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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