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It’s hard to know what makes for a good novel until you read a few mediocre ones…

After a string of books that I put down halfway through, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes novels good and what makes them mediocre. It’s actually a topic that comes up surprisingly little for me, because most of the books that I read are so self-evidently good that the question doesn’t need to be […]

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I actually learned nothing from assembling my list of all of the novels that I really love

I’ve spend several days looking at the list that I put together a few days ago. And as far as I can tell, I’ve basically learned nothing. I can tell because I actually had an epiphany about my own work the other day. Which is that the works of mine that I enjoy are the ones […]

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George Orwell’s Burmese Days

Considering his stature in 20th century letters, George Orwell is kind of a strange writer. He’s kind of free of distinctive quirkiness. His style and his content aren’t very heavily branded on his forehead the way they are for most writers. I guess the closest thing to a trademark for George Orwell would be his […]

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Wrap-Up Season: Surprisingly Good Books, Part Two

Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac – I had to read On The Road for a class in college. It was okay, you know, nothing special. A friend recommended Dharma Bums to me, it was really good. Usually when Americans do Eastern religion, it highly annoys me. But Jack Keroauc’s Buddhism is so simple, so silly, […]

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