Archive for August, 2008

Good Question
By August 19, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Good Question

“Should Mein Kampf Be Un-Banned?” (by Ursula Sautter, Time): It’s long-winded and badly written, a tirade against all things non-German that would have disappeared if its author had never managed to turn many of his vile words into action. Adolf Hitler’s notorious Mein Kampf (My Struggle), a manifesto posing as autobiography, has long been banned […]

Posted in: Likely Stories
Point Taken, but the Timing Is Unfortunate
By August 19, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Point Taken, but the Timing Is Unfortunate

Sir Salman “Scruffy” Rushdie (sorry, I just can’t help myself, it’s too cute), whose name is frequently evoked in the Jewel of Medina affair (note to the Ian Fleming estate: great title for a Bond film), has weighed in (“Rushdie condemns cancellation of Muhammad novel,” by Hillel Italie, AP) “I am very disappointed to hear […]

Posted in: Likely Stories
Also, The Story of Civilization Has a Terrible Plot
By August 19, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Also, The Story of Civilization Has a Terrible Plot

Defending her role in the unpublishing of Sherry Jones’ The Jewel of Medina, Denise Spellberg writes “I do not espouse censorship” in The Wall Street Journal (“I Didn’t Kill ‘The Jewel of Medina’“). Nevertheless: . . . I felt it my duty to warn the press of the novel’s potential to provoke anger among some […]

Posted in: Likely Stories
The writing contest was hilarious, like a . . . really funny thing.
By August 19, 2008 1 Comments Read More →

The writing contest was hilarious, like a . . . really funny thing.

The winner of the 2008 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest has been announced. Garrison Spik is guilty of writing the following opening sentence to a nonexistent novel: Theirs was a New York love, a checkered taxi ride burning rubber, and like the city their passion was open 24/7, steam rising from their bodies like slick streets exhaling […]

Posted in: Awards, Likely Stories
I'm Back!
By August 19, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

I'm Back!

Warm thanks and a big round of applause to Kaite Mediatore Stover for keeping my chair warm while I was on vacation. Actually, let me rephrase that–”keeping my chair warm” has unfortunate overtones of bench warmer, and anyone who knows Kaite knows that she starts for the varsity team. Not only that, the chair is […]

Posted in: Likely Stories
Games You Can Play with Your Bookgroup

Games You Can Play with Your Bookgroup

Like most book group leaders, I’m always looking around for something interesting to do with my faithful attendees to keep the gathering fresh and fun and unpredictable. There have been plenty of great suggestions in this blog for how to spice up the meeting when chat has taken a u-turn into dullsville. I’ve used most […]

Dog Days of Reading

Dog Days of Reading

I’m entering my yearly literary petulant phase. Nothing sounds good, nothing is compelling. I’m judging all my reading matter by its covers and everything is wanting. Even traffic signs, menus, and pay checks. Especially pay checks. I was grumbling over my predicament with my pal over at the Kansas City Star, John Mark. He’s having the same […]

Posted in: Likely Stories
Bookseller’s Dilemma: a Cover is a Cover
By August 17, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Bookseller’s Dilemma: a Cover is a Cover

  A book’s attractiveness matters. Pretty books attract the eye and are picked up more often in bookstores. I know because I’ve ordered books for the little bookstore on the north campus of the University of Washington for over thirty years. I’ve watched excellent books with bad covers fall unnoticed by the wayside, and mediocre […]

Japanese Novel, Chinese Novel
By August 17, 2008 1 Comments Read More →

Japanese Novel, Chinese Novel

I’ve just finished reading two new books back to back, and I can only say that both reading experiences were completely satisfying, both were modern Asian novels, both were short, both were written by women, both were just published, and these two books couldn’t possibly be less alike. Natsuo Kirino’s Real World   follows four teenage […]

Five Easy Pieces
By August 15, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Five Easy Pieces

Over the past 30 years, I’ve led many workshops that attempted to hone the skills of fledgling book discussion leaders.  In spite of starting out with the same outline and notes, no two workshops ever turned out quite the same way — rather like multiple discussions of the same book.  These programs have a way […]