Some evening in late June 2008 I told my wife I missed studying and teaching literature, something I’d done for a few years around the time we were married. She had been reading a lot of blogs and told me she was sure we could find some book blogs I’d love. That’s when I ran into John Self’s The Asylum, and I loved everything about it. I decided to emulate what he was doing. And so, ten years ago today, I settled on a name I liked from James Joyce’s Finegans Wake, signed up for a WordPress account, and posted my first book review!

Since then, I have never felt a desire to stop. Some things have led to change. One I notice most is this: I have a lot less time these days! My wife and I have four sons taking up a lot of our time, and they’re so much fun to be with and to watch grow. But The Mookse and the Gripes brings me a unique sense of happiness and fulfillment, and I can’t wait for ten more years!

Thank you all for making it so rewarding. I’ve met so many kind and insightful people over the years! As I alluded to above, I have no end to this in mind, and I hope to just keep finding ways to make this a pleasant and fun stop on the internet.

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By | 2018-07-02T11:22:08+00:00 July 1st, 2018|Categories: News|15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Tredynas Days July 1, 2018 at 4:53 am

    Many congratulations, Trevor. A tremendous milestone. May there be many more such decades – keep up the good work. We need all the light we can get at the moment.

  2. David July 1, 2018 at 8:59 am

    I don’t know when I first stumbled across this blog. But I know it started with my father. My father was born and (mostly) raised in London England. He came to Canada when he was in high school, and lived here the rest of his life. He always had a fascination with New York City – something about the bright lights and the never sleeping had an appeal to him. One way that manifest itself was that from when I was a kid, he subscribed to The New Yorker. I’m sure he read lots of different parts of the magazine every week, but it was the “Goings On About Town” section he was the most dedicated reader of. Reading about what was happening in New York was a little bit like being there for him.
    .
    When I was in high school, I rarely looked at his copy of The New Yorker except to check out the cartoons. I am one of those people who was often perplexed by why they were supposed to be funny and would ask him to explain them sometimes (he rarely could, but he liked the ones with cats in them). When I was in University and started to develop an interest in literature, I would occasionally read the short stories. For me, even then, they were very hit and miss, so I only looked for them when it was convenient.
    .
    When my father died a dozen years ago, one of the things he left behind was a stack of old New Yorker magazines he had not yet gotten rid of. Before bagging them up to be put out with the recycled paper, I decided to tear out all the short stories to look through. From time to time I would pick up one to read. Eventually I decided I should check out the new stories they were publishing. Being cheap, I would go to the library to pick up the magazine to read the short story of the week.
    .
    Some time later I found that on their website they sometimes made the short story available for everyone for free, and sometimes put it behind a pay wall. When it was free, I would read it online. When it was not free, I would wait for the library to get the hard copy. When the story was behind the paywall, other websites (of dubious legal status) would sometimes make the story available online. Being impatient, I would google the story by title and author if it was behind the paywall to see if anyone else had made it available. This didn’t work often, but sometimes did.
    .
    When I googled the stories, what I often ended up with as search results was a bunch of blogs where the authors would write reviews of the stories. One that was usually at or near the top of the list was “The Mookse And The Gripes”. I probably clicked on it the first time to see if it was a site that printed the text of the stories and then the second time because the names of the site sounded so ridiculous I was curious what was really going on here. (Trevor, I can’t tell you what year this was, but I vaguely remember a site design that had something like a blue or grey background colour.)
    .
    I was not really interested at first in reading reviews or discussions of the stories, so I didn’t come back to any of the blogs I had found. Then The New Yorker changed their website policy and made a limited number of articles free per month. This meant that I could always get the story online as soon as it was published every week. The stories continued to be hit and miss for me, with a bit more miss than hit. But I kept reading. Eventually I decided it might be worth checking out some blog with discussion of the stories to see if anyone else could make sense out of stories I found puzzling or just not very good.
    .
    I still remembered the website with the weird name that showed up near the top of the search results, so that’s where I started. I read a bunch of reviews and comments about stories that at the time had recently been published by The New Yorker. Eventually I decided to post my own comment about a story. Then I posted another one. Eventually that led to some discussion and I’ve been here ever since. And now the site is ten years old. Happy birthday / anniversary, Trevor. Now if only you could lure Betsy back….

  3. Passage à l'Est! July 1, 2018 at 11:35 am

    Happy birthday to you and your blog Trevor! I’m constantly amazed by all your ideas for the blog and the amount of time it must take to keep it going. Wishing you another successful 10 years!

  4. Brooklyn to NZ July 1, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Happiest Birthday to the Mookes and the Gripes – helps to feel connected from the farther side of the world.

