Reluctant Habits

The Ultimate Justification for Why You Should Not Vote for Nader

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(via MeFi)

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Inside the Lit Blogger’s Studio

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We were never asked to participate, but Emerging Writers Forum has an interview with the bloggers up. Go check it out.

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With Polls Locked in Dead Heat, Kerry Asks Helping Hands for Aid in Swing States

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Happy Halloween

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[Forrest J. Ackerman] [Clive Barker] [Jessica Barone] [Charles Beaumont] [Ambrose Bierce] [Algernon Blackwood] [Robert Bloch] [Poppy Z. Brite] [Grimm Brothers] [Ramsey Campbell] [Hugh B. Cave] [Thomas Disch] [Edward Gorey] [Shirley Jackson] [M.R. James] [Jack Ketchum] [Stephen King] [Joe R. Lansdale] [Richard Laymon] [Thomas Ligotti] [Bentley Little] [H.P. Lovecraft] [Robert McCammon] [George R.R. Martin] [Richard Matheson] [Yvonne Navarro] [Joyce Carol Oates][Edgar Allen Poe] [Tim Powers] [Ray Russell] [Mary Shelley] [Joseph Sheridan le Fanu] [Dan Simmons] [Bram Stoker] [Peter Straub] [J.N. Williamson] and to anyone else I might have missed.

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Insomnia-Charged Roundup

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Audrey Niffenegger confesses that she wrote the sex scenes in The Time Traveler’s Wife last. Niffenegger is also penning a a writing book called You’ll Only Finish Your Novel If You Save the Best for Last. Thomas Harris has finished yet another Hannibal novel, which will not only describe how Lecter developed his appetite for evil, but include a metafictional subplot involving how Harris developed his appetite for beating a dead horse. Ten writers have won Whiting Writers’ Awards, including Dan Chiasson, Alison Glock, A. Van Jordan and Tracey Scott…read more

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Transcript of the Unedited Azzam Tape

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MUFFLED VOICE: Is this thing on? AZZAM: Yessss…it iz on. I can see ze blinking red light. Do you have zee After Effects software for ze menacing logo? MUFFLED VOICE: Yes. AZZAM: Very good. Hahahahahaha. I am Azzam the American. Heed my worrrrrrrrrrds. MUFFLED VOICE: Azzam, keep your hood on. AZZAM: Yesss…you are riiiiiiiiiight. We mest scare ze bejeeeesus out of the crooked American peoples. Rumorz on zee Internets. Zey won’t be able to authenticate zis. MUFFLED VOICE: For God’s sake, Azzam, don’t use plural like that. You’ll give away…read more

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Indonesian Monkeys at a Family Reunion, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Evolution

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Nature: “A new human-like species – a dwarfed relative who lived just 18,000 years ago in the company of pygmy elephants and giant lizards – has been discovered in Indonesia.”

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Literary Roundup, Or How I Learned to Stop Linking to One Thing and Love Dumping A Lotta News

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It’s never too late to stop thinking about the next Booker, particularly with Ian McEwan’s Saturday in the pipeline. Officially, the book has been completed, with more than a few articles on this day-in-the-life-of-a-neurosurgeon offering. Alice Munro, recently profiled in the NYT, has been nominated for a Governor General award. She won her first GG award 36 years ago. The big literary sensation in France is Suite Francaise. The novel was written in 1942 by Jewish author Irene Nemirovsky right as she was waiting for the Nazis to come. The…read more

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Strangelove Week, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Subtitle

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Unlike other esteemed litblogs, given Dr. Strangelove‘s 40th anniversary and the Coke v. Pepsi presidential race we have to look forward to on Tuesday, I firmly believe that the next week is prime time for Strangelove references. I hereby proclaim it Strangelove Week. Each entry shall contain a Strangelove-related subtitle until the polls close.

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I Lost My __________, Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love an Unfortunate Day

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Ever had a day (or several weeks) in which your life resembled a country western song? Well, I’m trying to remain positive here. But until this existential deficit stops, blog entries will have to remain sparse.

