Archive for August, 2006

The Trouble with Short Stories
By August 31, 2006 0 Comments Read More →

The Trouble with Short Stories

I just filed my reviews of Duane Swierczynski’s The Blonde and Claire Davis’ Labors of the Heart. The Blonde is a collection of short stories that richly evoke the interior lives of people living in small towns of the American West, and Labors of the Heart is about a blonde infected with fast-replicating nanomachines. I mean […]

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Fast-Replicating Nanomachines
By August 29, 2006 2 Comments Read More →

Fast-Replicating Nanomachines

Over the weekend I finished reading Duane Swierczynski’s new crime novel, The Blonde. I enjoyed his last one (The Wheel Man, 2005) quite a bit, and I enjoyed this one, too. Both of them are set in Philadelphia, both are fast-moving and funny. But where The Wheel Man explores a heist gone wrong with unpredictable […]

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World War, Three
By August 24, 2006 0 Comments Read More →

World War, Three

George Eberhart, a senior editor at American Libraries (and an author himself), e-mailed a contribution to the war books project before I went on vacation and, sluggard that I am, I let it sit in my in-box until now. A few of the titles stray from my “wars with American involvement” criterion, but rules were made to […]

Posted in: book lists
Back in the "Office"–at a New Address
By August 23, 2006 0 Comments Read More →

Back in the "Office"–at a New Address

Well, if you’re reading this, then you’ve successfully followed the map I left–covered with candle-smoke smudges and “here be treasure” scrawls–at the old blog address. Welcome. I’m so excited to be here that I spent an hour yesterday reclassifying all of my old posts into new categories. Okay, so most of them fall under “Books […]

Posted in: Books and Authors
Out of the "Office"
By August 11, 2006 0 Comments Read More →

Out of the "Office"

Well, I’m not officially at work these days, but for the next ten days I won’t be here, either. I’ll be on vacation in my home state of Montana. I’m taking two books: Lebanon: A House Divided, by Sandra Mackey (seems topical), and Labors of the Heart, by Claire Davis (for review, but seems appropriate, […]

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Unbound Galleys Revisited
By August 10, 2006 0 Comments Read More →

Unbound Galleys Revisited

I’ve written before about how I don’t really like reviewing from photocopied galleys. Even when they’re bound, the 8½ x 11″ pages are unwieldy. When they’re unbound, I’m always afraid that a sudden gust of wind is going to make me reenact the last scene in The Wonder Boys. (Is that scene in both the […]

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Review Templates
By August 9, 2006 4 Comments Read More →

Review Templates

Something I’d meant to add yesterday was that, even though every book is different, the similarities in the way I frame some of the reviews can almost make it feel like I’ve unconsciously created templates for them. There’s the First-Novelist-Shows-Promise template and its twin, Promising-Novelist-Can’t-Deliver-in-Sophomore-Effort. There’s also Usually-Good-Novelist-Isn’t-Quite-So-Good-This-Time. Then there’s Great-Novelist-Is-Great-Once-Again-Making-Us-All-Feel-Somewhat-Inferior. Then there’s I-Don’t-Understand-What-the-Author-Is-Trying-to-Say, and […]

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The Review Remains the Same
By August 8, 2006 8 Comments Read More →

The Review Remains the Same

Last night I finished reading Bleeding Hearts, by Ian Rankin, and just now I drafted my review. I’m trying to work quickly, because I never know when my four-month-old will wake up. Bleeding Hearts is not the latest Inspector Rebus novel. Like Blood Hunt (2006) and Witch Hunt (2004), it’s a first U.S. edition of […]

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Back to War
By August 4, 2006 2 Comments Read More →

Back to War

A little while ago, while reading Jarhead, I started a list of books that “say something about the experience of war and its aftermath.” It’s not a subject area in which I’m well read, but I received some helpful suggestions both in the comments to that post and via e-mail. Brad Hooper, who studied history […]

Posted in: book lists
More Bewildered, More Innocent, and More Welsh
By August 3, 2006 0 Comments Read More →

More Bewildered, More Innocent, and More Welsh

I was going to sit down and write about how I was able to finish four reviews today because my three-month-old, whose naps are usually short and unpredictable, snoozed the morning away. But then he just spent the last hour having an inexplicable (to me, anyway, probably not to him) screaming fit. The baby giveth, […]

Posted in: Books and Authors