My reading winter, part I

It's time to dust off the old blog again, my dears. Welcome back to me! It's been a funny and infinitely rewarding reading winter for me. I read three books in translation, all in a row: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's Cancer Ward, followed by Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and rounded off with the more…

John Irving’s ‘Avenue of Mysteries’ vs. Luis Alberto Urrea’s ‘Into the Beautiful North’

What could possible motivate me to update a near-defunct lit blog after so many months of absence? Hatred, apparently. If I asked you to name your least favorite book (let's say, only counting books you've actually finished), could you answer right away? Last week, I would probably have had to give it some thought. The…

John Williams’ “Stoner”

I was unaware of the hubbub surrounding the reprint of Williams' novel Stoner until a recent Google search for reviews and information about the book. Regrettably, I had never heard of the author or the novel, and I only picked it up because it is this month's book club selection. On second thought, though, perhaps…

Babies and books things

Baby got borned, two weeks ago today. I call him Segundo, not just because he's my second son, although he is, but also because I have been listening almost exclusively to Compay Segundo and his buddies in the Buena Vista Social Club (well, that and The Format). I don't ever get tired of that CD.…

Extreme Couponing

Can we take a break from books and just talk about this disgusting show on TLC called Extreme Couponing? Have we seen this show? I saw an episode for the first time last night, and it made me sick. Lots of people on the Interwebs seem to have a problem with the obsessive portrayal of…

Stephen King’s Under the Dome

Until Under the Dome, I'd only read two of Stephen King's books, The Green Mile and On Writing, and I enjoyed both of them.  Under the Dome doesn't make me want to rush out and devour all of King's umpteen other books, but I am glad I picked it up ("hefted it" is more apt:…

What we talk about when we talk about sex

Katie Roiphe attempts, in her New York Times piece regarding the Great Male Novelists of the last century -- by which she means Mailer, Roth, and Updike -- to answer the question, "How is it possible that Philip Roth’s sex scenes are still enraging us?" She says, "Roth’s explicit passages walk a fine, difficult line…