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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 barking canines:

“If a novel is an archeological record of 4.54 billion decisions, then maybe distant barking dogs are its fossils, evidence of the novelist working out an idea.”

Prospective novelists take note: eliminate your barking dog urge!

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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 can’t figure out how or because Facebook is preventing me outright.

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Writing, Getting Fired and Resume-Building

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“I would be lying of course if I didn’t admit I fell harder than I initially may have thought. The days and weeks following my firing were the first time I admitted to myself that instead of building a Blakeian ladder to the moon that could hold my weight, maybe I have been building one bound to collapse, constructed from toothpicks all along.

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All I’ve Got Left Are Unread Pages

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I like looking at my books and often spend several minutes in the evening running my gaze over them.  Most of them I haven’t read but the possibility that I will read them is deeply exciting. (Proust is also excited to know that one day I will open his book.)

Right now, as my house is undergoing a delightful transition, my books are spilling out into the dining room and the bathroom and I follow their inexplicable meandering with lustful eyes.

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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 known, creating a surfeit of charmingly mawkish moments.

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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 p.m.

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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, and something I’ll reread at least a dozen times more.

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Staging A Beautiful Apocalypse

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Today is the birthday of one of my very favorite living writers, Samuel R. Delany.

(I spoke once here before about how I share with Junot Diaz an abiding love for Delany’s work.)

All it took for him to become my favorite was to read his legendary, mind-boggling and notorious sci-fi apocalyptic epic Dhalgren a few years back when I was living in an old Edwardian in the Sunset District of San Francisco and working for lawyers in the Lake Merritt District of Oakland.

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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 to be made for the importance of comic literature at The Times.

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Anarchist Book Gets a Boost From Beck

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“But even before the official pub date, The Coming Insurrection benefited from an ‘endorsement’ from Glenn Beck. As part of a seven-minute rant on Fox News in July, he said, ‘I am not calling for a ban on this book. It’s important that you read this book.’

“Since then, each time Beck has talked about the book, sales have spiked, according to MIT Press associate publicist Diane Denner.

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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 3 a.m.

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Using Genre As A Tool

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“But the idea that genre is a tool, not a prophecy goes beyond combating genre snobbery, I think — it’s actually helpful for writers to think about when crafting their next novel.

Just because there’s this marvelous tool for helping readers to understand your story, doesn’t mean your story has to be crafted around the tool.”

At io9, they’re talking about the advantages of using genre as a tool, especially in regards to sci-fi.

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