Friday, March 13, 2015

A Review I Didn't Write

I was supposed to write this for The Rumpus,  but felt that I had to beg off since I was at such a loss to appreciate this book. I am sure it will find some sympathetic readers, but I just couldn't get on board with its efforts, and was mostly bored and annoyed as I made my way to the end. It doesn't help much to put pans and slams out there for books that aren't exactly raking in the readers anyway. I also felt like maybe my reaction revealed my lack of imagination, and was worried that it would undermine my authority as a reader if I were to write a review mostly consisting of "I don't get it." And maybe I am not the best reader of that kind of work these days -- I want fiction to be at least a little reader friendly, to be absorbing -- yes, to challenge and engage with formal adventures, to make you work a little, but still have basic elements like plot, and interesting characters, and setting. I did write out my puzzlement, which is what lies below.

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Reading Pharos Editions’s reissue of Jason Schwartz’s A German Picturesque, the big questions that immediately come to mind are, Why bring a book back from out-of-print? What and why is non-narrative fiction? How do I read a book that is all style, yet is not poetry? Why did Ben Marcus choose this as his one book to resurrect, and what light does that shed on Ben Marcus’s literary ambitions?

Monday, February 9, 2015

A little backpedaling

[I edited this when I realized I had missed an entire person!]

I was at dim sum on Sunday with a bunch of Wellesley alums, most of whom were fairly recently graduated. And I start going into my bitter spiel about "don't go to graduate school, it just drains your twenties away and leaves you no better off, etc etc..."

Which, in many ways, was true for me.  But was that graduate school, or me?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Down the thrifted book rabbit hole

I am working on a craft project that ended up overlapping with my professional interests pretty significantly, as I should have predicted it would.

I wrote about the project, decoupaging pages for old books onto the back of bookcases, on a new blog I began in order to practice my wordpress skills and have space for non-work related writing.

But then,  it clearly spilled over into work life, because as soon as I started getting intrigued about the book we'd found (a letter was tucked into it!), I discovered so much more about it and its author and the beautiful network of connections and information that the digital archive allows us to learn these days.