Category Archives: Prose

Something about writing

I have been reading Randall Jarrell’s “Fifty Years of American Poetry,” an impressive essay, but it made me somehow wonder if all the books–those hours and years of work–won’t someday be winnowed down to a few kept in the basement … Continue reading

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The exemplary sentence

One of the few fears that can really grab hold of me, especially before a long plane ride or (as was currently the case) a time of enforced inactivity, is that I’ve read all the really good books. A book … Continue reading

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Summer reading

I know that you’re supposed to take up some frivolous books for the summer, but perhaps influenced by the morning and evening fog that characterizes coastal California, my reading has been more dour. I mentioned these books in an earlier … Continue reading

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The exemplary sentence

I’ve been reading a slim novel by Forrest Gander called A Friend. It’s a novel in three parts that closely parallels a real life event. The part told by the lover, Sarah, is made up of mostly one-line statements about … Continue reading

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The Exemplary Sentence

I read about Bette Howland and her memoir/novel Blue in Chicago in the NY Times obituaries last month. According to the obituary she was a a protege (and perhaps lover) of Saul Bellow and had a troubled life.     … Continue reading

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Exemplary sentences

I am reading Adam Zagajewsky’s new book of essays–more really diary entries–called Slight Exaggeration. I’m a fan of both his prose and his poetry. His standard of literacy and breadth of knowledge is so high. I came across this passage, … Continue reading

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Those long summer evenings

They are already growing shorter now, but this passage from Adam Zagajewski’s new book of essays, Slight Exaggeration, perfectly captures the experience of the long evenings–even longer in northern Europe: “And once again it was June–mild, long, slowly fading evenings, evenings … Continue reading

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The Exemplary Sentence: Primo Levi

At a friend’s suggestion, I have been reading Primo Levi’s The Periodic Table. I rather skimmed through the early chapters about his relatives, but once I got to the chapter on Hydrogen, I was hooked. This is not a book … Continue reading

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The exemplary sentence

I’m thinking I should call this “the exemplary paragraph” as it’s usually more than one sentence that catches my eye… but of course the paragraph is made up of sentences. In this case from three books I read recently. But … Continue reading

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The exemplary sentence

I just finished Clever Girl, by Tessa Hadley.  I enjoyed this story of a woman in England, growing from child to teenager to mother to older woman largely because of the writing. Here are a couple of examples. First a … Continue reading

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