Sifl and Olly

April 21, 2017

4

The good folks at Kottke.org, site of Jason Kottke (basically the O.G. content aggregator/curator, before those were dirty words), this week asked people for their favorite under-the-radar internet things. Mine has to be The Sifl and Olly Show, which was on MTV from 1997 to 1999—the days when MTV was “music television” and was funky […]

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Salman Rushdie in 2008

December 28, 2016

1

Apropos of nothing, let me share a literary memory. In the summer of 2008, I went to see Salman Rushdie read and speak at the Harvard Memorial Church in Cambridge. On that day, he said something I have always remembered and liked. At the time, I was 21 and had only read one book by Rushdie, […]

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A new job

January 6, 2016

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Some quick news I’m happy to share here. personal news: I'm leaving Fortune to join @YahooFinance. I'll also write often for @YahooSports. excited for the next step! — Daniel Roberts (@readDanwrite) January 4, 2016 I started at Fortune on October 18, 2010. I learned so much and owe a great deal to a number of key people […]

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My favorite book of 2015

December 21, 2015

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I read 47 books this year. Man, reading books is so awesome. Too many people, I fear, stop reading books because they’re busy keeping up with magazines. (Or they read neither!) Better to achieve a balance of both. But it’s difficult. Of the books I read this year, these were especially outstanding: The Splendid Things We Planned, Blake […]

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The best books I read in 2014

December 28, 2014

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As my free time to write at this blog gets more and more limited, I’m slimming down my annual books post to just the very best one or two. I wish I could devote a beefy writeup to all ten of these, but there’s no time; such is the reality. I read 38 books this year, 18 of which were […]

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The best books I read in 2013

January 5, 2014

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I’m always careful not to call this post “the best books” of the year, since I can’t claim to have read all of the great new fiction from the year or even most of it, and since many of my favorite books (usually) aren’t new. But this year, actually, I did read mostly new fiction, […]

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The Place Beyond the Pines

May 2, 2013

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This movie was not what I expected. And it’s not, I imagine, what most people that go to see it expect. The greatest surprise of this film also may have been its biggest weakness: it is actually three movies in one. You don’t know that going into it because the mainstream trailer, understandably, makes it […]

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My mom on Girls

January 26, 2013

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My mom is currently watching the first season of HBO’s “Girls.” Our brief exchange about it, over the phone, was kind of funny. The chat is below. Dan: And do you like it? Mom: No. D: But why are you watching it? M: Well it’s been so well-received, I wanted to see what the fuss […]

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The best books I read in 2012

December 30, 2012

1

I’m always careful to call this post “The best books I read” as opposed to simply “the best books of the year” for two reasons. First: as in any year, I didn’t read every major, buzzed-about title that came out. I can’t say that the few books on my list are the very best that came […]

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Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

December 30, 2012

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I’ve pretty much had enough of Facebook. Of course, I’ve been saying that for months, maybe years. But I’ve noticed lately how seriously aggravating the service is in terms of where and how it broadcasts every single action you take. Just one example: when you upload photos, though you can adjust who sees the photos, […]

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Episodes

December 30, 2012

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I only just decided to give “Episodes” a shot last week, when I noticed it on the Comcast Xfinity iPad app. For those who’ve missed this one (which seems to be a good portion of TV watchers, unfortunately), it is a show about the making of a show. But it isn’t much like any of […]

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When rappers ruin a pop song

November 24, 2012

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The formula for instant radio hit—pop song with one guest rap verse—may be at the end of its usefulness. At the very least, it’s hurting the quality of some songs, but maybe the artists just don’t care, since the brand name buzz of having X hip-hop artist on your track is worth the damage to […]

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The best books I read in 2011

January 7, 2012

2

It’s that time, again, to add yet another “best of” list to the mountainous mountain of “best of” lists. New books I loved in 2011 The Pale King – You’ve heard all the buzz by now: it’s David Foster Wallace’s outstanding posthumous novel. There was big controversy over whether it was even fair or right to […]

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Nobody’s Fool, book vs. movie

August 13, 2011

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I had read Richard Russo’s short stories in The New Yorker, but never any of his novels. He was always, to me, one of those authors my mom was always reading. She loved Bridge of Sighs and recommended it to all her friends, and there’s a large hardcover of Empire Falls somewhere in our house. […]

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Next

July 29, 2011

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When the latest novel by James Hynes opens, its protagonist Kevin Quinn is on a plane, landing in Texas, for a job interview. He’s thinking (worrying) about terrorist attacks. He’s imagining the most grisly, horrible ways that a terrorist could shoot down the plane from ground-level and kill them all. It’s interesting, I suppose, and […]

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The Deal From Hell

June 20, 2011

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When the Tribune Company bought the Times Mirror Company in 2000 (basically a hostile takeover, hardly the “merger” that many called it), the reporters of both the Chicago Tribune and L.A. Times alike were none too pleased. Now James O’Shea, who was an editor for both papers, has written the story of that troubled marriage, […]

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The visual mistake in Too Big to Fail

June 15, 2011

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I finally got around to watching Too Big to Fail last weekend, and I really enjoyed it. Maybe a bit overblown and hyper-stylized but great acting, swift pace, bla bla bla. I’m not going to bother reviewing the film, because it’s been done enough and it’s easy enough (interesting, too) to find both ravingly positive […]

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Can Ulysses be tweeted?

June 14, 2011

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I’m participating in an interesting artistic/social experiment, happening on Thursday, June 16 (Bloomsday), that will involve tweeting the entirety of Ulysses, the James Joyce masterpiece that we all had to read in college but either skimmed, read and forgot, or Sparknoted instead. I was in the “read and forgot” group, though I remember being surprised […]

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Popular novels come in pairs

May 31, 2011

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I know this is an oversimplification that will annoy people, but here goes: novels, it seems to me, often become popular in pairs, by subject matter. It’s happened three times that I can think of in recent years (I’m sure there are many more examples but I’m thinking only of cases where both novels have […]

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In a Strange Room

May 14, 2011

3

“It happens like this.” So begins Damon Galgut’s Booker-shortlisted novel In a Strange Room. It’s very matter-of-fact, isn’t it, and indeed this sets a tone for the rest of the book—events occur, the protagonist travels around, but there is little time wasted on analysis or explanation for his travels, or the motivation, or the reasoning. […]

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