Reluctant Habits

And She’s Back in Heat

Posted by in Blogging

As widely reported, Bitch Novelist will fuck your shit up.

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Secret Agent

Posted by in Blogging

No mention of SPECTRE’s presence within slush piles or the ridiculous signing demands of Elder Statesmen (accompanied by their egos), but Secret Agent has launched over at Maud’s. And it’s good stuff. We just hope the Agent will squirt Norman Mailer in the eye with one of Q’s gadgets just before his appearance on Gilmore Girls.

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Material Girls, Zola’s Game Theory, Tipping Points

Posted by in Roth, Philip, Roundup, Stephenson, Neal

Edinburgh hopes to add a walking tour to the Royal Mile. Three refurbished Truman Capote volumes have been released in time for Capote’s 80th birthday. Unemployed doctoral students may want to consider analyzing Zola. Apparently, it ties into current French politics. David Halberstam sinks his teeth into Rathergate. Neal Stephenson has shaved his head. And apparently his audience has grown older. Andrea Dworkin has written a followup book about the infamous drug-rape. The new stamps for 2005: Greta Garbo (check), Henry Fonda (check), The Muppets (check), Richard Fenyman (double check),…read more

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Personally, We Hear Little Voices Encouraging Us to Become an Insurance Adjuster

Posted by in Poetry

It was missed yesterday, but Today in Literatue celebrated the work of William McGonagall, who was, without a doubt, the Bulwer-Lytton of poetry. Here’s McGonagall on the collapse of the Tay Railway Bridge: …Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay, I must now conclude my lay By telling the world fearlessly without least dismay, That your central girders would not have given way, At least many sensible men do say, Had they been supported on each side with buttresses, At least many sensible men confesses, For the stronger we our…read more

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The Umpire Strikes Back

Posted by in Lucas, George

George Lucas on the Three Stooges films: “I am very concerned about our national heritage, and I am very concerned that the films that I watched when I was young and the films that I watched throughout my life are preserved, so that my children can see them.” You and me both, George. And you won’t have my DVD money or my respect until you release the Star Wars films I remember. Let’s face the facts: Han Solo blew Greedo away without simultaneous fire or a second thought.

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Exclusive Excerpt

Posted by in Satire

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Return of the Reluctant has obtained an excerpt from Breaking Wind: The Quest for Architectural Hubris in an Age of Terror by noted architect Howard Roark.] Ellsworth wanted to hurt me. But that was okay. His niece was fond of steely antiseptic sex when I wasn’t flexing my bold, industrial muscles at the drafting table. After a few cigarettes, I marveled over the proud rectilinear vision of a metropolis that others had the temerity to call dull and commercial. Even pro-business. What was wrong with that? What was…read more

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Vollman Ain’t Got Nothing On This

Posted by in Cooking

“Our goal was to give you a book with every recipe you want.” Apparently, that’s the purpose of The Gourmet Cookbook, which weighs six pounds and runs 1,040 pages but will only set you back a mere forty Washingtons. As the Times reports, the book’s authored by Ruth Reichl, editor of Gourmet. Perhaps this cookbook’s length was another reason Reichl commissioned the now infamous DFW article on the Maine Lobster Festival. Even so, we’re grateful that such a grandiose depository exists. If we calculate five recipes to a page, that…read more

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As I Drank My Morning Coffee

Posted by in Language, Roundup, Shields, Carol

The History of Punctuation (via Jeff) The American Bar Association has published its first work of fiction and folks in Miami are trying to find out the real-life models for the characters. Lindsay Sinclair is trying to keep E.B. White’s memory preserved. The Guardian asks why women go crazy over Mr. Darcy An Italian newspaper is doing brisk business by offering a reduced-price book with the daily edition. This zeppelin could be yours for only $10 million Angela Davis turned 60 and she’s still fighting the man If only 2%…read more

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Mailer’s Ghost

Posted by in Uncategorized

Carrie has the scoop on Norman Mailer and her mom: “Her courtroom work in Boston had put her in contact with a lot snakes and liars — there was one well-connected politician who repeatedly showed-up at her doorstep in the middle of the night, expecting to be taken in because of his last name (creepy she said, because he shouldn’t have even known where she lived) — and so Mailer, even in all his bluster and alcoholism, was a far more appealing species of male.”

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Don’t Forget An Incurable Touch of Insomnia As Well

Posted by in Uncategorized

Michael Berry compares the last volume of Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle with the last volume of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series: “Stephenson, on the other hand, is best appreciated once you have a solid liberal arts education under your belt, perhaps with a couple of graduate courses thrown in for good measure.”

