Monday, July 31, 2006

We've been overlooking this ...

... and must try to do better: The Daily Square - Burning Down The House Edition.

You can't say ...

... you weren't warned: Mark Sarvas provides Another Reason to Avoid the Movies.

Call any vegetable ...

... sun + tomato = haiga.

A classy villanelle ..

... Antigone in the Shower .

Facts and truth ...

... William Nolte reviews The Haunted Wood

"... an almost numbing account of the details—meetings, reports, payments—that point to the heart of the matter: Soviet espionage happened, on a large scale, and did so through the active involvement of American citizens, a disturbing number of whom held positions of public trust within the Federal government."

A book Mel Gibson should read ...

... while he's in rehab: Georges Simenon ... takes readers on a very bad road trip.
He might want to take a look at this, too: He'll have another one.
(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

A good lead, this ...

... So there I was sitting in a hot tub with a load of drunken harlots in various stages of undress......

A belated Happy Birthday, Emily ...

... Bronte, that is. Phil Wade notes that Emily Bronte Was Not a Man. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

This is interesting ...

... Buy a Book for a Soldier.

Learning from a master ...

... Kevin Wignall cites Lessons of Waugh. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

A new blog ...

... on the block: Emdashes . (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Fill up all that spare time ...

... what, you say you have no spare time? Well, The Independent thinks you do: 50 hot books for summer . (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke, who notes: "I just use any extra time I have to catch up on the accrued unread piles from the rest of the year. ")

Proto-blogger discovered ...

... 80-year-old 'blog' brings a family to life. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

Maxine is back ...

... with Oasis for Dumbledore and Leave of blogsense. The latter has a pungent bit of drama criticism in it, I must say.

Three sisters ...

... make it to the silver screen: Gritty reality of the Brontes. (Hat tip, Vikram Johri.)

Somewhat related ....

... to the preceding post is this : Newspapers to Use Links to Rivals on Web Sites . (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Gee, I guess I just linked to a rival newspaper myself. But I've done it before.

This is interesting ...

... Jeff Jarvis thinks "Woody Allen is the newspaper of film directors: His audience is dying off." Disappearing act (Via InstaPundit.)

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Resolving discord ...

... Salley Vickers visits Michael Mayne: Listening to God's melodies. This is a deeply moving piece.

Rennie D ....

... points us to Rumi. Also worth taking to heart is seek good, not evil ... Rennie D is a good man.

I'd be careful ...

... if I were Nigel: The Fictionalization of Nigel.

Uh-oh ...

... there after us. Critical Mass is talking book editors and critics. Here's what Carole Goldberg of the Hartford Courant had to say: The Critical I: Six Questions for Carole Goldberg .

Also check out John Freeman's Hazy Sunday.

I meant to link to this ...

... earlier and I forgot: There is superstition..... A psychiatrist friend of mine once responded to something I had said by saying that it was "magical thinking." I said, "So what? I like thinking magically."
The one about carrying a potato around is interesting. Doesn't Mr. Bloom do just that in Ulysses?

Another reason ...

... I'm glad I'm not a kid: A Nation of Wimps. (Via InstaPundit.)

The great thing about parents when I was a kid is that they left us the hell alone - at least as long as you stayed out of trouble, which is what you did, if you were smart.

Edna O'Brien ...

... ponders Joyce's only play, Exiles: The ogre of betrayal . (Via The Bibliothecary.)

Anyone who remembers ...

... Scientific American's treatment of Bjorn Lomborg (see Defending science and The litany and the heretic, both from The Economist), will not be surprised at this dim-witted piece: Folk Science.

Ptolemy may have been wrong, but he was hardly a "folk scientist." And I would submit that ancient astronomers did quite a creditable job given their lack of instruments. "Folk astronomy, for example, told us that the world is flat," the piece asserts. Now when would that have been exactly? On my vacation I read a volume of ancient Greek poems. I remember one - dating several hundred years B.C. - that referred to the Earth's globe. I also remember that at the very beginning of the Summa Theologiae Aquinas bases an argument on the roundness of the Earth. Eratosthenes (third century B.C.) accurately calculated the size of our planet and Aristarchus (same time) advanced a heliocentric theory. Astronomers in ancient India postulated such a theory even earlier.
Then there's the inevitable evolutionary explanation. Only that explanation doesn't explain Aristarchus or Eratosthenes - and doesn't address the actual problems born of observation that led Ptolemy to devise his system. Instead, we have an assertion - in this case one with little or no factual data to back it up - and then an evolutionary fairy tale to explain it. As for how we get from Ptolemy to intercessory prayer is anybody's guess. The folk science here is Michael Schermer's.

Vikram Johri likes ...

... The Lake House: Gatecrashing Speed .

I suspect I will, too, when I get around to seeing it. Like both Reeves and Bullock and I'm a shameless romantic.

Patrick Kurp finds ...

... that Les is more: More Les. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The incomparable Minx ...

... has a new story up: Soul searching.

Today's Inquirer reviews ...

Patrick Kurp of Anecdotal Evidence take a dim view of Dan Fesperman's The Prisoner of Guantanamo: 'Gitmo' painted as den of plotters.

But David Montgomery of Crime Fiction Dossier thinks highly of Daniel Silva's The Messenger: A terroristic thriller goes below the surface. (David by the way has just welcomed a new member of his family: Okay, I promise this won't turn into a baby blog...

NBCC president John Freeman of Critical Mass thinks Douglas Coupland's JPod deserves to be taken seriously: A wake-up call for cyber ciphers.

Inquirer staffer David Cohen thinks well, on the whole of Dunstan Prial's The Producer: John Hammond: A man who read the stars.

Sandy Bauers looks at a new development in audio books: Courses and radio plays give a novel meaning to 'audio book'.

Michael McHale thinks T.C. Boyle is at the top of his game: A vengeful hunt for her identity thief.

