Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

Author

How to Be Alone
by multiple authors


3

A Word About This Book

The Harper's essay was initially published in April 1996 as "Perchance to Dream" and was edited, cut, and retitled for this collection

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3

A Word About This Book

The Harper's essay was initially published in April 1996 as "Perchance to Dream" and was edited, cut, and retitled for this collection

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7

My Father's Brain

about his dad, who had Alzheimer's, prostate cancer, and a not-so-great relationship with his mother

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7

My Father's Brain

about his dad, who had Alzheimer's, prostate cancer, and a not-so-great relationship with his mother

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39

Imperial Bedroom

about privacy (the whole data brokerage industry, the political angle, home life etc)

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39

Imperial Bedroom

about privacy (the whole data brokerage industry, the political angle, home life etc)

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55

Why Bother?

by far the best essay in the book; about the process of writing for Franzen and his despair about the American novel (which began in Yaddo in 1991)

he started his first book (The Twenty-Seventh City) at 22, finished it at 28; afterward, he felt like he had failed in his goal of engaging with the culture (see note 156)

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55

Why Bother?

by far the best essay in the book; about the process of writing for Franzen and his despair about the American novel (which began in Yaddo in 1991)

he started his first book (The Twenty-Seventh City) at 22, finished it at 28; afterward, he felt like he had failed in his goal of engaging with the culture (see note 156)

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98

Lost in the Mail

The trials and tribulations of the Chicago post office in 1994

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98

Lost in the Mail

The trials and tribulations of the Chicago post office in 1994

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139

Erika Imports

"Erika Imports" being the name of a small business that Franzen worked for in high school, which was owned by a German couple. I think the main takeaway is that the work seemed very "personal" in the sense that he got to know his bosses too well. pretty forgettable

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139

Erika Imports

"Erika Imports" being the name of a small business that Franzen worked for in high school, which was owned by a German couple. I think the main takeaway is that the work seemed very "personal" in the sense that he got to know his bosses too well. pretty forgettable

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143

Sifting the Ashes

An investigative journalism piece on Big Tobacco (Franzen doesn't smoke)

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143

Sifting the Ashes

An investigative journalism piece on Big Tobacco (Franzen doesn't smoke)

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164

The Reader in Exile

presumably about the challenge of reading in an electronic age. he talks briefly about TV, Nicholas Negroponte's Being Digital (which he seems to feel negatively about), and Sven Birkerts' The Gutenberg Elegies

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164

The Reader in Exile

presumably about the challenge of reading in an electronic age. he talks briefly about TV, Nicholas Negroponte's Being Digital (which he seems to feel negatively about), and Sven Birkerts' The Gutenberg Elegies

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179

First City

about New York City: and its existence as a sort of Platonic tourist ideal; what it's like to live in the city; Jane Jacobs' Death and Life. don't really have a grand takeaway for this one

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179

First City

about New York City: and its existence as a sort of Platonic tourist ideal; what it's like to live in the city; Jane Jacobs' Death and Life. don't really have a grand takeaway for this one

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195

Scavenging

another essay about the death of reading and thus writing. also about how he first started writing on a typewriter, in college. ends with the image of a broken chair in note 336

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195

Scavenging

another essay about the death of reading and thus writing. also about how he first started writing on a typewriter, in college. ends with the image of a broken chair in note 336

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211

Control Units

another investigative journalism piece, this time into supermax prisons (specifically, the Federal Correctional Complex in Colorado)

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211

Control Units

another investigative journalism piece, this time into supermax prisons (specifically, the Federal Correctional Complex in Colorado)

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242

Books in Bed

an eminently forgettable essay on books about sex

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242

Books in Bed

an eminently forgettable essay on books about sex

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258

Meet Me in St. Louis

about being interviewed in St. Louis after the publication of his third book (The Corrections), and how "fundamentally bogus" it feels

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258

Meet Me in St. Louis

about being interviewed in St. Louis after the publication of his third book (The Corrections), and how "fundamentally bogus" it feels