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RIP Mulk Raj Anand

Posted by in Uncategorized

Mulk Raj Anand, one of India’s best-known English writers, has passed on. He was a few months shy of 100.

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On (Not) Retiring

Posted by in Uncategorized

Rasputin’s extremely touching words have reached me. And perhaps I should clarify a few things: 1. When someone like TMFTML retires or posts infrequently to live life or preserve a perceived drop in quality, it is a very sad thing. But one thing that strikes me about our ready band of regulars is that when they stop blogging and they transpose their talents elsewhere, it sometimes doesn’t occur to them to tell their readership where they go. And that is even more tragic. They’re not entitled to, of course. But…read more

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I Hope to Hell They Don’t Touch Terry Pratchett

Posted by in Uncategorized

Bad enough that they bastardized Riverworld, but now Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy is being turned into a Sci-Fi Channel series.

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Biblical Boiler Plate

Posted by in Uncategorized

Contrary to popular belief, the phrases “dearly beloved, we have come together…” and “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” can’t be found in the Bible. Wedding and death ceremonies have pilfered their terminology from The Book of Common Prayer (ASCII). There’s some other good stuff too. In fact, from a boiler plate approach, the Book of Common Prayer precedes the World War I form letter (the latter well documented in Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory). Good to get used to this sort of stuff (and realize exactly…read more

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Norman Mailer to Appear on Gilmore Girls

Posted by in Uncategorized

Norman Mailer will appear on an episode of The Gilmore Girls — apparently, as a tea drinker. Now if the Gilmore Girls producers were really smart, they’d throw in Germaine Greer into the same episode as well. The role of Mailer’s Ego has yet to be cast, although producers hope to enlist Colin Farrell for a guest shot. (via Maud)

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More Geniuses to Add to the Reading List

Posted by in Uncategorized

The MacArthur Foundation has announced more geniuses. Among the literary types: poet C.D. Wright, Rueben Martinez (who has taught Spanish-speaking people to appreciate literature), The Known World author Edward Jones, and Sarajevo writer Aleksandar Hernon. As most MacArthur junkies know, the genius grants involve $500,000 paid out over five years. This year, to allay concerns over assorted egos being snubbed, there were also several Not Quite Genius grants handed out, which included a $100 coupon for an anger management seminar to Stanley Crouch.

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Bloomberg Denies Living to Average New Yorkers

Posted by in Uncategorized

This morning, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg hiked the MOMA price from $12 to $20, part of a larger plan that will transform Manhattan museums into the exclusive playground of the rich. “Those good-for-nothing bootlickers belong at the bottom,” said Bloomberg as a personal assistant shined the Mayor’s shoes with his tongue. “Why do they need art in their lives when they can watch HBO?” At this point, the personal assistant stopped shining. “Um, excuse me, sir. I can’t even afford basic cable.” “That’s not my problem!” Bloomberg roared. “Shine,…read more

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In A Parallel Universe, Papa Ended Up Writing Lurid Grisham-Like Thrillers Involving Colons, Well-Hung Cows and Virile Walter Mitty Types

Posted by in Uncategorized

Sun-Times: “Hemingway scholar J. Gerald Kennedy, who has a copy, guffawed out loud as he paraphrased the story over the phone. The main character kills the bull with his bare hands. But the hapless hero loses part of his entrails — his duodenum ends up in the sand. ‘”‘It’s pretty typical of the kind of after-hours parody Hemingway was writing in Paris in the mid-20s,” said Kennedy, a professor at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La. ‘It’s not great literature. He’s still a year away from writing The Sun…read more

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There Are Articles, and There Are Articles

Posted by in Uncategorized

Sarah’s first column at the Sun is out. Check it out, pref. with BugMeNot. And this piece pretty much makes a case against any future feature-length article about blogging. Since when did Wonkette get a definite article? Next thing you know, they’ll be calling our asses The Our Girl from Chicago, The TMFTML, or The The Old Hag, or The Dr. Mabuse. Come on, you silly people. If you’re a newspaper with a fact checking department that employs more people per issue than the United States did during the entirety…read more

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Around the Sphere

Posted by in Uncategorized

We’re stuck at home on a beautiful day waiting for the damn gas man to show up so we can cook again. There are also deadlines. Such is life. But here’s a brief look at what’s happening in the literary world: LNR Diary continues its hilarious coverage, judging the Booker shortlist on the merits of its covers. Chekhov’s Mistress notes that today is the anniversary of Messr. Faulkner’s birthday, and has some great interview excerpts and links to boot. Some perspective on the Anne Rice contretemps (via Ron) The Olive…read more

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It’s Kaiju Time!

