Posts Tagged: Michael Berger
“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!’”...more
Just like last week, Belgium, for reasons obtuse and inexplicable is on my mind.
I discovered at 50 Watts a guest post by Edward Gauvin about a Belgian writer named Thomas Owen that English-only readers are not going to encounter anytime soon....more
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....more
I just found out that James Franco is set to direct the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian which is the most violent novel I’ve ever read.
So I pose the obvious questions: how will he pull it off? Who will play The Judge?...more
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....more
For me, having been inculcated with pictures of a bloody, naked man nailed to a tree since I was five, any discussion of obscenity, homo-eroticism or sexual violence begins with Jesus, or at least the Jesus that hangs in churches, around necks and is furiously waved in the faces of “sodomites.”...more
Just to let all discriminating book-buyers know: Rebecca Solnit’s new gorgeously-illustrated and highly-collaborative book, Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas is out now at all independent bookstores....more
David Talbot, former editor-in-chief of Salon.com, came into Red Hill Books recently to drop off his latest creation, Devil Dog: The Amazing True Story Of The Man Who Saved America, one of the first installments in the Pulp History series — a series that will blow minds left and right now and in the coming months....more
Here’s something I missed from earlier this month: Margaret Atwood took her recent dystopian novel, The Year Of The Flood on the road with thespians, activists and a documentary film team!
Personally, I think book tours should integrate as many non-book-related elements as possible....more
(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....more
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....more
“At a luncheon earlier in the day with Hitchens and Berlinski, Taunton asked Hitchens about his health problems. ‘Well, I’m dying, since you asked,’ Hitchens replied. ‘So are you, but I’m doing it faster and in more rich and fecund detail.’”
Despite recently undergoing chemotherapy for esophageal cancer, Hitchens still shows up to debate a believer....more
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....more
“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....more
Tony Judt, the British historian and social critic, died last Friday at 62 from complications of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Although it left him nearly paralyzed, his brain was unimpaired, as evidenced by the series of personal essays he wrote for the New York Review Of Books this year....more
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....more
And now The Millions has joined the chorus, as Garth Hallberg ponders the ambiguities and joys of Dhalgren, in the most recent installment of Difficult Books....more
Now that it’s summertime, one in three people who shop at my bookstore are looking for travel guides, phrase books, travelogues or history books about some enticing destination.
Yesterday a woman bought a Russian phrase book. I told her that I heard a Starbucks cappuccino costs fifteen U.S....more
First it was Infinite Jest and now readers will be tackling the world’s oldest novel this summer, Tale Of Genji.
I want someone to have a summer of The Recognitions next. Or Don Quixote or Crime And Punishment.
Or maybe a reading group can convince me to keep reading Women And Men by Joseph McElroy....more
“‘No two persons ever read the same book,’ the writer and critic Edmund Wilson said. Let me expand that sentiment outward into the geography of experience: it seems increasingly clear to me that no two persons live in the same city.”...more