Friday, August 28, 2009

Back to school

To all the guys heading back to school this week, be sure to remember Mike Damone's Five Point Plan for getting chicks:

“All right. Now, pay attention. First of all, you never let on how much you like a girl. ‘Oh, Debbie...hi.’ Two. You always call the shots. ‘Kiss me, you won’t regret it.’ Three. Act like wherever you are, that’s the place to be. ‘Isn’t this great?’ Four. When ordering food, find out what she wants, then order for the both of you. It’s a classy move. ‘The lady will have the linguine in a white clam sauce, and a coke with no ice.’ And five. Now, this is most important, Rat. When it comes down to makin’ out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.”

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Raymond Carver

A good, if older, documentary profile of one of the great ones: Raymond Carver. (Part one of several.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Character literature

One of the Philly Book Geek readers, Carol, recently posted a message on the forum about compiling a list of great 21st century “character literature” (or “character fiction”).

I love the idea of this as a broad genre — a descriptor for a type of book where characters are thoroughly drawn and psychologically explored. We often think of this as being the realm of “literary fiction,” but LF is a little more specific than that. LF carries an academic air, and stories within this realm are almost always emotionally wrenching. But what about fiction that features well-rounded lead characters without that “literary” feel?

My eldest daughter has really gotten into some of Judy Blume’s work recently. Peter Hatcher, Andrew Marcus, Abigail Porter — these are all wonderfully well-developed characters, who drive narratives that are both intriguing and existentially exploratory. But I don’t know anyone who would call a book like Freckle Juice “literary.”

I’d like to see this term “character fiction” get some more play. And if it should become more universally recognized, we may consider LF a sub-genre within CF. Eh?

Monday, August 10, 2009


Wilco might be my favorite band working today. Check out this performance from a recent Letterman show, wherein they play “You and I” from their latest (with Leslie Feist joining them on vocals). Great stuff.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Doomsday for our libraries?

You heard about Mayor Nutter’s city budget rally last week. This is serious stuff. The proposed state budget plan calls for a 50% cut in State Aid to Libraries. Such a cut will decimate Philly’s public library system — closing branch doors and putting 500 people out of work.

But you can do something about it. Write your state senator, representatives, and Governor Rendell, and tell them that our public libraries matter to you. It’s quick and easy to do. Click here to find a downloadable letter template and a bunch of email contacts.

The more of us who make our voices heard, the more they’ll flinch before pulling the trigger on this.