Posts Tagged John Darnielle

notable Boston-area book readings in February 2017


Megan Marshall
Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast
Harvard Book Store
Tuesday, February 7 at 7pm

Michael Bennett, MD and Sarah Bennett
F*ck Love
Brookline Booksmith
Tuesday, February 7 at 7pm


Ayelet Waldman
A Really Good Day
Brookline Booksmith
Wednesday, February 8 at 7pm


John Darnielle
Universal Harvester
Harvard Book Store
at Brattle Theatre
Wednesday, February 8 at 6pm


Lisa Wade
American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus
Harvard Book Store
Thursday, February 9 at 7pm


Min Jin Lee
Harvard Book Store
Friday, February 10 at 7pm


Caroline Light
Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense
Harvard Book Store
Thursday, February 16 at 7pm


Elinor Lipman
On Turpentine Lane
Brookline Booksmith
Thursday, February 16 at 7pm


Roxane Gay
Difficult Women
Porter Square Books
Friday, February 17 at 7pm


Lisa Carey
The Stolen Child
Brookline Booksmith
Saturday, February 18 at 7pm

news from the end of the world.jpg

Emily Jeanne Miller
The News from the End of the World
Harvard Book Store
Tuesday, February 21 at 7pm


David Duchovny
Bucky F*cking Dent
Brookline Booksmith
Wednesday, February 22 at 12pm


Megan Marshall
Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast
Brookline Booksmith
Wednesday, February 22 at 7pm

rise of the rocket girls

Nathalia Holt
Rise of the Rocket Girls: the Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars
WorkBar Cambridge
Monday, February 27 at 6:30pm


Gish Jen
The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap
Harvard Book Store
Tuesday, February 28 at 7pm

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book review: Wolf in White Van

wolf in white van

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle. Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux [September 2014]. Fiction. Hardcover. 208 pages.

RATING: ****/5

“For reasons that seem obvious to me, I don’t believe in happy endings or even in endings at all, but I am as susceptible to moments of indulgent fantasy as anybody else.”

Author info: debut novel from The Mountain Goat’s lead singer/songwriter. He lives in Durham, NC.

Summary: Isolated from a disfiguring accident in high school [“Reconstructed skin is very sensitive to temperature and moisture; and then the heat would slacken the resewn flaps of my cheeks a little, and the tingling would start up, a rippling alarm traveling down confused wires.”], Sean Phillips creates an imaginary world for others. It’s his way to cope and to connect as best he can with others on society’s fringe. He established a text-based, role-playing game called Trace Italian with players complete through the mail. This started prior to consistent internet and email correspondence and usage. Sean never fit in but had some close friends. He played strange games and didn’t fit in with the popular crowds in high school. Something to which many can relate. Think about it now. About 10% of people were truly popular and comfortable in high school. Darnielle writes: “I told him the truth: that I didn’t know; that I didn’t know anymore if I wanted to be more normal or not.” Two high school players attempt to take the game into reality and dangerous outcomes ensue.

Looking at the tragic with humor: “Xanax, certifiably the medication that cam e from space, traed tot eh architects of our shadow government in exchange for a full map of human DNA, the eventual future costs of this trade arrangement unspoken but plain as day to everybody involved, a rash of suicides and disappearances cropping up when the uselessness of the medicine for anything beyond mild sedation was revealed.”

Fun fact: The title refers to album backtracking. Back in the 70s religious people thought Satan sent messages through music that could be heard when a record played backward. “apparently bands started encoding Satanic messages into their songs by recording their music backwards, and teenagers were being won over for Satan through the process.”

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


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