January 27, 2009


Daniel E. Pritchard

I'm usually reading a few books at a time. Usually one non-fiction of some sort and one poetry title.

denise hamilton

Hurray for Neil Gaiman!

Adults will fall in love with this book too.

Mark, I've always got several books going.

Stan Izen

My reading is separated into "day books" and "night books." At night, before bed, I read mysteries to escape the day's travails, but during the day I read "serious' books, usually one nonfiction and one novel.


I usually have multiple books going -- at least one at home and one that can fit in my briefcase.

Separately: news just came across that John Updike died.

David Kurapka

Okay, I'll bite: Why don't you go to Edward Zwick films on principle? He's made some good stuff, and some duds, but for the life of me I can't see why he would spark that reaction.


Hey David, obviously, things like films and filmmakers are purely a matter of personal preference, so I don't claim anything empirical about my judgment here, but I have always found Zwick to be heavy-handed beyond belief. I think his stuff is broad, mawkish, predictable and unsubtle. I suppose if you grade him on the curve of "Hollywood entertainments," he's a reasonably competent filmmaker but I find his stuff undigestible for its shallowness and easy manipulation. BUT - as ever - this is purely one man's opinion. (I think I finally gave up on him for making Jennifer Connelly look so lifeless in Blood Diamond.)


Currently reading: Richard Lange's "Dead Boys", "Best American Short Stories 2008", Per Petterson's "Out Stealing Horses," Bill Bryson's "The Mother Tongue," and Keating's "History of Ireland." Too much, and perhaps the explanation for why I I read so slowly.

Antoine Wilson

20+ at a time (a habit I've been trying to break for years now.)

Code: the Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software
Spycraft: The Secret History of the CIA's Spytechs
Tinkers, by Paul Harding
Number9Dream, by David Mitchell
Religion and the Decline of Magic, by Keith Thomas
Loving, by Henry Green
The Gift, by Lewis Hyde
Art as Experience, by John Dewey

and on and on....

Kit Stolz

As a screenwriter friend put it, I "stream" books...novels and short stories in bed, and non-fiction at most other times.

This brings up a really fascinating bit of history dug up by Newsweek...the idea of "two sleeps," which is highly conducive to reading.

If you wake up in the middle of the night and stay up for an hour or two, you may not be an insomniac...only normal.

Google "Five Myths about Insomnia" for more.


It's 'Roger' Lathbury.

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  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald


    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe


    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."