Thursday, November 15th, 2018
The more you keep your mouth shut, the more fertile you become.
Tuesday, November 6th, 2018
Concentration without effort is the heart of the thing.
America and I, both exceptional, would together elude prediction and defy determinism.
The degree to which you challenge your own beliefs and expose them to destruction is a test of your worth as a novelist.
Thursday, September 20th, 2018
Million Dollar Consulting
This most renowned book by the engaging Alan Weiss has a tone of practical, optimistic advice. Its title however is unfortunate as the first part may come off as cheesy while the second part comes off as only applying to consultants. Its subtitle, “The Professional’s Guide to Growing a Practice”, is more accurate; I was talking with an old friend who now has his own one-man legal practice and realized that pretty much all the book’s advice applies to him.
Although famous for advocating value billing rather than hourly, perhaps the book’s dominant concept is that you should invest your marketing energy in becoming a thought leader — in speaking and writing.
Weiss is a bit of a minor national treasure (despite hovering sometimes on the edge of bad taste — and I believe he is way sophisticated enough to understand exactly what he’s doing) and despite becoming slightly cranky in his more recent musings (not that I disagree with where he’s coming from, but political musings may be off-putting to others). He is a gifted writer in that having read his book you feel he is your friend looking out for you.
Sunday, June 17th, 2018
As my year of diving languorously into the murky waters of the Wake wore on, I came to feel that it was this failure, this impossibility, this grand futility of the Wake, that constituted its secret theme, its true aboutness.
Saturday, June 16th, 2018
First she called herself a Joycean, then she realized she’s more of a Joyceaholic. A great fun rueful erudite walk around the city that is James Joyce.
This is not the first time I’ve broken up with Joyce. A couple of years ago I decided we were in a co-dependent relationship. Except how could that be true if I was the only dependent one?
Sunday, May 20th, 2018
The Closing of the Hi-Gloss Colonel of American Letters Tom Wolfe’s Eyes. The New York Times obituary by Deirdre Carmody and William Grimes.
Saturday, May 12th, 2018
Make it work, ‘cos you’ve got opposites.
Friday, May 11th, 2018
“The Moment” is an occasional column/blog by novelist Amit Chaudhuri in The Paris Review.
Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018
Joss Whedon on making The Avengers: “There’s very little that I didn’t look at. It’s like, This is a Dr. Strangelove moment. This is The Abyss. This is His Girl Friday. It’s constant. You have to have all that stuff sort of in a blender in your head.”
Thursday, April 26th, 2018
I can’t go for a few moments without sliding back my chair and gazing with massive self-love at my library.
Geoff Dyer, on books, in Unpacking My Library
Living abroad meant a move out of quotation marks.
Geoff Dyer, on books, in Unpacking My Library
Friday, April 20th, 2018
Another nice ongoing Grauniad series, this one where authors and writers describe their typical writing day.
The Paris Review compiles interviews from its archives on writing while under an influence.
Eventually I get down to writing and then the real problems begin.
Wednesday, April 4th, 2018
In this interview Ursula K. Le Guin provides a rather thorough little course on the craft of fiction, covering present vs past tense, first-person vs omniscient narration, conflict as action.
“Henry James did the limited third person really well, showing us the way to do it. He milked that cow successfully. And it’s a great cow, it still gives lots of milk. But if you read only contemporary stuff, always third-person limited, you don’t realize that point of view in a story is very important and can be very movable. It’s here where I suggest that people read books like Woolf’s To the Lighthouse to see what she does by moving from mind to mind. Or Tolstoy’s War and Peace for goodness’ sake. Wow.”
Sunday, March 25th, 2018
Craig Mod’s interview with Offscreen Magazine. “In my life, America is three locations: New York City, the Bay Area, and Asheville in North Carolina.” This writer/designer, who first impressed me with his review of the Apple Watch, lives in a small coastal town in Japan — some sort of digital-hipster James Bond. Things are very considered.
Saturday, March 24th, 2018
On artists with jobs. “That’s job jobs, the kind you hear about in stump speeches.” Speaking personally, I believe I knew a long time ago that this is a good path but I lacked the gumption to maybe be bored some of the day.
Sunday, March 18th, 2018
Enjoying a nice independent bookstore, Wilfred M. McClay suddenly feels microbetrayed by their abuse of the term “curate”. A nice little one lamenting PC language.
Friday, March 9th, 2018
Tyler Cowen has a modest proposal: polarized shopping. “You get better deals from the companies you patronize regularly, most of all from airlines and hotels. It requires only some stretch of the imagination to think that more of those programs could be organized around ideology.”
