Archive for the 'Books' Category

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On Chesil Beach

Ian McEwan made his debut in Romania with Amsterdam and The Cement Garden, books that illustrate his past writing tendencies more than they do his present ones. Saturday was one of the best books I’ve read in 2005 and I’ve just finished On Chesil Beach. The book takes place over the course of maybe one […]

(Don’t) put it in your mouth

This story is about the randomness of life. It began Tuesday night, when Martha McPhee’s heart-breaking book “L’America” reminded me of how our choices open us up to unforeseen events, which will—when the lights go off—define our life. Beth and Cesare met because their seemingly inconsequential decisions brought them to the coast of Greece at […]

The other

I am currently reading a series of books on nostalgia for what I hope will be a news story. On my way to the news, I’m finding some great nuggets of wisdom in books like Svetlana Boym‘s “Future of Nostalgia.” Here is one on how people from Eastern and Central Europe (who in the days […]

Fragments of consumption

Books: I stepped out to a cafe in my neighborhood to read Calvin Trillin’s “About Alice.” The book is a tender 78-page remembrance of his wife, who died in 2001. The book was originally a New Yorker essay I had read back in March, but I wanted to own it bound between covers because of […]

Books 2006: Foer, Shteyngart and Kunkel

I don’t enjoy the idea of ranking books the way I do music because it’d be too much like ranking my reaction to reading them. Which would be odd to say the least. Plus, the books I read in a particular year have not necessarily been released at the same time. In 2006, I made […]

The Onion Cellar (or “The search continues”)

Vladimir, the confused New York-raised Russian Jew, and Morgan, the Cleveland-born All-American girl, are facing each other on a friggin’ cold Prague night, back when the city hosted hordes of American hipsters in search of greater meaning after the sordid Reagan/Bush years. I’ll let the author, Gary Shteyngart, pick up from here (passage is from […]

I believe in the story

In Romania we read a lot of literature by dead white guys even though a lot of modern literature is being translated. One author that hasn’t had the pleasure of a translation yet is Jonathan Safran Foer (see photo), who penned the gorgeous “Everything is Illuminated” and the mind-blowing “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” I […]

What is Romania?

Sitting down at my computer, I was ready to take my country apart, rip it to shreds. I’ve just finished reading Lucian Boia’s “Romania, tara de frontiera a Europei” (Romania, borderland of Europe) and felt a surge of anger at the teachers that shaped my childhood and at myself. Some context first. I’ve not read […]

Employees are overrated

Office culture — and the mockery of it — is a mostly American sport. But as multi-nationals take over the world and corporations plant roots in every open field from Bangalore to Babadag (one day…) the culture of these hierarchical monsters will embbed themselves in unsuspecting youths who have not cried rivers of tears over […]


I don’t have the time I wish I had to read books. If I succesfully carve out some hours for reading I tend to read the magazines that pile up on my coffee table (Atlantic, New Yorker, Harper’s etc) — it’s something I don’t need too much of a “mood” for. As with anything, there […]