Archive for May, 2006

I’m Shocked, Shocked

I’m Shocked, Shocked

James Frey has, of course, already confessed that he didn’t really serve that three-month stint in the pokey that he wrote about in A Million Little Pieces. Given that My Friend Leonard starts with Frey in stir, his latest admission is a bit anticlimactic. I wonder if Kaavya Viswanathan will now confess that she was […]

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175 Words

175 Words

Yesterday I wrote three book reviews: The Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup, by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey; Damnation Street, by Andrew Klavan; and Soccer against the Enemy, by Simon Kuper. Anyone who writes for publication knows that the challenge isn’t writing something that’s long enough – it’s writing something that’s short enough. […]

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Damnation Street

Damnation Street

Recently I’ve written about not loving a book everyone else seems to love, a mostly good anthology with a few clanks, and deciding not to star a review by a favorite author. I sound like a lot of fun, don’t I? Being a book reviewer has definitely made me a more critical reader, but I’m […]

The "Right" Opinion

The "Right" Opinion

I meant to post yesterday, but somebody had a case of the Mondays, and that somebody was me. I started this but didn’t finish it: I rarely read other reviews of books I’ve reviewed. (This is one of Keir Graff’s Rules of ReviewingTM, soon to be immortalized on a sticky note somewhere in my office.) […]

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The Strange Romance of Brazilian Names

The Strange Romance of Brazilian Names

It’s Friday, so I’m going to let another writer do the talking. Er, writing. This riff from John Lanchester, in his essay about Brazil from the forthcoming The Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup (see yesterday’s post), starts with a mention of the captain of Brazil’s 1982 World Cup team, “the chainsmoking doctor Socrates”: […]

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Oh Yeah

Oh Yeah

And, oh yeah, I’m still reviewing a book: The Thinking Fan’s Guide to the World Cup, edited by Matt Weiland and Sean Wilsey (Harper Perennial). If it seems like it’s taking me a long time to get through it – I first wrote about it here – you’re right. The book isn’t a doorstop – […]

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Mission: Stated

Mission: Stated

Okay, here it is, my mission statement: In my blog, “Likely Stories,” I will candidly discuss the craft of book reviewing, chronicling my reading habits, evaluation criteria, strengths, and shortcomings. I want to show both the work that goes into a book review and the challenge of balancing objectivity and personal taste. As I work […]

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Mission Statement: Impossible

Mission Statement: Impossible

Yesterday I had a lot of fun writing a fake mission statement, but today it’s time to get serious and write a real one. Before putting it in prose, I’ll just make a list. In “Likely Stories,” I plan to: 1. Write about the job of book reviewing with honesty and candor, providing a glimpse […]

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Mission Statement: First Draft

Mission Statement: First Draft

In an earlier post (“What I Think I’m Doing”), I wrote about the challenges of blogging about book reviewing (damn it, I promised myself I’d never use the word blog as a verb!), but I never got around to defining more precisely what I plan to do with “Likely Stories.” And then last night it […]

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