Sheri Melnick thinks Janet Evanovich is as good as ever: Romantic detour for a Trenton bounty hunter.

And Rita Giordano thinks Jason Goodwin's The Janissary Tree is just great: Book Review In Istanbul, 1836, eunuch detective works a murder mystery.



Saturday, July 29, 2006

These are neat ..

... in sideout side at Bud Bloom Poetry.

Something to keep an eye on ...

... First Out Of The Hole. What an interesting fellow Mr. Carpenter must be.

Geopolitics aside ...

... this is surely from the heart: Lebanon Poems. And surely we can pray for peace. And empty our hearts of rancor.

Debi Alper needs ...

.. some cheering up: Normal service may - or may not - be resumed ... If any of you have the right expertise, maybe you can be of help.

It may perhaps overstate its case ...

... but that's Jim Behrle for you - and we wouldn't want to have him any other way: The Only Poetry Blog That Matters.

Speaking of poetry ...

... check out John Vick's Blog. Lots of interest there (as you can tell, I'm still trying to catch up after being away for most of the month).

The Economist discovers ...

... that some modern poets are Good companions. (Via CruelestMonth - yes, I know it's a publisher's blog. It's also good and worth visiting.)

Another myth bites the dust ...

... "It is a myth that the ancients only or normally read out loud," James Fenton writes. But it is "a myth we appear to want to believe." Read my lips. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The GOBs ...

... go to the theater: Peter Hall in Bath.

Michael Allen has also seen Jonathan Demme's The Manchurian Candidate, 2004 .

I just happened to listen ...

... to The Doors' "Riders on the Storm' and just happened to come upon this: Mary and Jim to the end.

A closer look ...

... at the Qur'an: Book of signs . (Hat tip, Vikram Johri, who comments:

"While reading this piece, it struck me how a lot of the meaning of texts is lost in translation:

The Qur'an is a multilayered Arabic text. Even those who hear it understand it in numerous, sometimes divergent ways, and those who cannot hear it in Arabic grasp no more than a fraction of its intended message.

The limits of human experience affect the way we approach the text. The Qur'an as written in Arabic is less than the revelation given to Muhammad; it is a second-order revelation. The Qur'an written, then translated from Arabic to English, becomes a third-order revelation. Distance from the source handicaps us, yet we can still learn about Islam by engaging with the Qur'an, even as a written text, translated from Arabic to English.

The Hindu religious texts, the Vedas and the Upanishads are all originally in Sanskrit. Sanskrit texts are more readily translatable to Hindi because of the closeness of the languages. Could it be then terrorists can misinterpret Islam because most Muslims don't have access to its original version? As they say, that which is rendered in translation can at best be a loud echo of the original.")

A man after my own heart ...

... that would be David Barber, poetry editor of The Atlantic Monthly: Poet in Residence. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Don't miss the pieces linked to below on the right.

... rather than defining an ideal Atlantic poem or endorsing a particular House aesthetic, he has aimed to publish poems, in any style, that, as he puts it, strike him with their “inflected intensity… ideas, originality, verve.”

My sentiments exactly.

Edward Gibbon weighs in ...

... on climate change. Power Line quotes a letter from Yale's Charles Hill published yesterday in The Wall Street Journal:
The fact that the earth's climate changes in cycles from warm to cold to warm, etc. ("Hockey Stick Hokum," editorial page, July 14) was noted in the late 18th century by Edward Gibbon in his "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire": "The reindeer, that useful animal, is of a constitution that supports, and even requires, the most intense cold. He is found on the rock of Spitzberg, within ten degrees of the Pole; he seems to delight in the snows of Lapland and Siberia; but at present he cannot subsist, much less multiply, in any country south of the Baltic." In the time of Caesar, Mr. Gibbon wrote, the reindeer was native to the forests of Germany and Poland, but in Gibbon's time the animal was nowhere to be seen in those parts. And between the Age of Caesar and the Age of Gibbon, the Medieval Warming Period and the "Little Ice Age" had taken place.
Charles Hill

New Haven, Conn.

If you want to know more about Charles Hill, read the links on this post: Gibbon on global warming

As moral support ....

... for readers everywhere, I have decided to regularly post a link to my colleague David Hiltbrand's Saturday column "Dave on Demand." It provides evidence, week after week, why it is better to stick with a book than flick on the tube. Let Dave do the watching for you: Dave on Demand The curse of the Internet video clip.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I have to head out ...

... to a dinner party shortly (should be interesting: I can't eat any grains or legumes). At any rate, I am unlikely to be blogging again before tomorrow.

This is sweet ...

... Sang Real

A virtual workshop ...

... has been underway at Paperback Writer:

Virtual Workshop #1:Building Series Novels

Virtual Workshop #2:Trend Tracking Versus Jumping

Virtual Workshop #3:Writing to Concept

There's also: VW#1 Winner & VB Party

Amen, brother ...

... Patrick Kurp on Adam Zagajewski: That Damned Objective Reality Again. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Advice for poetry mags ...

... from Michael Schmidt: Poésie sans frontières . (Hat tip, John Brumfield.)

Today's poem ...

... is by Lisa Janice Cohen: Heirloom Varieties.

Check out ...

... The Bat Segundo Show #51: Edie Meidav.

Time for a roundup ...

... namely, John Freeman's Friday Roundup at Critical Mass. Also, at Critical Mass, check out Jane Ciabatarri's What Are You Reading in Concarneau? Someday soon I should treat myself to a Simenon binge.

Some well-turned phrases ...

... have caught James Long's attention: clever old sticks.

More favorable response ...

... to Lee Lowe's Mortal Ghost from John Barlow.

Hard to know ...

