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Book Review: Revival, by Stephen King

For more than thirty years, I’ve been fascinated by Stephen King’s unique realism. With stories that sometimes reach extremes of horror and fantasy, his novels are nevertheless grounded in reality. So much so, often, that it’s hard to not identify with their characters. In Revival, King’s latest horror novel (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), he depicts the […]

Book Notes: The Children Act, by Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan’s latest short novel (224 pages in a large font), The Children Act (Amazon.com, Amazon UK), is a story about an issue. Based on the UK’s 1989 Children Act, which focuses on the welfare of the child in issues involving children’s rights, the novel is about a judge, Fiona Maye, who handles a complicated […]

Review: Kindle Voyage Is a Nearly Perfect Ebook Reader

I’ve been using Kindles since the first small model, back in the pre-touch, pre-backlit days. I never really got on with them: my eyes don’t like the lack of contrast, though I loved reading with them outdoors. When the Kindle Paperwhite came out, I liked that device very much, and had each of the two […]

Book Review: Franz Schubert, The Complete Songs, by Graham Johnson

Among the large bodies of work in the classical music repertoire, Franz Schuberts songs, or lieder, is one that stands out not only by its scale – some 729 songs, written before the composer’s death at age 31 – bit also by its quality. Sure, there are some songs that aren’t masterpieces, notably from his […]

Book Review: Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel – Pandemic, Shakespeare and the Birth of a New Civilization

On a stage in Toronto, Arthur Leander is playing King Lear. At 51, it’s finally the right time for him to play this demanding role. However, it will be his last. In the first scene of this novel, he dies on stage from a heart attack. That night, it’s clear that a pandemic is spreading […]

Graham Johnson’s Monumental Work on Schubert’s Lieder to Be Released Soon

Update: I first posted this in June, and the publication date has slipped back several times. Right now, it shows a release date of September 15, or tomorrow, so maybe we’ll see this set next week. Graham Johnson, the pianist behind Hyperion Record’s monumental series of Schubert’s complete lieder, is known for having a lot […]

The perils of a book critic

“What do we look for when we want to read? What should we be looking for? I look for wit, authenticity, soul, a strong narrative, good prose; you might not be interested in any of those things. The point is that reading is too important, too time-consuming and too demanding to drift into. Choose literary friends whose taste you trust and who know you well and critics you respect. And watch what’s lasting, too — in the end, the canon chooses itself.”

Novelist Nick Hornby has been reviewing books for a literary magazine called The Believer for about ten years. He writes about books he’s read, without paying attention to new releases. The article has some interesting thoughts about what it’s like to review books, and how he chooses the books he reads.

via The perils of a book critic | The Sunday Times.

App Review: Shakespeare Pro

If you’re a Shakespeare buff like I am, you probably like having all of the Bard of Stratford’s works on your iPad or iPhone. It’s great to be able to dip into a play or poem when you have some down time, or when you’re waiting for an appointment. You can download free or paid […]

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