Category: books

The Leaving Song

I’ve been getting attached to things that aren’t mine anymore, things that have moved on, most especially since I have been reading the “American Heritage Cookbook and Illustrated History of Eating & Drinking.” It was published in 1964 and is chock full of old American recipes, including the famous Chicken Corn Soup and Fastnachts that…

Danny Wallace’s Cup of Tea

Dear Danny, I just wanted to send you a note to tell you that I was thinking about you. I’ve got the kettle on and it happens that way. Whenever I go to make my second cup of tea (especially on a cloudy day), I think of your “another cup of tea and biscuits” moments…

A Summer Affair Review: Novel as Cop-Out

Elin Hilderbrand’s A Summer Affair, is supposed to be a beach read. You know this because there is an image of two cute pairs of feet kissing in the sand on the book’s cover. The fact that this layered, well-structured and sometimes thoughtless novel is supposed to be a beach read indicates a complication not…

Reading “Out of a Clear Sky”

I am happy to report that I received my copy of Sally Hinchcliffe’s Out of a Clear Sky in the post yesterday. It is currently out of stock on Amazon proper, but you can buy it in the U.S. through Amazon booksellers. It took about a week to arrive. Sally’s bio in the book is…

High Crimes: The Fate of Mount Everest in an Age of Greed

I met a photographer for the Hartford Courant, Michael Kodas, at Green Drinks the other night and it turns out he is also the author of this book. High Crimes. I’ve always been skeptical about mountain climbers, especially those who climb places that are truly death-defying. I think this might have something to do with…

10 Reviews and Counting

Back in October I somehow found out about the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Competition. I don’t even remember how, or why I took the time to submit my novel. Part of me thinks it was because: a) I never expected it to go anywhere and b) It was easy: just upload and forget about it. Well,…

Joyce Carol Oates 1, Professor Buttercup 0

At the Quick Center in Fairfield yesterday (where I was invited generously by my new buddy Carol), a simple author event became a righteous example of what happens when you are a man-professor of a certain ilk, with certain ideas about the world, and you set your puffed-rice expectations against a heady, hidden genius. I…

Message from the Coffeehouse

Being friends with other writers is always an elaborate game of Telephone: I’ve got Dixie Cups attached to email and blog strings all over the world. Here’s one whisper from Jenn, today, a new writing friend in the Small State. She sends regards from Stephen King, a fellow Stratfordian (he grew up here anyway) from…

What I am Reading… Orion Magazine

Or… Exercises in Different Thinking I’ve been a rabid subscriber of Orion Magazine for over two years now. It’s that sort of relationship, the kind you can’t remember how it started, and you never ever want it to change or end. There’s all too much going on the in world. So much so that word…

Mia the Meek

Here’s the first of the Mia Fullerton series, Mia the Meek, by an old school mate of mine, Eileen Burke Boggess. There is something about life in Catholic school that is both iconic and precious. If you were part of it, maybe you loathed it and loved it all at once. If you are one…

What I am Reading: Wild Dogs

Mary Flanagan brought me this book to workshop this week. “I just thought…” she said, then her voice trailed off. I started reading it this morning, on the Tube. This isn’t the cover of the book I have. Books have all sorts of different covers, in different markets. Probably the one here is the American…

Launching a Mistress

At Random House last night I met Lily (not her real name) and it reminded me of a story I want to tell you. But before I tell you, you have to know about last night. Lily and I and a roomful of disconnected people milling, the spaces filled with small talk and wine. We…

Under "The Tent"

Authors really shouldn’t be celebrities or figureheads. Not really. Instead, they should be heroes. Margaret Atwood just fills a chair, like any other person. She is right there in front of me. She is little. She is older than the image sketched on the side of a Barnes & Noble handbag. But she is epic.…

Spiral-bound Woman

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. — Joan Didion I’m sitting at my oak table, one I use as a desk. I am glancing up, now and then, at the bookcase next to the…

Perils of a "Lovely" Life

Colin and I were out Sunday evening to see Jon Stewart in a live performance at the Prince Edward to promote his book, America the Book. You know, I’ve been moaning and complaining lately because I never meet anyone famous around here. Madonna and Gwyneth and Kate all live practically on my doorstep — so…