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Showing posts from October, 2018

New Yorker Fiction Review #208: "Audition" by Said Sayrafiezadeh

Review of a short story from the Sept. 10, 2018 issue of The New Yorker... I haven't read and reviewed a short story by Said Sayrafiezadeh since way back in September 2014 ("Last Meal at Whole Foods," 7/28/14 issue), and apparently I really, really hated it . That's the cool thing about having reviewed these short stories for the past five years now: I have a long track record to fall back on and can actually use my own reviews as a reference. Based on what I wrote about this author's last effort in the The New Yorker I would not have given this story much of a chance; however, I really, really dug this short story "Audition." In "Audition," Sayrafiezadeh takes on that weird period of adolescence / young adulthood that encompasses the transition from high school to college -- or from high school to the "real world" whatever the case may be -- essentially the years 18-20. And, on a personal level, this story resonates with me pre

New Yorker Fiction Review #207: "The Wind Cave" by Haruki Murakami

Review of a short story from the Sept. 3, 2018 issue of The New Yorker... Nothing particularly ground-breaking here, but then again Haruki Murakami short stories never are and are not attempting to be and, frankly, even most short stories that are attempting to be ground-breaking rarely are. That's the nice thing about short stories, the shorter format and time commitment means they are free to just exist . They don't necessarily have to take you anywhere, like you expect a full-length novel to do. And Haruki Murukami is one of the masters of the "story that simply exists." I wonder if it is something cultural? I find that authors from outside the U.S. seem to be a bit more free to use elements like magical realism (which Murakami uses a lot of) and also to write these stories that are beautiful but don't really go anywhere (P.S. in comparison to most of those kinds of stories, "The Wind Cave" is like an action/adventure story). It would take someo

Quills Coffee's Zephyr Summer Blend

Why am I writing about summer blend coffee in the middle of fall? For the same reason I wrote about Octoberfest beer in the middle of winter. Because I'm always running behind on the million gazillion projects I've got on the to-do list in my head. One of those is this blog. Found this at Quills Coffee in Louisville, Ky. when I visited on Labor Day weekend. Frankly, I bought this coffee mostly for the odd, pastel, 80s, Miami Vice-like packaging. I have always been a sucker for good advertising and good graphic design work. So what if it actually looks like some 7th graders art project from 1987, the fact is it triggered nostalgia inside me, an emotional response...which naturally led me to take out my wallet and buy some. It also happens to be pretty damn good coffee. Although it took me a while to "get it right" on which brewing method was the best. Lucky for me I have at least three coffee brewing systems in my home: a drip coffee machine, a stove-top Bialetti