The Bloodiest, Most Stomach-Turning Book You’ve Ever Read

“All of European literature springs from a fight,” says a Classics professor in Philip Roth’s The Human Stain. He’s talking about Homer’s The Iliad, and what a nasty little story it is. A few lines from Book 4, during the first major battle scene between the Trojans and the Achians, offers a sanguine taste: Then fate fell upon … Continue reading

Murakami is odds-on favorite for the Nobel?

I have always been a fan of the eclectic and controversial Irish betting site Paddy Power, which let you bet on everything from the next pope to whether Moody’s would downgrade a country’s credit rating. But before today I had never heard of the equally novel betting site Ladbrokes. This British cousin is taking bets on … Continue reading

2001’s Opening, millions of years ago

Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey has been invariably read since its publication as a companion piece or even, horror of horrors, a novelization of the like-named film. It is impossible to separate the two since they were created in tandem, with the film being released a few months before the book. I don’t like … Continue reading

Silly Reader, Sci-Fi is for Kids

I have a dear friend, a lady. She is dating a swell guy who also blogs — and he does a bang-up job of it. My dear friend had, I recall, a proviso set out at the start of their relationship: Her guy had to be cool with sci-fi. She’s totally geeked on the stuff … Continue reading

Book 1.2 If on a winter’s night a traveler

    Reading about yourself reading the book. Calvino’s If on a winter’s night a traveler opens with an eye-widening phrase: “You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino’s new novel, If on a winter’s night a traveler.” That’s true, I think to myself. Then the author uses polite directives on how to read his book. … Continue reading