... what to make of this: Guggenheim Study Suggests Arts Education Benefits Literacy Skills . (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
"The study found that students in the program performed better in six categories of literacy and critical thinking skills — including thorough description, hypothesizing and reasoning — than did students who were not in the program. "
"Yet the study also found that the program did not help improve students’ scores on the city’s standardized English language arts test, a result that the study’s creators said they could not fully explain. They suggested that the disparity might be related to the fact that the standardized test is written while the study’s interviews were oral."
How could their literacy skills be improved if they had troubkle with a written test. You would think the Times's editors would have wanted to look a little more deeply into this before rushing into print.

A sonnett of a city ...

... James Lee Burke: New Book, Great Article .

Check out ...

... the latest issue of The Pedestal.

Looking ahead ...

... the Kirkus Autumn & Winter Preview

Through a glass, brightly ...

... The Mirror of Human Salvation . ( Via The Bibliothecary.)

Mapletree7 thinks the world of ...

... Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger .

Putting things in perspective ...

Terry Teachout learned to that the hard way: Smack dab in the middle. Fortunately, this hasn't kept him from wanting to Exterminate all the brutes. I notice we have the same liturgical pet peeve. Not too fond of the quarterwits either.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Here is an excellent review ...

... by Kevin Holtsberry. And with that, we sign off for the night.

Maxine, intrepid as always ...

... serves up Crime in the backblogs.

Can't not link to this ...

... Frogettaboutit.

This may not have much to do with books ...

... but it could have a lot to do with my future: The end of elite media empires. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

If you didn't see this last night ...

... on the PBS News Hour, you can see it now: Kay Ryan Discusses New Collection of Poems. Kay Ryan ought to be considered for poet laureate next time around.
Thanks to Dave Lull for pointing out that the link was faulty - and for sending the original link.

The August issue ...

... of Junto is up and running.

Staging fiction ...

... or not: The play's the thing ... unless you're a novelist . (Hat tip, Vikram Johri.)
There have, of course, been writers who were both successful dramatists and novelists - Somerset Maugham, Thorton Wilder, John Galsworthy. I have heard it said that D. H. Lawrence's plays are better than used to be thought.

Some good new stuff ...

... over at Blue Tattoo.

Getting to know them ...

... an interview with Terry Teachout and Laura Demanski. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Time for another list ...

... and this time an unsual one: In Authorial Dominance, Patrick Kurp - inspired by Kate S. - lists those who dominte his bookshelves. So we can all do this. Mine would be very idiosyncratic, because I purge my shelves regularly and only hang on to poetry and certain authors I am especially fond of. And who might they be? John Cowper Powys, Henry Miller, Ortega y Gasset, Nicolas Berdyaev, Josef Pieper, Romano Guardini. I'm not at home and that's all I can think of.
(Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Happy birthday, GBS ...

... Vikram Johri reminds me that yesterday was the 150th anniversary of George Bernard Shaw's birth. And he sends along this: Artist of the impossible. The author of that piece, Sunder Katwala, is general secretary of the Fabian Society. I didn't realize the Fabians still existed. How quaint.
Vikram also sends along this note: "As part of his argument for phonetic spelling, Bernard Shaw was fond of pointing out that 'fish' could reasonably be spelt 'ghoti' - gh as in trough, o as in women, ti as in station."
As it happens I did know this, but it's worth mentioning because it is a wonderful example of how an excess of reason can lead to absurdity. I have a fondness, not only for English orthography, but, like Auden, for irregular sytems of measurement. I'll take inches and ells over centimenters and liters any day.
Shaw is a wonderful example of how genuinely silly a highly intelligent man can manage to become, fond of dictators and fads, a proto health puritan living long enough to finally yearn for death. I think it wonderfuly ironic that his most lasting play has proved to be the one in which ideology gets least in the way: Pygmalion.

Boggy, boggy psalms ....

... Book Buried in Irish Bog Is Called a Major Find . (Hat tip, John Brumfield.)

He sounds terrific to me ...

... Useless - The Accidental Dog . Methinks that Minx will want to read my colleague John Grogan's Marley and Me, the No. 1 nonfiction book over here that is soon to appear in bookstores in Britain - if it hasn't already.
Update: I understand that Marley and Me is out in Britain and has hit No. 1 there also. As well it should.
Update: Read what John has to say about his recent trip to the UK - and much else - at his blog.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Tim Worstall recommends ...

... Lee Lowe's Mortal Ghost: Novels on the Net.

Steve Clackson reminds us ...

... to Remember the AUTHOR.......please. People don't remember bylines, either. Or, to put it more precisely, they don't notice them. Years ago, my foster son told me to read an article in The Inquirer that he had really liked. Turned out I had written it

Speaking of Beckett ...



... which we did yesterday, here is a fine portrait of him by John Kascht, from a show of Kascht's work at Lizza Studios in Tunkhannock. I plan on doing a more substantial post about Lizza later on.
As a counterpoint to the Nobel winner's rather stern visage, here is picture, too, of Betsy Green, the gallery director.

A tattoo tune ...

... specifically, "The Korathy's Lullaby" for you to tattoo by. Also at Bud Bloom Poetry, check out Poetry, Language, and Word Games .

If you're in Manhattan Friday

... you have a chance to hie thyself To ferne halwes, kowthe, in sondry londes... (BTW, I don't believe that second comma should be there.)

How much does appearance count?

Amy Nelson-Mile draws our attention to Re-Packaging the Classics . (Hat tip again to Maxine.)

And here it is ...

... the Must read book of the year (so far). (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

Last night ...

... I read a review of the Selected Letters of William Empson in the TLS. Now Dave Lull sends along a link to a review of it in The London Review of Books: No reason for not asking. I find Empson's position - hating Christianity while admiring explicitly Christian writers like Donne and Hopkins - hopelessly inconsistent and contradictory. I just can't see how you can take either of those writers seriously without taking seriously what they are writing about - as distinct from the manner in which they write about it.

Blogging has been light ...

