March 15, 2008

Five Questions for Alix Ohlin

I've interviewed Alix Ohlin and written about the Morning News Tournament of Books on -- where else -- the Hobart blog.

March 4, 2008

The Rain Man Gave Me Two Cures

It's Cat Power Appreciation Week over on the Hobart blog. We seem to be getting readers and people are commenting.

I'm always writing on other blogs, but never here. Why is that?

February 24, 2008

Book of Poems

Now I've written about Rhett Miller on the Hobart blog.

February 21, 2008

The Life of the Novel

Adrian Tomine's hilarious New Yorker cover.

February 18, 2008

Flipping Out for Etgar Keret

I've written more about Etgar Keret for the Hobart blog.

February 10, 2008

"Enough. Grateful."

Late Show writer and Strike Captain Bill Scheft on the end of the writers' strike:

"I am a writer, which means my very nature is to be a self-obsessed isolator whose most free exchanges are among the voices in my head. If this is indeed over, the end is even more humbling than the hours spent walking in circles toward it. The best definition of success I ever heard was service plus faith. By our actions and the belief in our actions, we have taken care of ourselves and the generations of self-obsessed isolators who will follow us."

Read the rest of Bill's eloquent post here.

February 8, 2008

Literary Roundup!

You can't beat the classics. "The Mouse That Roared" is Leonard Wibberly's 1955 satire of the cold war. Read it and learn that, sadly, but also beautifully and hilariously, in more than 50 years nothing has really changed. The whole book is as touching and as whimsical as its dedication, which Wibberly wrote "to all the little nations who over the centuries have done what they could to attain and preserve their freedom. It is from one of them that I am sprung." In the movie adaptation (Netflixing on my coffee table as we speak) Peter Sellers plays three parts and the Duchess of Grand Fenwick is played by Jean Seberg.

"The Nimrod Flipout" is the first Etgar Keret book I've read. How have I never heard of this guy? These stories are short, quirky, hilarious, touching, and profound.

Atonement is as good as everyone says. What I'm noticing is how elegantly plotted the story is. By about page 70 every turn starts to feel inevitable, and from then on it's like watching fate unfold. Yes the writing is beautiful, but I think McEwan's real achievement is the great choices he mades in writing his characters and their story. Not a single false step.

"A Matter of Detail" is the fourth novel by Maniza Naqvi, who is living proof that having a day job needn't slow you down. Earlier this week Maniza gave a delightful reading at Candida's World of Books in Logan Circle. She joked about knowing everyone in the audience, lit a candle to the memory of Benazir Bhutto, and read three beautiful passages from her new novel about life in Karachi. Maniza is a terrific writer and her novel will tell you things about Pakistan you'll never read in the news.

Fiction tells the truth in a way that nothing else can.

February 4, 2008

My Brother's Music

My brother the folk musician has a Myspace page. Check out his excellent music here.

January 28, 2008

A Beer With Novick

Steve Novick's new ad for his campaign to be a United States Senator from Oregon