, Science Writing, Recipes and this year—a Dave Eggers(hmm) guest-edited Best Non-Essential Reading (more hmmm). Beyond my quibbles about the concept […]

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