... because I was trying to figure out how to catch up with everything that piled up while I was away, and also because I had to take some time out to have some therpy on my seriously aching knees. We should get back in stride tomorrow.

Dispatches from Israel ...

via Nextbook: Yoram Kaniuk's Diary in Five Parts. Here is Day 1: Pouncing tigers, falling rockets, and grim expressions . And here is Day 2: Limping amid salves and sirens . And here is Day 3:Despised, even by the dog .

Googling books ...

... Building a mystery. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

Chapter One ...

... of Lee Lowe's Mortal Ghost, a fantasy novel for young adults, has been posted on the internet. Lee says in an email that "the novel will be serialized in weekly instalments for the next 38-40 weeks. Afterwards the entire novel will be available as a free PDF download."

To see how the blogosphere works ...

... consider Rob Mackenzie's The Blurbs. You're quite welcome. Rob.

Hello, from ...

... the Athens of America. The Bibliothecary links to a story about our City Hall and has much of interest to say besides. Lots of other interesting stuff there, so keep scrolling.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Step right up, folks ...

... for the Carnival of Storytelling.

Poems of the day ...

... Arthur Durkee has posted a scattering of recent poetry.

Library Girl recommends ...

... Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl.

We haven't had a list for awhile ...

... so it's nice that the longlist for the Dylan Thomas Prize has been announced: Dying young is not, presumably, a requirement.

Uncommon man ...

... Wordsworth and the country folk. (Via Poetry & Poets in Rags .)

In case you didn't see it ...

... you may want to look this piece by Tom Avril, about a new method for dating old prints and books: A biologist turns a page.

And speaking of Harold Pinter ...

... the ever-vigilant Dave Lull advises me not to miss this performance of his new short play: Apart from That ... And you won't want to miss it either, I'll bet.
Now, let's be honest: Only a deluded cutting-edge intellectual could possibly regard this as anything other than unadulterated crap. And please, don't tell me it's Beckettian. It's to Beckett what Naugahyde is to leather - and saying so probably does a disservice to Naugahyde.

Hot time on the prairie ...

... Summertime. Probably the hottest I have ever been was in a cornfield in Illinois back in 1968 - though Richmond, Va., in August was a close runnerup.

Speaking of the GOB ...

... check out his Oddments - in particular the first.

Vacation days (II) ...

The last book I read before we headed home was Grumpy Old Bookman, a collection of Michael Allen's blog posts. It was terrific and I plan to write a review of it. I meantion this only because I have just paid a visit to the GOB and notice that he has Patrick White in his sites once again: Patrick White remains unpublishable.
I do not myself find Patrick White unreadable. And while I think a good many of those who have won the Nobel have been overrated - think Harold Pinter, Dario Fo, and Elfriede Jelinek - others who have won have been quite good. Among the lesser known I would cite Par Lagerkvist and Gabriela Mistral. (I think the GOB would like Lagerkvist's The Dwarf.)
But I think the point is that one doesn't win the Nobel because one is widely read - though Kipling was - but rather, usually, because one has a certain cachet among a certain set. Come to think of it, how the hell did Kipling ever win it?

Heading to the beach?

Why not take along an ax murderer? A.N. Wilson recommends Crime and Punishment: Take a big old Russian on holiday. (Hat tip again to Dave Lull.)

And you thought the Earth was flat, right?

Umberto Eco considers Outlandish theories: Kings of the (hollow) world. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
I remember seeing , when I was a kid, a Gene Autry serial that featured, mirabile dictu, an army of horsemen from a civilization that lived underground. Any codgers out there besides me who recall this?
Update: Thanks to Google I have found the name of that serial: The Phantom Empire. The Thunder Riders "disappear 25,000 ft. below the earth's surface to the 'Scientific City of Murania,' an underground empire lorded over by Queen Tika (Dorothy Christy), a blonde Amazonian who constantly compares her superior society with that of the pitiful world above. "
Hah! And you thought I was becoming delusional! There's more here and here. Wacky I'm sure it is, but it says something that it has stayed in my memory all these many decades. I must have been a more impressionable child than I thought.

Time now ...

... for The Fifth Carnival of Children's Literature. (Via InstaPundit.)

Let it roll ...

... 'Original scroll version' of Kerouac's masterpiece may be released next year.
(Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

But I should note this ...

Brazilian playwright Gianfrancesco Guarnieri has died: Brazil Says Farewell to the Man Who Tricked the Generals with Allegories . (Thanks to Rus Bowden for the alert.)

Blogging will be light ...

... for a bit. I have a review to finish. Back later on.

It's time we learned ...

... about Oulipo: Science Into Poetry. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Lots of new stuff ...

... from Lynne Scanlon at The Publishing Contrarian. Just keep scrolling. (Hat tip, John Brumfield - who I suspect has caught the blogging bug.)

Giving poetry new depth ...

... three-dimensional to be precise: Web poems make poetry 3D. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Well, we missed it ...

... but the Guardian has plenty - including audio - about the Port Eliot LitFest 2006.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Something I missed ...

... while I was away. But Amy Nelson-Mile didn't: Petrarch's birthday.

Check this out, too ...

... Skint writer on the journey to POD.

Check out ...

... "The Conservatory."

Somehow ...

... I know how she feels: The itch on my scalp means.

I wouldn't really be back ...

... if I didn't check in at Bud Bloom Poetry, where I find this: "Want to have your work reviewed by a published poet?"

And also this, which we might call Thus rhymed Zarathustra.

How true ...

... Terry Teachout's Almanac today. I have always been remarkably cool, calm and collected when facing danger (which I have actually done a couple of times). But I get terribly, terribly frightened in retrospect.

Vacation days (I) ...





