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Andrés Neuman Q & A

At Tweed's Randy Rosenthal and Laura Mae Isaacman have a Q & A with Andrés Neuman -- author of the novels Talking to Ourselves and Traveler of the Century. He argues: A narrative is very useful. It's like a laboratory in which all your...Show More Summary

Fantomas versus the Multinational Vampires review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of An Attainable Utopia by Julio Cortázar, his 1975 novel(la), Fantomas versus the Multinational Vampires, now finally available in English (from Semiotext(e)). This sounded...Show More Summary

old ruts of thought...Thoreau's Journal: 24-Sep-1859

Though you may have sauntered near to heaven’s gate, when at length you return toward the village you give up the enterprise a little, and you begin to fall into the old ruts of thought, like a roadster. Your thoughts very properly fail to report themselves to headquarters. Show More Summary

There Are Critics and then There Are Critics

Nice response from Jon Baskin at The Point to AO Scott’s recent essay (and the many responses thereto). Jon spends a good deal of his time deconstructing the fact that even though Scott opens his essay with a sweeping and provocative...Show More Summary


More than any other poet of late medieval Scotland, Gavin Douglas delighted in writing about the books he had read: the reputations of their authors, the errors he found in […]

Explaining Piketty's success

Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century continues to be one of this year's unlikely publishing success-stories -- a university press-publication, a work in translation (indeed, I wonder how many have sold more copies this...Show More Summary

Prix littéraire de la Mamounia

The Prix littéraire de la Mamounia, awarded for francophone Moroccan writing, has announced its fifth winner, and, as reported at, for example, Aujourd'hui, Prix Littéraire de la Mamounia: Le Job de Réda Dalil consacré -- apparently the big favorite. See also, for example, the Le Fennec publicity page

Confessions review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Minato Kanae's Japanese bestseller (and basis for a popular film), Confessions, now out in English. This was translated by Stephen Snyder; disappointingly, however: "Translation copyright © 2014 by Little, Brown and Company". (Not okay, guys.)

The telegraph harp...Thoreau's Journal: 23-Sep-1851

The telegraph harp sounds strongly to-day, in the midst of the rain. I put my ears to the trees and I hear it working terribly within, and anon it swells into a clear tone, which seems to concentrate in the core of the tree, for all the sound seems to proceed from the wood. Show More Summary

Emmanuel Carrère profile

In The Observer Robert McCrum profiles Emmanuel Carrère: the most important French writer you've never heard of. [Aside: that sort of claim should really be reserved for the truly obscure, not someone who has been widely translated into...Show More Summary

Bee Time review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mark L. Winston's Lessons from the Hive, in Bee Time.

vile weeds...Thoreau's Journal: 22-Sep-1859

It is remarkable what a curse seems to attach to any place which has long been inhabited by man. Vermin of various kinds abide with him. It is said that the site of Babylon is a desert where the lion and the jackal prowl. If, as here,...Show More Summary

Philosophy Weekend: The Biggest Climate March In History

Nothing I can write today will be as relevant as an event that took place in New York City and various other places around the world today: the biggest climate march in history, attended by over 300,000 people. The Huffington Post has...Show More Summary

The Last Thing I Read that Gave Me Pleasure

It’s hard to say why we like something and it’s easy to say why we dislike something. It’s hard to explain the “why” of liking because it takes more focus to figure it out than the “why” of disliking does,… Continue reading ?

Links & Reviews

- A 28-year-old Bangor, Maine man, Russell Graves, has been sentenced to two years in prison (with all but six months suspended) for the theft of 75 Civil War cartes de visite and 50 WWI and WWII posters from the Bangor Public Library, where he had been working as a janitor. Show More Summary

Untranslated ! (?)

In the Independent on Sunday Christopher Folwer [sic ?] continues their admirable long-running series on overlooked literature with installment nr. 242 -- considering (some of) what still remains Untranslated (into English). I am, of...Show More Summary

Daniel Kehlmann Q & A

At Guernica Philip Zimmerman has a Q & A with Daniel Kehlmann: Forging the Artist. Kehlmann's novel F recently came out in English (to surprisingly little notice so far), but in this interview he also reveals -- shockingly, to me --Show More Summary

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