Archive for May, 2006

The Blog Novel

The Blog Novel

You probably think that I only review crime novels, books about soccer, and books about blogs. That’s not entirely true: I also review novels about blogs. I’m reading Jeremy Blachman’s Anonymous Lawyer (Holt). Blachman writes a popular blog called Anonymous Lawyer, with tales told from the point-of-view of “a fictional hiring partner at a large […]

Posted in: Likely Stories
Getting Better

Getting Better

Over the weekend I read the new Jason Starr novel, Lights Out. I’ve been a bit critical of Starr in the past. In my review of the anthology Plots with Guns I called him “middling.” Other Booklist reviewers have been mixed. Frank Sennett wrote that Twisted City was “the literary equivalent of a Big Mac.” […]

Posted in: Likely Stories
Literary Detective Work

Literary Detective Work

I finished reading William Brodrick’s The Gardens of the Dead today at lunch and then spent an inordinate amount of time puzzling over what seemed to be contradictory events in the ending. Everything made sense, and then it didn’t, but all the characters were acting as if everything still made sense. I even went into […]

Posted in: Likely Stories
Reading and Sleeping

Reading and Sleeping

No, I don’t mean reading while sleeping – although if I could do that, my problems would be solved. With two young sons waking up at staggered intervals throughout the night (who then wake up the cats, but that’s another story), I often find myself feeling too sleepy to read. Of course, with constant deadlines, […]

Geeks and Greeks

Geeks and Greeks

Sifting through coverage of Book Expo America (BEA), held over the weekend in Washington, D.C. – I stayed home, in the warm, sticky-fingered embrace of my family – it seems that a main topic of conversation was Kevin Kelly’s recent article “Scan This Book!” in the New York Times. Kelly is the “senior maverick” at […]

Posted in: Likely Stories, News
The Churn Rate

The Churn Rate

Last Friday, publish-on-demand (POD, or traditionally, “self-publishing”) service Lulu.com released a study claiming that the life expectancy of the bestselling novel has plummeted. Notes the study: In the 1960s, fewer than three novels reached No. 1 in an average year; last year, 23 did.  Basically, they’re counting the number of weeks a novel stays at […]

Posted in: Likely Stories, News
The Blog Management Team

The Blog Management Team

It probably seems as if I only review crime novels and books about soccer. But I’m much more versatile than that. I also review…wait for it…books about blogs! I’m currently reading Blog Rules: A Business Guide to Managing Policy, Public Relations, and Legal Issues, by Nancy Flynn (AMACOM), which is a lot sexier than it […]

Posted in: Likely Stories
The Problematization of Plot

The Problematization of Plot

While I was writing (that is, “blogging”) about Robert Ward’s Four Kinds of Rain yesterday, I was trying to make sure I didn’t say too much about what actually happens in the story, which is also a key consideration when writing a review. One of the frustrating things about being a book reviewer is that, […]

Posted in: Likely Stories
Greedy Hippies

Greedy Hippies

I finished reading Robert Ward’s Four Kinds of Rain, and it was in some ways what I was expecting – a dark comedy about a bumbling criminal who throws away a chance at real happiness for a treasure that ultimately turns out to be worthless – but in some ways it was a lot more […]

Bumbling Criminals

Bumbling Criminals

I started reading a new book last night, Robert Ward’s Four Kinds of Rain. I’ve never read Ward before, but his book Red Baker (1985) was apparently great. It won him a gig writing for Hill Street Blues, and he went on to become a successful writer for other television shows. If OCLC serves me […]