Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'books'

Dreaming in the Trenches

February 23rd, 2011 · Comments Off on Dreaming in the Trenches

From the 1915 paper that first legitimized the scientific study of combat-related trauma, Charles Samuel Myers’ “A Contribution to the Study of Shell Shock”: Dec. 27th–While in hypnosis he gives the name of hte man in the same trench with him as K. He “sees” very clearly the position of the trenches, their shallowness and […]

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“Champ of the Ivories”

February 4th, 2011 · 7 Comments

I have done my earnest best to keep self-promotion to a minimum on Microkhan, while also refusing ads in order to preserve the pristine reading experience you’ve (hopefully) come to know and love. But, alas, I’m going to ask you to endure a bit of jersey-popping on this cold winter morn, as I try once […]

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The Measure of a Story

December 29th, 2010 · 6 Comments

I toyed with the idea of doing a couple of “Best of…” lists in these waning days of MMX, much as I did last year. But in the course of trying to pull together some worthy candidates from the realms of filmdom, books, and booze, I got to thinking about the criteria I was employing—at […]

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Tone Deaf

November 22nd, 2010 · 3 Comments

I spent much of the weekend zipping through The Reluctant Communist, former Army sergeant Charles Robert Jenkins‘ memoir of the 39 years he spent living in North Korea after walking across the demilitarized zone in 1965. It’s a harrowing read, primarily because it reveals the North Korean establishment to be even more deluded than I’d […]

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An Alternative to Patronymics

August 19th, 2010 · 4 Comments

A long, drunken subway ride last night gave me the chance to finish The Black Nile, Dan Morrison’s account of a harrowing trip he took from Lake Victoria to the Mediterranean Sea. There’s enough grist in this excellent travelogue to craft a dozen killer Microkhan posts, but for now I’ll just limit myself to a […]

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Jerks and Great Art

July 23rd, 2010 · Comments Off on Jerks and Great Art

(Cross-posted from Ta-Nehisi Coates) Growing up, Jack London was high atop my personal literary pantheon. The first time I read “To Build a Fire”, it absolutely rocked my world—I mean, who knew you could have a story in which the protagonist’s death-by-freezing could be portrayed in such a sweet manner? (That closing vision of “the […]

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The Lives of Brian Cathcart

July 20th, 2010 · Comments Off on The Lives of Brian Cathcart

(Cross-posted from Ta-Nehisi Coates) In response to Ta-Nehisi’s introductory post yesterday, a treasured commenter brought up the idea of doing a non-fiction recommendation thread this week. As fate would have it, I’ve long been planning to use this space to champion a few of my favorite off-the-radar non-fiction gems. Let me now start doing so […]

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Satan’s Salad Dressing

July 13th, 2010 · 2 Comments

We’re in the process of trying to find an insightful passage to read at a pal’s forthcoming wedding. (Suggestions welcome, by the way.) It’s taking us much longer than anticipated, in large part because we keep getting sidetracked by old favorites we’ve discovered while ransacking our overstuffed bookshelves. Case in point: Lawrence Wright’s Saints and […]

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Leotards for the Proletariat

May 13th, 2010 · 8 Comments

One of the first “heavy” books we ever read was Hedrick Smith’s The Russians, which came out at the height of the whole “Evil Empire” period. Before cracking open Smith’s honest investigation of daily life in the U.S.S.R., we imagined that Moscow resembled a vast outdoor version of the Death Star, absolutely devoid of color […]

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A Chemical Solution to a Chemical Problem?

April 27th, 2010 · 5 Comments

We’re in the midst of whipping through Nick Reding’s Methland, which is a fantastic feat of reporting. It takes an intrepid writer, indeed, to spend such a vast amount of time in small-town Iowa, connecting with tweakers and those who loathe them. While Methland has earned major plaudits for its human touch, we’ve been more […]

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A Metaphor for Parenthood

April 7th, 2010 · 8 Comments

Last night, we attempted to offer a pal of ours some reassurance. He’s expecting his first kid this summer, and he naturally has mixed feelings about what the future holds in store—the unabashed joy of ushering new life onto Planet Earth, of course, but also the loss of a whole bunch of personal autonomy for […]

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This Is How We Lost to the Robots