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275

Inauguration Day, January 2001

a short one about the atmosphere at GWB's inauguration

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275

Inauguration Day, January 2001

a short one about the atmosphere at GWB's inauguration

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Sonora Review DFW Tribute
by multiple authors

Purity
by multiple authors


1

Purity in Oakland

Purity is given the chance to quit her shitty telemarketing job and work for Andreas Wolf

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1

Purity in Oakland

Purity is given the chance to quit her shitty telemarketing job and work for Andreas Wolf

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75

The Republic of Bad Taste

Andreas' childhood in East Berlin and how he meets Annagret

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75

The Republic of Bad Taste

Andreas' childhood in East Berlin and how he meets Annagret

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169

Too Much Information

Leila's life story: her marriage to the self-absorbed novelist Charles (who seems partially inspired by DFW), then her affair with Tom Aberant, then her worries about Pip being a younger and more attractive version of herself (at the very end, the "I think she's my daughter" bomb is dropped). a surprisingly sympathetic character.

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169

Too Much Information

Leila's life story: her marriage to the self-absorbed novelist Charles (who seems partially inspired by DFW), then her affair with Tom Aberant, then her worries about Pip being a younger and more attractive version of herself (at the very end, the "I think she's my daughter" bomb is dropped). a surprisingly sympathetic character.

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239

Moonglow Dairy

Purity's time in Bolivia (chronologically before the previous chapter) and how she is recruited into working for Tom Aberant as a sort of mole. also her (twice) aborted affair with Andreas Wolf, which felt icky.

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239

Moonglow Dairy

Purity's time in Bolivia (chronologically before the previous chapter) and how she is recruited into working for Tom Aberant as a sort of mole. also her (twice) aborted affair with Andreas Wolf, which felt icky.

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315

le1o9n8a0rd

Tom Aberant's first-person monologue (saved, I believe, as a Word document on his laptop) about his relationship with Anabel as well as his brief interaction with Andreas Wolf. I actually really, really liked this. Felt very real and raw.

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315

le1o9n8a0rd

Tom Aberant's first-person monologue (saved, I believe, as a Word document on his laptop) about his relationship with Anabel as well as his brief interaction with Andreas Wolf. I actually really, really liked this. Felt very real and raw.

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445

The Killer

Andreas reminisces on his failed post-murder relationship with Annagret, then commits suicide while revealing his master plot to Tom Aberant (whom he has convinced to come to Bolivia)

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445

The Killer

Andreas reminisces on his failed post-murder relationship with Annagret, then commits suicide while revealing his master plot to Tom Aberant (whom he has convinced to come to Bolivia)

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515

The Rain Comes

I hated this ending. Basically Purity engineers a parental reunion and ends up dating Jason, a fairly banal-sounding boy she had an aborted encounter with in the first section

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515

The Rain Comes

I hated this ending. Basically Purity engineers a parental reunion and ends up dating Jason, a fairly banal-sounding boy she had an aborted encounter with in the first section

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3

House for Sale

Franzen tries to sell his mother's house after her death and reflects on his childhood and his parents' relationship in the process

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3

House for Sale

Franzen tries to sell his mother's house after her death and reflects on his childhood and his parents' relationship in the process

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28

Two Ponies

about the Peanuts comic strip

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28

Two Ponies

about the Peanuts comic strip

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52

Then Joy Breaks Through

about his Christian upbringing (through after-school programs, camp, etc)

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52

Then Joy Breaks Through

about his Christian upbringing (through after-school programs, camp, etc)

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85

Centrally Located

weird one about attempted acts of vandalism with his buddies during high school

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85

Centrally Located

weird one about attempted acts of vandalism with his buddies during high school

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117

The Foreign Language

about how he started learning German in college (Swarthmore). this one was pretty interesting because he talked about German literature, specifically Kafka's The Trial (see notes 139, 145)

