Six from Five Books.

David of the fine Largehearted Boy website called my attention to Five Books, where various thinkers/writers/experts are asked to name what they believe are the five most important books on a given subject. The archives are fairly extensive; here’s some of what I tossed into Instapaper for later.

Aleksandar Hemon on Man’s Inhumanity to Man

Alain de Botton on Illuminating Essays

Michael Morpurgo on Books for Children

Joanna Kavenna on Parallel Worlds

Peter Lilley MP on Samuel Johnson

Sophie King on Creative Writing



  • A case for keeping links out of the body of a piece, and putting them at the end. (Roundups get a free pass. Right?) I have to agree.
  • Alain de Botton, in a move likely to irritate internet junkies, suggests that we take a look at our informational intake and cut some calories. Agreed again; I slashed 1/3 of my Google Reader subscriptions the other day, and I feel as light as a feather.
  • Interesting essay from way back (1903?) by Georg Simmel – The Metropolis and Modern Life – that might provide some insights into our wired present.
  • The “last generation” of typewriter repairmen.
  • Louis Armstrong: “What a Wonderful Surprise”
  • A TED talk on the case for anonymity online. Don’t miss the comments.

NYT Sunday Book Review, 2010.4.18

Some interesting reading:

  • Review: Ander Monson’s VANISHING POINT: NOT A MEMOIR (Graywolf Press) – “Over the last 25 years, the memoir — or The Story of My Life, as Vivian Gornick calls it — has become one of the major gestures of American writing. In direct opposition to the literal- minded, linear and epistemologically naïve nature of many such works, there has emerged in the last dozen years a vital countertradition, what John D’Agata labels the “lyric essay.” It’s a form with ancient roots. Hera clitus, anyone?…” Continue reading “NYT Sunday Book Review, 2010.4.18”

Last minute wrap-up.

  • I mentioned this in a couple of other places, but please have a look at my two newest book reviews, both at the Star Tribune newspaper in lovely Minnesota. Here and here.
  • East Coast, looking for a last minute holiday recommendation for book gifting? Have a listen to Condalmo friend Michelle – she’ll be talking up some good books on the radio today. Here’s your link.
  • There should be a new review up at Identity Theory this week.
  • Have a look at this Christmas story.
  • Finally, here’s hoping you are all having a good holiday.


  • Laird Hunt’s excellent Ray of the Star gets a review at Bookforum. My review from The Quarterly Conversation was picked for the Powell’s Books Review-A-Day by the NBCC.
  • Open Letters is serializing great big swaths of excerpt from Jan Kjaerstad’s The Discoverer, translated from the Norwegian by Barbara Haveland. I’ve been dipping into it this week, and now I want to read all three of the books.
  • Darby recommends you put some in your pipe and smoke it.
  • Logicomix has been keeping me up late at night.

Weekly roundup.


I know things have been a bit dull here lately.  My counseling practice caseload is edging toward capacity, and that takes up a lot of my time, both physically and mentally.  I’ve also been working a little bit with life stories – I recorded some, years ago, and I need to do something with them before the cassettes on which they are recorded crumble into dust.

Plus, it’s been really nice outside.  Can you believe this weather?

I did, however, cobble together the weekly Monday’s Margins roundup over at Identity Theory.  Michele and I have been alternating weeks.  You should go read it.

I might have some interesting things to write about here later this week, if time and the weather allow.