James Howard Kunstler’s Post-Apocalyptic Village: The Witch of Hebron
FICTION / READINGS / REVIEW

James Howard Kunstler’s Post-Apocalyptic Village: The Witch of Hebron

Like Emily Barton’s The Testament of Yves Gundron, another novel that looks at technology and culture – through a decidedly opinionated eye – is James Howard Kunstler’s The Witch of Hebron. The second in a series of post-apocalyptic novels (the first being World Made by Hand), Kunstler’s mythic novel imagines a remote upstate New York … Continue reading »

Modern Researcher Stumbles Into Medieval Village: In Emily Barton’s Wildly Imaginative Novel, Cultures Clash
FICTION / READINGS / REVIEW

Modern Researcher Stumbles Into Medieval Village: In Emily Barton’s Wildly Imaginative Novel, Cultures Clash

Emily Barton’s elegant and innovative novel The Testament of Yves Gundron explores an imagined collision of past and future. The remote island nation of Mandragora is a medieval village untouched by the modern world until yeoman farmer Yves Gundron  invents a rudimentary, but critical technology, and young Cambridge anthropologist Ruth Blum stumbles into the village. … Continue reading »

A Tribute to George (Saunders). No Reading 2014′s Best Until You Read 2013′s Best.
FICTION / READINGS / REPARTEE / REVIEW / Uncategorized

A Tribute to George (Saunders). No Reading 2014′s Best Until You Read 2013′s Best.

We’re well into 2014, but perhaps you still have some of last year’s reading left. Stop and do not pass Go until you catch up with this one. “The best book you’ll read this year,” that 2013 New York Times Magazine assumption in search of rebuttal, introduces George Saunders’ Tenth of Dec.  So….anyhoo, let’s get … Continue reading »

Featured Bookshop: the “Fiercely Indie, Truly Local” Owl & Turtle in Camden, Maine
FICTION / REPARTEE / REVIEW

Featured Bookshop: the “Fiercely Indie, Truly Local” Owl & Turtle in Camden, Maine

The Owl & Turtle Bookshop is a pleasure to visit, and we encourage you to drive to beautiful Camden, Maine, and go there as soon as possible. Camden is a bit of a tourist destination, so there’s a nice selection of restaurants, shops, and accommodations, but it’s not crowded: you can find parking if you drive, … Continue reading »

“Old People are a Problem” – How Emyr Humphreys, Sebastian Barry, & Other Authors Write About the Old
FICTION / READINGS / REVIEW / Uncategorized

“Old People are a Problem” – How Emyr Humphreys, Sebastian Barry, & Other Authors Write About the Old

Let’s look at some works about old people, by authors who won’t make you snooze off in your chair. In honor of the Hay Festival, the Library of Wales is offering free stories from Volumes I and II of Story, the Library’s anthology of the finest Welsh short fiction, during the month of May. We’re … Continue reading »

National Audubon Society Field Guides: From Artist’s Conk to Slimy Gomphidius
NONFICTION / REPARTEE / REVIEW / Uncategorized

National Audubon Society Field Guides: From Artist’s Conk to Slimy Gomphidius

We highly recommend the National Audubon Society’s Field Guides.  They’re a good size, durable, well-organized, and feature very clear photographs which  – despite the artistry of the line drawings you find in many nature guides – is highly practical, especially when the subject is Mushrooms. (Audubon has 20 field guides currently in print, see here.) … Continue reading »

Übermütig:  Sabine Heinlein’s “The Portrait of the Writer as a Rabbit”
NONFICTION / READINGS / REVIEW / Uncategorized

Übermütig: Sabine Heinlein’s “The Portrait of the Writer as a Rabbit”

We discovered Sabine Heinlein‘s “The Portrait of the Writer as a Rabbit”  in the  2014 Pushcart Prize XXXVIII- Best of the Small Presses. It was originally published in the venerable Iowa Review. Here is an excerpt: “Unlike rabbits, the stereotypical German is stationary, predictable, and consistent. She plans ahead, stays close to home, and doesn’t … Continue reading »

“Avoid Sophistication” and Other Hints on Western Living & Self-Improvement
NONFICTION / READINGS / REPARTEE / REVIEW / Uncategorized

“Avoid Sophistication” and Other Hints on Western Living & Self-Improvement

The things you find rummaging about book sales. This little English/Chinese guidebook by Edna Goo, published by Mei Ya Publications in Taipei @1970, was to introduce western customs to women coming to the U.S.   Our particular version has a rather poisonous little inscription, to an unfortunate called “Barbara,” which we can safely assume was not … Continue reading »

Photography & Pollen Counting in Iceland
FICTION / REPARTEE / REVIEW

Photography & Pollen Counting in Iceland

  Alëx Elliott reports in the Iceland Review that pollen counting is underway in Garðabær, near Reykjavík, and in Akureyri. But you should visit Iceland Review’s beautiful Photo Gallery, by the photographers at Heimur hf, the publishing house behind Iceland Review.  Here’s an interesting ebook, Memoirs of an Icelandic Bookworm.  Author Jona E. Hammer translates Icelandic … Continue reading »

The Two Faces of Google
FICTION / REVIEW

The Two Faces of Google

We’ve read two books, Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and Dave Eggers’ The Circle,  and they do make interesting companions. Clay Jannon, a capable but down-on-his-luck web designer, responds to a HELP WANTED sign in a window: Late Shift Specific Requirements Good Benefits  “I was pretty sure “24-hour bookstore” was a euphemism for something. It … Continue reading »