April 6th, 2010 · 4 Comments

The nexus between technology and music is obviously a topic of great interest ’round Microkhan headquarters, so we couldn’t have been any more delighted to receive a gratis copy of Dave Tompkins’ How to Wreck a Nice Beach: The Vocoder from World War II to Hip-Hop a few weeks back. The book is everything a […]

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I Saw the Shadow of No Parting From You

April 2nd, 2010 · 1 Comment

The last week’s been mighty rough, as we suffered through an illness akin to that which Pip endured toward the end of Great Expectations. Yet just as Dickens’ hero pulled through the ordeal to hear the joyous news that Joe and Biddy got married, we have come through the other side with lifted hearts and […]

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A Hive of Scum and Villainy

February 1st, 2010 · 8 Comments

The recent passing of J.D. Salinger got us thinking about the small role The Catcher in the Rye played in our decision to wield the (figurative) pen for a living. While we’re pretty sure the book wouldn’t hold up should we crack it again today, it wowed us during junior high. It was, in fact, […]

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Self-Publishing for Legends

January 25th, 2010 · 8 Comments

We’ve recently been toying with the idea of self-publishing a book, but can’t quite seem to get over the feeling that such a maneuver will result in a disastrous labor-to-pay ratio. That said, we’ve been heartened to learn that putting out one’s own book is no longer the sole domain of conspiracy theorists and frustrated […]

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The Roots of the Trainspotting Generation

January 15th, 2010 · 3 Comments

“There is nothing sadder than an aging hipster,” Lenny Bruce once opined. While there’s certainly a kernel of truth to that statement, we believe the late comedian missed the mark by just a few degrees. Far sadder, in our estimation, is an aging drug addict, whose aims to recapture lost glory not by feigning interest […]

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The Best of Oh Nine: Books*

December 29th, 2009 · 9 Comments

As with yesterday’s list, the asterisk is in the post title for a very good reason—namely, to tip you off that the titles mentioned below didn’t necessarily come out in 2009. They are, rather, things we read and dug over the past 12 months. Apologies for the relative brevity of the list, but our most […]

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The Beard of Destiny

December 14th, 2009 · 3 Comments

As is made clear in our mission statement, management reserves the right to occasionally drop the fascination with esoterica in favor of talking pro football (the American kind). Let us now invoke that right in order to discuss our beloved Indianapolis Colts, who yesterday clinched the top seed in the AFC playoffs. This accomplishment brings […]

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The Waga Toso Loophole

October 13th, 2009 · 5 Comments

We’re in the midst of watching The Nazis: A Warning from History, which really should be required viewing for anyone who casually throws around Hitler analogies when discussing contemporary politicians. It’s chilling stuff through-and-through, loaded with interviews with unrepentant party members and victims of persecution alike. The series essentially argues that the Third Reich was […]

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Book Recs?

September 22nd, 2009 · 16 Comments

As previously noted, we’re about to jet for East Africa for a spell. The trip will doubtless entails many hours of waiting around—the flights alone will keep us either aloft or in airports for a grand total of 44 hours. A dreary prospect, perhaps, but at least we’ll have the chance to catch up on […]

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Our Midwestern Reading

September 3rd, 2009 · 1 Comment

Apologies for the light posting today, a phenomenon which is sadly sure to repeat itself between now and Labor Day. We’re scrambling to prepare for two major reporting trips—one to East Africa, the other to the American Heartland. On top of that, we’ve got a lecture to prepare for—next Tuesday, we’ll be regaling Brooklynites about […]

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Now the Paperback Will Start

May 26th, 2009 · 10 Comments

So at long last, we’ve come to the appointed hour: The Now the Hell Will Start paperback hits stores today, and can currently be had via Amazon for as little as a tenner. Not a bad deal in our humble (albeit biased) opinion, considering the nearly five years’ worth of mental toil contained within those […]

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“Children Are No Match for Fire”

March 5th, 2009 · 1 Comment

A truly uproarious compendium of books that look like spoofs, but are actually all-too-real. Not everything on the list deserves the scorn, but most do. I mean, what publishing “genius” decided to greenlight The Color of Her Panties? Or, for that matter, Mommy, Why Is There a Server in the House? I’m kind of curious […]

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