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117

The Foreign Language

about how he started learning German in college (Swarthmore). this one was pretty interesting because he talked about German literature, specifically Kafka's The Trial (see notes 139, 145)

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157

My Bird Problem

his addiction to birding (though by all accounts he wasn't particularly great at it), used as a vehicle to explore the larger topic of environmental degradation as well as the problems in his love life throughout the years (basically he got married really young and it didn't work out ... seems kind of like Tom and Anabel in Purity)

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157

My Bird Problem

his addiction to birding (though by all accounts he wasn't particularly great at it), used as a vehicle to explore the larger topic of environmental degradation as well as the problems in his love life throughout the years (basically he got married really young and it didn't work out ... seems kind of like Tom and Anabel in Purity)

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Farther Away
by multiple authors


3

Pain Won't Kill You
commencement address, Kenyon College, May 2011

a bit about his marriage, and how he fell in love with birds, and how putting yourself in potential danger is the only way to live and love?

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3

Pain Won't Kill You
commencement address, Kenyon College, May 2011

a bit about his marriage, and how he fell in love with birds, and how putting yourself in potential danger is the only way to live and love?

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15

Farther Away

he visits Masafuera (off the coast of Chile) to: take a break from novel promotion; mourn DFW while scattering his ashes; and do some birding. also talks about Robinson Crusoe being commonly thought of as the first English novel (he disputes that claim tho). the stuff on DFW makes the whole thing worth it even if I don't care about Robinson Crusoe or birds

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15

Farther Away

he visits Masafuera (off the coast of Chile) to: take a break from novel promotion; mourn DFW while scattering his ashes; and do some birding. also talks about Robinson Crusoe being commonly thought of as the first English novel (he disputes that claim tho). the stuff on DFW makes the whole thing worth it even if I don't care about Robinson Crusoe or birds

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53

The Greatest Family Ever Stored
on Christina Stead's The Man Who Loved Children

she was an Australian writer who left her home at 25 (in 1928) and traveled a lot. this book is about a family whose patriarch is dominating and oppressive af. I guess Franzen really liked this book

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53

The Greatest Family Ever Stored
on Christina Stead's The Man Who Loved Children

she was an Australian writer who left her home at 25 (in 1928) and traveled a lot. this book is about a family whose patriarch is dominating and oppressive af. I guess Franzen really liked this book

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67

Hornets

about his house-sitting history: in one, he got cucked by the son of a friend who said "This is my house, Jonathan"; delayed mowing the lawn until hornets started nesting and he almost blew himself up trying to get rid of them. now he lives within his means.

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67

Hornets

about his house-sitting history: in one, he got cucked by the son of a friend who said "This is my house, Jonathan"; delayed mowing the lawn until hornets started nesting and he almost blew himself up trying to get rid of them. now he lives within his means.

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73

The Ugly Mediterranean

he visits Cyprus to investigate bird-trapping for leisure and profit (used in cuisine); some of his friends are attacked in the process. sad but i didn't really care tbh

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73

The Ugly Mediterranean

he visits Cyprus to investigate bird-trapping for leisure and profit (used in cuisine); some of his friends are attacked in the process. sad but i didn't really care tbh

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111

The Corn King
on Donald Antrim's The Hundred Brothers

a positive review of weird book about 100 brothers who live together. unreliable narrator. very weird.

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111

The Corn King
on Donald Antrim's The Hundred Brothers

a positive review of weird book about 100 brothers who live together. unreliable narrator. very weird.

