#tobyreads: Unlikely Journeys and Unexpected Connections

Last week’s column looked at isolation and solitude. This week’s goes in a different direction: finding literature that brings together unexpected elements in deeply effective ways. This can include everything from science fiction incorporating elements of folklore to surreal fiction inspired by the lives of animals to an elusive, digressive take on the detective novel.

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Midnight Pynchon Party (With Bonus Knock-Knock Joke)

I started reading Thomas Pynchon at an age long before I was prepared for the density of his prose, his images, and the connections he makes between disparate aspects of life. Does it matter? No — I was hooked. I was, in my early teens, a pretty dedicated reader of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. (Fun fact: also the first place I encountered the fiction of one Jonathan Lethem.) In one of his regular columns on books — this one […]

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Poetry in Motion: Phrases From “Gravity’s Rainbow” Reapplied to LeBron James

Since its publication in 1973, Thomas Pynchon’s acclaimed novel Gravity’s Rainbow has been a marvel of verbiage which has delighted and perplexed all who dare crack its pages.  Most startling of all are new revelations that some of the book’s most artful and curious phrases bare striking parallels to the inner life of Lebron James, a twenty-eight year old professional basketball sensation who has been named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player four times, yet has hosted the ESPY Awards only […]

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