Category Archive for "Books"

The Song of Achilles

Years ago, when I was very young, I remember sitting in a tree far out in the woods behind my home and reading The Illiad. For some three thousand years now, in a line that stretches back to the early…

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Cat’s Cradle

About seventy years ago, our species made an interesting decision. We tested the first nuclear weapon. These days, we’ve managed to forget a great deal about this choice. But Kurt Vonnegut was a close contemporary to these events, and was one…

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Capital for the Twenty-First Century

Capitalism and democracy have always had an uneasy history together, despite their seemingly complimentary natures. Democracy has always acted a bit like capitalism’s irritating little brother, and has picked countless fights over the years. Some of these it wins, but…

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As promised, Fifty Shades of Grey

Ugh. I read Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James. I want to say that I did so that you don’t have to. Honestly though, part of me thinks you should. After all, this book birthed the mommy porn genre and…

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“F” by Daniel Kehlmann

I’d never heard of Daniel Kehlmann (Measuring the World, Fame) before the novel F was recommended to me. Though I’ll confess that it was the promise of a comic German novel that ultimately put the book in my hands. After…

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Better off Without ‘Em: a Review

Better Off Without ‘Em: A Northern Manifesto for Southern Independence by Chuck Thompson was something of a guilty pleasure that I picked up in a moment of pique from the iBookstore a little while ago. When I was very young,…

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Challenges in Self-Publishing: Marketing

When was the last time you dug around the eBook listings on Amazon? If you’re a typical reader, your answer is “never.” The best data I’ve seen suggests that you go to Amazon when you know what you want. In…

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The Curious Genius of HP Lovecraft

“Atmosphere, not action,” said Howard Phillips Lovecraft, “is the great desideratum of weird fiction. Indeed, all that a wonder story can ever be is a vivid picture of a certain type of human mood.” Today is Lovecraft’s birthday. I felt…

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The Anatomy of the YA Novel

Today I found myself reflecting on the YA novel, and the underlying formula that makes them work. After all, a lot of writers really want to develop these – partly because the market is so active (and likely over saturated,…

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Hatchette Responds

Just a brief update on the Hatchette/Amazon dispute. Michael Pietsch, CEO of Hatchette, has released a letter in response to Amazon’s last public notice to the reading public. In it, he offers a pretty good description of a why book…

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