August 23, 2005



NO! Keep doing it, pick it up on the newstand or I'll send you mine! You can read them all on-line for free too. Look at the daily reviews as well, some of them are better than the Sunday ones.


Mark: Much as we all enjoy thumbnails, you are under no obligation to do so. Ever since my Tanenhaus Brownie Watch hiatus, my blood pressure has gone down. :)

Brady Westwater

I agree - why not just read it on-line?


Does the Daily News have a Sunday book review?


We had exactly the same problem with the billing dept. You'd think they would have called if the bill was so overdue they were cancelling the service.


I grew up with the LA Times and so have retained some affection for it, flaws and all. Especially after spending 14 years with the Denver Post, and 2 with the Oregonian. But, really, if you're sick of doing the thumbnail, set yourself free!

Tod Goldberg

I remember about a dozen years ago David Bowie announced he wouldn't be singing any of his old hits in concert anymore and so I rushed out to get tickets to see him at Dodger Stadium. It was a great show. I spent too much money on tickets but I felt, at the time, that this was my chance. My last chance. He'd made his announcment and I took him at his word.
But then the fucker went back on tour about a year later and decided, "ah, well, I sorta like singing Ashes to Ashes," and I felt cheated. So what's my point here? I say you don't need to review the review until it actually has a new editor, until it has that new direction and all that and if it goes back to singing the old hits -- ie, Eugen Weber still collects a paycheck --you can say, yeah, yeah, I heard it all before and said my piece.

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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."