I shall have more to say of our trip by and by - there is so much to do when you get back from one, have you noticed (I even had an appointment with the chiropractor) - but for now let me just say that we did a good deal of gallivanting around this time. An especially good time was had at Lake Carey, about 10 miles north of Tunkhannock, where Betsy Green, of Lizza Studios, invited us for a visit with her family. Here are some shots. Lake Carey is the second largest natural lake in Pennsylvania and Betsy's family has a place there for more than a century. She, however, lives on Lake Harvey, about 40 minutes south, the largest natural lake in Pennsylvania. I forgot the story about the gingerbread house, but will call Betsy and get the details.

Polly wants some happiness ...

... Columbus's parrot. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
My, but the Admiral of the Ocean Sea, could come up with strange notions.

"Batter my heart ... "

... wrote John Donne. And he knew whereof he spoke - so do I, I fear: Donne undone. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Congratulations ...

... to Mr. and Mrs. David Montgomery: Welcome a new reader!

Much to catch up with ...

... but Maxine is a good source: Blogactivity and Women bloggers analysed and Distillation and Sunday brunch.

OK, one more Mickey Spillane tribute ...

... Goodbye, Tough Guy. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Well, I was away ...

... when Mickey Spillane passed. So here are some things Bill Peschel posted on the subject:
Mike Hammer Checks Out and One More Post About Mickey Spillane and This Time I Mean It About It Being The Last Post About Spillane. The third has a link to a fine tribute by Edward Champion.

What happens when you order latte?

The Literary Saloon links to The Espresso Book Machine.

On a more serious note ...

... or at least a more lovely one: As Ivy .

I have returned just in time ...

... to encounter the McMinx.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

At last, here they are ...




Some shots of where we were for the past two weeks. The two vista shots are from the Wyalusing Rocks overlooking the north branch of the Susquehanna. The meadow shot is from the Woodbourne Forest Sanctuary in Demock, in Susquehanna County, north of Tunkhannock. I'll have more tomorrow.

I also see that ...

... while I was away, Shameless paused again for a poem: the captured rainbow.

Well, this can't wait ...

... until tomorrow: Arthur Gadfly, a frequent visitor to this blog, has decided to join the blogging community. Let's all give a warm welcome to The Duchess Diary.

We are back ...

... from our vacation and I had hopes to post a few photos and let it go at that. I will have to let it go at less than that, since Blogger has decided to greet my return with giving me the impression it is uploading my pictures, but then said pictures do not appear. Maybe tomorrow.
My thanks to John and Gene for filling in for me in my absence.

Today's Inquirer reviews ...

Inquirer book critic considers Efraim Karsh's Islamic Imperialism: Seeing Islam as a culture rooted in war .

Thomas Lipscomb examines Mark Fuhrman's take on that perennial mystery, the JFK assassination: Fuhrman views JFK's murder as 'a simple act' .

Suzanne Blair thinks rather well of Robert Phillips's Circumstances Beyond Our Control: Robert Phillips, poet behind the wheel.

Speaking of poems, here's one by C.E. Chaffin: Paradigms .

Katie Haegele thinks highly of William Nicholson's Seeker: Young Adult Reader 3 questing warriors, so misunderstood.

Marietta Dunn has high praise for Garry Disher's Snapshot: Lonely Aussie cop hunts killer of loathsome woman

Dianna Marder serves up a menu of culinary novels: For the beach: A feast of culinary novels .

Elizabeth Fox is disappointed in Scott Smith's The Ruins: Mayan mystery dissolves in pointless, relentless gore .

Desmond Ryan, however, is much impressed with Lindsey Davis's See Delphi and Die: Book Review Murder in ancient Greece, and a private oculus on the case.

Garr Gentile has mixed feeling about Pierette Domenica Simpson's Alive on the Andrea Doria: An immigrant's tale, and a new theory .

Friday, July 21, 2006

Adam Kirsch waxes rhapsodic..........

...........over the re-issuing of 60-year-old "The Passionate Gardener" by German novelist, dramatist and translator Rudolf Borchardt.

The Guardian's July poetry workshop............

..............is open for business
Thanks, Rus

I mentioned Wendy Cope yesterday....

..............not realizing that today is her 61st birthday which I discovered quite serendipitously on this website of contemporary British writers.

Remember Thomas Pynchon?

Well, it turns out that between vocal appearances on The Simpsons, he's been working on a novel at the rate of about 90 pages a year and his new work will be available in the U.S. in December. At 900 pages - give or take - the review copies better be coming out soon.
Thanks, Vikram.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Blog safely

More on blogging and work

Feeling neglected?

If so, Dave Lull points out an essay that may reverberate with you at Jargonbooks.com

Writing at the top of her powers.....

.........in an article that should be required reading and is not to be missed, etc., etc., etc. Ruth Franklin lays into cliche-slinging reviewers who are too nice for anyone's good. She also throws in a review of her own.
Nod to Dave Lull.

India's attempt to shut down some blogs.......

may have backfired

Vikram Johri has a couple of hot tips.......

.................on maverick women in literature and Adam Phillips' take on the happiness trap (scroll to Politics, Philosophy and Society).

Hello from Tunkhannock ...

... Debbie and I are at Lizza Studios (www.lizzafineart.com) in beautiful downtown Tunkhannock, Pa., about to go to lunch. Be in touch again Sunday night.

What they bring to the table (of contents)

Nice piece on the Financial Times website by Richard Ehrlich on cookbook ghostwriting

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Poetry on catalog cards.........

......from a collection of American bards

The headline says it all............

.............in this deft piece about a true story that inspired Dreiser's An American Tragedy.
What the townsfolk want to do about it though has to my mind, the makings of a classic American comedy, a la Christopher Guest.
Graceful curtsey to Dave Lull.

We doubt Warner Bros. has picked up the option....

............on any of these books, but here is the most current poetry best seller list
The Danielle Steel of this group seems to be Mary Oliver with 7 titles in the top 30.

Caveat blogger

Lynne Scanlon, The Wicked Witch of Publishing informs us of a cautionary tale of a blogger's contretemps with her employer (who soon became her ex-employer)

If you don't know Wendy Cope,............

