What We’re Reading

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Lolita’s First Lines

Chris’s invitation to beginnings coincides with my obsession with this one. My husband introduced me to this first paragraph and I have to admit that when I first read it my eyes glazed over the surface like a marble on linoleum. As I have inched my way through the book and look back on those […]

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Bullshit, Elegant, Kafkaesque, Details

First a nod to Chris because the Garden State soundtrack has become the music that works its way to the top of the queue several times a day. It’s in rotation with Green Day’s American Idiot, an album I hadn’t listened to too much until the Rolling Stone cover story. But this is about what […]

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angie’s favorite first lines

Why does it have to be fiction?Poetry:Ginsburg’s Howl“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed bymadness, starving hysterical naked,”Whitman’s Leaves of Grass“I celebrate myself,And what I assume you shall assume,For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”Sharon Olds’s Satan Says(the whole first poem kicks ass)Memoir:Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged […]

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What Bauman’s Reading

Not much; I’m packing to go to Quebec. But in the mean time (the mean time is a mean time and we know it) I’ve been thinking about novels with a great first page (or two). I had to think about this recently for a workshop I was leading. I made up an absolutely incomplete, […]

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What I’m Not Reading and Why

I have all this great stuff sitting around my apartment to read. I am halfway through the Rothko bio that I have been picking up and putting down for weeks. I have a whole stack of books (and one video) about Rothko that I got from the library. I have another stack of magazines, including […]

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Hello to All That

You might have noticed we published an excerpt from John Falk’s memoir Hello to All That: War, Zoloft, and Peace. I got an advance copy of that book in the mail back in November when going through a sort of near-winter depression, and it helped quite a bit to read about someone who was so […]

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What Birnbaum’s Reading – February 2005

Christopher Hitchens‘s introduction to his Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays “The Crime that Never Was” from Charles D’Ambrosia’s essay collection, Orphans Colm Toibin’s New York Times Book Review piece on Hitchens’s Love, Poverty, and War: Journeys and Essays A Century of November by WD Wetherell An Uncommon Man by Francine Prose Articles of […]

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Hell’s Half Acre and Starbucks

I’ve been carrying around a burnt-orange galley of Will Christopher Baer’s Hell’s Half Acre (one of the MacAdam Cage books that DIDN’T borrow its title from this website) for months, reading passages here and there, digesting it in a nonlinear sort of fashion. How else to treat a novel by a graduate of the Jack […]

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Tosches, Strauss, and Vonnegut (not Amber Frey)

What I’m not reading: Amber Frey’s (who ever she is) book Anything about Brad and Jen Curtis Sittenfield’s Prep The Boston Globe Boston Magazine Boston Herald What I am reading: Nick Tosches in Bookforum on “blurbs” Steve Rodrick at Slate on Sportswriters A Reuters feature on Gore Vidal Valley of Bones by Michael Gruber The […]

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The Divine Husband

I am reading the book “The Divine Husband” by Francisco Goldman. I love this book. During a search for “Francisco Goldman,” I was led to “Identity Theory” and the wonderful interview with Robert Birnbaum. My mother is a Guatemalan and my dad found her when he ventured into Guatemala in the early 60’s. The book […]

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Mark Rothko and Willa Cather

This weekend I read Willa Cather’s A Lost Lady, which someone I knew back in Nebraska used to say was as good as if not better than The Great Gatsby (the “Great American Novel” of the same time period). I wish I could remember who used to say that, because I would like to give […]

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The Sportswriter

I’m in the middle of R. Ford’s “The Sportswriter”; long overdue, but what can you do. Anyway, the back-cover copy says it’s the story of a “goodhearted man” yada yada. Granted, I’m not at the end of the book yet, but “goodhearted” is not what I’d call Frank Bascombe. I’m not saying I don’t like […]

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