John Pistelli

writer

Alfred Döblin, Berlin Alexanderplatz

Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin My rating: 4 of 5 stars Let’s get the literary-historical info and honorifics out of the way first: Berlin Alexanderplatz is one of the monuments … Continue reading

19 January 2019 · Leave a comment

Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann My rating: 5 of 5 stars Far out to sea the water’s as blue as the petals of the loveliest cornflower, and as clear as … Continue reading

12 January 2019 · Leave a comment

My Year in Books, 2018

Looking back, I see that I did a lot of rereading in 2018. Some of it was out of necessity (teaching), and some for pleasure. Some of it showed up … Continue reading

31 December 2018 · Leave a comment

Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut My rating: 2 of 5 stars But was I wrong, in “In Praise of Semicolons,” to be so severe in my judgment of Kurt Vonnegut, to … Continue reading

30 December 2018 · 1 Comment

Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows, Providence

Providence Act 1 by Alan Moore My rating: 4 of 5 stars It is with hesitation that I write anything about Providence. This recent three-volume graphic novel—a prequel/sequel to the … Continue reading

24 December 2018 · 2 Comments

In Praise of Semicolons

Literary influence is usually amorphous, which is why an influence-obsessed critic like Harold Bloom has to bring in words like clinamen, tesserae, and apophrades as well as esoteric schools of … Continue reading

22 December 2018 · 2 Comments

William Giraldi, American Audacity: In Defense of Literary Daring

American Audacity: In Defense of Literary Daring by William Giraldi My rating: 4 of 5 stars Though better known as the novelist who wrote the now-Netflixed Hold the Dark, William … Continue reading

20 December 2018 · 3 Comments

Anna Burns, Milkman

Milkman by Anna Burns My rating: 5 of 5 stars “I did not like twentieth century books because I did not like the twentieth century,” says the narrator of Anna … Continue reading

15 December 2018 · 1 Comment

Terry Eagleton, Literary Theory: An Introduction

Literary Theory: An Introduction by Terry Eagleton My rating: 3 of 5 stars Strange the books one fails to read. The very fact that you are supposed to have read … Continue reading

13 December 2018 · 1 Comment

Katsuhiro Otomo, Akira

Akira, Vol. 1 by Katsuhiro Otomo My rating: 3 of 5 stars The 1980s—the latest, the last golden age. The length and breadth of our politics, our pop culture, even … Continue reading

11 December 2018 · 3 Comments