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Reflections of a working writer and reader



Presque vu XXXXV

Jason Chervokas on NewCritics really likes Sheryl Crow’s new album, Detours. But:

Sheryl Crow’s music is the sound of soccer mom nation. It’s not just the kind of music your mother would like, it’s the kind of music your mother would make (and maybe does at the local weekly coffee house in the church basement): midtempo rock, sing-along choruses, strummed acoustic guitar (the very sound of which is enough to inspire a conditioned revulsion response in many Americans [and Europeans] below the age of 18), and, on Crow’s latest album, explicitly political lyrics.


F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby, with its themes of possibility and aspiration, speaks to a new generation of immigrants from China and elsewhere.
Sara Rimer in the NY Times reports on teachers who say students can see themselves in Gatsby.
Many are inspired by the green light at the end of the dock, which for Jay Gatsby, the self-made millionaire from North Dakota, symbolizes the upper-class woman he longs for. “Green color always represents hope,” says Jinzhao Wang, 14, who immigrated from China two years ago .
“My green light?” said Jinzhao, who has been studying “Gatsby” in her sophomore English class at the Boston Latin School. “My green light is Harvard.”


Nick Fraser in The Observer writes about the rediscovery of the dark genius, Richard Yates.

My characters all rush around trying to do their best, trying to live well within their known and unknown limitations, Yates explains. Doing what they can’t help doing, ultimately and inevitably failing because they can’t help being the people they are.


THE prototypical computer whiz of popular imagination — pasty, geeky, male — has failed to live up to his reputation.
According to Stephenie Rosenbloom at The New York Times, research shows that among the youngest Internet users, the primary creators of Web content (blogs, graphics, photographs, Web sites) are not misfits resembling the Lone Gunmen of “The X Files.” On the contrary, the cyberpioneers of the moment are digitally effusive teenage girls.

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