p-1: The Evil Hill on Mariposa

If print does disappear, I will be only partially responsible. I’m doing my part to keep a few print publications healthy. But I can’t subscribe to everything. The question is always the same: what to read and how. A loyal subscriber to The Believer, alas, my subscription has lapsed, and just prior to the 2013…

Where we go from Greil Marcus to Humpty Dumpty

I bought two books at the Rose City Used Book Fair last Saturday, the Li Po of the previous post, and “Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘N’ Roll Music,” by Greil Marcus (1975). The Marcus is a first edition hardback in excellent condition, though it’s apparently not worth much to a book collector;…

The Art, Woe, Slop, and Toe of the Book Review

In an era of sinking readership, closing bookstores, the disappearance of newspapers, and Google making us stupid, who cares about book reviews? The book review is the grownup version of the book report, the nefarious writing assignment where students first learn to plagiarize. Publishing is in a hard market, as they say in the insurance…

Evergreen Review, Volume 1, Number 3, 1957

At a campus library book sale this week I bought for $1.00 a copy of Volume 1, Number 3, of the Evergreen Review. The price new was $1.00 in 1957. It’s a 5 and ¼ by 8 inch paperback, 160 pages. It’s in good condition. There are four black and white photographs, in the middle…

Montaigne: The First Blogger; or, Nick Hornby’s Surprise

When my monthly Believer finally arrives, one of the first pieces I read is Nick Hornby’s “Stuff I’ve Been Reading.” Hornby’s polite sarcasm and gentle disdain of the academic suits the Believer’s editorial voice, a voice which, however, aging with success, must now search for ever new ways to seem avant-garde, if not anti-academic, such…

Drum, drum, drum

Essays on music, as Greil Marcus has tried, just might save the personal essay from oblivion. “There is that stick coming down hard on the drum and the foot hitting the kick drum at the same time…”: Marcus takes a book to explicate Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” which begins with the rim shot heard…