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The Literary Hipster’s Handbook, 2004 Q3 Edition, Or How I Learned to Stop Snickering and Love the NYTBR

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“Anne Rice”: A dish tainted with hallucinogenics served at a literary function causing its eater to whine about lack of literary ability. In the worst of cases, the afflicted eater continues wallowing in her own despair and transposes this despondency (often inexplicably formed) to online bulletin boards such as Amazon.com. Banned in at least five states, Anne Rice (and its deadlier cousin, Queen Anne Rice) has enjoyed newfound popularity in certain underground enclaves. Much like its dark cousin absinthe, Anne Rice is often consumed as an appetizer by those who…read more

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The Secret to Speed Reading, Or How I Learned to Stop Sniffing Coke and Love Sniffing Even More Coke

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A reader writes: You recently mentioned reading the whole of Ulysses in less than an hour, and you frequently allude to the novels you read while you’re imbibing a fifth martini. As someone who never seems to have enough time to read, I simply don’t believe you. I’d like to know two things: how you read so fast, and how you fast while reading. The fact is, dear reader, that, in addition to the starving you reference, I do most of my reading on speed, bringing new meaning to the…read more

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The Song Remains the Same, Or How I Learned to Stop Prioritizing Just One of the Guys Behind the Screenplay and Love Peter George and Stanley Kubrick

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“At that time, 1962 and earlier, practically all screenwriters — I would say there were about eight exceptions — were full-out hacks, completely incompetent in any other form of writing, and, of course, disastrous in their own. You’ve got to understand that it is not easy to make a bad movie — it requires a very special combination of non-talents and anti-talents…and that was generally the case, and unfortunately all too often still is. It used to be that the people — they were not writers — who would get…read more

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Anticlimax

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NaNoWriMo starts in a few weeks. If you’re in the Cape Cod area, Laurie Higgins would like to hear from you. Gerald Hiken’s an actor in Palo Alto who performs as Proust, Auden, and Stein in his living room. The public is invited on Fridays and Saturdays. Alice Walker has received a Lifetime Literary Achievement Award from the Enoch Pratt library. Pratt could not attend, too busy passing the ball to Pratt, who kicked it back to Pratt, diving under Pratt and scoring, with Pratt held in low regard. This…read more

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Yeoman

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‘Twere it possible to pluck The grimy residue from recent oceans Or to stand resolute with sturdy sea legs Upon a foundation shaky in its firm conviction Their woes were pedantic They used their resilient muscles To plant tumers that would not grow Transparent tears stinging upon flesh The hard work of nothingness A void to ensnare defiant dreamers Through the dull blue orb But the yeoman Surrounded by their poisonous tongues Anthracite ventricles Glutinous voices Ended the vicious cycle By striking the flint of his ambition The yeoman walked…read more

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Fear and Loathing

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Hunter S. Thompson weighs in on the current presidential race.

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Aphorism! Aphorism!

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Don Paterson hopes to revive the aphorism: “More than anything, the aphorism tries desperately hard to be memorable. (Of course, this is the aim of all writing, but usually we make some attempt to conceal the desperation. Another reason why aphorisms, when they fall, fall very hard indeed.) But perhaps they also reflect our conviction that all the most important things we need to say must find a way of inhabiting the single breath, the instant, if they’re to shock awake our real, breathing, present moment because if we…read more

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The New Six Degrees of Bacon?

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J-Fly has a cool concept she lifted from a film teacher. Step One: Name your five favorite films off the top of your head and write brief summary. 1. O Lucky Man!: Guy hopes to make money as coffee salesman, engages in debauchery, wanders around English countryside, gets set up and booked, tries to proselytize, eventually smiles. 2. After Hours: Go nowhere word processor sees cute girl, starts talking, goes to Soho, gets involved in deranged New York universe, can’t get home, but is forced by unseen god to take…read more

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Dale Peck Should Sue for Breach of Intellectual Property

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Lionel Shriver: “Joyce Carol Oates is an atrocious writer.” When you’re pilfering the mines of histrionic snark over Joyce Carol Oates (“to call the novel under-edited would be to imply that it had been edited at all,” “Oates gives the impression of publishing nothing but first drafts, which helps to explain her astounding output.”), chances are that you’re either someone frustrated because he can’t keep up with the JCO oeuvre (honestly, who outside of JCO’s husband has read every book?) or you’re another cretin pissing in the snow. A far…read more

