What Do You Think of E-Books?

A few months back, I decided that I needed to have an e-reader. There were three critical reasons: 1) too many books, only one house. Thanks to my omnivorous reading habits,  we’re stuck culling and crating books and hauling them off to my Alma Mater’s annual book sale. 2) Convenience. Have you traveled lately? There’s…

A Gem: Dawn Promislow’s Jewels

More often than not, I’m put off by plain, bare-bones, minimalist writing, and here’s why: simplicity of language should point to clarity of thought, but too often it signifies nothing but the desire to be — well, bare-bones and minimalist. Flip through literary journals, and you find a bland sameness to much of the prose,…

Amos Oz in Verse: The Same Sea

Novels come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s always a delight to discover an unusual way of telling a story, one that shows us what’s possible beyond our usual expectations of plot and character, beginning, middle and end. The Same Sea by Israeli writer Amos Oz is a novel written in both verse (blank,…

On Vacation

See the banner on top of this page? It’s a photo I took of the Cape Cod National Seashore, where we’re headed on holidays tomorrow.  While there, I’m hoping to go on “writer’s detox” and unplug from the wired world as much as possible, leaving room and time to fill up on old-fashioned books —…

Flannery O’Connor’s Double-Header

Dear reader, what follows is a two-part review of two books, longer than my usual posts. The two sections are separated by asterisks, so you may want to save the second half for another reading. * The American author Flannery O’Connor wrote haunting, disturbing and technically brilliant work during her short, but productive life. She…

Heinrich Böll’s The Train Was On Time.

Our conventional idea of a well-constructed novel (or novella) has a narrative arc: beginning, middle and end, climax and resolution, an energetic plot dramatized by a protagonist and an antagonist with a conflict brewing between them. Good reading, but sometimes the structure’s too tidy for real life, where conflicts happen all the time, but resolution…