Discussion

photo of camera with title Why I Gave Up on Instagram

Why I Gave Up on Instagram

I tried, I really did. But Instagram finally got the better of me. Settling on the kind of post I wanted to present was my first problem. Many bookstagrammers (what the bookish folk on Instagram call themselves) include the complete publisher’s description of the book, followed by their own discussion and evaluation of the book. …

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feature: Life Stories in Literature

Announcing Life Stories in Literature

Related Articles: Introduction to Life Stories “Before I Go to Sleep,” S.J. Watson: We Are What We Remember Life Stories: The Personal Component 11 Novels That Feature Life Stories Literary Life Stories: The Character Biography “Gone Girl”: Forging a Life Story Life Stories: A Select Bibliography What Your Favorite Books Tell You About Your Writing …

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Discussion

What a Crazy Week in Publishing!

Between the post-publication recall of Blake Bailey’s biography of Philip Roth and the cancelation of contracts for upcoming political books, my head is spinning. This will probably be quite a rambling discussion, because I am truly of two minds on these kinds of issues. ‘There Is a Tension There’: Publishers Draw Fire for Signing Trump …

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Discussion

Do You Read More Than One Book at a Time?

The question of whether people read more than one book at a time comes up often on book-related media. I’ve noticed that the people who post the question and then go on to answer it most often write about why they read multiple books simultaneously. Many people just ask the question without including any discussion, …

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Discussion

Your Favorite Book Might Be My DNF . . . and Vice Versa

“One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” “There’s no accounting for taste.” “Different strokes for different folks.” I occasionally see the novel Geek Love by Katherine Dunn listed on someone’s list of best novels ever read. I understand that the novel’s themes of family, love, and normality make it appeal to a lot of people, …

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Discussion

My Reading & Writing Goals for 2021

What I Learned from COVID-19 I keep reading things like “I can’t wait to be done with 2020 and move on to 2021.” Do most people truly believe that merely taking one calendar off the wall and hanging up another one is going to change their day-to-day existence? Such magical thinking. Reality doesn’t work that …

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Discussion

Re-Examining My Stance on Horror

Introduction Ever since I started Notes in the Margin back in the late 1990s, I’ve been saying that I don’t like, and therefore don’t read, horror literature, particularly books about vampires, werewolves, and zombies. However, lately I’ve read several articles about horror that have convinced me it might be time for me to re-examine my …

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Discussion

How I Use Goodreads

I occasionally come across articles criticizing Goodreads. The latest one is “Why Goodreads is bad for books.” I’m always surprised at the vehemence with which some people criticize Goodreads. Sure, the platform is owned by one of the biggest retailers on the planet and therefore doesn’t have much incentive to improve. But as I read this …

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Discussion

How to Recognize an Unreliable Narrator

Here’s a question that comes up periodically on literary sites: I’m having trouble reading books with unreliable narrators. How exactly do you know a narrator is unreliable? When I saw the question again recently, I realized that, although the question gets asked a lot, I don’t think I’ve ever seen an answer. It’s a hard …

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Covers: Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner and The French Lieutenant's Woman by John Fowles

CC Spin #23: A Change of Plan

Related Post: Classics Club Spin #23 Earlier this month the Classics Club announced a return of its spin, in which we make a numbered list of books, then read the book on our list with the number chosen at random. Initially I welcomed the exercise, because I have been  having trouble reading and writing in …

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