The Return (Review)

Three things strike me on having finished Håkan Nesser’s The Return. The first is that I wonder how much Japanese crime fiction, if any, Nesser’s read. I wonder that because lots of Japanese crime fiction – especially Japanese police procedurals – use the basic pattern that’s employed here: A series of events gives an inspector…

Consistent With vs. Evidence For

One thing that I’m sure would make the world a better place would be if we could manage to teach people the difference between data that is consistent with a theory and data that is evidence for that theory. It’s a crucial distinction, and too many people who comment on the internet have apparently never…

Bernie Sanders and the Budget – a modest proposal

This fun thing has been making the rounds on Facebook (where else?). It’s a quote from Bernie Sanders, Seantor from Vermont (where else?) – and no, it’s not from some internet douche’s wild imagination. If look at Sanders’ own budget blueprint page and scroll down to the section on corporate taxes, you’ll see the same…

Fight Club Does Suck

So today I stumbled across this takedown of Fight Club, and in theory I’m all for it. I can’t stand that movie, I can’t stand Chuck Palahniuk, and I sure can’t stand all the armies of people who think liking it makes them rebels. It’s like a more annoying Pump Up the Volume for a…

How Not to Report Objectively – David Weigel Edition

Dave Weigel has a Slate column on the “strange subculture” (his words) of online supporters of Darren Wilson. Darren Wilson being the cop who shot Michael Brown. The bias on display in it is a good illustration of what’s wrong with journalism. First, there’s that description – that supporting a police officer who’s been excoriated…

Borkmann’s Point (Review)

The reason that Håkan Nesser will someday surpass Stieg Larsson among Scandinavian crime writers in critics’ estimations (along with, if I get a say, Arnaldur Indriðason) is that like all obsessive writers he writes to chew on themes he can’t resolve. In his case, that patience is a virtue even among the patient since the…

A Question of Identity (Review)

A Question of Identity is my first of Susan Hill’s acclaimed Simon Serrailler series, and it’s an interesting one to start with so soon after Donis Casey’s Hell with the Lid Blown Off because it suffers from a lot of the same problems, but is much less offputting for it. The basic story is this:…

John Quiggen Has Some Homework to Do

I’m frequently amused by how weak attempts to dismiss Libertarianism have become. The latest example I’ve seen showed up yesterday on Crooked Timber. It’s a column by John Quiggin titled What’s Left of Libertarianiam?, and it asserts that "The Libertarian Moment" has already passed because … wait for it … gay marriage is already legal…

Hell with the Lid Blown Off (Review)

Donis Casey’s Hell with the Lid Blown Off is a mystery the same way that a lot of John LeCarre’s books are spy novels. Yes, there’s a murder, but no one notices it until about two thirds of the way through the book, and although they do more or less solve it, the book’s schtick…