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Cut-and-paste Photo credit: Anneke de Groot

Shanghai Noir

Sometimes life gets in the way of my blog and this week was one of those moments. A baking binge that resulted in a loaf of multigrain bread, four focaccia, and a load of peanut butter cookies. The start of my third teaching term. And a day spent in the studio of Ingrid Mertens getting my hands dirty. I won't show you the mixed media work I managed to produce. Suffice to say, I felt like a kid daubing my fingers in cold, gooey stuff.

The upshot for you, however, is that my blog went live a day later than it should and I'm now scrambling to get this newsletter out on time.

Writer friends ask me: do you like blogging? The expression on their faces tells me the answer they expect. In fact, I do like to blog. Otherwise, I wouldn't do it. The same goes for writing book reviews. My latest review is of a short story collection lent to me by one of my writing students. It's exactly the kind of reaction a teacher wants: to get your students so excited about writing that they can't stop talking about books. Buckskin Cocaine is a fierce work written by Erika Wurth. Here's my review of it: Red Stick Festival.

It should be obvious by now, certainly to any reader of my blog, that I believe reading and writing are inextricably linked. It's why I'll finish a book, even if I hate it. For a writer, knowing what causes a book to fail is at least as important as knowing why it works. But why go the extra mile to write all that down in the form of a book review? You can read the answer to that question in this week's blog post: The Accidental Reviewer.

Have You Eaten Rice Today?
Deaths in Venice
Mass: Formulae
Fever & Famine

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