..............what are you waiting for? One of my favorite contemporary poets is given some well-deserved recognition by Eric Ormsby right here
Not sure if Ms. Cope has an American publisher. One is long-overdue if she doesn't.
Hat tip to Dave Lull

German literary levity..........

Apparently, that's not an oxymoron. Dave Lull points us to the Guardian site that tells us of a surprise best-selling German novel that subverts all our assumptions of Teutonic tale-telling. Read about it here.

Attn: Blah, blah, blahggers.........

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has just completed a survey of internet users and bloggers. It (and other surveys of online issues) can be found at this website

Francine Prose's new book.............

...............is about reading and writing. She's interviewed by Jessica Murphy in The Atlantic Online

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

As William Carlos Williams wrote......

It is difficult
to get the news from poems,
yet men die miserably every day
for lack of what is found there.

Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD, DLitt (Hon) has written an essay about the use of poetry in her medical practice.

Terry Teachout also weighs in on Mickey Spillane

You can read his thoughts at this site

E.L. Doctorow offers some......

...........notes on the history of fiction

Kiss me, Objectively!

In noting the passing of Mickey Spillane, Dave Lull points to an excerpt from Ayn Rand's "The Romantic Manifesto". That excerpt follows, but for Dan Schneider's much longer consideration of Spillane go here

Ayn Rand in ‘The Romantic Manifesto’ quotes from MS’s description of New York at night as an example of his skill- ‘The rain was misty enough to be almost foglike, a cold gray curtain that separated me from the pale ovals of white that were faces locked behind the steamed-up windows of the cars that hissed by. Even the brilliance that was Manhattan by night was reduced to a few sleepy yellow lights off in the distance’- and then compares it to a passage by Thomas Wolfe- ‘The city had never seemed as beautiful as it looked that night. For the first time he saw that New York was supremely, among the cities of the world, a city of night. There had been achieved here a loveliness that was astounding and incomparable, a kind of modern beauty, inherent to its place and time, that no other place nor time could match.’ Rand says, ‘there is not a single emotional word or adjective in Spillane's description; he presents nothing save visual facts; but he selects only those facts, only those eloquent details, which convey the visual reality of the scene and create a mood of desolate loneliness.’ Wolfe, she said, used only estimates, ‘and in the absence of any indication of what aroused these estimates, they are arbitrary assertions and meaningless generalities.’

Just don't call her a poet!

Philadelphia resident, Eleanor Wilner is profiled at the Poetry Foundation website.

Monday, July 17, 2006

One last post before I leave.............

..............Christopher Hitchens on Tom Paine

Books reviewed in The Inquirer this Sunday......

............ can be accessed at this site . These include:

Don't Leave Me This WayOr When I Get Back on My FeetYou'll Be Sorry
by Julia Fox Garrison
HarperCollins. 352 pp. $24.95
Reviewed by Marta Salij
The struggle of a young stroke survivor

Rainer Maria Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salomé:The Correspondence
Translated by Edward Snow
and Michael Winkler
Norton. 424 pp. $39.95
Reviewed by Bernhardt Blumenthal

A Novel of Money, Madness,and the Inventionof the World's Favorite Soft Drink
by John Barlow
Morrow. 353 pp. $24.95
Reviewed by Dan DeLuca

Nancy CulpepperStories
By Bobbie Ann Mason
Random House. 224 pp. $22.95
Reviewed by Beth Kephart

Now You See It...Stories from Cokesville, Pa.
By Bathsheba Monk
Farrar Straus & Giroux.
228 pp. $22.
Reviewed by Karen Heller

Thinking of getting that Ph. D. in English?.

If so, take a gander at the following. A bittersweet first-hand look at what it takes by an associate professor of English who seemingly had to sacrifice almost everything but his anonymity to bring it to you.
Thanks, Dave.

Scroll down.........

............to `Meet the Author' at Grumpy Old Bookman for author interviews on video.

Apropros of the summer travel season....

.........come these tips on reading while travelling
Tip o' the lid to Maxine.

Last week, I believe.............

....................I called attention to a review of a new book entitled The Economics of Attention by Richard A. Lanham. Being a novice blogger as I was then, I think I also provided an inaccessible link to that review. Let's try this one provided by Dave Lull

Not that he needs any more books in his life......

..............but perhaps while Frank is roaming around Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains he'll stumble on a bookstore like the one Fergus Cullen found in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Antiquarian Books has what must be the most unusual marketing lure - if that's the word - in the business. Thanks to Maxine for the tip.

I've always wanted to be ..........

............a smooth-talking drifter, but after reading today of the passing of Arkansas Lt. Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller I'm starting to rethink that earlier ambition. The Associated Press obit begins, "Lt. Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller, an unassuming billionaire...."
Hmmmm, unassuming billionaire, eh? Yeah, that's more like it. It would give me just the patina of understated excess that I now realize is missing from my self-image not to mention my cash-flow position.
And speaking of billionaires, I guess it's no secret that the surest way to your first billion is to master the ukelele. Dave Lull points out an interesting piece at First Take on the world's preeminent uke picker here

Friday, July 14, 2006

Sad to say......

.... I must run. Will check back in on Monday.

Bene legere saecla vincere

I greatly enjoyed my two years of high school Latin. Unlike algebra, which I also knew I'd never use later in life, I greatly regret not having been able to continue it in college.
Mary Beard, classics editor of the Time Literary Supplement has an enjoyable take on Latin's usefullness

A thousand apologies.............

...................for such a late posting today. Recent events in the Middle East have, among other things, made claims on my time here at the paper as I try to arrange additional coverage of that story by Inquirer staff writers.
Dave Lull and Maxine Clarke, save me. Ah, there you are pointing out timely and diverting pieces on Czeslaw Milosz and literary moonlighters

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More Best Sellers than you thought possible

Amazon.com is now calculating thousands of specialized bestseller
lists. Read about it here

Christopher Hitchens

The name alone should get your attention. He reviews "Strange Times, My Dear: The Pen Anthology of Contemporary Iranian Literature" by Nahid (edt) Mozaffari in the Atlantic. You can read it here

Today in the centennial of...........

