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Roberto Bolaño: 2666

It would be hard to be at all engaged in the literary world and not hear about Roberto Bolaño – and 2666 (2004; tr. from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer, 2008).  I remember hearing about 2666 probably a little over a year ago.  Already published in Spanish, it was heralded the posthumously…

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Julian Barnes: Arthur and George

So this year was, for me, a Booker anomaly.  Usually I love the Booker Prize.  It has introduced me to some fantastic books, not to mention some of the best novelists.  I don’t know when I would have found Julian Barnes if it weren’t for his sometimes appearance on the…

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James Salter: Light Years

I had not heard of James Salter until I came across a review of Solo Faces on John Self’s Asylum.  After looking into him a bit, I realized that once again here was an author I should have read already – let alone heard of.  My ignorance is forever on…

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My Best Reads of 2008

I have a hard time whittling down my list of favorite books of the year to a mere ten, twenty, or even thirty.  Nevertheless, I will attempt in this post to remember my ten favorite books I found this year (though only one was published this year).  Here they are, presented…

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Evelyn Waugh: The Loved One

I only recently read Brideshead Revisited, my first encounter with Evelyn Waugh’s work.  That book displayed an impressive amount of range.  While it was focused on the upper upper English class, there were many aspects to the novel - youth, war, sexuality, marriage, religion, alcoholism – that all flowed naturally from one narrative. …

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Mary Swan: The Boys in the Trees

Those of you who read the comments on this blog already know KevinfromCanada.  I’ve come to respect his taste and opinions greatly in the last few months since I first encountered him on the Man Booker forum.  I would not feel misguided to read any book he recommends.  How, then, could…

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M.T. Anderson: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing: Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1 – The Pox Party

I don’t know why I shy away from Young People’s literature.  Well, perhaps I do at least know my own assumptions – potentially puerile content, gimmicky plot structures, facile resolutions, reputation (mine), and, worst of all, the tendency to dwell on the surface with no subtlety as it pushes platitudes into young minds. …

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Ralph Ellison: Invisible Man

The first chapter in Invisible Man (1952), “Battle Royal,” is frequently anthologized in literature textbooks here in America, so I’ve always been curious to know how the rest of the book turns out.  The initial chapter works by itself and was first published in 1947.  The book, which eventually went on…