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AM Hit & Run

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A writer mistakes a JCO blurb for junk mail. (via Galleycat) Tonight in San Francisco, there’s a memorial tribute to Jack Kerouac. The Chronicle has more. Walter Mosley fesses the Fantastic Four as a major inspiration. Unfortunately, Mosely couldn’t be convinced to say, “It’s clobbering time!” Best Booker-related lede: “Alan Hollingshurst is a cheap date.” A one-volume edition of Lord of the Rings is being released — the version that Tolkien always wanted. His estate wants it too. After all, there’s a new swimming pool to put in. John le…read more

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Vote for the Slurpee

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As my eyes fail to flop to stage one, I find myself wondering what it’s like to be a Bush voter. How does a Bush voter confine herself so willingly to the mortified state of status quo? What is it about leaving this nation in the hands of a unilateral-minded Chuck Bronson type who wouldn’t consider an alternative viewpoint if God gave him a rimjob in the middle of a brisk run that suggests confidence? How does a staunch Republican believe that a blathering, brisk-spending cur like Bush is the…read more

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How You Like Me Now, Pinstripes?

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I told you so. How could you have doubted? Part of the problem with the so-called Sox stigma was that people weren’t willing to believe in a comeback. Even as the Sox climbed their way out of a championship shutout, there were many baseball junkies I talked to who remained convinced that the Yanks would win, that it could not happen, and that the Sox, as adorably crimson as they might be, simply weren’t going to do it. But 10-3? That’s what I call a goddam blowout. But taking the…read more

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One Paragraph Review

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Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is the silliest and most anticlimactic book I’ve read this year, with plodding prose, thin characters, meaningless deaths, and clunky exposition. It is perhaps King’s worst book since The Tommyknockers. However, as a Kaufmanesque stunt intended to piss off loyal fanboys, in this regard, it’s icily effective. The question, however, is whether such a ploy needed to kill so many trees and drain so many simpering saps’ wallets.

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The Crimson Batter and the White House

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It’s the fifth inning. Boston is 4-0 as I write these words. Mark my words: the Sox will make it. And if the Sox make it into the Series, then I have a strange feeling that Kerry will take the White House with ease. It’s only a working theory and I have nothing sizable to go on other than the Massachusetts connection. But for the love of baseball and for the love of the nation, suffuse all your good juju into the Sox, baby. Let’s take this nation back. Preternaturally….read more

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Weeks Before Presidential Election, Bush Practices Waving Goodbye to White House While Accidentally Veering to His Right

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Booker Winner

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According to the Man Booker folks, the winner was announced 10:00 PM British Time. That was thirty minutes ago. Since no announcement has been forthcoming, I called Colman Getty PR. Alan Hollinghurst’s The Line of Beauty has won. [UPDATE: The press release is now up.]

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Because I Can’t Sleep

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Understatement of the week: Joyce Carol Oates, “The process of writing is something that I live with everyday.” Yardley on J.D. Salinger The Plot Against America — failed Saturday Night Live skit? Independent publisher Cannongate is rolling in the dough, thanks in part to such titles as The Life of Pi and The Crimson Petal and the White. Tonight, the Booker Prize winner will be announced. Longshot (and the only woman nominated) Sarah Hall talks with the Guardian. Where’s Grambo on this one? Angelina Jolie loves sleeping with British men.

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New Codephrase for Remaining a Shut-In: “Operating in the Realm of Language and Ideas”

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Terry Gross: “I think radio is a great medium for someone who�s shy and self-conscious. It terrified me at first, really badly, but once I got over that, the nice thing about radio is that you are invisible, so any physical self-consciousness that I have is irrelevant when I’m on the radio. In terms of being shy, hey, I’m alone in a studio with producers in the control room, producers who I know really well, and I’m with a guest who probably isn’t even in the room with me. So…read more

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Go Sox!

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Holy shit!

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We’re Sure That Tom Wolfe’s New One Will Be “A Thick, Throbbing Sausage of a Novel”

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Janet Maslin: “Honeymoons don’t get more hellish than the one that kicks off “The Falls,” Joyce Carol Oates’s thundering, sudsy Niagara of a novel.” In light of the Times‘ recent Toni Bentley obsession, we’re wondering precisely what “thundering, sudsy Niagra” conjures up in other Times writers’ minds.

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