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119

On Autobiographical Fiction
lecture

addressing four questions he's often asked

  1. who are your influences: dumb cus only young writers have direct influences; once you get older they kind of meld together. mentions Harold Bloom's theory of influence. plus it's always hard to tell who your influences are--there are books you like, but there are also the great books you don't think of but probably learned something from anyway. plus it's not static--you keep reading even as you write, and you're constantly influenced by things you read. his personal influences (when younger) include CS Lewis, Asimov, Fitzhugh, Marcuse, Wodehouse, Karl Kraus, The Dialectic of Enlightenment, DeLillo, Coover, Pynchon. Kafka was a bigger influence, The Trial especially (detailed in section247 and a coming note).
  2. what time of day do you write etc (on a computer, every morning)
  3. do your characters ever take over (not really)
  4. is your fiction autobiographical (to some degree yeah, but it can't be purely otherwise it's not worth writing)

he talks a little more about his marriage and how it was constraining him, and how he needed to quit that before he could write well (and how his characters were heavily influenced by his personal situation at the time). also that he writes characters based on people he knows IRL but they're not offended cus they have their own lives

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119

On Autobiographical Fiction
lecture

addressing four questions he's often asked

  1. who are your influences: dumb cus only young writers have direct influences; once you get older they kind of meld together. mentions Harold Bloom's theory of influence. plus it's always hard to tell who your influences are--there are books you like, but there are also the great books you don't think of but probably learned something from anyway. plus it's not static--you keep reading even as you write, and you're constantly influenced by things you read. his personal influences (when younger) include CS Lewis, Asimov, Fitzhugh, Marcuse, Wodehouse, Karl Kraus, The Dialectic of Enlightenment, DeLillo, Coover, Pynchon. Kafka was a bigger influence, The Trial especially (detailed in section247 and a coming note).
  2. what time of day do you write etc (on a computer, every morning)
  3. do your characters ever take over (not really)
  4. is your fiction autobiographical (to some degree yeah, but it can't be purely otherwise it's not worth writing)

he talks a little more about his marriage and how it was constraining him, and how he needed to quit that before he could write well (and how his characters were heavily influenced by his personal situation at the time). also that he writes characters based on people he knows IRL but they're not offended cus they have their own lives

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141

I Just Called To Say I Love You

on the problems with phones and people saying "i love you" in public, and how his dad never said "i love you" aloud and maybe that's why he doesn't like it. also a bit about 9/11 and how people's perception of it was mostly through TV

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141

I Just Called To Say I Love You

on the problems with phones and people saying "i love you" in public, and how his dad never said "i love you" aloud and maybe that's why he doesn't like it. also a bit about 9/11 and how people's perception of it was mostly through TV

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161

David Foster Wallace
memorial service remarks, October 23, 2008

identical to section 298

DFW liking to be in control and how that played out in his final year. fiction as a way out of loneliness. infinite jest should have been called infinite sadness.

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161

David Foster Wallace
memorial service remarks, October 23, 2008

identical to section 298

DFW liking to be in control and how that played out in his final year. fiction as a way out of loneliness. infinite jest should have been called infinite sadness.

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169

The Chinese Puffin

he gets a toy puffin and tries to find out about its process of creation (factory in China). meets up with some birders in Shanghai. ruminates on environmental protection and general activism in China.

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169

The Chinese Puffin

he gets a toy puffin and tries to find out about its process of creation (factory in China). meets up with some birders in Shanghai. ruminates on environmental protection and general activism in China.

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213

On The Laughing Policeman

a short review of a Swedish book of mysteries that is a "journey through real-world ugliness toward the self-sufficient beauties of good police work" (218)

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213

On The Laughing Policeman

a short review of a Swedish book of mysteries that is a "journey through real-world ugliness toward the self-sufficient beauties of good police work" (218)

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219

Comma-Then

do not use comma-then; use "and" instead (or find another way)

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219

Comma-Then

do not use comma-then; use "and" instead (or find another way)

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225

Authentic but Horrible
on Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening

about the history of Spring Awakening (written by German playwright Frank Wedekind in 1890-91; reconceived as an overpraised and bastardised rock musical on Broadway in 2006). its original subtitle was "A Children's Tragedy" (which seems oxymoronic because tragedy is theoretically out of reach of children)

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225

Authentic but Horrible
on Frank Wedekind's Spring Awakening

about the history of Spring Awakening (written by German playwright Frank Wedekind in 1890-91; reconceived as an overpraised and bastardised rock musical on Broadway in 2006). its original subtitle was "A Children's Tragedy" (which seems oxymoronic because tragedy is theoretically out of reach of children)

