The Sense of Style: by Steve Pinker – Book Review

sense of styleI have a confession to make.  I’m one of those dorky people who reads grammar/writing style guides for fun (as if that comes as a surprise to any of our readers here).  And so, it should further come as no surprise that I found Steven Pinker’s The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century! to be a sheer delight. Continue reading

Duplex, by Kathryn Davis

duplexWhat a strange, dark, beautiful world Kathryn Davis has created in her novel Duplex.  And the best part is how it sneaks up on you.  Everything is all perfectly normal, but then there is, almost in passing, a sorcerer.  And robots.  And fairies.  Horsewomen.  Aquanats.  But subtly, almost like you’re the strange one for seeing anything out of the ordinary.  And you find yourself questioning whether you’ve seen anything at all. Continue reading

Dorothy Parker- The Complete Stories

dorothy parkerIf I had a time machine, the first thing I would do is go back to New York City circa 1930 and kidnap Dorothy Parker.  I would force her to tell me stories.  Ask her for fashion advice.  Writing advice.  Definitely ask for advice about women.  And we would absolutely, absolutely paint the town.  I can’t imagine anything more fun. Continue reading

Cosmopolis- Book Review

CosmopolisFor reasons I am still trying to wrap my head around, Don DeLillo’s White Noise moved me more than any book I had read in quite some time.  Not in an altogether good way, or bad way.  I found it both pleasant and intensely disturbing.  It was familiar and horrifying, and thus both comforting and startling.  I liked it.  It was something to experience. Continue reading

Too Happy to Write?

I know what you’re thinking; give me these problems!  But I wonder if this truly exists.  I think about this now because, as I mentioned in a previous post, in Joshua Ferris’s To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, he describes the main character’s ex-girlfriend, who he hired to be his office manager, but then (unwisely) did not fire after they broke up, going through a period where she experienced this phenomenon.  She used to write poetry, but then found that, in this blissful “honeymoon” period of their relationship, she was simply too happy to write. Continue reading

“Can’t and Won’t” Stop Going to Book Stores

My favorite thing to do (within reason) is browse in bookstores.  I like looking, seeing the books, watching people, watching what other people are reading/buying/looking at.  I found myself in a bookstore recently (would find myself there daily, if I had my druthers).  Was grabbed by the cover of Lydia Davis’s collection of short stories Can’t and Won’t. Continue reading


The last strains of sunlight lingered in the corners, grasping every available point of refraction.  She slid her fingertips along the glass wondering if this was all there ever was. Or could be.
But no.  Un-alone, her mirrored shadow had company in her pantomimic otherworld.  With the beckoning, tenebrous gloom, an apparition, dark and menacing, approached.  She shivered with delighted terror and settled in to watch.

Guido’s Revenge

"You shoulda come to me first."

“Please turn right,” an artificially pleasant, female-sounding voice said from the dashboard.

Jimmy turned right.

“What the hell was that?” asked Johnny.

“She said ‘turn right,’” said Jimmy.

“I heard what she said,” said Johnny.  “But I’m tellin’ you, I been there, and it ain’t right.”

“Maybe she knows a shortcut,” said Jimmy.

“And maybe you’re an idiot,” said Johnny, “takin’ directions from a broad,” he added, under his breath, “fat, dumb, salsiccia-eatin’, robot-dame-whipped…direction-takin’ mother-…”

“What was that?” Jimmy, the bigger of the two, asked.

“Nothin’,” said Johnny.

“That’s what I thought,” said Jimmy.

“Flip a U-turn up here,” said Johnny.

“Please turn left,” said the robot voice.

Jimmy turned left.

“What…the…HELL?!?!” screamed Johnny.

“She said ‘turn left.’  I’m turnin’ left.  Just sit back…relax…we’ll be there in a jiff,” said Jimmy.

“Oh, so you givin’ orders now?  You know what Junior said.  I’m the brains on this operation; you’re the brawn.”

“This here’s the only brain I need,” said Jimmy, tapping the dash.

“But I been there, Jimmy.  That’s what I’m tryin’ to tell ya.  Where’d you get that thing anyway?”

“Over at Gambino’s.  I know a guy.”

“Gambino’s Electronics?  What’s the guy’s name?”

“Oh, I don’t know.  Greg.  Gary.  Somethin’ with a ‘g.’ I ain’t no good with names,” said Jimmy.

And that was true; Jimmy was no good with names.  Otherwise, he would have remembered that the Gambinos were related to the Gambonis.  And Gill “The Gadget” Gambino (of Gambino’s Electronics) was cousins with Guido Gamboni, with whom Jimmy had had an unfortunate (i.e. permanent) “misunderstanding.”  Both the Gambinos and the Gambonis were great with technology.  And revenge.

“Approaching destination,” said the robot voice.

Of course, it was not their destination, but a dark alley.

“Prepare to die,” said the robot, with the same chirpy pleasantness.

Just then, thugs in trench coats emerged from the darkness.  As bullets pierced the windshield, Jimmy wondered if he still had his receipt.