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  1. The Ides of April

    I was born on the 102nd anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's assassination. Exactly fifty-five years after the Titanic sank. A day feared and dreaded by Americans. Tax Day. April 15. The Ides of April. Lincoln and the passengers on the Titanic actually had their fates sealed on the 14th - the…


  2. Five great uses of landscapes in literature

    Sometimes in stories landscapes aren't just for scenery. Take The Hobbit. Tolkien sometimes personifies landscapes, using them to signal turns in the plot. Old castles wear evil looks; Gandalf disappears. Stormy mountains become rock-hurling giants; Bilbo's journeying band gets taken by goblins. Living landscapes serving as signposts to plot: fantastic…

    on books

  3. Remembering One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    Today, on Oscars day, let's remember that the movie is almost never as good as the book. But a great movie can whet our appetites for an even better book, and inspire us to read. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the winner of best picture, director, actor, actress, and…

    on books, movies, Oscars

  4. A Synopsis for Synopsis-Writing

    So I’m working on a synopsis for my novel. It's a strange creature, the synopsis. It's typically part of the query that you send to literary agents to convince them that they want to represent your book. But compared to the writing of the novel itself—which has always…

    on novel, writing, literary agents

  5. This is Your Borges on Twitter (and Pictures)

    The short stories of Jorge Luis Borges are too labyrinthine, too complex, and quite honestly, too bewildering, to discuss 140 characters at a time, right? Well now you tell me. But that's exactly what I did earlier this year for a month and a half, every Sunday, with several similarly…

    on art, books


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