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Original Essays | September 30, 2014

Benjamin Parzybok: IMG A Brief History of Video Games Played by Mayors, Presidents, and Emperors

Brandon Bartlett, the fictional mayor of Portland in my novel Sherwood Nation, is addicted to playing video games. In a city he's all but lost... Continue »
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    Sherwood Nation

    Benjamin Parzybok 9781618730862


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Gabriel Boehmer has commented on (4) products.

Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution by Fred Vogelstein
Dogfight: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution

Gabriel Boehmer, November 25, 2013

Reading Fred Vogelstein's book about the bare-knuckle fight between Apple and Google is like bingeing on episodes of "Breaking Bad." It's that good. Vogelstein, a contributing editor for Wired, pares these two Silicon Valley heavyweights like William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer slugging it out for tabloid readers in New York. Yet in this "Dogfight," Apple and Google are vying for the opportunity to sell us much much more than just digital newspapers via smartphones and tablets.

Especially if you work in corporate marketing or communications, "Dogfight" will lead you suspect that Vogelstein has been taking notes at your all-hands meetings, attending your off-sites, and listening to your conference calls. At least this book explains who the extra beep on the line is. His ear for West Coast technology culture, it's players and purveyors is pitch-perfect.

If your company increasingly depends on smartphones and tablets to deliver your products and services in the global marketplace, then "Dogfight" is required reading. But I'll let you draw your own comparisons between Walter White and Steve Jobs.
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Mayakovsky's Revolver: Poems by Matthew Dickman
Mayakovsky's Revolver: Poems

Gabriel Boehmer, March 16, 2013

In a The Rumpus review of "Mayakovsky's Revolver," Brachah Goykadosh calls out the "exuberant and playful" qualities of Matthew Dickman sprinkled in this collection of elegies -- qualities that remind her of Frank O'Hara. She's right on. Both poets can make us smile on command. In the wonderfully titled "Morning With Pavese," Matthew summons an ernest Italian poet from the grave in an imaginative riff on relief from grief: "One morning / something even better will happen, Pavese will be alive / again. He'll cough up his barbiturates, / wipe his mouth and not be sad. He'll still be a communist / but that's OK." Like the jacket promises, the book is a "celebration in the dark." Read it tonight.
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(7 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)

The Naive and the Sentimental Novelist (Charles Eliot Norton Lectures) by Orhan Pamuk
The Naive and the Sentimental Novelist (Charles Eliot Norton Lectures)

Gabriel Boehmer, November 6, 2010

As if I had been in the audience for the lectures upon which this book was based, I actually applauded when I finished reading "The Naive and the Sentimental Novelist." In a conversational and intimate tone, Pamuk describes his experience as a reader of novels and a writer of novels. His new book illuminates and inspires. If you haven't yet read Pamuk's essays ("Other Colors," which for me made Pamuk a soulmate) or his novels, this book will tempt you. "The great literary novels," Pamuk writes in this volume (based on the 2009 Norton lectures at Harvard), "are indispensable to us because they create the hope and vivid illusion that the world has a center and a meaning, and because they give us joy by sustaining this impression as we turn their pages.... We want to reread such novels once we finish them -- not because we have located the center, but because we want to experience once again this feeling of optimism." LIke me, you'll want to reread "The Naive and the Sentimental Novelist," too. Note to Powell's: This book should be a featured title.
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(6 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)

How Fiction Works by James Wood
How Fiction Works

Gabriel Boehmer, August 27, 2008

This is a modern classic that's guaranteed to captivate writers and readers of literary fiction. It's an "Elements of Style" for literature. You'll be jotting notes on the back of Stumptown receipts so you won't forget which novels and short stories to pick up on your next trip to Powell's. It's worth reading alone for Wood's closing tribute to Willa Cather.
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(13 of 23 readers found this comment helpful)

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