Critic’s Notebook: A Demanding Read, Part II (Non-fiction)

The act of reading can exact a demanding price from the reader.  If one lacks preparation, he or she can be left in a wallow of ignorance.  Certain titles exist that a reader approaches with caution.  The Cantos of Ezra Pound, Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon, Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, and many others.  Non-fiction works also intimidate potential readers.  I am currently reading the second volume of Henry Kissinger’s memoirs, Years of Upheaval, and the first volume of Capital by Karl Marx.  Each extracts certain demands from the reader in its own particular way. Yes, this book actually exists. … Continue reading Critic’s Notebook: A Demanding Read, Part II (Non-fiction)

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Critic’s Notebook: A Demanding Read, Part I (Fiction)

Years of experience has brought with it a fondness for the demanding read.  My reading selections are promiscuous, omnivorous, and ecumenical.  I’m an enthusiast for the Modern, the Experimental, and the Unclassifiable.  I also enjoy reading space fantasy novels published by the Black Library.  As a critic, I enjoy plumbing the depths of pop culture, high culture, and places in between. One of the experiences I enjoy I will call the Demanding Read.  This essay, the first part of two, will explore the Demanding Read in terms of fiction.  The second essay will focus on non-fiction.  Given that each reader … Continue reading Critic’s Notebook: A Demanding Read, Part I (Fiction)

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The Art of Reviewing: Introductory Remarks

Every blog needs a large-scale project. The Art of Reviewing will explore reviewing as an art form and as a valuable element to understanding society.  During this project, I will profile specific reviewers of merit.  Several specific cases also explore other facets of reviewing. What makes a good reviewer? A review is only good as the individual reviewing the work.  But what is meant by good?  Good – like value, civilization, and culture – is a loaded term.  It should be not be used in a cavalier fashion or overloaded with moral baggage.  Does the reviewer have a technique, a … Continue reading The Art of Reviewing: Introductory Remarks

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Critic’s Notebook: Whedon, Pynchon, and the Flexible Canon

In the next few days, I’ll be posting another Dollhouse Riff.  Riff #3 will focus on the unaired episode “epitaph one” and how it relates to the Dollhouse Canon.  I will also write a Critical Appraisal of Thomas Pynchon’s novel Vineland.  For years, Vineland has been relegated to second banana status in the Pynchon Canon.  With the publication of Inherent Vice, the Pynchon Canon requires that we re-examine the works and their critical status. Continue reading Critic’s Notebook: Whedon, Pynchon, and the Flexible Canon

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