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Book descriptions that scare me

Anyone who’s read this blog knows I’m a fan of foreign fiction. As a result, I pay attention to book awards involving such books, including the BTBA. But when this year’s winner was announced it got me thinking about things that tend to cause me to prejudge a book.

The NPR review of the winner, […]

March missteps — and milestones

I am a bit disappointed in myself with this month’s misstep. Enough so that I feel some need to make amends. Therefore, rather than simply identify the books that fail me in a month, I will add those that surprise me or are better than anticipated.

Why am I disappointed about the one book I […]

A belated Book Festival follow-up

I know, it’s been a couple weeks since the Festival of Books. But, as you can see, I’ve been mostly absent from the blog. Being crazy busy at work doesn’t go well with oral surgery (fortunately after the Festival), especially when it greatly impairs your ability to speak. Besides, one of the items just came […]

A glimpse of the ‘literary’ perspective

I’ve commented before on the fact the New York-centric publishing world seems to have more than a bit of disdain for the reading public outside that world. Part of it is a sense of an essentially pretentious perspective, one that seems based on the notion that if you aren’t part of the “literary” world you […]

Pretty much 0-fer again

Last year I read nearly 150 books, with fiction (74) slightly exceeding nonfiction (67). In the latter category, about one third of the books were biographies or autobiographies. So how did I do in voting for the National Book Critics Circle awards? Once again an 0-fer in the finalists in four main categories: fiction, biography […]

Explaining why I’m an illiterati

In 2009, David L. Ulin, then book editor of the LA Times, wrote a column called “The Lost Art of Reading,” a piece I noted at the time. Ulin, still a book critic with the paper, was encouraged to expand the column into a longer essay, which was published late last year as The Lost […]