I was sixteen and had just finished reading Rosemary’s Baby and The Stepford Wives in rapid succession. My literary ambitions outweighed any talent I thought I possessed: I intended to be crowned the new king of horror, and my novel (the title of which I’ve since forgotten)–amounting to nothing more than Rosemary’s Baby-meets-The Stepford Wives–was going to win me a legion of followers and make Stephen King shit his pants. Read the rest of this entry »

At the office, where I’m probably the only eligible bachelor, and where the lady of the moment is Amy, because of her very recent engagement to her live-in boyfriend, I’m often asked when I’m going to get married. My response, invariably, is, "If I’m lucky? Never." Read the rest of this entry »

Maybe I’m subconsciously channelling Friedrich Nietzsche (who, in Ecce Homo, wonders how anyone can read during the day), but I’m finding it almost impossible to concentrate on Dante’s Purgatorio if I read it during the daylight hours. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m glad, though not particularly surprised, to see my own nominations–Joshua Ferris’s Then We Came to the End and Tom McCarthy’s Remainder–as two of this year’s contestants. Get reading, kids. Read the rest of this entry »

Of all the books I’ve read recently, Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore is, without doubt, my favorite. This is my first outing with Murakami, and the only thing I’m certain of is that he’s incomparable; I can’t think of anyone, living or dead, who writes the way he does. Read the rest of this entry »

Fourteen chapters of John Steinbeck’s East of Eden still has me wondering why he won the Nobel Prize in 1962. Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve been doing a good job of not buying any new books until I’ve read (almost) everything in the fabled to-be-read stack. (Confession: I bought, read, and enjoyed Paul Auster’s The Brooklyn Follies last week.) Read the rest of this entry »

A few days ago, I realized there isn’t a single likable character in Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Konstantin Levin is a dull man, with his high principles regarding farming and marriage; with all his bitterness and unrealistic expectations, it’s no wonder he can’t find a wife. Read the rest of this entry »

About halfway through Steven Hall’s The Raw Shark Texts, I decided it was one of the best books I was going to read this year. It’s a total mindfuck of a novel, a literary thriller (forgive the paradox) that’s equal parts Mark Z. Danielewski, Haruki Murakami, and Jaws. Read this book read this book read this book–that’s what I feel like saying to anyone and everyone who will listen. Read the rest of this entry »

In real life, I only have one friend who’s truly literary–which is to say, she doesn’t read the kinds of books you’d normally see on the New York Times bestseller list or as an Oprah recommendation. Read the rest of this entry »