Posted by in Uncategorized

If you live in San Francisco and you grew up watching Creature Features, your prayers have been answered. 20 Godzilla movies in seven days, Bob Wilkins, Russ Tamblyn and John Stanley. Needless to say, Lady Mabuse is also a huge Godzilla fan. And determined as ever to see every one, this should be one of the most insane film festivals I’ve ever attended.

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RIP Francoise Sagan

Posted by in Uncategorized

Francoise Sagan, the S.E. Hinton of France, has passed on.

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We’re Wondering Ourselves When Gallo Will End Up Pumping Gas (As Opposed to His Fragile Ego)

Posted by in Uncategorized

Liz Penn serves up The Brown Bunny review to end all Brown Bunny reviews: “But during the course of this trip, you come to realize that, in fact, you yourself hate this boyfriend, because he is a dreadful person; his fragile neediness is soon exposed as tyrannical passive-aggression, and his exaggerated preoccupation with women poorly masks a withering contempt. In fact, this boyfriend ignores you completely; it is as if he is traveling alone. Why did you agree to get in the car with him? He promised the trip would…read more

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Memo from Professor Stuyvesant

Posted by in Uncategorized

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Since the Superfriends have remained silent, to foster variegated opinions and commentaries on this blog, I have enlisted Professor Timothy Stuyvesant (rumored to be in the running for emeritus status) to offer excerpts from his lectures here on a semi-regular basis. The Professor specializes in English usage and made at least forty-five students weep the last year. (Approximately. The number hasn't been confirmed.) He has yet to be featured on Rate My Professors for fear of immediate reprisal. But several experts have concluded that Stuyvesant's work remains as...read more

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Tastes Great, Less Filling?

Posted by in Uncategorized

Mark’s posted a fantastic comparison between Cloud Atlas and The Great Fire, daring to put his literary sensibilities on the edge while chronicling how his literary tastes have changed as he’s grown older. While I haven’t yet read The Great Fire, I can offer the perspective of a crazed reader who’s just turned thirty (who, by the maxims of another time, can still, just barely, remain trusted). Recently, I read Idoru and Pattern Recognition. It was the first time I had read William Gibson in about ten years. When I…read more

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Twin Farms — Sinclair’s Steel Trap?

Posted by in Uncategorized

Twin Farms, the working farm where Sinclair Lewis and Dorothy Thompson (inspiration for the Hepburn film Woman of the Year) once resided, is alive and well — today, well populated by tourists. But it’s worth noting that Lewis’ worst books came after 1928, the year he moved to Twin Farms. So either Twin Farms is a bona-fide source of depleting inspiration, or a beatific menagerie guaranteed to trap and sap talent. Whatever the case, Lewis might be glad to know that talent is the only thing being fleeced. Tourists have…read more

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Plenty of Book, But the Other Part

Posted by in Uncategorized

By the way, folks, Michael Schaub is kicking some butt this week at the Bookslut blog (I didn’t know that Toni Morrison was a smoker), although I wish he wouldn’t be so frightened about confessing his licentious interests. Really, Michael, all lit bloggers are randy in one way or another. It’s okay. Some Erica Jong, Carol Queen, and Fanny Hill references and you’ll be all right.

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Excerpt from Anne Rice’s Diary: Anne Rice Defends Her Day

Posted by in Uncategorized

Dear Diary: Seldom do I consider subject-verb agreement when telling you what I’ve done. In fact, the entire development of my career (which should pay for a few more Botox treatments) has been fueled by my ability to write as lazily as possible. These fans amuse me. They actually expect me to write more of these goddam vampire stories? Well, if they’re prepared to part with their cash, then I’ll just have to extend the pergola at the back of the house. There is something compelling about Amazon’s willingness to…read more

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Et Tu Sarvas?

Posted by in Uncategorized

The Book Babes’ latest column not only acts as if none of last year’s comparisons between comatose newspaper coverage and the galvanizing eclat of literary blogs ever happened, but suggests that the Book Babes and the illustrious Mr. Sarvas are now in cahoots. While we’re certainly pleased to see the Book Babes begin to understand the influence of blogs (and Mr. Sarvas’ careful ruse), we remain perplexed over the Poynter Institute’s continued encouragement of the Book Babes’ naivete. “From a blogger’s perspective, old media feel too old-fashioned, too corporate, too…read more

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Under Doug’s Thumb

Posted by in Uncategorized

Well, if Maud is going to come out of the woodworks as a Doctor Who fan, then I should also point out that the radio series of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (with the original cast!) picks up with “The Tertiary Phase” (starting at Life, the Universe and Everything) with Douglas Adams himself revived through digital technology as Agrajag.

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