Wednesday, February 08, 2006


I've been working like a maniac, thus relative lack of posting round here; and I'm off shortly to New York for more work stuff, so no posts till Sunday evening.

Miscellaneous minor announcements:

I'm not sure this is exactly open to the public, but I'm speaking on Thursday evening at 7:30 at a small event sponsored by the Columbia Journal of Literary Criticism (511 Philosophy, if you're a Columbia person inclined to stop by). My (half-joke, half-serious) title, whose provenance I will explain at the beginning of the evening: "Living the life of the mind--for sixty hours a week." Autobiography and advice for aspiring writers and critics.

On Friday I'm participating in a workshop at Rutgers (New Brunswick campus) (click on the link for details, it starts at 9:30--I'm actually on the morning panel rather than the afternoon one), open to the public as far as I know, that is a day-long discussion of one of my favorite works of English literature, Swift's Tale of a Tub.

Book recommendation of the week (I'm reviewing this elsewhere, so won't say more, but I am seriously planning on buying at least five copies of this for various people who I think must have it, it's really something exceptional & you should definitely preorder it or keep an eye out for its publication in April): Five Flights Up by Toni Schlesinger; it's a collection of her Shelter columns for the Village Voice.

One other book recommendation: I'm only half through it, but am absolutely loving a novel I saw recommended at Jeff VanderMeer's blog, London Revenant by Conrad Williams. It's very good indeed, a bit Neverwhereish but with a prose style more reminiscent of my absolute-favorite Iain Banks, sort of a horror-noir hybrid. (And on a related note, have you seen the Derelict London website? Link courtesy of Weekend Stubble.) I've got the attractive Do-Not Press edition; when I checked it out from the library the young woman at the desk did a double take as she stamped the book and spotted the words "The Do-Not Press, Fiercely Independent Publishing" on the facing page, it was pretty funny.


  1. It's kind of open to the public, certainly we won't turn people away. I can't believe you have a title, though. Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow.

  2. Hello:

    I find your blog fascinating.

    Hopefull soon I'll begin my Phd in Comparative Literature.
    Right now i'm waiting for word from Columbia (among others)but reading you has provided me with not only information but also with a glimpse of the academia.


  3. Do I really need FIVE FLIGHTS UP???

  4. David A: In a word, YES! Seriously, if I was teaching a writing class, I'd use it in a second; it's amazingly interesting and enjoyable to read but also beautifully well-written. You will see as soon as you look at it why it is indispensable...

    Lucas: Good luck. Feel free to get in touch with me by e-mail if you're choosing between programs.