I’m amid “The Species Crown,” short stories by Curtis Smith (Press 53), who is from Pennsylvania and therefore to be trusted. Picture postcards, these stories are, from the mind of Smith, intricate sketchings on the backs of matchbooks. The second-person abounds in a way that normally makes me uncomfortable, but Smith pulls it off, for […]
What We’re Reading
I’ve been on a great short story kick, and it seems to be continuing. I used to be a fairly exclusive novel reader, in it for the investment, the sloppiness, and the grandeur. Stories were nice, I thought, but easy. Fool that I was. Now I’m learning that stories are anything but easy and that […]
Last week I went to the library and took out the following books: Nora Ephron’s I Feel Bad About My Neck, Meghan Daum’s My Misspent Youth, and Joan Didion’s Where I Was From. You guessed it: I’m on a ladies nonfiction kick.I arrived at the library knowing exactly what I wanted to take out. I […]
So after many days of intermittent reading and napping (napping because the New York weather is killing us all slowly one snow flake at a time, reading because there is really only so much bad television I can let infiltrate my brain) I want to talk about a book most adults probably haven’t made time […]
So much has been written about this book, but in the case of an underappreciated “writer’s writer” like Yates, it seems you can’t really praise him enough.
An interesting combination of long novels, this month.The first was Stephen King’s new one, “Lisey’s Story.” I got this as a Christmas present. I read my first King novel (“The Shining”) when I was a wee lad of 11 or 12. Way too young to be reading King. It warped me. Before age 14 I […]
Robert Birnbaum has been reading Naked Sleeper by Sigrid Nunez, House of Meetings by Martin Amis, Zoli by Colum McCann, Joseph Epstein’s essay on turning 70, Chris Hedges’ Nov 2004 aricle on the Christian Right and the Rise of American Fascism (that no major US periodical would publish), Jon Lee Anderson on Hugo Chavez and […]
I’m entirely, admittedly, neurotically obsessive about reading. I lock myself in my room for hours and simply read.
If you’re Irish, like me, the stories of your family loom large in your mind and weigh heavily on your shoulders. Everyone from grandparents to second cousins and even great aunts and uncles work together to form a personal mythology – a collection of saints and sinners, on two sides of the Atlantic, among whom […]
“And this one is called The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion, and it’s about… Well, it’s about death.”
I’ve been much delayed in writing this or anything else lately, due to walking pneumonia. I’m not really sure what that means, but the symptoms matched the descriptor: For about a month, I was quite able to walk around but not so able to breathe. It was uncomfortable. Sometimes I secretly like being sick because […]
I just finished We Need to Talk about Kevin, by Lionel Shriver, and I re-read Lake Wobegon Days on the flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong. Now I’m on to Anne Tyler’s Digging to America and Tony Judt’s Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945.-Summer BlockHeidi Julavits’ new one, The Uses of EnchantmentFaulkner’s Light in […]
I’ve been doing a lot more editing than reading lately, but I’m hoping to soon return soon to Lyanda Lynn Haupt’s Pilgrim on the Great Bird Continent: The Importance of Everything and Other Lessons from Darwin’s Lost Notebooks and James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son, to say nothing of the backlog of magazines piling […]
Wilder Times: The Life of Billy Wilder by Kevin LallyDevil in a Blue Dress by Walter MosleyCrackpot: the Obsessions of John Waters (if you like his films, you’ll want to devour this book whole — good news is you can in a handful of hours — get the updated 2003 edition, with director’s commentary)– Matt […]
Finn by Jon Clinch (a novel about Huck Finn’s father)The Crimson Portrait by Jody Shields“Tango” by Thom McGuane (in the New Yorker)Conversations with Thomas McGuane edited by Beef Torrey (excuse the chest pounding by my IDT chat with McGuane is in this tome–and in departure from my habits I actually reread it)The Killing Moon – […]