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Reviews
2017-06-10 :: dave

I. Iceland is small. It’s a little bigger than Indiana, if that helps, filled only with the population of Pittsburgh. It feels big as you drive around it because of how much it resembles the U.S. West, especially as envisioned in Road Runner cartoons (except with bumpy lavarock fields instead of dust and dirt), but […]

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Reviews
2017-06-01 :: dave

We landed at 11:45pm and the sun was setting, and by the time we got through security with our bags, got driven to the rental car company’s Garage Hut on The Plain that reminded Neal of any number of workman buildings he’d spent time in in South Dakota, and drove our Hyundai i30 the 40 […]

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Reviews
2017-05-30 :: dave

I. We were walking back to the audiotour counter at the Tate Modern, having just seen the Wolfgang Tillmans exhibit I’d been lured to by the very pretty closeup of the ass and balls I’d seen online somewhere, and but where I stayed for the shots of water (at right) and other fine pictures, and […]

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Books + NF + Reviews
2017-03-27 :: dave

It’s a debut memoir by Mike Scalise (full disclosure: a friend who is right now as I type this on a plane to San Francisco to come read at USF as part of our Emerging Writers’ Festival) that tells the story of his illness and diagnosis. Illness: brain tumor on his pituitary gland. Diagnosis: acromegaly. […]

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Books + NF + Reviews
2016-06-06 :: dave

A thing I’ve said more than once in classes is that every good book is a mystery. Which is to say that “mystery” isn’t something to be left for a certain genre of fiction. But mystery might apply just to novels, or to narrative more broadly. Last week I read Paul Lisicky’s new memoir of […]

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Reviews
2015-01-13 :: dave

I liked The Imitation Game. I wasn’t going to alert you to the spoiler of his being gay because I don’t think it should be a spoiler. And hell, I didn’t see any trailers for the movie so maybe it wasn’t, but there was some coyness early in the script about Turing’s secret, and my […]

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Reviews
2014-12-30 :: dave

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Reviews
2014-12-25 :: dave

I know: “Who cares?” I’m not, as they say, a social justice warrior, even though I teach at a Jesuit university—and as they also say, never go in against a Jesuit in a Check-Your-Privilege contest when social justice is on the line. But there’s no question that A Christmas Story‘s the worst, the most white-dude […]

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Reviews
2014-11-20 :: dave

There are 14,000+ comments to this blog in my spam queue. Yesterday I read them all. Some aren’t spam at all, but like good advice, right? The heart of your writing whilst sounding reasonable in the beginning, did not settle well with me personally after some time. Someplace throughout the sentences you actually managed to […]

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Reviews
2014-11-01 :: dave

Piqued, I decided to get outside and go read somewhere public. It was too windy for the park, so I found myself at a bar near my house that looked mostly empty and wouldn’t be noisy. My Guinness cost seven dollars, and within minutes of my first sip a woman with a British accent sat […]

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Comedy + Reviews
2013-06-13 :: dave

Around 5pm the power at my folks’ house went out, just minutes into a windy thunderstorm. Too few trees felled to cause such havoc, but it seemed to make tonight the night to check out the new Comedy Club of Williamsburg my mom had excitedly emailed me about two weeks ago. Turns out it just […]

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NF + Reviews
2013-05-27 :: dave

Some new thoughts on the essay, this time in . Naturally I’ve got some qualms. I’ll try to keep them brief. I’ve pulled this little trick before, but here’s a modified paragraph: There is certainly disagreement on the wobbly matter of what counts as [a poem] and what does not. I have generally found that […]

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Reviews
2013-05-22 :: dave

[This is a blog post about a thing on Adult Swim few people may even know anything about. Just as a warning: you might not care about what follows.] It’s an Eggersian title, TGEiTH, and similarly steeped in irony. Not necessarily cloaked in it. To get everyone excited about a thing that in the end […]

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Endorsements + Reviews
2012-11-02 :: dave

I can think only of two people I know who would be interested in this taste test. We have too many friends who eat preciously. This household doesn’t exactly eat poorly, but nor do we discriminate. A few weeks ago we tried Little Caesar’s Deep Dish Pizza, with pepperoni, takeout, hot and ready, for just […]

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Reviews
2012-08-26 :: dave

UPDATE: This post now readable in condensed letter-to-the-editor format. The paper’s argument is this: Giving our stamp of approval to individual candidates does little to engender trust in the public. In fact, it can undermine that trust. … The public is better served if it trusts The News to report fairly and freely on the […]

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Books + Reviews + taxidermy
2012-05-24 :: dave

Over at The Nervous Breakdown, J.A. Tyler wrote an incredibly generous review of The Authentic Animal. I mean, he said stuff like, “The Authentic Animal is a gem” and “Madden has made a non-fiction book that sings.” It’s been rare that I’ve earned reviews in general for the book, and it’s been ever rarer that […]

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Reviews
2012-03-13 :: dave

I. My taxidermy book uses its central historical figure the way most people are used: for someone else’s personal gain. In this case, my own. What the life of Carl Akeley, the oft-called Father of Modern Taxidermy, got me was both an ongoing narrative and also a kind of structural cubby closet in which I […]

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Books + music + Reviews
2012-03-10 :: dave

I. Books Slow, here. I finished Didion’s Blue Nights this morning, which was a breeze to read through. It’s too soon for me to articulate how or why, but it seemed in this book that her mantric style and the brevity of the chapters did something to the grief running throughout that’s different from what […]

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Books + Reviews
2012-03-06 :: dave

(Continued from yesterday.) II. They will not help you in the work you have to do regardless of how you understand that work. If you have decided for your work that a faithful adherence to the factual record is your best strategy, conservative arguments will not tell you how to adhere to that record. Nor […]

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Books + Reviews
2012-03-03 :: dave

This is an insider post. For the majority of you unencumbered by this debate that’s been going on, I’ll point you . Everyone else keep reading. N.B.: I’ve been pretty sick this week, and in the midst of being sick I’ve been in the midst of a large annual conference of writers. I. The glaring, […]

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