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My first banner, up from July 2008 to January 2009.

On July 1, 2008, thanks to my wife’s encouragement, I signed up for WordPress and started The Mookse and the Gripes. At the time, my wife and I were expecting our second son (born on my birthday just a few weeks after the birth of this site) and we were living in New Jersey.

The intervening years have brought a lot of change — we now have four sons and have moved back west — and, though the passage of time has sometimes been scary, it’s also been fantastic. One reason it’s been fantastic is because of all the wonderful people I’ve met because of The Mookse and the Gripes. Thanks to all of you, I still get a great deal of satisfaction working, week in and week out, on this project that has grown to be much larger and much more fulfilling that I could have hoped.

Looking back, here are the first ten posts I put up, between July 1 and July 6, in a mad rush to get some content here while watching that fantastic Wimbledon tournament:

  1. Salman Rushdie: Midnight’s Children
  2. Imre Kertész: Liquidation
  3. Iris Murdoch: The Sea, the Sea
  4. Margaret Atwood: Alias Grace
  5. Barry Unsworth: Sacred Hunger
  6. Ivan Turgenev: First Love
  7. Philip Roth: The Ghost Writer
  8. J.G. Farrell: The Siege of Krishnapur
  9. J.M. Coetzee: Disgrace
  10. Imre Kertész: Fatelessness

I’m pleased that I remember this beginning so clearly, seven years later. And many of the things this site may now be known for were there from the start: there’s some Man Booker Prize fun (which was soon to come crashing down), some literature in translation, a book published by NYRB Classics, and a few established favorites with Murdoch, Roth, Coetzee, and Kertész. There’s also a couple of authors I’ve turned away from: Rushdie and Atwood.

Of course, not all is the same, thankfully, and I’ve come across many new favorites whose work has been incredibly meaningful. Film and literature is important, and I look forward to exploring with you all for many years to come.

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By |2015-07-07T16:11:39+00:00July 1st, 2015|Categories: Uncategorized|22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. Seth Guggenheim July 1, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks for this valuable site, Trevor! And the podcasts, too!

  2. Adrienne July 1, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    Glad to have found this place! I love it! Thanks for all your hard work to keep it going!

  3. Esther Smoller July 1, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    I just joined and know nothing about you. I enjoy reading you but who are you? Who are the others? Why are you doing this? I would appreciate some history Thanks

  4. Lori Feathers July 1, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Dear Mookse and the Gripes,

    Happy Birthday! Thanks for hosting wonderful and robust discussions on meaningful film and literature. I look forward to many more years of enriching conversations.

    Lori

  5. Madwomanintheattic July 1, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Grateful!

  6. lotusgreen July 1, 2015 at 8:47 pm

    Trevor — Four sons! And the Mookse! How rich can one man get? Thank you for sharing the riches, I am, we are, grateful. Here’s to many more.

    Welcome, Esther. Why not start with yourself?

  7. Nadege July 1, 2015 at 9:53 pm

    Congrats and a heartfelt thank you. I truly enjoy your site, esp the links to free stories ????.

  8. Roger July 1, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Happy seventh anniversary. I have always wondered where the name the Mookse and the Gripes came from, so maybe that is a topic that can be visited, or revisited….

  9. Gina Oliveira July 2, 2015 at 12:21 am

    Thank you Trevor for doing the real work that will elevate us out of our poor, miserable culture. Thank you for your perseverance. And most of all, thank you for the extraordinary pieces of literature you’ve brought to our attention. I may not be able to let you know on a regular basis but please know your site enhances my life and many others as well.
    Sincerely,
    Gina Oliveira

  10. Amateur Reader (Tom) July 2, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Congratulations – seven years and you rule an empire.

  11. Trevor Berrett July 2, 2015 at 2:26 pm

    Thanks to everyone for your kind words!

    Esther, the best way to find out more about us, I think, is to chat with us and look at posts on books that interest you. I’m happy to answer specific questions, of course.

    Roger, The Mookse and the Gripes . . . it’s a segment from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. Joyce is a favorite author of mine, and I hoped it would be playful and even contained a note of criticism :-) . No, I’ve never read Finnegans Wake!

    Again, thanks to you all!

  12. Lee Monks July 3, 2015 at 5:49 am

    Trevor – Mookse is simply the best of its type, a vital resource for all kinds of good things. I’m sure there’s nothing else quite like it, so keep doing it!

