Critical Linking

CRITICAL LINKING: February 7, 2012

Our daily round-up of bookish links. Tastes great with coffee.


“6.  Make grand comparisons.  Here is a menu of just some of the many books that may be used for grand comparisons: “War and Peace,” “The Joy of Cooking,” Deuteronomy, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” “Tropic of Cancer,”  “Gilgamesh,” “The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” “Peyton Place,” any book by Sinclair Lewis or John Irving, “Catch-22,” “A Brief History of Time,” “Go the F___ To Sleep.” 

This and 15 other satirical guidelines for effective blurbing.


A common complaint about Dickens, even among readers who love him, is that his books are resolutely childlike. A juvenile aura suffuses them, regardless of how socially and politically alert their subject matter often is. They can be dark, but their darkness partakes of the fantastic. They can be as dirty and smoke-dimmed as the London streets, but their grimiest details are filled with magic.”

This articulates something I’ve long felt about Dickens but could never quite identify. Even Dickens’ squalor is somehow jaunty.


“But there are many readers who do judge themselves harshly for liking romance, and these are the types of articles that make me infuriated on their behalf, which is why I don’t shut up about them, and ignore them. Some readers internalize these messages, feeding their own shame with the reinforced idea that they should be embarrassed. And that is why I yell.”



“One of the biggest frustrations I’ve had is with the App Store, which is a bit like going into a huge urban bookstore and being shown a display table with 100 bestsellers on it, plus a few staff picks. When you ask if there’s anything else, they tell you they can certainly find it for you, if you’ve got the author, title and ISBN number. Or you can browse the shelves, which are not organized in any particular fashion, beyond a few very broad categories.”

If you have an iPad and you are reading this right now, you have a new site to keep on your radar.