....................the acquittal of Alfred Dreyfus. Ronald Schechter has a thoughtful take on L'affaire in The Forward

http://www.forward.com/articles/8056

Hat tip to Dave Lull and Arts & Letters Daily

If you're reading this blog................

...............chances are you'll be fascinated, as I (John Brumfield, Frank Wilson's July expedient) was, by this interview with Richard A. Lanham on what he calls the "economics of attention"

http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/468828in.html

Hat tip to Dave Lull.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I'll be leaving soon.............

....and return home where I continue to work on my play about life in Philadelphia in mid-July. It's entitled Soddenly, Last Summer.

See you on the morrow. Brumfield.

I forgot to announce myself

All postings for Tuesday, 7/11 have so far been made by Frank's summer sub, John Brumfield.

News you can use...

Don't feel like waiting for that book to be shipped from Amazon? Maxine points out a possible solution to your problem at:
http://jwikert.typepad.com/the_average_joe/

I've read several poems today...........

..............but none tops this one (from -- or at least inspired by -- New Zealand, unless I've missed my guess).
http://shamelesswords.blogspot.com/2006/07/pause-for-poem.html

"Appalling powers of invention".....

.........that's what retired mechanical designer Jim Guigli was cited for in this year's
annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest for bad writing. Jim submitted 64 entries into this year's contest so it just goes to show how bad you can be if you really, really put your back into it. Way to go, Jim.
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/11/ap/strange/mainD8IPFO4O0.shtml
Hat tip to Dave Lull again.

Terry Teachout recommends:

Here's Terry Teachout's Top Nine Shakespeare films (of the 420 film adaptations of the Bard's plays)
http://www.artsjournal.com/aboutlastnight/archives20060709.shtml#106906.
I would have added Kenneth Branagh's Henry V along side Olivier's version to the mix if only to illustrate how fascinatingly varied are the interpretations of the plays. Same words; two great performances; totally different impressions left with the viewer.
And speaking of William Walton's score of the Olivier version, there's a lot to be said for Patrick Doyle's musical contribution to the Branagh too.
Hat tip to Dave Lull.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Believe it or not........

that's all for today. Will try for a bigger payload on the morrow. Brumfield.

He's looked at books from both sides now....

Maxine Clarke brings our attention to the following piece on writing, reviewing and being reviewed by novelist and book reviewer Jeffrey Cohen http://murderati.typepad.com/murderati/2006/07/the_book_in_rev.html

Hello, Frankophiles

John Brumfield here filling in for the vacationing Frank Wilson. To paraphrase the late Senator Lloyd Bentsen, I have served here at The Philadelphia Inquirer with Frank Wilson, I know Frank Wilson, Frank Wilson is a friend of mine. Reader, I am no Frank Wilson! So, if we can all lower our expectations just a bit -- and really, how hard can that be with all this humidity? -- I think we'll get along just fine. I'm not as prolific as Frank, as I'm in the middle of trying to set up new news bureaus in Washington, D.C. and Jerusalem so my plate is a bit full presently. I'll be relying quite a bit on Frank's Irregulars to help me keep you blogologically current.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

See you later ...




... Debbie and I are about to take off for a couple of weeks of R&R in Pennsylvania's Endless Mountains.

While I'm away, two of my colleagues - John Brumfield and Gene D'Alessandro - have generously agreed to take over my blogging duties. John and Gene are both actors, raconteurs, and all-round bon vivants. Welcome them, please, and don't treat them any better than you would me.

If I manage to find myself near a computer while I'm away, I may just pop in and say hi.

And the winners are ...

... the 2006 Rhysling Anthology and Awards have been announced.

Today's Inquirer reviews ...

John Freeman visits the unnerving world of Ken Kalfus' A Disorder Peculiar to the Country:
A nation, a couple, hell-bent on revenge.

Nadya Tan brings a knowing eye to Dao Strom's The Gentle Orderof Girls and Boys: Four novellas find Asian Americans at various crossroads

I gather I'm not supposed to like Paulo Coelho, but I found The Devil and Miss Prym quite intriguing: Parable about good and evil.

Carlin Romano takes a close look at Eviatar Zerubavel's The Elephant in the Room: Exploring what all see, but no one acknowledges.

David Walton is impressed with Justin Kaplan's When the Astors Owned New York: Tracking the Astor family in New York.

Katie Haegele finds much to admire in Keith Donohue's debut, The Stolen Child: A child stolen by fairies mourns his lost life.

Katie thinks highly of Allison Whittenberg's Sweet Thang: Young Adult Reader Preteen drama, set against a backdrop of family grief

Elizabeth Fox thinks little of Andrew Tree's Academy X: Report card's poor for teacher's 'Academy X'

Gordon Marino sizes up Teddy Atlas and Peter Alson's Atlas: Boxing bio goes to heart of what it means to be a man

Saturday, July 08, 2006

If you haven't already ...

... check out the GOB's Friday roundup.

Omens ...

... When Fiction scoops the News

Vikram Johri ...

... meet Paulo Coelho.

Changing times ...

... and John Updike: Daniel Pinchbeck and Cynthia Ozick (and others) Respond. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Finally, some specifics ...

... on the Ann Coulter charges: Newspaper Accuses Political Author Coulter of Plagarism. The examples cited seem fairly trivial - there are only so many ways you can state the facts of a matter. Moreover, since both appeared in newspapers, the information must have pretty widely disseminated - though maybe not.

Another poetry site ...

