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Category Archives: Literature

Reviews, Top N lists, and other sundry literary stuff.

“People don’t really eat pizza in Montana.”

by not non-fiction

Thomas McGuane with bits like:

People don’t really eat pizza in Montana. There are no secretaries here.


I like writing that’s a bit more direct because I hope the subjects are difficult enough that they can supply all the indirection that I could possibly manage.

And also:

There comes a point where I have to declare a truce with the text or I’ll keep fooling with it forever.

Fascinating interview on NPR’s All Things Considered re: his new collection, Crow Fair. More than worth the 7 or so minutes. Go check it out.

the key for a lock that doesn’t yet exist

by not another Rob?

“Writing the first sentence of a novel, for me, is something like filing, from a blank of metal, the key for a lock that doesn’t yet exist, in a door that doesn’t yet exist, set into a wall … An impossible thing, yet I find it must be done, or at least approximately done, else nothing will follow. The white wall (once of paper, now of pixels) will only open to the right key, or at least something approximating it, as I tend to keep filing, endlessly, through the ensuing composition.”

William Gibson, The First Sentence Is a Handshake (interview in The Atlantic)

And the rest is even better than that. But this quote here was a light bulb for me. In that moment, his words described the act of writing as something very familiar to me, but also something very alien and strange and brilliantly true.

review: Doom Days

by Rob Friesel

Doom Days is an anthology in the same spirit as Larry Niven’s The Man-Kzin Wars series or Robert Lynn Asprin’s Thieves’ World 1 — a “shared world” anthology conceived by one author, but the individual (and loosely-connected) stories written by several others besides. This particular set of stories is set in a post-apocalyptic United States […]


by Rob Friesel

When you read Susan Cain’s Quiet, you must remind yourself of a few things: This not introverts versus extroverts; 1 she is not villainizing extroverts; she is not out to glorify introverts and introversion; and if it seems like she is making unsubtle generalizations, it’s because she has targeted a lay audience. With this in […]

Program or Be Programmed

by Rob Friesel

Right from the first page, Douglas Rushkoff’s book Program or Be Programmed 1 reminded me of Nicholas Carr‘s, The Shallows 2 — only with a broader scope and more buzzwords and a less gloomy appraisal of the subject. Buy a copy on Amazon (affiliate link).[↩]My review is here on this blog. And/or: buy it on […]