Tag Archives: Book Reviewing

The Waste of Gadgets: a Quick Look at Nicholson Baker’s “Substitute: Going to School With a Thousand Kids”

So the first thing I should note about Nicholson Baker’s excellent Substitute: Going to School With a Thousand Kids (2016) is how funny it is. He’s got a keen eye for the absurdities in contemporary education, the unintentional comedy of … Continue reading

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On Why I Read Dan Brown’s “Origin”: Or My Adventures as a Consumer of Best-Selling Drivel

So I was recently having dinner with a best-selling writer—a bit of literary socializing before said writer gave a reading on our campus—and we had reached the point of small-talk detailing what books we’d been reading. This is often the … Continue reading

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The West Is Burning: On Michael Kodas’s “Megafire: The Race to Extinguish a Deadly Epidemic of Flame”

So after having owned a home in Custer County, Colorado (Go Wildcats!) for fifteen years and having been a frequent visitor to the Rockies since 1978—the year of my first trip to Yellowstone—I’m both fascinated by and have a fear … Continue reading

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Review of Kent Haruf’s “Our Souls at Night” as Tribute to the New Film Version Starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford

So two years ago Kent Haruf published his last terrific novel, Our Souls at Night, which I reviewed for the Dallas Morning News, and as a tie-in and tribute of sorts, the DMN has republished my review today, which can … Continue reading

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On Alissa Nutting’s debut novel “Tampa”: So Bad She’s Good

So as a decidedly intermittent blogger (occasional blog-poster?) I feel ambivalent to weigh-in on most of the controversial news items and issues of the “day,” such as Harvey Weinstein’s sins, Donald Trump’s daily stupidities, or the blown-out-of-proportion NFL-player protests—but for … Continue reading

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Review of Gabriel Tallent’s “My Absolute Darling” in the Dallas Morning News

So my review of Gabriel Tallent’s debut novel, My Absolute Darling, appears in the Dallas Morning News today, and can be found here. The marketing of this novel seems odd: The combination of its sweet title, the brightly colored branches … Continue reading

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In the Country of “No Country for Old Men” and On the Trail of Cormac McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian”: What I Did for My Summer Vacation

So late July found me (and my family) in (mythical) Cormac McCarthy country, at the Three River Petroglyph site near Three Rivers, New Mexico, which is a cool (and hot) place to be. We camped there for three days, watching … Continue reading

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Guest Blog Post on the Superstition Review Website

So the nice editors over at the Superstition Review have not only published several of my stories and a recent essay—on stuffed animals, of all things—but they have also asked that I write a guest blog post for them, which … Continue reading

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On Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart” and the Recent Middlebury College Brouhaha, from a Liberal Who Has Actually Read His Books

So I’ve followed with some interest (and some dismay) the recent brouhaha about Charles Murray’s visit to Middlebury College, that was interrupted by a student demonstration that got out of hand—labeled a “riot” by some media and commentators—and in which … Continue reading

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On the Film Version of Dave Eggers’s “The Circle” and a Nod to Cormac McCarthy’s Essay “The Kekule Problem: Where Did Language Come From?”: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

So I’m not in the habit of beating dead horses (though I did once write a scene in which a couple got romantic while leaning up against one, but that’s a different story), and I don’t bother to review or … Continue reading

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