OpEd: The Varying Poverties of Now

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The Varying Poverties of Now In the appendix to his brief but radiant 2010 manifesto ‘Reality Hunger’—a supremely confident and practically pedagogical collage of quotations and personal observations published in order to define a perceived new age of literature—David Shields writes with this kind of over-excited, unnecessarily aggressive tone. He’s explaining why those hundreds of [….]

Songs That Make Books Better

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Songs That Make Books Better A few months ago I wrote about some pretty general musical moments in fiction, basically because I think there’s a kind of cool connection between hearing a tune in my head while also reading someone else’s interpretation of said tune. I’d go so far as to say that it wouldn’t [….]

Op Ed: The Wheelbarrows of Violence

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The Wheelbarrows of Violence After missing a 7:15am train on my way upstate last Saturday, I was talking to a homeless guy outside Penn Station while doing my best to enjoy a post-failure cigarette, knowing that I’d have to wait another two hours for the next departure. It had been a relatively crappy day for [….]

Digressions on Liner Notes: Richie Havens’ Stonehenge

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Digressions on Liner Notes: Richie Havens’ Stonehenge (1970)  (Before I start, I should say that this is a new thing I’m doing. The final Tuesday of each month will from now on be devoted to my hopefully interesting and potentially annoying musings on those brief essays or pithy statements commonly known as liner notes, or [….]

Living Long and Prospering: Five Reasons Why Old Sci-Fi Paperbacks Are Awesome

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  Five Reasons Why Old Sci-Fi Paperbacks Are Awesome I was kind of at a loss for something to write this week — until I noticed a stack of paperbacks sitting in the corner of my perpetually messy room. And while I am in no way a true sci-fi aficionado, and my general geek status [….]

Featured Author Review: The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing by Tarquin Hall

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  The Case of the Man Who Died Laughing Tarquin Hall Simon & Schuster, 2010 ISBN-10: 1439172382 — ♦ — Unlike Sharon, (my fellow LitStack contributor), who could actually vouch for the accuracy of Tarquin Hall’s descriptions and provide an interesting introduction, I’ve never been to India. (Yes, I actually want you to click the link and [….]

Living Long and Prospering: Artscience Sounds Nice, But It’s Totally Lame

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Artscience Sounds Nice, But It’s Totally Lame It’s funny how easy it’s become — not that I assume it was ever too difficult — to separate the word “art” from the traditions, meanings and general contexts within which it’s operated in modern society, not to mention human history as a whole. Not only because we’ve [….]

Living Long and Prospering: Another Reason Why American Insecurity is a Renewable Resource

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Another Reason Why American Insecurity is a Renewable Resource I’m going to take this in a bit of a different direction today — one that, on its surface, isn’t lit-related — so bear with me. While I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed last week, I happened to stumble upon a kind of weird link [….]

Bloodline by James Rollins

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Bloodline James Rollins William Morrow 464 pages ISBN-10: 0061784796   — ♦ — There’s a very fine line that exists between competent appeals to a reader’s fantasies or nightmares and ones full of affectation. The former is grounded in substance and reason; the latter is generally all flash, more like the prose equivalent of gratuitous [….]

Living Long and Prospering: A Response to “How to Read a Racist Book to Your Kids”

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You’ve heard it said that white people are fucking crazy. Having spent 22 years as a member of this decidedly unselective group, I can attest to that. And here’s one thing I’ve learned over the course of my short life: White people tend to get even crazier when they begin discussing the ways in which [….]