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237

Interview with New York State

god I hated the setup of this one. he's trying to interview the personified state of New York, but gets held up by her publicist + other orbiting figures. waste of time

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237

Interview with New York State

god I hated the setup of this one. he's trying to interview the personified state of New York, but gets held up by her publicist + other orbiting figures. waste of time

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263

Love Letters
encomium to James Purdy on the occasion of his receiving the Center for Fiction's Fadiman Award for Eustace Chisholm and the Works

very forgettable essay in praise of some novel

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263

Love Letters
encomium to James Purdy on the occasion of his receiving the Center for Fiction's Fadiman Award for Eustace Chisholm and the Works

very forgettable essay in praise of some novel

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271

Our Little Planet

on driving from Minneapolis to St Louis with his family as a child in 1969 (12 hours), at the same time as the moon landings

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271

Our Little Planet

on driving from Minneapolis to St Louis with his family as a child in 1969 (12 hours), at the same time as the moon landings

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277

The End of The Binge
on Dostoyevsky's The Gambler

a short essay on the book and what it says about addiction

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277

The End of The Binge
on Dostoyevsky's The Gambler

a short essay on the book and what it says about addiction

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283

What Makes You So Sure You're Not The Evil One Yourself?
on Alice Munro

Alice Munro as a great, underrated Canadian writer. why he thinks she's underrated: her stories are all about storytelling pleasure (short stories, no less) and not about civics or history or anything

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283

What Makes You So Sure You're Not The Evil One Yourself?
on Alice Munro

Alice Munro as a great, underrated Canadian writer. why he thinks she's underrated: her stories are all about storytelling pleasure (short stories, no less) and not about civics or history or anything

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297

Our Relations: A Brief History

this was a really weird short story about some brothers in a mansion. MC named Joseph, marries Georgina instead of Albertina, loses his brothers; not sure if this is supposed to be a reference I'm not getting or what (is it supposed to be about himself and his marriage and his brothers???)

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297

Our Relations: A Brief History

this was a really weird short story about some brothers in a mansion. MC named Joseph, marries Georgina instead of Albertina, loses his brothers; not sure if this is supposed to be a reference I'm not getting or what (is it supposed to be about himself and his marriage and his brothers???)

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303

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

a review of The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit by Sloan Wilson. about a 50s couple. biggest implication: harmony of society depends on harmony of households. captures the spirit of the 50s. very local and domestic, not existential. not exactly a convincing argument for reading the book

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303

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

a review of The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit by Sloan Wilson. about a 50s couple. biggest implication: harmony of society depends on harmony of households. captures the spirit of the 50s. very local and domestic, not existential. not exactly a convincing argument for reading the book

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311

No End To It
rereading Paula Fox's Desperate Characters

about a woman named Sophie who gets bitten by a cat. a book that Franzen read in 1991, fell in love with, and thinks is hugely underrated. the book itself doesn't sound worth reading to me but the last paragraph in this essay isn't that bad

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311

No End To It
rereading Paula Fox's Desperate Characters

about a woman named Sophie who gets bitten by a cat. a book that Franzen read in 1991, fell in love with, and thinks is hugely underrated. the book itself doesn't sound worth reading to me but the last paragraph in this essay isn't that bad

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The Future of Fiction
by multiple authors


The Future of Fiction
by multiple authors

The Future of Fiction
by multiple authors

34

I'll Be Doing More of Same

I'm pretty sure chunks of this are lifted word-for-word from Why Bother (link), like the "technological consumerism is an infernal machine" thing, and the bit about black lesbians in NY, but I think there's some original stuff as well

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34

I'll Be Doing More of Same

I'm pretty sure chunks of this are lifted word-for-word from Why Bother (link), like the "technological consumerism is an infernal machine" thing, and the bit about black lesbians in NY, but I think there's some original stuff as well

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