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Friday, May 30, 2014
These two events grappled energetically with Ireland’s scruffily banging-through post-Celtic Tiger present and the not-so-buried wounds of its terrorized past.
Above: Dublin signpost image from Shutterstock.com.


In a spare white lobby-like space just off Temple Bar, the walls are decorated with highly personable photographic portraits of distinctive faces. A facepainted woman with a wry smile, the tough-looking trio of girls leaning up against a brick wall, the farmer with his tractor, the bearded drunk with lidded eyes, the young drunks with wide-open eyes.


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Thursday, May 29, 2014
This packed-room symposium quickly turned from three writers talking about their novels to a thoughtful state of the union on the purposes and thrills of modern crime fiction.
Above: Dublin signpost image from Shutterstock.com.


The Dublin Writers Festival held its talk titled “The State of Crime” in a mysteriously out-of-the-way location: a small event room at the Central Library located up a staircase in the middle of the Ilac shopping center. It wasn’t spacious enough for the crime fans and would-be crime writers in attendance, so chairs were added and the doors closed on those who had arrived too late.


What they missed turned out to be less about crime and mysteries themselves but what’s behind them, and why one would want to write them.


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Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Little can put you more in the proper mood for book-minded conversation than the faint drizzle and grey skies of Ireland.
Above: Dublin signpost image from Shutterstock.com.


On the Sunday of its first weekend, the Dublin Writers Festival was cloud-shrouded in an atmospherically light rain. Sunshine and a warm breeze might make the heart beat faster, but little can put you more in the proper mood for book-minded conversation than a faint drizzle and grey skies.


This is Dublin, after all, which proudly carries its status as UNESCO City of Literature, and where the odd plaque on an undistinguished townhouse near St. Stephen’s Green reminds you that Bram Stoker lived there, and the Gate Theatre just happens to be staging An Ideal Husband by the Dublin-raised and -educated Oscar Wilde.


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Monday, May 19, 2014
Walter Mondale is remarkably engaged and up-to-date for a man who held the Vice Presidency more than 33 years ago.
Above: Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro during the 1984 Presidential Campaign


Walter Mondale’s memoirs, The Good Fight: A Life in Liberal Politics, provide a hint of how things might have been different had he won the 1984 Presidential race against Ronald Reagan. 


Among the many ways in which our world might have been better, there is at least one way in which it might have been worse: It is unlikely that a Mondale presidency would have witnessed, or encouraged, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Communist enslavement and Cold War it symbolized.


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Monday, Mar 31, 2014
For a medium that prides itself on pushing the visual edges, here we find exposition rather than fancy, and monochrome in place of color, words, yes, but no images.

I usually avoid talking about the book review process as part of my reviews. I also try to avoid using “I”. But in this case, I find it necessary.


I had great hopes for Videogames and Art, edited by Andy Clarke and Grethe Mitchell and the editorial teams at Intellect and University of Chicago Press. The cover offered a promising abstract of wireframes and printed circuits with some sort of connected activity generating a mass of three-dimensional connective tissue spewing from the circuitry.


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