Doug Merrill

Writer, editor, translator, project manager, reformed bookseller. Currently based in Berlin, following stints in Moscow, Tbilisi, Munich, Washington, Warsaw, Budapest and Atlanta. Also blogs at A Fistful of Euros, though less frequently than here these days.

Most commented posts

  1. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison — 7 comments
  2. Mort by Terry Pratchett — 5 comments
  3. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton — 5 comments
  4. Midnight at the Pera Palace by Charles King — 5 comments
  5. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire — 5 comments

Author's posts

May 14 2018

Mani: Travels in the Southern Peleponnese by Patrick Leigh Fermor

Mani grew in the telling. Patrick Leigh Fermor meant it “to be a single chapter among many, each of them describing the stages and halts, the encounters, the background and the conclusions of a leisurely journey … through continental Greece and the islands.” He undertook the journey, “to pull together the strands of many previous …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/05/14/mani-travels-in-the-southern-peleponnese-by-patrick-leigh-fermor/

May 12 2018

The House of Government by Yuri Slezkine — Halftime Report

One of the unexpected pleasures of The House of Government is Yuri Slezkine’s occasional playful way with words. Given the subject matter, and particularly given Slezkine’s argument that Bolshevism can best be understood as a millennarian sect that gained control of the state, a reader would be forgiven for thinking that his prose would range …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/05/12/the-house-of-government-by-yuri-slezkine-halftime-report/

May 11 2018

A Hero Born by Jin Yong

“The Chinese Lord of the Rings.” Or, as translator Anna Holmwood puts it in her introduction, “one of the world’s best-loved stories and one of its grandest epics, a series that can count its fans in the hundreds of millions. And yet this is the first time it has been published in English, despite making …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/05/11/a-hero-born-by-jin-yong/

May 01 2018

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

Of the later Discworld books, I like the ones about Tiffany Aching best because their stories arise from the characters and the natural interactions that flow from their natures as Pratchett has described them. Naturally there is the overarching theme of Tiffany growing up — and in Wintersmith her precociousness is easier for me to accept …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/05/01/wintersmith-by-terry-pratchett/

Apr 25 2018

A Sorcerer and a Gentleman by Elizabeth Willey

A Sorcerer and a Gentleman. One character who is both? Or two characters and one of each? Elizabeth Willey’s second novel, set in the same multiverse as The Well-Favored Man, offers numerous candidates for each appellation. She starts her story with an unknown person and the “proverb, often quoted but seldom applied, that all a …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/04/25/a-sorcerer-and-a-gentleman-by-elizabeth-willey/

Apr 23 2018

The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair

The Secret Lives of Color fairly leaped off the display table at me. Once I had it in my hands, I had to own it. The book itself is an argument for books as tangible objects, thanks to the efforts of designer James Edgar and the production team at Penguin who all made it such …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/04/23/the-secret-lives-of-color-by-kassia-st-clair/

Apr 20 2018

Thud! by Terry Pratchett

Thud, like The Last Jedi, was much better than it had any right to be: deep into the series, with the previous outing in need of tightening up a bit (Star Wars: The Third Death Star needed much more than that, but nevermind). Thud also embodies a particular hazard of a long-running series: an item …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/04/20/thud-by-terry-pratchett/

Apr 17 2018

The Gatekeepers by Chris Whipple

I read The Gatekeepers, a book about White House chiefs of staff, like the grad student and extremely minor Washington insider that I used to be: acknowledgments first, then scan the bibliography, then a look at the notes, then the main text. In this case, I also read the last chapter, which is about the …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/04/17/the-gatekeepers-by-chris-whipple/

Mar 24 2018

Any Day Now by Terry Bisson

For a good part of the way through Any Day Now, I was fairly certain that it would turn out to be the fourth perfect book, and even now I am not entirely sure that it is not. The book won’t be for everyone, though; I bounced off of the novel completely the first time …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/03/24/any-day-now-by-terry-bisson/

Mar 19 2018

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

“There was a wall. It did not look important. It was built of uncut rocks roughly mortared. An adult could look right over it, and even a child could climb it. Where it crossed the roadway, instead of having a gate it degenerated into mere geometry, a line, an idea of boundary. But the idea …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2018/03/19/the-dispossessed-by-ursula-k-le-guin/