Posts Tagged: Michael Berger

The Joys Of Freelancin’

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“The great thing about freelance, of course, is the numerous freedoms it embraces, chief among them being the freedom to work in your underwear. This seems to be the one that everyone knows. I was talking on the phone to an uncle of mine who’s in a nursing home, and when I told him I was working freelance, he said, ‘Oh, the underwear people!’”

Essays like this are the reason I put pants on sometimes.

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Cendrars, The Extraordinary Daydreamer

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Long before David Shields excoriated the strict boundaries between journalism and fiction, espousing, in its place, a loose and open-ended hybrid that is more in keeping with “reality”, a Swiss-born Frenchman with one arm, a Gauloises cigarette forever dangling from his grizzled lips and a swaggering nonchalance befitting only a soldier and a drifter, penned a series of “autobiographies” that blended history, memoir, fiction, poetry, gossip, news clippings and every kind of slipshod arcana into one boisterous melange.

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My Year In Books

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As The Millions keeps rolling out their amazing Year In Reading series, I’d thought I’d offer my own attempt at doing justice to the books in my life, and not just the ones I read this year but the ones that keep piling up on my desk, on my floor, in my bed with the furor of a contagion, not to mention the ones I peddle during daylight hours at the bookstore I work at.

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Elitist White People Trying To Make Themselves Feel Better

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(Which includes me.)

“The workshop’s most famous mantras – ‘Murder your darlings,’ ‘Omit needless words,’ ‘Show, don’t tell’ – also betray a view of writing as self-indulgence, an excess to be painfully curbed in AA-type group sessions.

Shame also explains the fetish of ‘craft’: an ostensibly legitimising technique, designed to recast writing as a workmanlike, perhaps even working-class skill, as opposed to something every no-good dilettante already knows how to do.

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Books For The Dark Night Of The Soul

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In his late thirties, F. Scott Fitzgerald experienced a series of emotional and mental breakdowns, many of which he wrote about in a series of random essays and observations collected under the title, The Crack-Up.

At the beginning of the self-titled essay, he writes:

“Of course, all of life is a process of breaking down, but the blows that do the dramatic side of the work — the big sudden blows that come, or seem to come, from outside — the ones you remember and blame things on and, in moments of weakness, tell your friends about, don’t show their effect all at once.

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Early Impressions Of Orange Eats Creeps

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After negotiating a last minute address change, among other last minute changes, I finally received my much-anticipated copy of The Orange Eats Creeps by Grace Krilanovich.

I haven’t had much time with it yet but, after the first twenty pages, I can safely say it is a pretty incredible read.  If the mishaps of Slutty Teenage Hobo Junkie Vampires aren’t enough of a lure, then I don’t know what is.  But really it’s her language, words that are subtle, revelatory and ensnaring and that I can’t look away from.

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The Horniest Species Imaginable

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“Only with the relatively recent shift from off-the-land foraging to agriculture did our species veer away from cooperation and sharing, even sharing of mates, in small groups; hierarchy, sexual repression and violence may pass for the human normal nowadays, but it wasn’t always so.”

At Bookslut, a detailed discussion of the points made in the new anthropological/scientific polemic Sex At Dawn, a book that sounds like a must-read for anybody eager to slough off tired, old nuclear-Victorian-Reagan-era repression.

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New Eugenides

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If you’re like me, Middlesex blew your mind.  Here was a book chock-full of wildly different themes, all of them improbably interconnected: incest, genocide, Detroit, the Nation of Islam and hermaphrodites, to name but a few.

It was a novel that did a lot, almost too much and which took its author, Jeffrey Eugenidies ten years to write.

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