Archive for June, 2008

Afternoon (Evening) Viewing: Philip Larkin

Monday, June 30th, 2008

An excellent piece from Sky News. From the YouTube description:

A Sky News piece about the rediscovery of some recordings of Larkin reading a number of his poems. These tapes are particularly significant because they include the only known recordings of him reading some of the poems from his first collection, The North Ship.

Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Chess books!

And kids’ books. (Boy am I getting off easy with the typing tonight.)

God and steroids and Indian’s pitcher, Paul Byrd’s book, FREE BYRD, get the work up at

A too-good-to-pass-up list from Publisher’s Weekly of fiction.

And one of non-fiction

And if you can’t find anything you want to read out of that lot, put a cold cloth on your forehead and nap off your grump.

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, June 30th, 2008

The New Yorker examines John Keats’ obsession with fame and death.

Somerville scribes weigh in on the question “what makes a failed poet?”

Will the Kindle lead the way into a new age of digital college textbooks?

Wired takes a look at how English may be evolving into a language we may not understand.

Rare Jewish texts “secretly spirited” from Iraq to Israel.

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

“I write fiction and I’m told it’s autobiography, I write autobiography and I’m told it’s fiction, so since I’m so dim and they’re so smart, let them decide what it is or it isn’t.”

- Philip Roth




Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Good fiction trumps orientation and The Seattle Times offers three gay and lesbian novels for book lovers of all stripes to prove their point.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reviews the tale of a pair of opposites and their decade-spanning friendship.

Two brothers and their mother wrangle disfunction at every turn in Noah Hawley’s, THE PUNCH.

I double-checked the date ,and today the Bi-College New Online published a list for Spring Break reading. I guess it’s always good to get a head start? Still, it’s books and reviews and that’s what we’re here for.

And a trio of reviews from The Oregon Register-Guard retreads one paving stone, but hey, it’s bang for the click.

Afternoon Viewing: Rob Kutner

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

The trailer for Daily Show writer Rob Kutner’s new book, Apocalypse How:

Life Finds A Way

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

Sex is funny. It just is. Procreating is even funnier and best yet, sci-fi’s jousting with contraception, as Lauren Davis of points out.

In a universe stocked with sentient robots and faster than light travel, you’d hope that science would have mastered something as mundane as the human reproductive system, yet the fictive cosmos are littered with unplanned pregnancies, bastard children, and all manner of unpleasant critters bursting from one’s internal organs. Is any form of contraception safe in world of science fiction?

Check out the whole piece for a laugh. Then go think up something that will work. It’s money in the bank.

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, June 29th, 2008 features a list of what some well-known writers are reading.

Horacio Castellanos Moya finds comic relief in the political pain of exile.

When the plots of thriller writers go on to make headlines.

The New York Review of Books examines the history of funny.

R.I.P. Mark Perlberg

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

“Art is only a means to life, to the life more abundant. It is not in itself the life more abundant. It merely points the way, something which is overlooked not only by the public, but very often by the artist himself. In becoming an end it defeats itself.”

- Henry Miller


Writers’ Rooms

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Big thanks to Andrew Sullivan for sharing this. As part of an ongoing feature, the Guardian presents photographs of the rooms of famous writers, accompanied by blurbs describing them, penned by various notables.

Below is the room of Rudyard Kipling. Click here to see it in its original context, with a beautifully written essay by David Gilmour.

Afternoon (Evening) Viewing: George Bernard Shaw

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

The writer pays tribute to Albert Einstein at the Savoy Hotel in London:

Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

Social history earns another advance towards its own genre in Sarah Wise’s look at the urban squalor in London in THE BLACKEST STREETS.

The National Sports Review calls, 112 MILES TO THE PIN: EXTREME GOLF AROUND THE WORLD, ‘fun’.

The 1917 East St. Louis riot that some say sparked the American Civil Rights Movement is detailed in NEVER BEEN A TIME by Harper Barnes.

Confident mid-grade, all the way through adult readers will appreciate Sonya Hartnett’s THE GHOST’S CHILD.

Paul Goldstein makes art of John Grisham’s legacy in the legal thriller, A PATENT LIE.

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

With Independence Day right around the corner, Slate looks at the best books and web sites about the birth of America.

The Times looks back at the life of poet Frank O’Hara.

The Guardian asks, “Whatever happened to the golden age of biography?”

Time Magazine wades into the Ian McEwan/Islamist controversy.

Nikita Lalwani (previous) donates £10,000 Desmond Elliot prize to human rights group, Liberty.

Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, June 27th, 2008

“A real writer learns from earlier writers the way a boy learns from an apple orchard-by stealing what he has a taste for and can carry off.”

- Archibald MacLeish




Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, June 27th, 2008

A couple of novels are added to the Flint, Michigan summer reading list.

SAY YOU’RE ONE OF THEM is author Uwen Akpan’s debut of short stories on African poverty, strife, and vibrancy.

Perhaps the last chronicle of the American wild horse is Deanne Stillman’s concern in MUSTANG: THE SAGA OF THE WILD HORSE IN THE AMERICAN WEST.

Miles Harvey fills in the blanks with stranger-than-fiction-stuff in the life story of French painter Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues.

Eleanor Coppola (Francis Ford’s wife) has much to tell in NOTES ON A LIFE.

Afternoon Viewing: George Whitman

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Portrait of a Bookstore as an Old Man Beginning.

From the YouTube description:

In 1951, George Whitman opened a bookshop-commune in Paris. George, 92, still runs his “den of anarchists disguised as a bookstore,” offering free, dirty beds to poor literati, cutting his hair with a candle and gluing the carpet with pancake batter. More than 40,000 poets, travelers and political activists have stayed at Shakespeare and Company, writing or stealing books, throwing parties and making soup or love while living with George’s generosity and fits of anger. Illustrious guests include Henry Miller, Anaïs Nin, Jacques Prévert, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, James Baldwin and Richard Wright. Welcome to the makeshift utopia of the last member of the Beat Generation.

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Interest in Dylan Thomas resurges with new film.

The New York Times serves up a chilling excerpt from Say You’re One of Them.

Joyce Carol Oates returns with My Sister, My Love.

Village Voice‘s Michael Musto asks, “How gay can literature get?” 

R.I.P. Ed Arno

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

“Life is the only real counselor; wisdom unfiltered through personal experience does not become a part of the moral tissue.”

- Edith Wharton




Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Mike Lowell tells his story in DEEP DRIVE. If you’re into baseball in general, or the Boston Red Sox in specific, that’ll mean even more to you.

Graham Greene and Victor Hugo get new reviews for their old works.

JUSTICE DENIED: WHAT AMERICA MUST DO TO PROTECT ITS CHILDREN confronts barriers to prosecuting crimes against children under the American legal system.

Kid n’ animals go together in books and USA Today provides a list of good ones.

Afternoon Viewing: Virginia Woolf

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

A short film focusing on the tragic final days of the writer: