Recent Articles

December 8, 2004

The Millions End of Year Extravaganza (It Begins) 1


Some time during the month of December, squeezed in between the eggnog and the marathon sessions at malls swollen with frantic shoppers, I hope everyone has a moment or two to reflect on the last year. And as you are reflecting, I hope you set aside another, smaller moment to think about some of the […]

December 6, 2004

My review of The Founding Fish by John McPhee 0


Have you ever wondered why someone doesn’t write a really interesting book about shoemakers or Idaho or health inspectors? When I worked at the bookstore I used to get questions like this all the time. Usually, I was forced to stare blankly for a moment before performing a futile search on the computer. But every […]

December 4, 2004

Yardley’s year in books 0


My favorite book critic, Jonathan Yardley of the Washington Post, has put out his list of the year’s best books. He also takes the opportunity to make some comments about the National Book Awards controversy. My own view is that the literary judgment of the National Book Award panelists was clouded by their desire to […]

December 3, 2004

More year-end lists 0


Two British papers have put out their “best books” lists for the year. The Guardian asked some literary luminaries to pick their favorites, while The Independent compiled a mega-review that amounts to the story of 2004 in books. If you like year-end “best of” lists about any and all things, check out Fimoculous, who is […]

December 1, 2004

Physics and Book Sales 0


Using bestseller rankings as his data set, a physicist at UCLA, Didier Sornette, and his coauthors have just completed a study to investigate which phenomena lie behind the creation of best-selling books. While Sornette acknowledges that a big sales spike occurs after a book receives a prominent review or a mention on television, “the […]

November 30, 2004

Tis the Season 0


It occurred to me over the Thanksgiving weekend that after three years of paid participation in the holiday retail experience, this year I am free to don my civilian garb and stroll blithely past the giftwrap lined trenches in which I used to toil. I have to admit before I started working in a bookstore […]

November 29, 2004

Monday Linkday 0


My mom pointed out this article in the Washington Post about a bookstore in Baltimore that primarily gives away books rather than selling them. It’s called the Book Thing: “That’s the whole thing with the Book Thing,” Wattenberg says. “All I am is a middleman. The people have books…. They give them to me, they’re […]

November 28, 2004

An Emerging Best of List 0


When I posted the CS Monitor “best of” list the other day, I mentioned how it seemed that this year there weren’t many young, exciting writers grabbing headlines from the established old guard. Dan Wickett, proprietor of The Emerging Writers Network left a comment recommending several young writers who deserve to be on some of […]

November 24, 2004

Classic Shorts 0


The recent news, here in Canada, of our great lady of letters, Alice Munro, taking the Giller prize for Runaway (excerpt), her latest collection of short fiction, gives us a chance to praise that wonderful literary form – the short story – and the authors who have practiced it with precision, humanity, and wit. Collected […]

November 24, 2004

The Welcome Wagon 0


It’s Thanksgiving and we are expecting many guests, so don’t expect much blogging. There will be some more “best of the year” type posts as the lists are published in various places. I’m thinking about compiling a master list to see which books appear on the most lists as I did last year… we’ll see. […]