Posts Tagged: Michael Berger

A Dog Is Barking Everywhere

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Foghorns show up in much of my writing, but that’s because I cultivate a disingenuously melancholy disposition that my actual life, full of hilarity and good-natured insults, completely belies. But today I discovered that “a distant barking dog” appears in everything ever written by anybody.  At Slate, Rosecrans Baldwin ponders this strange ubiquity of blandly […]

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Should We All Commit Facebook Suicide?

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“But somewhere in that transition from a social site meant to deepen interpersonal relationships to a self promotional, commercial tool, Facebook lost its appeal. “The various facets of my life merged into a web of connectivity where I could no longer clearly create distinct relationships with friends, foes, and fast food — either because I […]

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No One Belongs Here More Than My Therapist’s Wife

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It’s funny, I love Miranda July’s stories but Gordon Haber at Bookslut is insightful about her varied titles: “We Are Vaguely Included seems to show the influence of Miranda July, who has demonstrated talent in numerous genres while consistently formulating vaguely inclusive titles. July has a performance piece, Things We Don’t Understand and Are Definitely […]

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Leafing Through Old Lit Magazines

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Sometimes you read a story published almost a hundred years ago in a magazine and you ask yourself, “Would this stand a chance of getting published today?” These sentences are long, tangential and laden with disruptive conjunctions. This narrator is all over the place with his emotions and his memories. It almost feels like he […]

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In a World Without Taboos (We’d Just Be Jerking Off)

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“When, they ask, are things going to get dirty again? “If you want an answer to that question, ladies and gentlemen, let me propose one. In 2010, the only sex that’s truly dangerous and unbounded is solitary.” In response to Granta’s latest Sex Issue, Guardian UK takes a provocative, one-handed stance. Personally, I find this […]

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The Unsettling Visions Of Thomas Disch

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“Fantasy is not avoidable. The very act of writing fiction is a sin, a lie. One of Disch’s most haunting stories, ‘Getting Into Death,’ is about a writer (one who uses two pseudonyms, at least one of which Disch used himself) who orchestrates her death by fabricating warmth and sentiment toward everyone she has ever […]

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Phoenix Books In San Francisco Turns 25

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It’s something of a major milestone to keep an independent, used bookstore running for twenty-five years. And that’s exactly what Phoenix Books in San Francisco is celebrating this month. So as an Anniversary celebration and as  part of Noe Valley Celebrates the Book, Phoenix is hosting some incredible authors this evening from six to eight […]

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Celebrate The Anniversary Of A Wonderful Book

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There is nothing quite like reading Little, Big, John Crowley’s epic and elegantly subtle fantasy novel about a New England family and their mystifying relationship with the Fairy World. In language and style and vision, in action that veers from the curiously fantastic to the magically mundane, this book is unlike anything I’ve ever read, […]

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Stuck Between Two Impossible Libraries

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“Every librarian, every book collector, finds him or herself between these two mythical places—the Perfect Library of God and the Infinite Library of Babel, the one transcribed by Jerome, the other by Borges.” At Lapham’s Quarterly, a beautiful meditation on libraries, God, St. Jerome and Borges — and at the same a pithy diagnosis of […]

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Book Cover Missed Connections

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“Such encounters are becoming increasingly difficult. With a growing number of people turning to Kindles and other electronic readers, and with the Apple iPad arriving on Saturday, it is not always possible to see what others are reading or to project your own literary tastes. “You can’t tell a book by its cover if it […]

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Show Me More Funny Books Please

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“But there is another issue, too: one for which you can’t blame publishers or booksellers. The thing about being funny is that it’s really hard. “It’s a lot harder than being serious. It requires wit, grace, agility, sensitivity; it requires knowing how hard to push and when to stop on a dime.” Another strong argument […]

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The Heroic Return of the Baffler

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After a hiatus of a few years, the intellectually-engaging, always interesting, often confrontational and downright maverick literary/cultural magazine The Baffler has returned! I just picked up my copy at the bookstore where I work. Most bookstores with a decent magazine rack should carry at least a couple copies. At least the ones in San Francisco […]

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The Boring, Unplayful, Unoriginal Global Novel

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“What are the consequences for literature? From the moment an author perceives his ultimate audience as international rather than national, the nature of his writing is bound to change. In particular one notes a tendency to remove obstacles to international comprehension. . . “More importantly the language is kept simple. Kazuo Ishiguro has spoken of […]

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Cars are Always Funny and So are Landlords and Sex

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“The affect, here, stems from the naive individual’s skewed encounter with systems larger than himself, an encounter which, reprised again and again, plays out Bergson’s first rule of comedy: that life should be reshaped into a self-repeating mechanism (it’s no coincidence that so much slapstick involves cars: in Bergson’s terms, automobiles are automatically funny).” At […]

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San Francisco’s Demographic Shift

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“San Francisco’s Marcus Books has long been a gathering place for African-American authors such as Maya Angelou. But last year, manager Blanche Richardson faced the realization that the 50-year-old bookstore might have to close, the victim of a mix of demographics and economics. “To even have to contemplate closing this place, with all of its […]

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Writing While (Not) Loving, Loving While (Not) Writing

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“Edmund Wilson encouraged his second wife Mary McCarthy’s first forays into fiction by shutting her in a room for three hours and asking her to write a story. Author Shirley Jackson’s husband Stanley Hyman, a literary critic and writer for The New Yorker, devised strict writing schedules for her. And with the money from Jackson’s […]

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