Category Archives: Friends

I Want a Nemesis

I’m so jealous of Ed. He’s got a nemesis now—Time critic Lev Grossman, who devoted an entire essay to Ed. What do I have to do to get one?

I’ve never met him. I don’t know what he looks like, how old he is, or pretty much anything about him (or her?). Except that every few months he calls me an idiot on his website.

With a little bit of research (30 seconds on Google), it seems like Lev could have found out a lot more about Ed, but maybe that’s the magic of having a nemesis. You don’t need to know who they are, just that they’re out there. I really want one!


Yes, I made up the word. I’ve been seeing this One Book meme on many other blogs and thought I’d give it a whirl.

One book that changed your life:
Mythology by Edith Hamilton is what started me in Classics. I took Latin for four years in high school because of this book and went on to major in Classics in college. This book started me thinking and reading more about history, language, art, math, etc.

One book that you’ve read more than once:
I’ve read Jane Eyre probably eight or nine times. I loved that book from the first time I read it, in 6th grade I think.

One book you’d want on a desert island:
This is a nerdy answer, but the Iliad. Every time I pick up the book, I discover something new.

One book that made you laugh:
The Sea by John Banville. Just kidding. It’s hard to think of a book that made me laugh all the way through it, but I’d have to go with My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell. The account of his unusual upbringing had me laughing periodically and even snorting coffee through my nose once.

One book that made you cry:
Chimamanda Adichie’s quiet Purple Hibiscus had me crying by the end. The desperation of the characters caught in a miserable life not of their choosing made my chest ache.

One book that you wish had been written:
There are so many books in the world that I haven’t read yet that I don’t know a good answer to this one. There are a lot of dead authors who could have produced great works I bet.

One book that you wish had never been written:
Man, I could come up with a whole post based on this question. How about Danielle Steele’s tenth book? I’m not even sure what it is, but I imagine she doesn’t need to keep on writing that same novel about crashing marriages amongst the jetset, each with a new (and lame) title.

One book you’re currently reading:
I’m in the middle of Lost: A Search for Six of Six Million by Daniel Mendelsohn right now. It’s his intense and elegant recounting of the search for relatives murdered by the Nazis.

One book you’ve been meaning to read:
William Gaddis’ The Recognitions—I’ve never made it past page 100. I’m determined to finish that book one day.

Feel free to leave your list in the comments. The lists vary so much already, I’d love to hear other people’s answers.

Roundtable Part Deux

If you enjoyed the Black Swan Green discussion between myself and Ed, you’re in luck. We’re getting ready to start another discussion, this time with more players. I won’t reveal the book yet, but I’ll reveal the other participants: Scott Esposito, Gwenda Bond, and Dan Wickett.

So keep your eyes open over the next few weeks, when the discussion will get underway.

Hot Topic: The Literary Version of the Cold Call

Around the blog world you can hear the cries of pain from various bloggers who’ve been inundated with email lately from perhaps well-meaning publicists who don’t take the time to read the blogs they’re emailing. I’m not sure if I feel the same sort of animosity that Ed does—I just delete the emails about books I know don’t appeal to me (any book on spirituality goes quickly). Bloggers can make a difference sure, but I only review books that I care about. I won’t shill for anyone and I will only mention books that I find worth mentioning. It’s fairly clear when someone hasn’t taken the time to read my site, yet emails, sometimes several times, about books that I won’t care about. I don’t have to time to answer them all unfortunately. Sorry if I offend anyone, but to maintain my own sanity that is the way it must be done.