Archive - December 11, 2015

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Searching for Jose
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Talk less, Write more

Searching for Jose

His address on a letter written nineteen years ago is all I have to go by. Dominga’s grandson, he is the godson I knew only as an infant, though he wrote me periodically for many years. I give the taxi driver the address in Barrio El Carmen, explaining my story. “I don’t know if my godson still lives there.” We locate the street and the house number. Several workers mill about in front of the house, which is being remodeled and is clearly unoccupied. The driver says, “Ask the neighbors.” “Do you know what happened to the Castillo Rocha family who used to live here?” Heads shake. “No, no one by that name. Ask that woman across the street. She’s been here a long time.” “No, sorry.” Back in the taxi, I tell the driver, “I have his parents’ address. Can you take me there? It’s in Barrio La Sierra.” . . .

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Talk less, Write more

I was reading recently that while less people are reading, books themselves are getting longer. James Finlayson at Vervesearch analyzed more than 2,500 bestsellers list and found that the average number of pages in a book has increased by 25 percent in the last 15 years. Books published today have on average about 80 pages more than they did in 1999. According to The Guardian “The first five years of Booker-winning novels average out at around 300 pages, but even taking into account Julian Barnes’s 2011 triumph with his 160-page novella The Sense of an Ending, the last five years of Booker laureates weigh in at an average of 520 pages. This year’s winner was brief only in name: Marlon James’s 700-page A Brief History of Seven Killings.”

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