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Book #86: The Heart of the Matter

This book.

I don’t know what I expected coming into The Heart of the Matter. I’ve already read The Power and the Glory, which I currently have ranked 27 out of the 85 novels I’ve read so far, and I knew Graham Greene was an exceptional writer. But I didn’t quite expect to like this novel as much as I did.

The Heart of the Matter is, simply put, a beautiful, elegant novel. No surprise here, since it’s on the Time Magazine list, this is a fairly dark book. Not in a dreary Blood Meridian, Money type of way. But more in somber, sadness. Like, if a novel could outline a person’s road to severe depression, this novel would be it. Or if a dreary rainy day could exist in novel form, it would be The Heart of the Matter. Read more

Kerouac’s Legendary 120-Foot Scroll

The story goes that Jack Kerouac wrote the original draft of On The Road in just three weeks and on a single 120-foot scroll of paper while living with his second wife in a Manhattan apartment on West 20th Street. All of that fueled by coffee and benzedrine, legend goes. He actually taped individual pieces of paper together to create the scroll.

Over the next 6 years, Kerouac would revise the text until On The Road was finally published in 1957. He wrote the scroll single space, without paragraph breaks. Also, of legend, the last few pages of the scroll were ripped because a dog named “Patchkee” ate them up. Read more

Richard Ford Meets Stephen Colbert

Richard Ford appeared on Stephen Colbert’s show a few years ago to promote his novel, Canada.

Colbert, as only he can, talks about how offended he is that the novel isn’t named America.

It’s a pretty humorous exchange between the two about Canada, guns, writing, and being famous. Colbert’s awesome, and Richard Ford does an outstanding job of staying with him the whole time. Read more

5 Things Your Mom Didn’t Tell You About Book Blogging

Sure, you’ve already got a great book blog. Your mom loves it. In fact, your book blog is so good that more people than your mom and brother read it.

That’s step one to blog success—more than just family members!

But how does your book blog stand out in the middle of all the thousands of book blogs on the intertubes?

Well, I don’t claim to be an expert or anything, but I have been blogging about books for nearly 4 years, and here’s what’s worked for me.  These, of course, are in addition to these blogging tips I gave a few years ago. All those tips still hold true as well.

So here are a few of my thoughts that, just maybe, your mom didn’t tell you: Read more

What’s Your Unpopular Book Opinion?

This post on Reddit inspired me. And that’s saying something. Because to find anything inspiring on the Reddit Books forums is a rarity, unless you’re inspired by pretentious jerkwads.

So, today, I’ll ask you this:

What’s one of your unpopular opinions about books? You guys unfortunately read my opinions all the time–it’s kind of what a blog’s about. So you already know so of my unpopular opinions–like how I hate Mrs. Dalloway and how Stanley Kubrick’s version of A Clockwork Orange was a slap in the face to Anthony Burgess.

So I’m going to tell you about one of my unpopular opinions that I haven’t talked about as much–at least since I read the Watchmen graphic novel. It’s this: Read more

Dear Mom

Mother’s Day is Sunday here in the U.S., and I must say that I’ve got a pretty amazing Mom.

Let me tell you about her a little bit.

Read more

Literary Meals That Will Make You Hungry

Over the past ten years, I’ve become one of those awfully annoying people you might know as “foodies.” I really hate that word, foodie, but if someone were to label me, I’d probably fit somewhere in that designation.

So you can imagine my excitement when I saw a recently released coffee table book called Fictitious Dishes, written by Dinah Fried (such a great last name for a food writer). Food and literature? I’m in. All that’s missing is college football.

In Fictitious Dishes, Fried pulled quotes about meals from famous novels, cooked the food, then took beautiful photos of the result. It’s really a cool concept that is impressively executed.

Here are 6 samples from Dinah Fried’s website (used with permission) with the relevant sentence from each novel. And, okay, maybe the title of this post was misleading–let’s hope the meal from The Metamorphosis doesn’t make you hungry.  Read more

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