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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

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“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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Mr. Peanut

May 9, 2011

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When you get a few pages into Adam Ross’s debut novel, you think, ‘Okay, this is a murder mystery.’ A whodunnit. And it is that, but it’s also much more. The novel is a book within a book, and within that, it’s three stories, intertwining and doubling back on themselves, about three men and their […]

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