| Aug 19, 2012
| 12:39 PM
This Thursday at 8 p.m. there will be a launch party for a new thingamajob I wrote titled the “The Great Dysmorphia: An Epistemological View of Ingesting Hallucinogenic Mushrooms at a 2012 Republican Presidential Debate”. Honestly, if the...
| Aug 23, 2012
| 1:56 PM
I recently took one of those online quizzes to test your accent, and it declared, accurately, that I come from the "Central U.S." The test said my accent is essentially no accent, the one that's employed by television news anchors, who are supposed to...
| Aug 23, 2012
| 2:01 PM
You know what's annoying?
Experimental short stories.
You know what else is annoying?
Adam Levin. He is 35 and grew up on the North Shore. He is talented and can't do anything half-
way, which makes him frustratingly, endearingly bold, the twin...
| Sep 9, 2012
D.T. Max knew what he was getting into when he decided to write a biography of David Foster Wallace. In March 2009, he published a long piece in the New Yorker about Wallace's suicide and the author's inability to finish "The Pale King," the novel left...
| Sep 14, 2012
| 12:50 PM
When the great English poet Philip Larkin worked at the University of Hull, he liked to say that the need to change trains in Doncaster meant most journalists, academics and other London irritants didn't bother to harass him.
The American writer David...
| Sep 19, 2012
| 1:51 PM
Salman Rushdie’s new memoir of his time in hiding, "Joseph Anton," weighs in at more than 600 pages. The British-Indian author was the target of a fatwa death sentence issued by Iranian clerics. A lot of people helped him survive a decade of...
| May 27, 2012
For a handful of people, Clarice Lispector's "A Breath of Life" being published in English for the first time is very good news. Sadly, that handful is fairly small.
Lispector, an extraordinarily gifted writer who revolutionized Brazilian letters, was...
| May 27, 2012
| 10:25 AM
Weary as you must be by now of the hopefully hullabaloo, a post at Language Log by Mark Liberman, "The H-word," gives rise to some further observations.
Professor Liberman demonstrates a salient fact about the disparagement of hopefully as a sentence...
| Mar 23, 2013
| 2:58 PM
Sometimes I wonder how many books I've read in my four decades. Thousands, anyway — maybe tens of thousands — since the first one, about a choo-choo, when I was not quite 3. Right up to Anne Carson's “Autobiography of Red,”...
| Apr 6, 2013
| 12:32 PM
I recently read David Quammen's "Spillover," a scary, brilliant book about zoonotic diseases. Quammen is a marvelous stylist. But I was dismayed to discover, on page 506, this sentence: "One of the things that makes influenza so problematic, Webster said,...
| Oct 26, 2012
| 3:15 PM
I'm usually reading four or five books at a time. At the moment, I'm in the middle of Husain Haddawy's enchanting translation of “The Arabian Nights” (forget Cervantes and Sterne — this is where postmodernism begins); Jean-Luc Marion's...