Author Archives: jz2nd

Notes on the Craft of Writing: From story to novel in Anthony Marra’s CHECHNYA and A CONSTELLATION OF VITAL PHENOMENA

That headline is a bit of misdirection, since this post will focus on Anthony Marra’s short story, Chechnya, which was my first introduction to Marra.  Chechnya was initially published in  Narrative Magazine’s Fall 2009 issue, having won their Spring story … Continue reading

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Review and congratulations for Indie’s Choice Adult Fiction Book of the Year: Louise Erdrich, Round House

Congratulations to Louise Erdrich, whose recognition for ROUND HOUSE includes the 2012 National Book Award (citation here) and now, the American Booksellers Association’s 2013  Adult Fiction Book of the Year (an Indies Choice Book Award, as selected by independent bookstores nationwide). … Continue reading

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Review: Peggy Riley, Amity and Sorrow: What makes fiction work

This past Sunday’s New York Times Book Review featured Dylan Landis’ wonderfully positive review of Peggy Riley’s debut novel Amity and Sorrow (312 pp. Little, Brown & Company $25.99).  It’s the story of a woman named Amaranth and her two … Continue reading

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Review: Douglas Hofstadter, Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking

My review of Doug Hofstadters new book, Surfaces and Essences:  Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking ran in today’s Shelf Awareness. It is also copied below in its entirety. Hofstadter’s first book, Godel, Escher, Bach, was essential reading … Continue reading

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Reviewing Reviews: Adam Johnson’s Orphan Master’s Son Wins the Pulitzer

Congratulations to Adam Johnson whose Orphan Master’s Son won the Pulitzer yesterday. It was published a month after North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il’s death, with the unforgettable image of millions of people mourning a monomaniacal strongman.  Since the novel takes North … Continue reading

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Future of the Book: Is the e-book the new scroll?

Another wonderful image that came up in conversation with a friend last week. We were talking, of course, of books and e-books. Read the comments on LinkedIn groups and it’s easy to think the only options are mutually exclusive: – … Continue reading

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Book Review, sort of: Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin

Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin (Random House, 2009) used Phillippe Petit’s tightrope walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Center as the novel’s central metaphor, an image of glorious achievement twenty-five years earlier as a redemptive … Continue reading

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The Future of Books: An Anecdote

The other day, a friend who is an editor at a large publisher and the parent of a small child came over for coffee.  Of course, the talk ran to books.  “How many did you get rid of when you … Continue reading

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Poetry Review: Palace of Contemplating Departures by Brynn Saito

My review of Brynn Saito’s The Palace of Contemplating Departure (Red Hen Press, 2013) ran in today’s Shelf Awareness for Readers (dedicated poetry issue; it is, after all, Poetry Month). I loved this collection.  Saito is wonderful with imagery and lets … Continue reading

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Poem Snippet of the Day: April Chores by Jane Kenyon

This is from “April Chores” by Jane Kenyon – from today’s Writers Almanac (where you can also read the whole poem): Like a mad red brain the involute rhubarb leaf thinks its way up through loam. I love that image – … Continue reading

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