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Archive for the ‘novels’ Category

F. Scott Fitzgerald called it “the separator.” Ernest Hemingway, characteristically, called it “the bullshit detector.”
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Sometimes life has to pitch a notion to you several times for it to sink in. I don’t remember the first time someone recommended that I read Earle Stanley Gardner; the second time, I think, was while home brewing with my friend Dave. Recently, Marianne commented on him, and then I picked up Raymond Chandler Speaking.
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I like it when similar notions collide from separate places, when life supplies a serendipitous two-fer, as if a mystery writer might tackle a football player across the decades, a sort of cross-disciplinary meeting of minds and muscles. (more…)

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What has depth and worth any more? Can we even talk in terms of heavy, or is the notion as trite as a mass media portrayal of hippies? (more…)

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I bought Stanley Karnow’s Paris in the Fifties almost on a whim, and I’ve been glad ever since. I’ve enjoyed the book immensely, even as my interest in the topics varies. For instance, though I didn’t dawdle in the fashion essay, it still startled me to read of a macabre fashion after the Reign of Terror: pretending to have been guillotined. In a style known as “a la victime” women cropped their hair, bound their necks with red ribbons and tilted their heads to simulate decapitation. An early form of punk fashion, I guess. (more…)

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In her February 21 rant in the SF Chronicle complaining of the ubiquity and purported liberalism of awards shows, Cinnamon Stillwell epitomizes much of the blindered myopia afflicting conservatism of late.

It isn’t just that she chooses not to see events in real perspective. It’s that she sees the awards through their own red-tinted, thin-slitted bifocals. Stillwell singles out recipients who reinforce her own beliefs, without bothering about contrary evidence. So she focuses on Michael Moore and Al Gore and the liberality of the Norwegians who award the Nobel Peace Prize. (more…)

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At the reading group A Curious Singularity we’ve just read Delmore Schwartz’s In Dreams Begin Responsibilities, (more…)

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It once meant coming to the right conclusion too soon. (more…)

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I was reading a lot of Graham Greene and Raymond Chandler and going through a noir phase when I met my wife, and fortunately for me she likes film noir, too. (more…)

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