  13. Roger July 3, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Ah, thanks! I’ve never read Finnegan’s Wake, either. Mystery solved!

  14. james b chester July 6, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Slightly belated congratulations. Yours is one of my favorite places to stop when reading book blogs.

  15. lotusgreen July 6, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    I am putting this here because I wanted to share it and didn’t know where else to put it. (Trevor, please move it if you want!) I’ve just posted it over at the page where many of us discussed this author’s story “The Ways,” and knowing that many who visit regularly now may not have seen that and might have some interest nonetheless. http://mookseandgripes.com/reviews/2014/12/29/colin-barrett-the-ways/

    I just finished Colin Barrett’s new (to the US), and first. book, Young Skins, and I am destroyed at the same time that I am thrilled to find a writer of this magnitude. While it is almost unremittingly bleak, its truth, it’s masterful prose, pull you forward, compelling you to continue reading.

    Every man, and they’re mostly men, you meet, you care about, you wish him well and watch your wishes, in one way or another, dashed to the ground. Despite this, every act is unpredictable, no one is evil (one man’s adored young son is autistic, with a love for horses), all are, I suppose, victims of a hopeless Ireland, but each in his own individualistic way, in his own previously unvisited place.

    I should go through and extract bits of the extraordinary prose, but honestly, I would have to include the whole book. I can’t tear off a chunk like brown bread and offer it to you because it’s too tight; little stands alone. There’s not an extra word.

    What I will do, though, is include a paragraph found and chosen at complete random just for the example of the language therein, and the mind and the tongue of the maker, as he recreates language:

    “It’s her,” I said.

    “Of course it is,” said Mateen.

    He said that and I thought I saw a flame, a flicker, but it was only her hair, high on her high head. Sarah Dignan was unnervingly tall for a girl, taller than me, clearing even Mateen who was six two. She was blond, pale, unquestionably captivating in the face. Her beauty was anomalous, sprung as she was from an utterly mundane genetic lineage. Certainly there was no foresign, no presage of her beauty or her height, in her family, in her hair-covered pudding of a father and squat, rook-faced mother, nor in her older siblings. She was the youngest and only girl. Three older Dignan boys existed–broad, blunt and ugly. Temperamentwise, she was different too; the Dignan clan was country affable, ready to talk benign bullshit at the drop of a hat. Sarah was frosty, unpredictable, spoiled by the fact that attention never glossed over her; even when she tried to be reticent, she remained a relentless point of contention.

    Given the incongruity in semblance and substance, theories concerning the Dignan girl’s true origins and nature had regularly bubbled forth. Talk was Sarah was a foundling from Gypsy stock or an orphan from Chernobyl. That during her birth her umbilical cord tangled round her neck, asphyxiating and rendering her brain dead for five minutes, thirty minutes, an hour, but that she had inexplicably come back. That she suffered from Asperger;s or ADHD or was bipolar. That she was either, by the textbook definitions, a moron, or possessed a genius-level IQ. That she had gone through puberty at six, hence her inordinate height.

    Indeed.

  16. Kichenamourty July 7, 2015 at 12:28 am

    Dear Mr. Trevor, A retired professor of French in Pondicherry (India), I have been benefiting from your wonderful blog for the past five years. Really Great! Wish you and your family a long life full happiness and peace of mind. R.Kichenamourty

  17. Trevor Berrett July 7, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Thanks for the well-wishes, Kichenamourty! My best to you as well!

  18. Dan July 8, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    Congratulations on your seventh birthday! I first came across the site a year or two ago when looking for discussion of a New Yorker story (something I still value), but I have gained so much more–including an introduction to László Krasznahorkai, who is amazing. Thanks!

  19. Trevor Berrett July 9, 2015 at 11:27 am

    Thanks Dan, and I’m thrilled you’re enjoying Krasznahorkai so much! So happy to have played a small role in introducing you two :-)

  20. literarymasters July 9, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Congratulations! Keep up the great work!
    Liz

  21. winstonsdad July 9, 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Congratulations on seven years Trevor a couple of years behind you

  22. Rosalind July 10, 2015 at 3:34 pm

    I found the Mookse a few years ago when I needed help decoding a New Yorker story. I continue to like knowing you are here to read other people’s reviews. Keep up!

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