The Blog


Russell Scott Valentino

One of my traveling companions on my recent Eurasia passage (see my blog posts Crossing, Crossing 2, Crossing 3, and Crossed) was Ian Frazier’s Travels in Siberia, which I read cover to cover, or rather, pixel to pixel (on a Kindle—hey, I was traveling), and as I rarely get to do such an exotic thing as read a whole book these days, here’s a review.

The Toymaker's War

Russell Scott Valentino

Working Group Theatre's production of The Toymaker's War, playing through this afternoon at Iowa City's Riverside Theatre, is about writing and responsibility, the ineffable mix of trauma, journalism, and art that troubled much of the twentieth century and, as evidenced by the recent polemic over John d'Agata's work, still troubles us today.

Bonnie Jo Campbell's ONCE UPON A RIVER

Josh Cook

Lately, when I pick up a new title, the announced motif on the jacket sleeve makes me chafe. It’s the one that precedes all else and screams “Read Me!” like a child pining for attention. “A sprawling feminist debut...” it’ll say, or “Ordinary men and women confronting loneliness...” When I encounter this, I thrust down the book, guffawing loud enough for the store clerk to hear me.


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