Tuesday, February 13th, 2018
Tyler Cowen’s work habits while traveling. “Go somewhere — perhaps somewhere dangerous or disgusting — and simply plan to spend your full, normal work/writing day there.” Because: “By the end of the trip it will feel like a full vacation anyway, that’s how silly your memory is.”
Monday, January 22nd, 2018
Wednesday, January 10th, 2018
Was The Bonfire of the Vanities the American novel’s last hurrah?
Thursday, December 7th, 2017
Friday, November 24th, 2017
Jon Stewart with Howard Stern for some 90 minutes; they cover family, showbusiness, animal welfare. Two fine Yiddle, unlocked.
Tuesday, September 5th, 2017
I disagree with his conclusion as I love the new translation (and I disavow anything else on the same site, I disavow!), but here Dr. Joshua D. Wilson, a Baptist pastor, analyses the grammar behind the rather radical recent change in English translations of בְּרֵאשִׁית 1:1 from “In the beginning…” to “When God began…”
Wednesday, June 28th, 2017
What an internet treasure. Standard Ebooks is — according to their web site — “a volunteer driven, not-for-profit project that produces lovingly formatted, open source, and free public domain ebooks.” These are some beautiful, consistently-designed ebooks. The epub version works a charm in iBooks.
Monday, June 26th, 2017
“A wordy kind of Kardashian Instagram feed, without the self-awareness.” In this perfectly pitched skewering of Michael Chabon, Ayelet Waldman & Dave Eggers et al’s confrontation of the Occupation in the West Bank, Matti Friedman wonders what it’s all actually about. All this, plus: I don’t think I’ve ever seen such skilful use of the exclamation mark!
Wednesday, June 21st, 2017
If you happen to be on the lookout for a fresh homey brief humanistic web site, The Saunterer is by H. Charles Romesburg, Professor in the Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University.
Sunday, April 16th, 2017
Three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to write.
Saturday, March 18th, 2017
Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016
What sets you apart in high school at 17 makes you a cliché in Brooklyn at 27.
Christian Lorentzen , “Toward a Unified Theory of Joan Didion”
An inviting tour of the Hebrew writer’s oeuvre as Shai Agnon is translated into English. [via aldaily.com]
Tuesday, August 16th, 2016
I wake up, read, write, exercise, eat, attend meetings (phone or live), then reverse the process: eat, write, read, and sleep.
James Altucher, Choose Yourself
Saturday, August 6th, 2016
Nicholas Dames’s Publications page. The man is Professor of Humanities at Columbia University and a mine of gems.
Friday, June 3rd, 2016
“You can’t cross the species barrier but, by bumping up against it, you can learn things.” In The New Yorker, Joshua Rothman surveys ventriloquism of the soul. “Tolstoy’s animals teach us to be good,” he explains. “Joyce’s teach us to be alive.” [via aldaily.com]
Monday, May 9th, 2016
Nice piece on poetic military language with examples from the Israeli, American and British experiences.
Saturday, April 23rd, 2016
Possibly the world’s most important story at the moment? American middle-class impoverishment, or as the author—himself afflicted—calls it, financial impotence.
Sunday, April 10th, 2016
Guilty, very guilty as charged. This study says those who call out grammatical errors are in fact scientifically ‘jerks’.
Monday, March 7th, 2016
Eddie was more than a hero, Mrs Meechum. He was our friend.
Claire Underwood in House of Cards
Saturday, January 30th, 2016
Regarding these great pithy quotes typographically set by London-based graphic designer Kyle Robertson, they all look very different but most use the same font: Archer!
Tuesday, November 10th, 2015
Mark Leyner, regarding today, in The Paris Review: “The only reasonable response to this situation is to maintain an implacable antipathy toward everything. Denounce everyone. Make war against yourself. Guillotine all groveling intellectuals. That said, I think it’s important to maintain a cheery disposition.”
Saturday, May 16th, 2015
Once they see it they say, Oh is that the thing? And I say, Yes it is the thing. And they ask, Has it changed your life? And I shrug. And they are so disappointed.
Sunday, April 19th, 2015
A sharply written discussion of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina in Commentary Magazine: “It is not exactly that Stiva has a bad memory. Rather he has an excellent forgettory.”
Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
Both Hitchcock and Dickens were “fantasists who insisted upon meticulous detail in the unravelling of their plots; they were both poised between art and commerce, with a keen taste for the making of money.” An obvious yet hitherto unmade comparison of two master contemporary English storytellers.
Sunday, March 22nd, 2015
What a delightful essay on things Melville. Beautifully-designed web site too. Juankie this one’s for you.
Friday, December 26th, 2014
A little treat: David on David, Foster Wallace on Lynch.
Sunday, August 17th, 2014