Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Can a Book Save Your Life?

The folks behind Electric Literature go to a shooting range to find out.

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Filed under: books, , ,

So You Want to Write a Novel

“I assume you’ve used a steak knife, right?”

“Of course.”

“Do you think that makes you qualified to perform neurosurgery?”

The use of silence in this video is its crowning achievement. More talking bears here.

Filed under: books, humor, , ,

WaPo’s Book Nerd on the NBA

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I was at a conference in Denver earlier this year, and brought one of my old college friends to the keynote by Michael Chabon. He’s a high school history teacher, one of the smartest guys I know, and, most importantly, a person interested in literature.

Chabon was his usual entertaining self: waxing poetic on the business of publishing, sharing secrets about his hipster-comic book-literary successes. At one point, he even cracked a joke about loving Proust–at which the audience of approximately one thousand writers laughed.

It was at this point that my friend leaned in and whispered to me, “Book nerds.”

Okay, I admit it. I’ve even blogged and lamented about our short attention society in the past. Lucky for me, Ron Charles, the book critic for The Washington Post, is also a book nerd. Here, he attempts to infuse a run-down of the nominees for this year’s National Book Award with his dorky, low-fi comedy. His joke about viewers confusing the NBA (National Book Awards) with the NBA (the multimillion dollar sport) certainly falls flat.

Though Charles doesn’t always succeed, I love his enthusiasm. Hell, how can one book nerd criticize another?

Filed under: books, culture, literature, , , , , , ,

Lightly on the Death Toll for Boston Bookstores

I live in a darn educated city, and bookstores are plentiful. Seems like the recession’s been bad for them, however: I just learned that the New England Mobile Bookfair, a behemoth of a bookstore that’s been around for 50 years, is up for sale. Rodney’s Bookstore has been in an indefinite store closing mode for several months; plans to close the Central Square institution at the end of the year may be on hold.

As a former bookseller myself and a frequent supporter, I worry about the disappearance of these institutions. Not only do bookstores–and used bookstores in particular–provide a purchase point for us consumers, but bookstores are community spaces, solitude- and sanity-keepers, a refuge for those of us readers with short attention spans who leap-frog from one book to the next.

Counter to the trend of receding bookstore business is the hopeful story of The Strand. Whenever I’m in New York, I drop by this literary landmark and their 18 miles of books. Founded as a book stall more than 80 years ago, The Strand is still owned by the Bass family and owns its building.

Makes you wonder: Do booksellers make good businessmen? Why are we always lamenting the death of the indie bookstore?

Filed under: books, business, economy, literature, , , , , ,

Publications

BIOGRAPHY

RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
October 2017
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About Me

https://rsiasoco.wordpress.com/about/

About Me

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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