Gerald Ney emailed me yesterday with a couple online poetry sites. One is The Memorial Day Writers' Project Poets Page. The other link didn't work. But Gerald recommended this poem, which I found after a little searching: "Hello, David."

BAFAB's First Anniversary Contest ...

... The Answers, and Contest Winners. Congratulations to all - and thanks to Debra Hamel. That had to be a lot of work.

The incomparable Minx ...

... wants to put a spell on you: A Good Spell. Hope it at least gets Debbie and me safely and pleasantly to our vacation retreat tomorrow.

If it's news to Glenn ...

... it must be news to most of us: The Big-Bang Story of U.S. Private Business (follow the link). I guess it's not news to the MSM. Or at least not part of the news that's fit to print. Or something like that.

Let's all send Jenny ...

... our congratulations: Weekend activities. I have.

Something else wonderful ...

... at Bud Bloom Poetry - The House that Jack Built: One of R. Caldecott's Picture Books.

This is excellent ...

... Breakfast for Wahoos.

Were I to write fiction ...

... I would write novellas. The novella is both exquisite and unjustly neglected. It can attain a formal and thematic perfection few novels can approach. Louis Auchincloss - who, God bless him, continues to write wonderfully - has names what he regards as the five best: The Long and the Short of It. (I hope the link works.)

Genuine words of wisdom ...

... from Shameless: The Unpublished Blues.
Many years ago, I accumulated so many rejection slips I thought I might be able to make a book out of them.
It is useful to remind oneself from time to time that anything worth doing is worth doing for its own sake, as an end in itself, and not for anything that may come of it.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Buy a Friend a Book ...

I was so swamped yesterday I failed to link to Day 6.

But The Final Question is now available!

Calling all Harry Potter fans ...

... Jenny has a question: Next competition!

The first book I reviewed ...

... for The Inquirer - back in 1976, I think - was Hearing Secret Harmonies, the concluding volume of A Dance to the Music of Time. Laura Demanski is reading A Question of Upbringing, the first volume: Two trains and a turn. Laura is also nursing a bum knee: Roughed up. I deeply sympathize. I've been nursing two of them for the past week - in my case the wages of growing old.

This sure nice to know about ...

... Dave Lull sends along a link to Bill Thompson's Eye on Books. Looks like a good source for information.

Lots of books ...

... that have been forgotten are well worth looking at again. Hence The Neglected Books Page, which takes a look at a fine biography that doesn't deserve oblivion: David Hume by J.Y.T. Grieg. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Words that bound ...

...The King James Version used to be our common text (Hat tip, Dave Lull.) Readers of this blog will know that I believe that a knowledge of the Authorized Version is essential to an appreciation of English literature.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Something I missed ...

... The Fallaci Code. (Via Roger Simon.)

Clash of the Titans...

...Publishers v Google

Should anyone be wondering ....

... why blogging has been light, it is because I amtrying to wrap things up in the office so that I can go on vacation for a couple of weeks. I have deleted more than 2,500 emails from my in-box. I am opening the latest delivery of books. I have edited and moved to the copy desk a month's worth of reviews. And I'm far from finished.

Why am I not surprised ....

... that "the Black Book of Saddam Hussein has been received with what [editor Chris] Kutschera describes as a "chill" by the French commentariat, has been ignored by the reviewers in the leading French newspapers"? Baathed in Blood

An artist for mature people ...

... C.J. Schuller looks at John Armstrong's Love, Life, Goethe: Time to come down from the pedestal .

Is it the public ...

... that John Updike fears? The socialization of reading (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Teddy bear poet ...

... Betjeman’s world of trains and buttered toast. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

In praise of ...

... some Little Big Books.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Very sorry I missed this yesterday ...

... but it's here now: Operation Poem.

Peter Stothard ...

... who knows his classics, looks at Madame Homer.

Thus blurbed Zarathustra ...

Robert McCrum finds that Blurbs fail me. The blurbs I find interesting are the ones culled from reviews. You can write a review praising a book to high heaven and not find anything taken from it for the paperback edition cover. Why? Because you didn't think to provide the sort of praise that can be easily snipped from. On the other hand, you can dismiss a book and find yourelf recommending it on its paperback cover - thanks to the careful use of ellipses.

Maxine has seen th future ...

... Evolution of a blog. Better think about this.

ThrillerFest ...

David Montogomery has a ThrillerFest Roundup and a ThrillerFest photo and ThrillerFest Feedback.
Sarah Weinman has some ThrillerFest Hangovers.

Serious metaphor breakdown ...

... is noted at Critical Mass: The Will Self Award . Prima facie proof that we can all use and editor from time to time.

Something I missed ...

... John Freeman's Round Up.

I hadn't heard this ...

... and it gives me no pleasure now that I have (since I have trod the same path): An Update on the San Francisco Chronicle. Good luck, folks.

Wish I knew about this sooner ..

... I declare today a reading at whim day. I have a review book to read - luckily, it's by Bill Pronzini.

Cool but cornered ...

... that's where Laura Demanski finds herself: OGIC: 300 books.

Timely words ...

... from Isaac Bashevis Singer in Terry Teachout's Almanac.

Another attempt ...

... a la Bill Kauffman to define conservatism left: God, Guts, and Granola.

For those who like that sort of thing ...

Mis Snark links to some Online writing exercises. (Hat tip, Maxine Clarke.)

The must-read list ...

... Read it before you die. (Via Miss Snark, via Maxine.)
Generally, I read what I feel like. I've read some of these, others not. I feel no obligation to read any of them, especially the more recent ones.

Buy a Friend a Book ...

... First Anniversary Contest: Day 5.

China rediscovers ...

... a neglected writer: The Resurrection of Pearl Buck. Maybe we should, too.

School days ...

... as seen by Zadie Smith: University of strife. (Hat tip, Vikram Johri.)

On your mark ...

... poets: The Arvon International Poetry Competition 2006 is open. (Hat tip, Dave Lull)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006