  5. Jonathan July 1, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    Congratulations Trevor!

  6. Greg July 1, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    Bravo Trevor….you have successfully created and maintained an enriching space where we can celebrate our passions for literature and film!

  7. Larry Bone July 1, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    Happy 10th Birthday to Mookse and Gripes and may there be Many, Many More. The reviews and comments are well thought out and amazingly pretty much devoid of teeth nashing, turmoil or otherwise unseemly behavior. Pleasant and gently provocatively interesting. And Trevor spotlights all the really good international book contests. These are really interesting well written books that aren’t necessarily very well commercially promoted. I am reading a woman centric 500 page novel and finished a shorter one dissecting the methodical wife abuse by a radical liberal revolutionary guy. It read like court papers during the guy’s trial. I would have never known about either of these books if not for Mookse and Gripes. I also think many more people read New Yorker short stories because of people’s thoughts about them appearing in this website. How you have all the time for this? And Tredynas is totally right. We need all the light and pleasant we can get right now.

  8. Trevor Berrett July 2, 2018 at 11:20 am

    Thanks, everyone! I appreciate your kind words. David, thanks for the account of how you got here. I’m glad you (or fate) persisted!

    I agree that this is a good place to be, and that’s not always true on the internet where comments are open! However, but for a few (usually relatively comical) outbursts of unpleasantness, I think comments here tend to succeed at being rigorous and passionate without regressing into personal attacks or general unpleasantness. Thanks to you all!

  9. BETSY PELZ July 3, 2018 at 8:47 am

    Happy Tenth, Trevor! Congratulations and so many thanks!

    Your generous nature shines through the work you do here. It’s a wonderful place to be taught! It’s a wonderful place to learn! It’s a wonderful place to feel alive! It’s a wonderful place to join in!

    We just all wonder when the heck you sleep!

    The variety of your literary interests is inspiring, and your open mind is as well. I remember the night I found you. I had just read a short story in the New Yorker and wanted to write to the author. (“Costello” by Jim Gavin – 2010) When I googled him, your blog came up, and I dove in.

    The elegance and seriousness of your work is what strikes the newcomer. What you do in this space is unlike most other blogs: dedicated, decent, open-minded, and welcoming. And, oh, did I say dedicated? The steadiness of the work you do is awesome and an inspiration to the rest of us.

    You welcome everyone: women and men, young and old, and you bring together readers from around the world. Your thoughtful, measured responses put your readers at ease.

    After writing my tribute in this space to “Costello”, your work inspired me. Why not try to write a comment here on a New Yorker story every week? This was the first time I was able to write with regularity, and it was a great experience. Reading and writing with you and all of your readers is a very special, unusual and treasured journey.

    A couple of years went by, and then you let me join you reading all of Alice Munro. Now, years later, we are about half way through her 150 or so stories. This has been like the best of the best class I ever took – to just read and read and read and rely on being part of a community.

    Thank you! Thank you so much. The work you do on this blog has enriched our lives. The attention you give to world literature and works in translation is so important and unique, and it is more important every day. You have such deep respect for the individuality of the artist and the individuality of the reader. The way you do your work here is a model for how a blog should be done.

    Happy Tenth, Trevor! Congratulations and so many thanks for your energy, your standards, and your great heart. Many more such celebrations are what I wish for you, for all of us, and for this perfected place.

  10. Trevor Berrett July 3, 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Betsy, thanks so much! I think it goes without saying that you’re a big reason The Mookse and the Gripes is a good place to be, so we all owe you our gratitude as well!

  11. Adrienne Cash July 4, 2018 at 7:03 pm

    I still get a thrill when the posts come to my inbox! I appreciate all you do and for even letting me participate for a bit! This is a much needed forum… AND… I have been introduced to so many authors and works that have changed me – particularly Alice Munro. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And congratulations!

  12. Carter July 6, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    Dad, I found your website! It looks cool, I didn’t know you made it all by yourself. Love you! –Carter

  13. Greg July 8, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    Look forward to your future input down the road Carter!

  14. Trevor Berrett July 9, 2018 at 12:36 am

    Thanks, Carter! I hope you like it and I’m so glad you found it!

    And thanks Adrienne (you’re always welcome to participate more :-) )! And thanks Greg for welcoming Carter! By the way, he actually already has given some input! Here he is, for example, on Palmer Brown’s Hickory!

  15. Greg July 9, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    Thanks Trevor for the blast to the past in 2013! Your boys made good observations, and I also loved this line from you:

    “Kevin’s post isn’t just about reading to children, though; it is also about gifting beautiful books that call out to be read, that demand to be a cherished physical object, passed down through the generations.”

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